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1.  CIS4/403: Design and Implementation of an Intranet-based system for Real-Time Tele-Consultation in Oncology 
Introduction
This study describes a tele-consultation system (TCS) developed to provide a computing environment over a Wide Area Network (WAN) in North Italy (Province of Trento), that can be used by two or more physicians to share medical data and to work co-operatively on medical records. A pilot study has been carried out in oncology to assess the effectiveness of the system. The aim of this project is to facilitate the management of oncology patients by improving communication among the specialists of central and district hospitals.
Methods and Results
The TCS is an Intranet-based solution. The Intranet is based on a PC WAN with Windows NT Server, Microsoft SQL Server, and Internet Information Server. TCS is composed of native and custom applications developed in the Microsoft Windows (9x and NT) environment. The basic component of the system is the multimedia digital medical record, structured as a collection of HTML and ASP pages. A distributed relational database will allow users to store and retrieve medical records, accessed by a dedicated Web browser via the Web Server. The medical data to be stored and the presentation architecture of the clinical record had been determined in close collaboration with the clinicians involved in the project. TCS will allow a multi-point tele-consultation (TC) among two or more participants on remote computers, providing synchronized surfing through the clinical report. A set of collaborative and personal tools, whiteboard with drawing tools, point-to-point digital audio-conference, chat, local notepad, e-mail service, are integrated in the system to provide an user friendly environment. TCS has been developed as a client-server architecture. The client part of the system is based on the Microsoft Web Browser control and provides the user interface and the tools described above. The server part, running all the time on a dedicated computer, accepts connection requests and manages the connections among the participants in a TC, allowing multiple TC to run simultaneously. TCS has been developed in Visual C++ environment using MFC library and COM technology; ActiveX controls have been written in Visual Basic to perform dedicated tasks from the inside of the HTML clinical report. Before deploying the system in the hospital departments involved in the project, TCS has been tested in our laboratory by clinicians involved in the project to evaluate the usability of the system.
Discussion
TCS has the potential to support a "multi-disciplinary distributed virtual oncological meeting". The specialists of different departments and of different hospitals can attend "virtual meetings" and interactively discuss on medical data. An expected benefit of the "virtual meeting" should be the possibility to provide expert remote advice from oncologists to peripheral cancer units in formulating treatment plans, conducting follow-up sessions and supporting clinical research.
doi:10.2196/jmir.1.suppl1.e9
PMCID: PMC1761746
Intranet; Teleconsultation; Oncology
2.  Inclusion of Ethical Issues in Dementia Guidelines: A Thematic Text Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(8):e1001498.
Background
Clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) aim to improve professionalism in health care. However, current CPG development manuals fail to address how to include ethical issues in a systematic and transparent manner. The objective of this study was to assess the representation of ethical issues in general CPGs on dementia care.
Methods and Findings
To identify national CPGs on dementia care, five databases of guidelines were searched and national psychiatric associations were contacted in August 2011 and in June 2013. A framework for the assessment of the identified CPGs' ethical content was developed on the basis of a prior systematic review of ethical issues in dementia care. Thematic text analysis and a 4-point rating score were employed to assess how ethical issues were addressed in the identified CPGs. Twelve national CPGs were included. Thirty-one ethical issues in dementia care were identified by the prior systematic review. The proportion of these 31 ethical issues that were explicitly addressed by each CPG ranged from 22% to 77%, with a median of 49.5%. National guidelines differed substantially with respect to (a) which ethical issues were represented, (b) whether ethical recommendations were included, (c) whether justifications or citations were provided to support recommendations, and (d) to what extent the ethical issues were explained.
Conclusions
Ethical issues were inconsistently addressed in national dementia guidelines, with some guidelines including most and some including few ethical issues. Guidelines should address ethical issues and how to deal with them to help the medical profession understand how to approach care of patients with dementia, and for patients, their relatives, and the general public, all of whom might seek information and advice in national guidelines. There is a need for further research to specify how detailed ethical issues and their respective recommendations can and should be addressed in dementia guidelines.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors’ Summary
Background
In the past, doctors tended to rely on their own experience to choose the best treatment for their patients. Faced with a patient with dementia (a brain disorder that affects short-term memory and the ability tocarry out normal daily activities), for example, a doctor would use his/her own experience to help decide whether the patient should remain at home or would be better cared for in a nursing home. Similarly, the doctor might have to decide whether antipsychotic drugs might be necessary to reduce behavioral or psychological symptoms such as restlessness or shouting. However, over the past two decades, numerous evidence-based clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) have been produced by governmental bodies and medical associations that aim to improve standards of clinical competence and professionalism in health care. During the development of each guideline, experts search the medical literature for the current evidence about the diagnosis and treatment of a disease, evaluate the quality of that evidence, and then make recommendations based on the best evidence available.
Why Was This Study Done?
Currently, CPG development manuals do not address how to include ethical issues in CPGs. A health-care professional is ethical if he/she behaves in accordance with the accepted principles of right and wrong that govern the medical profession. More specifically, medical professionalism is based on a set of binding ethical principles—respect for patient autonomy, beneficence, non-malfeasance (the “do no harm” principle), and justice. In particular, CPG development manuals do not address disease-specific ethical issues (DSEIs), clinical ethical situations that are relevant to the management of a specific disease. So, for example, a DSEI that arises in dementia care is the conflict between the ethical principles of non-malfeasance and patient autonomy (freedom-to-move-at-will). Thus, healthcare professionals may have to decide to physically restrain a patient with dementia to prevent the patient doing harm to him- or herself or to someone else. Given the lack of guidance on how to address ethical issues in CPG development manuals, in this thematic text analysis, the researchers assess the representation of ethical issues in CPGs on general dementia care. Thematic text analysis uses a framework for the assessment of qualitative data (information that is word-based rather than number-based) that involves pinpointing, examining, and recording patterns (themes) among the available data.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 12 national CPGs on dementia care by searching guideline databases and by contacting national psychiatric associations. They developed a framework for the assessment of the ethical content in these CPGs based on a previous systematic review of ethical issues in dementia care. Of the 31 DSEIs included by the researchers in their analysis, the proportion that were explicitly addressed by each CPG ranged from 22% (Switzerland) to 77% (USA); on average the CPGs explicitly addressed half of the DSEIs. Four DSEIs—adequate consideration of advanced directives in decision making, usage of GPS and other monitoring techniques, covert medication, and dealing with suicidal thinking—were not addressed in at least 11 of the CPGs. The inclusion of recommendations on how to deal with DSEIs ranged from 10% of DSEIs covered in the Swiss CPG to 71% covered in the US CPG. Overall, national guidelines differed substantially with respect to which ethical issues were included, whether ethical recommendations were included, whether justifications or citations were provided to support recommendations, and to what extent the ethical issues were clearly explained.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that national CPGs on dementia care already address clinical ethical issues but that the extent to which the spectrum of DSEIs is considered varies widely within and between CPGs. They also indicate that recommendations on how to deal with DSEIs often lack the evidence that health-care professionals use to justify their clinical decisions. The researchers suggest that this situation can and should be improved, although more research is needed to determine how ethical issues and recommendations should be addressed in dementia guidelines. A more systematic and transparent inclusion of DSEIs in CPGs for dementia (and for other conditions) would further support the concept of medical professionalism as a core element of CPGs, note the researchers, but is also important for patients and their relatives who might turn to national CPGs for information and guidance at a stressful time of life.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001498.
