MANUSCRIPT: Clinicians’ expectations of Web 2.0 as a mechanism for knowledge transfer of stroke best practices
Health professionals are increasingly encouraged to adopt an evidence-based practice to ensure greater efficiency of their services. To promote this practice, several strategies exist: distribution of educational materials, local consensus processes, educational outreach visits, local opinion leaders, and reminders. Despite these strategies, gaps continue to be observed between practice and scientific evidence. Therefore, it is important to implement innovative knowledge transfer strategies that will change health professionals’ practices. Through its interactive capacities, Web 2.0 applications are worth exploring. As an example, virtual communities of practice have already begun to influence professional practice.
This study was initially developed to help design a Web 2.0 platform for health professionals working with stroke patients. The aim was to gain a better understanding of professionals’ perceptions of Web 2.0 before the development of the platform.
A qualitative study following a phenomenological approach was chosen. We conducted individual semi-structured interviews with clinicians and managers. Interview transcripts were subjected to a content analysis.
Twenty-four female clinicians and managers in Quebec, Canada, aged 28-66 participated. Most participants identified knowledge transfer as the most useful outcome of a Web 2.0 platform. Respondents also expressed their need for a user-friendly platform. Accessibility to a computer and the Internet, features of the Web 2.0 platform, user support, technology skills, and previous technological experience were found to influence perceived ease of use and usefulness. Our results show that the perceived lack of time of health professionals has an influence on perceived behavioral intention to use it despite favorable perception of the usefulness of the Web 2.0 platform.
In conclusion, female health professionals in Quebec believe that Web 2.0 may be a useful mechanism for knowledge transfer. However, lack of time and lack of technological skills may limit their use of a future Web 2.0 platform. Further studies are required with other populations and in other regions to confirm these findings.