Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening is recommended for average risk adults age 50 and older, yet half of eligible US adults are not current. Competing demands within primary care suggest a systematic process is needed for improvement. This case study of highest performing practices within the Colorectal Screening in Primary Care study (C-TRIP) explains practice strategies used and provides a model for improving CRC screening in primary care.
A case study design was used to analyze practice performance data and qualitative data obtained from site visits, network meetings and correspondence. The Practice Partner Research Network (PPRNet) Translating Research into Practice (TRIP) Quality Improvement (QI) model provided an analytic framework to evaluate five highest performing practices in the C-TRIP intervention. Practice strategies were grouped within the concepts: prioritize performance (PP), redesign delivery system (RDS), electronic medical record tools (EMR), and activate the patient (AP).
Thirteen specific practice strategies were exemplified within these four concepts (PP, RDS, EMR, AP). Most or all of these strategies were used by the practices that achieved a rate of up to 78% of adults screened for CRC.
Primary care practices achieving a high proportion of CRC screening use systematic processes in the organization of their care. This case study provides a framework to organize systems that increase early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer.
colorectal cancer screening; primary care; quality improvement; practice-based research
Depression and related disorders represent a significant part of general practitioners (GPs) daily work. Implementing the evidence about what works for depression care into routine practice presents a challenge for researchers and service designers. The emerging consensus is that the transfer of efficacious interventions into routine practice is strongly linked to how well the interventions are based upon theory and take into account the contextual factors of the setting into which they are to be transferred. We set out to develop a conceptual framework to guide change and the implementation of best practice depression care in the primary care setting.
We used a mixed method, observational approach to gather data about routine depression care in a range of primary care settings via: audit of electronic health records; observation of routine clinical care; and structured, facilitated whole of organisation meetings. Audit data were summarised using simple descriptive statistics. Observational data were collected using field notes. Organisational meetings were audio taped and transcribed. All the data sets were grouped, by organisation, and considered as a whole case. Normalisation Process Theory (NPT) was identified as an analytical theory to guide the conceptual framework development.
Five privately owned primary care organisations (general practices) and one community health centre took part over the course of 18 months. We successfully developed a conceptual framework for implementing an effective model of depression care based on the four constructs of NPT: coherence, which proposes that depression work requires the conceptualisation of boundaries of who is depressed and who is not depressed and techniques for dealing with diffuseness; cognitive participation, which proposes that depression work requires engagement with a shared set of techniques that deal with depression as a health problem; collective action, which proposes that agreement is reached about how care is organised; and reflexive monitoring, which proposes that depression work requires agreement about how depression work will be monitored at the patient and practice level. We describe how these constructs can be used to guide the design and implementation of effective depression care in a way that can take account of contextual differences.
Ideas about what is required for an effective model and system of depression care in primary care need to be accompanied by theoretically informed frameworks that consider how these can be implemented. The conceptual framework we have presented can be used to guide organisational and system change to develop common language around each construct between policy makers, service users, professionals, and researchers. This shared understanding across groups is fundamental to the effective implementation of change in primary care for depression.
Implementing improvement programs to enhance quality of care within primary care clinics is complex, with limited practical guidance available to help practices during the process. Understanding how improvement strategies can be implemented in primary care is timely given the recent national movement towards transforming primary care into patient-centered medical homes (PCMH). This study examined practice members’ perceptions of the opportunities and challenges associated with implementing changes in their practice.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 56 individuals working in 16 small, community-based primary care practices. The interview consisted of open-ended questions focused on participants’ perceptions of: (1) practice vision, (2) perceived need for practice improvement, and (3) barriers that hinder practice improvement. The interviews were conducted at the participating clinics and were tape-recorded, transcribed, and content analyzed.
Content analysis identified two main domains for practice improvement related to: (1) the process of care, and (2) patients’ involvement in their disease management. Examples of desired process of care changes included improvement in patient tracking/follow-up system, standardization of processes of care, and overall clinic documentations. Changes related to the patients’ involvement in their care included improving (a) health education, and (b) self care management. Among the internal barriers were: staff readiness for change, poor communication, and relationship difficulties among team members. External barriers were: insurance regulations, finances and patient health literacy.
