Primary care asthma management is often not compatible with national evidence-based guidelines. The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility and impact of the Asthma APGAR tools to enhance implementation of asthma guideline-compatible management in primary care practices.
Twenty-four primary care practices across the US.
This is a mixed methods study. Quantitative data were used to assess changes in guideline recommended asthma management including use of daily controller therapy, planned care visits, and education and information documentation before and after implementation of the Asthma APGAR. Qualitative data from focus group sessions were used to assess health care professional and patient perceived usability and value of the Asthma APGAR tools during office visits for asthma.
Implementing the Asthma APGAR tools in the 24 practices was associated with enhanced asthma visit-related medical record documentation including significant increases in recording of activity limitations due to asthma and asthma symptom frequency, asthma medication nonadherence, asthma triggers, and the patients’ perceived response to therapy (p < 0.01 for each item). Some care processes also increased significantly including assessment of inhaler technique and prescribing of daily controller therapy among patients with persistent asthma. Focus groups of patients and of clinical staff reported that the Asthma APGAR tools were easy to use, “made sense” and “improved care” was given and received.
The Asthma APGAR tools are feasible to implement in primary care practices and their implementation is associated with increased guideline-compliant asthma management.
asthma; guidelines; implementation; quality improvement; asthma control; mixed methods studies; qualitative research; primary care
Many international and national asthma guidelines are now available in large parts of the world, but they are not yet implemented appropriately. There is a gap between scientific evidence-based medicine and real clinical practice. Implementation of guidelines is highly complex. Special strategies are needed to encourage guideline-based, high-quality care. It is important to understand the contents, the format, and the learning strategies which physicians prefer for the dissemination of guidelines. Physicians prefer more concise and immediately available guidelines that are practical to use. Thus, asthma guidelines should be disseminated as convenient and easily accessible tools. Various education programs and decision-support tools have been designed and applied to the clinical management of asthma to solve these challenging problems. Many of them have been shown to be effective at increasing physicians' knowledge and adherence to asthma guidelines and improving patients' clinical outcomes. These educational and decision-support tools are expected to contribute to a narrowing of the gap between asthma guidelines and practice/implementation of the guidelines.
Asthma; Guideline; Education; Decision-support; Implementation
The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care funded the Ontario Lung Association to develop and implement a continuing medical education program to promote implementation of the Canadian asthma guidelines in primary care.
To determine baseline knowledge, preferred learning format, satisfaction with the program and reported impact on practice patterns.
A 3 h workshop was developed that combined didactic presentations and small group case discussions. Outcome measures included a workshop evaluation, baseline assessment of asthma management knowledge and three-month postreflective evaluations.
One hundred thirty-seven workshops were delivered to 2783 primary care providers (1313 physicians, 1470 allied health) between September 2002 and March 2005. Of the 2133 participants, 1007 physicians and 1126 allied health professionals submitted workshop evaluations. Most (98%) of the attendees indicated they would recommend the workshop to a colleague. The majority preferred the combination of didactic lecture plus interactive case discussions. A subset of physicians provided consent to use these data for research (n=298 pediatric and 288 adult needs assessments; n=349 postreflective evaluations). Important needs identified included appropriate medication for chronic asthma and development of written action plans. On the postreflective evaluations, 88.7% remained very satisfied, 95.5% reported increased confidence, 91.9% reported an influence on practice and 67.2% reported using a written action plan.
This continuing medical education program addresses identified needs of primary care providers. Participants reported improvements in asthma care, including prescribing practices, use of spirometry and written action plans. Similar programs should be considered as part of multifaceted asthma guidelines dissemination and implementation initiatives in other provinces and nationally.
