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Shannon Scott

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Shannon Scott

Faculty of Nursing

6-133 Clinical Sciences Building
Faculty of Nursing
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB
T6G 2G3
Curriculum Vitae

  • Associate Professor

  • Knowledge Translation

http://hdl.handle.net/10402/era.22508

Subject areas and related deposits

  • Allied health

    • Systematic review on knowledge translation strategies in the allied health professions

      Background: Knowledge translation (KT) aims to close the research-practice gap in order to realize and maximize the benefits of research within the practice setting. Previous studies have investigated KT strategies in nursing and medicine; however, the present study is the first systematic review of the effectiveness of a variety of KT interventions in five allied health disciplines: dietetics, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physiotherapy, and speech-language pathology. Methods: A health research librarian developed and implemented search strategies in eight electronic databases (MEDLINE, CINAHL, ERIC, PASCAL, EMBASE, IPA, Scopus, CENTRAL) using language (English) and date restrictions (1985 to March 2010). Other relevant sources were manually searched. Two reviewers independently screened the titles and abstracts, reviewed full-text articles, performed data extraction, and performed quality assessment. Within each profession, evidence tables were created, grouping and analyzing data by research design, KT strategy, targeted behaviour, and primary outcome. The published descriptions of the KT interventions were compared to the Workgroup for Intervention Development and Evaluation Research (WIDER) Recommendations to Improve the Reporting of the Content of Behaviour Change Interventions. Results: A total of 2,638 articles were located and the titles and abstracts were screened. Of those, 1,172 full-text articles were reviewed and subsequently 32 studies were included in the systematic review. A variety of single (n = 15) and multiple (n = 17) KT interventions were identified, with educational meetings being the predominant KT strategy (n = 11). The majority of primary outcomes were identified as professional/process outcomes (n = 25); however, patient outcomes (n = 4), economic outcomes (n = 2), and multiple primary outcomes (n = 1) were also represented. Generally, the studies were of low methodological quality. Outcome reporting bias was common and precluded clear determination of intervention effectiveness. In the majority of studies, the interventions demonstrated mixed effects on primary outcomes, and only four studies demonstrated statistically significant, positive effects on primary outcomes. None of the studies satisfied the four WIDER Recommendations. Conclusions: Across five allied health professions, equivocal results, low methodological quality, and outcome reporting bias limited our ability to recommend one KT strategy over another. Further research employing the WIDER Recommendations is needed to inform the development and implementation of effective KT interventions in allied health.

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  • Behavior change intervention reporting

    • Development of a checklist to assess the quality of reporting of knowledge translation interventions using the workgroup for intervention development and evaluation research (WIDER) recommendations.

      Background Influenced by an important paper by Michie et al., outlining the rationale and requirements for detailed reporting of behavior change interventions now required by Implementation Science, we created and refined a checklist to operationalize the Workgroup for Intervention Development and Evaluation Research (WIDER) recommendations in systematic reviews. The WIDER recommendations provide a framework to identify and provide detailed reporting of the essential components of behavior change interventions in order to facilitate replication, further development, and scale-up of the interventions. Findings The checklist was developed, applied, and improved over the course of four systematic reviews of knowledge translation (KT) strategies in a variety of healthcare settings conducted by Scott and associates. The checklist was created as one method of operationalizing the work of the WIDER in order to facilitate comparison across heterogeneous studies included in these systematic reviews. Numerous challenges were encountered in the process of creating and applying the checklist across four stages of development. The resulting improvements have produced a ‘user-friendly’ and replicable checklist to assess the quality of reporting of KT interventions in systematic reviews using the WIDER recommendations. Conclusions With journals, such as Implementation Science, using the WIDER recommendations as publication requirements for evaluation reports of behavior change intervention studies, it is crucial to find methods of examining, measuring, and reporting the quality of reporting. This checklist is one approach to operationalize the WIDER recommendations in systematic review methodology.

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  • Biomedical research

    • Education in health research methodology: Use of a wiki for knowledge translation.