Transforming their practices to more patient-centered models of care will be a priority for primary care providers. Identifying opportunities and challenges associated with implementing change is critical for successful improvement programs. Successful strategy for enhancing the adoption and uptake of PCMH elements should leverage areas of concordance between practice members’ perceived needs and planned improvement efforts.
primary care practice; quality improvement; qualitative analysis
To describe a novel process and present results of formative research to develop a pediatric office intervention that uses available systems of care for addressing parental smoking.
The scientific development of the intervention occurred in three stages. In stage one, we designed an office system for parental tobacco control in the pediatric outpatient setting based on complementary conceptual frameworks of preventive services delivery, conceptualized for the child healthcare setting through a process of key interviews with leaders in the field of implementing practice change; existing Public Health Service guidelines that had been shown effective in adult practices; and adaptation of an evidenced-based adult office system for tobacco control. This was an iterative process that yielded a theoretically framed intervention prototype. In stage two, we performed focus group testing in pediatric practices with pediatricians, nurses, clinical assistants, and key office staff. Using qualitative methods, we adapted the intervention prototype based on this feedback to include five key implementation steps for the child healthcare setting. In stage three, we presented the intervention to breakout groups at two national meetings of pediatric practitioners for further refinements.
The main result was a theoretically grounded intervention that was responsive to the barriers and suggestions raised in the focus groups and at the national meetings. The CEASE intervention is designed to be flexible and adaptable to the particular practices' staffing, resources, and physical configuration. Practices can choose materials relevant to their own particular systems of care (www.ceasetobacco.org).
Conceptually-grounded and focus group tested strategies for parental tobacco control are now available for implementation in the pediatric outpatient setting. The tobacco control intervention development process might have particular relevance for other chronic pediatric conditions that have a strong evidence base and have available treatments or resources that are underused.
smoking; tobacco; pediatrics; family practice; parent; smoking cessation; secondhand smoke; environmental tobacco smoke; tobacco control; quitline; telephone counseling
The electronic medical record (EMR)/electronic health record (EHR) is becoming an integral component of many primary-care outpatient practices. Before implementing an EMR/EHR system, primary-care practices should have an understanding of the potential benefits and limitations.
The objective of this study was to systematically review the recent literature around the impact of the EMR/EHR within primary-care outpatient practices.
Materials and methods
Searches of Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, ABI Inform, and Cochrane Library were conducted to identify articles published between January 1998 and January 2010. The gray literature and reference lists of included articles were also searched. 30 studies met inclusion criteria.
Results and discussion
The EMR/EHR appears to have structural and process benefits, but the impact on clinical outcomes is less clear. Using Donabedian's framework, five articles focused on the impact on healthcare structure, 21 explored healthcare process issues, and four focused on health-related outcomes.
Clinical informatics; quality of healthcare; systematic review; machine learning; health data standards; vocabulary; ontology; scientific information and health data policy; consumer health/patient education information; information retrieval; NLP; public health informatics; clinical trials; electronic medical records; primary care; systematic review
A practice intervention must have its basis in an understanding of the physician and practice to secure its benefit and relevancy. We used a formative process to characterize primary care physician attitudes, needs, and practice obstacles regarding primary prevention. The characterization will provide the conceptual framework for the development of a practice tool to facilitate routine delivery of primary preventive care.
A focus group of primary care physician Opinion Leaders was audio-taped, transcribed, and qualitatively analyzed to identify emergent themes that described physicians' perceptions of prevention in daily practice.
The conceptual worth of primary prevention, including behavioral counseling, was high, but its practice was significantly countered by the predominant clinical emphasis on and rewards for secondary care. In addition, lack of health behavior training, perceived low self-efficacy, and patient resistance to change were key deterrents to primary prevention delivery. Also, the preventive focus in primary care is not on cancer, but on predominant chronic nonmalignant conditions.
The success of the future practice tool will be largely dependent on its ability to "fit" primary prevention into the clinical culture of diagnoses and treatment sustained by physicians, patients, and payers. The tool's message output must be formatted to facilitate physician delivery of patient-tailored behavioral counseling in an accurate, confident, and efficacious manner. Also, the tool's health behavior messages should be behavior-specific, not disease-specific, to draw on shared risk behaviors of numerous diseases and increase the likelihood of perceived salience and utility of the tool in primary care.