Wikipedia contains a page on clinical practice guidelines (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The US National Guideline Clearinghouse provides information on national guidelines, including CPGs for dementia
The Guidelines International Network promotes the systematic development and application of clinical practice guidelines
The American Medical Association provides information about medical ethics; the British Medical Association provides information on all aspects of ethics and includes an essential tool kit that introduces common ethical problems and practical ways to deal with them
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about dementia, including a personal story about dealing with dementia
MedlinePlus provides links to additional resources about dementia and about Alzheimers disease, a specific type of dementia (in English and Spanish)
The UK Nuffield Council on Bioethics provides the report Dementia: ethical issues and additional information on the public consultation on ethical issues in dementia care
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001498
PMCID: PMC3742442  PMID: 23966839
3.  Hypertension guidelines and their effects on the health system 
Introduction
Hypertension guidelines, which have existed for many years and primarily used in the USA, Canada and Great Britain, are now becoming an issue in Germany. Strong efforts are presently underway for a German version comparable to the guidelines developed for the mentioned countries. The development of guidelines is a part of the implementation system of guidelines in Germany. It covers the mode of operation of the AWMF (work community of the scientific medical subject companies) with the clearinghouse for guidelines (CLA) and the cooperation with the centre for medical quality (ÄZQ).
In the HTA report the real use of the hypertension guidelines shall be investigated for Germany from the development trends and further possibilities of use according to a medical applicability. Economic issues and an optimisation of use are also discussed.
Question
The following questions shall be answered in particular:
How much are the guidelines used concerning hypertension? Can effects (or their influence) be established on the medical procedures? Are there statements available about costs and cost effectiveness? Are there recommendations for further use?
Methodology
To answer these questions, a comprehensive literature search was done. No empirical investigation was carried out. From this enquiry 206 articles were checked in detail but not all of them were available in full text.
Only those publications which directly dealt with high blood pressure guidelines or articles with a direct reference to the topic have been considered in the HTA report.
Publications concerning screening or methods of prevention, medical studies of the hypertension syndrome without a direct reference to guidelines and publications concerned with putting guidelines into action were excluded.
Results
After an analysis of the selected literature addressing the topic of hypertension guidelines, it was evident that the use of these guidelines cannot be gathered from existing literature at the present time. One can assume from international studies with analogical reasoning that these are confessed and have a high level of acceptance in the medical community. Unfortunately the actual usage is not represented satisfactorily in the scientific literature.
The effects of the guidelines on the medical procedures seem to be very strongly individual and the analyses to the compliance show at least an observable effect within the last few years. No publications could be found for the cost effectiveness of the guidelines.
The actual compliance with guidelines seems to be in relation with the duration of the professional practice. It seems the shorter the professional practice takes place, the stronger the guidelines are adhered.
Discussion
At present, there are only a few notes for the German health service regarding the actual effect of the hypertonus guidelines. However, the reason is not that the effect would not be possibly strong but at the methodical challenge to evaluate the sustaining effects of the application of the hypertonus guidelines. For this reason the literature is very rare regarding this topic.
For Germany it can be derived by analogical reasoning from foreign studies that guidelines will facilitate a more and more essential contribution to the design of the health system. Considering that primarily younger physicians accepted guidelines mode, the further construction, update and implementation of guidelines are essential, particularly with regard to the quality assurance. Straight guidelines can express a standard of the quality of a health system as a benchmark. The existence of guidelines or the lack thereof is considered also as a quality indicator of a health system at the organisation for economic cooperation and development (OECD).
Conclusion
Guidelines should be evaluated - especially the hypertonus guideline. Also further development and implementation should be emphasised. Methodically oriented work to the approach is pretty recent.
It is undeniable that guidelines represent a very essential and important contribution for the successful dealing with significant morbidity problems in a health system.
The fact that primarily younger doctors more frequently adopt, employ and adhere to guidelines leads to the assumption that expected sustainability for practical use will increase. Furthermore intensified use of guidelines can be considered in the "mainstream" of the development of the public health system also in an international perspective.
Not one single publication contradicts that a further acquirement, update and distribution of guidelines for the use of practices is necessary. The importance of the guideline is also not questioned in any article.
PMCID: PMC3011314  PMID: 21289932
4.  Rational Prescribing in Primary Care (RaPP): A Cluster Randomized Trial of a Tailored Intervention 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(6):e134.
Background
A gap exists between evidence and practice regarding the management of cardiovascular risk factors. This gap could be narrowed if systematically developed clinical practice guidelines were effectively implemented in clinical practice. We evaluated the effects of a tailored intervention to support the implementation of systematically developed guidelines for the use of antihypertensive and cholesterol-lowering drugs for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a cluster-randomized trial comparing a tailored intervention to passive dissemination of guidelines in 146 general practices in two geographical areas in Norway. Each practice was randomized to either the tailored intervention (70 practices; 257 physicians) or control group (69 practices; 244 physicians). Patients started on medication for hypertension or hypercholesterolemia during the study period and all patients already on treatment that consulted their physician during the trial were included. A multifaceted intervention was tailored to address identified barriers to change. Key components were an educational outreach visit with audit and feedback, and computerized reminders linked to the medical record system. Pharmacists conducted the visits. Outcomes were measured for all eligible patients seen in the participating practices during 1 y before and after the intervention. The main outcomes were the proportions of (1) first-time prescriptions for hypertension where thiazides were prescribed, (2) patients assessed for cardiovascular risk before prescribing antihypertensive or cholesterol-lowering drugs, and (3) patients treated for hypertension or hypercholesterolemia for 3 mo or more who had achieved recommended treatment goals.
