The gap between evidence-based guidelines for clinical care and their use in medical settings is well recognized and widespread. Only a few implementation studies of psychiatric guidelines have been carried out, and there is a lack of studies on their long-term effects.
The aim of this study was to measure compliance to clinical guidelines for treatment of patients with depression and patients with suicidal behaviours, two years after an actively supported implementation.
Six psychiatric clinics in Stockholm, Sweden, participated in an implementation of the guidelines. The guidelines were actively implemented at four of them, and the other two only received the guidelines and served as controls. The implementation activities included local implementation teams, seminars, regular feedback, and academic outreach visits. Compliance to guidelines was measured using quality indicators derived from the guidelines. At baseline, measurements of quality indicators, part of the guidelines, were abstracted from medical records in order to analyze the gap between clinical guidelines and current practice. On the basis of this, a series of seminars was conducted to introduce the guidelines according to local needs. Local multidisciplinary teams were established to monitor the process. Data collection took place after 6, 12, and 24 months and a total of 2,165 patient records were included in the study.
The documentation of the quality indicators improved from baseline in the four clinics with an active implementation, whereas there were no changes, or a decline, in the two control clinics. The increase was recorded at six months, and persisted over 12 and 24 months.
Compliance to the guidelines increased after active implementation and was sustained over the two-year follow-up. These results indicate that active local implementation of clinical guidelines involving clinicians can change behaviour and maintain compliance.
The aim of this study was to measure six months compliance to Swedish clinical guidelines in psychiatric care after an active supported implementation process, using structured measures derived from the guidelines.
In this observational study four psychiatric clinics each participated in active implementation of the clinical guidelines for the assessment and treatment of depression and guidelines for assessment and treatment of patients with suicidal behaviours developed by The Stockholm Medical Advisory Board for Psychiatry. The implementation programme included seminars, local implementation teams, regular feedback and academic visits. Additionally two clinics only received the guidelines and served as controls. Compliance to guidelines was measured using indicators, which operationalised requirements of preferred clinical practice. 725 patient records were included, 365 before the implementation and 360 six months after.
Analyses of indicators registered showed that the actively implementing clinics significantly improved their compliance to the guidelines. The total score differed significantly between implementation clinics and control clinics for management of depression (mean scores 9.5 (1.3) versus 5.0 (1.5), p < 0.001) as well as for the management of suicide (mean scores 8.1 (2.3) versus 4.5 (1.9), p < 0.001). No changes were found in the control clinics and only one of the OR was significant.
Compliance to clinical guidelines measured by process indicators of required clinical practice was enhanced by an active implementation.
Clinical guidelines can improve health-care delivery, but there are a number of challenges in adopting and implementing the current practice guidelines for depression. The aim of this study was to determine clinical experiences and perceived barriers to the implementation of these guidelines in psychiatric care.
A web-based survey was conducted with 386 psychiatric specialists to inquire about experiences and attitudes related to the depression guidelines and barriers influencing the use of the guidelines. Quantitative data were analyzed, and qualitative data were transcribed and coded manually.
Almost three quarters of the psychiatrists (74.6%) were aware of the clinical guidelines for depression, and over half of participants (55.7%) had had clinical experiences with the guidelines in practice. The main reported advantages of the guidelines were that they helped in clinical decision making and provided informative resources for the patients and their caregivers. Despite this, some psychiatrists were making treatment decisions that were not in accordance with the depression guidelines. Lack of knowledge was the main obstacle to the implementation of guidelines assessed by the psychiatrists. Other complaints addressed difficulties in accessing the guidelines, lack of support for mental health services, and general attitudes toward guideline necessity. Overall, the responses suggested that adding a summary booklet, providing teaching sessions, and improving guidance delivery systems could be effective tools for increasing depression guideline usage.
Individual barriers, such as lack of awareness and lack of familiarity, and external barriers, such as the supplying system, can affect whether physicians’ implement the guidelines for the treatment of depression in Korea. These findings suggest that further medical education to disseminate guidelines contents could improve public health for depression.
Depressive disorder; Practice guidelines; Health care surveys; Questionnaires
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.