General practice in the UK is undergoing a period of rapid and profound change. Traditionally, research into the effects of change on general practice has tended to regard GPs as individuals or as members of a professional group. To understand the impact of change, general practices should also be considered as organisations.
To use the organisational studies literature to build a conceptual framework of general practice organisations, and to test and develop this empirically using case studies of change in practice. This study used the implementation of National Service Frameworks (NSFs) and the new General Medical Services (GMS) contract as incidents of change.
Design of study
In-depth, qualitative case studies. The design was iterative: each case study was followed by a review of the theoretical ideas. The final conceptual framework was the result of the dynamic interplay between theory and empirical evidence.
Five general practices in England, selected using purposeful sampling.
Semi-structured interviews with all clinical and managerial personnel in each practice, participant and non-participant observation, and examination of documents.
A conceptual framework was developed that can be used to understand how and why practices respond to change. This framework enabled understanding of observed reactions to the introduction of NSFs and the new GMS contract. Important factors for generating responses to change included the story that the practice members told about their practice, beliefs about what counted as legitimate work, the role played by the manager, and previous experiences of change.
Viewing general practices as small organisations has generated insights into factors that influence responses to change. Change tends to occur from the bottom up and is determined by beliefs about organisational reality. The conceptual framework suggests some questions that can be asked of practices to explain this internal reality.
change; conceptual framework; general practice; organisations
Assessing the quality of primary care is becoming a priority in national healthcare agendas. Audit and feedback on healthcare quality performance indicators can help improve the quality of care provided. In some instances, fewer numbers of more comprehensive indicators may be preferable. This paper describes the use of the Summary Quality Index (SQUID) in tracking quality of care among patients and primary care practices that use an electronic medical record (EMR). All practices are part of the Practice Partner Research Network, representing over 100 ambulatory care practices throughout the United States.
The SQUID is comprised of 36 process and outcome measures, all of which are obtained from the EMR. This paper describes algorithms for the SQUID calculations, various statistical properties, and use of the SQUID within the context of a multi-practice quality improvement (QI) project.
At any given time point, the patient-level SQUID reflects the proportion of recommended care received, while the practice-level SQUID reflects the average proportion of recommended care received by that practice's patients. Using quarterly reports, practice- and patient-level SQUIDs are provided routinely to practices within the network. The SQUID is responsive, exhibiting highly significant (p < 0.0001) increases during a major QI initiative, and its internal consistency is excellent (Cronbach's alpha = 0.93). Feedback from physicians has been extremely positive, providing a high degree of face validity.
The SQUID algorithm is feasible and straightforward, and provides a useful QI tool. Its statistical properties and clear interpretation make it appealing to providers, health plans, and researchers.
Previous studies testing continuous quality improvement (CQI) for depression showed no effects. Methods for practices to self-improve depression care performance are needed. We assessed the impacts of evidence-based quality improvement (EBQI), a modification of CQI, as carried out by 2 different health care systems, and collected qualitative data on the design and implementation process.
Evaluate impacts of EBQI on practice-wide depression care and outcomes.
Practice-level randomized experiment comparing EBQI with usual care.
Six Kaiser Permanente of Northern California and 3 Veterans Administration primary care practices randomly assigned to EBQI teams (6 practices) or usual care (3 practices). Practices included 245 primary care clinicians and 250,000 patients.
Researchers assisted system senior leaders to identify priorities for EBQI teams; initiated the manual-based EBQI process; and provided references and tools.
Five hundred and sixty-seven representative patients with major depression.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Appropriate treatment, depression, functional status, and satisfaction.
Depressed patients in EBQI practices showed a trend toward more appropriate treatment compared with those in usual care (46.0% vs 39.9% at 6 months, P = .07), but no significant improvement in 12-month depression symptom outcomes (27.0% vs 36.1% poor depression outcome, P = .18). Social functioning improved significantly (mean score 65.0 vs 56.8 at 12 months, P = .02); physical functioning did not.
