Barriers and Facilitators to the Adoption of Evidence-Based Interventions for Adults Within Occupational and Physical Therapy Practice Settings: A Systematic Review

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2023 Jul;104(7):1132-1151. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2023.03.005. Epub 2023 Mar 24.


Objective: Synthesize data regarding barriers and facilitators of adoption (ie, adoption determinants) of evidence-based occupational (OT) and physical therapy (PT) interventions within real-world practice. Whether evidence varied across disciplines, settings, and use of theoretical frameworks was also examined.

Data sources: Literature published from database inception to December 9, 2022, in OVID MEDLINE, EMBASE, OVID PsycINFO, Web of Science Core Collection, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar.

Study selection: Original research including: (1) stakeholder insight into adoption determinants; (2) discrete evidence-based interventions delivered/supervised by an OT and/or PT; (3) intervention recipients aged 18 or older; and (4) data regarding adoption determinants. Two reviewers independently screened and evaluated studies for inclusion, with a third resolving discrepancies. Of the 3036 articles identified, 45 articles were included.

Data extraction: Data were extracted by a primary reviewer, independently evaluated by a second reviewer, and conflicts were resolved via group consensus.

Data synthesis: A descriptive synthesis approach was used to categorize adoption determinants according to constructs from the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research. 87% of studies were published after 2014. Many studies: described PT interventions (82%); were within the outpatient setting (44%); had data gathered after implementing the intervention (71%); and did not report use of a theoretical framework to inform data collection (62%). Lack of available resources (64%) and knowledge/beliefs about the intervention (53%) were the most common barrier and facilitator, respectively. Variability in adoption determinants was observed according to discipline, setting, and use of a theoretical framework.

Conclusions: Findings suggest a recent surge of scientific investment in understanding adoption determinants for evidence-based OT and PT interventions. Such knowledge can inform efforts aimed at improving OT and PT quality, thereby enhancing patient outcomes. However, our review highlighted gaps with significant implications for the delivery of evidence-based OT and PT within real-world practice settings.

Keywords: Implementation science; Occupational therapy; Physical medicine and rehabilitation; Physical therapy; Rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Therapy*
  • Physical Therapy Specialty*