Translating knowledge into practice and policy: The role of knowledge networks in primary health care.
The translation of information into practice is a well-recognised challenge for the health sector. In the primary healthcare sector, the last decade has seen an explosion of information generated by health systems, universities and a range of other sources. Without a system for translating that knowledge into practice and sharing it in a comprehensible form, it will remain meaningless to most practitioners. We propose the establishment of Knowledge Networks as a promising method for supporting the rapid adoption and generation of health information within the primary health care sector to advance health care services. These networks will be particularly important to the implementation of the national reform agenda, responsive decision-making and the translation of new frameworks or competencies into practice. This paper describes how interdisciplinary Knowledge Networks could be established focusing on a number of priority health research areas. Local Knowledge Networks would be used as a platform to support a collaborative web of evidence designed to influence health policy and planning. Our experience with Knowledge Networks indicates that they must be comprised of health professionals from Divisions of General Practice, researchers, policy-makers, consumers, government and non-government sectors. This paper will describe these networks and show how they might support the translation of knowledge into practice, thus driving systematic and institutional change.