Clinical practice guidelines are regarded as powerful tools to achieve effective health care. Although many countries have built up experience in the development, appraisal, and implementation of guidelines, until recently there has been no established forum for collaboration at an international level. As a result, in different countries seeking similar goals and using similar strategies, efforts have been unnecessarily duplicated and opportunities for harmonisation lost because of the lack of a supporting organisational framework. This triggered a proposal in 2001 for an international guidelines network built on existing partnerships. A baseline survey confirmed a strong demand for such an entity. A multinational group of guideline experts initiated the development of a non-profit organisation aimed at promotion of systematic guideline development and implementation. The Guidelines International Network (G-I-N) was founded in November 2002. One year later the Network released the International Guideline Library, a searchable database which now contains more than 2000 guideline resources including published guidelines, guidelines under development, "guidelines for guidelines", training materials, and patient information tools. By June 2004, 52 organisations from 27 countries had joined the network including institutions from Oceania, North America, and Europe, and WHO. This paper describes the process that led to the foundation of the G-I-N, its characteristics, prime activities, and ideas on future projects and collaboration.
Population based studies show that guidelines are underused. Surveys of international guideline developers found that many do not implement their guidelines. The purpose of this research was to interview guideline developers about implementation approaches and resources.
Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with representatives of guideline development agencies identified in the National Guideline Clearinghouse and sampled by country, type of developer, and guideline clinical indication. Participants were asked to comment on the benefits and resource implications of three approaches for guideline implementation that varied by responsibility: developers, intermediaries, or users.
Thirty individuals from seven countries were interviewed, representing government (n = 12) and professional (n = 18) organizations that produced guidelines for a variety of clinical indications. Organizations with an implementation mandate featured widely inconsistent funding and staffing models, variable approaches for choosing promotional strategies, and an array of dissemination activities. When asked to choose a preferred approach, most participants selected the option of including information within guidelines that would help users to implement them. Given variable mandate and resources for implementation, it was considered the most feasible approach, and therefore most likely to have impact due to potentially broad use.
While implementation approaches and strategies need not be standardized across organizations, the findings may be used by health care policy makers and managers, and guideline developers to generate strategic and operational plans that optimize implementation capacity. Further research is needed to examine how to optimize implementation capacity by guideline developers, intermediaries and users.
Guideline development; Guideline implementation; Qualitative research
Guidelines continue to be underutilized, and a variety of strategies to improve their use have been suboptimal. Modifying guideline features represents an alternative, but untested way to promote their use. The purpose of this study was to identify and define features that facilitate guideline use, and examine whether and how they are included in current guidelines.
A guideline implementability framework was developed by reviewing the implementation science literature. We then examined whether guidelines included these, or additional implementability elements. Data were extracted from publicly available high quality guidelines reflecting primary and institutional care, reviewed independently by two individuals, who through discussion resolved conflicts, then by the research team.
The final implementability framework included 22 elements organized in the domains of adaptability, usability, validity, applicability, communicability, accommodation, implementation, and evaluation. Data were extracted from 20 guidelines on the management of diabetes, hypertension, leg ulcer, and heart failure. Most contained a large volume of graded, narrative evidence, and tables featuring complementary clinical information. Few contained additional features that could improve guideline use. These included alternate versions for different users and purposes, summaries of evidence and recommendations, information to facilitate interaction with and involvement of patients, details of resource implications, and instructions on how to locally promote and monitor guideline use. There were no consistent trends by guideline topic.
Numerous opportunities were identified by which guidelines could be modified to support various types of decision making by different users. New governance structures may be required to accommodate development of guidelines with these features. Further research is needed to validate the proposed framework of guideline implementability, develop methods for preparing this information, and evaluate how inclusion of this information influences guideline use.
Guidelines are important tools that inform healthcare delivery based on best available research evidence. Guideline use is in part based on quality of the guidelines, which includes advice for implementation and has been shown to vary. Others hypothesized this is due to limited instructions in guideline development manuals. The purpose of this study was to examine manual instructions for implementation advice.
We used a directed and summative content analysis approach based on an established framework of guideline implementability. Six manuals identified by another research group were examined to enumerate implementability domains and elements.