The intervention led to an increase in adherence to guideline recommendations on choice of antihypertensive drug. Thiazides were prescribed to 17% of patients in the intervention group versus 11% in the control group (relative risk 1.94; 95% confidence interval 1.49–2.49, adjusted for baseline differences and clustering effect). Little or no differences were found for risk assessment prior to prescribing and for achievement of treatment goals.
Conclusions
Our tailored intervention had a significant impact on prescribing of antihypertensive drugs, but was ineffective in improving the quality of other aspects of managing hypertension and hypercholesterolemia in primary care.
Editors' Summary
Background.
An important issue in health care is “getting research into practice,” in other words, making sure that, when evidence from research has established the best way to treat a disease, doctors actually use that approach with their patients. In reality, there is often a gap between evidence and practice.
  An example concerns the treatment of people who have high blood pressure (hypertension) and/or high cholesterol. These are common conditions, and both increase the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. Research has shown that the risks can be lowered if patients with these conditions are given drugs that lower blood pressure (antihypertensives) and drugs that lower cholesterol. There are many types of these drugs now available. In many countries, the health authorities want family doctors (general practitioners) to make better use of these drugs. They want doctors to prescribe them to everyone who would benefit, using the type of drugs found to be most effective. When there is a choice of drugs that are equally effective, they want doctors to use the cheapest type. (In the case of antihypertensives, an older type, known as thiazides, is very effective and also very cheap, but many doctors prefer to give their patients newer, more expensive alternatives.) Health authorities have issued guidelines to doctors that address these issues. However, it is not easy to change prescribing practices, and research in several countries has shown that issuing guidelines has only limited effects.
Why Was This Study Done?
The researchers wanted—in two parts of Norway—to compare the effects on prescribing practices of what they called the “passive dissemination of guidelines” with a more active approach, where the use of the guidelines was strongly promoted and encouraged.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
They worked with 146 general practices. In half of them the guidelines were actively promoted. The remaining were regarded as a control group; they were given the guidelines but no special efforts were made to encourage their use. It was decided at random which practices would be in which group; this approach is called a randomized controlled trial. The methods used to actively promote use of the guidelines included personal visits to the practices by pharmacists and use of a computerized reminder system. Information was then collected on the number of patients who, when first treated for hypertension, were prescribed a thiazide. Other information collected included whether patients had been properly assessed for their level of risk (for strokes and heart attacks) before antihypertensive or cholesterol-lowering drugs were given. In addition, the researchers recorded whether the recommended targets for improvement in blood pressure and cholesterol level had been reached.
Only 11% of those patients visiting the control group of practices who should have been prescribed thiazides, according to the guidelines, actually received them. Of those seen by doctors in the practices where the guidelines were actively promoted, 17% received thiazides. According to statistical analysis, the increase achieved by active promotion is significant. Little or no differences were found for risk assessment prior to prescribing and for achievement of treatment goals.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Even in the active promotion group, the great majority of patients (83%) were still not receiving treatment according to the guidelines. However, active promotion of guidelines is more effective than simply issuing the guidelines by themselves. The study also demonstrates that it is very hard to change prescribing practices. The efforts made here to encourage the doctors to change were considerable, and although the results were significant, they were still disappointing. Also disappointing is the fact that achievement of treatment goals was no better in the active-promotion group. These issues are discussed further in a Perspective about this study (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030229).
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030134.
• The Web site of the American Academy of Family Physicians has a page on heart disease
• The MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia's pages on heart diseases and vascular diseases
• Information from NHS Direct (UK National Health Service) about heart attack and stroke
• Another PLoS Medicine article has also addressed trends in thiazide prescribing
Passive dissemination of management guidelines for hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia was compared with active promotion. Active promotion led to significant improvement in antihypertensive prescribing but not other aspects of management.
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030134
PMCID: PMC1472695  PMID: 16737346
5.  An optimized web-based approach for collaborative stereoscopic medical visualization 
Objective
Medical visualization tools have traditionally been constrained to tethered imaging workstations or proprietary client viewers, typically part of hospital radiology systems. To improve accessibility to real-time, remote, interactive, stereoscopic visualization and to enable collaboration among multiple viewing locations, we developed an open source approach requiring only a standard web browser with no added client-side software.
Materials and Methods
Our collaborative, web-based, stereoscopic, visualization system, CoWebViz, has been used successfully for the past 2 years at the University of Chicago to teach immersive virtual anatomy classes. It is a server application that streams server-side visualization applications to client front-ends, comprised solely of a standard web browser with no added software.
Results
We describe optimization considerations, usability, and performance results, which make CoWebViz practical for broad clinical use. We clarify technical advances including: enhanced threaded architecture, optimized visualization distribution algorithms, a wide range of supported stereoscopic presentation technologies, and the salient theoretical and empirical network parameters that affect our web-based visualization approach.
Discussion
The implementations demonstrate usability and performance benefits of a simple web-based approach for complex clinical visualization scenarios. Using this approach overcomes technical challenges that require third-party web browser plug-ins, resulting in the most lightweight client.
Conclusions
Compared to special software and hardware deployments, unmodified web browsers enhance remote user accessibility to interactive medical visualization. Whereas local hardware and software deployments may provide better interactivity than remote applications, our implementation demonstrates that a simplified, stable, client approach using standard web browsers is sufficient for high quality three-dimensional, stereoscopic, collaborative and interactive visualization.
doi:10.1136/amiajnl-2012-001057
PMCID: PMC3628048  PMID: 23048008
Three-Dimensional Imaging; Distributed System; Collaboration; Stereoscopy; Bandwidth Optimization; Visualization
6.  Improving stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation 
Trials  2013;14:193.
Background
Patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) are at increased risk for stroke. Antithrombotic treatment reduces this risk. Antithrombotic treatment consists of either administration of oral anticoagulants (OAC) or the provision of an antiplatelet drug. International guidelines provide advice on the preferred treatment, thereby balancing the risks and benefits of OAC. However, adherence to these guidelines is reported to be as low as 50%. There is paucity in research on why adherence rates are low. Recent studies have shown decision support systems can improve guideline adherence. We investigate the use of a clinical decision support system to improve guideline adherence among general practitioners (GPs) treating patients with AF and study reasons for guideline non-adherence.
Methods/Design
The study is a randomized controlled trial, which is performed among Dutch general practitioners. Initially, GPs in the vicinity of the Academic Medical Center (AMC) in Amsterdam will be included, after which other practices will be recruited. We have developed a novel decision support system that displays a list with pending messages for the on-screen medical record in real time. Messages are generated on a server that evaluates a decision rule based on the atrial fibrillation guideline of the Dutch College of General Practitioners. By interacting with the list, messages can be opened for a description and explanation, or be ignored. GPs are allocated into three groups: 1) control group; 2) intervention group A, in which messages can be ignored without justification; and 3) intervention group B, in which messages can only be ignored with justification.
