The researchers’ role in knowledge translation: a realist evaluation of the development and implementation of diagnostic pathways for cancer in two UK localities

Banks, Jon, Wye, Lesley, Hall, Nicola, Rooney, James, Walter, Fiona, Hamilton, Willie, Gjini, Ardiana and Rubin, Greg (2017) The researchers’ role in knowledge translation: a realist evaluation of the development and implementation of diagnostic pathways for cancer in two UK localities. Health Research Policy and Systems, 15 (103). ISSN 1478-4505

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In examining an initiative to develop and implement new cancer diagnostic pathways in two English localities, this paper evaluates ‘what works’ and examines the role of researchers in facilitating knowledge translation amongst teams of local clinicians and policymakers.
Using realist evaluation with a mixed methods case study approach, we conducted documentary analysis of meeting minutes and pathway iterations to map pathway development. We interviewed 14 participants to identify the contexts, mechanisms and outcomes (CMOs) that led to successful pathway development and implementation. Interviews were analysed thematically and four CMO configurations were developed.
One site produced three fully implemented pathways while the other produced two that were partly implemented. In explaining the differences, we found that a respected, independent, well-connected leader modelling partnership-working who facilitates a local, stable group that agree about the legitimacy of the data and project (context) can empower local teams to become sufficiently autonomous (mechanism) to develop and implement research-based pathways (outcome). Although both teams designed relevant, research-based cancer pathways, the research team assisted where the pathways were successfully implemented while in the other the research team drove the initiative.
Based on our study findings, local stakeholders can apply local and research knowledge to develop and implement research-based pathways. However, success will depend on how academics empower local teams to create autonomy. After re-packaging and translating research for local circumstances, identifying fertile environments with the right elements for implementation and developing collaborative relationships with local leaders, crucially academics then have to step back.
Knowledge translation; realist evaluation; qualitative research; diagnostic pathways for cancer

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Sciences > Health Sciences
Social Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing
Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Nursing and Health Sciences
Depositing User: Nicola Hall
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2017 12:09
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2019 16:05
ORCID for Nicola Hall: ORCID iD

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