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.
Urinary tract infections (UTI) are among the most common health problems seen in general practice. Evidence-based guidelines on UTI are available, but adherence to these guidelines varies widely among practitioners for reasons not well understood. The aim of this study was to identify the barriers to the implementation of a guideline on UTI perceived by Dutch general practitioners (GPs) and to explore interventions to overcome these barriers.
A focus group study, including 13 GPs working in general practices in the Netherlands, was conducted. Key recommendations on diagnosis and treatment of uncomplicated UTI were selected from the guideline. Barriers to guideline adherence and possible interventions to address these barriers were discussed. The focus group session was audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. Barriers were classified according to an existing framework.
Lack of agreement with the recommendations, unavailable and inconvenient materials (i.e. dipslides), and organisational constraints were perceived as barriers for the diagnostic recommendations. Barriers to implementing the treatment recommendations were lack of applicability and organisational constraints related to the availability of drugs in pharmacies. Suggested interventions were to provide small group education to GPs and practice staff members, to improve organisation and coordination of care in out of hour services, to improve the availability of preferred dosages of drugs, and to pilot-test guidelines regionally.
Despite sufficient knowledge of the recommendations on UTI, attitudinal and external barriers made it difficult to follow them in practice. The care concerning UTI could be optimized if these barriers are adequately addressed in implementation strategies. The feasibility and success of these strategies could be improved by involving the target group of the guideline in selecting useful interventions to address the barriers to implementation.
Implementation of guidelines in clinical practice is difficult. In 2003, the German College of General Practitioners and Family Physicians (DEGAM) released an evidence-based guideline for the management of low back pain (LBP) in primary care. The objective of this study is to explore the acceptance of guideline content and perceived barriers to implementation.
Seventy-two general practitioners (GPs) participating in quality circles within the framework of an educational intervention study for guideline implementation evaluated the LBP-guideline and its practicability with a standardised questionnaire. In addition, statements of group discussions were recorded using the metaplan technique and were incorporated in the discussion.
Most GPs agree with the guideline content but believe that guideline stipulations are not congruent with patient wishes. Non-adherence to the guideline and contradictory information for patients by other professionals (e.g., GPs, orthopaedic surgeons, physiotherapists) are important barriers to guideline adherence. Almost half of the GPs have no access to recommended multimodal pain programs for patients with chronic LBP.
Promoting adherence to the LBP guideline requires more than enhancing knowledge about evidence-based management of LBP. Public education and an interdisciplinary consensus are important requirements for successful guideline implementation into daily practice. Guideline recommendations need to be adapted to the infrastructure of the health care system.
BMBF Grant Nr. 01EM0113. FORIS (database for research projects in social science) Reg #: 20040116 .
Despite efforts to disseminate guidelines for managing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), adherence to COPD guidelines remains suboptimal. Barriers to adhering to guidelines remain poorly understood.
Clinicians from two general medicine practices in New York City were surveyed to identify barriers to implementing seven recommendations from the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) guidelines. Barriers assessed included unfamiliarity, disagreement, low perceived benefit, low self-efficacy, and time constraints. Exact conditional regression was used to identify barriers independently associated with non-adherence.
The survey was completed by 154 clinicians. Adherence was lowest to referring patients with a forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) <80% predicted to pulmonary rehabilitation (5%); using FEV1 to guide management (12%); and ordering pulmonary function tests (PFTs) in smokers (17%). Adherence was intermediate to prescribing inhaled corticosteroids when FEV1 <50% predicted (41%) and long-acting bronchodilators when FEV1 <80% predicted (54%). Adherence was highest for influenza vaccination (90%) and smoking cessation counseling (91%). In unadjusted analyses, low familiarity with the guidelines, low self-efficacy, and time constraints were significantly associated with non-adherence to ≥2 recommendations. In adjusted analyses, low self-efficacy was associated with less adherence to prescribing inhaled corticosteroids (OR: 0.28; 95% CI: 0.10, 0.74) and time constraints were associated with less adherence to ordering PFTs in smokers (OR: 0.31; 95% CI: 0.08, 0.99).
