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Dissemination of evidence in paediatric emergency medicine: a quantitative descriptive evaluation of a 16-week social media promotion
  1. Allison Gates1,
  2. Robin Featherstone1,
  3. Kassi Shave1,
  4. Shannon D Scott2,
  5. Lisa Hartling1,3
  1. 1 Alberta Research Centre for Health Evidence (ARCHE), Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  2. 2 Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  3. 3 Cochrane Child Health, Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lisa Hartling; hartling{at}


Objectives TRanslating Emergency Knowledge for Kids (TREKK) and Cochrane Child Health collaborate to develop knowledge products on paediatric emergency medicine topics. Via a targeted social media promotion, we aimed to increase user interaction with the TREKK and Cochrane Child Health Twitter accounts and the uptake of TREKK Bottom Line Recommendations (BLRs) and Cochrane systematic reviews (SRs).

Design Quantitative descriptive evaluation.

Setting We undertook this study and collected data via the internet.

Participants Our target users included online healthcare providers and health consumers.

Intervention For 16 weeks, we used Twitter accounts (@TREKKca and @Cochrane_Child) and the Cochrane Child Health blog to promote 6 TREKK BLRs and 16 related Cochrane SRs. We published 1 blog post and 98 image-based tweets per week.

Primary and secondary outcome measures The primary outcome was user interaction with @TREKKca and @Cochrane_Child. Secondary outcomes were visits to TREKK’s website and the Cochrane Child Health blog, clicks to and views of the TREKK BLRs, and Altmetric scores and downloads of Cochrane SRs.

Results Followers to @TREKKca and @Cochrane_Child increased by 24% and 15%, respectively. Monthly users of TREKK’s website increased by 29%. Clicks to the TREKK BLRs increased by 22%. The BLRs accrued 59% more views compared with the baseline period. The 16 blog posts accrued 28% more views compared with the 8 previous months when no new posts were published. The Altmetric scores for the Cochrane SRs increased by ≥10 points each. The mean number of full text downloads for the promotion period was higher for nine and lower for seven SRs compared with the 16-week average for the previous year (mean difference (SD), +4.0 (22.0%)).

Conclusions There was increased traffic to TREKK knowledge products and Cochrane SRs during the social media promotion. Quantitative evidence supports blogging and tweeting as dissemination strategies for evidence-based knowledge products.

  • social media
  • twitter
  • blogs
  • emergency medicine
  • pediatrics
  • knowledge dissemination
  • knowledge translation
  • knowledge synthesis
  • systematic reviews

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  • Contributors RF developed the protocol for the study, and AG, KS, SDS and LH provided input. AG, RF and KS developed the Tweets and blog posts. RF and KS collected the data. AG, RF and KS analysed the data and AG drafted the manuscript. RF, KS, SDS and LH critically revised the manuscript draft for important intellectual content. All authors agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work and approved of the final version as submitted to the journal.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Network of Centres of Excellence in Knowledge Mobilization, TRanslating Emergency Knowledge for Kids (TREKK), Cochrane Child Health and the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute (Edmonton, Canada). SDS is a Canada Research Chair (Tier II) for Knowledge Translation in Child Health.

  • Disclaimer The funders played no role in the design or conduct of the study; the collection, analysis or interpretation of data nor in the writing of the report and the decision to submit it for publication.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The data collected for this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.