Manuals were similar in content but lacked sufficient detail in particular domains. Most frequently this was Accomodation, which includes information that would help guideline users anticipate and/or overcome organizational and system level barriers. In more than one manual, information was also lacking for Communicability, information that would educate patients or facilitate their involvement in shared decision making, and Applicability, or clinical parameters to help clinicians tailor recommendations for individual patients.
Most manuals that direct guideline development lack complete information about incorporating implementation advice. These findings can be used by those who developed the manuals to consider expanding their content in these domains. It can also be used by guideline developers as they plan the content and implementation of their guidelines so that the two are integrated. New approaches for guideline development and implementation may need to be developed. Use of guidelines might be improved if they included implementation advice, but this must be evaluated through ongoing research.
Guideline development; Guideline implementation; Implementability
Clinical practice and public health guidelines are important tools for translating research findings into practice with the aim of assisting health practitioners as well as patients and consumers in health behavior and healthcare decision-making. Numerous programs for guideline development exist around the world, with growing international collaboration to improve their quality. One of the key features in developing trustworthy guidelines is that recommendations should be based on high-quality systematic reviews of the best available evidence. The review process used by guideline developers to identify and grade relevant evidence for developing recommendations should be systematic, transparent and unbiased. In this paper, we provide an overview of current international developments in the field of practice guidelines and methods to develop guidelines, with a specific focus on the role of systematic reviews. The Guidelines International Network (G-I-N) aims to stimulate collaboration between guideline developers and systematic reviewers to optimize the use of available evidence in guideline development and to increase efficiency in the guideline development process. Considering the significant benefit of systematic reviews for the guideline community, the G-I-N Board of Trustees supports the international prospective register of systematic reviews (PROSPERO) initiative. G-I-N also recently launched a Data Extraction Resource (GINDER) to present and share data extracted from individual studies in a standardized template. PROSPERO and GINDER are complementary tools to enhance collaboration between guideline developers and systematic reviewers to allow for alignment of activities and a reduction in duplication of effort.
guidelines; reviews; systematic; methods
Enhancing CPG acceptance and implementation can play a major role in the development and establishment of emergency medicine as a specialty in many parts of the world. A Guideline International Network special interest group established to support collaboration to improve uptake of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) across the emergency care sector conducted an international survey to identify attributes of guideline likely to enhance their use.
A Web-based survey was undertaken to determine how CPGs were accessed, the preferred formats and attributes of guidelines, and familiarity with GRADE. The criteria used to identify preferred attributes of guidelines were adapted from the AGREE II Tool.
Two hundred six responses were received from 31 countries, 74/206 (36%) from the US, 28/206 (16%) from Canada, 17/206 (8%) from Australia and 15/206 (7%) from the UK. The majority of responses were from physicians (176/206, 85%) with 15/206 (7%) of responses from nurses and 9/206 (4%) from pre-hospital emergency services personnel. The preferred format for guidelines was clinical protocols that incorporated recommendations into workflow, and the most preferred attribute of guidelines was the clear identification of key recommendations. The results also identified that within the group that responded to the question related to GRADE, 66% were unfamiliar with this system for summarizing evidence in relationship to recommendations.
The findings provide the basis for further research to explore the most appropriate formats for guidelines or guidelines resources tailored to the needs of the emergency care providers.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the content of guidelines on the use of anticoagulant treatment in patients with atrial fibrillation and the impact of variations in guidelines on treatment. DESIGN: Postal survey of guidelines, semistructured interview with lead developers of guidelines, and application of guidelines to patient sample. SUBJECTS: 15 lead developers of the 20 guidelines identified in the postal survey were interviewed. 100 patients over 65 with atrial fibrillation to whom the guidelines were applied. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Evaluation of guidelines and the methods of dissemination, implementation, review, and evaluation; proportion of patients recommended for anticoagulant treatment by each guideline; and level of agreement between guidelines. RESULTS: There was considerable variation in whether anticoagulant treatment was recommended for subjects (range 13% to 100%, kappa = 0.12). Guidelines varied greatly in advice on treatment by age, the use of echocardiography, and the target value or range of the international normalised ratio (8 of the 20 guidelines included values unlikely to be effective). Development was unsystematic; evidence based approaches were rarely used, 9 of the 15 lead developers had developed the guidelines themselves, and the 6 guidelines developed by groups relied on informal consensus. Methods to support effective dissemination, implementation, and evaluation were limited. CONCLUSION: The widespread non-systematic production of guidelines has led to considerable variation with implications for the quality of care and clinical decision making. There is a need for a central, well funded programme of guideline development to ensure that valid guidelines are produced and disseminated.