Poor familiarity with recommendations, low self-efficacy, and time constraints are important barriers to adherence to COPD guidelines. This information can be used to develop tailored interventions to improve guideline adherence.
COPD; guidelines; adherence; primary care
BACKGROUND: The use of clinical guidelines in general practice is often limited. Research on barriers to guideline adherence usually focuses on attitudinal factors. Factors linked to the guideline itself are much less studied. AIM: To identify characteristics of effective clinical guidelines for general practice, and to explore whether these differ between therapeutic and diagnostic recommendations. DESIGN OF STUDY: Analysis of performance data from an audit study of 200 general practitioners (GPs) in The Netherlands conducted in 1997. SETTING: Panel of 12 GPs in The Netherlands who were familiar with guideline methodology. METHOD: A set of 12 attributes, including six potential facilitators and six potential barriers to guideline use, was formulated. The panel assessed the presence of these attributes in 96 guideline recommendations formulated by the Dutch College of General Practitioners. The attributes of recommendations with high compliance rates (70% to 100%) were compared with those with low compliance rates (0% to 60%). RESULTS: Recommendations with high compliance rates were to a lesser extent those requiring new skills (7% compared with 22% in recommendations with low compliance rates), were less often part of a complex decision tree (12% versus 25%), were more compatible with existing norms and values in practice (87% versus 76%), and more often supported with evidence (47% versus 31%). For diagnostic recommendations, the ease of applying them and the potential (negative) reactions of patients were more relevant than for therapeutic recommendations. CONCLUSION: To bridge the gap between research and practice, the evidence as well as the applicability should be considered when formulating recommendations. If the recommendations are not compatible with existing norms and values, not easy to follow or require new knowledge and skills, appropriate implementation strategies should be designed to ensure change in daily practice.
Reporting guidelines have been available for the past 17 years since the inception of the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials statement in 1996. These guidelines were developed to improve the quality of reporting of studies in medical literature. Despite the widespread availability of these guidelines, the quality of reporting of medical literature remained suboptimal. In this study, we assess the current adherence practice to reporting guidelines; determine key factors associated with better adherence to these guidelines; and provide recommendations to enhance adherence to reporting guidelines for future studies.
We undertook a systematic scoping review of systematic reviews of adherence to reporting guidelines across different clinical areas and study designs. We searched four electronic databases (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Web of Science, Embase, and Medline) from January 1996 to September 2012. Studies were included if they addressed adherence to one of the following guidelines: Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT), Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA), Quality of Reporting of Meta-analysis (QUOROM), Transparent Reporting of Evaluations with Nonrandomized Designs (TREND), Meta-analysis Of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) and Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE). A protocol for this study was devised. A literature search, data extraction, and quality assessment were performed independently by two authors in duplicate. This study reporting follows the PRISMA guidelines.
Our search retrieved 5159 titles, of which 50 were eligible. Overall, 86.0% of studies reported suboptimal levels of adherence to reporting guidelines. Factors associated with better adherence included journal impact factor and endorsement of guidelines, publication date, funding source, multisite studies, pharmacological interventions and larger studies.
Reporting guidelines in the clinical literature are important to improve the standards of reporting of clinical studies; however, adherence to these guidelines remains suboptimal. Action is therefore needed to enhance the adherence to these standards. Strategies to enhance adherence include journal editorial policies endorsing these guidelines.
scoping; systematic; review; adherence; reporting; guidelines
ABSTRACT Good guidelines will help us to take evidence into practice. In a survey among Dutch orthopedic surgeons, development and use of evidence-based guidelines was perceived as one of the best ways of moving from opinion-based to evidence-based orthopedic practice. The increasing number of guidelines means that knowing how to make a critical appraisal of guidelines is now a key part of every surgeon’s life. This is particularly true because guidelines use varying systems to judge the quality of evidence and the strength of recommendations. In this manuscript we discuss what a guideline is, where we can find guidelines, how to evaluate the quality of guidelines, and finally provide an example on the different steps of guideline development. Thus, we show that good guidelines are a summary of the best available evidence and that they provide a graded recommendation to help surgeons in evidence-based practice.