Sciatica; Lumbar radicular syndrome; Implementation strategy; Shared decision making; Barriers and facilitators; Multidisciplinary; Patients; Professionals; Providers
The American Heart Association (AHA) released guidelines to improve survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in 2005. We sought to identify what barriers delayed the implementation of these guidelines in EMS agencies.
We surveyed 178 EMS agencies as part of a larger quantitative survey regarding guideline implementation and conducted a single-question semi-structured interview using the Grounded Theory method. We asked “What barriersm if any, delayed implementation of the (2005 AHA) guidelines in your EMS agency?” Data were coded and member validation was employed to verify our findings.
176/178 agencies completed the quantitative survey. Qualitative data collection ceased after reaching theoretical saturation with 34 interviews. Ten unique barriers were identified. We categorized these ten barriers into three themes. The theme Instruction Delays (reported by 41% of respondents) included three barriers: booking/training instructors (9%), receiving training materials (15%), and scheduling staff for training (18%). The second theme, Defibrillator Delays (38%), included two barriers; reprogramming defibrillators (24%) and receiving new defibrillators to replace non-upgradeable units (15%). The third theme was Decision-Making (38%) and included five barriers; coordinating with allied agencies (9%), government regulators such as state and provincial health authorities (9%), medical direction and base hospitals (9%), ROC participation (9%), and internal crises (3%).
Many barriers contributed to delays in the implementation of the 2005 AHA guidelines in EMS agencies. These identified barriers should be proactively addressed prior to the 2010 Guidelines to facilitate rapid translation of science into clinical practice.
heart arrest; emergency medical services
In 2006, the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers convened a collaborative to systematically improve health care delivery for patients with diabetes in 17 community health centers. Our goal was to identify facilitators of and barriers to success reported by teams that participated in this collaborative.
The collaborative's activities lasted 13 months. At their conclusion, we interviewed participating team members. We asked about their teams' successes, challenges, and take-home messages for future collaborative efforts. We organized their responses into common themes by using the Chronic Care Model as a framework.
Themes that emerged as facilitators of success included shifting clinic focus to more actively involve patients and to promote their self-management; improving the understanding and implementation of professional guidelines; and expanding staff roles to accommodate these goals. Patient registries were perceived as beneficial but lacking adequate technical support. Other barriers were staffing and time constraints.
Cooperative efforts to improve health care delivery for people with diabetes may benefit from educating the health care team about guidelines, establishing a stronger role for the patient as part of the health care team, and providing adequate technical instruction and support for the use of clinical databases.
Practice guidelines can improve health care delivery and outcomes but several issues challenge guideline adoption, including their intrinsic attributes, and whether and how they are implemented. It appears that guideline format may influence accessibility and ease of use, which may overcome attitudinal barriers of guideline adoption, and appear to be important to all stakeholders. Guideline content may facilitate various forms of decision making about guideline adoption relevant to different stakeholders. Knowledge and attitudes about, and incentives and capacity for implementation on the part of guideline sponsors may influence whether and how they develop guidelines containing these features, and undertake implementation. Examination of these issues may yield opportunities to improve guideline adoption.
The attributes hypothesized to facilitate adoption will be expanded by thematic analysis, and quantitative and qualitative summary of the content of international guidelines for two primary care (diabetes, hypertension) and institutional care (chronic ulcer, chronic heart failure) topics. Factors that influence whether and how guidelines are implemented will be explored by qualitative analysis of interviews with individuals affiliated with guideline sponsoring agencies.
Previous research examined guideline implementation by measuring rates of compliance with recommendations or associated outcomes, but this produced little insight on how the products themselves, or their implementation, could be improved. This research will establish a theoretical basis upon which to conduct experimental studies to compare the cost-effectiveness of interventions that enhance guideline development and implementation capacity. Such studies could first examine short-term outcomes predictive of guideline utilization, such as recall, attitude toward, confidence in, and adoption intention. If successful, then long-term objective outcomes reflecting the adoption of processes and associated patient care outcomes could be evaluated.
