The Institute for Work and Health, working with John Lavis, a leading expert on knowledge exchange for health research, have developed a practical and clear planning guide, designed to be used with facilitated workshops. It is organized around five key principles, which can be posed as questions: what is the message? who is the intended audience? who is the best messenger to get to that audience? what are the best methods for knowledge exchange? and what would be the expected impact of successful knowledge exchange. The guide doesn’t emphasize a point I have found critical, but which does follow from its basic principles: particular campaigns and methods, and overall knowledge exchange strategy, work very differently in different arenas. The guide mostly focuses on effective knowledge exchange of clinical and related health research for health service providers or institutional decision-makers. If the goal is to influence health policy frameworks or to ensure health care resources are allocated in the most effective and equitable manner, then crafting effective messages, identifying the political and policy people who have the power over the issue, understanding the policy environment within which they work, and developing the best messenger and exchange methods are all going to be very different, as is the clarity and nature of the research evidence. But that is exactly their point, and this workbook will be a useful tool and starting point on the policy front as well.
The planning guide is summarized by the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation in the inaugural issue of their digest on Insight and Action. The CHSRF has long published valuable guides and summaries on both the practice of knowledge exchange and key issues in health policy and research. This bulletin will likely prove to be a very useful addition to their products.