      Introduction A research-practice gap exists between what is known about conducting methodologically rigorous randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and what is done. Evidence consistently shows that pediatric RCTs are susceptible to high risk of bias; therefore novel methods of influencing the design and conduct of trials are required. The objective of this study was to develop and pilot test a wiki designed to educate pediatric trialists and trainees in the principles involved in minimizing risk of bias in RCTs. The focus was on preliminary usability testing of the wiki. Methods The wiki was developed through adaptation of existing knowledge translation strategies and through tailoring the site to the identified needs of the end-users. The wiki was evaluated for usability and user preferences regarding the content and formatting. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 trialists and systematic reviewers, representing varying levels of experience with risk of bias or the conduct of trials. Data were analyzed using content analysis. Results Participants found the wiki to be well organized, easy to use, and straightforward to navigate. Suggestions for improvement tended to focus on clarification of the text or on esthetics, rather than on the content or format. Participants liked the additional features of the site that were supplementary to the text, such as the interactive examples, and the components that focused on practical applications, adding relevance to the theory presented. While the site could be used by both trialists and systematic reviewers, the lack of a clearly defined target audience caused some confusion among participants. Conclusions Participants were supportive of using a wiki as a novel educational tool. The results of this pilot test will be used to refine the risk of bias wiki, which holds promise as a knowledge translation intervention for education in medical research methodology.

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  • Child health

    • A Randomized Controlled Trial of Storytelling as a Communication Tool.

      Introduction Stories may be an effective tool to communicate with patients because of their ability to engage the reader. Our objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of story booklets compared to standard information sheets for parents of children attending the emergency department (ED) with a child with croup. Methods Parents were randomized to receive story booklets (n=208) or standard information sheets (n=205) during their ED visit. The primary outcome was change in anxiety between triage to ED discharge as measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Follow-up telephone interviews were conducted at 1 and 3 days after discharge, then every other day until 9 days (or until resolution of symptoms), and at 1 year. Secondary outcomes included: expected future anxiety, event impact, parental knowledge, satisfaction, decision regret, healthcare utilization, time to symptom resolution. Results There was no significant difference in the primary outcome of change in parental anxiety between recruitment and ED discharge (change of 5 points for the story group vs. 6 points for the comparison group, p=0.78). The story group showed significantly greater decision regret regarding their decision to go to the ED (p<0.001): 6.7% of the story group vs. 1.5% of the comparison group strongly disagreed with the statement “I would go for the same choice if I had to do it over again”. The story group reported shorter time to resolution of symptoms (mean 3.7 days story group vs. 4.0 days comparison group, median 3 days both groups; log rank test, p=0.04). No other outcomes were different between study groups. Conclusions Stories about parent experiences managing a child with croup did not reduce parental anxiety. The story group showed significantly greater decision regret and quicker time to resolution of symptoms. Further research is needed to better understand whether stories can be effective in improving patient-important outcomes.

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  • Children

    • Understanding implementation processes of clinical pathways and clinical practice guidelines in pediatric contexts: A study protocol

      Background: Canada is among the most prosperous nations in the world, yet the health and wellness outcomes of Canadian children are surprisingly poor. There is some evidence to suggest that these poor health outcomes are partly due to clinical practice variation, which can stem from failure to apply the best available research evidence in clinical practice, otherwise known as knowledge translation (KT). Surprisingly, clinical practice variation, even for common acute paediatric conditions, is pervasive. Clinical practice variation results in unnecessary medical treatments, increased suffering, and increased healthcare costs. This study focuses on improving health outcomes for common paediatric acute health concerns by evaluating strategies that improve KT and reduce clinical practice variation. Design/Methods: Using a multiple case study design, qualitative and quantitative data will be collected from four emergency departments in western Canada. Data sources will include: pre and post implementation focus group data from multidisciplinary healthcare professionals; individual interviews with the local champions, KT intervention providers, and unit/site leaders/managers; Alberta Context Tool (ACT) survey data; and aggregated patient outcome data. Qualitative and quantitative data will be systematically triangulated, and matrices will be built to do cross-case comparison. Explanations will be built about the success or lack of success of the clinical practice guidelines (CPG) and clinical pathways (CPs) uptake based upon the cross-case comparisons. Significance: This study will generate new knowledge about the potential causal mechanisms and factors which shape implementation. Future studies will track the impact of the CPG/CPs implementation on children's health outcome, and healthcare costs.