Theories of behavior change indicate that an analysis of barriers to change is helpful when trying to influence professional practice. The aim of this study was to assess the perceived barriers to practice change by eliciting nurses' opinions with regard to barriers to, and facilitators of, implementation of a Fall Prevention clinical practice guideline in five acute care hospitals in Singapore.
Nurses were surveyed to identify their perceptions regarding barriers to implementation of clinical practice guidelines in their practice setting. The validated questionnaire, 'Barriers and facilitators assessment instrument', was administered to nurses (n = 1830) working in the medical, surgical, geriatric units, at five acute care hospitals in Singapore.
An 80.2% response rate was achieved. The greatest barriers to implementation of clinical practice guidelines reported included: knowledge and motivation, availability of support staff, access to facilities, health status of patients, and, education of staff and patients.
Numerous barriers to the use of the Fall Prevention Clinical Practice Guideline have been identified. This study has laid the foundation for further research into implementation of clinical practice guidelines in Singapore by identifying barriers to change in acute care settings.
Although considerable efforts are directed at developing international guidelines to improve clinical management in low-income settings they appear to influence practice rarely. This study aimed to explore barriers to guideline implementation in the early phase of an intervention study in four district hospitals in Kenya.
We developed a simple interview guide based on a simple characterisation of the intervention informed by review of major theories on barriers to uptake of guidelines. In-depth interviews, non-participatory observation, and informal discussions were then used to explore perceived barriers to guideline introduction and general improvements in paediatric and newborn care. Data were collected four to five months after in-service training in the hospitals. Data were transcribed, themes explored, and revised in two rounds of coding and analysis using NVivo 7 software, subjected to a layered analysis, reviewed, and revised after discussion with four hospital staff who acted as within-hospital facilitators.
A total of 29 health workers were interviewed. Ten major themes preventing guideline uptake were identified: incomplete training coverage; inadequacies in local standard setting and leadership; lack of recognition and appreciation of good work; poor communication and teamwork; organizational constraints and limited resources; counterproductive health worker norms; absence of perceived benefits linked to adoption of new practices; difficulties accepting change; lack of motivation; and conflicting attitudes and beliefs.
While the barriers identified are broadly similar in theme to those reported from high-income settings, their specific nature often differs. For example, at an institutional level there is an almost complete lack of systems to introduce or reinforce guidelines, poor teamwork across different cadres of health worker, and failure to confront poor practice. At an individual level, lack of interest in the evidence supporting guidelines, feelings that they erode professionalism, and expectations that people should be paid to change practice threaten successful implementation.
As a strategy for improving clinical practice guideline (CPG) adherence, audit and feedback (A&F) has been found to be variably effective, yet A&F research has not investigated the impact of feedback characteristics on its effectiveness. This paper explores how high performing facilities (HPF) and low performing facilities (LPF) differ in the way they use clinical audit data for feedback purposes.
Descriptive, qualitative, cross-sectional study of a purposeful sample of six Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs) with high and low adherence to six CPGs, as measured by external chart review audits.
One-hundred and two employees involved with outpatient CPG implementation across the six facilities participated in one-hour semi-structured interviews where they discussed strategies, facilitators and barriers to implementing CPGs. Interviews were analyzed using techniques from the grounded theory method.
High performers provided timely, individualized, non-punitive feedback to providers, whereas low performers were more variable in their timeliness and non-punitiveness and relied on more standardized, facility-level reports. The concept of actionable feedback emerged as the core category from the data, around which timeliness, individualization, non-punitiveness, and customizability can be hierarchically ordered.
Facilities with a successful record of guideline adherence tend to deliver more timely, individualized and non-punitive feedback to providers about their adherence than facilities with a poor record of guideline adherence. Consistent with findings from organizational research, feedback intervention characteristics may influence the feedback's effectiveness at changing desired behaviors.
Patients in hospitals and nursing homes are at risk of the development of, often preventable, adverse events (AEs), which threaten patient safety. Guidelines for prevention of many types of AEs are available, however, compliance with these guidelines appears to be lacking. Besides general barriers that inhibit implementation, this non-compliance is associated with the large number of guidelines competing for attention. As implementation of a guideline is time-consuming, it is difficult for organisations to implement all available guidelines. Another problem is lack of feedback about performance using quality indicators of guideline based care and lack of a recognisable, unambiguous system for implementation. A program that allows organisations to implement multiple guidelines simultaneously may facilitate guideline use and thus improve patient safety.
