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1.  The guideline implementability research and application network (GIRAnet): an international collaborative to support knowledge exchange: study protocol 
Modifying the format and content of guidelines may facilitate their use and lead to improved quality of care. We reviewed the medical literature to identify features desired by different users and associated with guideline use to develop a framework of implementability and found that most guidelines do not contain these elements. Further research is needed to develop and evaluate implementability tools.
We are launching the Guideline Implementability Research and Application Network (GIRAnet) to enable the development and testing of implementability tools in three domains: Resource Implications, Implementation, and Evaluation. Partners include the Guidelines International Network (G-I-N) and its member guideline developers, implementers, and researchers. In phase one, international guidelines will be examined to identify and describe exemplar tools. Indication-specific and generic tools will populate a searchable repository. In phase two, qualitative analysis of cognitive interviews will be used to understand how developers can best integrate implementability tools in guidelines and how health professionals use them for interpreting and applying guidelines. In phase three, a small-scale pilot test will assess the impact of implementability tools based on quantitative analysis of chart-based behavioural outcomes and qualitative analysis of interviews with participants. The findings will be used to plan a more comprehensive future evaluation of implementability tools.
Infrastructure funding to establish GIRAnet will be leveraged with the in-kind contributions of collaborating national and international guideline developers to advance our knowledge of implementation practice and science. Needs assessment and evaluation of GIRAnet will provide a greater understanding of how to develop and sustain such knowledge-exchange networks. Ultimately, by facilitating use of guidelines, this research may lead to improved delivery and outcomes of patient care.
PMCID: PMC3338081  PMID: 22471937
Guidelines; Guideline development; Guideline implementation; Research networks; Knowledge exchange
2.  How can we improve guideline use? A conceptual framework of implementability 
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.
PMCID: PMC3072935  PMID: 21426574
3.  An exploration of how guideline developer capacity and guideline implementability influence implementation and adoption: study protocol 
Practice guidelines can improve health care delivery and outcomes but several issues challenge guideline adoption, including their intrinsic attributes, and whether and how they are implemented. It appears that guideline format may influence accessibility and ease of use, which may overcome attitudinal barriers of guideline adoption, and appear to be important to all stakeholders. Guideline content may facilitate various forms of decision making about guideline adoption relevant to different stakeholders. Knowledge and attitudes about, and incentives and capacity for implementation on the part of guideline sponsors may influence whether and how they develop guidelines containing these features, and undertake implementation. Examination of these issues may yield opportunities to improve guideline adoption.
The attributes hypothesized to facilitate adoption will be expanded by thematic analysis, and quantitative and qualitative summary of the content of international guidelines for two primary care (diabetes, hypertension) and institutional care (chronic ulcer, chronic heart failure) topics. Factors that influence whether and how guidelines are implemented will be explored by qualitative analysis of interviews with individuals affiliated with guideline sponsoring agencies.
Previous research examined guideline implementation by measuring rates of compliance with recommendations or associated outcomes, but this produced little insight on how the products themselves, or their implementation, could be improved. This research will establish a theoretical basis upon which to conduct experimental studies to compare the cost-effectiveness of interventions that enhance guideline development and implementation capacity. Such studies could first examine short-term outcomes predictive of guideline utilization, such as recall, attitude toward, confidence in, and adoption intention. If successful, then long-term objective outcomes reflecting the adoption of processes and associated patient care outcomes could be evaluated.
PMCID: PMC3224968  PMID: 19573246
4.  Development of the AGREE II, part 2: assessment of validity of items and tools to support application 
We established a program of research to improve the development, reporting and evaluation of practice guidelines. We assessed the construct validity of the items and user’s manual in the β version of the AGREE II.
We designed guideline excerpts reflecting high-and low-quality guideline content for 21 of the 23 items in the tool. We designed two study packages so that one low-quality and one high-quality version of each item were randomly assigned to each package. We randomly assigned 30 participants to one of the two packages. Participants reviewed and rated the guideline content according to the instructions of the user’s manual and completed a survey assessing the manual.