Asthma; Continuing medical education; Guidelines
In a novel knowledge translation initiative, the Government of Ontario’s Asthma Plan of Action funded the development of an Asthma Care Map to enable adherence with the Canadian Asthma Consensus Guidelines developed under the auspices of the Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS). Following its successful evaluation within the Primary Care Asthma Pilot Project, respiratory clinicians from the Asthma Research Unit, Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario) are leading an initiative to incorporate standardized Asthma Care Map data elements into electronic health records in primary care in Ontario. Acknowledging that the issue of data standards affects all respiratory conditions, and all provinces and territories, the Government of Ontario approached the CTS Respiratory Guidelines Committee. At its meeting in September 2010, the CTS Respiratory Guidelines Committee agreed that developing and standardizing respiratory data elements for electronic health records are strategically important. In follow-up to that commitment, representatives from the CTS, the Lung Association, the Government of Ontario, the National Lung Health Framework and Canada Health Infoway came together to form a planning committee. The planning committee proposed a phased approach to inform stakeholders about the issue, and engage them in the development, implementation and evaluation of a standardized dataset. An environmental scan was completed in July 2011, which identified data definitions and standards currently available for clinical variables that are likely to be included in electronic medical records in primary care for diagnosis, management and patient education related to asthma and COPD. The scan, sponsored by the Government of Ontario, includes compliance with clinical nomenclatures such as SNOMED-CT® and LOINC®. To help launch and create momentum for this initiative, a national forum was convened on October 2 and 3, 2011, in Toronto, Ontario. The forum was designed to bring together key stakeholders across the spectrum of respiratory care, including clinicians, researchers, health informaticists and administrators to explore and recommend a potential scope, approach and governance structure for this important project. The Pan-Canadian REspiratory STandards INitiative for Electronic Health Records (PRESTINE) goal is to recommend respiratory data elements and standards for use in electronic medical records across Canada that meet the needs of providers, administrators, researchers and policy makers to facilitate evidence-based clinical care, monitoring, surveillance, benchmarking and policy development. The focus initially is expected to include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary function standards elements that are applicable to many respiratory conditions. The present article summarizes the process and findings of the forum deliberations.
Asthma; Clinical practice guidelines; Clinical variables; COPD; Data definitions; Electronic health records; Electronic medical records; Knowledge translation; Respiratory data sets; Surveillance
All sectors in health care are being asked to focus on the knowledge-to-practice gap, or knowledge translation, to increase service effectiveness. A social interaction approach to knowledge translation assumes that research evidence becomes integrated with previously held knowledge, and practitioners build on and co-create knowledge through mutual interactions. Knowledge translation strategies for public health have not provided anticipated positive changes in evidence-based practice, possibly due in part to a narrow conceptualization of knowledge. More work is needed to understand the role of tacit knowledge in decision-making and practice. This pilot study examined how health practitioners applied tacit knowledge in public health program planning and implementation.
This study used a narrative approach, where teams from two public health units in Ontario, Canada were conveniently selected. Respondents participated in individual interviews and focus groups at each site. Questions were designed to understand the role of tacit knowledge as it related to the program planning process. Data were analyzed through a combination of content analysis and thematic comparison.
The findings highlighted two major aspects of knowledge that arose: the use of tacit knowledge and the integration of tacit and explicit knowledge. Tacit knowledge included: past experiences, organization-specific knowledge, community contextual knowledge, and the recognition of the tacit knowledge of others. Explicit knowledge included: research literature, the Internet, popular magazines, formal assessments (surveys and interviews), legislation and regulations. Participants sometimes deliberately combined tacit and explicit knowledge sources in planning.
This pilot demonstrated that front-line public health workers draw upon both tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge in their everyday lived reality. Further, tacit knowledge plays an important role in practitioners' interpretation and implementation of explicit research findings. This indicates a need to broaden the scope of knowledge translation to include other forms of knowledge beyond explicit knowledge acquired through research. Strategies that recognize and support the use of tacit knowledge, such as communities of practice or networks, may be important components of a comprehensive approach to knowledge translation. This study provides support for further investigation of the role of tacit knowledge in the planning and delivery of effective public health services.
Each year more than 50 000 Canadians experience a stroke and more than 300 000 currently live with its effects. Despite the evidence supporting best practices in stroke care, significant gaps in translating this knowledge into action remains in Canada. An interdisciplinary working group of the Canadian Stroke Strategy was formed to develop best-practice recommendations relevant to Canadian health care. The working group used a rigorous process to develop the guidelines, which included reviewing existing stroke recommendations and research literature, and consulting a national interprofessional consensus panel. The Canadian Best Practice Recommendations for Stroke Care consist of 24 recommendations based on the strongest evidence and address topics that span the full continuum of stroke care. Implementation and dissemination of these recommendations is in progress. Bringing about change will require political will and collaboration throughout the health care system.
