Printed educational materials (PEMs) are one of the most common dissemination strategies for communicating information about evidence-based practices (EBPs) to healthcare professionals and organizations; however, evidence is conflicting regarding the conditions and circumstances in which PEMs are effective in achieving desired outcomes. The effectiveness of PEMs is largely dependent on the manner in which they are developed. This article reports on the findings from a comprehensive review of the literature regarding best practices for creating PEMs for health professionals and illustrates how these practices were used to design, develop, and evaluate an informational packet to disseminate information about motivational interviewing.
The informational packet was disseminated to 92 community health organizations not currently implementing motivational interviewing. Evaluation surveys were completed by 212 healthcare directors and providers to examine quality and perceived helpfulness of the packets, intention to use information from the packet, and sharing of the packet with others. Associations between these and individual and organizational characteristics were also assessed.
Overall, the packet was perceived as appropriate and helpful in making a decision to implement motivational interviewing. For example, 84.9% of participants stated that the content was ‘about right’. Three-quarters (75.9%) of participants reported plans to use the information in the packet and almost half (46.7%) reported talking about the packet with others in the organizations. Higher levels of baseline interest in motivational interviewing adoption were significantly related to packet use and wanting to utilize additional resources presented in the packet. Positive attitudes toward EBPs were also significantly related to the desire to obtain resources in the packet. Perceptions of the packet did not differ by type of community health organization (i.e., community health center, community behavioral health organization) or whether the individual was a director or provider.
Results indicated that PEMs can be a useful tool to disseminate EBP information to healthcare professionals particularly if they have a prior interest in the EBP and have general attitudes supportive of EBPs. Recommendations for the improvement of future PEMs are discussed.