Aim. This paper presents the results of a review of literature relating to knowledge transfer and exchange in healthcare. Background. Treatment, planning and policy decisions in contemporary nursing and healthcare should be based on sound evidence wherever possible, but research knowledge remains generally underused. Knowledge transfer and exchange initiatives aim to facilitate the accessibility, application and production of evidence and may provide solutions to this challenge. This review was conducted to help inform the design and implementation of knowledge transfer and exchange activities for a large healthcare organization. Data sources. Databases: ASSIA, Business Source Premier, CINAHL, PsychInfo, Medline and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Review methods. An integrative literature review was carried out including an extensive literature search. English language systematic reviews, literature reviews, primary quantitative and qualitative papers and grey literature of high relevance evaluating, describing or discussing knowledge transfer or exchange activities in healthcare were included for review (January 1990-September 2009). Findings. Thirty-three papers were reviewed (four systematic reviews, nine literature reviews, one environmental scan, nine empirical studies and ten case studies). Conclusion. Robust research into knowledge transfer and exchange in healthcare is limited. Analysis of a wide range of evidence indicates a number of commonly featured characteristics but further evaluation of these activities would benefit their application in facilitating evidence-based practice in nursing. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Advanced Nursing © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
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