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Knowledge Translation (KT) Explained

  • Introduction
  • KT Objectives
  • ICDC KT strategies
  • Considerations for the KT Strategies
  • ICDC KT Team Structure
  • Selected KT activities

Knowledge Translation 

What is Knowledge Translation?

Knowledge-to-Action Cycle We know that globally health systems are failing to use evidence optimally and this “gap” between evidence and decision-making exists at all levels. Very simply put, knowledge translation can be seen as methods used for closing gaps from knowledge to practice. 

The CIHR defines knowledge translation (KT) as a dynamic and iterative process that includes synthesis, dissemination, exchange and ethically-sound application of knowledge to improve the health of Canadians, provide more effective health services and products and strengthen the health care system.

The ICDC KT Strategy

The Interdisciplinary Chronic Disease Collaboration (ICDC) is an experienced, multi-disciplinary, highly successful team of health care policy-makers, scientists, clinical leaders, and knowledge translation (KT) experts. The ICDC develops and tests health services solutions that address the epidemic of non-communicable chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease (i.e. heart disease and stroke). 

Our ICDC research projects and activities are guided by a KT framework, specifically the Knowledge to Action Cycle.

KT Objectives

Our goal is to produce research findings that are the most relevant and useful for end users. We use an integrated KT (iKT) approach, involving key stakeholders, policy-makers, and other end-users in all stages of our activities including the design, implementation, and evaluation of interventions, and dissemination and uptake of research results. 

Effective knowledge translation is an integral component of ICDC research and we apply the most optimal KT strategies to implement knowledge in the management of non-communicable chronic diseases. Our aim is to ensure the ethically sound application of knowledge. 

The ICDC’s research draws upon a comprehensive and innovative administrative database to facilitate and test novel chronic disease management strategies for Albertans with non-communicable chronic diseases. The database was developed in collaboration with the Alberta Kidney Disease Network (AKDN) and contains demographic, clinical, economic and laboratory data on over 4 million Albertans. 

Objectives of the ICDC KT strategies 

  • To cultivate an ongoing interactive relationship with relevant end-users for non-communicable chronic disease care. 
  • To engage with policy makers/stakeholders/end-users in knowledge translation for effective and innovative change in health policy and practice. 
  • To work with key provincial end-users who establish health policy to develop and test the impact of interventions or policies to address identified gaps in care. 
  • To optimize outcomes for non-communicable chronic disease patients and ensure efficient use of health care resources. 
  • To create training opportunities to prepare students to become leaders in KT and health policy.
  • In addition to these broad objectives, each individual research project has specific KT objectives using a standardized KT template that includes how best to ensure on-going end-user engagement. 
  • Our KT strategies allow us to incorporate policy maker input, identify best practices, develop KT interventions that address modifiable barriers, and provide relevant answers that address priorities for end-users and decision makers. 

Important considerations for the KT Strategies

  • Interaction with end-users that involves active engagement and which is mutually beneficial.
  • Addressing end-user priorities by listening to what is important to them, meeting timelines, and actively listening and responding to their ideas. 
  • Communicating on an ongoing basis and finding novel ways to optimize existing relationships.
  • Increasing stakeholder capacity to participate in research, interpret and utilize research findings

The ICDC KT Team Structure

  • KT Committee chaired by Dr. Sharon Straus and includes the ICDC team leads and end-users such as policy-makers and representation from the Patient Advisory Committee. 
  • Collaborative links with organizations like KT Canada, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, Hypertension Canada etc.
  • A Patient Advisory Committee (PAC) that provides feedback on research ideas, patient questionnaires and proposed interventions through quarterly meetings with ICDC researchers. One of the main roles of this committee is to ensure that key messages are acceptable to and understandable by the public. The ICDC’s Patient Advisory Committee serves as a conduit to crucial end-users (i.e., patients with NCDs). 
  • Two KT Brokers (Calgary and Edmonton) who work in collaboration with other team members to execute the ICDC KT plans. 
  • Training programs for research fellows/trainees to further build capacity for KT and policy-relevant research.

Selected KT activities

  • Interactions with research partners, policy makers, stakeholders and other end-users (example, planning meetings, regular communication, etc). 
  • Presentation of bi-weekly research rounds for trainees and team members.
  • Production of research summaries, papers, policy briefs, etc. 
  • Consultation with media on key issues and dissemination of press releases.
  • Development of KT information and educational tools. 
The ICDC develops and tests health services solutions that address the epidemic of non-communicable chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease (i.e. heart disease and stroke).