Translating Evidence in Child Health to Enhance Outcomes (ECHO) is a research program housed at the University of Alberta, Faculty of Nursing. The ECHO research program is focused on improving health outcomes for children with acute health conditions through the application of best available evidence – a process known as knowledge translation (KT). The overall goal of the ECHO research program is to develop theory about the KT process specific to child health conditions and contexts, which will then be used to develop KT tools to improve outcomes for patients, their families and the health care system. The importance of studying KT efforts for Canadian children and youth is clear – it is fundamental to ensuring that the best available research evidence informs the health and health care of infants, children, youth and families, as well as improving efficiency within the delivery of health care to children.
Knowledge translation (KT) is formally defined by the CIHR as a “dynamic and iterative process that includes the synthesis, dissemination, exchange, and ethically sound application of knowledge to improve the health of Canadians, provide more effective health services and products and strengthen the health care system.”
Simply put, KT is the process of taking information from reliable, evidence-based research and presenting it into a user-friendly form for everyone to understand. The goal of our work is to include and engage parents throughout this process.
The settings that deliver health care to children are unique and require input from a wide-range of health professionals. Providing care to children is more difficult because of five reasons:
- Children require more time, effort, and skill from staff caring for them
- Children demand higher emotional investment from health professionals
- Children’s health care needs are very dynamic in nature
- The expectation of family-centered care
- The unique ethical situations encountered in pediatric care
In order to overcome these barriers and make improvements to health care for children, our research focuses on common conditions that affect the largest numbers of children each year.