The aim of this study is to develop and test such an integral patient safety program that addresses several AEs simultaneously in hospitals and nursing homes. This paper reports the design of this study.
Methods and design
The patient safety program addresses three AEs: pressure ulcers, falls and urinary tract infections. It consists of bundles and outcome and process indicators based on the existing evidence based guidelines. In addition it includes a multifaceted tailored implementation strategy: education, patient involvement, and a computerized registration and feedback system. The patient safety program was tested in a cluster randomised trial on ten hospital wards and ten nursing home wards. The baseline period was three months followed by the implementation of the patient safety program for fourteen months. Subsequently the follow-up period was nine months. Primary outcome measure was the incidence of AEs on every ward. Secondary outcome measures were the utilization of preventive interventions and the knowledge of nurses regarding the three topics. Randomisation took place on ward level. The results will be analysed separately for hospitals and nursing homes.
Major challenges were the development of the patient safety program including a digital registration and feedback system and the implementation of the patient safety program.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov ID [NCT00365430]
To assess Canadian family physicians’ awareness of, attitudes toward, and use of the 1999 Canadian Consensus Conference on Dementia (CCCD) clinical practice guidelines (CPGs); to explore the barriers and enablers to implementing dementia CPGs in clinical practice; and to identify more effective strategies for future dementia guideline development and dissemination.
Qualitative study using focus groups.
Academic family practice clinics in Calgary, Alta, Ottawa, Ont, and Toronto, Ont.
Eighteen family physicians.
Using a semistructured interview guide, we conducted 4 qualitative focus groups of 4 to 6 family physicians whose practices we had audited in a previous study. Transcripts were coded using an inductive data analytic strategy, and categories and themes were identified and described using the principles of thematic analysis.
Four major themes emerged from the focus group discussions. Family physicians 1) were minimally aware of the existence and the detailed contents of the CCCD guidelines; 2) had strong views about the purposes of guidelines in general; 3) expressed strong concerns about the role of the pharmaceutical industry in the development of such guidelines; and 4) had many ideas to improve future dementia guidelines and CPGs in general.
Family physicians were minimally aware of the 1999 CCCD CPGs. They acknowledged, however, the potential of future CPGs to assist them in patient care and offered many strategies to improve the development and dissemination of future dementia guidelines. Future guidelines should more accurately reflect the day-to-day practice experiences and challenges of family physicians, and guideline developers should also be cognizant of family physicians’ perceptions that pharmaceutical companies’ funding of CPGs undermines the objectivity and credibility of those guidelines.
Careful hand hygiene (HH) is the single most important factor in preventing the transmission of infections to patients, but compliance is difficult to achieve and maintain. A lack of understanding of the processes involved in changing staff behaviour may contribute to the failure to achieve success. The purpose of this study was to identify nurses’ and administrators’ perceived barriers and facilitators to current HH practices and the implementation of a new electronic monitoring technology for HH.
Ten key informant interviews (three administrators and seven nurses) were conducted to explore barriers and facilitators related to HH and the impact of the new technology on outcomes. The semi structured interviews were based on the Theoretical Domains Framework by Michie et al. and conducted prior to intervention implementation. Data were explored using an inductive qualitative analysis approach. Data between administrators and nurses were compared.
In 9 of the 12 domains, nurses and administrators differed in their responses. Administrators believed that nurses have insufficient knowledge and skills to perform HH, whereas the nurses were confident they had the required knowledge and skills. Nurses focused on immediate consequences, whereas administrators highlighted long-term outcomes of the system. Nurses concentrated foremost on their personal safety and their families’ safety as a source of motivation to perform HH, whereas administrators identified professional commitment, incentives, and goal setting. Administrators stated that the staff do not have the decision processes in place to judge whether HH is necessary or not. They also highlighted the positive aspects of teams as a social influence, whereas nurses were not interested in group conformity or being compared to others. Nurses described the importance of individual feedback and self-monitoring in order to increase their performance, whereas administrators reported different views.
