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1.  Documenting the experiences of health workers expected to implement guidelines during an intervention study in Kenyan hospitals 
Although considerable efforts are directed at developing international guidelines to improve clinical management in low-income settings they appear to influence practice rarely. This study aimed to explore barriers to guideline implementation in the early phase of an intervention study in four district hospitals in Kenya.
We developed a simple interview guide based on a simple characterisation of the intervention informed by review of major theories on barriers to uptake of guidelines. In-depth interviews, non-participatory observation, and informal discussions were then used to explore perceived barriers to guideline introduction and general improvements in paediatric and newborn care. Data were collected four to five months after in-service training in the hospitals. Data were transcribed, themes explored, and revised in two rounds of coding and analysis using NVivo 7 software, subjected to a layered analysis, reviewed, and revised after discussion with four hospital staff who acted as within-hospital facilitators.
A total of 29 health workers were interviewed. Ten major themes preventing guideline uptake were identified: incomplete training coverage; inadequacies in local standard setting and leadership; lack of recognition and appreciation of good work; poor communication and teamwork; organizational constraints and limited resources; counterproductive health worker norms; absence of perceived benefits linked to adoption of new practices; difficulties accepting change; lack of motivation; and conflicting attitudes and beliefs.
While the barriers identified are broadly similar in theme to those reported from high-income settings, their specific nature often differs. For example, at an institutional level there is an almost complete lack of systems to introduce or reinforce guidelines, poor teamwork across different cadres of health worker, and failure to confront poor practice. At an individual level, lack of interest in the evidence supporting guidelines, feelings that they erode professionalism, and expectations that people should be paid to change practice threaten successful implementation.
PMCID: PMC2726115  PMID: 19627591
2.  Insights about the process and impact of implementing nursing guidelines on delivery of care in hospitals and community settings 
Little is known about the impact of implementing nursing-oriented best practice guidelines on the delivery of patient care in either hospital or community settings.
A naturalistic study with a prospective, before and after design documented the implementation of six newly developed nursing best practice guidelines (asthma, breastfeeding, delirium-dementia-depression (DDD), foot complications in diabetes, smoking cessation and venous leg ulcers). Eleven health care organisations were selected for a one-year project. At each site, clinical resource nurses (CRNs) worked with managers and a multidisciplinary steering committee to conduct an environmental scan and develop an action plan of activities (i.e. education sessions, policy review). Process and patient outcomes were assessed by chart audit (n = 681 pre-implementation, 592 post-implementation). Outcomes were also assessed for four of six topics by in-hospital/home interviews (n = 261 pre-implementation, 232 post-implementation) and follow-up telephone interviews (n = 152 pre, 121 post). Interviews were conducted with 83/95 (87%) CRN's, nurses and administrators to describe recommendations selected, strategies used and participants' perceived facilitators and barriers to guideline implementation.
While statistically significant improvements in 5% to 83% of indicators were observed in each organization, more than 80% of indicators for breastfeeding, DDD and smoking cessation did not change. Statistically significant improvements were found in > 50% of indicators for asthma (52%), diabetes foot care (83%) and venous leg ulcers (60%). Organizations with > 50% improvements reported two unique implementation strategies which included hands-on skill practice sessions for nurses and the development of new patient education materials. Key facilitators for all organizations included education sessions as well as support from champions and managers while key barriers were lack of time, workload pressure and staff resistance.
Implementation of nursing best practice guidelines can result in improved practice and patient outcomes across diverse settings yet many indicators remained unchanged. Mobilization of the nursing workforce to actively implement guidelines and to monitor the delivery of their care is important so that patients may learn about and receive recommended healthcare.
PMCID: PMC2279128  PMID: 18241349
3.  Managing delirium in the acute care setting: a pilot focus group study 
Delirium frequently occurs in hospitalised older adults leading to poor outcomes and frequent adverse events. Proper recognition and management of delirium by acute care nurses can minimise the effects of negative sequelae associated with delirium.
This pilot study used focus group methodology to: (i) describe acute care nurse’s experience and knowledge regarding assessment and management of delirium in hospitalised older adults; (ii) illustrate potential facilitators and barriers to non-drug management of delirium; and (iii) to explicate the use of non-drug interventions by acute care nurses to manage delirium in hospitalised older adults.
Qualitative, pilot study.
A total of 16 nurse participants, working on medical, surgical and orthopaedic units from one acute care hospital participated in two focus groups.
Main themes included the following: confusion is normal; our duty is to protect; and finding a balance. Nurses were able to identify non-pharmacological interventions for delirium and facilitators and barriers to using these in clinical practice.
Findings from this pilot study illustrate the need for regular assessment of cognitive status in hospitalised older adults and nursing staff education regarding the use of non-pharmacological management of delirium. Based on their experience, nurses have a wealth of ideas for managing delirium. Areas for future research and policy are also highlighted.
Implications for practice
More research is needed on how to improve delirium management by acute care nurses to increase the efficacy and use of non-pharmacological interventions in the management of delirium in hospitalised older adults. To translate these findings into practice, nursing care needs to be guided by evidence-based guidelines to implement non-pharmacological strategies in the acute care setting.
PMCID: PMC3555484  PMID: 22513181
acute care system; cognitive impairment; dementia; older people nursing
4.  A Multifaceted Intervention to Implement Guidelines and Improve Admission Paediatric Care in Kenyan District Hospitals: A Cluster Randomised Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(4):e1001018.
Philip Ayieko and colleagues report the outcomes of a cluster-randomized trial carried out in eight Kenyan district hospitals evaluating the effects of a complex intervention involving improved training and supervision for clinicians. They found a higher performance of hospitals assigned to the complex intervention on a variety of process of care measures, as compared to those receiving the control intervention.
In developing countries referral of severely ill children from primary care to district hospitals is common, but hospital care is often of poor quality. However, strategies to change multiple paediatric care practices in rural hospitals have rarely been evaluated.
Methods and Findings
This cluster randomized trial was conducted in eight rural Kenyan district hospitals, four of which were randomly assigned to a full intervention aimed at improving quality of clinical care (evidence-based guidelines, training, job aides, local facilitation, supervision, and face-to-face feedback; n = 4) and the remaining four to control intervention (guidelines, didactic training, job aides, and written feedback; n = 4). Prespecified structure, process, and outcome indicators were measured at baseline and during three and five 6-monthly surveys in control and intervention hospitals, respectively. Primary outcomes were process of care measures, assessed at 18 months postbaseline.
