Learning to lead: a review and synthesis of literature examining health care managers' use of knowledge Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Background Scholarship cites health care managers (HCMs) as not using research evidence in their management practice. The purpose of this review was to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to enhance HCMs use of research evidence in practice. Methods We carried out a systematic review and focus groups to validate the review findings. We searched 10 electronic databases for studies reporting on interventions for HCMs to enhance research utilization in their practice. Qualitative studies were analysed using Hoon’s approach to meta-synthesis. Results Seven, primarily qualitative, studies of varying quality (reported in 11 articles) met our inclusion criteria. Interventions to enhance research use by HCMs included: informal and formal training, computer-based application, executive-level knowledge translation activities and residency programmes. Studies did not report efficacy of interventions or impacts of increasing managers’ use of research on staff or patient outcomes. Meta-synthesis yielded four contextual factors influencing the perceived effectiveness of interventions to enhance research use by HCMs: organizational culture, competing priorities, time as a resource and capacity building. Included studies differed in how they defined research and demonstrated varying understandings of research among HCMs, limiting the generalizability of work in this field. Conclusions Healthcare managers are increasingly called upon to make evidence-based decisions in practice, but the small number of studies and diverse strategies employed hinder our ability to identify any intervention to increase use of evidence as superior. Future studies in this area should clearly articulate the definition of research evidence they base their decisions on. Registration: PROSPERO (CRD42014006256)


  • Tate, Kaitlyn
  • Hewko, Sarah
  • McLane, Patrick
  • Baxter, Pamela
  • Perry, Karyn
  • Armijo-Olivo, Susan
  • Estabrooks, Carole
  • Gordon, Deb
  • Cummings, Greta

publication date

  • January 2019