Applying evidence is one of the most challenging steps of evidence-based clinical practice. Healthcare professionals have difficulty interpreting evidence and translating it to patients. Decision boxes are summaries of the most important benefits and harms of diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive health interventions provided to healthcare professionals before they meet the patient. Our hypothesis is that Decision boxes will prepare clinicians to help patients make informed value-based decisions. By acting as primers, the boxes will enhance the application of evidence-based practices and increase shared decision making during the clinical encounter. The objectives of this study are to provide a framework for developing Decision boxes and testing their value to users.
We will begin by developing Decision box prototypes for 10 clinical conditions or topics based on a review of the research on risk communication. We will present two prototypes to purposeful samples of 16 family physicians distributed in two focus groups, and 32 patients distributed in four focus groups. We will use the User Experience Model framework to explore users' perceptions of the content and format of each prototype. All discussions will be transcribed, and two researchers will independently perform a hybrid deductive/inductive thematic qualitative analysis of the data. The coding scheme will be developed a priori from the User Experience Model's seven themes (valuable, usable, credible, useful, desirable, accessible and findable), and will include new themes suggested by the data (inductive analysis). Key findings will be triangulated using additional publications on the design of tools to improve risk communication. All 10 Decision boxes will be modified in light of our findings.
This study will produce a robust framework for developing and testing Decision boxes that will serve healthcare professionals and patients alike. It is the first step in the development and implementation of a new tool that should facilitate decision making in clinical practice.
This project engages patients and physicians in the development of Decision Boxes, short clinical topic summaries covering medical questions that have no single best answer. Decision Boxes aim to prepare the clinician to communicate the risks and benefits of the available options to the patient so they can make an informed decision together.
Seven researchers (including four practicing family physicians) selected 10 clinical topics relevant to primary care practice through a Delphi survey. We then developed two one-page prototypes on two of these topics: prostate cancer screening with the prostate-specific antigen test, and prenatal screening for trisomy 21 with the serum integrated test. We presented the prototypes to purposeful samples of family physicians distributed in two focus groups, and patients distributed in four focus groups. We used the User Experience Honeycomb to explore barriers and facilitators to the communication design used in Decision Boxes. All discussions were transcribed, and three researchers proceeded to thematic content analysis of the transcriptions. The coding scheme was first developed from the Honeycomb’s seven themes (valuable, usable, credible, useful, desirable, accessible, and findable), and included new themes suggested by the data. Prototypes were modified in light of our findings.
Three rounds were necessary for a majority of researchers to select 10 clinical topics. Fifteen physicians and 33 patients participated in the focus groups. Following analyses, three sections were added to the Decision Boxes: introduction, patient counseling, and references. The information was spread to two pages to try to make the Decision Boxes less busy and improve users’ first impression. To try to improve credibility, we gave more visibility to the research institutions involved in development. A statement on the boxes’ purpose and a flow chart representing the shared decision-making process were added with the intent of clarifying the tool’s purpose. Information about the risks and benefits according to risk levels was added to the Decision Boxes, to try to ease the adaptation of the information to individual patients.
Results will guide the development of the eight remaining Decision Boxes. A future study will evaluate the effect of Decision Boxes on the integration of evidence-based and shared decision making principles in clinical practice.
Evidence-based medicine; User experience; Risk communication; Usability; Patient-centered care; Counselling; Clinical topic summary; Decision support; Knowledge translation; Communication design
Healthcare decisionmaking is a complex process relying on disparate types of evidence and value judgments. Our objectives for this study were to develop a practical framework to facilitate decisionmaking in terms of supporting the deliberative process, providing access to evidence, and enhancing the communication of decisions.
Extensive analyses of the literature and of documented decisionmaking processes around the globe were performed to explore what steps are currently used to make decisions with respect to context (from evidence generation to communication of decision) and thought process (conceptual components of decisions). Needs and methodologies available to support decisionmaking were identified to lay the groundwork for the EVIDEM framework.
