Knowledge Translation Tools are Emerging to Move Neck Pain Research into Practice

Joy C. MacDermid*, 1, Jordan Miller2, Anita R. Gross2
1 School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario and Hand and Upper Limb Centre Clinical Research Laboratory, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, 268 Grosvenor St., London, Ontario, N6A 3A8, Canada
2 School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University, 1400 Main St. West, Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 1C7, Canada

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© MacDermid et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the School of Rehabilitation Science, IAHS, 1400 Main Street West, 4th Floor, Hamilton, ON L8S 1C7, Canada; Tel: 905-525-9140, Ext. 22524; Fax: 905-524-0069; E-mail:


Development or synthesis of the best clinical research is in itself insufficient to change practice. Knowledge translation (KT) is an emerging field focused on moving knowledge into practice, which is a non-linear, dynamic process that involves knowledge synthesis, transfer, adoption, implementation, and sustained use. Successful implementation requires using KT strategies based on theory, evidence, and best practice, including tools and processes that engage knowledge developers and knowledge users. Tools can provide instrumental help in implementing evidence. A variety of theoretical frameworks underlie KT and provide guidance on how tools should be developed or implemented. A taxonomy that outlines different purposes for engaging in KT and target audiences can also be useful in developing or implementing tools. Theoretical frameworks that underlie KT typically take different perspectives on KT with differential focus on the characteristics of the knowledge, knowledge users, context/environment, or the cognitive and social processes that are involved in change. Knowledge users include consumers, clinicians, and policymakers. A variety of KT tools have supporting evidence, including: clinical practice guidelines, patient decision aids, and evidence summaries or toolkits. Exemplars are provided of two KT tools to implement best practice in management of neck pain—a clinician implementation guide (toolkit) and a patient decision aid. KT frameworks, taxonomies, clinical expertise, and evidence must be integrated to develop clinical tools that implement best evidence in the management of neck pain.

Keywords: Knowledge translation, neck pain, tools, implementation.