In all cases, content designed to be of high quality was rated higher than low-quality content; in 18 of 21 cases, the differences were significant (p < 0.05). The manual was rated by participants as appropriate, easy to use, and helpful in differentiating guidelines of varying quality, with all scores above the mid-point of the seven-point scale. Considerable feedback was offered on how the items and manual of the β-AGREE II could be improved.
The validity of the items was established and the user’s manual was rated as highly useful by users. We used these results and those of our study presented in part 1 to modify the items and user’s manual. We recommend AGREE II (available at as the revised standard for guideline development, reporting and evaluation.
PMCID: PMC2900368  PMID: 20513779
5.  Assessing implementation difficulties in tobacco use prevention and cessation counselling among dental providers 
Tobacco use adversely affects oral health. Clinical guidelines recommend that dental providers promote tobacco abstinence and provide patients who use tobacco with brief tobacco use cessation counselling. Research shows that these guidelines are seldom implemented, however. To improve guideline adherence and to develop effective interventions, it is essential to understand provider behaviour and challenges to implementation. This study aimed to develop a theoretically informed measure for assessing among dental providers implementation difficulties related to tobacco use prevention and cessation (TUPAC) counselling guidelines, to evaluate those difficulties among a sample of dental providers, and to investigate a possible underlying structure of applied theoretical domains.
A 35-item questionnaire was developed based on key theoretical domains relevant to the implementation behaviours of healthcare providers. Specific items were drawn mostly from the literature on TUPAC counselling studies of healthcare providers. The data were collected from dentists (n = 73) and dental hygienists (n = 22) in 36 dental clinics in Finland using a web-based survey. Of 95 providers, 73 participated (76.8%). We used Cronbach's alpha to ascertain the internal consistency of the questionnaire. Mean domain scores were calculated to assess different aspects of implementation difficulties and exploratory factor analysis to assess the theoretical domain structure. The authors agreed on the labels assigned to the factors on the basis of their component domains and the broader behavioural and theoretical literature.
Internal consistency values for theoretical domains varied from 0.50 ('emotion') to 0.71 ('environmental context and resources'). The domain environmental context and resources had the lowest mean score (21.3%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 17.2 to 25.4) and was identified as a potential implementation difficulty. The domain emotion provided the highest mean score (60%; 95% CI, 55.0 to 65.0). Three factors were extracted that explain 70.8% of the variance: motivation (47.6% of variance, α = 0.86), capability (13.3% of variance, α = 0.83), and opportunity (10.0% of variance, α = 0.71).
This study demonstrated a theoretically informed approach to identifying possible implementation difficulties in TUPAC counselling among dental providers. This approach provides a method for moving from diagnosing implementation difficulties to designing and evaluating interventions.
PMCID: PMC3130685  PMID: 21615948
6.  Use of medical informatics to implement and develop clinical practice guidelines. 
Western Journal of Medicine  1998;168(3):166-175.
Clinical practice guidelines have enormous potential to improve the quality of and accountability in health care. Making the most of this potential should become easier as guideline developers integrate guidelines within information systems and electronic medical records. A major barrier to such integration is the lack of computing infrastructure in many clinical settings. To successfully implement guidelines in information systems, developers must create more specific recommendations than those that have been required for traditional guidelines. Using reusable software components to create guidelines can make the development of protocols faster and less expensive. In addition, using decision models to produce guidelines enables developers to structure guideline problems systematically, to prioritize information acquisition, to develop site-specific guidelines, and to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the explicit incorporation of patient preferences into guideline recommendations. Ongoing research provides a foundation for the use of guideline development tools that can help developers tailor guidelines appropriately to their practice settings. This article explores how medical informatics can help clinicians find, use, and create practice guidelines.
PMCID: PMC1304856  PMID: 9549415
7.  Do guidelines influence the implementation of health programs? — Uganda’s experience 
A guideline contains processes and procedures intended to guide health service delivery. However, the presence of guidelines may not guarantee their implementation, which may be a result of weaknesses in the development process. This study was undertaken to describe the processes of developing health planning, services management, and clinical guidelines within the health sector in Uganda, with the goal of understanding how these processes facilitate or abate the utility of guidelines.
