Speaker: Be a good consumer of research

CHICAGO — O&P practitioners have several ways to find, learn from and then disseminate research relevant to their clinical practice, according to a speaker at the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium, here.

Brian Hafner, PhD, assistant professor in the department of rehabilitation at the University of Washington, summarized four “knows” to being a good consumer of research: know what resources are available, know how to find information, know how to appraise the research and know how to apply evidence.

“The process of critical evaluation is essential. This is a skill set that hasn’t historically been taught in P&O but is more and more becoming an integral part of our curriculum,” Hafner said. “You have to be able to identify the valuable knowledge. It is one thing to critically analyze or tear apart a research article looking for potential methodological flaws and limitations, but it is another thing to be able to find value and to be able to extract the gems from that piece of literature.”


Brian Hafner

O&P practitioners should advocate good research and challenge questionable research, he said. Being a good consumer of research enhances a practitioner’s communication skills with reimbursement agencies, health care providers and patients.

“We have to be able to justify orthotic and prosthetic interventions,” Hafner said.

As patients learn more about their health care needs, he encourages practitioners to help patients understand the information. Practitioners can consume research by reading journals, discussing research with colleagues, and the more often they do it, the better they get, Hafner said.

“One way you can do that is by attending or creating journal clubs. This can be as informal as sitting around at lunch on a Friday discussing an article or it could be something more formal where you create a once-a-month seminar and invite other professionals to join you,” he said.

He recommended finding and reading updated on literature of interest and serving as a peer reviewer for a journal to critically analyze and appraise evidence before publication. — by Carey Cowles

For more information:

Hafner B. OS6. Presented at: American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium. Feb. 26-March 1, 2014. Chicago.

Disclosure: Hafner has no relevant financial disclosures.

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