Shared decision making (SDM) is a process by which a healthcare choice is made jointly by the healthcare professional and the patient. SDM is the essential element of patient-centered care, a core concept of primary care. However, SDM is seldom translated into primary practice. Continuing professional development (CPD) is the principal means by which healthcare professionals continue to gain, improve, and broaden the knowledge and skills required for patient-centered care. Our international collaboration seeks to improve the knowledge base of CPD that targets translating SDM into the clinical practice of primary care in diverse healthcare systems.
Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), our project is to form an international, interdisciplinary research team composed of health services researchers, physicians, nurses, psychologists, dietitians, CPD decision makers and others who will study how CPD causes SDM to be practiced in primary care. We will perform an environmental scan to create an inventory of CPD programs and related activities for translating SDM into clinical practice. These programs will be critically assessed and compared according to their strengths and limitations. We will use the empirical data that results from the environmental scan and the critical appraisal to identify knowledge gaps and generate a research agenda during a two-day workshop to be held in Quebec City. We will ask CPD stakeholders to validate these knowledge gaps and the research agenda.
This project will analyse existing CPD programs and related activities for translating SDM into the practice of primary care. Because this international collaboration will develop and identify various factors influencing SDM, the project could shed new light on how SDM is implemented in primary care.
A comprehensive asthma care program (ACP) based on Canadian Asthma Consensus Guidelines was implemented in 8 primary care sites in Ontario, Canada. A survey was distributed to health care providers' (HCPs) to collect their opinions on the utilities of and barriers to the uptake of the ACP.
A 39-item self-administered survey was mailed to 184 HCPs and support staff involved in delivering the ACP at the end of implementation. The items were presented in mixed formats with most items requiring responses on a five-point Likert scale. Distributions of responses were analyzed and compared across types of HCPs and sites.
Of the 184 surveys distributed, 108 (59%) were returned, and of that, 83 were completed by HCPs who had clinical contact with the patients. Overall, 95% of the HCPs considered the ACP useful for improving asthma care management. Most HCPs favored using the asthma care map (72%), believed it decreased uncertainties and variations in patient management (91%), and considered it a convenient and reliable source of information (86%). The most commonly reported barrier was time required to complete the asthma care map. Over half of the HCPs reported challenges to using spirometry, while almost 40% identified barriers to using the asthma action plan.
Contrary to the notion that physicians believe that guidelines foster cookbook medicine, our study showed that HCPs believed that the ACP offered an effective and reliable approach for enhancing asthma care and management in primary care.
A series of specific clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) were published in Canada in 1998. A primary objective of these ‘Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Care and Treatment of Breast Cancer’ was to decrease the variation in breast cancer care across the country. Prior to this, researchers found moderate compliance with consensus recommendations for breast cancer therapies in several Canadian provinces. However, a recent study concluded that the publication of the Canadian CPGs did not reduce variations in surgical care for breast cancer. If guidelines are to achieve their intended objectives, they must be implemented in ways that support, encourage, and facilitate their use. Evidence strongly suggests the simple publication and passive dissemination of CPGs are usually ineffective in changing how physicians actually care for patients. CPG implementation, therefore, requires active knowledge translation processes to ensure that the evidence is relevant to all with a stake in bettering breast cancer care. For example, implementation strategies that use computerized CPGs can make evidence-based decision-making routine practice in the clinical setting. The breast cancer community can also work with the newly formed Canadian Partnership Against Cancer to find ways to more successfully support and facilitate guideline use considering the local context.
Breast cancer; Clinical practice guidelines; Knowledge translation
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
This study examines research knowledge infrastructures (RKIs) found in health systems. An RKI is defined as any instrument (i.e., programs, interventions, tools) implemented in order to facilitate access, dissemination, exchange, and/or use of evidence in healthcare organisations. Based on an environmental scan (17 key informant interviews) and scoping review (26 studies), we found support for a framework that we developed that outlines components that a health system can have in its RKI. The broad domains are climate for research use, research production, activities used to link research to action, and evaluation.
The objective of the current study is to profile the RKI of three types of health system organisations--regional health authorities, primary care practices, and hospitals--in two Canadian provinces to determine the current mix of components these organisations have in their RKI, their experience with these components, and their views about future RKI initiatives.
