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Pain Research and Management
Volume 18 (2013), Issue 6, Pages e129-e141

A Systematic Review of the Effectiveness of Knowledge Translation Interventions for Chronic Noncancer Pain Management

Maria B Ospina,1 Paul Taenzer,2 Saifee Rashiq,3 Joy C MacDermid,4 Eloise Carr,5 Dagmara Chojecki,1 Christa Harstall,1 and James L Henry6

1Institute of Health Economics, Edmonton, Canada
2Departments of Psychiatry, Medicine and Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
3Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
4School of Rehabilitation Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
5Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
6McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Copyright © 2013 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: Reliable evidence detailing effective treatments and management practices for chronic noncancer pain exists. However, little is known about which knowledge translation (KT) interventions lead to the uptake of this evidence in practice.

OBJECTIVES: To conduct a systematic review of the effectiveness of KT interventions for chronic noncancer pain management.

METHODS: Comprehensive searches of electronic databases, the gray literature and manual searches of journals were undertaken. Randomized controlled trials, controlled clinical trials and controlled before-and-after studies of KT interventions were included. Data regarding interventions and primary outcomes were categorized using a standard taxonomy; a risk-of-bias approach was adopted for study quality. A narrative synthesis of study results was conducted.

RESULTS: More than 8500 titles and abstracts were screened, with 230 full-text articles reviewed for eligibility. Nineteen studies were included, of which only a small proportion were judged to be at low risk of bias. Interactive KT education for health care providers has a positive effect on patients’ function, but its benefits for other health provider- and patient-related outcomes are inconsistent. Interactive education for patients leads to improvements in knowledge and function. Little research evidence supports the effectiveness of structural changes in health systems and quality improvement processes or coordination of care.

CONCLUSIONS: KT interventions incorporating interactive education in chronic noncancer pain led to positive effects on patients’ function and knowledge about pain. Future studies should provide implementation details and use consistent theoretical frameworks to better estimate the effectiveness of such interventions.