The present supplement summarizes the proceedings of the symposium “Implementing practice guidelines: A workshop on guidelines dissemination and implementation with a focus on asthma and COPD”, which took place in Quebec City, Quebec, from April 14 to 16, 2005. This international symposium was a joint initiative of the Laval University Office of Continuing Medical Education (Bureau de la Formation Médicale Continue), the Canadian Thoracic Society and the Canadian Network for Asthma Care, and was supported by many other organizations and by industrial partners. The objectives of this meeting were to examine the optimal implementation of practice guidelines, review current initiatives for the implementation of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) guidelines in Canada and in the rest of the world, and develop an optimal strategy for future guideline implementation. An impressive group of scientists, physicians and other health care providers, as well as policy makers and representatives of patients’ associations, the pharmaceutical industry, research and health networks, and communications specialists, conveyed their perspectives on how to achieve these goals.
This important event provided a unique opportunity for all participants to discuss key issues in improving the care of patients with asthma and COPD. These two diseases are responsible for an enormous human and socioeconomic burden around the world. Many reports have indicated that current evidence-based guidelines are underused by physicians and others, and that there are many barriers to an effective translation of recommendations into day-to-day care. There is therefore a need to develop more effective ways to communicate key information to both caregivers and patients, and to promote appropriate health behaviours. This symposium contributed to the initiation of what could become the “Canadian Asthma and COPD Campaign”, aimed at improving care and, hence, the quality of life of those suffering from these diseases.
It is hoped that this event will be followed by other meetings that focus on how to improve the transfer of key recommendations from evidence-based guidelines into current care, and how to stimulate research to accomplish this.
Asthma; COPD; Evidence-based medicine; Guidelines implementation; Practice guidelines
Clinical practice guidelines are one of the foundations of efforts to improve health care. In 1999, we authored a paper about methods to develop guidelines. Since it was published, the methods of guideline development have progressed both in terms of methods and necessary procedures and the context for guideline development has changed with the emergence of guideline clearing houses and large scale guideline production organisations (such as the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence). It therefore seems timely to, in a series of three articles, update and extend our earlier paper. In this first paper we discuss: the target audience(s) for guidelines and their use of guidelines; identifying topics for guidelines; guideline group composition (including consumer involvement) and the processes by which guideline groups function and the important procedural issue of managing conflicts of interest in guideline development.
Clinical practice guidelines are one of the foundations of efforts to improve health care. In 1999, we authored a paper about methods to develop guidelines. Since it was published, the methods of guideline development have progressed both in terms of methods and necessary procedures and the context for guideline development has changed with the emergence of guideline clearing houses and large scale guideline production organisations (such as the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence). It therefore seems timely to, in a series of three articles, update and extend our earlier paper. In this third paper we discuss the issues of: reviewing, reporting, and publishing guidelines; updating guidelines; and the two emerging issues of enhancing guideline implementability and how guideline developers should approach dealing with the issue of patients who will be the subject of guidelines having co-morbid conditions.
Documentation of unexplained geographic variations in medical practices and use of inappropriate interventions has led to the proliferation of clinical practice guidelines. With increased enthusiasm for guidelines, evidence exists that clinical practice guidelines often influence clinical practices or health outcomes. Their successful implementation may improve the quality of care by decreasing in appropriate variation and expediting the application of effective advances to healthcare practices. In Korea, physicians and healthcare professionals have begun to take interests in clinical practice guidelines. Currently, over 50 practice guidelines have been developed through professional academic organizations or via other routes; however, the quality of the guidelines is unsatisfactory, implementation in clinical settings is incomplete, and there is insufficient infrastructure to develop clinical practice guidelines. Korea must develop policies and invest resources to enhance the development and implementation of clinical practice guidelines.