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  • Clinical pathways

    • Best strategies to implement clinical pathways in an emergency department setting: Study protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial.

      Background The clinical pathway is a tool that operationalizes best evidence recommendations and clinical practice guidelines in an accessible format for ‘point of care’ management by multidisciplinary health teams in hospital settings. While high-quality, expert-developed clinical pathways have many potential benefits, their impact has been limited by variable implementation strategies and suboptimal research designs. Best strategies for implementing pathways into hospital settings remain unknown. This study will seek to develop and comprehensively evaluate best strategies for effective local implementation of externally developed expert clinical pathways. Design/methods We will develop a theory-based and knowledge user-informed intervention strategy to implement two pediatric clinical pathways: asthma and gastroenteritis. Using a balanced incomplete block design, we will randomize 16 community emergency departments to receive the intervention for one clinical pathway and serve as control for the alternate clinical pathway, thus conducting two cluster randomized controlled trials to evaluate this implementation intervention. A minimization procedure will be used to randomize sites. Intervention sites will receive a tailored strategy to support full clinical pathway implementation. We will evaluate implementation strategy effectiveness through measurement of relevant process and clinical outcomes. The primary process outcome will be the presence of an appropriately completed clinical pathway on the chart for relevant patients. Primary clinical outcomes for each clinical pathway include the following: Asthma—the proportion of asthmatic patients treated appropriately with corticosteroids in the emergency department and at discharge; and Gastroenteritis—the proportion of relevant patients appropriately treated with oral rehydration therapy. Data sources include chart audits, administrative databases, environmental scans, and qualitative interviews. We will also conduct an overall process evaluation to assess the implementation strategy and an economic analysis to evaluate implementation costs and benefits. Discussion This study will contribute to the body of evidence supporting effective strategies for clinical pathway implementation, and ultimately reducing the research to practice gaps by operationalizing best evidence care recommendations through effective use of clinical pathways.

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  • Clinical trials as topic

    • Do health care institutions value research? A mixed methods study of barriers and facilitators to methodological rigor in pediatric randomized trials.

      Background Pediatric randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are susceptible to a high risk of bias. We examined the barriers and facilitators that pediatric trialists face in the design and conduct of unbiased trials. Methods We used a mixed methods design, with semi-structured interviews building upon the results of a quantitative survey. We surveyed Canadian (n=253) and international (n=600) pediatric trialists regarding their knowledge and awareness of bias and their perceived barriers and facilitators in conducting clinical trials. We then interviewed 13 participants from different subspecialties and geographic locations to gain a more detailed description of how their experiences and attitudes towards research interacted with trial design and conduct. Results The survey response rate was 23.0% (186/807). 68.1% of respondents agreed that bias is a problem in pediatric RCTs and 72.0% felt that there is sufficient evidence to support changing some aspects of how trials are conducted. Knowledge related to bias was variable, with inconsistent awareness of study design features that may introduce bias into a study. Interview participants highlighted a lack of formal training in research methods, a negative research culture, and the pragmatics of trial conduct as barriers. Facilitators included contact with knowledgeable and supportive colleagues and infrastructure for research. Conclusions A lack of awareness of bias and negative attitudes towards research present significant barriers in terms of conducting methodologically rigorous pediatric RCTs. Knowledge translation efforts must focus on these issues to ensure the relevance and validity of trial results.

