The British Columbia Injury Research and Prevention Unit (BCIRPU) has an interest in strengthening relationships with Regional Health Authorities and disseminating research in a timely and relevant fashion. However, it is unclear whether Regional Health Authorities are receiving information in a format that best suits their needs. This project was developed based on this interest in strengthening relationships with Health Authorities in order to provide useful information that would ultimately lead to the reduction of injuries.
The objective of this project was to identify which modalities are used to disseminate information by injury prevention organizations in Canada. This knowledge would assist BCIRPU in developing a modality for communicating injury prevention research findings with decision makers in the Regional Health Authorities. The goal was to review dissemination research messaging modalities by other injury prevention organizations in Canada to determine which content and format are the most effective at reaching injury prevention decision makers.
An online survey of ten major injury prevention organizations whose mission was similar to that of BCIRPU was used to obtain the desired information. Four categories were outlined for the survey: 1) demographics, 2) forms of communication, 3) effectiveness, and 4) user experience. The survey measured the use of tangible and measurable modalities such as reports and teleconferences.
The response rate was 100%. All ten survey participants indicated that they share knowledge with their community and region, 90% indicated that they share knowledge provincially, 80% nationally, and 50% internationally. When asked what types of information organizations provided, eight of the ten injury prevention organizations indicated that they provide/share research evidence and a combination of data research, research evidence and research analysis. Survey results suggested that the Internet was the most frequently used method to release fact sheets, newsletters, pamphlets/brochures and reports. Many organizations also used presentations and conferences as opportunities to share articles, article reviews and workshop/seminar information.
Most organizations expressed that they faced barriers when communicating information to their target audiences. Time, personnel, cost constraints and being able to accurately measure effectiveness were identified as the main barriers for sharing knowledge.
Survey results showed that oral presentations, teleconferences, workshops and seminars were rated most effective compared to the other methods at changing knowledge, behaviour and/or practice. Of the respondents, 67% rated these activities as effective or very effective. This response implies that effective communication methods for policy makers should have some oral components, and should be more engaging and interactive. On the other hand, materials such as fact sheets and reports also received favorable ratings among 87.5% of the respondents. These tangible modalities are essential and are used widely in presentations, teleconferences, workshops/ seminars and meetings. They are a good way of recording knowledge and displaying information. One interpretation of these results is that a messaging modality may be more effective when it consists of some interactive and engaging components. A modality designed to include both tangible and intangible means could be more useful to policy makers.