Qualitative and quantitative research methods were used to collect and analyze data. Data collection was undertaken at the levels of the central Ministry of Health, the district, and service delivery. Qualitative methods included review of documents, observations, and key informant interviews, as well as quantitative aspects included counting guidelines. Quantitative data were analyzed with Microsoft Excel, and qualitative data were analyzed using deductive content thematic analysis.
There were 137 guidelines in the health sector, with programs related to Millennium Development Goals having the highest number (n = 83). The impetus for guideline development was stated in 78% of cases. Several guidelines duplicated content, and some conflicted with each other. The level of consultation varied, and some guidelines did not consider government-wide policies and circumstances at the service delivery level. Booklets were the main format of presentation, which was not tailored to the service delivery level. There was no framework for systematic dissemination, and target users were defined broadly in most cases. Over 60% of guidelines available at the central level were not available at the service delivery level, but there were good examples in isolated cases. There was no framework for systematic monitoring of use, evaluation, and review of guidelines. Suboptimal performance of the supervision framework that would encourage the use of guidelines, assess their utilization, and provide feedback was noted.
Guideline effectiveness is compromised by the development process. To ensure the production of high-quality guidelines, efforts must be employed at the country and regional levels. The regional level can facilitate pooling resources and expertise in knowledge generation, methodology development, guideline repositories, and capacity building. Countries should establish and enforce systems and guidance on guideline development.
PMCID: PMC3534441  PMID: 23068082
Guidelines; Implementation; Health services; Planning; Management; Uganda
8.  Developing Nursing Computer Interpretable Guidelines: a Feasibility Study of Heart Failure Guidelines in Homecare. 
AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings  2013;2013:1353-1361.
Homecare is the fastest growing healthcare sector and evidence based information systems are critically needed. Nurses provide most of the care in homecare setting, yet there is a lack of knowledge on the feasibility of applying existing methodologies to generate computer interpretable nursing guidelines for home care. This study examined the feasibility of encoding homecare nursing heart failure guideline into a computer interpretable format. First, we achieved experts’ consensus on the relevant guideline. Then, after training on the graphical tool for gradual knowledge specification (Gesher), we generated a comprehensive, hierarchical and time-oriented computer interpretable guideline using one of the guideline modeling languages (Asbru). The final guideline included 167 recommendations and experts’ evaluation confirmed the adequacy of guideline knowledge representation. Future work should expand the applicability of our methodology and tools to nursing specialties other than heart failure and develop methods for comprehensive quality evaluation of the resulting guidelines.
PMCID: PMC3900150  PMID: 24551412
9.  Why are some evidence-based care recommendations in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease better implemented than others? Perspectives of medical practitioners 
Clinical guidelines for management of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) include recommendations based on high levels of evidence, but gaps exist in their implementation. The aim of this study was to examine the perspectives of medical practitioners regarding implementation of six high-evidence recommendations for the management of people with COPD.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with medical practitioners involved with care of COPD patients in hospital and general practice. Interviews sought medical practitioners’ experience regarding implementation of smoking cessation, influenza vaccination, pulmonary rehabilitation, guideline-based medications, long-term oxygen therapy for hypoxemia and plan and advice for future exacerbations. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim and analyzed using content analysis.
Nine hospital-based medical practitioners and seven general practitioners participated. Four major categories were identified which impacted on implementation of the target recommendations in the care of patients with COPD: (1) role clarity of the medical practitioner; (2) persuasive communication with the patient; (3) complexity of behavioral change required; (4) awareness and support available at multiple levels. For some recommendations, strength in all four categories provided significant enablers supporting implementation. However, with regard to pulmonary rehabilitation and plans and advice for future exacerbations, all identified categories that presented barriers to implementation.
This study of medical practitioner perspectives has indicated areas where significant barriers to the implementation of key evidence-based recommendations in COPD management persist. Developing strategies to target the identified categories provides an opportunity to achieve greater implementation of those high-evidence recommendations in the care of people with COPD.