Our main outcome measure is the between-group difference in the proportion of patients receiving antithrombotic prescriptions in adherence to the Dutch GP guideline for atrial fibrillation. Secondary outcomes are reasons GPs state for deviating from the guideline and the effect on guideline adherence of requiring justification when ignoring a message.
Discussion
This paper describes the protocol for a cluster randomized trial to study the effects of a clinical decision support system in patients with atrial fibrillation. The system is characterized by a non-interruptive presentation and real-time messages that are updated after each relevant action the GP performs.
Trial registration
This trial is registered with the Dutch Trial Register under registration number 3570.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-14-193
PMCID: PMC3703259  PMID: 23815891
Atrial fibrillation; Decision support; Stroke prevention; Anti-thrombotic treatment; Clinical decision support system; General practice
7.  Implementation of Medical Information Exchange System Based on EHR Standard 
Healthcare Informatics Research  2010;16(4):281-289.
Objectives
To develop effective ways of sharing patients' medical information, we developed a new medical information exchange system (MIES) based on a registry server, which enabled us to exchange different types of data generated by various systems.
Methods
To assure that patient's medical information can be effectively exchanged under different system environments, we adopted the standardized data transfer methods and terminologies suggested by the Center for Interoperable Electronic Healthcare Record (CIEHR) of Korea in order to guarantee interoperability. Regarding information security, MIES followed the security guidelines suggested by the CIEHR of Korea. This study aimed to develop essential security systems for the implementation of online services, such as encryption of communication, server security, database security, protection against hacking, contents, and network security.
Results
The registry server managed information exchange as well as the registration information of the clinical document architecture (CDA) documents, and the CDA Transfer Server was used to locate and transmit the proper CDA document from the relevant repository. The CDA viewer showed the CDA documents via connection with the information systems of related hospitals.
Conclusions
This research chooses transfer items and defines document standards that follow CDA standards, such that exchange of CDA documents between different systems became possible through ebXML. The proposed MIES was designed as an independent central registry server model in order to guarantee the essential security of patients' medical information.
doi:10.4258/hir.2010.16.4.281
PMCID: PMC3092130  PMID: 21818447
Electronic Health Record; VPN; Web Service Security Enhanced; Health Level 7 Standard; CDA R2
8.  Designing an automated clinical decision support system to match clinical practice guidelines for opioid therapy for chronic pain 
Background
Opioid prescribing for chronic pain is common and controversial, but recommended clinical practices are followed inconsistently in many clinical settings. Strategies for increasing adherence to clinical practice guideline recommendations are needed to increase effectiveness and reduce negative consequences of opioid prescribing in chronic pain patients.
Methods
Here we describe the process and outcomes of a project to operationalize the 2003 VA/DOD Clinical Practice Guideline for Opioid Therapy for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain into a computerized decision support system (DSS) to encourage good opioid prescribing practices during primary care visits. We based the DSS on the existing ATHENA-DSS. We used an iterative process of design, testing, and revision of the DSS by a diverse team including guideline authors, medical informatics experts, clinical content experts, and end-users to convert the written clinical practice guideline into a computable algorithm to generate patient-specific recommendations for care based upon existing information in the electronic medical record (EMR), and a set of clinical tools.
Results
The iterative revision process identified numerous and varied problems with the initially designed system despite diverse expert participation in the design process. The process of operationalizing the guideline identified areas in which the guideline was vague, left decisions to clinical judgment, or required clarification of detail to insure safe clinical implementation. The revisions led to workable solutions to problems, defined the limits of the DSS and its utility in clinical practice, improved integration into clinical workflow, and improved the clarity and accuracy of system recommendations and tools.
Conclusions
Use of this iterative process led to development of a multifunctional DSS that met the approval of the clinical practice guideline authors, content experts, and clinicians involved in testing. The process and experiences described provide a model for development of other DSSs that translate written guidelines into actionable, real-time clinical recommendations.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-5-26
PMCID: PMC2868045  PMID: 20385018
9.  Barriers and facilitators to the implementation of clinical practice guidelines: A cross-sectional survey among physicians in Estonia 
Background
In an era when an increasing amount of clinical information is available to health care professionals, the effective implementation of clinical practice guidelines requires the development of strategies to facilitate the use of these guidelines. The objective of this study was to assess attitudes towards clinical practice guidelines, as well as the barriers and facilitators to their use, among Estonian physicians. The study was conducted to inform the revision of the clinical practice guideline development process and can provide inspiration to other countries considering the increasing use of evidence-based medicine.
Methods
We conducted an online survey of physicians to assess resource, system, and attitudinal barriers. We also asked a set of questions related to improving the use of clinical practice guidelines and collected free-text comments. We hypothesized that attitudes concerning guidelines may differ by gender, years of experience and practice setting. The study population consisted of physicians from the database of the Department of Continuing Medical Education of the University of Tartu. Differences between groups were analyzed using the Kruskal-Wallis non-parametric test.
Results
41% (497/1212) of physicians in the database completed the questionnaire, comprising more than 10% of physicians in the country. Most respondents (79%) used treatment guidelines in their daily clinical practice. Lack of time was the barrier identified by the most physicians (42%), followed by lack of medical resources for implementation (32%). The majority of physicians disagreed with the statement that guidelines were not accessible (73%) or too complicated (70%). Physicians practicing in outpatient settings or for more than 25 years were the most likely to experience difficulties in guideline use. 95% of respondents agreed that an easy-to-find online database of guidelines would facilitate use.
Conclusions
Use of updated evidence-based guidelines is a prerequisite for the high-quality management of diseases, and recognizing the factors that affect guideline compliance makes it possible to work towards improving guideline adherence in clinical practice. In our study, physicians with long-term clinical experience and doctors in outpatient settings perceived more barriers, which should be taken into account when planning strategies in improving the use of guidelines. Informed by the results of the survey, leading health authorities are making an effort to develop specially designed interventions to implement clinical practice guidelines, including an easily accessible online database.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-455
PMCID: PMC3532376  PMID: 23234504
Clinical practice guidelines; Implementation; Estonia; World health organization; Barriers; Facilitators
10.  Use of medical informatics to implement and develop clinical practice guidelines. 
Western Journal of Medicine  1998;168(3):166-175.