BACKGROUND: There is concern about the apparent lack of uptake of management and referral guideline information by general practitioners (GPs) in their day-to-day consultations with patients. Little is understood about the barriers to the uptake of guidelines as perceived by GPs. AIMS: To explore how GPs gain access to and use guidelines, including computer-based guidelines, in day-to-day consultations with their patients; and to identify the perceived problems and barriers to the use of guidelines in such situations. METHOD: Postal questionnaires enquiring about the practices and attitudes towards the use of guidelines in general practice were completed by 391 of 600 randomly selected GPs in the South and West NHS region. RESULTS: GPs found guidelines a useful method of accessing expert information. Key factors in their uptake were brevity, an authoritative and unbiased source of evidence, and resonance with the GP's usual practices; they also needed to be flexible enough to incorporate individual viewpoints. Guidelines were perceived as being valuable to enable safe delegation of care to other health professionals and for sharing decision-making with patients. Dissemination of guidelines through the medium of computers was acceptable to the majority of GPs. Virtually all (93%) responders reported adapting guidelines to the needs of individual patients. Older GPs from non-fundholding practices were least likely to show a positive attitude towards guidelines. CONCLUSION: In principle, there is a very positive attitude towards the use of guidelines in general practice. However, those developing guidelines for use by GPs in the consulting room need to be aware of the factors that facilitate their use in practice. Educational strategies aimed at increasing the use of guidelines need to take into account the significant proportion who show negative attitudes towards guidelines, whose characteristics have been identified in this study.
Tobacco use adversely affects oral health. Tobacco use prevention and cessation (TUPAC) counselling guidelines recommend that healthcare providers ask about each patient's tobacco use, assess the patient's readiness and willingness to stop, document tobacco use habits, advise the patient to stop, assist and help in quitting, and arrange monitoring of progress at follow-up appointments. Adherence to such guidelines, especially among dental providers, is poor. To improve guideline implementation, it is essential to understand factors influencing it and find effective ways to influence those factors. The aim of the present study protocol is to introduce a theory-based approach to diagnose implementation difficulties of TUPAC counselling guidelines among dental providers.
Theories of behaviour change have been used to identify key theoretical domains relevant to the behaviours of healthcare providers involved in implementing clinical guidelines. These theoretical domains will inform the development of a questionnaire aimed at assessing the implementation of the TUPAC counselling guidelines among Finnish municipal dental providers. Specific items will be drawn from the guidelines and the literature on TUPAC studies. After identifying potential implementation difficulties, we will design two interventions using theories of behaviour change to link them with relevant behaviour change techniques aiming to improve guideline adherence. For assessing the implementation of TUPAC guidelines, the electronic dental record audit and self-reported questionnaires will be used.
To improve guideline adherence, the theoretical-domains approach could provide a comprehensive basis for assessing implementation difficulties, as well as designing and evaluating interventions. After having identified implementation difficulties, we will design and test two interventions to enhance TUPAC guideline adherence. Using the cluster randomised controlled design, we aim to provide further evidence on intervention effects, as well as on the validity and feasibility of the theoretical-domain approach. The empirical data collected within this trial will be useful in testing whether this theoretical-domain approach can improve our understanding of the implementation of TUPAC guidelines among dental providers.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN15427433
Madelaine van der Meulen, social scientist
Dirk Wijkel, social scientist
Objective—To assess the relative contribution of patient and care provider characteristics to the adherence of general practitioners (GPs) and midwives to two specific recommendations in the Dutch national guidelines on imminent miscarriage. The study focused on performing physical examinations at the first contact and making a follow up appointment after 10 days because these are essential recommendations and there was much variation in adherence between different groups of providers.
Design—Prospective recording by GPs and midwives of care provided for patients with symptoms of imminent miscarriage.
Setting—General practices and midwifery practices in the Netherlands.
Subjects—73 GPs and 38 midwives who agreed to adhere to the guidelines; 391 patients were recorded during a period of 12 months.
Main measures—Adherence to physical examinations and making a follow up appointment were measured as part of a larger prospective recording study on adherence to the guidelines on imminent miscarriage. Patient and care provider characteristics were obtained from case recordings and interviews, respectively. Multilevel analysis was performed to assess the contribution of several care provider and patient characteristics to adherence to two selected recommendations: the number of recommended physical examinations at the first contact and the number of days before a follow up appointment took place.