Clinical Practice Guidelines; Evidence-Based Medicine; Healthcare Quality; Health Policy; Clinical Practice Guideline Development; Korea
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition with several late complications that can be delayed or avoided through proper preventive health care. Although practice guidelines have been established to improve the preventive care in diabetics, dissemination of these guidelines among physicians and educational programs have been only moderately successful in changing physicians' practice patterns. Previous efforts, however, did not utilize computer-generated reminders. We developed a system of computer-generated reminders for diabetic preventive care. We completed an implementation of the system in the outpatient clinics of internal medicine residents at our institution. This paper describes the development and implementation of this system. Our results showed that the system flagged an average of 13 items that deviated from diabetes guideline compliance, out of a possible 21 items per patient. The residents completed encounter forms used by the system for 37% of patients seen during a six month period. Physician users exhibited positive attitudes toward the use of guidelines which they judged improved quality at no additional cost of care. However, the complexity and length of the guideline encounter forms and the additional time demands proved to be significant obstacles to current routine use. Our experience will help to improve the system so that it is more usable and acceptable to physicians, especially in the future as health care increasingly makes use of electronic medical record systems.
OBJECTIVE: To recommend effective strategies for implementing clinical practice guidelines (CPGs). DATA SOURCES: The Research and Development Resource Base in Continuing Medical Education, maintained by the University of Toronto, was searched, as was MEDLINE from January 1990 to June 1996, inclusive, with the use of the MeSH heading "practice guidelines" and relevant text words. STUDY SELECTION: Studies of CPG implementation strategies and reviews of such studies were selected. Randomized controlled trials and trials that objectively measured physicians' performance or health care outcomes were emphasized. DATA EXTRACTION: Articles were reviewed to determine the effect of various factors on the adoption of guidelines. DATA SYNTHESIS: The articles showed that CPG dissemination or implementation processes have mixed results. Variables that affect the adoption of guidelines include qualities of the guidelines, characteristics of the health care professional, characteristics of the practice setting, incentives, regulation and patient factors. Specific strategies fell into 2 categories: primary strategies involving mailing or publication of the actual guidelines and secondary interventional strategies to reinforce the guidelines. The interventions were shown to be weak (didactic, traditional continuing medical education and mailings), moderately effective (audit and feedback, especially concurrent, targeted to specific providers and delivered by peers or opinion leaders) and relatively strong (reminder systems, academic detailing and multiple interventions). CONCLUSIONS: The evidence shows serious deficiencies in the adoption of CPGs in practice. Future implementation strategies must overcome this failure through an understanding of the forces and variables influencing practice and through the use of methods that are practice- and community-based rather than didactic.
Objective: To develop a guideline document model
that includes a sufficiently broad set of concepts to be useful throughout the
guideline life cycle.
Design: Current guideline document models are limited in that they
reflect the specific orientation of the stakeholder who created them; thus,
developers and disseminators often provide few constructs for conceptualizing
recommendations, while implementers de-emphasize concepts related to
establishing guideline validity. The authors developed the Guideline Elements
Model (GEM) using XML to better represent the heterogeneous knowledge
contained in practice guidelines. Core constructs were derived from the
Institute of Medicine's Guideline Appraisal Instrument, the National Guideline
Clearinghouse, and the augmented decision table guideline representation.
These were supplemented by additional concepts from a literature review.
Results: The GEM hierarchy includes more than 100 elements. Major
concepts relate to a guideline's identity, developer, purpose, intended
audience, method of development, target population, knowledge components,
testing, and review plan. Knowledge components in guideline documents include
recommendations (which in turn comprise conditionals and imperatives),
definitions, and algorithms.
Conclusion: GEM is more comprehensive than existing models and is
expressively adequate to represent the heterogeneous information contained in
guidelines. Use of XML contributes to a flexible, comprehensible, shareable,
and reusable knowledge representation that is both readable by human beings
and processible by computers.
The SAGE (Sharable Active Guideline Environment) Project is multi-site, interdisciplinary, research and development effort to enable encoding and broad dissemination of medical knowledge in the form of computable clinical practice guidelines. The vision of the SAGE Project is that, once encoded, guideline content could be deployed to, and used to provide clinical decision support via the native functions of many, heterogeneous clinical information system platforms. During the five-year project, IDX (now part of GE Healthcare) worked in partnership with Apelon Inc., Intermountain Health Care, Mayo Clinic, Stanford Medical Informatics, and the University Of Nebraska Medical Center to achieve all major project objectives. In this session, we identify key innovations in each of the main project focus areas: The SAGE Guideline Representation Model, the Protégé-based guideline encoding workbench, the SAGE Guideline Execution Engine, and the standards-based interfaces with host clinical information systems. In each area we also describe how our consortium worked collaboratively to define requirements, resolve technical and informatics challenges, and validate prototypes in end-to-end testing.