In both groups performance improved from baseline. Completion of admission assessment tasks was higher in intervention sites at 18 months (mean = 0.94 versus 0.65, adjusted difference 0.54 [95% confidence interval 0.05–0.29]). Uptake of guideline recommended therapeutic practices was also higher within intervention hospitals: adoption of once daily gentamicin (89.2% versus 74.4%; 17.1% [8.04%–26.1%]); loading dose quinine (91.9% versus 66.7%, 26.3% [−3.66% to 56.3%]); and adequate prescriptions of intravenous fluids for severe dehydration (67.2% versus 40.6%; 29.9% [10.9%–48.9%]). The proportion of children receiving inappropriate doses of drugs in intervention hospitals was lower (quinine dose >40 mg/kg/day; 1.0% versus 7.5%; −6.5% [−12.9% to 0.20%]), and inadequate gentamicin dose (2.2% versus 9.0%; −6.8% [−11.9% to −1.6%]).
Specific efforts are needed to improve hospital care in developing countries. A full, multifaceted intervention was associated with greater changes in practice spanning multiple, high mortality conditions in rural Kenyan hospitals than a partial intervention, providing one model for bridging the evidence to practice gap and improving admission care in similar settings.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN42996612
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
In 2008, nearly 10 million children died in early childhood. Nearly all these deaths were in low- and middle-income countries—half were in Africa. In Kenya, for example, 74 out every 1,000 children born died before they reached their fifth birthday. About half of all childhood (pediatric) deaths in developing countries are caused by pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria. Deaths from these common diseases could be prevented if all sick children had access to quality health care in the community (“primary” health care provided by health centers, pharmacists, family doctors, and traditional healers) and in district hospitals (“secondary” health care). Unfortunately, primary health care facilities in developing countries often lack essential diagnostic capabilities and drugs, and pediatric hospital care is frequently inadequate with many deaths occurring soon after admission. Consequently, in 1996, as part of global efforts to reduce childhood illnesses and deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) introduced the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) strategy. This approach to child health focuses on the well-being of the whole child and aims to improve the case management skills of health care staff at all levels, health systems, and family and community health practices.
Why Was This Study Done?
The implementation of IMCI has been evaluated at the primary health care level, but its implementation in district hospitals has not been evaluated. So, for example, interventions designed to encourage the routine use of WHO disease-specific guidelines in rural pediatric hospitals have not been tested. In this cluster randomized trial, the researchers develop and test a multifaceted intervention designed to improve the implementation of treatment guidelines and admission pediatric care in district hospitals in Kenya. In a cluster randomized trial, groups of patients rather than individual patients are randomly assigned to receive alternative interventions and the outcomes in different “clusters” of patients are compared. In this trial, each cluster is a district hospital.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers randomly assigned eight Kenyan district hospitals to the “full” or “control” intervention, interventions that differed in intensity but that both included more strategies to promote implementation of best practice than are usually applied in Kenyan rural hospitals. The full intervention included provision of clinical practice guidelines and training in their use, six-monthly survey-based hospital assessments followed by face-to-face feedback of survey findings, 5.5 days training for health care workers, provision of job aids such as structured pediatric admission records, external supervision, and the identification of a local facilitator to promote guideline use and to provide on-site problem solving. The control intervention included the provision of clinical practice guidelines (without training in their use) and job aids, six-monthly surveys with written feedback, and a 1.5-day lecture-based seminar to explain the guidelines. The researchers compared the implementation of various processes of care (activities of patients and doctors undertaken to ensure delivery of care) in the intervention and control hospitals at baseline and 18 months later. The performance of both groups of hospitals improved during the trial but more markedly in the intervention hospitals than in the control hospitals. At 18 months, the completion of admission assessment tasks and the uptake of guideline-recommended clinical practices were both higher in the intervention hospitals than in the control hospitals. Moreover, a lower proportion of children received inappropriate doses of drugs such as quinine for malaria in the intervention hospitals than in the control hospitals.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that specific efforts are needed to improve pediatric care in rural Kenya and suggest that interventions that include more approaches to changing clinical practice may be more effective than interventions that include fewer approaches. These findings are limited by certain aspects of the trial design, such as the small number of participating hospitals, and may not be generalizable to other hospitals in Kenya or to hospitals in other developing countries. Thus, although these findings seem to suggest that efforts to implement and scale up improved secondary pediatric health care will need to include more than the production and dissemination of printed materials, further research including trials or evaluation of test programs are necessary before widespread adoption of any multifaceted approach (which will need to be tailored to local conditions and available resources) can be contemplated.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
WHO provides information on efforts to reduce global child mortality and on Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI); the WHO pocket book “Hospital care for children contains guidelines for the management of common illnesses with limited resources (available in several languages)
UNICEF also provides information on efforts to reduce child mortality and detailed statistics on child mortality
The iDOC Africa Web site, which is dedicated to improving the delivery of hospital care for children and newborns in Africa, provides links to the clinical guidelines and other resources used in this study
PMCID: PMC3071366  PMID: 21483712
5.  Providers' Perceptions of Spinal Cord Injury Pressure Ulcer Guidelines 
Pressure ulcers are a serious complication for people with spinal cord injury (SCI). The Consortium for Spinal Cord Medicine (CSCM) published clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) that provided guidance for pressure ulcer prevention and treatment after SCI. The aim of this study was to assess providers' perceptions for each of the 32 CPG recommendations regarding their agreement with CPGs, degree of CPG implementation, and CPG implementation barriers and facilitators.
This descriptive mixed-methods study included both qualitative (focus groups) and quantitative (survey) data collection approaches. The sample (n = 60) included 24 physicians and 36 nurses who attended the 2004 annual national conferences of the American Paraplegia Society or American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Nurses. This sample drew from two sources: a purposive sample from a list of preregistered participants and a convenience sample of conference attendee volunteers. We analyzed quantitative data using descriptive statistics and qualitative data using a coding scheme to capture barriers and facilitators.
The focus groups agreed unanimously on the substance of 6 of the 32 recommendations. Nurse and physician focus groups disagreed on the degree of CGP implementation at their sites, with nurses as a group perceiving less progress in implementation of the guideline recommendations. The focus groups identified only one recommendation, complications of surgery, as being fully implemented at their sites. Categories of barriers and facilitators for implementation of CPGs that emerged from the qualitative analysis included (a) characteristics of CPGs: need for research/evidence, (b) characteristics of CPGs: complexity of design and wording, (c) organizational factors, (d) lack of knowledge, and (e) lack of resources.
