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1.  Implementing practice guidelines for anxiety disorders in secondary mental health care: a case study 
Recent years have seen the large-scale development of clinical practice guidelines for mental disorders in several countries. In the Netherlands, more than ten multidisciplinary guidelines for mental health care have been developed since 2003. The first dealt with the treatment of anxiety disorders. An important question was whether it is feasible to implement these guidelines because implementing practice guidelines is often difficult. Although several implementation interventions have proven effective, there seems to be no ready-made strategy that works in all circumstances.
Case description
The Dutch multidisciplinary guidelines for anxiety disorders were implemented in a community mental health care centre, located in the east of the Netherlands. The centre provides secondary outpatient care. The unit within the centre that specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders has 16 team members with diverse professional backgrounds. Important steps in the process of implementing the guidelines were analysing the care provided before start of the implementation to determine the goals for improvement, and analysing the context and target group for implementation. Based on these analyses, a tailor-made multifaceted implementation strategy was developed that combined the reorganization of the care process, the development of instruction materials, the organization of educational meetings and the use of continuous quality circles to improve adherence to guidelines.
Discussion and evaluation
Significant improvements in adherence rates were made in the aspect of care that was targeted for change. An increase was found in the number of patients being provided with recommended forms of psychotherapeutic treatment, ranging from 43% to 54% (p < 0.01). The delivery of adequate pharmacological treatment was not explicitly targeted for change remained constant.
The case study presented here shows that the implementation of practice guidelines for anxiety disorders in mental health care is feasible. Based on the results of our study, the implementation model used offers a useful approach to guideline implementation. By describing the exact steps that were followed in detail and providing some of the tools that were used in the study, we hope the replication of this implementation methodology is made more practical for others in the future.
PMCID: PMC3499400  PMID: 22995737
Anxiety disorders; Practice guidelines; Implementation strategy; Tools for implementation
2.  Reducing patients’ suicide ideation through training mental health teams in the application of the Dutch multidisciplinary practice guideline on assessment and treatment of suicidal behavior: study protocol of a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2013;14:372.
To strengthen suicide prevention skills in mental health care in The Netherlands, multidisciplinary teams throughout the country are trained in the application of the new Dutch guideline on the assessment and treatment of suicidal behavior. Previous studies have shown beneficial effects of additional efforts for guideline implementation on professionals’ attitude, knowledge, and skills. However, the effects on patients are equally important, but are rarely measured. The main objective of this study is to examine whether patients of multidisciplinary teams who are trained in guideline application show greater recovery from suicide ideation than patients of untrained teams.
This is a multicentre cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT), in which multidisciplinary teams from mental health care institutions are matched in pairs, and randomly allocated to either the experimental or control condition. In the experimental condition, next to the usual dissemination of the guideline (internet, newsletter, books, publications, and congresses), teams will be trained in the application of the guideline via a 1-day small interactive group training program supported by e-learning modules. In the control condition, no additional actions next to usual dissemination of the guideline will be undertaken.
Assessments at patient level will start when the experimental teams are trained. Assessments will take place upon admission and after 3 months, or earlier if the patient is discharged. The primary outcome is suicide ideation. Secondary outcomes are non-fatal suicide attempts, level of treatment satisfaction, and societal costs. Both a cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analysis will be performed. The effects of the intervention will be examined in multilevel models.
The strengths of this study are the size of the study, RCT design, training of complete multidisciplinary teams, and the willingness of both management and staff to participate.
Trial registration
Netherlands trial register: NTR3092
PMCID: PMC3826515  PMID: 24195781
Suicide prevention; Suicidal behavior; Guideline application; Implementation; Cost-effectiveness; Cost-utility; Multicentre; E-learning; Train-the-trainer; Professionals
3.  Referral of patients with depression to mental health care by Dutch general practitioners: an observational study 
BMC Family Practice  2011;12:41.
Depression is a common illness, often treated in primary care. Guidelines provide recommendations for referral to mental health care. Several studies investigated determinants of referral, none investigated guideline criteria as possible determinants.
We wanted to evaluate general practitioner's referral of depressed patients to mental health care and to what extent this is in agreement with (Dutch) guideline recommendations.
We used data of primary care respondents from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety with major depressive disorder in the past year (n = 478). We excluded respondents with missing data (n = 134). Referral data was collected from electronic patient files between 1 year before and after baseline and self report at baseline and 1-year follow-up. Logistic regression was used to describe association between guideline referral criteria (e.g. perceived need for psychotherapy, suicide risk, severe/chronic depression, antidepressant therapy failure) and referral.
A high 58% of depressed patients were referred. Younger patients, those with suicidal tendency, chronic depression or perceived need for psychotherapy were referred more often. Patients who had used ≥2 antidepressants or with chronic depression were more often referred to secondary care. Referred respondents met on average more guideline criteria for referral. However, only 8-11% of variance was explained.
The majority of depressed patients were referred to mental health care. General practitioners take guideline criteria into account in decision making for referral of depressed patients to mental health care. However, other factors play a part, considering the small percentage of variance explained. Further research is necessary to investigate this.