Results—In the multilevel model explaining variance in adherence to physical examinations, the care provider's acceptance of the recommendations was the most important factor. Severity of symptoms and referral to an obstetrician were significant factors at the patient level. In the model for follow up appointments the characteristics of the care provider were less important. Referral to an obstetrician and probability diagnosis were significant factors at the patient level.
Conclusions—The study showed that characteristics of both the patient and care provider contribute to the variability in adherence. Furthermore, the contribution of the characteristics differed per recommendation. It is therefore advised that the contribution of both patient and care provider characteristics per recommendation should be carefully examined. If implementation is to be successful, strategies should be developed to address these specific contributions.
(Quality in Health Care 2000;9:106–110)
Key Words: guidelines; miscarriage; implementation
Guidelines for the management of low back pain (LBP) have existed for many years, but adherence to these by health care practitioners (HCPs) remains suboptimal. The aim of this study was to measure the attitudes, beliefs and reported clinical behaviour of UK physiotherapists (PTs) and general practitioners (GPs) about LBP and to explore the associations between these. A cross-sectional postal survey of GPs (n = 2000) and PTs (n = 2000) was conducted that included the Pain Attitudes and Beliefs Scale (PABT.PT), and a vignette of a patient with non-specific LBP (NSLBP) with questions asking about recommendations for work, activity and bedrest. Data from 1022 respondents (442 GPs and 580 PTs) who had recently treated patients with LBP were analysed. Although the majority of HCPs reported providing advice for the vignette patient that was broadly in line with guideline recommendations, 28% reported they would advise this patient to remain off work. Work advice was significantly related to the PABS.PT scores with higher biomedical (F1,986 = 77.5, p < 0.0001) and lower behavioural (F1,981 = 31.9, p < 0.001) scores associated with advice to remain off work. We have demonstrated that the attitudes and reported practice behaviour of UK GPs and PTs for patients with NSLBP are diverse. Many HCPs held the belief that LBP necessitates some avoidance of activities and work. The attitudes and beliefs of these HCPs were associated with their self-reported clinical behaviour regarding advice about work. Future studies need to investigate whether approaches aimed at modifying these HCP factors can lead to improved patient outcomes.
Attitudes and beliefs; Health care practitioners; Practice behaviour; Low back pain; Survey
Objective: To assess the appropriateness of and variation in intention-to-treat decisions in the management of depression in the Netherlands.
Design: Mailed survey with 22 paper cases (vignettes) based on a population study.
Setting: A random sample from four professional groups in the Dutch mental healthcare system.
Subjects: 264 general practitioners, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and clinical psychologists.
Main outcome measures: Each vignette contained information on a number of patient characteristics taken from three national depression guidelines. The distribution of patient characteristics was based on data from a population study. Respondents were asked to choose the best treatment option and the best treatment setting. For each vignette we examined which of the selected treatments was appropriate according to the recommendations of the three published Dutch clinical guidelines and a panel of experts.
Results: 31% of all intention-to-treat decisions were not consistent with the guidelines. Overall, less severe depression, alcohol abuse, psychotic features, and lack of social resources were related to more inappropriate judgements. There was considerable variation between the professional groups: psychiatrists made more appropriate choices than the other professions although they had the highest rate of overtreatment.
Conclusions: There is sufficient variation in the intentions to treat depression to give it priority in quality assessment and guideline development. Efforts to achieve appropriate care should focus on treatment indications, referral patterns, and overtreatment.
Physicians' heavy workload is often thought to jeopardise the quality of care and to be a barrier to improving quality. The relationship between these has, however, rarely been investigated. In this study quality of care is defined as care 'in accordance with professional guidelines'. In this study we investigated whether GPs with a higher workload adhere less to guidelines than those with a lower workload and whether guideline recommendations that require a greater time investment are less adhered to than those that can save time.
Data were used from the Second Dutch National survey of General Practice (DNSGP-2). This nationwide study was carried out between April 2000 and January 2002.