Rather than improving efficiency, the reforms imposed on the NHS have increased bureaucracy, reduced patient choice, limited the range of core services, and led to inequity of treatment. In this paper I examine how the medical profession might help to solve these problems. Priorities must be set for health care since no government can afford all the possibilities offered by medical science. It is essential to forge a consensus of patients, carers, professionals, the public, and government if a system of priorities is to be equitable and just. We also need to be able to measure quality of outcome in health care. This requires consensus on what is the desired outcome and the development of appropriate guidelines, audit, and performance review. This is primarily a task for the health professions supported by management and by adequate investment. Basically, the government must reinstate the three traditional values of the NHS--equity, consensus, and regard for representative professional advice.
Important efforts have been invested in the past few years in the development of quality clinical guidelines. However, the means for the effective dissemination of guidelines to practicing physicians have not been determined. Several studies have examined the possibilities offered by the World Wide Web (the Web), but studies examining the implementation of clinical guidelines in actual practice are clearly lacking.
This study assessed the potential of the Web to implement clinical practice guidelines in actual clinical settings. It also documents the obstacles perceived by the physicians in their use of guidelines on the Internet to determine the role that the Web can play in the implementation of guidelines in practice.
Two guidelines were developed using a standardized panel method and made available via the Web. One concerned indications for low-back surgery and the other dealt with indications for upper and lower digestive endoscopies. To identify obstacles to their use in clinical practice, 20 physicians were asked to consult the guidelines during consultations with patients. Answers were collected using 3 different questionnaires.
Questionnaires were completed for consultations involving 213 patients. Less than 50% of the physicians have direct access to the Internet in their examination room. For 75%, the use of the guidelines was easy and the time required to consult them acceptable (3.4 minutes on average, or 12% of the time spent with the patient). The fear that use of such guidelines might interfere with the physician-patient relationship was mentioned as a reason for not consulting the guidelines for 27 consultations. Taking into account their experience with the Web, 75% of the physicians considered that the Web has a great or very-great potential for the dissemination of guidelines and 78% indicated that they would use such guidelines if they became generally available for clinical questions that concerned them. Only 3 physicians had consulted guidelines on the Web prior to this study.
The acceptance of use of clinical practice guidelines via the Web is high. The main limits to further use of such Web-based guidelines seem to be the lack of a computer connection in the physician's office or examining room and the fear that use of such guidelines might interfere with the physician-patient relationship. Though most participants appreciate the considerable potential of the Web for disseminating guidelines, only a small handful regularly use guidelines available on the Web. There are still numerous obstacles to the regular use of guidelines in clinical practice, some related to the physicians, others to the guidelines themselves.
Practice guidelines; Internet; decision support systems, clinical; appropriateness of care; quality of health care; back pain; laminectomy; endoscopy
In social insurance, the evaluation of work disability is becoming stricter as priority is given to the resumption of work, which calls for a guarantee of quality for these evaluations. Evidence-based guidelines have become a major instrument in the quality control of health care, and the quality of these guidelines' development can be assessed using the AGREE instrument. In social insurance medicine, such guidelines are relatively new. We were interested to know what guidelines have been developed to support the medical evaluation of work disability and the quality of these guidelines.
Five European countries that were reported to use guidelines were approached, using a recent inventory of evaluations of work disability in Europe. We focused on guidelines that are disease-oriented and formally prescribed in social insurance medicine. Using the AGREE instrument, these guidelines were appraised by two researchers. We asked two experts involved in guideline development to indicate if they agreed with our results and to provide explanations for insufficient scores.
We found six German and sixteen Dutch sets of disease-oriented guidelines in official use. The AGREE instrument was applicable, requiring minor adaptations. The appraisers reached consensus on all items. Each guideline scored well on 'scope and purpose' and 'clarity and presentation'. The guidelines scored moderately on 'stakeholder involvement' in the Netherlands, but insufficiently in Germany, due mainly to the limited involvement of patients' representatives in this country. All guidelines had low scores on 'rigour of development', which was due partly to a lack of documentation and of existing evidence. 'Editorial independence' and 'applicability' had low scores in both countries as a result of how the production was organised.