Although generally SCI physicians and nurses agreed with the CPG recommendations as written, they did not feel these recommendations were fully implemented in their respective clinical settings. The focus groups identified multiple barriers to the implementation of the CPGs and suggested several facilitators/solutions to improve implementation of these guidelines in SCI. Participants identified organizational factors and the lack of knowledge as the most substantial systems/issues that created barriers to CPG implementation.
PMCID: PMC2031945  PMID: 17591223
Decubitus ulcer; Skin ulcer; Pressure ulcer; Practice guidelines; Evidence-based medicine; Prevention; Spinal cord injuries
6.  Running nurse-led secondary prevention clinics for coronary heart disease in primary care: qualitative study of health professionals' perspectives 
A randomised trial of nurse-led secondary prevention clinics for coronary heart disease resulted in improved secondary prevention and significantly lowered all-cause mortality at 4-year follow-up. This qualitative trial was conducted to explore the experience of health professionals that had been involved in running the clinics.
To identify the barriers and facilitators to establishing secondary prevention clinics for coronary heart disease within primary care.
Design of study
Semi-structured audiotaped telephone interviews with GPs and nurses involved in running clinics.
A stratified, random sample of 19 urban, suburban, and rural general practices in north-east Scotland.
Semi-structured telephone interviews with 19 GPs and 17 practice-based nurses involved in running nurse-led clinics for the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease.
Eight practices had run clinics continuously and 11 had stopped, with eight subsequently restarting. Participants accounted for these patterns by referring to advantages and disadvantages of the clinics in four areas: patient care, development of nursing skills, team working, and infrastructure. Most practitioners perceived benefits for patients from attending secondary prevention clinics, but some, from small rural practices, thought they were unnecessary. The extended role for nurses was welcomed, but was dependent on motivated staff, appropriate training and support. Clinics relied on, and could enhance, team working, however, some doctors were wary of delegating. With regard to infrastructure, staff shortages (especially nurses) and accommodation were as problematic as lack of funds.
Nurse-led secondary prevention clinics were viewed positively by most healthcare professionals that had been involved in running them, but barriers to their implementation had led most to stop running them at some point. Lack of space and staff shortages are likely to remain ongoing problems, but improvements in funding training and communication within practices could help clinics to be put into practice and sustained.
PMCID: PMC1472789  PMID: 16004737
coronary heart disease; primary care; secondary prevention
7.  Barriers and facilitators to the implementation of clinical practice guidelines: A cross-sectional survey among physicians in Estonia 
In an era when an increasing amount of clinical information is available to health care professionals, the effective implementation of clinical practice guidelines requires the development of strategies to facilitate the use of these guidelines. The objective of this study was to assess attitudes towards clinical practice guidelines, as well as the barriers and facilitators to their use, among Estonian physicians. The study was conducted to inform the revision of the clinical practice guideline development process and can provide inspiration to other countries considering the increasing use of evidence-based medicine.
We conducted an online survey of physicians to assess resource, system, and attitudinal barriers. We also asked a set of questions related to improving the use of clinical practice guidelines and collected free-text comments. We hypothesized that attitudes concerning guidelines may differ by gender, years of experience and practice setting. The study population consisted of physicians from the database of the Department of Continuing Medical Education of the University of Tartu. Differences between groups were analyzed using the Kruskal-Wallis non-parametric test.
41% (497/1212) of physicians in the database completed the questionnaire, comprising more than 10% of physicians in the country. Most respondents (79%) used treatment guidelines in their daily clinical practice. Lack of time was the barrier identified by the most physicians (42%), followed by lack of medical resources for implementation (32%). The majority of physicians disagreed with the statement that guidelines were not accessible (73%) or too complicated (70%). Physicians practicing in outpatient settings or for more than 25 years were the most likely to experience difficulties in guideline use. 95% of respondents agreed that an easy-to-find online database of guidelines would facilitate use.
Use of updated evidence-based guidelines is a prerequisite for the high-quality management of diseases, and recognizing the factors that affect guideline compliance makes it possible to work towards improving guideline adherence in clinical practice. In our study, physicians with long-term clinical experience and doctors in outpatient settings perceived more barriers, which should be taken into account when planning strategies in improving the use of guidelines. Informed by the results of the survey, leading health authorities are making an effort to develop specially designed interventions to implement clinical practice guidelines, including an easily accessible online database.
PMCID: PMC3532376  PMID: 23234504
Clinical practice guidelines; Implementation; Estonia; World health organization; Barriers; Facilitators
8.  Health professional perspectives on lifestyle behaviour change in the paediatric hospital setting: a qualitative study 
BMC Pediatrics  2014;14:71.
Research exists examining the challenges of delivering lifestyle behaviour change initiatives in practice. However, at present much of this research has been conducted with primary care health professionals, or in acute adult hospital settings. The purpose of this study was to identify barriers and facilitators associated with implementing routine lifestyle behaviour change brief advice into practice in an acute children’s hospital.
Thirty-three health professionals (nurses, junior doctors, allied health professionals and clinical support staff) from inpatient and outpatient departments at a UK children’s hospital were interviewed about their attitudes and beliefs towards supporting lifestyle behaviour change in hospital patients and their families. Responses were analysed using thematic framework analysis.
Health professionals identified a range of barriers and facilitators to supporting lifestyle behaviour change in a children’s hospital. These included (1) personal experience of effectiveness, (2) constraints associated with the hospital environment, (3) appropriateness of advice delivery given the patient’s condition and care pathway and (4) job role priorities, and (5) perceived benefits of the advice given. Delivery of lifestyle behaviour change advice was often seen as an educational activity, rather than a behaviour change activity.
Factors underpinning the successful delivery of routine lifestyle behaviour change support must be understood if this is to be implemented effectively in paediatric acute settings. This study reveals key areas where paediatric health professionals may need further support and training to achieve successful implementation.
PMCID: PMC3995620  PMID: 24620915
Healthy lifestyles; Paediatrics; Health promotion; Qualitative
9.  The SPHERE Study. Secondary prevention of heart disease in general practice: protocol of a randomised controlled trial of tailored practice and patient care plans with parallel qualitative, economic and policy analyses. [ISRCTN24081411] 
The aim of the SPHERE study is to design, implement and evaluate tailored practice and personal care plans to improve the process of care and objective clinical outcomes for patients with established coronary heart disease (CHD) in general practice across two different health systems on the island of Ireland.
