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Occupational therapy practitioners’ decision-making preferences, attitudes, awareness and barriers in relation to evidence-based practice implementation in Saudi Arabia

Alshehri, Mansour A. BSc PT, MSc PT1,2; Falemban, Rayan BSc PT, MSc OT1; Bukhari, Rayyan A. BSc PT, MSc OT3; Bakhsh, Hadeel R. BSc OT (Hons), MSc, PhD4

International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare: June 2019 - Volume 17 - Issue 2 - p 121–130
doi: 10.1097/XEB.0000000000000162

Aim: Evidence-based practice (EBP) plays a significant part in healthcare. There has been little research into the standard of care that healthcare workers provide to patients in Saudi Arabia. The purpose of this study was to investigate occupational therapy practitioners’ (OTPs) decision-making preferences, attitudes and awareness in relation to EBP as well as to discover any barriers possibly limiting EBP implementation.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using an online survey. The survey was distributed to OTPs in Saudi Arabia from May to July 2018. Data were collected on demographics, decision-making preferences, attitudes and awareness as well as on the barriers obstructing implementation of EBP. The percentages and frequencies of OTPs’ responses were analysed and reported. Pearson's Chi-square test was performed to explore the association between demographic variables and the attitudes and awareness of OTPs. The data were analysed using IBM SPSS Statistics 24.

Results: A total of 144 participants responded to the questionnaire, out of which 54 participants were excluded as they only completed the demographics section, and they did not answer any of the following sections. Among the completed responses (n = 90), one undergraduate participant was excluded. The final number of respondents whose data were analysed was 89 (61.8%). Out of the respondents, 58.4% were female and 73% had completed a bachelor's degree. No formal training in EBP was received by many of the respondents (53.9%). Although the attitude of 79.8% of OTPs about using research in practice was positive, a number were unfamiliar with some of the terms and with EBP implementation. The most important barrier to EBP implementation mentioned by the respondents was that their previous education had involved insufficient teaching (45%), while 42.7% mentioned inadequate resources and funding and 38.2% pointed to a lack of skills and research knowledge. The only significant association found in this study was between the awareness of OTPs and their education level.

Conclusion: Although the attitude of OTPs toward EBP implementation was positive, their awareness regarding the use of EBP was relatively low, indicating a gap in how they understand and apply EBP in Saudi Arabia. Thus, its inclusion in the curricula for graduates and undergraduates should be considered.

1Physiotherapy Department, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, Umm Al-Qura University, Mecca, Saudi Arabia

2Physiotherapy Department, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

3College of Applied Medical Sciences, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Jeddah

4College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence: Mansour A. Alshehri, BSc PT, MSc PT, Physiotherapy Department, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, Umm Al-Qura University, Mecca, Saudi Arabia. E-mail:

International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare © 2019 The Joanna Briggs Institute
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