Thursday, 28 November 2013

Bridging the gap between research and practice. Could social media be the missing link?


The purpose of all clinical research should be to improve outcomes, yet unless this research is effectively translated into practice by clinicians, even the largest studies can become useless.



Gaps between evidence and practice are becoming more widely recognised in all areas of medicine, and as a result health research funding bodies often require grant applicants to provide a plan for the dissemination of the knowledge. It is currently estimated that published research takes 17 years before it is put into practice.

 Dr Dashiell Gantner of the DEPM believes that social media could represent a much faster way of translating this research into practice. Dashiell theorises that most changes in practice and teaching occur during hospital corridor conversations and bed-side training. The use of social media by researchers has been show to increase the number of times a paper is cited, and from this Dashiell believes that it could be used to win the hearts and minds of clinicians, encouraging the use of new procedures and treatments.

Whilst there are benefits, there are still possibilities that research could be translated without a basis of proper evidence. As such, care must be taken, and a structured approach to knowledge translation which involves social media could represent a revolutionary way of bridging the gap between knowledge and practice.  

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