Knowledge Transfer and Translation: Examining how Teratogen Information is Disseminated
Well-executed knowledge transfer and translation (KT) has become a vital part of effective health management. Following the thalidomide disaster, women and their health care providers became fearful of medications and environmental exposures that could affect the health of the unborn child. Therefore, it is important to disseminate evidenced-based information to pregnant women and their health care providers, enabling them to make empowered decisions regarding exposures during pregnancy. The objectives were twofold: (1) to explore the knowledge transfer process of teratology information from the research community to health care providers, pregnant women, and the general public; and (2) to examine how this impacts pregnant women and their health care providers who require this information. We searched the peer reviewed literature (PUBMED, MEDLINE, and EMBASE), retrieved and examined original studies and review articles, and identified relevant data to evaluate how KT is conducted in this field. We found that KT and teratology information is very complex, with confusing information, over-estimated fears of teratogenicity, as well as unhelpful, often negatively biased information from the media. Of all the methods we identified, Teratogen Information Services (TIS) appears to conduct the most effective KT approaches in this field. It is evident that KT in this area needs improvement. Women and their health care providers are highly impacted by the type of teratology information they receive, affecting for example, deciding to terminate a wanted pregnancy or discontinue a needed pharmacotherapy. When disseminating information in this very sensitive and complex field, it is imperative that good KT strategies are used, encompassing the availability and appropriate interpretation of information. It is most important that an evidence-based decision is made to ensure the optimal outcome for both the mother and her unborn child.