PMCID: PMC3257951  PMID: 22259242
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; guideline implementation; barriers; enablers; medical practitioners; qualitative research
10.  Improving the use of research evidence in guideline development: 16. Evaluation 
The World Health Organization (WHO), like many other organisations around the world, has recognised the need to use more rigorous processes to ensure that health care recommendations are informed by the best available research evidence. This is the last of a series of 16 reviews that have been prepared as background for advice from the WHO Advisory Committee on Health Research to WHO on how to achieve this.
We reviewed the literature on evaluating guidelines and recommendations, including their quality, whether they are likely to be up-to-date, and their implementation. We also considered the role of guideline developers in undertaking evaluations that are needed to inform recommendations.
We searched PubMed and three databases of methodological studies for existing systematic reviews and relevant methodological research. We did not conduct systematic reviews ourselves. Our conclusions are based on the available evidence, consideration of what WHO and other organisations are doing and logical arguments.
Key questions and answers
Our answers to these questions were informed by a review of instruments for evaluating guidelines, several studies of the need for updating guidelines, discussions of the pros and cons of different research designs for evaluating the implementation of guidelines, and consideration of the use of uncertainties identified in systematic reviews to set research priorities.
How should the quality of guidelines or recommendations be appraised?
• WHO should put into place processes to ensure that both internal and external review of guidelines is undertaken routinely.
• A checklist, such as the AGREE instrument, should be used.
• The checklist should be adapted and tested to ensure that it is suitable to the broad range of recommendations that WHO produces, including public health and health policy recommendations, and that it includes questions about equity and other items that are particularly important for WHO guidelines.
When should guidelines or recommendations be updated?
• Processes should be put into place to ensure that guidelines are monitored routinely to determine if they are in need of updating.
• People who are familiar with the topic, such as Cochrane review groups, should do focused, routine searches for new research that would require revision of the guideline.
• Periodic review of guidelines by experts not involved in developing the guidelines should also be considered.
• Consideration should be given to establishing guideline panels that are ongoing, to facilitate routine updating, with members serving fixed periods with a rotating membership.
How should the impact of guidelines or recommendations be evaluated?
• WHO headquarters and regional offices should support member states and those responsible for policy decisions and implementation to evaluate the impact of their decisions and actions by providing advice regarding impact assessment, practical support and coordination of efforts.
• Before-after evaluations should be used cautiously and when there are important uncertainties regarding the effects of a policy or its implementation, randomised evaluations should be used when possible.
What responsibility should WHO take for ensuring that important uncertainties are addressed by future research when the evidence needed to inform recommendations is lacking?
• Guideline panels should routinely identify important uncertainties and research priorities. This source of potential priorities for research should be used systematically to inform priority-setting processes for global research.
PMCID: PMC1702533  PMID: 17156460
11.  A novel method of guideline development for the diagnosis and management of mild to moderate hypertension. 
BACKGROUND: There are large numbers of clinical guidelines available covering many clinical areas. However, the variable quality of their content has meant that doctors may have been offered advice that has been poorly researched or is of a conflicting nature. It has been shown that local involvement in guideline development increases the likelihood of their use. AIM: To develop a guideline to be used by general practitioners in six practices in Birmingham from existing evidence-based guidelines. METHOD: Recommendations from the four most cited international hypertension guidelines, and the more recently published New Zealand guidelines, were divided into subject areas and tabulated to facilitate direct comparison. Where there was complete or majority (> or = 3/5) agreement, the recommendation was taken as acceptable for inclusion in the new guideline. Where there was disagreement (< or = 2/5), recommendations were based on the best available evidence following a further MEDLINE literature search and critical appraisal of the relevant literature. Each recommendation was accompanied by a grade of evidence (A-D), as defined by the Canadian Hypertension Society, and an 'action required' statement of either 'must', 'should', or 'could', based on the Eli-Lilly National Clinical Audit Centre Hypertension Audit criteria. The recommendations were summarized into a guideline algorithm and a supporting document. The final format of both parts of the guideline was decided after consultation with the practice teams. The practices individually decided on methods of data collection. RESULTS: The guideline was presented as a double-sided, A4 laminated sheet and an A4 bound supporting document containing a synthesis of the original guidelines in tabular form, a table of the resulting recommendations, and appendices of current literature reviews on areas of disagreement. The content of the final Birmingham Clinical Effectiveness Group (BCEG) guideline differed minimally from any of the original guidelines. CONCLUSION: The main strength of this method of guideline development may lie, not in the actual content of the resulting guideline, but in the strength of ownership felt by the BCEG and the practices following its development. While the full process is unlikely to be possible for general practitioners working outside an academic environment, the techniques used could provide a framework for practitioners to adapt national and international guidelines for use at a local level.