This study highlights the benefits of using a structured approach based on psychological theory to inform an implementation plan for a behavior change intervention. This work is an essential step towards systematically identifying factors affecting nurses’ behaviour associated with HH.
Hand hygiene; Knowledge translation; Compliance; Behaviour change; Electronic monitoring
To evaluate the barriers and facilitators to high-quality diabetes care as experienced by general practitioners (GPs) who participated in an 18-month quality improvement program (QIP). This QIP was implemented to promote compliance with international guidelines.
Twenty out of the 120 participating GPs in the QIP underwent semi-structured interviews that focused on three questions: 'Which changes did you implement or did you observe in the quality of diabetes care during your participation in the QIP?' 'According to your experience, what induced these changes?' and 'What difficulties did you experience in making the changes?'
Most GPs reported that enhanced knowledge, improved motivation, and a greater sense of responsibility were the key factors that led to greater compliance with diabetes care guidelines and consequent improvements in diabetes care. Other factors were improved communication with patients and consulting specialists and reliance on diabetes nurse educators. Some GPs were reluctant to collaborate with specialists, and especially with diabetes educators and dieticians. Others blamed poor compliance with the guidelines on lack of time. Most interviewees reported that a considerable minority of patients were unwilling to change their lifestyles.
Qualitative research nested in an experimental trial may clarify the improvements that a QIP may bring about in a general practice, provide insight into GPs' approach to diabetes care and reveal the program's limits. Implementation of a QIP encounters an array of cognitive, motivational, and relational obstacles that are embedded in a patient-healthcare provider relationship.
Despite wide distribution and promotion of clinical practice guidelines, adherence among Dutch general practitioners (GPs) is not optimal. To improve adherence to guidelines, an analysis of barriers to implementation is advocated. Because different recommendations within a guideline can have different barriers, in this study we focus on key recommendations rather than guidelines as a whole, and explore the barriers to implementation perceived by Dutch GPs.
A qualitative study using six focus groups was conducted, in which 30 GPs participated, with an average of seven per session. Fifty-six key recommendations were derived from twelve national guidelines. In each focus group, barriers to the implementation of the key recommendations of two clinical practice guidelines were discussed. Focus group discussions were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Data was analysed by using an existing framework of barriers.
The barriers varied largely within guidelines, with each key recommendation having a unique pattern of barriers. The most perceived barriers were lack of agreement with the recommendations due to lack of applicability or lack of evidence (68% of key recommendations), environmental factors such as organisational constraints (52%), lack of knowledge regarding the guideline recommendations (46%), and guideline factors such as unclear or ambiguous guideline recommendations (43%).
Our study findings suggest a broad range of barriers. As the barriers largely differ within guidelines, tailored and barrier-driven implementation strategies focusing on key recommendations are needed to improve adherence in practice. In addition, guidelines should be more transparent concerning the underlying evidence and applicability, and further efforts are needed to address complex issues such as comorbidity in guidelines. Finally, it might be useful to include focus groups in continuing medical education as an innovative medium for guideline education and implementation.
Modifying the format and content of guidelines may facilitate their use and lead to improved quality of care. We reviewed the medical literature to identify features desired by different users and associated with guideline use to develop a framework of implementability and found that most guidelines do not contain these elements. Further research is needed to develop and evaluate implementability tools.
We are launching the Guideline Implementability Research and Application Network (GIRAnet) to enable the development and testing of implementability tools in three domains: Resource Implications, Implementation, and Evaluation. Partners include the Guidelines International Network (G-I-N) and its member guideline developers, implementers, and researchers. In phase one, international guidelines will be examined to identify and describe exemplar tools. Indication-specific and generic tools will populate a searchable repository. In phase two, qualitative analysis of cognitive interviews will be used to understand how developers can best integrate implementability tools in guidelines and how health professionals use them for interpreting and applying guidelines. In phase three, a small-scale pilot test will assess the impact of implementability tools based on quantitative analysis of chart-based behavioural outcomes and qualitative analysis of interviews with participants. The findings will be used to plan a more comprehensive future evaluation of implementability tools.
