Translating research findings into practice


Mental health research constantly produces new findings, but often these are not routinely translated into health care practice. Translation of the results of research into improved clinical practice is notoriously slow and unreliable, and as a result patients often do not receive the care that we know works.
“Less than one percent of our health care spending goes to examining what treatments are most effective. And even when that information finds its way into journals, it can take up to 17 years to find its way to an exam room or operating table. As a result, too many doctors and patients are making decisions without the benefit of the latest research.” US President Barack Obama (2009).

The consequence of this unreliable process of translating research findings into practice is reduced quality and effectiveness of health care and substantial unnecessary illness, death and wasted resources.  To address this problem, we need to apply our understanding of human behaviour and organisational functioning to maximise translation from research findings to health care delivery and from delivery to patient and public uptake.

This theme identifies the behaviour of healthcare professionals and healthcare organisations as key sources of variance requiring improved empirical and theoretical understanding before effective interventions can be reliably achieved. It aims to strengthen the scientific study of methods to promote the systematic uptake of clinical research findings into routine practice and patient engagement.

Our expertise

Our cross-disciplinary research applies theories and methods from behavioural science to specify and understand implementation problems, design and evaluate theory-based interventions and synthesise evidence in systematic reviews. UCL’s Centre for Outcomes Research and Effectiveness is a key partner in NICE’s Collaborating Centre for Mental Health which produced evidence based guidelines in mental health, with implementation issues central to this work.  We are also involved in NICE’s Implementation Strategy Group. Our international implementation work includes expert scientific advice to the US National Institute of Mental Health’s Implementation Research Institute, Knowledge Translation Canada and Australia’s National Institute of Clinical Studies.

Key departments and research groups

Centre for Outcomes Research and Effectiveness (CORE)
Health Psychology Research Unit


MSc Evidence Based Practice
MSc Health Psychology

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