“Push” versus “Pull” for mobilizing pain evidence into practice across different health professions: A protocol for a randomized trial
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BACKGROUND: Optimizing pain care requires ready access and use of best evidence within and across different disciplines and settings. The purpose of this randomized trial is to determine whether a technology-based "push" of new, high-quality pain research to physicians, nurses, and rehabilitation and psychology professionals results in better knowledge and clinical decision making around pain, when offered in addition to traditional "pull" evidence technology. A secondary objective is to identify disciplinary variations in response to evidence and differences in the patterns of accessing research evidence. METHODS: Physicians, nurses, occupational/physical therapists, and psychologists (n = 670) will be randomly allocated in a crossover design to receive a pain evidence resource in one of two different ways. Evidence is extracted from medical, nursing, psychology, and rehabilitation journals; appraised for quality/relevance; and sent out (PUSHed) to clinicians by email alerts or available for searches of the accumulated database (PULL). Participants are allocated to either PULL or PUSH + PULL in a randomized crossover design. The PULL intervention has a similar interface but does not send alerts; clinicians can only go to the site and enter search terms to retrieve evidence from the cumulative and continuously updated online database. Upon entry to the trial, there is three months of access to PULL, then random allocation. After six months, crossover takes place. The study ends with a final three months of access to PUSH + PULL. The primary outcomes are uptake and application of evidence. Uptake will be determined by embedded tracking of what research is accessed during use of the intervention. A random subset of 30 participants/ discipline will undergo chart-stimulated recall to assess the nature and depth of evidence utilization in actual case management at baseline and 9 months. A different random subset of 30 participants/ discipline will be tested for their skills in accessing evidence using a standardized simulation test (final 3 months). Secondary outcomes include usage and self-reported evidence-based practice attitudes and behaviors measured at baseline, 3, 9, 15 and 18 months. DISCUSSION: The trial will inform our understanding of information preferences and behaviors across disciplines/practice settings. If this intervention is effective, sustained support will be sought from professional/health system initiatives with an interest in optimizing pain management. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Registered as NCT01348802 on clinicaltrials.gov.
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