Knowledge translation and the Public Health Inspector: turning evidence into practice
Tang, Charlene (author)
Sidhu, Bobby (Advisor)
Fong, Daniel (Advisor)
British Columbia Institute of Technology School of Health Sciences (Degree granting institution)
Background: Knowledge translation (KT) is the process of using the best available knowledge to inform decision-making. Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) are tasked with the critical responsibility of protecting public health. However, there is little data available about how effective and consistent current methods of distributing information to professionals across Canada are. The efficacy of KT has implications on the PHI profession and ultimately, public health protection. Objective: The purpose of this research is to identify how PHIs across Canada take evidence and incorporate it into practice. Methods: A survey was created with questions focused on determining what information PHIs use when making public health decisions, how PHIs go about finding the information required, and the level of trust invested into each source of data. Questions were formulated with guidance from the National Collaborating Centre of Environmental Health (NCCEH). It was distributed electronically to PHIs via social media and BCIT. Results: PHIs use evidence-based information to advise their decisions and actions always (43%) or often (46%) in daily practice. Government agencies, professional organizations, peer-reviewed literature, and colleagues are most often used and deemed as reliable resources. Although very frequently used, the internet was seen as neither reliable nor unreliable. 77% of respondents cited that barriers exist that impede their access to evidence-based information. The most common barriers listed were time constraints, costs, and lack of relevant information. Conclusions: The internet is becoming an increasingly popular means by which knowledge is delivered. However, web-based public health resources need to be more concise, easily accessible, PHI-specific and facilitated by reliable entities to effectively address barriers to practice. Increased communication of evidence, practices, and standards are required between health authorities, government agencies, and PHI professionals to ensure consistent and cohesive protection of public health.
© Charlene Tang 2015. All rights reserved. No part of this work covered by the copyright heron may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means – graphics, electronic, or mechanical including photocopying, taping, or information storage and retrieval systems – without written permission of the author.
Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2015.