A multilevel logistic-regression analysis was conducted of 170,677 decisions made by GPs, referring to 41 Guideline Adherence Indicators (GAIs), which were derived from 32 different guidelines. Data were used from 130 GPs, working in 83 practices with 98,577 patients. GP-characteristics as well as guideline characteristics were used as independent variables. Measures include workload (number of contacts), hours spent on continuing medical education, satisfaction with available time, practice characteristics and patient characteristics. Outcome measure is an indicator score, which is 1 when a decision is in accordance with professional guidelines or 0 when the decision deviates from guidelines.
On average, 66% of the decisions GPs made were in accordance with guidelines. No relationship was found between the objective workload of GPs and their adherence to guidelines. Subjective workload (measured on a five point scale) was negatively related to guideline adherence (OR = 0.95). After controlling for all other variables, the variation between GPs in adherence to guideline recommendations showed a range of less than 10%.
84% of the variation in guideline adherence was located at the GAI-level. Which means that the differences in adherence levels between guidelines are much larger than differences between GPs. Guideline recommendations that require an extra time investment during the same consultation are significantly less adhered to: (OR = 0.46), while those that can save time have much higher adherence levels: OR = 1.55). Recommendations that reduce the likelihood of a follow-up consultation for the same problem are also more often adhered to compared to those that have no influence on this (OR = 3.13).
No significant relationship was found between the objective workload of GPs and adherence to guidelines. However, guideline recommendations that require an extra time investment are significantly less well adhered to while those that can save time are significantly more often adhered to.
Caesarean section (CS) rates are rising worldwide. In the Netherlands, the most significant rise is observed in healthy women with a singleton in vertex position between 37 and 42 weeks gestation, whereas it is doubtful whether an improved outcome for the mother or her child was obtained. It can be hypothesized that evidence-based guidelines on CS are not implemented sufficiently.
Therefore, the present study has the following objectives: to develop quality indicators on the decision to perform a CS based on key recommendations from national and international guidelines; to use the quality indicators in order to gain insight into actual adherence of Dutch gynaecologists to guideline recommendations on the performance of a CS; to explore barriers and facilitators that have a direct effect on guideline application regarding CS; and to develop, execute, and evaluate a strategy in order to reduce the CS incidence for a similar neonatal outcome (based on the information gathered in the second and third objectives).
An independent expert panel of Dutch gynaecologists and midwives will develop a set of quality indicators on the decision to perform a CS. These indicators will be used to measure current care in 20 hospitals with a population of 1,000 women who delivered by CS, and a random selection of 1,000 women who delivered vaginally in the same period. Furthermore, by interviewing healthcare professionals and patients, the barriers and facilitators that may influence the decision to perform a CS will be measured. Based on the results, a tailor-made implementation strategy will be developed and tested in a controlled before-and-after study in 12 hospitals (six intervention, six control hospitals) with regard to effectiveness, experiences, and costs.
This study will offer insight into the current CS care and into the hindering and facilitating factors influencing obstetrical policy on CS. Furthermore, it will allow definition of patient categories or situations in which a tailor-made implementation strategy will most likely be meaningful and cost effective, without negatively affecting the outcome for mother and child.
Physician adherence to key recommendations of guidelines for community‐acquired pneumonia (CAP) is often not optimal. A better understanding of factors influencing optimal performance is needed to plan effective change.
The authors used semistructured interviews with care providers in three Dutch medium‐sized hospitals to qualitatively study and understand barriers to appropriate antibiotic use in patients with CAP. They discussed recommendations about the prescription of empirical antibiotic therapy that adheres to the guidelines, timely administration of antibiotics, adjusting antibiotic dosage to accommodate decreased renal function, switching and streamlining therapy, and blood and sputum culturing. The authors then classified the barriers each recommendation faced into categories using a conceptual framework (Cabana).
