DISSEMINATING RESULTS AFTER PUBLICATION
Disseminating the knowledge gained from a trial is always a challenge, and developing a plan of action can be helpful. Publishing in a peer-reviewed journal is only the first step in disseminating results regardless of the journal’s impact factor and reach. There are other important steps that can be taken to disseminate an effective intervention with the intent of positively impacting practice. Chapter 21 discussed the concept of having a dissemination plan. Here we consider media and publication outlets.
If the outcomes reported are considered a significant contribution or groundbreaking, then developing a press release would be important. Occasionally, the journal itself will develop a press release and coordinate with the primary author’s institution. Press releases of articles reporting critical findings serve as an important mechanism for disseminating results. A press release may result in radio or television spots, blogs by newspapers, or access to other publicly available interviews.
If one’s study outcomes change the paradigm of treatment and/or are topical (e.g., there is national debate on the topic or new related legislation), then it is worthwhile considering writing an op-ed piece or submitting a letter to an editor of a national and/or local newspaper. This approach allows one to provide an accessible, consumer-friendly version of the findings to maximize dissemination and outreach.
Presenting already published results in the form of blogs can also be part of a dissemination plan. Finally, it is important to provide key results to former participants of the study. Sending a letter to participants that explains in lay language the primary findings of the study is an ethical practice. Finally, speaking at professional association meetings and consumer-oriented conferences also helps with dissemination.