PMCID: PMC3119074  PMID: 21615899
4.  Design of a randomized controlled trial on the effects of Counseling of mental health problems by Occupational Physicians on return to work: the CO-OP-study 
BMC Public Health  2007;7:183.
Mental health problems often lead to prolonged sick leave. In primary care, the usual approach towards these patients was the advice to take rest and not return to work before all complaints had disappeared. When complaints persist, these patients are often referred to psychologists from primary and specialized secondary care. As an alternative, ways have been sought to activate the Dutch occupational physician (OP) in primary care. Early 2000, the Dutch Association of Occupational Physicians (NVAB) published a guideline concerning the management by OPs of employees with mental health problems. The guideline received positive reactions from employees, employers and Dutch OPs. This manuscript describes the design of a study, which aims to assess the effects of the guideline, compared with usual care.
In a randomized controlled trial (RCT), subjects in the intervention group were treated according to the guideline. The control group received usual care, with minimal involvement of the OP and easy access to a psychologist. Subjects were recruited from two Dutch police departments. The primary outcomes of the study are return to work and treatment satisfaction by the employee, employer, and OP. A secondary outcome is cost-effectiveness of the intervention, compared with usual care. Furthermore, prognostic measures are taken into account as potential confounders. A process evaluation will be done by means of performance indicators, based on the guideline.
In this pragmatic trial, effectiveness instead of efficacy is studied. We will evaluate what is possible in real clinical practice, rather than under ideal circumstances. Many requirements for a high quality trial are being met. Results of this study will contribute to treatment options in occupational health practice for employees on sick leave due to mental health problems. Additionally, they may contribute to new and better-suited guidelines and stepped care. Results will become available during 2007.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN34887348
PMCID: PMC1976112  PMID: 17655758
5.  Guideline adherence rates and interprofessional variation in a vignette study of depression 
Quality & safety in health care  2002;11(3):214-218.
Objective: To assess the appropriateness of and variation in intention-to-treat decisions in the management of depression in the Netherlands.
Design: Mailed survey with 22 paper cases (vignettes) based on a population study.
Setting: A random sample from four professional groups in the Dutch mental healthcare system.
Subjects: 264 general practitioners, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and clinical psychologists.
Main outcome measures: Each vignette contained information on a number of patient characteristics taken from three national depression guidelines. The distribution of patient characteristics was based on data from a population study. Respondents were asked to choose the best treatment option and the best treatment setting. For each vignette we examined which of the selected treatments was appropriate according to the recommendations of the three published Dutch clinical guidelines and a panel of experts.
Results: 31% of all intention-to-treat decisions were not consistent with the guidelines. Overall, less severe depression, alcohol abuse, psychotic features, and lack of social resources were related to more inappropriate judgements. There was considerable variation between the professional groups: psychiatrists made more appropriate choices than the other professions although they had the highest rate of overtreatment.
Conclusions: There is sufficient variation in the intentions to treat depression to give it priority in quality assessment and guideline development. Efforts to achieve appropriate care should focus on treatment indications, referral patterns, and overtreatment.
PMCID: PMC1743623  PMID: 12486983
6.  Randomised controlled trial of the clinical and cost effectiveness of a specialist team for managing refractory unipolar depressive disorder 
BMC Psychiatry  2010;10:100.
Around 40 per cent of patients with unipolar depressive disorder who are treated in secondary care mental health services do not respond to first or second line treatments for depression. Such patients have 20 times the suicide rate of the general population and treatment response becomes harder to achieve and sustain the longer they remain depressed. Despite this there are no randomised controlled trials of community based service delivery interventions delivering both algorithm based pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy for patients with chronic depressive disorder in secondary care mental health services who remain moderately or severely depressed after six months treatment. Without such trials evidence based guidelines on services for such patients cannot be derived.
Single blind individually randomised controlled trial of a specialist depression disorder team (psychiatrist and psychotherapist jointly assessing and providing algorithm based drug and psychological treatment) versus usual secondary care treatment. We will recruit 174 patients with unipolar depressive disorder in secondary mental health services with a Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) score ≥ 16 and global assessment of function (GAF) ≤ 60 after ≥ 6 months treatment. The primary outcome measures will be the HDRS and GAF supplemented by economic analysis incuding the EQ5 D and analysis of barriers to care, implementation and the process of care. Audits to benchmark both treatment arms against national standards of care will aid the interpretation of the results of the study.
This trial will be the first to assess the effectiveness and implementation of a community based specialist depression disorder team. The study has been specially designed as part of the CLAHRC Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire joint collaboration between university, health and social care organisations to provide information of direct relevance to decisions on commissioning, service provision and implementation.
Trial registration
Clinical identifier NCT01047124
PMCID: PMC3001706  PMID: 21114826
7.  Quality improvement in depression care in the Netherlands: the Depression Breakthrough Collaborative. A quality improvement report 
Improving the healthcare for patients with depression is a priority health policy across the world. Roughly, two major problems can be identified in daily practice: (1) the content of care is often not completely consistent with recommendations in guidelines and (2) the organization of care is not always integrated and delivered by multidisciplinary teams.
To describe the content and preliminary results of a quality improvement project in primary care, aiming at improving the uptake of clinical depression guidelines in daily practice as well as the collaboration between different mental health professionals.
