Discussion This investigation revealed that the therapists felt they

Discussion

The purpose of this study was to assess the
research-related barriers that prevent rehabilitation therapists from
implementing evidence based practice.

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The
Factors of BARRIERS scale

Communication emerged as the factor with the highest
mean score, followed by organization, innovation and adopter. The exact order
of the barrier factors perceived by the therapists is consistent with previous
study conducted among Australian pediatric occupational therapists (7). Such
barriers associated with communication include, but not limited to,
unavailability of research articles, incomprehensible statistical analyses and
unclear implications for practice. Therefore, it is suggested that the health
care professionals should engage in workshops, journal club activities, and in
service programs that focus on the development of research skill such as
critical appraisal and application of research information.

Corresponding Items of the Factors

 Even though it was ranked as the lowest
barrier, it may be a concern that 25%
of the participants did not see the value of research for practice. This
may indicate therapists’ limited awareness and knowledge about the importance
of research utilization. Increased emphasis must be placed on education to
increase the awareness of research among undergraduates, as it is one of the
objectives of Saudi Ministry of Education. 

     The items relating to time, insufficient
time in the job to implement or therapists’ limited time to read, were
presented in the top tow barriers in this study. These findings are consistent
with other studies in which these items were also ranked within the top two
barriers to research utilization (7)(21). This investigation revealed that the
therapists felt they needed more time, not only for research reading, but also
for implementing the findings. Therefore, it is beneficial to have a designed
time made available for the therapists in order to access, review and critique
research papers. 

     Therapists perceived the unavailability of
research report article as the third barrier with a percentage of 52%. A study
of 572 therapists showed rather
different results; the third barrier in this study was not one of the first ten
barriers in their rank (11). This implies the need for the organizations to develop
an electronic library and databases to provide more access to research reports.     

Subsamples
 

The secondary objectives of this study were to compare
the factors of the BARRIERS
scale with different professions, hospitals, age, and year of experience categories.
The findings of comparing the subsamples may be useful to identify where the
key problems lie.

     It was interesting that all of the
subsamples were similar in term of barriers concerned with adopter, innovation,
and organization factors. There was no significant difference between
occupational and physical therapists’ perception of barriers to implement
EBP.  However, there was a significant
difference in the communication factor between the three categories of year of
experience. The therapists who had 11-20 year of experience and therapists who
are between 31-40 year old found that the communication factor, which concerns with the accessibility of the
research, more of a problem than the other groups. From this it could be
concluded that more experienced and older therapists display lack of familiarity with new information technologies,
which as a result limits them from accessing research reports. Administration
and those responsible for professional development should provide coerces to
improve this group skills to access more research reports. BARRIERS
scale could be used as an outcome measure after applying some modifications in
the practice to track therapists’ improvement toward implementing EBP.

Limitations and strength

Although
we did sample size calculation for our study, there were low response rate from
therapist to whom we distribute the survey. Therefore, the low sample size in
this study can limit the generalization of the findings. Another limitation was
that no assessment used to identify therapists’ willingness and attitude toward
utilization of research. The strength of this study that it is the first to
address the barriers for practicing EBP from occupational therapists’ and
physical therapists’ perception in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, the study used an electronic
survey designed to maintain confidentiality, which is known to reduce choosing
the most socially accepted answers to a minimum.

Conclusion

 Implementing EBP is highly encouraged and
known to improve healthcare quality, patients’ outcome, and professional satisfaction
(8)(9). However, therapists in this study perceived many barriers to implement
EBP. Overcoming these barriers is a priority which be reflected directly on
patients’ care. The BARRIERS scale identified successfully some of the main
barriers to research implementation and the barriers that were associated with
particular subsamples. The findings in this study are consistent with findings
of similar studies, which confirm BARRIERS scale is suitable for use among occupational
and physical therapists in Riyadh city. Future research is needed to identify, not only the barriers, but
also the therapists’ knowledge and attitude towards research utilization. Moreover,
develop and apply strategies to increase the research
knowledge and skill among therapists.