Medical journals and effective dissemination of health research

A Coomarasamy, H Gee, M Publicover, K S Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Clinical medical journals have not been effective in meeting the information needs of practitioners and bridging the gap between clinical research and practice. The slow adoption of results of clinical research is at least partly due to the failure of clinical journals to disseminate information in a way that would motivate practitioners to change practice. Although implementation is primarily a local process, medical journals are in a unique position to advance implementation by modifying their focus and adjusting their contents. Strategies that may be useful include publication of pre-appraised evidence summaries and 'clinical bottom-lines' and giving importance to systematic reviews and large evaluative research articles as they represent higher levels of evidence and have greater potential to change practice. Clinical journals should encourage researchers to consider how and by whom the findings will be used and provide information on implications for implementation such as possible strategies that may work, cost-effectiveness, side-effects and potential barriers to implementation. Medical journal publishers should explore ways to cooperate so that findings of landmark clinical trials could be shared thus reducing the 'scatter' of medical information. Electronic media offers numerous advantages such as quick accessibility and linking of information, and medical journals should capitalize on such innovations. There is a paradigm shift in health care practice as evidence is consciously and explicitly incorporated into individual patient care. Medical journals need to change to reflect this change in practice and provide practitioners with valid and relevant information.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-91
Number of pages9
JournalHealth information and libraries journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2001


  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Information Services
  • Journalism, Medical
  • Peer Review, Research
  • Quality Control


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