A Depression Breakthrough Collaborative was initiated from December 2006 until March 2008. The activities included the development and implementation of a stepped care depression model, a care pathway with two levels of treatment intensity: a first step treatment level for patients with non-severe depression (brief or mild depressive symptoms) and a second step level for patients with severe depression. Twelve months data were measured by the teams in terms of one outcome and several process indicators. Qualitative data were gathered by the national project team with a semi-structured questionnaire amongst the local team coordinators.
Thirteen multidisciplinary teams participated in the project. In total 101 health professionals were involved, and 536 patients were diagnosed. Overall 356 patients (66%) were considered non-severely depressed and 180 (34%) patients showed severe symptoms. The mean percentage of non-severe patients treated according to the stepped care model was 78%, and 57% for the severely depressed patient group. The proportion of non-severely depressed patients receiving a first step treatment according to the stepped care model, improved during the project, this was not the case for the severely depressed patients. The teams were able to monitor depression symptoms to a reasonable extent during a period of 6 months. Within 3 months, 28% of monitored patients had recovered, meaning a Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) score of 10 and lower, and another 27% recovered between 3 and 6 months.
Conclusions and discussion
A stepped care approach seems acceptable and feasible in primary care, introducing different levels of care for different patient groups. Future implementation projects should pay special attention to the quality of care for severely depressed patients. Although the Depression Breakthrough Collaborative introduced new treatment concepts in primary and specialty care, the change capacity of the method remains unclear. Thorough data gathering is needed to judge the real value of these intensive improvement projects.
PMCID: PMC2707591  PMID: 19590610
quality improvement; depression; Breakthrough Collaborative; multidisciplinary teams; stepped care; care pathway
8.  Improving the application of a practice guideline for the assessment and treatment of suicidal behavior by training the full staff of psychiatric departments via an e-learning supported Train-the-Trainer program: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2013;14:9.
In 2012, in The Netherlands a multidisciplinary practice guideline for the assessment and treatment of suicidal behavior was issued. The release of guidelines often fails to change professional behavior due to multiple barriers. Structured implementation may improve adherence to guidelines. This article describes the design of a study measuring the effect of an e-learning supported Train-the-Trainer program aiming at the training of the full staff of departments in the application of the guideline. We hypothesize that both professionals and departments will benefit from the program.
In a multicenter cluster randomized controlled trial, 43 psychiatric departments spread over 10 regional mental health institutions throughout The Netherlands will be clustered in pairs with respect to the most prevalent diagnostic category of patients and average duration of treatment. Pair members are randomly allocated to either the experimental or the control condition. In the experimental condition, the full staff of departments, that is, all registered nurses, psychologists, physicians and psychiatrists (n = 532, 21 departments) will be trained in the application of the guideline, in a one-day small interactive group Train-the-Trainer program. The program is supported by a 60-minute e-learning module with video vignettes of suicidal patients and additional instruction. In the control condition (22 departments, 404 professionals), the guideline shall be disseminated in the traditional way: through manuals, books, conferences, internet, reviews and so on. The effectiveness of the program will be assessed at the level of both health care professionals and departments.
We aim to demonstrate the effect of training of the full staff of departments with an e-learning supported Train-the-Trainer program in the application of a new clinical guideline. Strengths of the study are the natural setting, the training of full staff, the random allocation to the conditions, the large scale of the study and the willingness of both staff and management to participate in the study.
Trial registration
Dutch trial register: NTR3092
PMCID: PMC3551842  PMID: 23302322
Guideline; Implementation; Suicide prevention; Train-the-trainer; E-learning; Healthcare professionals
9.  Developing European guidelines for training care professionals in mental health promotion 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:1114.
Although mental health promotion is a priority mental health action area for all European countries, high level training resources and high quality skills acquisition in mental health promotion are still relatively rare. The aim of the current paper is to present the results of the DG SANCO-funded PROMISE project concerning the development of European guidelines for training social and health care professionals in mental health promotion.
The PROMISE project brought together a multidisciplinary scientific committee from eight European sites representing a variety of institutions including universities, mental health service providers and public health organisations. The committee used thematic content analysis to filter and analyse European and international policy documents, scientific literature reviews on mental health promotion and existing mental health promotion programmes with regard to identifying quality criteria for training care professionals on this subject. The resulting PROMISE Guidelines quality criteria were then subjected to an iterative feedback procedure with local steering groups and training professionals at all sites with the aim of developing resource kits and evaluation tools for using the PROMISE Guidelines. Scientific committees also collected information from European, national and local stakeholder groups and professional organisations on existing training programmes, policies and projects.
The process identified ten quality criteria for training care professionals in mental health promotion: embracing the principle of positive mental health; empowering community stakeholders; adopting an interdisciplinary and intersectoral approach; including people with mental health problems; advocating; consulting the knowledge base; adapting interventions to local contexts; identifying and evaluating risks; using the media; evaluating training, implementation processes and outcomes. The iterative feedback process produced resource kits and evaluation checklists linked with each of these quality criteria in all PROMISE languages.
The development of generic guidelines based on key quality criteria for training health and social care professionals in mental health promotion should contribute in a significant way to implementing policy in this important area.