This study will include semistructured telephone interviews with a purposive sample region of a senior management team member, library/resource centre manager, and a 'knowledge broker' in three regional health authorities, five or six purposively sampled hospitals, and five or six primary care practices in Ontario and Quebec, for a maximum of 71 interviewees. The interviews will explore (a) which RKI components have proven helpful, (b) barriers and facilitators in implementing RKI components, and (c) views about next steps in further development of RKIs.
This is the first qualitative examination of potential RKI efforts that can increase the use of research evidence in health system decision making. We anticipate being able to identify broadly applicable insights about important next steps in building effective RKIs. Some of the identified RKI components may increase the use of research evidence by decision makers, which may then lead to more informed decisions.
The WISE (Whole System Informing Self-management Engagement) approach encompasses creating, finding, and implementing appropriate self-care support for people with long-term conditions. A training package for primary care to introduce the approach was developed and underwent formative evaluation. This entailed exploring the acceptability of the WISE approach and its effectiveness in changing communication within consultations. The study aimed to refine the patient, practitioner, and patient level components of the WISE approach and translate the principles of WISE into an operational intervention deliverable through National Health Service training methods.
Normalisation Process Theory provided a framework for development of the intervention. Practices were recruited from an inner city Primary Care Trust in NW England. All practice staff were expected to attend two afternoon training sessions. The training sessions were observed by members of the training team. Post-training audio recordings of consultations from each general practitioner and nurse in the practices were transcribed and read to provide a narrative overview of the incorporation of WISE skills and tools into consultations. Face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted with staff post-training.
Two practices out of 14 deemed eligible agreed to take part. Each practice attended two sessions, although a third session on consultation skills training was needed for one practice. Fifty-four post-training consultations were recorded from 15 clinicians. Two members of staff were interviewed at each practice. Significant elements of the training form and methods of delivery fitted contemporary practice. There were logistical problems in getting a whole practice to attend both sessions, and administrative staff founds some sections irrelevant. Clinicians reported problems incorporating some of the tools developed for WISE, and this was confirmed in the overview of consultations, with limited overt use of WISE tools and missed opportunities to address patients' self-management needs.
The formative evaluation approach and attention to normalisation process theory allowed the training team to make adjustments to content and delivery and ensure appropriate staff attended each session. The content of the course was simplified and focussed more clearly on operationalising the WISE approach. The patient arm of the approach was strengthened by raising expectations of a change in approach to self-care support by their practice.
To highlight the unique challenges of evaluative research on practice behavior change in the “real world” settings of contemporary managed-care organizations, using the experience of the Pediatric Asthma Care PORT (Patient Outcomes Research Team).
The Pediatric Asthma Care PORT is a five-year initiative funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to study strategies for asthma care improvement in three managed-care plans in Chicago, Seattle, and Boston. At its core is a randomized trial of two care improvement strategies compared with usual care: (1) a targeted physician education program using practice based Peer Leaders (PL) as change agents, (2) adding to the PL intervention a “Planned Asthma Care Intervention” incorporating joint “asthma check-ups” by nurse-physician teams. During the trial, each of the participating organizations viewed asthma care improvement as an immediate priority and had their own corporate improvement programs underway.
Investigators at each health plan described the organizational and implementation challenges in conducting the PAC PORT randomized trial. These experiences were reviewed for common themes and “lessons” that might be useful to investigators planning interventional research in similar care-delivery settings.
Randomized trials in “real world” settings represent the most robust design available to test care improvement strategies. In complex, rapidly changing managed-care organizations, blinding is not feasible, corporate initiatives may complicate implementation, and the assumption that a “usual care” arm will be static is highly likely to be mistaken. Investigators must be prepared to use innovative strategies to maintain the integrity of the study design, including: continuous improvement within the intervention arms, comanagement by researchers and health plan managers of condition-related quality improvement initiatives, procedures for avoiding respondent burden in health plan enrollees, and anticipation and minimization of risks from experimental arm contamination and major organizational change. With attention to these delivery system issues, as well as the usual design features of randomized trials, we believe managed-care organizations can serve as important laboratories to test care improvement strategies.
Guideline implementation; managed-care research; childhood asthma; physician behavior change; randomized trials
An estimated four million deaths occur each year among children in the neonatal period. Current evidence-based interventions could prevent a large proportion of these deaths. However, health care workers involved in neonatal care need to have knowledge regarding such practices before being able to put them into action.
