The effectiveness of toolkits as knowledge translation strategies for integrating evidence into clinical care: a systematic review

BMJ Open. 2015 Apr 13;5(4):e006808. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006808.


Objectives: The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the effectiveness of toolkits as a knowledge translation (KT) strategy for facilitating the implementation of evidence into clinical care. Toolkits include multiple resources for educating and/or facilitating behaviour change.

Design: Systematic review of the literature on toolkits.

Methods: A search was conducted on MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO and CINAHL. Studies were included if they evaluated the effectiveness of a toolkit to support the integration of evidence into clinical care, and if the KT goal(s) of the study were to inform, share knowledge, build awareness, change practice, change behaviour, and/or clinical outcomes in healthcare settings, inform policy, or to commercialise an innovation. Screening of studies, assessment of methodological quality and data extraction for the included studies were conducted by at least two reviewers.

Results: 39 relevant studies were included for full review; 8 were rated as moderate to strong methodologically with clinical outcomes that could be somewhat attributed to the toolkit. Three of the eight studies evaluated the toolkit as a single KT intervention, while five embedded the toolkit into a multistrategy intervention. Six of the eight toolkits were partially or mostly effective in changing clinical outcomes and six studies reported on implementation outcomes. The types of resources embedded within toolkits varied but included predominantly educational materials.

Conclusions: Future toolkits should be informed by high-quality evidence and theory, and should be evaluated using rigorous study designs to explain the factors underlying their effectiveness and successful implementation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Practice / methods*
  • Humans
  • Knowledge Management*
  • Translational Research, Biomedical / methods*