CHD is a common cause of death and a significant cause of morbidity in Ireland. Secondary prevention has been recommended as a key strategy for reducing levels of CHD mortality and general practice has been highlighted as an ideal setting for secondary prevention initiatives. Current indications suggest that there is considerable room for improvement in the provision of secondary prevention for patients with established heart disease on the island of Ireland. The review literature recommends structured programmes with continued support and follow-up of patients; the provision of training, tailored to practice needs of access to evidence of effectiveness of secondary prevention; structured recall programmes that also take account of individual practice needs; and patient-centred consultations accompanied by attention to disease management guidelines.
SPHERE is a cluster randomised controlled trial, with practice-level randomisation to intervention and control groups, recruiting 960 patients from 48 practices in three study centres (Belfast, Dublin and Galway). Primary outcomes are blood pressure, total cholesterol, physical and mental health status (SF-12) and hospital re-admissions.
The intervention takes place over two years and data is collected at baseline, one-year and two-year follow-up. Data is obtained from medical charts, consultations with practitioners, and patient postal questionnaires.
The SPHERE intervention involves the implementation of a structured systematic programme of care for patients with CHD attending general practice. It is a multi-faceted intervention that has been developed to respond to barriers and solutions to optimal secondary prevention identified in preliminary qualitative research with practitioners and patients. General practitioners and practice nurses attend training sessions in facilitating behaviour change and medication prescribing guidelines for secondary prevention of CHD. Patients are invited to attend regular four-monthly consultations over two years, during which targets and goals for secondary prevention are set and reviewed. The analysis will be strengthened by economic, policy and qualitative components.
PMCID: PMC1208929  PMID: 16053525
10.  The challenge of change in acute mental health services: measuring staff perceptions of barriers to change and their relationship to job status and satisfaction using a new measure (VOCALISE) 
Health services are subject to frequent changes, yet there has been insufficient research to address how staff working within these services perceive the climate for implementation. Staff perceptions, particularly of barriers to change, may affect successful implementation and the resultant quality of care. This study measures staff perceptions of barriers to change in acute mental healthcare. We identify whether occupational status and job satisfaction are related to these perceptions, as this might indicate a target for intervention that could aid successful implementation. As there were no available instruments capturing staff perceptions of barriers to change, we created a new measure (VOCALISE) to assess this construct.
All nursing staff from acute in-patient settings in one large London mental health trust were eligible. Using a participatory method, a nurse researcher interviewed 32 staff to explore perceptions of barriers to change. This generated a measure through thematic analyses and staff feedback (N = 6). Psychometric testing was undertaken according to standard guidelines for measure development (N = 40, 42, 275). Random effects models were used to explore the associations between VOCALISE, occupational status, and job satisfaction (N = 125).
VOCALISE was easy to understand and complete, and showed acceptable reliability and validity. The factor analysis revealed three underlying constructs: ‘confidence,’ ‘de-motivation’ and ‘powerlessness.’ Staff with negative perceptions of barriers to change held more junior positions, and had poorer job satisfaction. Qualitatively, nursing assistants expressed a greater sense of organisational unfairness in response to change.
VOCALISE can be used to explore staff perceptions of implementation climate and to assess how staff attitudes shape the successful outcomes of planned changes. Negative perceptions were linked with poor job satisfaction and to those occupying more junior roles, indicating a negative climate for implementation in those groups. Staff from these groups may therefore need special attention prior to implementing changes in mental health settings.
PMCID: PMC4016533  PMID: 24555496
Perception; Measures; Organisational change; Mental health; Nursing
11.  Maternal and perinatal guideline development in hospitals in South East Asia: the experience of the SEA-ORCHID project 
Clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) are commonly used to support practitioners to improve practice. However many studies have raised concerns about guideline quality. The reasons why guidelines are not developed following the established development methods are not clear.
The SEA-ORCHID project aims to increase the generation and use of locally relevant research and improve clinical practice in maternal and perinatal care in four countries in South East Asia. Baseline data highlighted that development of evidence-based CPGs according to recommended processes was very rare in the SEA-ORCHID hospitals. The project investigators suggested that there were aspects of the recommended development process that made it very difficult in the participating hospitals.
We therefore aimed to explore the experience of guideline development and particularly the enablers of and barriers to developing evidence-based guidelines in the nine hospitals in South East Asia participating in the SEA-ORCHID project, so as to better understand how evidence-based guideline development could be facilitated in these settings.
Semi-structured, face-to-face interviews were undertaken with senior and junior healthcare providers (nurses, midwives, doctors) from the maternal and neonatal services at each of the nine participating hospitals. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and a thematic analysis undertaken.
Seventy-five individual, 25 pair and eleven group interviews were conducted. Participants clearly valued evidence-based guidelines. However they also identified several major barriers to guideline development including time, lack of awareness of process, difficulties searching for evidence and arranging guideline development group meetings, issues with achieving multi-disciplinarity and consumer involvement. They also highlighted the central importance of keeping guidelines up-to-date.
Healthcare providers in the SEA-ORCHID hospitals face a series of barriers to developing evidence-based guidelines. At present, in many hospitals, several of these barriers are insurmountable, and as a result, rigorous, evidence-based guidelines are not being developed. Given the acknowledged benefits of evidence-based guidelines, perhaps a new approach to supporting their development in these contexts is needed.
PMCID: PMC2683833  PMID: 19422716
12.  The design of the SAFE or SORRY? study: a cluster randomised trial on the development and testing of an evidence based inpatient safety program for the prevention of adverse events 
Patients in hospitals and nursing homes are at risk of the development of, often preventable, adverse events (AEs), which threaten patient safety. Guidelines for prevention of many types of AEs are available, however, compliance with these guidelines appears to be lacking. Besides general barriers that inhibit implementation, this non-compliance is associated with the large number of guidelines competing for attention. As implementation of a guideline is time-consuming, it is difficult for organisations to implement all available guidelines. Another problem is lack of feedback about performance using quality indicators of guideline based care and lack of a recognisable, unambiguous system for implementation. A program that allows organisations to implement multiple guidelines simultaneously may facilitate guideline use and thus improve patient safety.