A framework was developed consisting of seven modules that can evolve over the life cycle of a healthcare intervention. Components of decision that could be quantified, i.e., intrinsic value of a healthcare intervention and quality of evidence available, were organized into matrices. A multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) Value Matrix (VM) was developed to include the 15 quantifiable components that are currently considered in decisionmaking. A methodology to synthesize the evidence needed for each component of the VM was developed including electronic access to full text source documents. A Quality Matrix was designed to quantify three criteria of quality for the 12 types of evidence usually required by decisionmakers. An integrated system was developed to optimize data analysis, synthesis and validation by experts, compatible with a collaborative structure.
The EVIDEM framework promotes transparent and efficient healthcare decisionmaking through systematic assessment and dissemination of the evidence and values on which decisions are based. It provides a collaborative framework that could connect all stakeholders and serve the healthcare community at local, national and international levels by allowing sharing of data, resources and values. Validation and further development is needed to explore the full potential of this approach.
To assess whether clinical teams would direct patients to use web-based patient decision support interventions (DESIs) and whether patients would use them.
Retrospective semistructured interviews and web server log analysis.
Participants and settings
57 NHS professionals (nurses, doctors and others) in orthopaedic, antenatal, breast, urology clinics and in primary care practices across 22 NHS sites given access to DESIs hosted on the NHS Direct website.
Fewer than expected patients were directed to use the web tools. The most significant obstacles to referral to the tools were the attitudes of clinicians and clinical teams. Technical problems contributed to the problems but the low uptake was mainly explained by clinicians’ limited understanding of how patient DESIs could be helpful in clinical pathways, their perception that ‘shared decision-making’ was already commonplace and that, in their view, some patients are resistant to being involved in treatment decisions. External factors, such as efficiency targets and ‘best practice’ recommendations were also cited being significant barriers. Clinicians did not feel the need to refer patients to use decision support tools, web-based or not, and, as a result, felt no requirement to change existing practice routines. Uptake is highest when clinicians set expectations that these tools are integral to practice and embed their use into clinical pathways.
Existing evidence of patient benefit and the free availability of patient DESIs via the web are not sufficient drivers to achieve routine use. Health professionals were not motivated to refer patients to these interventions. Clinicians will not use these interventions simply because they are made available, despite good evidence of benefit to patients. These attitudes are deep seated and will not be modified by solely developing web-based interventions: a broader strategy will be required to embed DESIs into routine practice.
Qualitative Research; Health Service Research; Shared Decision Making; Decision Support Interventions; Patient Decision Aids
Objective To determine if an intervention consisting of telemonitoring and supervision by usual primary care clinicians of home self measured blood pressure and optional patient decision support leads to clinically important reductions in daytime systolic and diastolic ambulatory blood pressure in patients with uncontrolled blood pressure.
Design Multicentre randomised controlled trial.
Setting 20 primary care practices in south east Scotland.
Participants 401 people aged 29-95 years with uncontrolled blood pressure (mean daytime ambulatory measurement ≥135/85 mm Hg but ≤210/135 mm Hg).
Intervention Self measurement and transmission of blood pressure readings to a secure website for review by the attending nurse or doctor and participant, with optional automated patient decision support by text or email for six months.
Main outcome measures Blinded assessment of mean daytime systolic ambulatory blood pressure six months after randomisation.
Results 200 participants were randomised to the intervention and 201 to usual care; primary outcome data were available for 90% of participants (182 and 177, respectively). The mean difference in daytime systolic ambulatory blood pressure adjusted for baseline and minimisation factors between intervention and usual care was 4.3 mm Hg (95% confidence interval 2.0 to 6.5; P=0.0002) and for daytime diastolic ambulatory blood pressure was 2.3 mm Hg (0.9 to 3.6; P=0.001), with higher values in the usual care group. The intervention was associated with a mean increase of one general practitioner (95% confidence interval 0.5 to 1.6; P=0.0002) and 0.6 (0.1 to 1.0; P=0.01) practice nurse consultations during the course of the study.
Conclusions Supported self monitoring by telemonitoring is an effective method for achieving clinically important reductions in blood pressure in patients with uncontrolled hypertension in primary care settings. However, it was associated with increase in use of National Health Service resources. Further research is required to determine if the reduction in blood pressure is maintained in the longer term and if the intervention is cost effective.
