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Physiother Can. 2009 Summer; 61(3): 121.
Published online 2009 July 16. doi:  10.3138/physio.61.3.121
PMCID: PMC2787572

Bringing Research to Clinicians

Dina Brooks, PhD, Scientific Editor

In a recent international survey, readers of Physiotherapy Canada noted that although they are interested in the journal's current content, they want more articles of immediate clinical relevance (see Figure 1). After reading these results, the question for the editorial team was How can Physiotherapy Canada better facilitate this?

Figure 1
The journal's relevance to practice

Often, busy clinicians lack the time to read the articles in the journal. When they do, they may find the studies too specific, or may feel uncomfortable changing their practice based on research results.

Fortunately, there are some approaches to facilitate bringing research findings closer to implementation in practice. By synthesizing findings from several studies, systematic reviews—such as the two included in this issue, on deep vein thrombosis and exercise intervention for persons with metastatic cancer—can help physiotherapists keep up to date on the literature. While Kerse et al.1 have shown that being aware of systematic reviews does not always translate to application in practice, other approaches, such as local champions who promote change in practice and interactions with colleagues, can enable clinicians to integrate research results in their day-to-day management of patients. Another approach to make research findings more clinically relevant is the inclusion of clinical commentaries, such as the one by Patterson in this issue, that highlight the findings of a specific study. Yet another approach is to include in articles a “key messages” section highlighting what the findings imply for clinical practice. In this issue of Physiotherapy Canada, you'll find all three approaches to help you translate research into practice.

The challenge for any journal, and particularly for one that serves both primary research and knowledge translation functions, is to strike a balance between building the science base of the field and changing practice based on science. We continue to explore ways and means of serving and growing with the profession.


1. Kerse N, Arroll B, Young J, Ward J. Evidence databases, the Internet, and general practitioners: the New Zealand story. New Zeal Med J. 2001;14(1127):89–91. [PubMed]

Articles from Physiotherapy Canada are provided here courtesy of University of Toronto Press and the Canadian Physiotherapy Association