Evidence-based quality improvement had perceptible, but modest, effects on practice performance for patients with depression. The modest improvements, along with qualitative data, identify potential future directions for improving CQI research and practice.
quality improvement; depression; continuous quality management; social function
Translating guidelines into nursing practice remains a considerable challenge. Until now, little attention has been paid to which interventions are used in practice to implement guidelines on changing clinical nursing practice. This cross-sectional study determined the current ranges and rates of implementation-related interventions in Austria, Germany, and The Netherlands and explored possible differences between these countries. An online questionnaire based on the conceptual framework of implementation interventions (professional, organizational, financial, and regulatory) from the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organization of Care (EPOC) data collection checklist was used to gather data from nursing homes and hospitals. Provision of written materials is the most frequently used professional implementation intervention (85%), whereas changes in the patient record system rank foremost among organisational interventions (78%). Financial incentives for nurses are rarely used. More interventions were used in Austria and Germany than in The Netherlands (20.3/20.2/17.3). Professional interventions are used more frequently in Germany and financial interventions more frequently in The Netherlands. Implementation efforts focus mainly on professional and organisational interventions. Nurse managers and other responsible personnel should direct their focus to a broader array of implementation interventions using the four different categories of EPOC's conceptual framework.
To examine whether feedback and treatment advice for depression presented to primary care physicians (PCPs) via an electronic medical record (EMR) system can potentially improve clinical outcomes and care processes for patients with major depression.
Randomized controlled trial.
Academically affiliated primary care practice in Pittsburgh, PA.
Two hundred primary care patients with major depression on the Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders (PRIME-MD) and who met all protocol-eligibility criteria.
PCPs were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 levels of exposure to EMR feedback of guideline-based treatment advice for depression: “active care” (AC), “passive care” (PC), or “usual care” (UC).
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS
Patients' 3- and 6-month Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRS-D) score and chart review of PCP reports of depression care in the 6 months following the depression diagnosis. Only 22% of patients recovered from their depressive episode at 6 months (HRS-D ≤7). Patients' mean HRS-D score decreased regardless of their PCPs' guideline-exposure condition (20.4 to 14.2 from baseline to 6-month follow-up; P < .001). However, neither continuous (HRS-D ≤7: 22% AC, 23% PC, 22% UC; P = .8) nor categorical measures of recovery (P = .2) differed by EMR exposure condition upon follow-up. Care processes for depression were also similar by PCP assignment despite exposure to repeated reminders of the depression diagnosis and treatment advice (e.g., depression mentioned in ≥3 contacts with usual PCP at 6 months: 31% AC, 31% PC, 18% UC; P = .09 and antidepressant medication suggested/prescribed or baseline regimen modified at 6 months: 59% AC, 57% PC, 52% UC; P = .3).
Screening for major depression, electronically informing PCPs of the diagnosis, and then exposing them to evidence-based treatment recommendations for depression via EMR has little differential impact on patients' 3- or 6-month clinical outcomes or on process measures consistent with high-quality depression care.
major depression; PRIME-MD; primary care; electronic medical records; clinical practice guidelines; intervention
The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine user acceptance of a clinical computer system in two pediatric practices in the southeast. Data were gathered through interviews with practice and IS staff, observations in the clinical area, and review of system implementation records. Five months after implementation, Practice A continued to use the system but Practice B had quit using it because it was unacceptable to the users. The results are presented here, in relation to a conceptual framework, which was originally developed to describe the process of successful implementation of research findings into practice. Five main themes were identified relative to the differences in user acceptance at the two practices: 1) Benefits versus expense of system use varied, 2) Organizational cultures differed, 3) IS staff's relationship with practices differed, 4) Post-implementation experiences differed, and 5) Transfer of technology from the academic center to private practice proved challenging in Practice B. The findings indicate a need for the development and validation of tools to measure healthcare organizational climate and readiness for change.
Implementation research is the scientific study of methods to promote the systematic uptake of research findings and other evidence-based practices into routine practice, and, hence, to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services and care. This relatively new field includes the study of influences on healthcare professional and organisational behaviour.