Trial registration Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN72614272.
A sound, scientific base of high quality research is needed to inform service planning and decision making and enable improved policy and practice. However, some areas of health practice, particularly many of the allied health areas, are generally considered to have a low evidence base. In order to successfully build research capacity in allied health, a clearer understanding is required of what assists and encourages research as well as the barriers and challenges.
Participants and methods
This study used written surveys to collect data relating to motivators, enablers, and barriers to research capacity building. Respondents were asked to answer questions relating to them as individuals and other questions relating to their team. Allied health professionals were recruited from multidisciplinary primary health care teams in Queensland Health. Eighty-five participants from ten healthcare teams completed a written version of the research capacity and culture survey.
The results of this study indicate that individual allied health professionals are more likely to report being motivated to do research by intrinsic factors such as a strong interest in research. Barriers they identified to research are more likely to be extrinsic factors such as workload and lack of time. Allied health professionals identified some additional factors that impact on their research capacity than those reported in the literature, such as a desire to keep at the “cutting edge” and a lack of exposure to research. Some of the factors influencing individuals to do research were different to those influencing teams. These results are discussed with reference to organizational behavior and theories of motivation.
Supporting already motivated allied health professional individuals and teams to conduct research by increased skills training, infrastructure, and quarantined time is likely to produce better outcomes for research capacity building investment.
research capacity building; allied health professionals; motivation theory
The decision aids for diabetes (DAD) trial explored the feasibility of testing the effectiveness of decision aids (DAs) about coronary prevention and diabetes medications in community-based primary care practices, including rural clinics that care for patients with type 2 diabetes.
As originally designed, we invited clinicians in eight practices to participate in the trial, reviewed the patient panel of clinicians who accepted our invitation for potentially eligible patients, and contacted these patients by phone, enrolling those who accepted our invitation. As enrollment failed to meet targets, we recruited four new practices. After discussing the study with the clinicians and receiving their support, we reviewed all clinic panels for potentially eligible patients. Clinicians were approached to confirm participation and patient eligibility, and patients were approached before their visit to provide written informed consent. This in-clinic approach required study coordinators to travel and stay longer at the clinics as well as to screen more patient records for eligibility. The in-clinic approach was associated with better recruitment rates, lower patient retention and outcome completion rates, and a better intervention effect.
We drew four lessons: 1) difficulties identifying potentially eligible patients threaten the viability of practical trials of DAs; 2) to improve the recruitment yield, recruit clinicians and patients for the study at the clinic, just before their visit; 3) approaches that improve recruitment may be associated with reduced retention and survey response; and 4) procedures that involve working closely with the practice may improve recruitment and may also affect the quality of the implementation of the interventions.
Success in practice-based trials in usual primary care including rural clinics may require the smallest possible research footprint on the practice while implementing a streamlined protocol favoring in-clinic, in-person interactions with clinicians and patients.
Practical trials; Trial methodology; Recruitment and enrollment
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.
Clinicians are caring for an increasing number of older patients with multiple diseases, in the face of uncertainty concerning the benefits and harms associated with guideline-directed interventions. Understanding how primary care clinicians approach treatment decision-making for these patients is critical to the design of improving the decision-making process.
Focus groups were conducted with study with forty primary care clinicians (physicians, nurse-practitioners, physician assistants) in academic, community, and VA-affiliated primary care practices. Participants were given open-ended questions about their approach to treatment decision-making for older persons with multiple medical conditions. Responses were organized into themes using qualitative content analysis.
Participants were concerned about their patients’ ability to adhere to complex regimens deriving from guideline-directed care. There was variability in beliefs regarding and approaches to balancing the benefits and harms of guideline-directed care. There was also variability in how they involved patients in the process of decision making, with clinicians describing conflicts between their own and their patients’ goals. Participants listed a number of barriers to making good treatment decisions, including lack of outcome data, the role of specialists, patient and family expectations, and insufficient time and reimbursement.
The experiences of practicing clinicians suggest that they struggle with the uncertainties of applying disease-specific guidelines to their older patients with multiple conditions. To improve decision making, they need more data, alternative guidelines, approaches to reconciling their own and their patients’ priorities, the support of their subspecialist colleagues, and an altered reimbursement system.
