Effective implementation of evidence-based practice (EBP) within a profession relies on individual practitioners' access to and critical evaluation of relevant literature. State-of-the-Science Conferences (SSCs) are recognized as one useful method for evaluating scientific information related to specific clinical topics and can serve as a mechanism for creating secondary knowledge resources for use in EBP. Therefore, broad dissemination and application of SSC information might indicate the acceptance of EBP within a clinical community. The American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP), under a 5-year grant sponsored by the United States Department of Education, facilitated and supported eight SSCs between 2003 and 2007 on topics related to the provision of orthotic and prosthetic (O&P) care. The goal of the AAOP SSC program was to evaluate the available scientific information on an aspect of O&P care and to develop statements that advance understanding of specific issues that may be useful to health professionals and the public. The results of the SSC were published as Official Findings and were distributed to the AAOP membership, clinical experts, industry leaders, and funding agencies and further developed as online courses. The purpose of this research was to study the awareness and effectiveness of the information disseminated through these mechanisms to the O&P community. A 15-question online survey was developed to collect respondent demographics, assess awareness of SSC information, and poll use of this information to advise clinical practice. The survey was sent through email to the AAOP membership and posted to the O&P electronic mailing list. Five hundred seven respondents completed the survey. Results showed that 72.4% of respondents were aware of the SSC program. A total of 83.8% of those aware had received information through the Official Findings, and 20.6% had taken one or more courses through the Online Learning Center (OLC). Twenty percent of respondents affirmed that this knowledge had informed clinical practice in some way. The results of this survey demonstrate that information developed by the AAOP SSC program was broadly and well disseminated to a large proportion of the O&P community.
The American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists has facilitated and supported eight State-of-the-Science Conferences (SSCs) to evaluate the available scientific information on an aspect of orthotic and prosthetic (O&P) care. Results of this survey indicate that practitioners and students are not only generally aware of the SSCs but that they also read the SSC Proceedings, access the material in online courses, and apply the material in clinical practice. These findings demonstrate that SSC scan be a valuable component of evidence based practice in O&P.
BRIAN J. HAFNER, PhD, is affiliated with the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
MARK D. GEIL, PhD, is affiliated with the Department of Kinesiology and Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia.
Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
This study was supported by an American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists grant from the US Department of Education (H235K080004).
Correspondence to: Brian J. Hafner, PhD, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, 1959 NE Pacific Street, Box 356490, Seattle, WA 98195; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org