Clinical practice guidelines have enormous potential to improve the quality of and accountability in health care. Making the most of this potential should become easier as guideline developers integrate guidelines within information systems and electronic medical records. A major barrier to such integration is the lack of computing infrastructure in many clinical settings. To successfully implement guidelines in information systems, developers must create more specific recommendations than those that have been required for traditional guidelines. Using reusable software components to create guidelines can make the development of protocols faster and less expensive. In addition, using decision models to produce guidelines enables developers to structure guideline problems systematically, to prioritize information acquisition, to develop site-specific guidelines, and to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the explicit incorporation of patient preferences into guideline recommendations. Ongoing research provides a foundation for the use of guideline development tools that can help developers tailor guidelines appropriately to their practice settings. This article explores how medical informatics can help clinicians find, use, and create practice guidelines.
Images
PMCID: PMC1304856  PMID: 9549415
11.  A Scalable Architecture for Incremental Specification and Maintenance of Procedural and Declarative Clinical Decision-Support Knowledge 
Clinical guidelines have been shown to improve the quality of medical care and to reduce its costs. However, most guidelines exist in a free-text representation and, without automation, are not sufficiently accessible to clinicians at the point of care. A prerequisite for automated guideline application is a machine-comprehensible representation of the guidelines. In this study, we designed and implemented a scalable architecture to support medical experts and knowledge engineers in specifying and maintaining the procedural and declarative aspects of clinical guideline knowledge, resulting in a machine comprehensible representation. The new framework significantly extends our previous work on the Digital electronic Guidelines Library (DeGeL) The current study designed and implemented a graphical framework for specification of declarative and procedural clinical knowledge, Gesher. We performed three different experiments to evaluate the functionality and usability of the major aspects of the new framework: Specification of procedural clinical knowledge, specification of declarative clinical knowledge, and exploration of a given clinical guideline. The subjects included clinicians and knowledge engineers (overall, 27 participants). The evaluations indicated high levels of completeness and correctness of the guideline specification process by both the clinicians and the knowledge engineers, although the best results, in the case of declarative-knowledge specification, were achieved by teams including a clinician and a knowledge engineer. The usability scores were high as well, although the clinicians’ assessment was significantly lower than the assessment of the knowledge engineers.
doi:10.2174/1874431101004010255
PMCID: PMC3099486  PMID: 21611137
Medical informatics; clinical guidelines; decision support systems; knowledge representation; knowledge acquisition; knowledge bases; ontologies; information retrieval; human computer interaction; artificial intelligence; digital libraries; service oriented architecture.
12.  Diabetes and hypertension guidelines and the primary health care practitioner in Barbados: knowledge, attitudes, practices and barriers-a focus group study 
BMC Family Practice  2010;11:96.
Background
Audits have shown numerous deficiencies in the quality of hypertension and diabetes primary care in Barbados, despite distribution of regional guidelines. This study aimed to evaluate the knowledge, attitudes and practices, and the barriers faced by primary care practitioners in Barbados concerning the recommendations of available diabetes and hypertension guidelines.
Methods
Focus groups using a moderator's manual were conducted at all 8 public sector polyclinics, and 5 sessions were held for private practitioners.
Results
Polyclinic sessions were attended by 63 persons (17 physicians, 34 nurses, 3 dieticians, 3 podiatrists, 5 pharmacists, and 1 other), and private sector sessions by 20 persons (12 physicians, 1 nurse, 3 dieticians, 2 podiatrists and 2 pharmacists).
Practitioners generally thought they gave a good quality of care. Commonwealth Caribbean Medical Research Council 1995 diabetes and 1998 hypertension guidelines, and the Ministry of Health 2001 diabetes protocol had been seen by 38%, 32% and 78% respectively of polyclinic practitioners, 67%, 83%, and 33% of private physicians, and 25%, 0% and 38% of non-physician private practitioners. Current guidelines were considered by some to be outdated, unavailable, difficult to remember and lacking in advice to tackle barriers. Practitioners thought that guidelines should be circulated widely, promoted with repeated educational sessions, and kept short. Patient oriented versions of the guidelines were welcomed.
Patient factors causing barriers to ideal outcome included denial and fear of stigma; financial resources to access an appropriate diet, exercise and monitoring equipment; confusion over medication regimens, not valuing free medication, belief in alternative medicines, and being unable to change habits. System barriers included lack of access to blood investigations, clinic equipment and medication; the lack of human resources in polyclinics; and an uncoordinated team approach. Patients faced cultural barriers with regards to meals, exercise, appropriate body size, footwear, medication taking, and taking responsibility for one's health; and difficulty getting time off work to attend clinic.
Conclusions
Guidelines need to be promoted repeatedly, and implemented with strategies to overcome barriers. Their development and implementation must be guided by input from all providers on the primary health care team.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-11-96
PMCID: PMC3014884  PMID: 21129180
13.  Designing fault-tolerant distributed archives for picture archiving and communication systems 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2001;14(Suppl 1):80-83.
Purpose: Distributed archives in a picture archiving and communication system (PACS) environment can provide added fault tolerance and fail-over capability, as well as increased load capacity at a more economical price than traditional “high-availability” systems. Systems can be configured with varying levels of fault tolerance, depending on the amountof redundancy desired. There is, however, a direct correlation between the level of hardware redundancy and cost to implement. This presentation details the system design for fault-tolerant distributed archives as well as several options for redundancy, referencing implementation of a fault-tolerant archivesystem at the University of Utah.Methods: The distributed archive system described here is based on Image Devices’ image archive software, which can be implemented on multiple individual archive servers in order to distribute archive functionality and operational load. The configuration and implementation of the individual servers together make up the distributed archive system and does not impact the ability of the system to be scaled to meet future requirements. Several implementation and configuration options exist, including the ability for servers to maintain replicated databases containing pateintand image information. Thus, each archive can be aware of all information and the location of this information within the distributed archive system.Results: The goal is to produce systems that will still be operational in the event of any single point of failure, ie, a network connection failure between facilities or the failure of asingle archive server within the distributed system. During normal operation, workload forimage acquisition, image routing and image query requests will be distributed between the archive servers. If the system is deployed in a multifacility environment, each archive server can be configured to be responsible for the acquisition and image distribution management within that server’s localfacility. If the system is deployed in a single facility environment, load can be distributed evenly between the archive servers based on an understanding of the workload requirements generated be each acquisition and display device in the system. In the event that an archive server fails, other archive servers within the system will have the ability to provide redundancy employed. Three levels of fault-tolerant design can be achieved with this system architecture: (1) duplicate work capability only; (2) duplicate work capability and short-term image cache; (3) duplicate work capability,short-term image cache, and long-term image archival. Using the basic fault-tolerant design above, we have implemented a multifacility distributedarchive system at the University of Utah. This system was implemented at a fraction of the cost of true “high-availability” archive architectures yet provides constant up time for the PACS system. If the network connection between thetwo locations goes down, each siteis still fully functional for soft-copy read, as well as image acquisition and distribution. If either of the archiveservers goes down, the image sources are redirected to the other archive server. The operational server then handles image distribution for both locations. Access to images in the short-term image cache is available to both archive servers and is not affected by loss of the network connection or remoteserver. Because there is ony one long-term archivedevice, the ability to retrieve images from long-term storage is theonly function compromised by a network or server failure.Conclusion: By implementing distributed archives in a PACS environment, it is possible to achieve a highly fault-tolerant system without the expense of high-availability hardware and software. The design concepts outlined here can be applied to any PACS system that supports distributed archive functionality.