PMCID: PMC1313367  PMID: 10343418
12.  Preconditions for successful guideline implementation: perceptions of oncology nurses 
BMC Nursing  2011;10:23.
Although evidence-based guidelines are important for improving the quality of patient care, implementation in practice is below expectations. With the recent focus on team care, guidelines are intended to promote the integration of care across multiple disciplines. We conducted an exploratory study to understand oncology nurses' perceptions of guideline implementation and to learn their views on how their experiences affected the implementation.
A qualitative study was used with focus group interviews. We collected data from 11 nurses with more than 5 years of oncology nursing experience in Japan. The data were analyzed using grounded theory.
Results of the analysis identified "preconditions for successful guideline implementation" as a core category. There were 4 categories (goal congruence, equal partnership, professional self-development and user-friendliness) and 11 subcategories related to organizational, multidisciplinary, individual, and guideline levels.
Although the guidelines were viewed as important, they were not fully implemented in practice. There are preconditions at the organizational, multidisciplinary, individual, and guideline levels that must be met if an organization is to successfully implement the guideline in clinical settings. Prioritizing strategies by focusing on these preconditions will help to facilitate successful guideline implementation.
PMCID: PMC3247822  PMID: 22067513
13.  VA QUERI Informatics Paper 
Objective: This multisite study compared the perceptions of three stakeholder groups regarding information technologies as barriers to and facilitators of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs).
Design: The study settings were 18 U.S. Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. A purposive sample of 322 individuals participated in 50 focus groups segmented by profession and included administrators, physicians, and nurses. Focus group participants were selected based on their knowledge of practice guidelines and involvement in facility-wide guideline implementation.
Measurements: Descriptive content analysis of 1,500 pages of focus group transcripts.
Results: Eighteen themes clustered into four domains. Stakeholders were similar in discussing themes in the computer function domain most frequently but divergent in other domains, with workplace factors more often discussed by administrators, system design issues discussed most by nurses, and personal concerns discussed by physicians and nurses. Physicians and nurses most often discussed barriers, whereas administrators focused most often on facilitation. Facilitators included guideline maintenance and charting formats. Barriers included resources, attitudes, time and workload, computer glitches, computer complaints, data retrieval, and order entry. Themes with dual designations included documentation, patient records, decision support, performance evaluation, CPG implementation, computer literacy, essential data, and computer accessibility.
Conclusion: Stakeholders share many concerns regarding the relationships between information technologies and clinical guideline use. However, administrators, physicians, and nurses hold different opinions about specific facilitators and barriers. Health professionals' disparate perceptions could undermine guideline initiatives. Implementation plans should specifically incorporate actions to address these barriers and enhance the facilitative aspects of information technologies in clinical practice guideline use.
PMCID: PMC543828  PMID: 15492035
14.  “More bang for the buck”: exploring optimal approaches for guideline implementation through interviews with international developers 
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.
PMCID: PMC3561165  PMID: 23153052
Guideline development; Guideline implementation; Qualitative research
15.  Acceptance and perceived barriers of implementing a guideline for managing low back in general practice 
Implementation of guidelines in clinical practice is difficult. In 2003, the German College of General Practitioners and Family Physicians (DEGAM) released an evidence-based guideline for the management of low back pain (LBP) in primary care. The objective of this study is to explore the acceptance of guideline content and perceived barriers to implementation.