Eighteen interviews were performed with residents and specialists in pulmonology and internal medicine, with medical microbiologists and a clinical pharmacist. Two additional multidisciplinary small group interviews which included nurses were performed. Each guideline recommendation elicited a different type of barrier. Regarding the choice of guideline‐adherent empirical therapy, treating physicians said that they worried about patient outcome when prescribing narrow‐spectrum antibiotic therapy. Regarding the timeliness of antibiotic administration, barriers such as conflicting guidelines and organisational factors (for example, delayed laboratory results, antibiotics not directly available, lack of time) were reported. Not streamlining therapy after culture results became available was thought to be due to the physicians' attitude of “never change a winning team”.
Efforts to improve the use of antibiotics for patients with CAP should consider the range of barriers that care providers face. Each recommendation meets its own barriers. Interventions to improve adherence should be tailored to these factors.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the feasibility for midwives to adhere to Dutch national guidelines on threatened miscarriage in general practice. DESIGN: Prospective recording of appointments by midwives who agreed to adhere to the guidelines on threatened miscarriage. Interviews with the midwives after they had recorded appointments for one year. SETTING: Midwifery practices in The Netherlands. SUBJECTS: 56 midwives who agreed to adhere to the guidelines; 43 midwives actually made records from 156 clients during a period of 12 months. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Adherence to each recommendation and reasons for non-adherence. RESULTS: The recommendation that a physical examination should take place on the first and also on the follow up appointment was not always adhered to. Reasons for non-adherence were the midwives' criticism of this recommendation, their lack of knowledge or skills, and the specific client situation. Adherence to a follow up appointment after 10 days, a counselling consultation after six weeks, and not performing an ultrasound scan was low. Reasons for non-adherence were mainly based on the midwives' criticism of these recommendations and reluctance on the part of the client. Furthermore, many midwives did not give information and instructions to the client. It is noteworthy that in 13% of the cases the midwife's policy was overridden by the obstetrician taking control of the situation after the midwife had requested an ultrasound scan. CONCLUSIONS: Those recommendations in the guidelines on threatened miscarriage that are most often not adhered to should be reviewed. To reduce conflicts about ultrasound scans and referrals, agreement on the policy on threatened miscarriage should be mutually established between midwives and obstetricians.
In March of 1994, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released guidelines mandating the inclusion of women and minorities in clinical research. Four years later, the NIH released similar guidelines mandating the inclusion of children. These “inclusion guidelines” were created to increase the representation of women, minorities and children in clinical research to address potential harms (real and perceived) created by their exclusion or omission. As designated in the guidelines, Institutional Review Board (IRB), NIH Scientific Review Groups (SRG) and NIH program staff all have responsibility for the evaluation of Principal Investigator (PI) adherence to the inclusion guidelines. The purpose of this survey was to assess the experience with and attitudes of NIH Scientific Review Group (SRG) members with the implementation of these justice-based policy recommendations.
The results of the survey identify one clear measure of success regarding the implementation of the NIH guidelines; SRG members indicate the guidelines are in part responsible for their attention to the inclusion of women, minorities and children in clinical research. In addition, SRG members believe that gender and race are important factors when assessing the diversity of study samples and that the current NIH guidelines are adequate for encouraging their inclusion. As a proxy measure of success, SRG members believe that PIs responsible for protocols reviewed by their study group are generally compliant with the inclusion guidelines. Future research ought to explore whether IRB members and NIH program officers find PIs to be compliant as their projects get underway. In addition, more research ought to be conducted to assess the downstream effects of this important social policy.
NIH Inclusion Policy; Study Section Members; Attitudes and Opinions about Implementation
Even with the dissemination of several clinical guidelines, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) remains underdiagnosed and mismanaged by many primary care physicians (PCPs). The objective of this study was to elucidate barriers to consistent implementation of COPD guidelines.
Patients and methods:
A cross-sectional study implemented in July 2008 was designed to assess attitudes and barriers to COPD guideline usage.
Five hundred US PCPs (309 family medicine physicians, 191 internists) were included in the analysis. Overall, 23.6% of the surveyed PCPs reported adherence to spirometry guidelines over 90% of the time; 25.8% reported adherence to guidelines related to long-acting bronchodilator (LABD) use in COPD patients. In general, physicians were only somewhat familiar with COPD guidelines, and internal medicine physicians were significantly more familiar than family physicians (P < 0.05). In a multivariate model controlling for demographics and barriers to guideline adherence, we found significant associations with two tested guideline components. Adherence to spirometry guidelines was associated with agreement with guidelines, confidence in interpreting data, ambivalence to outcome expectancy, and ability to incorporate spirometry into patient flow. Adherence to LABD therapy guidelines was associated with agreement with guidelines and confidence in gauging pharmacologic response.