Implementation Science will encompass all aspects of research in this field, in clinical, community and policy contexts. This online journal will provide a unique platform for this type of research and will publish a broad range of articles – study protocols, debate, theoretical and conceptual articles, rigorous evaluations of the process of change, and articles on methodology and rigorously developed tools – that will enhance the development and refinement of implementation research. No one discipline, research design, or paradigm will be favoured.
Implementation Science looks forward to receiving manuscripts that facilitate the continued development of the field, and contribute to healthcare policy and practice.
Fax referral services that connect smokers to state quitlines have been implemented in 49 U.S. states and territories and promoted as a simple solution to improving smoker assistance in medical practice. This study is an in-depth examination of the systems-level changes needed to implement and sustain a fax referral program in primary care.
The study involved implementation of a fax referral system paired with a chart stamp prompting providers to identify smoking patients, provide advice to quit and refer interested smokers to a state-based fax quitline. Three focus groups (n = 26) and eight key informant interviews were conducted with staff and physicians at two clinics after the intervention. We used the Chronic Care Model as a framework to analyze the data, examining how well the systems changes were implemented and the impact of these changes on care processes, and to develop recommendations for improvement.
Physicians and staff described numerous benefits of the fax referral program for providers and patients but pointed out significant barriers to full implementation, including the time-consuming process of referring patients to the Quitline, substantial patient resistance, and limitations in information and care delivery systems for referring and tracking smokers. Respondents identified several strategies for improving integration, including simplification of the referral form, enhanced teamwork, formal assignment of responsibility for referrals, ongoing staff training and patient education. Improvements in Quitline feedback were needed to compensate for clinics' limited internal information systems for tracking smokers.
Establishing sustainable linkages to quitline services in clinical sites requires knowledge of existing patterns of care and tailored organizational changes to ensure new systems are prioritized, easily integrated into current office routines, formally assigned to specific staff members, and supported by internal systems that ensure adequate tracking and follow up of smokers. Ongoing staff training and patient self-management techniques are also needed to ease the introduction of new programs and increase their acceptability to smokers.
Primary health care in The Netherlands evolves from small general practices to multidisciplinary teams. Research on the effects on outcomes of organization of primary care is hardly available.
Develop a conceptual model to be able to systematically arrange empirical evidence on the effects of different types of organizations of integrated (primary) care.
During an expert meeting of directors of health centres we identified essential elements which they consider important for integrated primary care. Based on the outcomes of the meeting we designed a first draft of the conceptual model and completed it, based on literature.
Results and Conclusion
Based on an inventory and analysis of different definitions of primary care and integrated care, we formulated a definition of integrated primary care: ‘The smooth process of assistance and care provided by multiple disciplines within Primary Care, experienced by citizens’. The developed conceptual model contains elements to enable the delivery of integrated primary care (such as culture, professional competences, relationships and network system) and factors that affect the fluent process (such as subsequent financing, organization, ICT, legislation and regulations).
Debate the model with participants of the conference to determine whether the model will be sufficient.
integrated primary care; inter disciplinary collaboration; conceptual model; health systems development
Recruiting patients into clinical research protocols is challenging. Electronic medical record (EMR) systems capable of prompting clinicians may facilitate enrollment.
To compare an EMR-based clinician prompt versus a wait-room-based case-finding strategy at enrolling patients into a clinical trial.
Cross-sectional comparison of recruitment data from two trials to treat anxiety disorders in primary care. Both studies utilized similar enrollment criteria, intervention strategies, and the same four practice sites and EMR system.
Patients referred by their (primary care physicians) PCPs in response to an EMR prompt (recruited 1/2005–10/2006), and patients enrolled by research assistants stationed in practice waiting rooms (7/2000–4/2002).
Referral counts, patients’ baseline sociodemographic and clinical characteristics.
Over a 22-month period, EMR-prompted PCPs referred 794 patients and 176 (22%) met study inclusion criteria and enrolled, compared to 8,095 patients approached by wait room-based recruiters of whom 193 (2.4%) enrolled. Subjects enrolled by EMR-prompted PCPs were more likely to be non-white (23% vs 5%; P < 0.001), male (28% vs 18%; P = 0.03), and have higher anxiety levels than those recruited by wait-room recruiters (P < 0.0001).