Seventy-two general practitioners (GPs) participating in quality circles within the framework of an educational intervention study for guideline implementation evaluated the LBP-guideline and its practicability with a standardised questionnaire. In addition, statements of group discussions were recorded using the metaplan technique and were incorporated in the discussion.
Most GPs agree with the guideline content but believe that guideline stipulations are not congruent with patient wishes. Non-adherence to the guideline and contradictory information for patients by other professionals (e.g., GPs, orthopaedic surgeons, physiotherapists) are important barriers to guideline adherence. Almost half of the GPs have no access to recommended multimodal pain programs for patients with chronic LBP.
Promoting adherence to the LBP guideline requires more than enhancing knowledge about evidence-based management of LBP. Public education and an interdisciplinary consensus are important requirements for successful guideline implementation into daily practice. Guideline recommendations need to be adapted to the infrastructure of the health care system.
Trial registration
BMBF Grant Nr. 01EM0113. FORIS (database for research projects in social science) Reg #: 20040116 [25].
PMCID: PMC2275295  PMID: 18257923
16.  Making generic guidelines site-specific. 
Health care providers are more likely to follow a clinical guideline if the guideline's recommendations are consistent with the way in which their organization does its work. Unfortunately, developing guidelines that are specific to an organization is expensive, and limits the ability to share guidelines among different institutions. We describe a methodology that separates the site-independent information of guidelines from site-specific information, and that facilitates the development of site-specific guidelines from generic guidelines. We have used this methodology in a prototype system that assists developers in creating generic guidelines that are sharable across different sites. When combined with site information, generic guidelines can be used to generate site-specific guidelines that are responsive to organizational change and that can be implemented at a level of detail that makes site-specific computer-based workflow management and simulation possible.
PMCID: PMC2232947  PMID: 8947736
17.  Application of GRADE: Making evidence-based recommendations about diagnostic tests in clinical practice guidelines 
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.
PMCID: PMC3126717  PMID: 21663655
18.  Implementation of Clinical Guidelines via a Computer Charting System 
Objective: The authors have shown that clinical guidelines embedded in an electronic medical record improved the quality, while lowering the cost, of care for health care workers who incurred occupational exposures to body fluid. They seek to determine whether this system has similar effects on the emergency department care of young children with febrile illness.
Design: Off-on-off, interrupted time series with intent-to-treat analysis.
Setting: University hospital emergency department.
Subjects: 830 febrile children less than 3 years of age and the physicians who treated them.
Interventions: Implementation of an electronic medical record that provides real-time advice regarding the content of the history and physical examination and recommendations regarding laboratory testing, treatment, diagnosis, and disposition.
Measurements: Documentation of essential items in the medical record and after-care instructions; compliance with guidelines regarding testing, treatment, and diagnosis; charges.
Results: The computer was used in 64 percent of eligible cases. Mean percentage documentation of 21 essential history and physical examination items increased from 80 percent during the baseline period to 92 percent in the intervention phase (13 percent increase; 95 percent CI, 10-15 percent). Mean percentage documentation of ten items in the after-care instructions increased from 48 percent at baseline to 81 percent during the intervention phase (33 percent increase; 95 percent confidence interval, 28-38 percent). All documentation decreased to baseline when the computer system was removed. There were no demonstrable improvements in appropriateness of care, nor was there evidence that appropriateness worsened. Mean charges were not changed by the intervention.
Conclusion: The intervention markedly improved documentation, had little effect on the appropriateness of the process of care, and had no effect on charges. Results for the febrile child module differ from those for the module for occupational blood and body fluid exposure (a more focused and straightforward medical condition), underscoring the need for implementation methods to be tailored to specific clinical complaints.
