Translating knowledge into action: Information needs of decision-makers in healthcare

Negin Fouladi, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the healthcare information needs of decision-makers in a local US healthcare setting in efforts to promote the translation of knowledge into action. The focus was on the perceptions and preferences of decision-makers regarding usable information in making decisions as to identify strategies to maximize the contribution of healthcare findings to policy and practice. Methods: This study utilized a qualitative data collection and analysis strategy. Data was collected via open-ended key-informant interviews from a sample of 37 public and private-sector healthcare decision-makers in the Houston/Harris County safety net. The sample was comprised of high-level decision-makers, including legislators, executive managers, service providers, and healthcare funders. Decision-makers were asked to identify the types of information, the level of collaboration with outside agencies, useful attributes of information, and the sources, formats/styles, and modes of information preferred in making important decisions and the basis for their preferences. Results: Decision-makers report acquiring information, categorizing information as usable knowledge, and selecting information for use based on the application of four cross-cutting thought processes or cognitive frameworks. In order of apparent preference, these are time orientation, followed by information seeking directionality, selection of validation processes, and centrality of credibility/reliability. In applying the frameworks, decision-makers are influenced by numerous factors associated with their perceptions of the utility of information and the importance of collaboration with outside agencies in making decisions as well as professional and organizational characteristics. Conclusion: An approach based on the elucidated cognitive framework may be valuable in identifying the reported contextual determinants of information use by decision-makers in US healthcare settings. Such an approach can facilitate active producer/user collaborations and promote the production of mutually valued, comprehensible, and usable findings leading to sustainable knowledge translation efforts long-term.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Fouladi, Negin, "Translating knowledge into action: Information needs of decision-makers in healthcare" (2012). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3552559.