Attitudes and other barriers to the utilization of clinical research findings by American physicians: A systematic review

Abayomi Nathaniel Ogunwale, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background: The Institute of Medicine estimates that only a maximum of 25% of clinical research findings are incorporated into practice by physicians. To improve clinical practice, efforts have been made to promote evidence-based medicine and the use of clinical guidelines. Despite these efforts, the gap between research and clinical practice remains wide. Objective: To systematically review the literature describing the factors which influence the use of clinical research recommendations by American physicians. Hypothesis: Barriers exist in the application of clinical research into clinical practice, and are multifactorial. The establishment of the Clinical and Translational Awards (CTSA; special federal grants awarded to selected institutions to support clinical and translational research) has reduced the effect of these barriers and improved the process of clinical research translation into practice among American physicians. Aims: Identify barriers and facilitators of the use of research findings in clinical practice by American physicians. Contrast studies published six years before and after the creation of the CTSA. Methods: The sources of data include published literature from Medline, PubMed and PsycINFO. Selected studies must be qualitative, a survey of American clinicians, based on evidence-based medicine practice, clinical guidelines or treatment pathways. Systematic reviews and reports were excluded, as well as studies with less than 100 respondents. Results: In total, 1036 abstracts were reviewed; 115 full text potential articles were identified and reviewed, and a total of 31 studies met all criteria for inclusion in the final review. Conclusions: The barriers against the application of clinical research findings, in the forms of clinical guidelines, evidence-based medicine guides and clinical pathways, can be divided broadly into physician barriers, practice/system barriers and patient barriers. Physician barriers are the most common barriers, especially the lack of familiarity with guidelines and the lack of time. Of the factors which improve the use of research based guidelines, physician factors such as younger age, lower duration of clinical practice, specialty training, and practice in large group Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) settings with fewer patients seen were the most commonly cited.

Subject Area

Medical Ethics|Public health

Recommended Citation

Ogunwale, Abayomi Nathaniel, "Attitudes and other barriers to the utilization of clinical research findings by American physicians: A systematic review" (2013). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1541331.