Adherence to guideline recommendations of spirometry use was predicted by agreement with the recommendations, self-efficacy, perceived outcome expectancy if recommendations were adhered to, and resource availability. Adherence to recommendations of LABD use was predicted by agreement with guideline recommendations and self-efficacy. Increasing guideline familiarity alone may have limited patient outcomes, as other barriers, such as low confidence and outcome expectancy, are more likely to impact guideline adherence.
COPD; primary care; barriers; guideline adoption
Objective: To determine the consistency among the practice guidelines of the Dutch College of General Practitioners with respect to the use of blood tests.
Methods: The authors evaluated 64 practice guidelines of the Dutch College of General Practitioners. For each guideline, they analyzed each sentence that contained a reference to a blood test to determine the clinical situation in which the test should be performed (the indication) and to determine the tests that should be performed in that situation (the recommended test). An incomplete recommendation refers to a guideline that mentioned a blood test but did not identify the indication for that test. An inconsistency refers to the situation in which one guideline recommended a certain test for a given indication whereas another guideline mentioned the same indication but did not recommend the same test.
Results: Twenty-seven practice guidelines mentioned blood tests. Of these, three explicitly recommended not to request blood tests. Five guidelines contained incomplete recommendations, and the authors encountered two inconsistencies among the guidelines. Twenty-three guidelines mentioned blood tests and allowed the authors to identify indications and recommended tests.
Conclusion: The identification of indications and recommended tests allows evaluation of consistency among practice guidelines. Although some incomplete recommendations and inconsistencies were discovered, the majority of the guidelines provide clear and unambiguous recommendations for blood-test ordering in primary care.
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
BACKGROUND: In the United Kingdom little is known about general practitioners' attitudes to and behaviour concerning clinical guidelines. AIM: A study was performed to investigate these two under-researched areas. METHOD: In 1994 a postal questionnaire on clinical guidelines was sent to all 326 general practitioner principals on the list of Lincolnshire Family Health Services Authority. The questionnaire consisted of 20 attitude statements and an open question on clinical guidelines, as well as surveying characteristics and behaviour of respondents. RESULTS: Of the 326 general practitioners sent questionnaires, 213 (65%) replied. Most respondents (78%) reported having been involved in writing inhouse guidelines. An even greater proportion (92%) reported having participated in clinical audit. Respondents were generally in favour of clinical guidelines, with mean response scores indicating a positive attitude to guidelines in 15 of the 20 statements, a negative attitude in four and equivocation in one. The majority of respondents felt that guidelines were effective in improving patient care (69%). Members (or fellows) of the Royal College of General Practitioners had a more positive attitude than non-members towards guidelines. They were also significantly more likely than non-members to have written inhouse guidelines, as were those who had participated in audit compared with those who had not participated in audit. A substantial minority (over a quarter) of general practitioners were concerned that guidelines may be used for setting performance-related pay, or that they may lead to 'cookbook' medicine, reduce clinical freedom or stifle innovation. There was also concern that guidelines should be scientifically valid. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that many general practitioners in the Lincolnshire Family Health Services Authority area have produced written inhouse guidelines. This is largely sustained by positive attitudes about the effectiveness and benefits of clinical guidelines. The positive attitude of RCGP members supports it in its continuing role in developing, implementing and evaluating guidelines in primary care. The question of whether incorporation of guidelines into clinical audit is an effective means to disseminate systematic research-based guidelines warrants further study.