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  • Evidence based medicine

    • The intellectual structure and substance of the knowledge utilization field: A longitudinal author co-citation analysis, 1945-2004

      Background: It has been argued that science and society are in the midst of a far-reaching renegotiation of the social contract between science and society, with society becoming a far more active partner in the creation of knowledge. On the one hand, new forms of knowledge production are emerging, and on the other, both science and society are experiencing a rapid acceleration in new forms of knowledge utilization. Concomitantly since the Second World War, the science underpinning the knowledge utilization field has had exponential growth. Few in-depth examinations of this field exist, and no comprehensive analyses have used bibliometric methods. Methods: Using bibliometric analysis, specifically first author co-citation analysis, our group undertook a domain analysis of the knowledge utilization field, tracing its historical development between 1945 and 2004. Our purposes were to map the historical development of knowledge utilization as a field, and to identify the changing intellectual structure of its scientific domains. We analyzed more than 5,000 articles using citation data drawn from the Web of Science (R). Search terms were combinations of knowledge, research, evidence, guidelines, ideas, science, innovation, technology, information theory and use, utilization, and uptake. Results: We provide an overview of the intellectual structure and how it changed over six decades. The field does not become large enough to represent with a co-citation map until the mid-1960s. Our findings demonstrate vigorous growth from the mid-1960s through 2004, as well as the emergence of specialized domains reflecting distinct collectives of intellectual activity and thought. Until the mid-1980s, the major domains were focused on innovation diffusion, technology transfer, and knowledge utilization. Beginning slowly in the mid-1980s and then growing rapidly, a fourth scientific domain, evidence-based medicine, emerged. The field is dominated in all decades by one individual, Everett Rogers, and by one paradigm, innovation diffusion. Conclusion: We conclude that the received view that social science disciplines are in a state where no accepted set of principles or theories guide research (i.e., that they are pre-paradigmatic) could not be supported for this field. Second, we document the emergence of a new domain within the knowledge utilization field, evidence-based medicine. Third, we conclude that Everett Rogers was the dominant figure in the field and, until the emergence of evidence-based medicine, his representation of the general diffusion model was the dominant paradigm in the field.

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  • Health-care

    • Assessment of Variation in the Alberta Context Tool: The Contribution of Unit Level Contextual Factors and Specialty in Canadian Pediatric Acute Care Settings

      Background: There are few validated measures of organizational context and none that we located are parsimonious and address modifiable characteristics of context. The Alberta Context Tool (ACT) was developed to meet this need. The instrument assesses 8 dimensions of context, which comprise 10 concepts. The purpose of this paper is to report evidence to further the validity argument for ACT. The specific objectives of this paper are to: (1) examine the extent to which the 10 ACT concepts discriminate between patient care units and (2) identify variables that significantly contribute to between-unit variation for each of the 10 concepts. Methods: 859 professional nurses (844 valid responses) working in medical, surgical and critical care units of 8 Canadian pediatric hospitals completed the ACT. A random intercept, fixed effects hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) strategy was used to quantify and explain variance in the 10 ACT concepts to establish the ACT's ability to discriminate between units. We ran 40 models (a series of 4 models for each of the 10 concepts) in which we systematically assessed the unique contribution (i.e., error variance reduction) of different variables to between-unit variation. First, we constructed a null model in which we quantified the variance overall, in each of the concepts. Then we controlled for the contribution of individual level variables (Model 1). In Model 2, we assessed the contribution of practice specialty (medical, surgical, critical care) to variation since it was central to construction of the sampling frame for the study. Finally, we assessed the contribution of additional unit level variables (Model 3). Results: The null model (unadjusted baseline HLM model) established that there was significant variation between units in each of the 10 ACT concepts (i.e., discrimination between units). When we controlled for individual characteristics, significant variation in the 10 concepts remained. Assessment of the contribution of specialty to between-unit variation enabled us to explain more variance (1.19% to 16.73%) in 6 of the 10 ACT concepts. Finally, when we assessed the unique contribution of the unit level variables available to us, we were able to explain additional variance (15.91% to 73.25%) in 7 of the 10 ACT concepts. Conclusion: The findings reported here represent the third published argument for validity of the ACT and adds to the evidence supporting its use to discriminate patient care units by all 10 contextual factors. We found evidence of relationships between a variety of individual and unit-level variables that explained much of this between-unit variation for each of the 10 ACT concepts. Future research will include examination of the relationships between the ACT's contextual factors and research utilization by nurses and ultimately the relationships between context, research utilization, and outcomes for patients.