The present supplement summarizes the proceedings of the symposium “Implementing practice guidelines: A workshop on guidelines dissemination and implementation with a focus on asthma and COPD”, which took place in Quebec City, Quebec, from April 14 to 16, 2005. This international symposium was a joint initiative of the Laval University Office of Continuing Medical Education (Bureau de la Formation Médicale Continue), the Canadian Thoracic Society and the Canadian Network for Asthma Care, and was supported by many other organizations and by industrial partners. The objectives of this meeting were to examine the optimal implementation of practice guidelines, review current initiatives for the implementation of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) guidelines in Canada and in the rest of the world, and develop an optimal strategy for future guideline implementation. An impressive group of scientists, physicians and other health care providers, as well as policy makers and representatives of patients’ associations, the pharmaceutical industry, research and health networks, and communications specialists, conveyed their perspectives on how to achieve these goals.
This important event provided a unique opportunity for all participants to discuss key issues in improving the care of patients with asthma and COPD. These two diseases are responsible for an enormous human and socioeconomic burden around the world. Many reports have indicated that current evidence-based guidelines are underused by physicians and others, and that there are many barriers to an effective translation of recommendations into day-to-day care. There is therefore a need to develop more effective ways to communicate key information to both caregivers and patients, and to promote appropriate health behaviours. This symposium contributed to the initiation of what could become the “Canadian Asthma and COPD Campaign”, aimed at improving care and, hence, the quality of life of those suffering from these diseases.
It is hoped that this event will be followed by other meetings that focus on how to improve the transfer of key recommendations from evidence-based guidelines into current care, and how to stimulate research to accomplish this.
Asthma; COPD; Evidence-based medicine; Guidelines implementation; Practice guidelines
The quality of doctor-patient communication has a major impact on the quality of medical care. Communication guidelines define best practices for doctor patient communication and are therefore an important tool for improving communication. However, adherence to communication guidelines remains low, despite doctors participating in intensive communication skill training. Implementation research shows that adherence is higher for guidelines in general that are user centred and feasible, which implies that they are consistent with users' opinions, tap into users' existing skills and fit into existing routines. Developers of communication guidelines seem to have been somewhat negligent with regard to user preferences and guideline feasibility. In order to promote the development of user centred and practicable communication guidelines, we elicited user preferences and identified which guideline characteristics facilitate or impede guideline use.
Seven focus group interviews were conducted with experienced GPs, communication trainers (GPs and behavioural scientists) and communication learners (GP trainees and medical students) and three focus group interviews with groups of GP trainees only. All interviews were transcribed and analysed qualitatively.
The participants identified more impeding guideline characteristics than facilitating ones. The most important impeding characteristic was that guidelines do not easily fit into GPs' day-to-day practice. This is due to rigidity and inefficiency of communication guidelines and erroneous assumptions underpinning guideline development. The most important facilitating characteristic was guideline structure. Guidelines that were structured in distinct phases helped users to remain in control of consultations, which was especially useful in complicated consultations.
Although communication guidelines are generally considered useful, especially for structuring consultations, their usefulness is impaired by lack of flexibility and applicability to practice routines. User centred and feasible guidelines should combine the advantages of helping doctors to structure consultations with flexibility to tailor communication strategies to specific contexts and situations.