Disease-oriented guidelines in social insurance medicine for the evaluation of work disability are a recent phenomenon, so far restricted to Germany and the Netherlands. The AGREE instrument is suitably applicable to assess the quality of guideline development in social insurance medicine, but some of the scoring rules need to be adapted to the context of social insurance. Existing guidelines do not meet the AGREE criteria to a sufficient level. The way patients' representatives can be involved needs further discussion. The guidelines would profit from more specific recommendations and, for providing evidence, more research is needed on the functional capacity of people with disabilities.
In an era when an increasing amount of clinical information is available to health care professionals, the effective implementation of clinical practice guidelines requires the development of strategies to facilitate the use of these guidelines. The objective of this study was to assess attitudes towards clinical practice guidelines, as well as the barriers and facilitators to their use, among Estonian physicians. The study was conducted to inform the revision of the clinical practice guideline development process and can provide inspiration to other countries considering the increasing use of evidence-based medicine.
We conducted an online survey of physicians to assess resource, system, and attitudinal barriers. We also asked a set of questions related to improving the use of clinical practice guidelines and collected free-text comments. We hypothesized that attitudes concerning guidelines may differ by gender, years of experience and practice setting. The study population consisted of physicians from the database of the Department of Continuing Medical Education of the University of Tartu. Differences between groups were analyzed using the Kruskal-Wallis non-parametric test.
41% (497/1212) of physicians in the database completed the questionnaire, comprising more than 10% of physicians in the country. Most respondents (79%) used treatment guidelines in their daily clinical practice. Lack of time was the barrier identified by the most physicians (42%), followed by lack of medical resources for implementation (32%). The majority of physicians disagreed with the statement that guidelines were not accessible (73%) or too complicated (70%). Physicians practicing in outpatient settings or for more than 25 years were the most likely to experience difficulties in guideline use. 95% of respondents agreed that an easy-to-find online database of guidelines would facilitate use.
Use of updated evidence-based guidelines is a prerequisite for the high-quality management of diseases, and recognizing the factors that affect guideline compliance makes it possible to work towards improving guideline adherence in clinical practice. In our study, physicians with long-term clinical experience and doctors in outpatient settings perceived more barriers, which should be taken into account when planning strategies in improving the use of guidelines. Informed by the results of the survey, leading health authorities are making an effort to develop specially designed interventions to implement clinical practice guidelines, including an easily accessible online database.
Clinical practice guidelines; Implementation; Estonia; World health organization; Barriers; Facilitators
A key mandate of the Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS) is to promote evidence-based respiratory care through clinical practice guidelines (CPGs). To improve the quality and validity of the production, dissemination and implementation of its CPGs, the CTS has revised its guideline process and has created the Canadian Respiratory Guidelines Committee to oversee this process. The present document outlines the basic methodological tools and principles of the new CTS guideline production process. Important features include standard methods for choosing and formulating optimal questions and for finding, appraising, and summarizing the evidence; use of the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation system for rating the quality of evidence and strength of recommendations; use of the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation instrument for quality control during and after guideline development and for appraisal of other guidelines; use of the ADAPTE process for adaptation of existing guidelines to the local context; and use of the GuideLine Implementability Appraisal tool to augment implementability of guidelines. The CTS has also committed to develop guidelines in new areas, an annual guideline review cycle, and a new formal process for dissemination and implementation. Ultimately, it is anticipated that these changes will have a significant impact on the quality of care and clinical outcomes of individuals suffering from respiratory diseases across Canada.
Clinical practice guideline; Evidence-based medicine; Guideline adherence; Practice guidelines
Compared with the current focus on the development of clinical practice guidelines the effort devoted to their evaluation is meagre. Yet the ultimate success of guidelines depends on routine evaluation. Three types of evaluation are identified: evaluation of guidelines under development and before dissemination and implementation, evaluation of health care programs in which guidelines play a central role, and scientific evaluation, through studies that provide the scientific knowledge base for further evolution of guidelines. Identification of evaluation and program goals, evaluation design and a framework for evaluation planning are discussed.
