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Evaluation of a training program for medicines-oriented policymakers to use a database of systematic reviews

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posted on 2023-03-10, 02:45 authored by HL Colquhoun, Dianne LoweDianne Lowe, E Helis, D Belanger, B Ens, Sophie HillSophie Hill, A Mayhew, M Taylor, JM Grimshaw
Background: Suboptimal prescribing and medications use is a problem for health systems globally. Systematic reviews are a comprehensive resource that can help guide evidence-informed decision-making and implementation of interventions addressing such issues; however, a barrier to the use of systematic reviews is their inaccessibility (due to both dispersion across journals and inaccessibility of content). Publicly available databases, such as Rx for Change, provide quick access to summaries of appraised systematic reviews of professional and consumer-oriented interventions to improve prescribing behaviour and appropriate medication use, and may help maximise the use of evidence to inform decisions. The present study aims to evaluate a training program to improve attitudes towards, confidence in skills, intentions to use, and use of systematic review evidence contained within Rx for Change. Methods: Guided by the Knowledge to Action framework, a training program with content customised to local provider and consumer contexts was developed with knowledge user input. The training program consisted of a 6 minute information video, a 1 hour workshop with hands-on, interactive and didactic components, and two post-training reminders. Forty-nine people from five medicines-focused organisations in Canada and Australia attended one of six workshops. Participants were surveyed immediately pre and post and 3 months after training to evaluate their attitudes towards, confidence in skills, intentions to use, and use of Rx for Change, and attitudes towards and confidence in skills for using evidence for decision-making. Analyses for differences for each of the outcomes at three time points (pre, post and 3 months after training) was performed using a random effects model. Results: Immediately post-training, there were higher respondent attitudes towards Rx for Change (mean increase = 0.54 out of 5, 95% CI, 0.18-0.83, P < 0.005); intention to use Rx for Change (0.53, 95% CI, 0.21-0.86, P < 0.005); confidence in skills for using Rx for Change (2.08, 95% CI, 1.74-2.42, P < 0.005); and confidence in skills for using evidence in policy decision-making (0.50, 95% CI, 0.22-0.77, P < .005) compared to pre-training. Confidence in skills for using both Rx for Change and evidence were maintained 3 months after training (both P < 0.005). Conclusions: Participants of this training program reported sustained improvements in their confidence in skills for using evidence in policy decision-making. This may have important implications for uptake of systematic review evidence promoting improved prescribing and medication use.


This study was funded by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Knowledge to Action grant awarded Oct 2011 (FRN# 122163).


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Health Research Policy and Systems



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BioMed Central



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© 2016 The Author(s). This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the 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.

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