Clinical Guidelines are a major tool for improving the quality of medical
care. Currently, a major research direction is automating the application
of guidelines at the point of care. To support that automation, several
requirements must be fulfilled, such as specification in a machine-interpretable
format, and connection to an electronic patent record. We
propose an innovative approach to guideline application, which
capitalizes on our Digital electronic Guidelines Library (DeGeL). The DeGeL framework includes a new hybrid model for incremental specification
of free-text guidelines, using several intermediate representations. The
new approach was implemented, in the case of the Asbru guideline
ontology, as the Spock system. Spock’s hybrid application engine supports application
of guideline represented at an intermediate format. Spock was evaluated
in a preliminary fashion by applying several guidelines to sample patient
Implementing change in primary care is difficult, and little practical guidance is available to assist small primary care practices. Methods to structure care and develop new roles are often needed to implement an evidence-based practice that improves care. This study explored the process of change used to implement clinical guidelines for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease in primary care practices that used a common electronic medical record (EMR).
Multiple conceptual frameworks informed the design of this study designed to explain the complex phenomena of implementing change in primary care practice. Qualitative methods were used to examine the processes of change that practice members used to implement the guidelines. Purposive sampling in eight primary care practices within the Practice Partner Research Network-Translating Researching into Practice (PPRNet-TRIP II) clinical trial yielded 28 staff members and clinicians who were interviewed regarding how change in practice occurred while implementing clinical guidelines for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease and strokes.
A conceptual framework for implementing clinical guidelines into primary care practice was developed through this research. Seven concepts and their relationships were modelled within this framework: leaders setting a vision with clear goals for staff to embrace; involving the team to enable the goals and vision for the practice to be achieved; enhancing communication systems to reinforce goals for patient care; developing the team to enable the staff to contribute toward practice improvement; taking small steps, encouraging practices' tests of small changes in practice; assimilating the electronic medical record to maximize clinical effectiveness, enhancing practices' use of the electronic tool they have invested in for patient care improvement; and providing feedback within a culture of improvement, leading to an iterative cycle of goal setting by leaders.
This conceptual framework provides a mental model which can serve as a guide for practice leaders implementing clinical guidelines in primary care practice using electronic medical records. Using the concepts as implementation and evaluation criteria, program developers and teams can stimulate improvements in their practice settings. Investing in collaborative team development of clinicians and staff may enable the practice environment to be more adaptive to change and improvement.
International guidelines establish evidence-based standards for asthma care; however, recommendations are often not implemented and many patients do not meet control targets.
Regional pilot data demonstrated a knowledge-to-practice gap.
Choice of solutions
We engineered health system change in a multi-step approach described by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research knowledge translation framework.
Knowledge translation occurred at multiple levels: patient, practice and local health system. A regional administrative infrastructure and inter-disciplinary care teams were developed. The key project deliverable was a guideline-based interdisciplinary asthma management program. Six community organizations, 33 primary care physicians and 519 patients participated. The program operating cost was $290/patient.
Six guideline-based care elements were implemented, including spirometry measurement, asthma controller therapy, a written self-management action plan and general asthma education, including the inhaler device technique, role of medications and environmental control strategies in 93, 95, 86, 100, 97 and 87% of patients, respectively. Of the total patients 66% were adults, 61% were female, the mean age was 35.7 (SD = ±24.2) years. At baseline 42% had two or more symptoms beyond acceptable limits vs. 17% (P< 0.001) post-intervention; 71% reported urgent/emergent healthcare visits at baseline (2.94 visits/year) vs. 45% (1.45 visits/year) (P< 0.001); 39% reported absenteeism (5.0 days/year) vs. 19% (3.0 days/year) (P< 0.001). The mean follow-up interval was 22 (SD = ±7) months.
A knowledge-translation framework can guide multi-level organizational change, facilitate asthma guideline implementation, and improve health outcomes in community primary care practices. Program costs are similar to those of diabetes programs. Program savings offset costs in a ratio of 2.1:1
asthma; guideline adherence; implementation; knowledge translation; patient education as topic; primary care
Complete, accurate and transparent reporting is an integral part of responsible research conduct. However, many studies have shown that health research publications frequently lack crucial information. Reporting guidelines like the CONSORT Statement help to improve the quality of research reports. Unfortunately, their uptake by journals and authors is still limited and does not maximize their potential. The EQUATOR Network, a new international initiative, leads the effort to promote transparent reporting of research and the use of reporting guidelines. It provides online resources and training relating to the reporting of health research, and assists in the development, dissemination and implementation of reporting guidelines (www.equator-network.org). Poor reporting practices can be decreased only through close collaboration of all parties involved in research and its publication; EQUATOR can facilitate the process.
