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BMC Health Serv Res. 2013 Oct 23;13:434. doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-13-434.

Do knowledge brokers facilitate implementation of the stroke guideline in clinical practice?

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Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience and Center of Excellence for Rehabilitation Medicine, University Medical Center Utrecht and De Hoogstraat, Rembrandtkade 10, 3583, TM Utrecht Netherlands.



The implementation of clinical practice guidelines in rehabilitation practice is often troublesome and incomplete. An intervention to enhance the implementation of guidelines is the knowledge transfer program built around the activities of a knowledge broker (KB).This study investigates the use of KBs to implement guideline recommendations for intensive therapy and physical activity for patients post-stroke in 22 stroke units in hospitals and rehabilitation centers in The Netherlands.


This study includes a quantitative evaluation with a non controlled pre-post intervention design and a mixed methods process evaluation. From each stroke unit, enterprising nurses and therapists will be recruited and trained as KB. The KB will work for one year on the implementation of the guideline recommendations in their team. To evaluate the effectiveness of the KB, a questionnaire will be administered to patients, health professionals and KBs at baseline (T0) and after one year (T1). Furthermore, semi structured interviews with 5 KBs will be performed at T1.The primary outcome of this implementation project will be the support health professionals give patients to exercise and be physically active, as reported by patients and health professionals themselves. The support immediately after the intervention is compared with the support at the start of the intervention.Additionally we will explore the influence of socio-demographic characteristics of health professionals and determinants identified in the Theory of Planned Behavior (intention, attitude, subjective norm and perceived behavioral control) on the change of supportive behavior of health professionals. Finally, KBs will complete a questionnaire on their own psychological and social demographic characteristics and on organizational conditions needed for health-care improvement such as time, workforce, sponsoring and support from management.


With this study we will gain insight in when and why knowledge brokers seem to be effective. Also we will identify determinants that predict which health professionals are susceptible to change their behavior. This study will provide guidance how to implement guidelines and will help to improve stroke rehabilitation services.

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