Decisions regarding health systems are sometimes made without the input of timely and reliable evidence, leading to less than optimal health outcomes. Healthcare organizations can implement tools and infrastructures to support the use of research evidence to inform decision-making.
The purpose of this study was to profile the supports and instruments (i.e., programs, interventions, instruments or tools) that healthcare organizations currently have in place and which ones were perceived to facilitate evidence-informed decision-making.
In-depth semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with individuals in three different types of positions (i.e., a senior management team member, a library manager, and a ‘knowledge broker’) in three types of healthcare organizations (i.e., regional health authorities, hospitals and primary care practices) in two Canadian provinces (i.e., Ontario and Quebec). The interviews were taped, transcribed, and then analyzed thematically using NVivo 9 qualitative data analysis software.
A total of 57 interviews were conducted in 25 organizations in Ontario and Quebec. The main findings suggest that, for the healthcare organizations that participated in this study, the following supports facilitate evidence-informed decision-making: facilitating roles that actively promote research use within the organization; establishing ties to researchers and opinion leaders outside the organization; a technical infrastructure that provides access to research evidence, such as databases; and provision and participation in training programs to enhance staff’s capacity building.
This study identified the need for having a receptive climate, which laid the foundation for the implementation of other tangible initiatives and supported the use of research in decision-making. This study adds to the literature on organizational efforts that can increase the use of research evidence in decision-making. Some of the identified supports may increase the use of research evidence by decision-makers, which may then lead to more informed decisions, and hopefully to a strengthened health system and improved health.
Shared decision-making is advocated because of its potential to improve the quality of the decision-making process for patients and ultimately, patient outcomes. However, current evidence suggests that shared decision-making has not yet been widely adopted by health professionals. Therefore, a systematic review was performed on the barriers and facilitators to implementing shared decision-making in clinical practice as perceived by health professionals.
Covering the period from 1990 to March 2006, PubMed, Embase, CINHAL, PsycINFO, and Dissertation Abstracts were searched for studies in English or French. The references from included studies also were consulted. Studies were included if they reported on health professionals' perceived barriers and facilitators to implementing shared decision-making in their practices. Shared decision-making was defined as a joint process of decision making between health professionals and patients, or as decision support interventions including decision aids, or as the active participation of patients in decision making. No study design was excluded. Quality of the studies included was assessed independently by two of the authors. Using a pre-established taxonomy of barriers and facilitators to implementing clinical practice guidelines in practice, content analysis was performed.
Thirty-one publications covering 28 unique studies were included. Eleven studies were from the UK, eight from the USA, four from Canada, two from the Netherlands, and one from each of the following countries: France, Mexico, and Australia. Most of the studies used qualitative methods exclusively (18/28). Overall, the vast majority of participants (n = 2784) were physicians (89%). The three most often reported barriers were: time constraints (18/28), lack of applicability due to patient characteristics (12/28), and lack of applicability due to the clinical situation (12/28). The three most often reported facilitators were: provider motivation (15/28), positive impact on the clinical process (11/28), and positive impact on patient outcomes (10/28).
This systematic review reveals that interventions to foster implementation of shared decision-making in clinical practice will need to address a broad range of factors. It also reveals that on this subject there is very little known about any health professionals others than physicians. Future studies about implementation of shared decision-making should target a more diverse group of health professionals.
The objective of this study was to identify conditions that influence primary care clinicians’ referral decisions related to depression care. Forty primary care clinicians (15 general internists, 10 nurse practitioners, and 15 family practice physicians) were included in this study. The clinicians participated in semistructured interviews and completed two quantitative instruments (with 33 items on depression treatment decision making and 32 items on provider attitudes toward psychosocial care). Data analysis revealed that several conditions influence a clinician’s decision to refer a depressed patient to a mental health specialist: the patient’s resources, the clinician’s comfort in prescribing antidepressants and counseling patients with depression, and familiarity with a mental health specialist and practice environment. The decision to refer a patient with depression to a mental health specialist is a complex process involving the clinician, patient, and practice-related issues. Understanding these relationships may provide strategies to improve depression care management and lead to the design of depression care quality-improvement interventions that accommodate primary care practice context. The findings from this study suggest a need to increase mental health training opportunities for primary care clinicians to strengthen their skills and comfort level in managing depressed patients and encourage the development of relationships between primary care clinicians and mental health specialists to facilitate timely and accessible mental health care for patients.