EQUATOR Network; reporting guidelines; research reporting
In the last decade, guideline organizations faced a number of problems, including a lack of standardization in guideline development methods and suboptimal guideline implementation. To contribute to the solution of these problems, we produced a toolbox for guideline development, implementation, revision, and evaluation.
All relevant guideline organizations in the Netherlands were approached to prioritize the topics. We sent out a questionnaire and discussed the results at an invitational conference. Based on consensus, twelve topics were selected for the development of new tools. Subsequently, working groups were composed for the development of the tools. After development of the tools, their draft versions were pilot tested in 40 guideline projects. Based on the results of the pilot tests, the tools were refined and their final versions were presented.
The vast majority of organizations involved in pilot testing of the tools reported satisfaction with using the tools. Guideline experts involved in pilot testing of the tools proposed a variety of suggestions for the implementation of the tools. The tools are available in Dutch and in English at a web-based platform on guideline development and implementation (http://www.ha-ring.nl).
A collaborative approach was used for the development and evaluation of a toolbox for development, implementation, revision, and evaluation of guidelines. This approach yielded a potentially powerful toolbox for improving the quality and implementation of Dutch clinical guidelines. Collaboration between guideline organizations within this project led to stronger linkages, which is useful for enhancing coordination of guideline development and implementation and preventing duplication of efforts. Use of the toolbox could improve quality standards in the Netherlands, and might facilitate the development of high-quality guidelines in other countries as well.
Guideline development; Guideline implementation; Tools; Toolbox
During March 30–April 1, 2005, the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists of Canada (goc) and the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control (cscc) Clinical Practice Guidelines Action Group (cpg-ag) met to
determine how goc would like to influence practice in the care of women with gynecologic cancer.explore a collaborative model for developing and implementing evidence-based practice guidelines.investigate the utility of the cpg evaluation and adaptation cycle as a tool for selecting, adapting, and adopting guidelines.
At the workshop meeting, 21 members of the goc and the cpg-ag heard presentations from various Canadian guideline initiatives. As an example of adaptation and adoption processes, the agree (Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation) tool was applied to guidelines in recurrent ovarian cancer, and the group explored their opportunity to use knowledge translation to influence the care of women with gynecologic cancer.
The themes influencing practice are consistent with goc’s mandate. The future is expected to involve partnering with other groups to maximize scarce resources. Resources should be directed to facilitating implementation of existing guidelines rather than to developing new documents. The full spectrum of cancer care includes prevention, screening, diagnosis, primary treatment, follow-up, treatment of recurrent disease, and palliation. High-quality evidence is available in some areas, but gaps exist where guideline panels could provide guidance. Development of a pan-Canadian gynecologic oncology process could provide an opportunity to influence access to care at the political and policy levels.
The goc will develop linkages such that the toolbox available through cscc-cpg-ag can be incorporated into future collaboration.
Practice guidelines; gynecologic oncology
Accurate diagnosis is a fundamental aspect of appropriate healthcare. However, clinicians need guidance when implementing diagnostic tests given the number of tests available and resource constraints in healthcare. Practitioners of health often feel compelled to implement recommendations in guidelines, including recommendations about the use of diagnostic tests. However, the understanding about diagnostic tests by guideline panels and the methodology for developing recommendations is far from completely explored. Therefore, we evaluated the factors that guideline developers and users need to consider for the development of implementable recommendations about diagnostic tests.
Using a critical analysis of the process, we present the results of a case study using the Grading of Recommendations Applicability, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach to develop a clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis of Cow Milk Allergy with the World Allergy Organization.
To ensure that guideline panels can develop informed recommendations about diagnostic tests, it appears that more emphasis needs to be placed on group processes, including question formulation, defining patient-important outcomes for diagnostic tests, and summarizing evidence. Explicit consideration of concepts of diagnosis from evidence-based medicine, such as pre-test probability and treatment threshold, is required to facilitate the work of a guideline panel and to formulate implementable recommendations.