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  • Knowledge translation

    • Protocol for a systematic review of the use of narrative storytelling and visual-arts-based approaches as knowledge translation tools in healthcare.

      Background The arts are powerful, accessible forms of communication that have the potential to impart knowledge by attracting interest and developing meaningful connections. Knowledge translation aims to reduce the ‘evidence-practice’ gap by developing, implementing and evaluating strategies designed to enhance awareness and promote behavior change congruent with research evidence. Increasingly, innovative approaches such as narrative storytelling and other arts-based interventions are being investigated to bridge the growing gap between practice and research. This study is the first to systematically identify and synthesize current research on narrative storytelling and visual art to translate and disseminate health research. Methods A health research librarian will develop and implement search strategies designed to identify relevant evidence. Studies will be included if they are primary research employing narrative storytelling and/or visual art as a knowledge translation strategy in healthcare. Two reviewers will independently perform study selection, quality assessment, and data extraction using standard forms. Disagreements will be resolved through discussion or third party adjudication. Data will be grouped and analyzed by research design, type of knowledge translation strategy (that is, a narrative or visual-arts-based approach), and target audience. An overall synthesis across all studies will be conducted. Discussion The findings from this research project will describe the ‘state of the science’ regarding the use of narrative storytelling and visual art as knowledge translation strategies. This systematic review will provide critical information for: (1) researchers conducting knowledge translation intervention studies; (2) nursing, medicine, and allied healthcare professionals; (3) healthcare consumers, including patients and families; and (4) decision makers and knowledge users who are charged to increase use of the latest research in healthcare settings.

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  • Nurses research utilization

  • Nursing practice

    • Patterns of Research Utilization on Patient Care Units

      Background: Organizational context plays a central role in shaping the use of research by healthcare professionals. The largest group of professionals employed in healthcare organizations is nurses, putting them in a position to influence patient and system outcomes significantly. However, investigators have often limited their study on the determinants of research use to individual factors over organizational or contextual factors. Methods: The purpose of this study was to examine the determinants of research use among nurses working in acute care hospitals, with an emphasis on identifying contextual determinants of research use. A comparative ethnographic case study design was used to examine seven patient care units (two adult and five pediatric units) in four hospitals in two Canadian provinces (Ontario and Alberta). Data were collected over a six-month period by means of quantitative and qualitative approaches using an array of instruments and extensive fieldwork. The patient care unit was the unit of analysis. Drawing on the quantitative data and using correspondence analysis, relationships between various factors were mapped using the coefficient of variation. Results: Units with the highest mean research utilization scores clustered together on factors such as nurse critical thinking dispositions, unit culture (as measured by work creativity, work efficiency, questioning behavior, co-worker support, and the importance nurses place on access to continuing education), environmental complexity (as measured by changing patient acuity and re-sequencing of work), and nurses' attitudes towards research. Units with moderate research utilization clustered on organizational support, belief suspension, and intent to use research. Higher nursing workloads and lack of people support clustered more closely to units with the lowest research utilization scores. Conclusion: Modifiable characteristics of organizational context at the patient care unit level influences research utilization by nurses. These findings have implications for patient care unit structures and offer beginning direction for the development of interventions to enhance research use by nurses.

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  • Pediatric nursing

    • The influence of organizational context on the use of research by nurses in Canadian pediatric hospitals.