The aim of this study is to develop and test such an integral patient safety program that addresses several AEs simultaneously in hospitals and nursing homes. This paper reports the design of this study.
Methods and design
The patient safety program addresses three AEs: pressure ulcers, falls and urinary tract infections. It consists of bundles and outcome and process indicators based on the existing evidence based guidelines. In addition it includes a multifaceted tailored implementation strategy: education, patient involvement, and a computerized registration and feedback system. The patient safety program was tested in a cluster randomised trial on ten hospital wards and ten nursing home wards. The baseline period was three months followed by the implementation of the patient safety program for fourteen months. Subsequently the follow-up period was nine months. Primary outcome measure was the incidence of AEs on every ward. Secondary outcome measures were the utilization of preventive interventions and the knowledge of nurses regarding the three topics. Randomisation took place on ward level. The results will be analysed separately for hospitals and nursing homes.
Major challenges were the development of the patient safety program including a digital registration and feedback system and the implementation of the patient safety program.
Trial registration
Trial registration: ID [NCT00365430]
PMCID: PMC2675519  PMID: 19338655
13.  Implementing nutrition guidelines for older people in residential care homes: a qualitative study using Normalization Process Theory 
Optimizing the dietary intake of older people can prevent nutritional deficiencies and diet-related diseases, thereby improving quality of life. However, there is evidence that the nutritional intake of older people living in care homes is suboptimal, with high levels of saturated fat, salt, and added sugars. The UK Food Standards Agency therefore developed nutrient- and food-based guidance for residential care homes. The acceptability of these guidelines and their feasibility in practice is unknown. This study used the Normalization Process Theory (NPT) to understand the barriers and facilitators to implementing the guidelines and inform future implementation.
We conducted a process evaluation in five care homes in the north of England using qualitative methods (observation and interviews) to explore the views of managers, care staff, catering staff, and domestic staff. Data were analyzed thematically and discussed in data workshops; emerging themes were then mapped to the constructs of NPT.
Many staff perceived the guidelines as unnecessarily restrictive and irrelevant to older people. In terms of NPT, the guidelines simply did not make sense (coherence), and as a result, relatively few staff invested in the guidelines (cognitive participation). Even where staff supported the guidelines, implementation was hampered by a lack of nutritional knowledge and institutional support (collective action). Finally, the absence of observable benefits to clients confirmed the negative preconceptions of many staff, with limited evidence of reappraisal following implementation (reflexive monitoring).
The successful implementation of the nutrition guidelines requires that the fundamental issues relating to their perceived value and fit with other priorities and goals be addressed. Specialist support is needed to equip staff with the technical knowledge and skills required for menu analysis and development and to devise ways of evaluating the outcomes of modified menus. NPT proved useful in conceptualizing barriers to implementation; robust links with behavior-change theories would further increase the practical utility of NPT.
PMCID: PMC3514214  PMID: 23110857
Normalization process theory; Nutrition policy; Guideline; Long-term care; Older people; Qualitative research
14.  Knowledge translation in emergency medical services: A qualitative survey of barriers to guideline implementation 
Resuscitation  2010;81(7):836-840.
The American Heart Association (AHA) released guidelines to improve survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in 2005. We sought to identify what barriers delayed the implementation of these guidelines in EMS agencies.
We surveyed 178 EMS agencies as part of a larger quantitative survey regarding guideline implementation and conducted a single-question semi-structured interview using the Grounded Theory method. We asked “What barriersm if any, delayed implementation of the (2005 AHA) guidelines in your EMS agency?” Data were coded and member validation was employed to verify our findings.
176/178 agencies completed the quantitative survey. Qualitative data collection ceased after reaching theoretical saturation with 34 interviews. Ten unique barriers were identified. We categorized these ten barriers into three themes. The theme Instruction Delays (reported by 41% of respondents) included three barriers: booking/training instructors (9%), receiving training materials (15%), and scheduling staff for training (18%). The second theme, Defibrillator Delays (38%), included two barriers; reprogramming defibrillators (24%) and receiving new defibrillators to replace non-upgradeable units (15%). The third theme was Decision-Making (38%) and included five barriers; coordinating with allied agencies (9%), government regulators such as state and provincial health authorities (9%), medical direction and base hospitals (9%), ROC participation (9%), and internal crises (3%).
Many barriers contributed to delays in the implementation of the 2005 AHA guidelines in EMS agencies. These identified barriers should be proactively addressed prior to the 2010 Guidelines to facilitate rapid translation of science into clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC3209799  PMID: 20398994
heart arrest; emergency medical services
15.  Rational Prescribing in Primary Care (RaPP): A Cluster Randomized Trial of a Tailored Intervention 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(6):e134.
A gap exists between evidence and practice regarding the management of cardiovascular risk factors. This gap could be narrowed if systematically developed clinical practice guidelines were effectively implemented in clinical practice. We evaluated the effects of a tailored intervention to support the implementation of systematically developed guidelines for the use of antihypertensive and cholesterol-lowering drugs for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a cluster-randomized trial comparing a tailored intervention to passive dissemination of guidelines in 146 general practices in two geographical areas in Norway. Each practice was randomized to either the tailored intervention (70 practices; 257 physicians) or control group (69 practices; 244 physicians). Patients started on medication for hypertension or hypercholesterolemia during the study period and all patients already on treatment that consulted their physician during the trial were included. A multifaceted intervention was tailored to address identified barriers to change. Key components were an educational outreach visit with audit and feedback, and computerized reminders linked to the medical record system. Pharmacists conducted the visits. Outcomes were measured for all eligible patients seen in the participating practices during 1 y before and after the intervention. The main outcomes were the proportions of (1) first-time prescriptions for hypertension where thiazides were prescribed, (2) patients assessed for cardiovascular risk before prescribing antihypertensive or cholesterol-lowering drugs, and (3) patients treated for hypertension or hypercholesterolemia for 3 mo or more who had achieved recommended treatment goals.
The intervention led to an increase in adherence to guideline recommendations on choice of antihypertensive drug. Thiazides were prescribed to 17% of patients in the intervention group versus 11% in the control group (relative risk 1.94; 95% confidence interval 1.49–2.49, adjusted for baseline differences and clustering effect). Little or no differences were found for risk assessment prior to prescribing and for achievement of treatment goals.
Our tailored intervention had a significant impact on prescribing of antihypertensive drugs, but was ineffective in improving the quality of other aspects of managing hypertension and hypercholesterolemia in primary care.