This case study provides useful guidance for guideline developers and clinicians about what they ought to demand from clinical practice guidelines to facilitate implementation and strengthen confidence in recommendations about diagnostic tests. Applying a structured framework like the GRADE approach with its requirement for transparency in the description of the evidence and factors that influence recommendations facilitates laying out the process and decision factors that are required for the development, interpretation, and implementation of recommendations about diagnostic tests.
Documentation of unexplained geographic variations in medical practices and use of inappropriate interventions has led to the proliferation of clinical practice guidelines. With increased enthusiasm for guidelines, evidence exists that clinical practice guidelines often influence clinical practices or health outcomes. Their successful implementation may improve the quality of care by decreasing in appropriate variation and expediting the application of effective advances to healthcare practices. In Korea, physicians and healthcare professionals have begun to take interests in clinical practice guidelines. Currently, over 50 practice guidelines have been developed through professional academic organizations or via other routes; however, the quality of the guidelines is unsatisfactory, implementation in clinical settings is incomplete, and there is insufficient infrastructure to develop clinical practice guidelines. Korea must develop policies and invest resources to enhance the development and implementation of clinical practice guidelines.
Clinical Practice Guidelines; Evidence-Based Medicine; Healthcare Quality; Health Policy; Clinical Practice Guideline Development; Korea
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.
The development of biological informatics infrastructure capable of supporting growing data management and analysis environments is an increasing need within the systematics biology community. Although significant progress has been made in recent years on developing new algorithms and tools for analyzing and visualizing large phylogenetic data and trees, implementation of these resources is often carried out by bioinformatics experts, using one-off scripts. Therefore, a gap exists in providing data management support for a large set of non-technical users. The TOLKIN project (Tree of Life Knowledge and Information Network) addresses this need by supporting capabilities to manage, integrate, and provide public access to molecular, morphological, and biocollections data and research outcomes through a collaborative, web application. This data management framework allows aggregation and import of sequences, underlying documentation about their source, including vouchers, tissues, and DNA extraction. It combines features of LIMS and workflow environments by supporting management at the level of individual observations, sequences, and specimens, as well as assembly and versioning of data sets used in phylogenetic inference. As a web application, the system provides multi-user support that obviates current practices of sharing data sets as files or spreadsheets via email.
Main problem: Little is known about the methodological quality of guidelines for low back pain treatment. We evaluated the methods used by the developers according to established standards. Methods: PubMed, guideline databases, and the World Wide Web were used to identify guidelines. Seventeen guidelines met the inclusion criteria: interventions for low back pain stated, recommendations based on or explicitly linked to evidence, and English version available. Guidelines were evaluated independently by two appraisers using a practical tool for this purpose, Users’ Guides to the Medical Literature, and the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE) instrument. Results: Thirteen guidelines (76%) specified the most important therapies applied, but only nine (53%) included a complete description of the target population. Explicit processes to identify, select, and combine evidence were described in only six guidelines (35%). Few guidelines (3; 18%) explicitly considered all main outcomes when formulating therapeutic recommendations, and none contained a process to determine the relative value of different outcomes. Methodological criteria for grading the strength of the recommendations varied, and were often insufficiently specified. None of the guidelines assessed the impact of uncertainty associated with the evidence and values used. According to AGREE the quality score was highest for the scope and purpose, and clarity and presentation domains, and lowest for editorial independence and applicability. With regard to the recommendations, there was consensus for some of the interventions for acute pain (analgesics and NSAIDs, maintaining physical activity, and avoiding excessive bed rest), but explicit recommendations were lacking or ambiguous for 41% of the interventions. Most of the guidelines did not contemplate specific recommendations for chronic pain. Conclusions: A small number of the available guidelines for low back pain treatment achieved acceptable results for specific quality criteria. In general, the methods to develop the guidelines’ therapeutic recommendations need to be more rigorous, more explicit and better explained. In addition, greater importance should be placed on the recommendations for chronic pain.