      Background Organizational context is recognized as an important influence on the successful implementation of research by healthcare professionals. However, there is relatively little empirical evidence to support this widely held view. Methods The objective of this study was to identify dimensions of organizational context and individual (nurse) characteristics that influence pediatric nurses’ self-reported use of research. Data on research use, individual, and contextual variables were collected from registered nurses (N = 735) working on 32 medical, surgical and critical care units in eight Canadian pediatric hospitals using an online survey. We used Generalized Estimating Equation modeling to account for the correlated structure of the data and to identify which contextual dimensions and individual characteristics predict two kinds of self-reported research use: instrumental (direct) and conceptual (indirect). Results Significant predictors of instrumental research use included: at the individual level; belief suspension-implement, research use in the past, and at the hospital unit (context) level; culture, and the proportion on nurses possessing a baccalaureate degree or higher. Significant predictors of conceptual research use included: at the individual nurse level; belief suspension-implement, problem solving ability, use of research in the past, and at the hospital unit (context) level; leadership, culture, evaluation, formal interactions, informal interactions, organizational slack-space, and unit specialty. Conclusions Hospitals, by focusing attention on modifiable elements of unit context may positively influence nurses’ reported use of research. This influence of context may extend to the adoption of best practices in general and other innovative or quality interventions.

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  • Research use

    • Interventions aimed at increasing research use in nursing: A systematic review

      Background: There has been considerable interest recently in developing and evaluating interventions to increase research use by clinicians. However, most work has focused on medical practices; and nursing is not well represented in existing systematic reviews. The purpose of this article is to report findings from a systematic review of interventions aimed at increasing research use in nursing. Objective: To assess the evidence on interventions aimed at increasing research use in nursing. Methods: A systematic review of research use in nursing was conducted using databases (Medline, CINAHL, Healthstar, ERIC, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Psychinfo), grey literature, ancestry searching (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews), key informants, and manual searching of journals. Randomized controlled trials and controlled before- and after-studies were included if they included nurses, if the intervention was explicitly aimed at increasing research use or evidence-based practice, and if there was an explicit outcome to research use. Methodological quality was assessed using preexisting tools. Data on interventions and outcomes were extracted and categorized using a pre-established taxonomy. Results: Over 8,000 titles were screened. Three randomized controlled trials and one controlled before- and after-study met the inclusion criteria. The methodological quality of included studies was generally low. Three investigators evaluated single interventions. The most common intervention was education. Investigators measured research use using a combination of surveys (three studies) and compliance with guidelines (one study). Researcher-led educational meetings were ineffective in two studies. Educational meetings led by a local opinion leader (one study) and the formation of multidisciplinary committees (one study) were both effective at increasing research use. Conclusion: Little is known about how to increase research use in nursing, and the evidence to support or refute specific interventions is inconclusive. To advance the field, we recommend that investigators: (1) use theoretically informed interventions to increase research use, (2) measure research use longitudinally using theoretically informed and psychometrically sound measures of research use, as well as, measuring patient outcomes relevant to the intervention, and (3) use more robust and methodologically sound study designs to evaluate interventions. If investigators aim to establish a link between using research and improved patient outcomes they must first identify those interventions that are effective at increasing research use.

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  • Scoping review

    • Social media use among patients and caregivers: A scoping review.

      OBJECTIVE: To map the state of the existing literature evaluating the use of social media in patient and caregiver populations. DESIGN: Scoping review. DATA SOURCES: Medline, CENTRAL, ERIC, PubMed, CINAHL Plus Full Text, Academic Search Complete, Alt Health Watch, Health Source, Communication and Mass Media Complete, Web of Knowledge and ProQuest (2000-2012). STUDY SELECTION: Studies reporting primary research on the use of social media (collaborative projects, blogs/microblogs, content communities, social networking sites, virtual worlds) by patients or caregivers. DATA EXTRACTION: Two reviewers screened studies for eligibility; one reviewer extracted data from relevant studies and a second performed verification for accuracy and completeness on a 10% sample. Data were analysed to describe which social media tools are being used, by whom, for what purpose and how they are being evaluated. RESULTS: Two hundred eighty-four studies were included. Discussion forums were highly prevalent and constitute 66.6% of the sample. Social networking sites (14.8%) and blogs/microblogs (14.1%) were the next most commonly used tools. The intended purpose of the tool was to facilitate self-care in 77.1% of studies. While there were clusters of studies that focused on similar conditions (eg, lifestyle/weight loss (12.7%), cancer (11.3%)), there were no patterns in the objectives or tools used. A large proportion of the studies were descriptive (42.3%); however, there were also 48 (16.9%) randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Among the RCTs, 35.4% reported statistically significant results favouring the social media intervention being evaluated; however, 72.9% presented positive conclusions regarding the use of social media. CONCLUSIONS: There is an extensive body of literature examining the use of social media in patient and caregiver populations. Much of this work is descriptive; however, with such widespread use, evaluations of effectiveness are required. In studies that have examined effectiveness, positive conclusions are often reported, despite non-significant findings.