doi:10.1007/BF03190303
PMCID: PMC3452698  PMID: 11442129
14.  A Smartphone Client-Server Teleradiology System for Primary Diagnosis of Acute Stroke 
Background
Recent advances in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke have made rapid acquisition, visualization, and interpretation of images a key factor for positive patient outcomes. We have developed a new teleradiology system based on a client-server architecture that enables rapid access to interactive advanced 2-D and 3-D visualization on a current generation smartphone device (Apple iPhone or iPod Touch, or an Android phone) without requiring patient image data to be stored on the device. Instead, a server loads and renders the patient images, then transmits a rendered frame to the remote device.
Objective
Our objective was to determine if a new smartphone client-server teleradiology system is capable of providing accuracies and interpretation times sufficient for diagnosis of acute stroke.
Methods
This was a retrospective study. We obtained 120 recent consecutive noncontrast computed tomography (NCCT) brain scans and 70 computed tomography angiogram (CTA) head scans from the Calgary Stroke Program database. Scans were read by two neuroradiologists, one on a medical diagnostic workstation and an iPod or iPhone (hereafter referred to as an iOS device) and the other only on an iOS device. NCCT brain scans were evaluated for early signs of infarction, which includes early parenchymal ischemic changes and dense vessel sign, and to exclude acute intraparenchymal hemorrhage and stroke mimics. CTA brain scans were evaluated for any intracranial vessel occlusion. The interpretations made on an iOS device were compared with those made at a workstation. The total interpretation times were recorded for both platforms. Interrater agreement was assessed. True positives, true negatives, false positives, and false negatives were obtained, and sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of detecting the abnormalities on the iOS device were computed.
Results
The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of detecting intraparenchymal hemorrhage were 100% using the iOS device with a perfect interrater agreement (kappa = 1). The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of detecting acute parenchymal ischemic change were 94.1%, 100%, and 98.09% respectively for reader 1 and 97.05%, 100%, and 99.04% for reader 2 with nearly perfect interrater agreement (kappa = .8). The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of detecting dense vessel sign were 100%, 95.4%, and 96.19% respectively for reader 1 and 72.2%, 100%, and 95.23% for reader 2 using the iOS device with a good interrater agreement (kappa = .69). The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of detecting vessel occlusion on CT angiography scans were 94.4%, 100%, and 98.46% respectively for both readers using the iOS device, with perfect interrater agreement (kappa = 1). No significant difference (P < .05) was noted in the interpretation time between the workstation and iOS device.
Conclusion
The smartphone client-server teleradiology system appears promising and may have the potential to allow urgent management decisions in acute stroke. However, this study was retrospective, involved relatively few patient studies, and only two readers. Generalizing conclusions about its clinical utility, especially in other diagnostic use cases, should not be made until additional studies are performed.
doi:10.2196/jmir.1732
PMCID: PMC3221380  PMID: 21550961
Acute stroke; teleradiology; computed tomography; mhealth; mobile phone
15.  Why don't physicians adhere to guideline recommendations in practice? An analysis of barriers among Dutch general practitioners 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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%).
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-4-54
PMCID: PMC2734568  PMID: 19674440
16.  Radiologist’s clinical information review workstation interfaced with digital dictation system 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2000;13(Suppl 1):45-48.
Efficient access to information systems integrated into the radiologist’s interpretation workflow will result in a more informed radiologist, with an enhanced capability to render an accurate interpretation. We describe our implementation of radStation, a radiologist’s clinical information review workstation that combines a digital dictation station with a clinical information display. radStation uses client software distributed to the radiologist’s workstation and central server software, both running Windows NT (Microsoft, Redmond, WA). The client sytem has integrated digital dictation software. The bar-code microphone (Boomerang, Dictaphone Corp, Stratford, CT) also serves as a computer input device forwarding the procedure’s accession number to the server software. This initiates multiple quaries to available lagacy databases, including the radiology information system (RIS), laboratory information system, clinic notes, hospital discharge, and operative report system. The three-tier architecture then returns the clinical results to the radStation client for display. At the conclusion of the dictation, the digital voice file is transferred to the dictation server and the client notifies the RIS to update the examination status. The system is efficient in its information retrieval, with queries displayed in about 1 second. The radStation client requires less than 5 minutes of radiologist training in its operation, given that its control interface integrates with the well-learned dictation process. The telephone-based dictation system, which this new system replaced, remains available as a back-up system in the event of an unexpected digital dictation system failure. This system is well accepted and valued by the radiologists. The system interface is quickly mastered. The system does not interrupt dictation workflow with the display of all information initiated with examination bar-coding. This system’s features could become an accepted model as a standard tool for radiologists.
doi:10.1007/BF03167623
PMCID: PMC3453296  PMID: 10847361
17.  The feasibility of automating audit and feedback for ART guideline adherence in Malawi 
Objective
To determine the feasibility of using electronic medical record (EMR) data to provide audit and feedback of antiretroviral therapy (ART) clinical guideline adherence to healthcare workers (HCWs) in Malawi.
Materials and methods
We evaluated recommendations from Malawi's ART guidelines using GuideLine Implementability Appraisal criteria. Recommendations that passed selected criteria were converted into ratio-based performance measures. We queried representative EMR data to determine the feasibility of generating feedback for each performance measure, summed clinical encounters representing each performance measure's denominator, and then measured the distribution of encounter frequency for individual HCWs across nurse and clinical officer groups.
Results
We analyzed 423 831 encounters in the EMR data and generated automated feedback for 21 recommendations (12%) from Malawi's ART guidelines. We identified 11 nurse recommendations and eight clinical officer recommendations. Individual nurses and clinical officers had an average of 45 and 59 encounters per month, per recommendation, respectively. Another 37 recommendations (21%) would support audit and feedback if additional routine EMR data are captured and temporal constraints are modeled.