Editors' Summary
An important issue in health care is “getting research into practice,” in other words, making sure that, when evidence from research has established the best way to treat a disease, doctors actually use that approach with their patients. In reality, there is often a gap between evidence and practice.
  An example concerns the treatment of people who have high blood pressure (hypertension) and/or high cholesterol. These are common conditions, and both increase the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. Research has shown that the risks can be lowered if patients with these conditions are given drugs that lower blood pressure (antihypertensives) and drugs that lower cholesterol. There are many types of these drugs now available. In many countries, the health authorities want family doctors (general practitioners) to make better use of these drugs. They want doctors to prescribe them to everyone who would benefit, using the type of drugs found to be most effective. When there is a choice of drugs that are equally effective, they want doctors to use the cheapest type. (In the case of antihypertensives, an older type, known as thiazides, is very effective and also very cheap, but many doctors prefer to give their patients newer, more expensive alternatives.) Health authorities have issued guidelines to doctors that address these issues. However, it is not easy to change prescribing practices, and research in several countries has shown that issuing guidelines has only limited effects.
Why Was This Study Done?
The researchers wanted—in two parts of Norway—to compare the effects on prescribing practices of what they called the “passive dissemination of guidelines” with a more active approach, where the use of the guidelines was strongly promoted and encouraged.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
They worked with 146 general practices. In half of them the guidelines were actively promoted. The remaining were regarded as a control group; they were given the guidelines but no special efforts were made to encourage their use. It was decided at random which practices would be in which group; this approach is called a randomized controlled trial. The methods used to actively promote use of the guidelines included personal visits to the practices by pharmacists and use of a computerized reminder system. Information was then collected on the number of patients who, when first treated for hypertension, were prescribed a thiazide. Other information collected included whether patients had been properly assessed for their level of risk (for strokes and heart attacks) before antihypertensive or cholesterol-lowering drugs were given. In addition, the researchers recorded whether the recommended targets for improvement in blood pressure and cholesterol level had been reached.
Only 11% of those patients visiting the control group of practices who should have been prescribed thiazides, according to the guidelines, actually received them. Of those seen by doctors in the practices where the guidelines were actively promoted, 17% received thiazides. According to statistical analysis, the increase achieved by active promotion is significant. Little or no differences were found for risk assessment prior to prescribing and for achievement of treatment goals.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Even in the active promotion group, the great majority of patients (83%) were still not receiving treatment according to the guidelines. However, active promotion of guidelines is more effective than simply issuing the guidelines by themselves. The study also demonstrates that it is very hard to change prescribing practices. The efforts made here to encourage the doctors to change were considerable, and although the results were significant, they were still disappointing. Also disappointing is the fact that achievement of treatment goals was no better in the active-promotion group. These issues are discussed further in a Perspective about this study (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030229).
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
• The Web site of the American Academy of Family Physicians has a page on heart disease
• The MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia's pages on heart diseases and vascular diseases
• Information from NHS Direct (UK National Health Service) about heart attack and stroke
• Another PLoS Medicine article has also addressed trends in thiazide prescribing
Passive dissemination of management guidelines for hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia was compared with active promotion. Active promotion led to significant improvement in antihypertensive prescribing but not other aspects of management.
PMCID: PMC1472695  PMID: 16737346
16.  Implementation of smoking cessation guidelines in the emergency department: a qualitative study of staff perceptions 
The US Public Health Service smoking cessation practice guideline specifically recommends that physicians and nurses strongly advise their patients who use tobacco to quit, but the best approach for attaining this goal in the emergency department (ED) remains unknown. The aim of this study was to characterize emergency physicians’ (EPs) and nurses’ (ENs) perceptions of cessation counseling and to identify barriers and facilitators to implementation of the 5 A’s framework (Ask-Advise-Assess-Assist-Arrange) in the ED.
We conducted semi-structured, face-to-face interviews of 11 EPs and 19 ENs following a pre-post implementation trial of smoking cessation guidelines in two study EDs. We used purposeful sampling to target EPs and ENs with different attitudes toward cessation counseling, based on their responses to a written survey (Decisional Balance Questionnaire). Conventional content analysis was used to inductively characterize the issues raised by study participants and to construct a coding structure, which was then applied to study transcripts.
The main findings of this study converged upon three overarching domains: 1) reactions to the intervention; 2) perceptions of patients’ receptivity to cessation counseling; and 3) perspectives on ED cessation counseling and preventive care. ED staff expressed ambivalence toward the implementation of smoking cessation guidelines. Both ENs and EPs agreed that the delivery of smoking cessation counseling is important, but that it is not always practical in the ED on account of time constraints, the competing demands of acute care, and resistance from patients. Participants also called attention to the need for improved role clarity and teamwork when implementing the 5 A’s in the ED.
There are numerous challenges to the implementation of smoking cessation guidelines in the ED. ENs are generally willing to take the lead in offering brief cessation counseling, but their efforts need to be reinforced by EPs. ED systems need to address workflow, teamwork, and practice policies that facilitate prescription of smoking cessation medication, referral for cessation counseling, and follow-up in primary care. The results of this qualitative evaluation can be used to guide the design of future ED intervention studies.
Trial registration registration number NCT00756704
PMCID: PMC3902188  PMID: 24460974
Emergency medical services; Smoking cessation; Attitude of health personnel; Qualitative research; Content analysis
17.  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
18.  Implementing change in primary care practices using electronic medical records: a conceptual framework 
Implementing change in primary care is difficult, and little practical guidance is available to assist small primary care practices. Methods to structure care and develop new roles are often needed to implement an evidence-based practice that improves care. This study explored the process of change used to implement clinical guidelines for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease in primary care practices that used a common electronic medical record (EMR).
Multiple conceptual frameworks informed the design of this study designed to explain the complex phenomena of implementing change in primary care practice. Qualitative methods were used to examine the processes of change that practice members used to implement the guidelines. Purposive sampling in eight primary care practices within the Practice Partner Research Network-Translating Researching into Practice (PPRNet-TRIP II) clinical trial yielded 28 staff members and clinicians who were interviewed regarding how change in practice occurred while implementing clinical guidelines for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease and strokes.