PMCID: PMC3553026  PMID: 23270332
Mental health promotion; Training; Best practice guidelines
10.  Comparison of international guideline programs to evaluate and update the Dutch program for clinical guideline development in physical therapy 
Clinical guidelines are considered important instruments to improve quality in health care. Since 1998 the Royal Dutch Society for Physical Therapy (KNGF) produced evidence-based clinical guidelines, based on a standardized program. New developments in the field of guideline research raised the need to evaluate and update the KNGF guideline program.
Purpose of this study is to compare different guideline development programs and review the KNGF guideline program for physical therapy in the Netherlands, in order to update the program.
Six international guideline development programs were selected, and the 23 criteria of the AGREE Instrument were used to evaluate the guideline programs. Information about the programs was retrieved from published handbooks of the organizations. Also, the Dutch program for guideline development in physical therapy was evaluated using the AGREE criteria. Further comparison the six guideline programs was carried out using the following elements of the guideline development processes: Structure and organization; Preparation and initiation; Development; Validation; Dissemination and implementation; Evaluation and update.
Compliance with the AGREE criteria of the guideline programs was high. Four programs addressed 22 AGREE criteria, and two programs addressed 20 AGREE criteria. The previous Dutch program for guideline development in physical therapy lacked in compliance with the AGREE criteria, meeting only 13 criteria.
Further comparison showed that all guideline programs perform systematic literature searches to identify the available evidence. Recommendations are formulated and graded, based on evidence and other relevant factors. It is not clear how decisions in the development process are made. In particular, the process of translating evidence into practice recommendations can be improved.
As a result of international developments and consensus, the described processes for developing clinical practice guidelines have much in common. The AGREE criteria are common basis for the development of guidelines, although it is not clear how final decisions are made. Detailed comparison of the different guideline programs was used for updating the Dutch program. As a result the updated KNGF program complied with 22 AGREE criteria. International discussion is continuing and will be used for further improvement of the program.
PMCID: PMC2228296  PMID: 18036215
11.  Early psychosocial interventions after disasters, terrorism and other shocking events: is there a gap between norms and practice in Europe? 
European Journal of Psychotraumatology  2013;4:10.3402/ejpt.v4i0.19093.
Internationally, several initiatives exist to describe standards for post-disaster psychosocial care.
This study explored the level of consensus of experts within Europe on a set of recommendations on early psychosocial intervention after shocking events (Dutch guidelines), and to what degree these standards are implemented into mental health care practice.
Two hundred and six (mental) health care professionals filled out a questionnaire to assess the extent to which they consider the guidelines’ scope and recommendations relevant and part of the regular practice in their own country. Forty-five European experts from 24 EU countries discussed the guidelines at an international seminar.
The data suggest overall agreement on the standards although many of the recommendations appear not (yet) to be embedded in everyday practice.
Although large consensus exists on standards for early psychosocial care, a chasm between norms and practice appears to exist throughout the EU, stressing the general need for investments in guideline development and implementation.
PMCID: PMC3566377  PMID: 23393613
Early psychosocial interventions; disaster; shocking events; psychological assessment; cross-cultural comparison
12.  The development of quality indicators in mental healthcare: a discrete choice experiment 
BMC Psychiatry  2012;12:103.
Health care regulatory agencies perform audits or inspections to judge the quality and safety of health care. This judgment is based on the assessment of a large set of health care indicators as accepted by the profession. However, there is a lack of knowledge about the influence of these indicators and whether a smaller number would be sufficient for a quality assessment or audit procedure.
A discrete choice experiment (DCE) was performed for the assessment of quality of care regarding the management of patients with schizophrenia and drug dependency in psychiatric institutes. Based on multidisciplinary guidelines for the treatment of schizophrenia and a visit of (co)inspectors of the Dutch Healthcare Inspectorate at all 33 integrated mental hospitals a set of 51 indicators were assessed in a subsequent interview. With the analysis of the results, 6 attributes were selected for the DCE as quality indicators.
Seventy-six percent of all health services (co)inspectors (n = 33) involved in the inspection of mental health services, participated in the experiment. Respondents considered an operational elaborate treatment plan the most important indicator for the assessment of quality of care in a psychiatric institute, followed by a general care program, treatment outcome measurement, and involvement in treatment of patients and relatives. Pharmacotherapy and governance responsibility were valued as less important indicators.
The results of this DCE show that there is a prioritisation in the six selected quality indicators. This might help health services (co) inspectors to enhance the efficiency and transparency of the quality of care assessment for patients with schizophrenia and/or drug dependency in psychiatric institutes.
PMCID: PMC3508823  PMID: 22870879
Discrete choice experiment; Healthcare regulatory agencies; Quality indicators; Mental healthcare; Quality of care
13.  Barriers and facilitators to implement shared decision making in multidisciplinary sciatica care: a qualitative study 
The Dutch multidisciplinary sciatica guideline recommends that the team of professionals involved in sciatica care and the patient together decide on surgical or prolonged conservative treatment (shared decision making [SDM]). Despite this recommendation, SDM is not yet integrated in sciatica care. Existing literature concerning barriers and facilitators to SDM implementation mainly focuses on one discipline only, whereas multidisciplinary care may involve other barriers and facilitators, or make these more complex for both professionals and patients. Therefore, this qualitative study aims to identify barriers and facilitators perceived by patients and professionals for SDM implementation in multidisciplinary sciatica care.