depression care; primary care clinicians; referral
Background: Current healthcare policy advocates patient participation in treatment decision making. However, in asthma there is little evidence regarding patients' views on such involvement. This study explored the preferred and perceived level of involvement in treatment decisions, rationales for role preference, perceived facilitators of/barriers to involvement, and the interrelationship of role preference and demographic variables in a sample of patients with asthma.
Methods: A cross sectional survey was performed of 230 adults with clinician diagnosed asthma from 10 primary care sites and one specialist respiratory centre in north-west England. Preferred role in treatment decisions was assessed using the Control Preferences Scale.
Results: Fifty five (23.9%) preferred an active role, 82 (35.7%) a collaborative role, and 93 (40.4%) a passive role; 19 (8.2%) perceived their role as active compared with 45 (19.6%) collaborative and 166 (72.2%) passive. Only 33.5% (n = 77) of respondents attained their most preferred role; 55.2% (n = 127) were less involved than they preferred. Patient related, professional related, and organisational factors, especially quality and duration of consultations, facilitated or hampered involvement. Role preferences were not strongly associated with demographic variables or asthma severity.
Conclusions: This study in patients with asthma highlights the fact that there is a need for professional and patient education regarding partnership working, skilful communication, and innovative approaches to service delivery.
We describe here the use of a conceptual framework for implementing and disseminating in a Health Maintenance Organization an evidence-based model of well-child care (WCC) that includes developmental and preventive services recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Twenty-first Century WCC is a parent-centered, team-based, primary care model that combines online previsit assessments—completed by parents and caregivers regarding clinic-based weight, growth, and development assessments—with vaccinations and anticipatory guidance. Nurses, nurse practitioners, developmental specialists, and pediatricians all play roles in the WCC model. Patient and clinician interaction, health records, and resources are all facilitated through a Web-based diagnostic, management, tracking, and resource information tool. Implementation and dissemination concepts and their attendant practices and tools can reliably be used to augment strategic decisions about how to best disseminate and implement innovations in health care delivery. Unlike innovations that are embedded only in technical systems, validated models of team-based health care have multiple components that must be made compatible with complex sociotechnical systems. Interpersonal communication, work, coordination, and judgment are key processes that affect implementation quality. Implementation can involve tailoring to a particular site and customizing either the model or the organizational context to accommodate it.
Computerized clinical decision support systems are information technology-based systems designed to improve clinical decision-making. As with any healthcare intervention with claims to improve process of care or patient outcomes, decision support systems should be rigorously evaluated before widespread dissemination into clinical practice. Engaging healthcare providers and managers in the review process may facilitate knowledge translation and uptake. The objective of this research was to form a partnership of healthcare providers, managers, and researchers to review randomized controlled trials assessing the effects of computerized decision support for six clinical application areas: primary preventive care, therapeutic drug monitoring and dosing, drug prescribing, chronic disease management, diagnostic test ordering and interpretation, and acute care management; and to identify study characteristics that predict benefit.
The review was undertaken by the Health Information Research Unit, McMaster University, in partnership with Hamilton Health Sciences, the Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand, and Brant Local Health Integration Network, and pertinent healthcare service teams. Following agreement on information needs and interests with decision-makers, our earlier systematic review was updated by searching Medline, EMBASE, EBM Review databases, and Inspec, and reviewing reference lists through 6 January 2010. Data extraction items were expanded according to input from decision-makers. Authors of primary studies were contacted to confirm data and to provide additional information. Eligible trials were organized according to clinical area of application. We included randomized controlled trials that evaluated the effect on practitioner performance or patient outcomes of patient care provided with a computerized clinical decision support system compared with patient care without such a system.