A conceptual framework for implementing clinical guidelines into primary care practice was developed through this research. Seven concepts and their relationships were modelled within this framework: leaders setting a vision with clear goals for staff to embrace; involving the team to enable the goals and vision for the practice to be achieved; enhancing communication systems to reinforce goals for patient care; developing the team to enable the staff to contribute toward practice improvement; taking small steps, encouraging practices' tests of small changes in practice; assimilating the electronic medical record to maximize clinical effectiveness, enhancing practices' use of the electronic tool they have invested in for patient care improvement; and providing feedback within a culture of improvement, leading to an iterative cycle of goal setting by leaders.
This conceptual framework provides a mental model which can serve as a guide for practice leaders implementing clinical guidelines in primary care practice using electronic medical records. Using the concepts as implementation and evaluation criteria, program developers and teams can stimulate improvements in their practice settings. Investing in collaborative team development of clinicians and staff may enable the practice environment to be more adaptive to change and improvement.
PMCID: PMC2254645  PMID: 18199330
19.  Using psychological theory to inform methods to optimize the implementation of a hand hygiene intervention 
Careful hand hygiene (HH) is the single most important factor in preventing the transmission of infections to patients, but compliance is difficult to achieve and maintain. A lack of understanding of the processes involved in changing staff behaviour may contribute to the failure to achieve success. The purpose of this study was to identify nurses’ and administrators’ perceived barriers and facilitators to current HH practices and the implementation of a new electronic monitoring technology for HH.
Ten key informant interviews (three administrators and seven nurses) were conducted to explore barriers and facilitators related to HH and the impact of the new technology on outcomes. The semi structured interviews were based on the Theoretical Domains Framework by Michie et al. and conducted prior to intervention implementation. Data were explored using an inductive qualitative analysis approach. Data between administrators and nurses were compared.
In 9 of the 12 domains, nurses and administrators differed in their responses. Administrators believed that nurses have insufficient knowledge and skills to perform HH, whereas the nurses were confident they had the required knowledge and skills. Nurses focused on immediate consequences, whereas administrators highlighted long-term outcomes of the system. Nurses concentrated foremost on their personal safety and their families’ safety as a source of motivation to perform HH, whereas administrators identified professional commitment, incentives, and goal setting. Administrators stated that the staff do not have the decision processes in place to judge whether HH is necessary or not. They also highlighted the positive aspects of teams as a social influence, whereas nurses were not interested in group conformity or being compared to others. Nurses described the importance of individual feedback and self-monitoring in order to increase their performance, whereas administrators reported different views.
This study highlights the benefits of using a structured approach based on psychological theory to inform an implementation plan for a behavior change intervention. This work is an essential step towards systematically identifying factors affecting nurses’ behaviour associated with HH.
PMCID: PMC3503739  PMID: 22929925
Hand hygiene; Knowledge translation; Compliance; Behaviour change; Electronic monitoring
20.  Investigating the complementary value of discrete choice experiments for the evaluation of barriers and facilitators in implementation research: a questionnaire survey 
The potential barriers and facilitators to change should guide the choice of implementation strategy. Implementation researchers believe that existing methods for the evaluation of potential barriers and facilitators are not satisfactory. Discrete choice experiments (DCE) are relatively new in the health care sector to investigate preferences, and may be of value in the field of implementation research. The objective of our study was to investigate the complementary value of DCE for the evaluation of barriers and facilitators in implementation research.
Clinical subject was the implementation of the guideline for breast cancer surgery in day care. We identified 17 potential barriers and facilitators to the implementation of this guideline. We used a traditional questionnaire that was made up of statements about the potential barriers and facilitators. Respondents answered 17 statements on a five-point scale ranging from one (fully disagree) to five (fully agree). The potential barriers and facilitators were included in the DCE as decision attributes. Data were gathered among anaesthesiologists, surgical oncologists, and breast care nurses by means of a paper-and-pencil questionnaire.
The overall response was 10%. The most striking finding was that the responses to the traditional questionnaire hardly differentiated between barriers. Forty-seven percent of the respondents thought that DCE is an inappropriate method. These respondents considered DCE too difficult and too time-consuming. Unlike the traditional questionnaire, the results of a DCE provide implementation researchers and clinicians with a relative attribute importance ranking that can be used to prioritize potential barriers and facilitators to change, and hence to better fine-tune the implementation strategies to the specific problems and challenges of a particular implementation process.
The results of our DCE and traditional questionnaire would probably lead to different implementation strategies. Although there is no 'gold standard' for prioritising potential barriers and facilitators to the implementation of change, theoretically, DCE would be the method of choice. However, the feasibility of using DCE was less favourable. Further empirical applications should investigate whether DCE can really make a valuable contribution to the implementation science.
PMCID: PMC2654421  PMID: 19250555
21.  Adopting evidence-based practice in clinical decision making: nurses' perceptions, knowledge, and barriers 
Evidence-based practice (EBP) provides nurses with a method to use critically appraised and scientifically proven evidence for delivering quality health care to a specific population. The objective of this study was to explore nurses' awareness of, knowledge of, and attitude toward EBP and factors likely to encourage or create barriers to adoption. In addition, information sources used by nurses and their literature searching skills were also investigated.
A total of 2,100 copies of the questionnaire were distributed to registered nurses in 2 public hospitals in Singapore, and 1,486 completed forms were returned, resulting in a response rate of 70.8%.
More than 64% of the nurses expressed a positive attitude toward EBP. However, they pointed out that due to heavy workload, they cannot keep up to date with new evidence. Regarding self-efficacy of EBP-related abilities, the nurses perceived themselves to possess moderate levels of skills. The nurses also felt that EBP training, time availability, and mentoring by nurses with EBP experience would encourage them to implement EBP. The top three barriers to adopting EBP were lack of time, inability to understand statistical terms, and inadequate understanding of the jargon used in research articles. For literature searching, nurses were using basic search features and less than one-quarter of them were familiar with Boolean and proximity operators.
Although nurses showed a positive attitude toward EBP, certain barriers were hindering their smooth adoption. It is, therefore, desirable that hospital management in Southeast Asia, particularly in Singapore, develop a comprehensive strategy for building EBP competencies through proper training. Moreover, hospital libraries should also play an active role in developing adequate information literacy skills among the nurses.
PMCID: PMC3133901  PMID: 21753915
22.  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
23.  Barriers and facilitators to change in the organisation and delivery of endoscopy services in England and Wales: a focus group study 
BMJ Open  2012;2(3):e001009.