EMR systems prompting clinicians to refer patients with specific characteristics are an efficient recruitment tool with critical implications for increasing minority participation in clinical research.
electronic medical records; primary care; clinical trials; recruitment; anxiety disorders
Decision support technologies (DSTs, also known as decision aids) help patients and professionals take part in collaborative decision-making processes. Trials have shown favorable impacts on patient knowledge, satisfaction, decisional conflict and confidence. However, they have not become routinely embedded in health care settings. Few studies have approached this issue using a theoretical framework. We explained problems of implementing DSTs using the Normalization Process Model, a conceptual model that focuses attention on how complex interventions become routinely embedded in practice.
The Normalization Process Model was used as the basis of conceptual analysis of the outcomes of previous primary research and reviews. Using a virtual working environment we applied the model and its main concepts to examine: the 'workability' of DSTs in professional-patient interactions; how DSTs affect knowledge relations between their users; how DSTs impact on users' skills and performance; and the impact of DSTs on the allocation of organizational resources.
A conceptual analysis using the Normalization Process Model provided insight on implementation problems for DSTs in routine settings. Current research focuses mainly on the interactional workability of these technologies, but factors related to divisions of labor and health care, and the organizational contexts in which DSTs are used, are poorly described and understood.
The model successfully provided a framework for helping to identify factors that promote and inhibit the implementation of DSTs in healthcare and gave us insights into factors influencing the introduction of new technologies into contexts where negotiations are characterized by asymmetries of power and knowledge. Future research and development on the deployment of DSTs needs to take a more holistic approach and give emphasis to the structural conditions and social norms in which these technologies are enacted.
Tailor-made approaches enable the uptake of interventions as they are seen as a way to overcome the incompatibility of general interventions with local knowledge about the organisation of routine medical practice and the relationship between the patients and the professionals in practice. Our case is the Quattro project which is a prevention programme for cardiovascular diseases in high-risk patients in primary health care centres in deprived neighbourhoods. This programme was implemented as a pragmatic trial and foresaw the importance of local knowledge in primary health care and internal, or locally made, guidelines. The aim of this paper is to show how this prevention programme, which could be tailored to routine care, was implemented in primary care.
An ethnographic design was used for this study. We observed and interviewed the researchers and the practice nurses. All the research documents, observations and transcribed interviews were analysed thematically.
Our ethnographic process evaluation showed that the opportunity of tailoring intervention procedures to routine care in a pragmatic trial setting did not result in a well-organised and well-implemented prevention programme. In fact, the lack of standard protocols hindered the implementation of the intervention. Although it was not the purpose of this trial, a guideline was developed. Despite the fact that the developed guideline functioned as a tool, it did not result in the intervention being organised accordingly. However, the guideline did make tailoring the intervention possible. It provided the professionals with the key or the instructions needed to achieve organisational change and transform the existing interprofessional relations.
As tailor-made approaches are developed to enable the uptake of interventions in routine practice, they are facilitated by the brokering of tools such as guidelines. In our study, guidelines facilitated organisational change and enabled the transformation of existing interprofessional relations, and thus made tailoring possible. The attractive flexibility of pragmatic trial design in taking account of local practice variations may often be overestimated.
In England, guidance from National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) states women with a family history of breast cancer presenting to primary care should be reassured or referred.
We reviewed the evidence for interventions that might be applied in primary care and conducted an audit of whether low risk women are correctly advised and flagged.
We conducted a literature review to identify modifiable risk factors. We extracted routinely collected data from the computerised medical record systems of 6 general practices (population approximately 30,000); of the variables identified in the guidance. We implemented a quality improvement (QI) intervention called audit-based education (ABE) comparing participant practices with guidelines and each other before and after; we report odds ratios (OR) of any change in data recording.