Data will be summarized using descriptive summary measures, including proportions for categorical variables and means for continuous variables. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression models will be used to investigate associations between outcomes of interest and study specific covariates. When reporting results from individual studies, we will cite the measures of association and p-values reported in the studies. If appropriate for groups of studies with similar features, we will conduct meta-analyses.
A decision-maker-researcher partnership provides a model for systematic reviews that may foster knowledge translation and uptake.
Using an eight-dimensional model for studying socio-technical systems, a multidisciplinary team of investigators identified barriers and facilitators to clinical decision support (CDS) implementation in a community setting, the Mid-Valley Independent Physicians Association in the Salem, Oregon area. The team used the Rapid Assessment Process, which included nine formal interviews with CDS stakeholders, and observation of 27 clinicians. The research team, which has studied 21 healthcare sites of various sizes over the past 12 years, believes this site is an excellent example of an organization which is using a commercially available electronic-health-record system with CDS well. The eight-dimensional model proved useful as an organizing structure for the evaluation.
Developing/using computerized provider order entry; improving the education and skills training of health professionals; developing/using clinical decision support (other than diagnostic) and guideline systems; social/organizational study; qualitative/ethnographic field study; knowledge representations; classical experimental and quasi-experimental study methods (lab and field); designing usable (responsive) resources and systems; statistical analysis of large datasets; discovery and text and data mining methods; automated learning; human–computer interaction and human-centered computing; qualitative/ethnographic field study; clincal decision support; machine learning; knowledge bases; clinical decision support; ambulatory care; ambulatory care
In an interprofessional approach to shared decision-making (IP-SDM), an interprofessional team collaborates in identifying best options and helps patients determine their preferences, enabling them to take more control over the treatment plan. However, little is known about fostering IP-SDM in Canada's healthcare system. Therefore, we sought to evaluate health professionals' intentions to engage in IP-SDM in home care and explore the factors associated with this intention. A total of 272 eligible home care providers completed a questionnaire based on the theory of planned behavior. Eight managers and one healthcare team caring for the frail elderly were interviewed about possible barriers and facilitators. Analysis involved descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis of quantitative data and content analysis of qualitative data. On a scale of − 3 (strongly disagree) to +3 (strongly agree), the mean intention to engage in IP-SDM was positive (1.42 ± 1.39). The intention was influenced by the following theory-based determinants (R2 = 57%; p ≤ 0.002), i.e. cognitive attitude (p < 0.001) subjective norm (p < 0.0001) and perceived behavioral control (p < 0.0001), with variations depending on the type of provider. Barriers included lack of time, poor team cohesion and high staff turnover. Facilitators included team cohesion and shared tools. Future programs implementing IP-SDM could address these barriers and facilitators.
Mixed methods; surveys; interprofessional collaboration; shared decision making; home care
Comparative effectiveness research (CER) documents important differences in antidepressants in terms of efficacy, safety, cost, and burden to the patient. Decision aids can adapt this evidence to help patients participate in making informed choices. In turn, antidepressant therapy will more likely reflect patients’ values and context, leading to improved adherence and mood outcomes.
The objective of this study is to develop the Depression Medication Choice decision aid for use during primary care encounters, and to test its efficacy by conducting a clustered practical randomized trial comparing the decision aid to usual depression care in primary care practices.
We will use a novel practice-based, patient-centered approach based on participatory action research that involves a multidisciplinary team of designers, investigators, clinicians, patient representatives, and other stakeholders for the development of the decision aid. We will then conduct a clustered practical randomized trial enrolling clinicians and their patients (n = 300) with moderate to severe depression from rural, suburban and inner city primary care practices (n = 10). The intervention will consist of the use of the depression medication choice decision aid during the clinical encounter. This trial will generate preliminary evidence of the relative impact of the decision aid on patient involvement in decision making, decision making quality, patient knowledge, and 6-month measures of medication adherence and mental health compared to usual depression care.
Upon completion of the proposed research, we will have developed and evaluated the efficacy of the decision aid depression medication choice as a novel translational tool for CER in depression treatment, engaged patients with depression in their care, and refined the process by which we conduct practice-based trials with limited research footprint.