Infrastructure funding to establish GIRAnet will be leveraged with the in-kind contributions of collaborating national and international guideline developers to advance our knowledge of implementation practice and science. Needs assessment and evaluation of GIRAnet will provide a greater understanding of how to develop and sustain such knowledge-exchange networks. Ultimately, by facilitating use of guidelines, this research may lead to improved delivery and outcomes of patient care.
Guidelines; Guideline development; Guideline implementation; Research networks; Knowledge exchange
Knowledge products such as clinical practice guidelines (CPG) are vitally required for evidence-based medicine (EBM). Although the EBM, to some extent, has been attended during recent years, no result has achieved thus far. The current qualitative study is to identify the barriers to establishing development system and implementation of CPGs in Iran.
Twelve semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of health policy and decision makers, the experts of development and or adaptation of CPGs, and the experts of EBM education and development. In addition, 11 policy-makers, decision-makers, and managers of the health system participated in a focus group discussion. The analysis of the study data was undertaken by thematic framework approach.
Six themes emerged in order of their frequency include practice environment, evidence-based health care system, individual professional, politician and political context, innovation (CPG) and patients. Most of the indications in the treatment environment focused on such sub-themes as regulations and rules, economical factors, organizational context, and social context.
While the barriers related to the conditions of treatment environment, service provider and the features of innovation and patients had been identified before in other studies, very little attention has been paid to the evidence-based health care system and politician and political context
The lack of an evidence-based healthcare system and a political macro support are mentioned as the key barriers in Iran as a developing country. The establishment of a system of development and implementation of CPGs as the evidence-based practice tools will not be possible, unless the barriers are removed.
Barriers; clinical practice guideline; development; health care system; implementation; qualitative study
Although evidence-based guidelines are important for improving the quality of patient care, implementation in practice is below expectations. With the recent focus on team care, guidelines are intended to promote the integration of care across multiple disciplines. We conducted an exploratory study to understand oncology nurses' perceptions of guideline implementation and to learn their views on how their experiences affected the implementation.
A qualitative study was used with focus group interviews. We collected data from 11 nurses with more than 5 years of oncology nursing experience in Japan. The data were analyzed using grounded theory.
Results of the analysis identified "preconditions for successful guideline implementation" as a core category. There were 4 categories (goal congruence, equal partnership, professional self-development and user-friendliness) and 11 subcategories related to organizational, multidisciplinary, individual, and guideline levels.
Although the guidelines were viewed as important, they were not fully implemented in practice. There are preconditions at the organizational, multidisciplinary, individual, and guideline levels that must be met if an organization is to successfully implement the guideline in clinical settings. Prioritizing strategies by focusing on these preconditions will help to facilitate successful guideline implementation.
This article describes the process used by the authors in developing an implementation intervention to assist VA substance use disorder clinics in adopting guideline-based practices for treating depression. This article is one in a Series of articles documenting implementation science frameworks and tools developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI).
The process involves two steps: 1) diagnosis of site-specific implementation needs, barriers, and facilitators (i.e., formative evaluation); and 2) the use of multi-disciplinary teams of local staff, implementation experts, and clinical experts to interpret diagnostic data and develop site-specific interventions. In the current project, data were collected via observations of program activities and key informant interviews with clinic staff and patients. The assessment investigated a wide range of macro- and micro-level determinants of organizational and provider behavior.
The implementation development process described here is presented as an optional method (or series of steps) to consider when designing a small scale, multi-site implementation study. The process grew from an evidence-based quality improvement strategy developed for – and proven efficacious in – primary care settings. The authors are currently studying the efficacy of the process across a spectrum of specialty care treatment settings.