The review revealed evidence for advising on: diet, weight control, physical exercise, and alcohol. The proportion of patients with recordings of family history of: disease, neoplasms, and breast cancer were: 39.3%, 5.1% and 1.3% respectively. There was no significant change in the recording of family history of disease or cancer; OR 1.02 (95% CI 0.98-1.06); and 1.08 (95% CI 0.99-1.17) respectively. Recording of alcohol consumption and smoking both increased significantly; OR 1.36 (95% CI 1.30-1.43); and 1.42 (95% CI 1.27-1.60) respectively. Recording lifestyle advice fell; OR 0.84 (95% CI 0.81-0.88).
The study informs about current data recording and willingness to engage in ABE. Recording of risk factors improved after the intervention. Further QI is needed to achieve adherence to current guidance.
The implementation of guidelines and training initiatives to support communication in cross-cultural primary care consultations is ad hoc across a range of international settings with negative consequences particularly for migrants. This situation reflects a well-documented translational gap between evidence and practice and is part of the wider problem of implementing guidelines and the broader range of professional educational and quality interventions in routine practice. In this paper, we describe our use of a contemporary social theory, Normalization Process Theory and participatory research methodology—Participatory Learning and Action—to investigate and support implementation of such guidelines and training initiatives in routine practice.
This is a qualitative case study, using multiple primary care sites across Europe. Purposive and maximum variation sampling approaches will be used to identify and recruit stakeholders—migrant service users, general practitioners, primary care nurses, practice managers and administrative staff, interpreters, cultural mediators, service planners, and policy makers. We are conducting a mapping exercise to identify relevant guidelines and training initiatives. We will then initiate a PLA-brokered dialogue with stakeholders around Normalization Process Theory’s four constructs—coherence, cognitive participation, collective action, and reflexive monitoring. Through this, we will enable stakeholders in each setting to select a single guideline or training initiative for implementation in their local setting. We will prospectively investigate and support the implementation journeys for the five selected interventions. Data will be generated using a Participatory Learning and Action approach to interviews and focus groups. Data analysis will follow the principles of thematic analysis, will occur in iterative cycles throughout the project and will involve participatory co-analysis with key stakeholders to enhance the authenticity and veracity of findings.
This research employs a unique combination of Normalization Process Theory and Participatory Learning and Action, which will provide a novel approach to the analysis of implementation journeys. The findings will advance knowledge in the field of implementation science because we are using and testing theoretical and methodological approaches so that we can critically appraise their scope to mediate barriers and improve the implementation processes.
Electronic medical records (EMRs) hold the promise of making routine comprehensive measurement of care quality a reality. However, there are many informatics challenges that stand in the way of this goal. Guidelines are rarely stated in precise enough language for automated measurement of clinical practices and the data necessary for that measurement often reside in the text notes of EMRs. We designed a technology platform for scalable and routine measurement of care quality using comprehensive EMR data, including providers’ freetext notes documenting clinical encounters. We are in the process of implementing this system to assess the quality of ambulatory asthma care in two diverse healthcare systems: a mid-size HMO and a consortium of Federally Qualified Healthcare Center (FQHC) clinics on the west coast of the United States.
It has been shown that implementation of electronic medical records (EMR) and withdrawal of the paper-based medical record is feasible, but represents a drastic change in the information environment of hospital physicians. Previous investigations have revealed considerable inter-hospital variations in EMR system use and user satisfaction. The aim of this study was to further explore changes of clinicians' work after the EMR system implementation process and how they experienced working in a paper-deprived information environment.
Qualitative study based on 18 semi-structured interviews with physicians in two Norwegian hospitals.
Ten different but related characteristics of work within the EMR-based practice were identified; (1) there was closer clinical and administrative cooperation during the implementation processes; (2) there were greater benefits when everybody used the system; (3) systems supported freshmen better than experienced physicians; (4) the EMR was useful in regard to professional learning; (5) new users were given an introduction to the system by experienced; (6) younger clinicians reported different attitudes than senior clinicians, but this might be related to more than age and previous experience with computers; (7) the EMR made it easier to generate free-text notes, but this also created a potential for information overflow; (8) there is little or no support for mobile work; (9) instances of downtime are still experienced, and this influenced the attitude towards the system and (10) clinicians preferred EMR-only compared to combined paper and electronic systems.