We conducted 40 semi-structured interviews with professionals involved in sciatica care (general practitioners, physical therapists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, and orthopedic surgeons) and three focus groups among patients (six to eight per group). The interviews and focus groups were audiotaped and transcribed in full. Reported barriers and facilitators were classified according to the framework of Grol and Wensing. The software package Atlas.ti 7.0 was used for analysis.
Professionals reported 53 barriers and 5 facilitators, and patients 35 barriers and 18 facilitators for SDM in sciatica care. Professionals perceived most barriers at the level of the organizational context, and facilitators at the level of the individual professional. Patients reported most barriers and facilitators at the level of the individual professional. Several barriers and facilitators correspond with barriers and facilitators found in the literature (e.g., lack of time, motivation) but also new barriers and facilitators were identified. Many of these new barriers mentioned by both professionals and patients were related to the multidisciplinary setting, such as lack of visibility, lack of trust in expertise of other disciplines, and lack of communication between disciplines.
This study identified barriers and facilitators for SDM in the multidisciplinary sciatica setting, by both professionals and patients. It is clear that more barriers than facilitators are perceived for implementation of SDM in sciatica care. Newly identified barriers and facilitators are related to the multidisciplinary care setting. Therefore, an effective implementation strategy of SDM in a multidisciplinary setting such as in sciatica care should focus on these barriers and facilitators.
PMCID: PMC3765956  PMID: 23968140
Sciatica; Lumbar radicular syndrome; Implementation strategy; Shared decision making; Barriers and facilitators; Multidisciplinary; Patients; Professionals; Providers
14.  The diagnostic work up of growth failure in secondary health care; An evaluation of consensus guidelines 
BMC Pediatrics  2008;8:21.
As abnormal growth might be the first manifestation of undetected diseases, it is important to have accurate referral criteria and a proper diagnostic work-up. In the present paper we evaluate the diagnostic work-up in secondary health care according to existing consensus guidelines and study the frequency of underlying medical disorders.
Data on growth and additional diagnostic procedures were collected from medical records of new patients referred for short stature to the outpatient clinics of the general paediatric departments of two hospitals (Erasmus MC – Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam and Spaarne Hospital, Haarlem) between January 1998 and December 2002. As the Dutch Consensus Guideline (DCG) is the only guideline addressing referral criteria as well as diagnostic work-up, the analyses were based on its seven auxological referral criteria to determine the characteristics of children who are incorrectly referred and the adequacy of workup of those who are referred.
Twenty four percent of children older than 3 years were inappropriately referred (NCR). Of the correctly referred children 74–88% were short corrected for parental height, 40–61% had a height SDS <-2.5 and 21% showed height deflection (Δ HSDS < -0.25/yr or Δ HSDS < -1). In none of the children a complete detailed routine diagnostic work up was performed and in more than 30% no routine laboratory examination was done at all. Pathologic causes of short stature were found in 27 children (5%).
Existing guidelines for workup of children with suspected growth failure are poorly implemented. Although poorly implemented the DCG detects at least 5% pathologic causes of growth failure in children referred for short stature. New guidelines for referral are required with a better sensitivity and specificity, wherein distance to target height should get more attention. The general diagnostic work up for short stature should include testing for celiac disease in all children and for Turner syndrome in girls.
PMCID: PMC2422838  PMID: 18477383
15.  Computerised patient-specific guidelines for management of common mental disorders in primary care: a randomised controlled trial 
Background: A large proportion of people with depression and anxiety go unrecognised by their general practitioner (GP). Case-finding does not appear to be effective on its own.
Aim: To compare the effectiveness of case-finding followed by computer-generated patient-specific guidelines with usual care for the management of common mental disorders in primary care.
Design of study: Individual patient randomised controlled trial.
Setting: Five general practices in Bristol and Cardiff.
Method: 762 individuals aged ≥16 years scoring ≥12 on the Clinical Interview Schedule Revised were randomised. The experimental intervention required participants to complete a computerised psychosocial assessment that generated a report for the GP including patient-specific treatment recommend-ations. The control patients were treated as usual with access to locally agreed guidelines.
Results: Participants' 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) score dropped irrespective of treatment allocation. The experimental group had a significantly lower GHQ score at 6 weeks, but not at 6 months. Recovery at 6 months was 3% greater among those receiving the experimental intervention (95% confidence interval [CI] = −4 to 10). Treatment was not significantly associated with quality of life or patient satisfaction.
Conclusion: Only small benefits are likely from using case-finding followed by patient-specific guidelines to improve clinical management of common mental disorders in primary care. However, depression and anxiety are important public health problems so the utility of such systems should be further investigated.
PMCID: PMC1324916  PMID: 15527609
computer-assisted decision making; randomised controlled trial; primary health care; mental disorders
16.  Impact of the QOF and the NICE guideline in the diagnosis andmanagement of depression: a qualitative study 
The British Journal of General Practice  2011;61(586):e279-e289.
The National Institute for Health and clinical Excellence (NICE) depression guideline (2004) and the updated Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) ( 2006) in general practice have introduced the concepts of screening severity assessment, for example using the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9), and ‘stepped care’ for depression.