PMCID: PMC61472  PMID: 10730602
19.  Haemorrhagia post partum; an implementation study on the evidence-based guideline of the Dutch Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (NVOG) and the MOET (Managing Obstetric Emergencies and Trauma-course) instructions; the Fluxim study 
One of the most important causes of maternal mortality and severe morbidity worldwide is post partum haemorrhage (PPH). Factors as substandard care are frequently reported in the international literature and there are similar reports in the Netherlands. The incidence of PPH in the Dutch population is 5% containing 10.000 women a year. The introduction of an evidence-based guideline on PPH by the Dutch society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (NVOG) and the initiation of the MOET course (Managing Obstetrics Emergencies and Trauma) did not lead to a reduction of PPH. This implies the possibility of an incomplete implementation of both the NVOG guideline and MOET-instructions. Therefore, the aim of this study is to develop and test a tailored strategy to implement both the NVOG guideline and MOET-instructions
One step in the development procedure is to evaluate the implementation of the guideline and MOET-instructions in the current care. Therefore measurement of the actual care will be performed in a representative sample of 20 hospitals. This will be done by prospective observation of the third stage of labour of 320 women with a high risk of PPH using quality indicators extracted from the NVOG guideline and MOET instructions. In the next step barriers and facilitators for guideline adherence will be analyzed by performance of semi structured interviews with 30 professionals and 10 patients, followed by a questionnaire study among all Dutch gynaecologists and midwives to quantify the barriers mentioned. Based on the outcomes, a tailored strategy to implement the NVOG guideline and MOET-instructions will be developed and tested in a feasibility study in 4 hospitals, including effect-, process- and cost evaluation.
This study will provide insight into current Dutch practice, in particular to what extent the PPH guidelines of the NVOG and the MOET-instructions have been implemented in the actual care, and into the barriers and facilitators regarding guideline adherence. The knowledge of the feasibility study regarding the effects and costs of the tailored strategy and the experiences of the users can be used in countries with a relatively high incidence of PPH.
Trial Registration NCT00928863
PMCID: PMC2824637  PMID: 20102607
20.  The quantity and quality of clinical practice guidelines for the management of depression in primary care in the UK. 
BACKGROUND: Despite research evidence that guidelines can improve patient care, concerns remain over their cost-effectiveness. This is particularly so when there is a proliferation of guidelines for the same condition. Faced with differing recommendations, users will wish to make informed decisions on which guideline to follow. In creating a guideline appraisal instrument we have assessed guidelines developed in the United Kingdom (UK) for the management of a range of disorders including depression in primary care. AIM: To identify the number of UK clinical guidelines for the management of depression in primary care and to describe their quality and clinical content. METHOD: A survey was undertaken to identify all depression guidelines developed in the UK between January 1991 and January 1996. All guidelines produced by national organizations and a random sample of local guidelines were appraised using a validated instrument by six assessors: a national expert in the disease area, a general practitioner, a public health physician, a hospital consultant, a nurse specializing in the disease area, and a researcher on guideline methodology. The clinical content of each guideline was then assessed by one of the researchers (RB) according to a defined framework. RESULTS: Forty-five depression guidelines were identified. While there was a considerable range in the quality of the six national and three local guidelines appraised, at a group level their performance was similar to guidelines for other diseases. Clinical recommendations tended to reflect the joint consensus statement produced by the Royal College of General Practitioners and Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1992. The most obvious difference was in the style in which the guidelines were written and presented. CONCLUSION: A 'national template' was the starting place for most guidelines. Steps need to be taken to ensure that these templates are based on the best possible research evidence and professional opinion. Local clinicians should concentrate on effective dissemination and implementation strategies, rather than creating new guidelines.
PMCID: PMC1313373  PMID: 10343424
21.  Extending the GuideLine Implementability Appraisal (GLIA) instrument to identify problems in control flow 
Clinical guidelines are usually written as text documents that are meant for human consumption. Implementing clinical guidelines as decision-support systems that deliver patient-specific advice at the point of care could increase the effectiveness of clinical guidelines. Several researchers studied the transition from narrative guidelines to computer-interpretable guidelines and have identified specific barriers to guideline implementation. GuideLine Implementability Appraisal (GLIA) is a comprehensive instrument for identifying such barriers, such that they could be revised. We used the GLIA instrument to appraise a historic thyroid nodule guideline that is now being reviewed by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Our analysis uncovered new guideline implementation barriers related to control-flow that we integrated into GLIA.
