A Knowledge Coupling Approach to Knowledge Translation: Implications for Decision Making and Patient Empowerment

By Robert Weaver.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Two related problems hinder the knowledge translation process and the practice of evidence-based medicine. First, patients are complex and often do not conform to the “average” patient constructed from the myriad research studies upon which it is based. Second, in addition to the research findings that might be brought to bear on decisions, clinical experience and judgment, patient values, and considerations beyond what research evidence suggests also represent important influences. This paper explores how the “problem knowledge coupling” (PKC®) approach can overcome these difficulties. The approach divides decision making into two stages. The first uses computers to guide the collection of patient data and to “couple” detailed patient findings with various guidance options to present a range of alternative avenues to pursue. Stage two uses human judgment and patient values to determine which alternative offers the most suitable course of action. The paper concludes by exploring the implications of the PKC approach for knowledge translation.

Keywords: Knowledge translation, Evidence-based medicine, Clinical guidelines, Patient complexity, Clinical decision making, Computerized decision support, Problem-Knowledge Coupling

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 7, pp.73-84. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 668.022KB).

Dr. Robert Weaver

Professor, Health Sciences, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

Robert Weaver is a Sociologist and Professor of Health Sciences at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Professor Weaver has examined various approaches to computerized decision support, and the processes that affect the development, adoption, and implementation of computerized decision support systems. For several years he has studied the “knowledge coupling” approach that offers the potential to radically transform how medical knowledge is used, how practitioners are trained, how clinical decisions are made and, ultimately, who makes them. He is currently exploring how these tools are integrated into primary care practice and their implications for patient care and patient empowerment.

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