Explore professional views of changes to gastroenterology service organisation and delivery and barriers and facilitators impacting on change. The work was undertaken as part of an evaluation in endoscopy service provision catalysed by the Modernising Endoscopy Services Programme of the Modernisation Agency.
Focus groups followed by analysis and group-working activities identifying key themes.
English and Welsh secondary care gastroenterology units.
20 professionals working in gastroenterology in England and Wales. Medical, surgical and nursing specialists including endoscopy nurses. Opportunistic sampling to include senior people in leadership and management roles who were directly involved in service modernisation, excluding those involved in the Modernisation Endoscopy Services Programme.
Four 1.5 h focus groups took place in 2007. Summative and thematic analyses captured essential aspects of text and achieved consensus on key themes. 4 themes were revealed: ‘loss of personal autonomy and erosion of professionalism’, ‘lack of senior management understanding’, ‘barriers and facilitators to change’ and ‘differences between English and Welsh units’. Themes indicated that low staff morale, lack of funding and senior management support were barriers to effective change. Limitations to the study include the disproportionately low number of focus group attendees from English units and the time delay in reporting these findings.
Despite ambitions to implement change, ineffective management support continued to hamper modernisation of service organisation and delivery. While the National Health Service Modernisation Agency Modernising Endoscopy Services Programme acted as a catalyst for change, affecting the way staff work, communicate and think, it was not effective in heralding change itself. However, gastroenterologists were keen to consider the potential for change and future service modernisation. The methodological framework of innovative qualitative enquiry offers comprehensive and rigorous enhancement of quantitative studies, including randomised trials, when a mixed methods approach is needed.
Article summary
Article focus
Examine the opinions of gastroenterologists and endoscopy nurses regarding the effects of change on service organisation and delivery.
Establish views regarding the impact of change on professional practice and self-identity.
Describe barriers and facilitators to change in gastroenterological endoscopy services and across units in England and Wales to explore differences.
Key messages
GI consultants, surgeons and endoscopy nurses described barriers to change and service modernisation resulting largely from lack-lustre senior management support, inadequate funding and low staff morale.
The Modernising Endoscopy Services Programme raised the profile of change but was not effective in catalysing change itself. Nevertheless, participants saw real potential in overcoming barriers to change in order to promote future service modernisation.
The methodological framework of innovative qualitative enquiry used in this study offers the opportunity for comprehensive and rigorous enhancement of quantitative studies, including randomised trials, when a mixed methods approach is needed.
Strengths and limitations of this study
The study took place in 2007 but the findings offer a unique historical perspective on professional views at that time.
This was a time when further efforts to promote modernisation of endoscopy services in England, through quality monitoring and accreditation of units was starting.
The number of people participating in focus groups was small; however, the qualitative study was looking for depth rather than breadth of data disclosure.
Participants covered a wide range of medical, surgical and nursing professions working in gastroenterology, and there is no reason to believe their views are not reliable and applicable to the wider gastroenterology professional population.
PMCID: PMC3383987  PMID: 22734116
24.  Provider perceptions of barriers to the emergency use of tPA for Acute Ischemic Stroke: A qualitative study 
Only 1-3% of ischemic stroke patients receive thrombolytic therapy. Provider barriers to adhering with guidelines recommending tPA delivery in acute stroke are not well known. The main objective of this study was to describe barriers to thrombolytic use in acute stroke care.
Twenty-four hospitals were randomly selected and matched into 12 pairs. Barrier assessment occurred at intervention sites only, and utilized focus groups and structured interviews. A pre-specified taxonomy was employed to characterize barriers. Two investigators independently assigned themes to transcribed responses. Seven facilitators (three emergency physicians, two nurses, and two study coordinators) conducted focus groups and interviews of emergency physicians (65), nurses (62), neurologists (15), radiologists (12), hospital administrators (12), and three others (hospitalists and pharmacist).
The following themes represented the most important external barriers: environmental and patient factors. Important barriers internal to the clinician included familiarity with and motivation to adhere to the guidelines, lack of self-efficacy and outcome expectancy. The following themes were not substantial barriers: lack of awareness of the existence of acute stroke guidelines, presence of conflicting guidelines, and lack of agreement with the guidelines.
Healthcare providers perceive environmental and patient-related factors as the primary barriers to adherence with acute stroke treatment guidelines. Interventions focused on increasing physician familiarity with and motivation to follow guidelines may be of highest yield in improving adherence. Improving self-efficacy in performing guideline concordant care may also be useful.
Trial Registration identifier: NCT00349479
PMCID: PMC3112102  PMID: 21548943
25.  An initiative to improve adherence to evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of URIs, sinusitis, and pharyngitis 
Upper respiratory infections, acute sinus infections, and sore throats are common symptoms that cause patients to seek medical care. Despite well-established treatment guidelines, studies indicate that antibiotics are prescribed far more frequently than appropriate, raising a multitude of clinical issues.
The primary goal of this study was to increase guideline adherence rates for acute sinusitis, pharyngitis, and upper respiratory tract infections (URIs). This study was the first Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle in a quality improvement program at an internal medicine resident faculty practice at a university-affiliated community hospital internal medicine residency program. To improve guideline adherence for respiratory infections, a package of small-scale interventions was implemented aimed at improving patient and provider education regarding viral and bacterial infections and the necessity for antibiotics. The data from this study was compared with a previously published study in this practice, which evaluated the adherence rates for the treatment guidelines before the changes, to determine effectiveness of the modifications. After the first PDSA cycle, providers were surveyed to determine barriers to adherence to antibiotic prescribing guidelines.
After the interventions, antibiotic guideline adherence for URI improved from a rate of 79.28 to 88.58% with a p-value of 0.004. The increase of adherence rates for sinusitis and pharyngitis were 41.7–57.58% (p=0.086) and 24.0–25.0% (p=0.918), respectively. The overall change in guideline adherence for the three conditions increased from 57.2 to 78.6% with the implementations (p<0.001). In planning for future PDSA cycles, a fishbone diagram was constructed in order to identify all perceived facets of the problem of non-adherence to the treatment guidelines for URIs, sinusitis, and pharyngitis. From the fishbone diagram and the provider survey, several potential directions for future work are discussed.
Passive interventions can result in small changes in antibiotic guideline adherence, but further PDSA cycles using more active methodologies are needed.
PMCID: PMC3937558  PMID: 24596644
antibiotic; guideline; adherence

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