Clinical Trials.gov: NCT01502891
Depression; Comparative effectiveness research; Shared decision making; Decision aid; Implementation; Randomized controlled trial
Shared Decision Making (SDM) and Decision Aids (DAs) increase patients’ involvement in healthcare decisions and enhance satisfaction with their choices. Studies of SDM and DAs have primarily occurred in academic centers and large health systems, but most primary care is delivered in smaller practices and over 20% of Americans live in rural areas where poverty, disease prevalence and limited access to care may increase the need for SDM and DAs.
To explore perceptions and practices of rural primary care clinicians regarding SDM and DAs.
Cross sectional survey.
Setting and Participants
Primary care clinicians affiliated with the Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network (ORPRN).
Surveys were returned by 181 of 231 eligible participants (78%), 174 could be analyzed. Two-thirds of participants were physicians, 84% practiced family medicine, and 55% were male. Sixty five percent of respondents were unfamiliar with the term “SDM”, but following definition, 97% reported they found the approach useful for conditions with multiple treatment options. Over 90% of clinicians perceived helping patients make decisions regarding chronic pain and health behavior change as moderate/hard in difficulty. Although 69% of respondents preferred that patients play an equal role in making decisions, they estimate this happens only 35% of the time. Time was reported as the largest barrier to engaging in SDM (63%). Respondents were receptive to using DAs to facilitate SDM in printed (95%) or web-based formats (72%) and topic preference varied by clinician specialty and decision difficulty.
Rural clinicians recognized the value of SDM and were receptive to using DAs in multiple formats. Integration of DAs to facilitate SDM in routine patient care may require addressing practice operation and reimbursement.
Primary Care; Translating Research Into Practice; Shared Decision Making – Decision Aid Tools; Decision Aids – Decision Aid Tools; Survey Methods – Statistical Methods
To evaluate the utility of Isabel, an online diagnostic decision support system developed by Isabel Healthcare primarily for secondary medical care, in the general practice setting.
Focus groups were conducted with clinicians to understand why and how they used the system. A modified online post-use survey asked practitioners about its impact on their decision-making. Normalization process theory (NPT) was used as a theoretical framework to determine whether the system could be incorporated into routine clinical practice.
The system was introduced by NHS County Durham and Darlington in the UK in selected general practices as a three-month pilot.
General practitioners and nurse practitioners who had access to Isabel as part of the Primary Care Trust's pilot.
Main outcome measures
General practitioners’ views, experiences and usage of the system.
Seven general practices agreed to pilot Isabel. Two practices did not subsequently use it. The remaining five practices conducted searches on 16 patients. Post-use surveys (n = 10) indicated that Isabel had little impact on diagnostic decision-making. Focus group participants stated that, although the diagnoses produced by Isabel in general did not have an impact on their decision-making, they would find the tool useful if it were better tailored to the primary care setting. Our analysis concluded that normalization was not likely to occur in its current form.
Isabel was of limited utility in this short pilot study and may need further modification for use in general practice.
Rationale, aims and objectives
Following increased interest in having inter-professional (IP) health care teams engage patients in decision making, we developed a conceptual model for an IP approach to shared decision making (SDM) in primary care. We assessed the validity of the model with stakeholders in Canada.
In 15 individual interviews and 7 group interviews with 79 stakeholders, we asked them to: (1) propose changes to the IP-SDM model; (2) identify barriers and facilitators to the model's implementation in clinical practice; and (3) assess the model using a theory appraisal questionnaire. We performed a thematic analysis of the transcripts and a descriptive analysis of the questionnaires.
Stakeholders suggested placing the patient at its centre; extending the concept of family to include significant others; clarifying outcomes; highlighting the concept of time; merging the micro, meso and macro levels in one figure; and recognizing the influence of the environment and emotions. The most common barriers identified were time constraints, insufficient resources and an imbalance of power among health professionals. The most common facilitators were education and training in inter-professionalism and SDM, motivation to achieve an IP approach to SDM, and mutual knowledge and understanding of disciplinary roles. Most stakeholders considered that the concepts and relationships between the concepts were clear and rated the model as logical, testable, having clear schematic representation, and being relevant to inter-professional collaboration, SDM and primary care.