The aim of this survey was to assess the knowledge of primary health care practitioners regarding basic, evidence-based procedures in neonatal care in a Vietnamese province. A further aim was to investigate whether differences in level of knowledge were linked to certain characteristics of community health centres, such as access to national guidelines in reproductive health care, number of assisted deliveries and geographical location.
This cross-sectional survey was completed within a baseline study preparing for an intervention study on knowledge translation (Implementing knowledge into practice for improved neonatal survival: a community-based trial in Quang Ninh province, Viet Nam, the NeoKIP project, ISRCTN44599712). Sixteen multiple-choice questions from five basic areas of evidence-based practice in neonatal care were distributed to 155 community health centres in 12 districts in a Vietnamese province, reaching 412 primary health care workers.
All health care workers approached for the survey responded. Overall, they achieved 60% of the maximum score of the questionnaire. Staff level of knowledge on evidence-based practice was linked to the geographical location of the CHC, but not to access to the national guidelines or the number of deliveries at the community level. Two separated geographical areas were identified with differences in staff level of knowledge and concurrent differences in neonatal survival, antenatal care and postnatal home visits.
We have identified a complex pattern of associations between knowledge, geography, demographic factors and neonatal outcomes. Primary health care staff knowledge regarding neonatal health is scarce. This is a factor that is possible to influence and should be considered in future efforts for improving the neonatal health situation in Viet Nam.
To update the 2006 Canadian guidelines for primary care of adults with developmental disabilities (DD) and to make practical recommendations based on current knowledge to address the particular health issues of adults with DD.
Quality of evidence
Knowledgeable health care providers participating in a colloquium and a subsequent working group discussed and agreed on revisions to the 2006 guidelines based on a comprehensive review of publications, feedback gained from users of the guidelines, and personal clinical experiences. Most of the available evidence in this area of care is from expert opinion or published consensus statements (level III).
Adults with DD have complex health issues, many of them differing from those of the general population. Good primary care identifies the particular health issues faced by adults with DD to improve their quality of life, to improve their access to health care, and to prevent suffering, morbidity, and premature death. These guidelines synthesize general, physical, behavioural, and mental health issues of adults with DD that primary care providers should be aware of, and they present recommendations for screening and management based on current knowledge that practitioners can apply. Because of interacting biologic, psychoaffective, and social factors that contribute to the health and well-being of adults with DD, these guidelines emphasize involving caregivers, adapting procedures when appropriate, and seeking input from a range of health professionals when available. Ethical care is also emphasized. The guidelines are formulated within an ethical framework that pays attention to issues such as informed consent and the assessment of health benefits in relation to risks of harm.
Implementation of the guidelines proposed here would improve the health of adults with DD and would minimize disparities in health and health care between adults with DD and those in the general population.
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.
Guidelines for the management of patients with nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding (NVUGIB) are inconsistently applied by health care providers, potentially resulting in suboptimal care and patient outcomes. A needs assessment was performed to assess health care providers’ barriers to the implementation of these guidelines in Canada.
Semistructured telephone interviews were conducted by trained research personnel with 22 selectively sampled health care professionals actively treating and managing NVUGIB patients, including emergency room physicians (ER), intensivists (ICU), gastroenterologists (GI), gastroenterology nurses and hospital administrators. Participants were chosen from a representative sample of six Canadian community- and academic-based hospitals that participated in a national Canadian audit on the management of NVUGIB.
Participants reported substantive gaps in the implementation of NVUGIB guidelines that included the following: lack of knowledge of the specifics of the NVUGIB guidelines (ER, ICU, nurses); limited belief in the value of guidelines, especially in areas where evidence is lacking (ER, ICU); limited belief in the value of available tools to support implementation of guidelines (GI); lack of knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of health care professions and disciplines, and lack of effective collaboration skills (ER, ICU and GI); variability of knowledge and skills of health care professionals within professions (eg, variability of nurses’ knowledge and skills in endoscopic procedures); and perceived overuse of intravenous proton pump inhibitor treatment, with limited concern regarding cost or side effect implications (all participants).
In the present study population, ER, ICU and nurses did not adhere to NVUGIB guidelines because they were neither aware of nor familiar with them, whereas the GI lack of adherence to NVUGIB guidelines was influenced more by attitudinal and contextual barriers. These findings can guide the design of multifaceted educational and behavioural interventions when attempting to effectively disseminate existing guidelines, and for guideline implementation into practice.