Practice guidelines are systematically developed statements and recommendations that assist the physicians and patients in making decisions about appropriate health care measures for specific clinical circumstances taking into account specific national health care structures. The 1st revision of the S-2k guideline of the German Sepsis Society in collaboration with 17 German medical scientific societies and one self-help group provides state-of-the-art information (results of controlled clinical trials and expert knowledge) on the effective and appropriate medical care (prevention, diagnosis, therapy and follow-up care) of critically ill patients with severe sepsis or septic shock. The guideline had been developed according to the “German Instrument for Methodological Guideline Appraisal” of the Association of the Scientific Medical Societies (AWMF). In view of the inevitable advancements in scientific knowledge and technical expertise, revisions, updates and amendments must be periodically initiated. The guideline recommendations may not be applied under all circumstances. It rests with the clinician to decide whether a certain recommendation should be adopted or not, taking into consideration the unique set of clinical facts presented in connection with each individual patient as well as the available resources.
guideline; German Sepsis Society; German Sepsis Aid; severe sepsis; septic shock; prevention; diagnosis; treatment; follow-up care
Increasing amounts of medical knowledge, clinical data, and patient expectations have created a fertile environment for developing and using clinical practice guidelines. Electronic medical records have provided an opportunity to invoke guidelines during the everyday practice of clinical medicine to improve health care quality and control costs. In this paper, efforts to incorporate complex guidelines [those for heart failure from the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR)] into a network of physicians' interactive microcomputer workstations are reported. The task proved difficult because the guidelines often lack explicit definitions (e.g., for symptom severity and adverse events) that are necessary to navigate the AHCPR algorithm. They also focus more on errors of omission (not doing the right thing) than on errors of commission (doing the wrong thing) and do not account for comorbid conditions, concurrent drug therapy, or the timing of most interventions and follow-up. As they stand, the heart failure guidelines give good general guidance to individual practitioners, but cannot be used to assess quality or care without extensive "translation" into the local environment. Specific recommendations are made so that future guidelines will prove useful to a wide range of prospective users.
Clinical practice guidelines are one of the foundations of efforts to improve healthcare. In 1999, we authored a paper about methods to develop guidelines. Since it was published, the methods of guideline development have progressed both in terms of methods and necessary procedures and the context for guideline development has changed with the emergence of guideline clearinghouses and large scale guideline production organisations (such as the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence). It therefore seems timely to, in a series of three articles, update and extend our earlier paper. In this second paper, we discuss issues of identifying and synthesizing evidence: deciding what type of evidence and outcomes to include in guidelines; integrating values into a guideline; incorporating economic considerations; synthesis, grading, and presentation of evidence; and moving from evidence to recommendations.
To be useful, clinical practice guidelines need to be evidence based; otherwise they will not achieve the validity, reliability and credibility required for implementation.
This paper compares the methods used in gathering, analysing and linking of evidence to guideline recommendations in ten current hypertension guidelines.
It found several guidelines had failed to implement methods of searching for the relevant literature, critical analysis and linking to recommendations that minimise the risk of bias in the interpretation of research evidence. The more rigorous guidelines showed discrepancies in recommendations and grading that reflected different approaches to the use of evidence in guideline development.
Clinical practice guidelines as a methodology are clearly still an evolving health care technology.
The Canadian Medical Association maintains a national online database of clinical practice guidelines developed, endorsed or reviewed by Canadian organizations within 5 years of the current date. This study was designed to identify and describe guidelines in the database that make recommendations related to the use of drug therapy, and to assess their quality using a standardized guideline appraisal instrument.
Drug therapy guidelines in the database were identified with the use of search terms and hand searching. Descriptive information about the developers, endorsement by other organizations, publication status, disease and drug focus was abstracted. Each guideline was independently assessed by 3 appraisers (a physician, a pharmacist and a methodologist) with the use of the Appraisal Instrument for Clinical Guidelines. Conditions were classified according to the tenth revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.