Low back pain; Guidelines; Practice guidelines; Quality assurance; Health care
Clinical practice guidelines are developed to improve the quality of healthcare. However, clinical guidelines may contribute to health inequities experienced by disadvantaged groups. This study uses an equity lens developed by the International Clinical Epidemiology Network (INCLEN) to examine how well clinical guidelines address inequities experienced by individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Nine health problems relevant to the health inequities experienced by persons with intellectual disabilities were selected. Clinical guidelines on these disorders were identified from across the world. The INCLEN equity lens was used as the basis for a purpose-designed, semistructured data collection tool. Two raters independently examined each guideline and completed the data collection tool. The data extracted by each rater were discussed at a research group consensus conference and agreement was reached on a final equity lens rating for each guideline.
Thirty-six guidelines were identified, one of which (2.8%) explicitly excluded persons with intellectual disabilities. Of the remaining 35, six (17.1%) met the first criterion of the equity lens, identifying persons with intellectual disabilities at high risk for the specific health problem. Eight guidelines (22.9%) contained any content on intellectual disabilities. Six guidelines addressed the fourth equity lens criterion, by giving specific consideration to the barriers to implementation of the guideline in disadvantaged populations. There were no guidelines that addressed the second, third, and fifth equity lens criteria.
The equity lens is a useful tool to systematically examine whether clinical guidelines address the health needs and inequities experienced by disadvantaged groups. Clinical guidelines are likely to further widen the health inequities experienced by persons with intellectual disabilities, and other disadvantaged groups, by being preferentially advantageous to the general population. There is a need to systematically incorporate methods to consider disadvantaged population groups into the processes used to develop clinical guidelines.
Intellectual disabilities; Clinical guidelines; Health inequalities
Clinical practice guidelines are important for transmitting research findings into practice and facilitating the application of evidence-based practice (EBP). There is a paucity of knowledge about the impact of guideline implementation strategies in primary care physical therapy. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a guideline implementation intervention in primary care physical therapy in western Sweden.
An implementation strategy based on theory and current evidence was developed. A tailored, multi-component implementation intervention, addressing earlier identified determinants, was carried out in three areas comprising 28 physical therapy practices including 277 physical therapists (PTs) (intervention group). In two adjacent areas, 171 PTs at 32 practices received no intervention (control group). The core component of the intervention was an implementation seminar with group discussions. Among other components were a website and email reminders. Data were collected at baseline and follow-up with a web-based questionnaire. Primary outcomes were the self-reported awareness of, knowledge of, access to, and use of guidelines. Secondary outcomes were self-reported attitudes toward EBP and guidelines. Analyses were performed using Pearson’s χ2 test and approximative z-test.
168 PTs (60.6%) in the intervention group and 88 PTs (51.5%) in the control group responded to the follow-up questionnaire. 186/277 PTs (67.1%) participated in the implementation seminars, of which 97 (52.2%) responded. The proportions of PTs reporting awareness of (absolute difference in change 20.6%, p = 0.023), knowledge where to find (20.4%, p = 0.007), access to (21.7%, p < 0.001), and frequent use of (9.5%, NS) guidelines increased more in the intervention group than in the control group. The proportion of PTs reporting frequent guideline use after participation in the implementation seminar was 15.2% (p = 0.043) higher than the proportion in the control group. A higher proportion considered EBP helpful in decision making (p = 0.018). There were no other significant differences in secondary outcomes.
A tailored, theory- and evidence-informed, multi-component intervention for the implementation of clinical practice guidelines had a modest, positive effect on awareness of, knowledge of, access to, and use of guidelines, among PTs in primary care in western Sweden. In general, attitudes to EBP and guidelines were not affected.
Implementation; Physical therapy; Evidence-based practice; Practice guidelines
There are several challenges in encoding guideline knowledge in a form that is portable to different clinical sites, including the heterogeneity of clinical decision support (CDS) tools, of patient data representations, and of workflows.
We have developed a multi-layered knowledge representation framework for structuring guideline recommendations for implementation in a variety of CDS contexts. In this framework, guideline recommendations are increasingly structured through four layers, successively transforming a narrative text recommendation into input for a CDS system. We have used this framework to implement rules for a CDS service based on three guidelines. We also conducted a preliminary evaluation, where we asked CDS experts at four institutions to rate the implementability of six recommendations from the three guidelines.
