Bridging an allied health ‘know-do’ gap on delivering community-based group health programs with technology – an integrated knowledge translation approach

Jaclyn Bishop1,2, Dr Claire Quilliam3, Dr Rosemary King4, Associate Professor Anna Wong Shee1,5

1Ballarat Health Services, Ballarat, Australia, 2Western Alliance Academic Health Science Centre, Geelong, Australia, 3University of Melbourne, Department of Rural Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, Shepparton, Australia, 4Federation University, School of Health, Ballarat, Australia, 5Deakin University, Deakin Rural Health, Faculty of Health, Warrnambool, Australia

Background: The risk of COVID-19 transmission from face-to-face activities means alternative ways to deliver community-based group health programs (‘group programs’) are needed. Allied health practitioners at two regional health services (knowledge-partners) and local researchers adopted an Integrated Knowledge Translation (iKT) approach to review the evidence on delivering group programs with technology. This study captured knowledge-partner and researcher experiences of iKT.

Method: A survey designed to explore the components of iKT was distributed to all knowledge-partners who participated in at least one iKT activity (n=25). Semi-structured interview invitations were extended to the same knowledge-partners and participating researchers (n=5). These interviews explored in depth the partnering process and perceived impact of iKT. The interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically.

Findings: Six surveys and ten interviews were completed. Knowledge-partners and researchers viewed the iKT experience positively, with a strong shared urgency and purpose in answering a time-sensitive, practice relevant question. The language used by both knowledge-partners and researchers suggested that iKT was challenging to implement, due to knowledge-partner clinical workload and urgency of the research question. This resulted in a more consultative than integrated process, with greater perceived involvement by knowledge-partners in the earlier stages of iKT (shaping the research question, data collection) compared to later stages (interpreting the study findings/crafting messaging).

Conclusion: Achieving fully integrated knowledge translation was challenging given the time-sensitive nature of the allied health evidence-practice gap, however the process was highly valued and beneficial for both knowledge-partners and researchers.


Jaclyn Bishop is an experienced pharmacist who currently works as a research translation coordinator with Western Alliance. Through this role, she supports regional and rural health services to build research capacity and capability.

Dr Claire Quilliam is a Research Fellow with the University Department of Rural Health (University of Melbourne) in Shepparton. Her research focuses on developing rural health and human service workforce to support access to care for all rural people.

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