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Eng J.J.,University of British Columbia | Eng J.J.,Rehabilitation Research Program | Noonan V.K.,Rick Hansen Institute RHI | Townson A.F.,International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries ICORD | And 8 more authors.
Journal of Medical Internet Research | Year: 2014

Background: It is not known whether ongoing access to a broad-based Internet knowledge resource can influence the practice of health care providers. We undertook a study to evaluate the impact of a Web-based knowledge resource on increasing access to evidence and facilitating best practice of health care providers. Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate (1) the impact of the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Evidence (SCIRE) project on access to information for health care providers and researchers and (2) how SCIRE influenced health care providers' management of clients. Methods: A 4-part mixed methods evaluation was undertaken: (1) monitoring website traffic and utilization using Google Analytics, (2) online survey of users who accessed the SCIRE website, (3) online survey of targeted end-users, that is, rehabilitation health care providers known to work with spinal cord injury (SCI) clients, as well as researchers, and (4) focus groups with health care providers who had previously accessed SCIRE. Results: The online format allowed the content for a relatively specialized field to have far reach (eg, 26 countries and over 6500 users per month). The website survey and targeted end-user survey confirmed that health care providers, as well as researchers perceived that the website increased their access to SCI evidence. Access to SCIRE not only improved knowledge of SCI evidence but helped inform changes to the health providers' clinical practice and improved their confidence in treating SCI clients. The SCIRE information directly influenced the health providers' clinical decision making, in terms of choice of intervention, equipment needs, or assessment tool. Conclusions: A Web-based knowledge resource may be a relatively inexpensive method to increase access to evidence-based information, increase knowledge of the evidence, inform changes to the health providers' practice, and influence their clinical decision making.

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