The experience in using the framework and the preliminary evaluation indicate that this approach has promise in creating structured knowledge, to implement in CDS systems, that is usable across organizations.
Knowledge bases; Translational research - application of biological knowledge to clinical care; developing/using clinical decision support (other than diagnostic) and guideline systems; knowledge acquisition and knowledge management; clinical informatics; clinical decision support; semantic web; Manning Maddux; bioinformatics; datamining; predictive modeling; developing/using computerized provider order entry; knowledge representations; classical experimental and quasi-experimental study methods (lab and field); designing usable (responsive) resources and systems; statistical analysis of large datasets; visualization of data and knowledge; knowledge representations; knowledge acquisition and knowledge management; distributed systems; agents; software engineering: architecture; developing and refining ehr data standards (including image standards); data models; data exchange; controlled terminologies and vocabularies; communication and integration across care settings (inter- and intra-enterprise); knowledge bases; knowledge representations; uncertain reasoning and decision theory; designing usable (responsive) resources and systems; personal health records and self-care systems; knowledge acquisition and knowledge management; demonstrating return on it investment; other specific ehr applications (results review; medication administration; disease progression
The implementation of guidelines and training initiatives to support communication in cross-cultural primary care consultations is ad hoc across a range of international settings with negative consequences particularly for migrants. This situation reflects a well-documented translational gap between evidence and practice and is part of the wider problem of implementing guidelines and the broader range of professional educational and quality interventions in routine practice. In this paper, we describe our use of a contemporary social theory, Normalization Process Theory and participatory research methodology—Participatory Learning and Action—to investigate and support implementation of such guidelines and training initiatives in routine practice.
This is a qualitative case study, using multiple primary care sites across Europe. Purposive and maximum variation sampling approaches will be used to identify and recruit stakeholders—migrant service users, general practitioners, primary care nurses, practice managers and administrative staff, interpreters, cultural mediators, service planners, and policy makers. We are conducting a mapping exercise to identify relevant guidelines and training initiatives. We will then initiate a PLA-brokered dialogue with stakeholders around Normalization Process Theory’s four constructs—coherence, cognitive participation, collective action, and reflexive monitoring. Through this, we will enable stakeholders in each setting to select a single guideline or training initiative for implementation in their local setting. We will prospectively investigate and support the implementation journeys for the five selected interventions. Data will be generated using a Participatory Learning and Action approach to interviews and focus groups. Data analysis will follow the principles of thematic analysis, will occur in iterative cycles throughout the project and will involve participatory co-analysis with key stakeholders to enhance the authenticity and veracity of findings.
This research employs a unique combination of Normalization Process Theory and Participatory Learning and Action, which will provide a novel approach to the analysis of implementation journeys. The findings will advance knowledge in the field of implementation science because we are using and testing theoretical and methodological approaches so that we can critically appraise their scope to mediate barriers and improve the implementation processes.
A key mandate of the Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS) is to promote evidence-based respiratory care through clinical practice guidelines (CPGs). To improve the quality and validity of the production, dissemination and implementation of its CPGs, the CTS has revised its guideline process and has created the Canadian Respiratory Guidelines Committee to oversee this process. The present document outlines the basic methodological tools and principles of the new CTS guideline production process. Important features include standard methods for choosing and formulating optimal questions and for finding, appraising, and summarizing the evidence; use of the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation system for rating the quality of evidence and strength of recommendations; use of the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation instrument for quality control during and after guideline development and for appraisal of other guidelines; use of the ADAPTE process for adaptation of existing guidelines to the local context; and use of the GuideLine Implementability Appraisal tool to augment implementability of guidelines. The CTS has also committed to develop guidelines in new areas, an annual guideline review cycle, and a new formal process for dissemination and implementation. Ultimately, it is anticipated that these changes will have a significant impact on the quality of care and clinical outcomes of individuals suffering from respiratory diseases across Canada.
Clinical practice guideline; Evidence-based medicine; Guideline adherence; Practice guidelines