To explore primary care practitioner perspectives on the clinical utility of the NICE guideline and the impact of the QOF on diagnosis and management of depression in routine practice.
Design and setting
Qualitative study using focus groups from four multidisciplinary practice teams with diverse populations in south Yorkshire.
Four focus groups were conducted, using a topic guide and audiotaping. There were 38 participants: GPs, nurses, doctors in training, mental health workers, and a manager. Data analysis was iterative and thematic.
The NICE guideline, with its embedded principles of holism and evidence-based practice, was viewed positively but its impact was compromised by resource and practitioner barriers to implementation. The perceived imposition of the screening questions and severity assessments (PHQ-9) with no responsive training had required practitioners to work hard to minimise negative impacts on their work, for example: constantly adapting consultations to tick boxes; avoiding triggering open displays of distress without the time to offer appropriate care; positively managing how their patients were labelled. Further confusion was experienced around the evolving content of psychological interventions for depression.
Organisational barriers to the implementation of the NICE guideline and the limited scope of the QOF highlight the need for policy makers to work more effectively with the complex realities of general practice in order to systematically improve the quality and delivery of ‘managed’ care for depression.
PMCID: PMC3080233  PMID: 21619752
depression; primary health care; qualitative
17.  Implementing a knowledge application program for anxiety and depression in community-based primary mental health care: a multiple case study research protocol 
Anxiety and depressive disorders are increasingly recognized as a health care policy priority. Reducing the treatment gap for common mental disorders requires strengthening the quality of primary mental health care. We developed a knowledge application program designed to improve the organization and delivery of care for anxiety and depression in community-based primary mental health care teams in Quebec, Canada. The principal objectives of the study are: to implement and evaluate this evidence-based knowledge application program; to examine the contextual factors associated with the selection of local quality improvement strategies; to explore barriers and facilitators associated with the implementation of local quality improvement plans; and to study the implementation of local quality monitoring strategies.
The research design is a mixed-methods prospective multiple case study. The main analysis unit (cases) is composed of the six multidisciplinary community-based primary mental health care teams, and each of the cases has identified at least one primary care medical clinic interested in collaborating with the implementation project. The training modules of the program are based on the Chronic Care Model, and the implementation strategies were developed according to the Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services conceptual framework.
The implementation of an evidence-based knowledge application program for anxiety and depression in primary care aims to improve the organization and delivery of mental health services. The uptake of evidence to improve the quality of care for common mental disorders in primary care is a complex process that requires careful consideration of the context in which innovations are introduced. The project will provide a close examination of the interplay between evidence, context and facilitation, and contribute to the understanding of factors associated with the process of implementation of interventions in routine care. The implementation of the knowledge application program with a population health perspective is consistent with the priorities set forth in the current mental health care reform in Quebec. Strengthening primary mental health care will lead to a more efficient health care system.
PMCID: PMC3614908  PMID: 23497399
Depression; Anxiety disorders; Primary care; Quality of care; Quality improvement; Mental health care; Quality indicators; Knowledge application
18.  Investigating the use of NICE guidelines and IAPT services in the treatment of depression 
Mental Health in Family Medicine  2012;9(3):149-160.
Background There is evidence that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines for mental health disorders are used to varying degrees in primary care. A lack of access to cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) has been found to be a barrier to their implementation. The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) initiative was created in 2007 to increase the availability of NICE-recommended psychological treatments for depression and anxiety disorders within the National Health Service in England.
Aim This study aims to investigate whether general practitioners (GPs) who have access to IAPT services and use NICE guidelines are more likely to use NICE concordant treatments for depression than those who do not. Depression was chosen as it is the most common mental health problem facing primary care physicians.
Method Questionnaires were sent to 830 GPs in southeast England and six GPs were interviewed. The response rate to the questionnaires was 27% (n = 222).
Results Ninety-five per cent of GPs were aware of the NICE guidelines for depression, and 76% had read them. Concordance with the guidelines was significantly higher when GPs had access to a local IAPT service or had read the NICE guidelines.
Conclusions The interviews revealed favourable views to IAPT services when used, although access to treatments was still a common barrier to the implementation of the NICE guidelines for depression.
PMCID: PMC3622907  PMID: 23997821
clinical guidelines; depression; evidence-based treatments
19.  Report of the Northern California Conference for Guidelines on Aid-in-Dying: definitions, differences, convergences, conclusions. 
Western Journal of Medicine  1997;166(6):381-388.
In September 1996, the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics convened a conference entitled "Comprehensive Care of the Terminally Ill: The Northern California Consensus Development Conference for Guidelines on Aid-in-Dying." The regionally based, multidisciplinary conference gathered people from a variety of disciplines and diverse perspectives on physician aid-in-dying. This report documents important points of convergence, disagreement, and uncertainty that emerged from the conference and provides commentary on crucial issues: the definition of terminal illness, ensuring adequate palliative care, psychiatric challenges, coping with family pressures, the doctor-patient relationship, the managed care context, the role of ethics committees, and institutional challenges. Should physician aid-in-dying become a legal practice in California, the report will provide guidance to health care organizations, health professionals, and public policy officials engaged in local or state guideline or policy development.