Discussion
It appears feasible to implement automated guideline adherence feedback that could potentially improve HCW performance and supervision. Feedback reports may support workplace learning by increasing HCWs' opportunities to reflect on their performance.
Conclusion
A moderate number of recommendations from Malawi's ART guidelines can be used to generate automated guideline adherence feedback using existing EMR data. Further study is needed to determine the receptivity of HCWs to peer comparison feedback and barriers to implementation of automated audit and feedback in low-resource settings.
doi:10.1136/amiajnl-2011-000097
PMCID: PMC3197989  PMID: 21565857
eHealth; HIV/AIDS; audit and feedback; clinical practice guidelines; low-resource settings; JAMIA; Point of care; touchscreen systems; developing world; malawi; improving patient care; ICT4D; human-computer interaction and human-centered computing; intelligent tutoring and tailored information representation; improving the education and skills training of health professionals
18.  Clinical Practice Guideline Implementation Strategy Patterns in Veterans Affairs Primary Care Clinics 
Health Services Research  2007;42(1 Pt 1):84-103.
Background
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mandated the system-wide implementation of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) in the mid-1990s, arming all facilities with basic resources to facilitate implementation; despite this resource allocation, significant variability still exists across VA facilities in implementation success.
Objective
This study compares CPG implementation strategy patterns used by high and low performing primary care clinics in the VA.
Research Design
Descriptive, cross-sectional study of a purposeful sample of six Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs) with high and low performance on six CPGs.
Subjects
One hundred and two employees (management, quality improvement, clinic personnel) involved with guideline implementation at each VAMC primary care clinic.
Measures
Participants reported specific strategies used by their facility to implement guidelines in 1-hour semi-structured interviews. Facilities were classified as high or low performers based on their guideline adherence scores calculated through independently conducted chart reviews.
Findings
High performing facilities (HPFs) (a) invested significantly in the implementation of the electronic medical record and locally adapting it to provider needs, (b) invested dedicated resources to guideline-related initiatives, and (c) exhibited a clear direction in their strategy choices. Low performing facilities exhibited (a) earlier stages of development for their electronic medical record, (b) reliance on preexisting resources for guideline implementation, with little local adaptation, and (c) no clear direction in their strategy choices.
Conclusion
A multifaceted, yet targeted, strategic approach to guideline implementation emphasizing dedicated resources and local adaptation may result in more successful implementation and higher guideline adherence than relying on standardized resources and taxing preexisting channels.
doi:10.1111/j.1475-6773.2006.00610.x
PMCID: PMC1955743  PMID: 17355583
Guidelines; qualitative research; implementation research; evidence based medicine; health services research
19.  Bridging the Guideline Implementation Gap: A Systematic, Document-Centered Approach to Guideline Implementation 
Objective: A gap exists between the information contained in published clinical practice guidelines and the knowledge and information that are necessary to implement them. This work describes a process to systematize and make explicit the translation of document-based knowledge into workflow-integrated clinical decision support systems.
Design: This approach uses the Guideline Elements Model (GEM) to represent the guideline knowledge. Implementation requires a number of steps to translate the knowledge contained in guideline text into a computable format and to integrate the information into clinical workflow. The steps include: (1) selection of a guideline and specific recommendations for implementation, (2) markup of the guideline text, (3) atomization, (4) deabstraction and (5) disambiguation of recommendation concepts, (6) verification of rule set completeness, (7) addition of explanations, (8) building executable statements, (9) specification of origins of decision variables and insertions of recommended actions, (10) definition of action types and selection of associated beneficial services, (11) choice of interface components, and (12) creation of requirement specification.
Results: The authors illustrate these component processes using examples drawn from recent experience translating recommendations from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's guideline on management of chronic asthma into a workflow-integrated decision support system that operates within the Logician electronic health record system.
Conclusion: Using the guideline document as a knowledge source promotes authentic translation of domain knowledge and reduces the overall complexity of the implementation task. From this framework, we believe that a better understanding of activities involved in guideline implementation will emerge.
doi:10.1197/jamia.M1444
PMCID: PMC516249  PMID: 15187061
20.  Effectiveness of electronic guideline-based implementation systems in ambulatory care settings - a systematic review 
Background
Electronic guideline-based decision support systems have been suggested to successfully deliver the knowledge embedded in clinical practice guidelines. A number of studies have already shown positive findings for decision support systems such as drug-dosing systems and computer-generated reminder systems for preventive care services.
Methods
A systematic literature search (1990 to December 2008) of the English literature indexed in the Medline database, Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and CRD (DARE, HTA and NHS EED databases) was conducted to identify evaluation studies of electronic multi-step guideline implementation systems in ambulatory care settings. Important inclusion criterions were the multidimensionality of the guideline (the guideline needed to consist of several aspects or steps) and real-time interaction with the system during consultation. Clinical decision support systems such as one-time reminders for preventive care for which positive findings were shown in earlier reviews were excluded. Two comparisons were considered: electronic multidimensional guidelines versus usual care (comparison one) and electronic multidimensional guidelines versus other guideline implementation methods (comparison two).
Results
Twenty-seven publications were selected for analysis in this systematic review. Most designs were cluster randomized controlled trials investigating process outcomes more than patient outcomes. With success defined as at least 50% of the outcome variables being significant, none of the studies were successful in improving patient outcomes. Only seven of seventeen studies that investigated process outcomes showed improvements in process of care variables compared with the usual care group (comparison one). No incremental effect of the electronic implementation over the distribution of paper versions of the guideline was found, neither for the patient outcomes nor for the process outcomes (comparison two).
Conclusions
There is little evidence at the moment for the effectiveness of an increasingly used and commercialised instrument such as electronic multidimensional guidelines. After more than a decade of development of numerous electronic systems, research on the most effective implementation strategy for this kind of guideline-based decision support systems is still lacking. This conclusion implies a considerable risk towards inappropriate investments in ineffective implementation interventions and in suboptimal care.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-4-82
PMCID: PMC2806389  PMID: 20042070
21.  Building national electronic medical record systems via the World Wide Web. 
Electronic medical record systems (EMRSs) currently do not lend themselves easily to cross-institutional clinical care and research. Unique system designs coupled with a lack of standards have led to this difficulty. The authors have designed a preliminary EMRS architecture (W3-EMRS) that exploits the multiplatform, multiprotocol, client-server technology of the World Wide Web. The architecture abstracts the clinical information model and the visual presentation away from the underlying EMRS. As a result, computation upon data elements of the EMRS and their presentation are no longer tied to the underlying EMRS structures. The architecture is intended to enable implementation of programs that provide uniform access to multiple, heterogeneous legacy EMRSs. The authors have implemented an initial prototype of W3-EMRS that accesses the database of the Boston Children's Hospital Clinician's Workstation.