Despite the removal of paper-based records from clinical workflow (a change that hospital clinicians perceived as highly useful), many of the old routines remained unchanged, limiting the potential of the EMR system. Thus, there is a need to not only remove paper in the physical sense, but also to established routines to fully achieve the benefits of an EMR system.
User satisfaction with an electronic medical record (EMR) plays a decisive role in its implementation and subsequent use. We developed a survey tool to identify features of an EMR that contribute to user satisfaction and administered it in an adult primary care clinic.
Most physician respondents were highly satisfied with the EMR and used all of its components. The EMR decreased the time to develop a synopsis of the patient and improved communication efficiency. Most respondents valued remote access to the EMR. Electronic messaging was an important component of improved care delivery according to 80% of the respondents. Access to online references within the EMR was not valued over web-based access for most respondents.
Our results demonstrate acceptance of an EMR in adult primary care. Features such as remote access and electronic messaging were surprisingly useful and successful for primary care practice.
Effective implementation of change in healthcare organisations involves multiple professional and organisational groups and is often impeded by professional and organisational boundaries that present relatively impermeable barriers to sharing knowledge and spreading work practices. Informed by the theory of communities of practice (CoPs), this study explored the effects of intra-organisational and inter-organisational boundaries on the implementation of service improvement within and across primary healthcare settings and on the development of multiprofessional and multi-organisational CoPs during this process.
The study was conducted within the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) for Greater Manchester—a collaborative partnership between the University of Manchester and local National Health Service organisations aiming to undertake applied health research and enhance its implementation in clinical practice. It deployed a qualitative embedded case study design, encompassing semistructured interviews, direct observation and documentary analysis, conducted in 2010–2011. The sample included practice doctors, nurses, managers and members of the CLAHRC implementation team.
The study showed that in spite of epistemic and status differences, professional boundaries between general practitioners, practice nurses and practice managers co-located in the same practice over a relatively long period of time could be successfully bridged, leading to the formation of multiprofessional CoPs. While knowledge circulated relatively easily within these CoPs, barriers to knowledge sharing emerged at the boundary separating them from other groups existing in the same primary care setting. The strongest boundaries, however, lay between individual general practices, with inter-organisational knowledge sharing and collaboration between them remaining unequally developed across different areas due to historical factors, competition and strong organisational identification. Manipulated emergence of multi-organisational CoPs in the context of primary care may thus be problematic.
In cases when manipulated emergence of new CoPs is problematic, boundary issues could be addressed by adopting a developmental perspective on CoPs, which provides an alternative to the analytical and instrumental perspectives previously described in the CoP literature. This perspective implies a pragmatic, situational approach to mapping existing CoPs and their characteristics and potentially modifying them in the process of service improvement through the combination of internal and external facilitation.
Communities of practice; Professional boundaries; Organisational boundaries; Primary care; Service improvement; National Health Service; CLAHRC; UK
The purpose of this research is to develop and evaluate methods for conducting pragmatic cluster randomized trials in a primary care electronic database. The proposal describes one application, in a less frequent chronic condition of public health importance, secondary prevention of stroke. A related protocol in antibiotic prescribing was reported previously.
The study aims to implement a cluster randomized trial (CRT) using the electronic patient records of the General Practice Research Database (GPRD) as a sampling frame and data source. The specific objective of the trial is to evaluate the effectiveness of a computer-delivered intervention at enhancing the delivery of stroke secondary prevention in primary care. GPRD family practices will be allocated to the intervention or usual care. The intervention promotes the use of electronic prompts to support adherence with the recommendations of the UK Intercollegiate Stroke Working Party and NICE guidelines for the secondary prevention of stroke in primary care. Primary outcome measure will be the difference in systolic blood pressure between intervention and control trial arms at 12-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes will be differences in serum cholesterol, prescribing of antihypertensive drugs, statins, and antiplatelet therapy. The intervention will continue for 12 months. Information on the utilization of the decision-support tools will also be analyzed.
The CRT will investigate the effectiveness of using a computer-delivered intervention to reduce the risk of stroke recurrence following a first stroke event. The study will provide methodological guidance on the implementation of CRTs in electronic databases in primary care.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN35701810
Clinical trials; Cluster analysis; Electronic health records; Feasibility studies; Stroke; Secondary prevention