Stakeholders validated the new IP-SDM model for primary care settings and proposed few modifications. Future research should assess if the model helps implement SDM in IP clinical practice.
conceptual model; decision coaching; inter-professionalism; primary care; shared decision making; validity
Clinical decision support systems (CDSS) integrated within Electronic Medical Records (EMR) hold the promise of improving healthcare quality. To date the effectiveness of CDSS has been less than expected, especially concerning the ambulatory management of chronic diseases. This is due, in part, to the fact that clinicians do not use CDSS fully. Barriers to clinicians' use of CDSS have included lack of integration into workflow, software usability issues, and relevance of the content to the patient at hand. At Partners HealthCare, we are developing “Smart Forms” to facilitate documentation-based clinical decision support. Rather than being interruptive in nature, the Smart Form enables writing a multi-problem visit note while capturing coded information and providing sophisticated decision support in the form of tailored recommendations for care. The current version of the Smart Form is designed around two chronic diseases: coronary artery disease and diabetes mellitus. The Smart Form has potential to improve the care of patients with both acute and chronic conditions.
Quality improvement collaboratives (QICs) are used extensively to promote quality improvement in healthcare. Evidence of their effectiveness is limited, prompting calls to open up the ‘black box’ to better understand how and why such collaboratives work.
We selected a cohort of five primary care practices that participated in a six-month intervention study aimed at improving colorectal cancer screening rates. Using an immersion/crystallization technique, we analyzed qualitative data which included audio-recordings and fieldnotes of QICs and practice-based team meetings.
Three themes emerged from our analysis. 1) Practice staff became empowered through and drew on the QICs to advance change efforts in the face of leader/physician resistance. 2) A mix of content and media in a QIC program was important for reaching all participants. 3) Resources offered at the QIC did little to spur practice change efforts.
QICs offer a potentially powerful way of disseminating healthcare innovations through enhanced strategies for learning and change. Creating collaborative environments where diverse participants learn, listen, reflect, and share together can enable them to take key messages and change strategies back to their own organizations that benefit them the most.
Timely antenatal sickle cell and thalassaemia (SC&T) screening for all women in primary care facilitates informed decision making, but little is known about its implementation.
To assess the feasibility of offering antenatal SC&T screening in primary care at the time of pregnancy confirmation.
Design of study
Cross-sectional investigation of GPs' beliefs and perceived practices.
Informal face-to-face interviews with 34 GPs.
Seventeen inner-city general practices that offered antenatal SC&T screening as part of a trial.
GPs identified both barriers and facilitators. Organisational barriers included inflexible appointment systems and lack of interpreters for women whose first language was not English. Professional barriers included concerns about raising possible adverse outcomes in the first antenatal visit. Perceived patient barriers included women's lack of awareness of SC&T. Hence, GPs presented the test to women as routine, rather than as a choice. Organisational facilitators included simple and flexible systems for offering screening in primary care, practice cohesion, and training. Professional facilitators included positive attitudes to screening for SC&T. Perceived patient facilitators included women's desire for healthy children.
GPs reported barriers, as well as facilitators, to successful implementation but the extent to which screening could be regarded as offering ‘informed choice’ remained fundamental when making sense of these barriers and facilitators.
acceptability; general practitioners, genetic screening; primary care; sickle cell disease, thalassaemia
This article is part of a series written for people responsible for making decisions about health policies and programmes and for those who support these decision makers.
After a policy decision has been made, the next key challenge is transforming this stated policy position into practical actions. What strategies, for instance, are available to facilitate effective implementation, and what is known about the effectiveness of such strategies? We suggest five questions that can be considered by policymakers when implementing a health policy or programme. These are: 1. What are the potential barriers to the successful implementation of a new policy? 2. What strategies should be considered in planning the implementation of a new policy in order to facilitate the necessary behavioural changes among healthcare recipients and citizens? 3. What strategies should be considered in planning the implementation of a new policy in order to facilitate the necessary behavioural changes in healthcare professionals? 4. What strategies should be considered in planning the implementation of a new policy in order to facilitate the necessary organisational changes? 5. What strategies should be considered in planning the implementation of a new policy in order to facilitate the necessary systems changes?