Optimizing the dietary intake of older people can prevent nutritional deficiencies and diet-related diseases, thereby improving quality of life. However, there is evidence that the nutritional intake of older people living in care homes is suboptimal, with high levels of saturated fat, salt, and added sugars. The UK Food Standards Agency therefore developed nutrient- and food-based guidance for residential care homes. The acceptability of these guidelines and their feasibility in practice is unknown. This study used the Normalization Process Theory (NPT) to understand the barriers and facilitators to implementing the guidelines and inform future implementation.
We conducted a process evaluation in five care homes in the north of England using qualitative methods (observation and interviews) to explore the views of managers, care staff, catering staff, and domestic staff. Data were analyzed thematically and discussed in data workshops; emerging themes were then mapped to the constructs of NPT.
Many staff perceived the guidelines as unnecessarily restrictive and irrelevant to older people. In terms of NPT, the guidelines simply did not make sense (coherence), and as a result, relatively few staff invested in the guidelines (cognitive participation). Even where staff supported the guidelines, implementation was hampered by a lack of nutritional knowledge and institutional support (collective action). Finally, the absence of observable benefits to clients confirmed the negative preconceptions of many staff, with limited evidence of reappraisal following implementation (reflexive monitoring).
The successful implementation of the nutrition guidelines requires that the fundamental issues relating to their perceived value and fit with other priorities and goals be addressed. Specialist support is needed to equip staff with the technical knowledge and skills required for menu analysis and development and to devise ways of evaluating the outcomes of modified menus. NPT proved useful in conceptualizing barriers to implementation; robust links with behavior-change theories would further increase the practical utility of NPT.
Normalization process theory; Nutrition policy; Guideline; Long-term care; Older people; Qualitative research
The promotion of care pathways in the recent Governmental health policy reports of Lord Darzi is likely to increase efforts to promote the use of care pathways in the NHS. Evidence on the process of pathway implementation, however, is sparse and variations in how organisations go about the implementation process are likely to be large. This paper summarises what is known about factors which help or hinder clinicians in adopting and putting care pathways into practice, and which consequently promote or hinder the implementation of scientific evidence in clinical practice.
Care pathways can provide patients with clear expectations of their care, provide a means of measuring patient's progress, promote teamwork on a multi-disciplinary team, facilitate the use of guidelines, and may act as a basis for a payment system. In order to achieve adequate implementation, however, facilitators and barriers must be considered, planned for, and incorporated directly into the pathway with full engagement among clinical and management staff. Barriers and/or facilitators may be present at each stage of development, implementation and evaluation; and, barriers at any stage can impede successful implementation. Important considerations to be made are ensuring the inclusion of all types of staff, plans for evaluating and incorporating continuous improvements, allowing for organisational adaptations and promoting the use of multifaceted interventions.
Although there is a dearth of information regarding the successful implementation of care pathways, evidence is available which may be applied when implementing a care pathway. Multifaceted interventions which incorporate all staff and facilitate organisational adaptations must be seriously considered and incorporated alongside care pathways in a continuous manner. In order to better understand the mechanism upon which care pathways are effective, however, more research specifically addressing conditions under which providers become engaged in using care pathways is needed.
The potential barriers and facilitators to change should guide the choice of implementation strategy. Implementation researchers believe that existing methods for the evaluation of potential barriers and facilitators are not satisfactory. Discrete choice experiments (DCE) are relatively new in the health care sector to investigate preferences, and may be of value in the field of implementation research. The objective of our study was to investigate the complementary value of DCE for the evaluation of barriers and facilitators in implementation research.
Clinical subject was the implementation of the guideline for breast cancer surgery in day care. We identified 17 potential barriers and facilitators to the implementation of this guideline. We used a traditional questionnaire that was made up of statements about the potential barriers and facilitators. Respondents answered 17 statements on a five-point scale ranging from one (fully disagree) to five (fully agree). The potential barriers and facilitators were included in the DCE as decision attributes. Data were gathered among anaesthesiologists, surgical oncologists, and breast care nurses by means of a paper-and-pencil questionnaire.
The overall response was 10%. The most striking finding was that the responses to the traditional questionnaire hardly differentiated between barriers. Forty-seven percent of the respondents thought that DCE is an inappropriate method. These respondents considered DCE too difficult and too time-consuming. Unlike the traditional questionnaire, the results of a DCE provide implementation researchers and clinicians with a relative attribute importance ranking that can be used to prioritize potential barriers and facilitators to change, and hence to better fine-tune the implementation strategies to the specific problems and challenges of a particular implementation process.