Acid suppressive therapy; Drug therapy; Endoscopy; Gastric; Peptic; Proton pump inhibitors; Stomach
The Canadian Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) for the management of asthmatic patients were last published in 1999, with updates in 2001 and June 2004. Large disparities exist in the implementation of these guidelines into clinical practice.
The present study evaluated the knowlege of Quebec-based primary care physicians regarding the CPGs, as well as patient outcomes before and after introducing physicians to a new clinical tool – a memory aid in the form of a self-inking paper stamp checklist summarizing CPG criteria and guidelines for assessing asthmatic patient control and therapy. The primary objective of the present study was to assess whether the stamp would improve physicians’ knowledge of the CPGs, and as a secondary objective, to assess whether it would decrease patient emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
A prospective, randomized, controlled study of 104 primary care physicians located in four Quebec regions was conducted. Each physician initially responded to questions on their knowledge of the CPGs, and was then randomly assigned to one of four groups that received information about the CPGs while implementing an intervention (the stamp tool) aimed at supporting their decision-making process at the point of care. Six months later, the physicians were retested, and patient outcomes for approximately one year were obtained from the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec.
The stamp significantly improved physicians’ knowledge of the CPGs in all Quebec regions tested, and reduced emergency room visits and hospitalizations in patients who were followed for at least one year.
A paper stamp summarizing CPGs for asthma can be used effectively to increase the knowledge of physicians and to positively affect patient outcomes.
Asthma; Canadian Clinical Practice Guidelines; CME; Paper stamp tool
Chronic (systolic) heart failure (CHF) is a common and disabling condition. Adherence to evidence-based guidelines in primary care has been shown to improve health outcomes. The aim was to explore the impact of a multidisciplinary educational intervention for general practitioners (GPs) (Train the trainer = TTT) on patient and performance outcomes.
This paper presents the key findings from the trial and discusses the lessons learned during the implementation of the TTT trial. Primary care practices were randomly assigned to the TTT intervention or to the control group. 37 GPs (18 TTT, 19 control) were randomised and 168 patients diagnosed with ascertained CHF (91 TTT, 77 control) were enrolled. GPs in the intervention group attended four meetings addressing clinical practice guidelines and pharmacotherapy feedback. The primary outcome was patient self-reported quality of life at seven months, using the SF-36 Physical Functioning scale. Secondary outcomes included other SF-36 scales, the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ), total mortality, heart failure hospital admissions, prescribing, depressive disorders (PHQ-9), behavioural change (European Heart Failure Self-Care Behaviour Scale), patient-perceived quality of care (EUROPEP) and improvement of heart failure using NT-proBNP-levels. Because recruitment targets were not achieved an exploratory analysis was conducted.
There was high baseline achievement in both groups for many outcomes. At seven months, there were no significant mean difference between groups for the primary outcome measure (-3.3, 95%CI -9.7 to 3.1, p = 0.30). The only difference in secondary outcomes related to the prescribing of aldosterone antagonists by GPs in the intervention group, with significant between group differences at follow-up (42 vs. 24%, adjusted OR = 4.0, 95%CI 1.2–13; p = 0.02).
The intervention did not change the primary outcome or most secondary outcomes. Recruitment targets were not achieved and the under-recruitment of practices and patients alongside a selection bias of participating GPs, prohibit definite conclusions, but the CI indicates a non-effectiveness of the intervention in this sample. We describe the lessons learned from conducting the trial for the future planning and conduct of confirmatory trials in primary care.
The Saudi Initiative for Asthma (SINA) provides up-to-date guidelines for healthcare workers managing patients with asthma. SINA was developed by a panel of Saudi experts with respectable academic backgrounds and long-standing experience in the field. SINA is founded on the latest available evidence, local literature, and knowledge of the current setting in Saudi Arabia. Emphasis is placed on understanding the epidemiology, pathophysiology, medications, and clinical presentation. SINA elaborates on the development of patient-doctor partnership, self-management, and control of precipitating factors. Approaches to asthma treatment in SINA are based on disease control by the utilization of Asthma Control Test for the initiation and adjustment of asthma treatment. This guideline is established for the treatment of asthma in both children and adults, with special attention to children 5 years and younger. It is expected that the implementation of these guidelines for treating asthma will lead to better asthma control and decrease patient utilization of the health care system.