PMCID: PMC1304313  PMID: 9217449
20.  Insights about the process and impact of implementing nursing guidelines on delivery of care in hospitals and community settings 
Little is known about the impact of implementing nursing-oriented best practice guidelines on the delivery of patient care in either hospital or community settings.
A naturalistic study with a prospective, before and after design documented the implementation of six newly developed nursing best practice guidelines (asthma, breastfeeding, delirium-dementia-depression (DDD), foot complications in diabetes, smoking cessation and venous leg ulcers). Eleven health care organisations were selected for a one-year project. At each site, clinical resource nurses (CRNs) worked with managers and a multidisciplinary steering committee to conduct an environmental scan and develop an action plan of activities (i.e. education sessions, policy review). Process and patient outcomes were assessed by chart audit (n = 681 pre-implementation, 592 post-implementation). Outcomes were also assessed for four of six topics by in-hospital/home interviews (n = 261 pre-implementation, 232 post-implementation) and follow-up telephone interviews (n = 152 pre, 121 post). Interviews were conducted with 83/95 (87%) CRN's, nurses and administrators to describe recommendations selected, strategies used and participants' perceived facilitators and barriers to guideline implementation.
While statistically significant improvements in 5% to 83% of indicators were observed in each organization, more than 80% of indicators for breastfeeding, DDD and smoking cessation did not change. Statistically significant improvements were found in > 50% of indicators for asthma (52%), diabetes foot care (83%) and venous leg ulcers (60%). Organizations with > 50% improvements reported two unique implementation strategies which included hands-on skill practice sessions for nurses and the development of new patient education materials. Key facilitators for all organizations included education sessions as well as support from champions and managers while key barriers were lack of time, workload pressure and staff resistance.
Implementation of nursing best practice guidelines can result in improved practice and patient outcomes across diverse settings yet many indicators remained unchanged. Mobilization of the nursing workforce to actively implement guidelines and to monitor the delivery of their care is important so that patients may learn about and receive recommended healthcare.
PMCID: PMC2279128  PMID: 18241349
21.  Effectiveness of guideline-based care by occupational physicians on the return-to-work of workers with common mental disorders: design of a cluster-randomised controlled trial 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:193.
Sickness absence due to common mental disorders (such as depression, anxiety disorder, adjustment disorder) is a problem in many Western countries. Long-term sickness absence leads to substantial societal and financial costs. In workers with common mental disorders, sickness absence costs are much higher than medical costs. In the Netherlands, a practice guideline was developed that promotes an activating approach of the occupational physician to establish faster return-to-work by enhancing the problem-solving capacity of workers, especially in relation to their work environment. Studies on this guideline indicate a promising association between guideline adherence and a shortened sick leave duration, but also minimal adherence to the guideline by occupational physicians. Therefore, this study evaluates the effect of guideline-based care on the full return-to-work of workers who are sick listed due to common mental disorders.
This is a two-armed cluster-randomised controlled trial with randomisation at the occupational physician level. During one year, occupational physicians in the intervention group receive innovative training to improve their guideline-based care whereas occupational physicians in the control group provide care as usual. A total of 232 workers, sick listed due to common mental disorders and counselled by participating occupational physicians, will be included. Data are collected via the registration system of the occupational health service, and by questionnaires at baseline and at 3, 6 and 12 months. The primary outcome is time to full return-to-work. Secondary outcomes are partial return-to-work, total number of sick leave days, symptoms, and workability. Personal and work characteristics are the prognostic measures. Additional measures are coping, self-efficacy, remoralization, personal experiences, satisfaction with consultations with the occupational physician and with contact with the supervisor, experiences and behaviour of the supervisor, and the extent of guideline adherence.
If the results show that guideline-based care in fact leads to faster and sustainable return-to-work, this study will contribute to lowering personal, societal and financial costs.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3599838  PMID: 23496948
Common mental disorders; Sick leave; Return-to-work; Occupational health service; Occupational physicians; Guideline adherence; Guideline-based care
22.  Depression and anxiety, an Indicated Prevention (DIP) protocol in homes for the elderly: feasibility and (cost) effectiveness of a stepped care programme 
BMC Geriatrics  2007;7:6.
Depressive and anxiety disorders are a very common, serious and underdetected problem in homes for the elderly. Elderly persons in residential homes are at high risk for developing major depressive and anxiety disorders, and, therefore, deserve attention with regard to prevention.
This protocol describes a randomised trial on the feasibility and (cost) effectiveness of a stepped-care programme for prevention of depressive and anxiety disorders in homes for the elderly. The main outcome measure is the incidence of depressive and anxiety disorder in one year with a two years follow up. Secondary outcomes are symptoms of depression and anxiety, quality of life, direct health care costs and satisfaction with treatment.
The number of studies examining the effects of preventive interventions on the incidence of mental disorders in the elderly population is very small. However, indicated prevention by means of a stepped-care programme seems to be an important option for decreasing the burden of illness for residents and their caregivers. This study contributes to the body of knowledge in this field. Positive effects may contribute to further use and development of tailored, (cost-) effective and easy to use interventions in a preventive stepped-care programme.