PMCID: PMC116301  PMID: 8723610
22.  Implementation of a Next-Generation Electronic Nursing Records System Based on Detailed Clinical Models and Integration of Clinical Practice Guidelines 
Healthcare Informatics Research  2013;19(4):301-306.
Objectives
The purpose of this paper is to describe the components of a next-generation electronic nursing records system ensuring full semantic interoperability and integrating evidence into the nursing records system.
Methods
A next-generation electronic nursing records system based on detailed clinical models and clinical practice guidelines was developed at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital in 2013. This system has two components, a terminology server and a nursing documentation system.
Results
The terminology server manages nursing narratives generated from entity-attribute-value triplets of detailed clinical models using a natural language generation system. The nursing documentation system provides nurses with a set of nursing narratives arranged around the recommendations extracted from clinical practice guidelines.
Conclusions
An electronic nursing records system based on detailed clinical models and clinical practice guidelines was successfully implemented in a hospital in Korea. The next-generation electronic nursing records system can support nursing practice and nursing documentation, which in turn will improve data quality.
doi:10.4258/hir.2013.19.4.301
PMCID: PMC3920043  PMID: 24523995
Computerized Medical Records Systems; Nursing Records; Semantics; Evidence-Based Practice
23.  The development of a guideline implementability tool (GUIDE-IT): a qualitative study of family physician perspectives 
BMC Family Practice  2014;15:19.
Background
The potential of clinical practice guidelines has not been realized due to inconsistent adoption in clinical practice. Optimising intrinsic characteristics of guidelines (e.g., its wording and format) that are associated with uptake (as perceived by their end users) may have potential. Using findings from a realist review on guideline uptake and consultation with experts in guideline development, we designed a conceptual version of a future tool called Guideline Implementability Tool (GUIDE-IT). The tool will aim to involve family physicians in the guideline development process by providing a process to assess draft guideline recommendations. This feedback will then be given back to developers to consider when finalizing the recommendations. As guideline characteristics are best assessed by end-users, the objectives of the current study were to explore how family physicians perceive guideline implementability, and to determine what components should comprise the final GUIDE-IT prototype.
Methods
We conducted a qualitative study with family physicians inToronto, Ontario. Two experienced investigators conducted one-hour interviews with family physicians using a semi-structured interview guide to 1) elicit feedback on perceptions on guideline implementability; 2) to generate a discussion in response to three draft recommendations; and 3) to provide feedback on the conceptual GUIDE-IT. Sessions were audio taped and transcribed verbatim. Data collection and analysis were guided by content analyses.
Results
20 family physicians participated. They perceived guideline uptake according to facilitators and barriers across 6 categories of guideline implementability (format, content, language, usability, development, and the practice environment). Participants’ feedback on 3 draft guideline recommendations were grouped according to guideline perception, cognition, and agreement. When asked to comment on GUIDE-IT, most respondents believed that the tool would be useful, but urged to involve “regular” or community family physicians in the process, and suggested that an online system would be the most efficient way to deliver it.
Conclusions
Our study identified facilitators and barriers of guideline implementability from the perspective of community and academic family physicians that will be used to build our GUIDE-IT prototype. Our findings build on current knowledge by showing that family physicians perceive guideline uptake mostly according to factors that are in the control of guideline developers.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-15-19
PMCID: PMC4016596  PMID: 24476491
Guideline implementability; Family practice; Knowledge translation; Qualitative
24.  The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis: an electronic guideline implementability appraisal 
Background
Clinical guidelines are intended to improve healthcare. However, even if guidelines are excellent, their implementation is not assured. In subfertility care, the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) guidelines have been inventoried, and their methodological quality has been assessed. To improve the impact of the ESHRE guidelines and to improve European subfertility care, it is important to optimise the implementability of guidelines. We therefore investigated the implementation barriers of the ESHRE guideline with the best methodological quality and evaluated the used instrument for usability and feasibility.
Methods
We reviewed the ESHRE guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis to assess its implementability. We used an electronic version of the guideline implementability appraisal (eGLIA) instrument. This eGLIA tool consists of 31 questions grouped into 10 dimensions. Seven items address the guideline as a whole, and 24 items assess the individual recommendations in the guideline. The eGLIA instrument identifies factors that influence the implementability of the guideline recommendations. These factors can be divided into facilitators that promote implementation and barriers that oppose implementation. A panel of 10 experts from three European countries appraised all 36 recommendations of the guideline. They discussed discrepancies in a teleconference and completed a questionnaire to evaluate the ease of use and overall utility of the eGLIA instrument.
Results
Two of the 36 guideline recommendations were straightforward to implement. Five recommendations were considered simply statements because they contained no actions. The remaining 29 recommendations were implementable with some adjustments. We found facilitators of the guideline implementability in the quality of decidability, presentation and formatting, apparent validity, and novelty or innovation of the recommendations. Vaguely defined actions, lack of facilities, immeasurable outcomes, and inflexibility within the recommendations formed barriers to implementation. The eGLIA instrument was generally useful and easy to use. However, assessment with the eGLIA instrument is very time-consuming.
Conclusions
The ESHRE guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis could be improved to facilitate its implementation in daily practice. The eGLIA instrument is a helpful tool for identifying obstacles to implementation of a guideline. However, we recommend a concise version of this instrument.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-6-7
PMCID: PMC3034686  PMID: 21247418
25.  OzCare: a workflow automation system for care plans. 
An automated environment for implementing and monitoring care plans and practice guidelines is very important to the reduction of hospital costs and optimization of medical care. The goal of our research effort is to design a general system architecture that facilitates the implementation of (potentially) numerous care plans. Our approach is unique in that we apply the principles and technologies of Oz a multi-user collaborative workflow system that has been used as a software engineering environment framework, to hospital care planning. We utilize not only the workflow modeling and execution facilities of Oz, but also its open-system architecture to interface it with the World Wide Web, the Medical Logic Module server, and other components of the clinical information system. Our initial proof-of-concept system, OzCare, is constructed on top of the existing Oz system. Through several experiments in which we used this system to implement some Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center care plans, we demonstrated that our system is capable and flexible for care plan automation.
PMCID: PMC2233191  PMID: 8947732

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