We identified 217 drug therapy guidelines produced or reviewed from 1994 to 1998. Guideline developers included national organizations (47.0%), paragovernment organizations (39.6%) and professional associations (30.9%); 31.3% of the guidelines were published, and 10.6% stated drug company sponsorship. The most common conditions addressed by the guidelines were infections and parasitic diseases (39.6%), neoplasms (11.5%) and diseases of the circulatory system (11.5%). Drugs most commonly cited were anti-infective agents (42.9%), antiviral agents (15.2%) and cardiovascular drugs (16.1%). Eleven organizations produced 176 (81.1%) of the guidelines. In all, 14.7% of the guidelines met half or more of the 20 items assessing rigour of guideline development on the appraisal instrument (mean quality score 30.0% [95% confidence interval (CI) 27.5%–32.6%]), 61.8% met half or more of the 12 items assessing guideline context and content (mean score 57.0% [95% CI 54.6%–59.3%]), and none met half or more of the 5 items assessing guideline application (mean score 5.6% [95% CI 4.7%–6.5%]). Overall, 64.6% of the guidelines were recommended with modification by at least 2 of the 3 appraisers, 9.2% were recommended without change, and 26.3% were not recommended. The quality of the guidelines assessed varied significantly by developer, publication status and drug company sponsorship. No substantial improvement in guideline quality was observed over the 5-year study period.
Developers of Canadian drug therapy guidelines are producing guidelines that are often perceived to be clinically useful to physicians and pharmacists, although the methods (or the description of the methods) by which they are developed need to be more rigorous and thorough.
Objective: To determine whether North American guidelines published subsequent to and in the same topic areas as those developed by the US Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) meet the same methodological criteria.
Study design: A guideline appraisal instrument containing 30 criteria was used to evaluate the methodological quality of the AHCPR guidelines, "updates" of the AHCPR guidelines authored by others, and guidelines that referenced or were adapted from the AHCPR guidelines. The frequency with which the criteria appeared in each guideline was compared and an analysis was performed to determine guidelines with two key features of the ACHPR guidelines—multidisciplinary guideline development panels and systematic reviews of the literature. Data were extracted from the guidelines by one investigator and then checked for accuracy by the other.
Results: Fifty two guidelines identified by broad based searches were evaluated. 50% of the criteria were present in every AHCPR guideline. The AHCPR guidelines scored 80% or more on 24 of the 30 criteria compared with 14 for the "updates" and 11 for those that referenced/adapted the AHCPR guidelines. All of the 17 AHCPR guidelines had both multidisciplinary development panels and systematic reviews of the literature compared with five from the other two categories (p<0.05).
Conclusions: North American guidelines developed subsequent to and in the same topic areas as the AHCPR guidelines are of substantially worse methodological quality and ignore key features important to guideline development. This finding contrasts with previously published conclusions that guideline methodological quality is improving over time.
Despite the development and dissemination of guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma, a gap remains between current recommendations and actual practice.
To assess the physicians attitude towards asthma guidelines and their adherence to its recommendations.
Three hundred and fifty two clinicians (101 General practitioners, 131 pediatric specialists, 35 pediatric consultants and 85 doctors did not report the qualification) engaged in direct childhood asthma care in Cairo, Egypt were subjected to a self-administered questionnaire with 35 questions of which most were multiple choices, aiming at assessment of three important aspects about the involved physicians; physician's knowledge, practice and attitude. 165 of the clinicians were working in governmental hospitals, 68 clinicians work in private clinics and 119 clinicians work in both.
Agreement with asthma guidelines was present in 76.2% of the studied physicians, however those who not in agreement with the guidelines claimed that this was mainly due to patient factors, firstly the poor socioeconomic standard of the patient (18.1%) and secondly due to poor patient compliance (16%). Poor knowledge was found in 28.5%, poor practice was found in 43.6% and poor attitude was found in 14.4% of the studied physicians. There was positive highly significant correlation between qualification and knowledge, (p < 0.01), positive highly significant correlation between qualification and practice, (p < 0.01), and positive highly significant correlation between qualification and attitude, (p < 0.01).
The attitude of the studied physicians revealed agreement of their majority with the guidelines, while the disagreement was mainly explained by the poor socioeconomic standard of the patients. The degree of poor practice is more marked than that of poor knowledge or poor attitude reflecting resources limitations and applications obstacles in the physician's practice.
To investigate the effect of clinical guidelines on the management of infertility across the primary care-secondary care interface.
Cluster randomised controlled trial.
General practices and NHS hospitals accepting referrals for infertility in the Greater Glasgow Health Board area.
All 221 general practices in Glasgow; 214 completed the trial.
General practices in the intervention arm received clinical guidelines developed locally. Control practices received them one year later. Dissemination of the guidelines included educational meetings.