The aims of this study were to evaluate the awareness of and attitudes towards the 2005 European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines for Heart Failure (HF) of the cardiologists in Pakistan and assess barriers to adherence to guidelines.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted in person from March to July 2009 to all cardiologists practicing in 4 major cities in Pakistan (Karachi, Lahore, Quetta and Peshawar). A validated, semi-structured questionnaire assessing ESC 2005 Guidelines for HF was used to obtain information from cardiologists. It included questions about awareness and relevance of HF guidelines (See Additional File 1). Respondents' management choices were compared with those of an expert panel based on the guidelines for three fictitious patient cases. Cardiologists were also asked about major barriers to adherence to guidelines.
A total of 372 cardiologists were approached; 305 consented to participate (overall response rate, 82.0%). The survey showed a very high awareness of CHF guidelines; 97.4% aware of any guideline. About 13.8% considered ESC guidelines as relevant or very relevant for guiding treatment decisions while 92.8% chose AHA guidelines in relevance. 87.2% of respondents perceived that they adhered to the HF guidelines. For the patient cases, the proportions of respondents who made recommendations that completely matched those of the guidelines were 7% (Scenario 1), 0% (Scenario 2) and 20% (Scenario 3). Respondents considered patient compliance (59%) and cost/health economics (50%) as major barriers to guideline implementation.
We found important self reported departures from recommended HF management guidelines among cardiologists of Pakistan.
Heart failure; cardiologist; guidelines; awareness
In 1996 the guideline 'The Red Eye' was first published by the Dutch College of General Practitioners. The extent to which general practitioners adhere to this guideline is unclear. Recently, data on the management of infectious conjunctivitis by general practitioners became available from the Second Dutch National Survey of General Practice. We measured the age-specific incidence of infectious conjunctivitis, described its management by Dutch general practitioners, and then compared these findings with the recommendations made in the guideline.
In 2001, over a 12-month period, data from all patient contacts with 195 general practitioners were taken from electronic medical records. Registration was episode-oriented; all consultations dealing with the same health problem were grouped into disease episodes. Data concerning all episodes of infectious conjunctivitis (ICPC-code F70 and sub codes) were analysed.
Over one year, 5,213 new and recurrent episodes of infectious conjunctivitis were presented to general practitioners from a population of N = 375,899, resulting in an overall incidence rate of 13.9 per 1000 person-years, varying from more than 80/1000 py in children up to one-year old, to less than 12/1000 py in children over the age of 4. Topical ophthalmic ointments were prescribed in 87% of the episodes, of which 80% was antibiotic treatment. Fusidic acid gel was most frequently prescribed (69%). In most episodes general practitioners did not adhere to the guideline.
In 2001, the management of infectious conjunctivitis by Dutch general practitioners was not in accordance with the recommendations of the consensus-based guideline published five years previously, despite its wide distribution. In 2006 this guideline was revised. Its successful implementation requires more than distribution alone. Probably the most effective way to achieve this is by following a model for systemic implementation.
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.
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.
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.
This trial is registered with the Dutch Trial Register under registration number 3570.
Atrial fibrillation; Decision support; Stroke prevention; Anti-thrombotic treatment; Clinical decision support system; General practice
Reasons for poor guideline adherence in acute gastroenteritis (AGE) in children in high-income countries are unclear, but may be due to inconsistency between guideline recommendations, lack of evidence, and lack of generalizability of the recommendations to general practice. The aim of this study was to assess the quality of international guidelines on AGE in children and investigate the generalizability of the recommendations to general practice.
Guidelines were retrieved from websites of professional medical organisations and websites of institutes involved in guideline development. In addition, a systematic search of the literature was performed. Articles were selected if they were a guideline, consensus statement or care protocol.
Eight guidelines met the inclusion criteria, the quality of the guidelines varied. 242 recommendations on diagnosis and management were found, of which 138 (57%) were based on evidence.
There is a large variety in the classification of symptoms to different categories of dehydration. No signs are generalizable to general practice.
It is consistently recommended to use hypo-osmolar ORS, however, the recommendations on ORS-dosage are not evidence based and are inconsistent. One of 14 evidence based recommendations on therapy of AGE is based on outpatient research and is therefore generalizable to general practice.
The present study shows considerable variation in the quality of guidelines on AGE in children, as well as inconsistencies between the recommendations. It remains unclear how to asses the extent of dehydration and determine the preferred treatment or referral of a young child with AGE presenting in general practice.