The Institute’s Knowledge Transfer & Exchange (KTE) Department recently brought together a group of practitioners to discuss how the results of a newly completed systematic review may be relevant to their practice. This group included eleven kinesiologists from across Ontario whose practices focus on workplace ergonomics. Practitioners can bring their expertise to the table and provide important feedback at several stages in the systematic review research process. This feedback includes suggesting ideas for review topics, providing input on the research question and, in some cases, participating as a member of the research team. When the review is nearing completion, stakeholders can play a key role in pulling the messages from the findings.
One of the main objectives of this meeting was to outline to the practitioners how the systematic review was conducted and to discuss the kinesiologists’ views on what the results might mean in practice, said Rhoda Reardon, a KTE Associate.
The systematic review examined whether workplace interventions – such as workstation adjustments, rest breaks and screen filters – could help prevent the most common occupational health complaints of computer users. These health problems are most often visual symptoms, such as eye discomfort, and musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders, such as pain in the upper limbs and neck. The results of the review were mixed. The review team found medium to high-quality studies with inconsistent findings. While a positive outcome from the review was found, the overwhelming message is that more high-quality intervention research is needed. (For findings, see below)
Moderate evidence was found that:
- workstation adjustments, as implemented in the studies reviewed, have NO impact on MSK or visual outcomes
- rest breaks with exercise have NO impact on MSK outcomes
- alternate pointing devices have a POSITIVE effect on MSK outcomes
Mixed evidence was found that:
- ergonomic training, arm supports, alternative keyboards and rest breaks have an impact on MSK outcomes
- screen filters have an impact on visual outcomes
Moderate levels of evidence require at least two studies of medium or greater quality with consistent findings
Mixed levels of evidence require at least two studies of medium or greater quality with inconsistent findings
While the findings show mixed results,
this does not mean that the interventions should not be implemented, but rather that more research is required before we can conclude when and under what circumstances these interventions are most effective, says Reardon.
We had quite a vigorous discussion about the results and the kinesiologists provided some excellent feedback around why the results potentially came up the way they did, says Reardon.
were important statements for kinesiologists to hear both as rehabilitation professionals and as researchers, said Angela Pereira, President of the Ontario Kinesiology Association (OKA), who attended the KTE meeting.
As kinesiologists, we would like to be consulted by researchers as research projects are being designed and carried out. says Pereira.
We would also like to be informed about the results of research that would be relevant for our practices. The OKA is committed to working with the Institute to aid knowledge transfer.
Through this linked communication, we can help kinesiologists become more successful as researchers, assessors, ergonomists and clinical kinesiologists, says Pereira.
Involving stakeholders in the Institute’s systematic review program is an important part in the success of the reviews and transfer of the results.
Source: At Work, Issue 44, Spring 2006: Institute for Work & Health, Toronto