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Attributes of context relevant to healthcare professionals' use of research evidence in clinical practice: a multi-study analysis

Squires, J. E., Aloisio, L. D., Grimshaw, J. M. , Bashir, K., Dorrance, K., Coughlin, M., Hutchinson, A. M., Francis, J. ORCID: 0000-0001-5784-8895, Michie, S., Sales, A., Brehaut, J., Curran, J., Ivers, N., Lavis, J., Noseworthy, T., Vine, J., Hillmer, M. & Graham, I. D. (2019). Attributes of context relevant to healthcare professionals' use of research evidence in clinical practice: a multi-study analysis. Implementation Science, 14(1), article number 52. doi: 10.1186/s13012-019-0900-8


Background: To increase the likelihood of successful implementation of evidence-based practices, researchers, knowledge users, and healthcare professionals must consider aspects of context that promote and hinder implementation in their setting. The purpose of the current study was to identify contextual attributes and their features relevant to implementation by healthcare professionals and compare and contrast these attributes and features across different clinical settings and healthcare professional roles.

Methods: We conducted a secondary analysis of 145 semi-structured interviews comprising 11 studies (10 from Canada and one from Australia) investigating healthcare professionals’ perceived barriers and enablers to their use of research evidence in clinical practice. The data was collected using semi-structured interview guides informed by the Theoretical Domains Framework across different healthcare professional roles, settings, and practices. We analyzed these data inductively, using constant comparative analysis, to identify attributes of context and their features reported in the interviews. We compared these data by (1) setting (primary care, hospital-medical/surgical, hospital-emergency room, hospital-critical care) and (2) professional role (physicians and residents, nurses and organ donor coordinators).

Results: We identified 62 unique features of context, which we categorized under 14 broader attributes of context. The 14 attributes were resource access, work structure, patient characteristics, professional role, culture, facility characteristics, system features, healthcare professional characteristics, financial, collaboration, leadership, evaluation, regulatory or legislative standards, and societal influences. We found instances of the majority (n = 12, 86%) of attributes of context across multiple (n = 6 or more) clinical behaviors. We also found little variation in the 14 attributes of context by setting (primary care and hospitals) and professional role (physicians and residents, and nurses and organ donor coordinators).

Conclusions: There was considerable consistency in the 14 attributes identified irrespective of the clinical behavior, setting, or professional role, supporting broad utility of the attributes of context identified in this study. There was more variation in the finer-grained features of these attributes with the most substantial variation being by setting.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s). 2019. Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, andreproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link tothe Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Publisher Keywords: Context, Secondary analysis, Evidence-based practice
Subjects: R Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
SWORD Depositor:
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