Trial Registration
The Dutch Cochrane Centre, ISRCTN27540731
PMCID: PMC1828735  PMID: 17346333
23.  Most Antidepressant Use in Primary Care Is Justified; Results of the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(3):e14784.
Depression is a common illness, often treated in primary care. Many studies have reported undertreatment with antidepressants in primary care. Recently, some studies also reported overtreatment with antidepressants. The present study was designed to assess whether treatment with antidepressants in primary care is in accordance with current guidelines, with a special focus on overtreatment.
We used baseline data of primary care respondents from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA) (n = 1610). Seventy-nine patients with treatment in secondary care were excluded. We assessed justification for treatment with antidepressant according to the Dutch primary care guidelines for depression and for anxiety disorders. Use of antidepressants was based on drug-container inspection or, if unavailable, on self-report. Results were recalculated to the original population of primary care patients from which the participants in NESDA were selected (n = 10,677).
Principal Findings
Of 1531 included primary care patients, 199 (13%) used an antidepressant, of whom 188 (94.5%) (possibly) justified. After recalculating these numbers to the original population (n = 10,677), we found 908 (95% CI 823 to 994) antidepressant users. Forty-nine (95% CI 20 to 78) of them (5.4%) had no current justification for an antidepressant, but 27 of them (54.5%) had a justified reason for an antidepressant at some earlier point in their life.
We found that overtreatment with antidepressants in primary care is not a frequent problem. Too long continuation of treatment seems to explain the largest proportion of overtreatment as opposed to inappropriate initiation of treatment.
PMCID: PMC3066192  PMID: 21479264
24.  Ten years of integrated care for mental disorders in the Netherlands 
International Journal of Integrated Care  2011;11(Special 10th Anniversary Edition):e015.
Background and problem statement
Integrated care for mental disorders aims to encompass forms of collaboration between different health care settings for the treatment of mental disorders. To this end, it requires integration at several levels, i.e. integration of psychiatry in medicine, of the psychiatric discourse in the medical discourse; of localization of mental health care and general health care facilities; and of reimbursement systems.
Description of policy practice
Steps have been taken in the last decade to meet these requirements, enabling psychiatry to move on towards integrated treatment of mental disorder as such, by development of a collaborative care model that includes structural psychiatric consultation that was found to be applicable and effective in several Dutch health care settings. This collaborative care model is a feasible and effective model for integrated care in several health care settings. The Bio Psycho Social System has been developed as a feasible instrument for assessment in integrated care as well.
The discipline of psychiatry has moved from anti-psychiatry in the last century, towards an emancipated medical discipline. This enabled big advances towards integrated care for mental disorder, in collaboration with other medical disciplines, in the last decade.
Now is the time to further expand this concept of care towards other mental disorders, and towards integrated care for medical and mental co-morbidity. Integrated care for mental disorder should be readily available to the patient, according to his/her preference, taking somatic co-morbidity into account, and with a focus on rehabilitation of the patient in his or her social roles.
PMCID: PMC3111888  PMID: 21677846
mental disorder; integrated care; bio psycho social model; psychiatry; disease management; collaborative care
25.  Diagnostic and therapeutic guidelines for migraine. Italian Society for the Study of Headaches (SISC) 
The Journal of Headache and Pain  2001;2(Suppl 1):s125-s129.
The Italian Society for the Study of Headaches (SISC) published the first guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of migraine in 1993. In 2000, the Executive Committee of the SISC decided to provide updated diagnostic and therapeutic guidelines for migraine and cluster headache for headache experts and physicians dedicated to headaches. For this purpose an Ad Hoc Committee was formed, taking into consideration the multidisciplinary characteristics of the society, and was composed of prominent Italian researchers from various disciplines. The guidelines were published in 2001 and will be updated each year on the basis of new information concerning diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for migraine and cluster headache. The Ad Hoc Committee was organized into subcommittees, each responsible for a different topic: diagnosis of migraine; symptomatic treatment of migraine; prophylactic treatment of migraine; non–pharmacological treatment of migraine; diagnosis, symptomatic and prophylactic treatment of cluster headache; and lastly trigeminal autonomic cranial neuralgias (TACs) and unsolved questions. The present paper reports the major conclusions of the first three subcommittees only. From a methodological point of view, it was decided that all the information reported in the guidelines would be evidencebased. This involved a thorough research on Medline and Pubmed taking into consideration all the articles concerning clinical, laboratory and instrumental examinations and therapeutic approaches for migraine and cluster headache. As far as migraine is concerned, all studies available in the literature examining the sensitivity, specificity, predictive value of clinical history, neurological examination, laboratory tests and instrumental examination were evaluated to identify variables useful in the differential diagnosis of secondary headaches mimicking migraine attacks and to identify surrogate indicators of migraine. Four groups of recommendations, based on the levels of evidence, scientific effect and clinical assessment were defined for all symptomatic and prophylactic drugs. Information regarding clinical contraindications and pharmacological interactions for each class of symptomatic and prophylactic anti-migraine drugs were also reported.
PMCID: PMC3451830
Guidelines; Italian Society for the Study of Headaches; Migraine; Diagnosis; Treatment; Symptomatic drugs; Prophylactic drugs; Recommendations

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