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  • Social media

    • A systematic review of the use and effectiveness of social media in child health.

      Background: Social media use is highly prevalent among children, youth, and their caregivers, and its use in healthcare is being explored. The objective of this study was to conduct a systematic review to determine: 1) for what purposes social media is being used in child health and its effectiveness; and 2) the attributes of social media tools that may explain how they are or are not effective. Methods: We searched Medline, CENTRAL, ERIC, PubMed, CINAHL, Academic Search Complete, Alt Health Watch, Health Source, Communication and Mass Media Complete, Web of Knowledge, and Proquest Dissertation and Theses Database from 2000–2013. We included primary research that evaluated the use of a social media tool, and targeted children, youth, or their families or caregivers. Quality assessment was conducted on all included analytic studies using tools specific to different quantitative designs. Results: We identified 25 studies relevant to child health. The majority targeted adolescents (64%), evaluated social media for health promotion (52%), and used discussion forums (68%). Most often, social media was included as a component of a complex intervention (64%). Due to heterogeneity in conditions, tools, and outcomes, results were not pooled across studies. Attributes of social media perceived to be effective included its use as a distraction in younger children, and its ability to facilitate communication between peers among adolescents. While most authors presented positive conclusions about the social media tool being studied (80%), there is little high quality evidence of improved outcomes to support this claim. Conclusions: This comprehensive review demonstrates that social media is being used for a variety of conditions and purposes in child health. The findings provide a foundation from which clinicians and researchers can build in the future by identifying tools that have been developed, describing how they have been used, and isolating components that have been effective.

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  • Storytelling

    • Storytelling as a communication tool for health consumers: development of an intervention for parents of children with croup. Stories to communicate health information.

      BACKGROUND: Stories may be an effective tool to communicate with and influence patients because of their ability to engage the reader. The objective of this paper is to describe the development of a story-based intervention for delivery of health evidence to parents of children with croup for use in a randomized controlled trial. METHODS: A creative writer interviewed parents of children with croup presenting to the pediatric emergency department (ED) and drafted stories. We revised the stories based on written participant feedback and edited the stories to incorporate research evidence and health information. An illustrator and graphic designer developed story booklets which were evaluated through focus groups. RESULTS: Ten participants provided feedback on the five stories drafted by the creative writer. Participants liked the concept but found the writing overly sophisticated and wanted more character development and more medical/health information. Participants highlighted specific story content that they liked and disliked. The revised stories were evaluated through focus groups involving eight individuals. Feedback was generally positive; one participant questioned the associated costs. Participants liked the graphics and layout; felt that they could identify with the stories; and felt that it was easier to get information compared to a standard medical information sheet. Participants provided feedback on the story content, errors and inconsistencies, and preferences of writing style and booklet format. Feedback on how to package the stories was provided by attendees at a national meeting of pediatric emergency researchers. CONCLUSIONS: Several challenges arose during the development of the stories including: staying true to the story versus being evidence based; addressing the use of the internet by consumers as a source of health information; balancing the need to be comprehensive and widely applicable while being succinct; considerations such as story length, reading level, narrative mode, representation of different demographics and illness experiences, graphics and layout. The process was greatly informed by feedback from the end-user group. This allowed us to shape our products to ensure accuracy, credibility, and relevance. Our experience is valuable for further work in the area of stories and narratives, as well as more broadly for identifying and developing communication strategies for healthcare consumers.

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