Asthma; guidelines; Saudi Arabia
Clinical guidelines translate complex research findings and expert opinion into actionable recommendations. However, the effectiveness of even evidence-based guidelines is rarely tested as a whole in a real clinical environment.
We have developed a decision support system for implementing clinical guidelines in a busy pediatric practice. We have added to this system the ability to randomize patients to receive care with or without system support of the guideline or guideline components. The randomization is part of the Arden Syntax that implements the system logic. The result is a relatively effortless process for testing guidelines, as they are implemented, to assure that they are effective.
We describe the system and the process by which this guideline evaluation functionality was built in, using two guidelines (asthma management and maternal depression screening) both of which have been applied to thousands of patients to date.
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
The Sustainably Managing Environmental Health Risk in Ecuador project was launched in 2004 as a partnership linking a large Canadian university with leading Cuban and Mexican institutes to strengthen the capacities of four Ecuadorian universities for leading community-based learning and research in areas as diverse as pesticide poisoning, dengue control, water and sanitation, and disaster preparedness.
In implementing curriculum and complementary innovations through application of an ecosystem approach to health, our interdisciplinary international team focused on the question: “Can strengthening of institutional capacities to support a community of practice of researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and communities produce positive health outcomes and improved capacities to sustainably translate knowledge?” To assess progress in achieving desired outcomes, we review results associated with the logic framework analysis used to guide the project, focusing on how a community of practice network has strengthened implementation, including follow-up tracking of program trainees and presentation of two specific case studies.
By 2009, train-the-trainer project initiation involved 27 participatory action research Master’s theses in 15 communities where 1200 community learners participated in the implementation of associated interventions. This led to establishment of innovative Ecuadorian-led master’s and doctoral programs, and a Population Health Observatory on Collective Health, Environment and Society for the Andean region based at the Universidad Andina Simon Bolivar. Building on this network, numerous initiatives were begun, such as an internationally funded research project to strengthen dengue control in the coastal community of Machala, and establishment of a local community eco-health centre focusing on determinants of health near Cuenca.
Strengthening capabilities for producing and applying knowledge through direct engagement with affected populations and decision-makers provides a fertile basis for consolidating capacities to act on a larger scale. This can facilitate the capturing of benefits from the “top down” (in consolidating institutional commitments) and the “bottom up” (to achieve local results).
Alliances of academic and non-academic partners from the South and North provide a promising orientation for learning together about ways of addressing negative trends of development. Assessing the impacts and sustainability of such processes, however, requires longer term monitoring of results and related challenges.
At present, evidence-based programs (EBPs) to reduce youth violence are failing to translate into widespread community practice, despite their potential for impact on this pervasive public health problem. In this paper we address two types of challenges in the achievement of such impact, drawing upon lessons from the implementation of a partnership model called PROSPER. First, we address five key challenges in the achievement of community-level impact through effective community planning and action: readiness and mobilization of community teams; maintaining EBP implementation quality; sustaining community teams and EBPs; demonstrating community-level impact; and continuous, proactive technical assistance. Second, we consider grand challenges in the large-scale translation of EBPs: (1) building, linking and expanding existing infrastructures to support effective EBP delivery systems, and (2) organizing networks of practitioner-scientist partnerships—networks designed to integrate diffusion of EBPs with research that examines effective strategies to do so. The PROSPER partnership model is an evidence-based delivery system for community-based prevention and has evolved through two decades of NIH-funded research, assisted by land grant universities' Cooperative Extension Systems. Findings and lessons of relevance to each of the challenges are summarized. In this context, we outline how practitioner-scientist partnerships can serve to transform EBP delivery systems, particularly in conjunction with supportive federal policy.
Evidence-based programs; Delivery systems; Prevention impact challenges; Community-level impact; Practitioner-scientist partnerships; Prevention infrastructure; Systems transformation
Compared with the current focus on the development of clinical practice guidelines the effort devoted to their evaluation is meagre. Yet the ultimate success of guidelines depends on routine evaluation. Three types of evaluation are identified: evaluation of guidelines under development and before dissemination and implementation, evaluation of health care programs in which guidelines play a central role, and scientific evaluation, through studies that provide the scientific knowledge base for further evolution of guidelines. Identification of evaluation and program goals, evaluation design and a framework for evaluation planning are discussed.