PMCID: PMC3041334  PMID: 21347054
22.  Guidelines on anticoagulant treatment in atrial fibrillation in Great Britain: variation in content and implications for treatment. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1998;316(7130):509-513.
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.
PMCID: PMC2665660  PMID: 9501712
23.  Implementing clinical guidelines in psychiatry: a qualitative study of perceived facilitators and barriers 
BMC Psychiatry  2010;10:8.
Translating scientific evidence into daily practice is complex. Clinical guidelines can improve health care delivery, but there are a number of challenges in guideline adoption and implementation. Factors influencing the effective implementation of guidelines remain poorly understood. Understanding of barriers and facilitators is important for development of effective implementation strategies. The aim of this study was to determine perceived facilitators and barriers to guideline implementation and clinical compliance to guidelines for depression in psychiatric care.
This qualitative study was conducted at two psychiatric clinics in Stockholm, Sweden. The implementation activities at one of the clinics included local implementation teams, seminars, regular feedback and academic detailing. The other clinic served as a control and only received guidelines by post. Data were collected from three focus groups and 28 individual, semi-structured interviews. Content analysis was used to identify themes emerging from the interview data.
The identified barriers to, and facilitators of, the implementation of guidelines could be classified into three major categories: (1) organizational resources, (2) health care professionals' individual characteristics and (3) perception of guidelines and implementation strategies. The practitioners in the implementation team and at control clinics differed in three main areas: (1) concerns about control over professional practice, (2) beliefs about evidence-based practice and (3) suspicions about financial motives for guideline introduction.
Identifying the barriers to, and facilitators of, the adoption of recommendations is an important way of achieving efficient implementation strategies. The findings of this study suggest that the adoption of guidelines may be improved if local health professionals actively participate in an ongoing implementation process and identify efficient strategies to overcome barriers on an organizational and individual level. Getting evidence into practice and implementing clinical guidelines are dependent upon more than practitioners' motivation. There are factors in the local context, e.g. culture and leadership, evaluation, feedback on performance and facilitation, -that are likely to be equally influential.
PMCID: PMC2822755  PMID: 20089141
24.  Editorial: can China master the guideline challenge? 
China is experiencing increased health care use and expenditures, without sufficient controls to ensure quality and value. Transparent, cost-conscious and patient-centered guidelines based on the best available evidence could help establishing these quality and practice measures.
We examined how guidelines could support the Chinese health reform. Specifically, we summarized the current state of the art and related challenges in guideline development and explored possible solutions in the context of the Chinese health reform.
China currently lacks capacity for evidence-based guideline development and coordination by a central agency. Most Chinese guideline users rely on recommendations developed by professional groups that lack demonstration of transparency (including conflict of interest management and evidence synthesis) and quality. These deficiencies appear larger than in other regions of the world. In addition, misperceptions about the role of guidelines in assisting practitioners as opposed to providing rules requiring adherence, and a perception that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) cannot be appropriately incorporated in guidelines are present.
China’s capacity could be strengthened by a central guideline agency to provide or coordinate evidence synthesis for guideline development and to oversee the work of guideline developers. China can build on what is known and work with the international community to develop methods to meet the challenges of evidence-based guideline development.
PMCID: PMC3544593  PMID: 23302417
25.  Investigating and Annotating the Role of Citation in Biomedical Full-Text Articles 
Citations are ubiquitous in scientific articles and play important roles for representing the semantic content of a full-text biomedical article. In this work, we manually examined full-text biomedical articles to analyze the semantic content of citations in full-text biomedical articles. After developing a citation relation schema and annotation guideline, our pilot annotation results show an overall agreement of 0.71, and here we report on the research challenges and the lessons we've learned while trying to overcome them. Our work is a first step toward automatic citation classification in full-text biomedical articles, which may contribute to many text mining tasks, including information retrieval, extraction, summarization, and question answering.
PMCID: PMC3003334  PMID: 21170175

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