The results of our DCE and traditional questionnaire would probably lead to different implementation strategies. Although there is no 'gold standard' for prioritising potential barriers and facilitators to the implementation of change, theoretically, DCE would be the method of choice. However, the feasibility of using DCE was less favourable. Further empirical applications should investigate whether DCE can really make a valuable contribution to the implementation science.
Guidelines continue to be underutilized, and a variety of strategies to improve their use have been suboptimal. Modifying guideline features represents an alternative, but untested way to promote their use. The purpose of this study was to identify and define features that facilitate guideline use, and examine whether and how they are included in current guidelines.
A guideline implementability framework was developed by reviewing the implementation science literature. We then examined whether guidelines included these, or additional implementability elements. Data were extracted from publicly available high quality guidelines reflecting primary and institutional care, reviewed independently by two individuals, who through discussion resolved conflicts, then by the research team.
The final implementability framework included 22 elements organized in the domains of adaptability, usability, validity, applicability, communicability, accommodation, implementation, and evaluation. Data were extracted from 20 guidelines on the management of diabetes, hypertension, leg ulcer, and heart failure. Most contained a large volume of graded, narrative evidence, and tables featuring complementary clinical information. Few contained additional features that could improve guideline use. These included alternate versions for different users and purposes, summaries of evidence and recommendations, information to facilitate interaction with and involvement of patients, details of resource implications, and instructions on how to locally promote and monitor guideline use. There were no consistent trends by guideline topic.
Numerous opportunities were identified by which guidelines could be modified to support various types of decision making by different users. New governance structures may be required to accommodate development of guidelines with these features. Further research is needed to validate the proposed framework of guideline implementability, develop methods for preparing this information, and evaluate how inclusion of this information influences guideline use.
Few individuals with depression treated in the primary care setting receive care consistent with clinical treatment guidelines. Interventions based on the chronic care model (CCM) have been promoted to address barriers and improve the quality of care. A current understanding of barriers to depression care and an awareness of whether physicians believe interventions effectively address those barriers is needed to enhance the success of future implementation.
We conducted semi-structured interviews with 23 primary care physicians across the US regarding their experience treating patients with depression, barriers to care, and commonly promoted CCM-based interventions. Themes were identified from interview transcripts using a grounded theory approach.
Six barriers emerged from the interviews: difficulty diagnosing depression, patient resistance, fragmented mental health system, insurance coverage, lack of expertise, and competing demands and other responsibilities as a primary care provider. A number of interventions were seen as helpful in addressing these barriers – including care managers, mental health integration, and education – while others received mixed reviews. Mental health consultation models received the least endorsement. Two systems-related barriers, the fragmented mental health system and insurance coverage limitations, appeared incompletely addressed by the interventions.
CCM-based interventions, which include care managers, mental health integration, and patient education, are most likely to be implemented successfully because they effectively address several important barriers to care and are endorsed by physicians. Practices considering the adoption of interventions that received less support should educate physicians about the benefit of the interventions and attend to physician concerns prior to implementation. A focus on interventions that address systems-related barriers is needed to overcome all barriers to care.
Beneficial effects of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) have not yet reached expectations due to limited routine adoption. Electronic distribution and reminder systems have the potential to overcome implementation barriers. Existing electronic CPG repositories like the National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC) provide individual access but lack standardized computer-readable interfaces necessary for automated guideline retrieval. The aim of this paper was to facilitate automated context-based selection and presentation of CPGs. Using attributes from the NGC classification scheme, an XML-based metadata repository was successfully implemented, providing document storage, classification and retrieval functionality. Semi-automated extraction of attributes was implemented for the import of XML guideline documents using XPath. A hospital information system interface was exemplarily implemented for diagnosis-based guideline invocation. Limitations of the implemented system are discussed and possible future work is outlined. Integration of standardized computer-readable search interfaces into existing CPG repositories is proposed.