Main outcome measures
The time from presentation to referral, investigations completed in general practice, the number and content of visits as a hospital outpatient, the time to reach a management plan, and costs for referrals from the two groups.
Data on 689 referrals were collected. No significant difference was found in referral rates for infertility. Fewer than 1% of couples were referred inappropriately early. Referrals from intervention practices were significantly more likely to have all relevant investigations carried out (odds ratio 1.32, 95% confidence interval 1.00 to 1.75, P=0.025). 70% of measurements of serum progesterone concentrations during the midluteal phase and 34% of semen analyses were repeated at least once in hospital, despite having been recorded as normal when checked in general practice. No difference was found in the proportion of referrals in which a management plan was reached within one year or in the mean duration between first appointment and date of management plan. NHS costs were not significantly affected.
Dissemination of infertility guidelines by commonly used methods results in a modest increase in referrals having recommended investigations completed in general practice, but there are no detectable differences in outcome for patients or reduction in costs. Clinicians in secondary care tended to fail to respond to changes in referral practice by doctors. Guidelines that aim to improve the referral process need to be disseminated and implemented so as to lead to changes in both primary care and secondary care.
What is already known on this topicMost previous research into clinical guidelines has focused on their development and implementationEvidence is lacking about the outcomes and costs associated with the use of clinical guidelinesWhat this study addsClinical guidelines that may alter the balance of care between general practice and hospital settings require more intensive implementation than guidelines aimed at either setting on its ownThe cost effectiveness of clinical guidelines should not be assumed
BACKGROUND: Guidelines are frequently used in an attempt to influence the performance of health professionals, and a national agency has been established in England and Wales to develop and disseminate guidelines. Professionals prefer short guidelines that highlight key recommendations, but whether such guidelines are more likely to be implemented is unknown. AIM: To determine the relative impact of the dissemination of full guidelines, reduced guidelines in the form of prioritized review criteria, and review criteria supplemented by feedback. DESIGN OF STUDY: Cluster randomised controlled trial, with an incomplete block design. SETTING: Eighty-one general practices in Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, North Derbyshire, and Nottinghamshire. METHOD: The practices received one of the study interventions, either for care of adults with asthma or for care of people with angina. Data were collected before and after the interventions, the process measures being adherence to ten recommendations about asthma and 14 about angina, and outcome measures being scores in response to an asthma symptom questionnaire or the Seattle Angina Questionnaire, and levels of patient satisfaction. RESULTS: There were no consistent differences between the interventions in stimulating improvements in performance as indicated by adherence to the recommendations for asthma or angina. Patients with angina in practices that had received criteria or criteria plus feedback reported better symptom control. CONCLUSION: The dissemination of guidelines in the format of prioritized review criteria does not increase adherence to recommendations in comparison with the traditional guideline format, and the further provision of feedback has minimal additional effect.
This study aims to investigate the factors related to the adoption of clinical practice guidelines in clinical settings in Korea; it also aims to determine how these factors differ depending on the specific situation of health care system and professional climate. The research sample comprised physicians who are board members of academic societies with experiences in development of clinical practice guidelines using a convenient sampling. We analyzed 324 physicians with pooling two-year sample of 2007 and 2008. From all the respondents, 48.8% stated that they followed Clinical Practice Guidelines, and 93.4% agreed with the content in the Clinical Practice Guidelines. With regard to the item on the self-efficacy of practicing guidelines, 90.3% of the respondents selected 'low level'. In the regression analysis, the factors associated with implementation were level of recognition, agreement and self-efficacy and positive attitude towards practice guidelines. Although the health care system in Korea differs from those in Western countries, our results revealed that the factors related to the adoption of practice guidelines were similar to the research results of Western countries. These results suggest that professionals' attitudes towards clinical practice guidelines are universal, and implementation strategies should be developed globally.
Clinical Practice Guidelines; Korean Physicians; Evidence-Based Medicine; Adoption; Implementation; Self Efficacy; Rrecognition
Our ongoing efforts in health services research have resulted in outcome-validated medical practice guidelines for common medical conditions. These practice guidelines have been shown to substantially reduce health care costs while maintaining quality of care. We have developed a computerized expert system from our practice guidelines which enhances the ease in which they can be implemented by Utilization Management (UM) Coordinators, physicians, nurses and other health care providers.