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1.  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.
Background
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%]).
Conclusions
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
Background
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 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001018.
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
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001018
PMCID: PMC3071366  PMID: 21483712
2.  A brief report on the development of a theoretically-grounded intervention to promote patient autonomy and self-management of physiotherapy patients: face validity and feasibility of implementation 
Background
Clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of low back pain suggest the inclusion of a biopsychosocial approach in which patient self-management is prioritized. While many physiotherapists recognise the importance of evidence-based practice, there is an evidence practice gap that may in part be due to the fact that promoting self-management necessitates change in clinical behaviours. Evidence suggests that a patient’s motivation and maintenance of self-management behaviours can be positively influenced by the clinician’s use of an autonomy supportive communication style. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop and pilot-test the feasibility of a theoretically derived implementation intervention to support physiotherapists in using an evidence-based autonomy supportive communication style in practice for promoting patient self-management in clinical practice.
Methods
A systematic process was used to develop the intervention and pilot-test its feasibility in primary care physiotherapy. The development steps included focus groups to identify barriers and enablers for implementation, the theoretical domains framework to classify determinants of change, a behaviour change technique taxonomy to select appropriate intervention components, and forming a testable theoretical model. Face validity and acceptability of the intervention was pilot-tested with two physiotherapists and monitoring their communication with patients over a three-month timeframe.
Results
Using the process described above, eight barriers and enablers for implementation were identified. To address these barriers and enablers, a number of intervention components were selected ranging from behaviour change techniques such as, goal-setting, self-monitoring and feedback to appropriate modes of intervention delivery (i.e. continued education meetings and audit and feedback focused coaching). Initial pilot-testing revealed the acceptability of the intervention to recipients and highlighted key areas for refinement prior to scaling up for a definitive trial.
Conclusion
The development process utilised in this study ensured the intervention was theory-informed and evidence-based, with recipients signalling its relevance and benefit to their clinical practice. Future research should consider additional intervention strategies to address barriers of social support and those beyond the clinician level.
doi:10.1186/s12913-015-0921-1
PMCID: PMC4491218  PMID: 26142483
Implementation; Knowledge translation; Behaviour change; Theoretical domain framework; Physiotherapy; Self-determination theory; Low back pain
3.  Rational Prescribing in Primary Care (RaPP): A Cluster Randomized Trial of a Tailored Intervention 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(6):e134.
Background
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.
Conclusions
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
Background.
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 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030134.
• 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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030134
PMCID: PMC1472695  PMID: 16737346
4.  The Impact of Social Media on Dissemination and Implementation of Clinical Practice Guidelines: A Longitudinal Observational Study 
Background
Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) are statements that provide recommendations to optimize patient care for a specific clinical problem or question. Merely reading a guideline rarely leads to implementation of recommendations. The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has a formal process of guideline development and dissemination. The last few years have seen a burgeoning of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and newer methods of dissemination such as podcasts and webinars. The role of these media in guideline dissemination has not been studied. Systematic evaluation of dissemination methods and comparison of the effectiveness of newer methods with traditional methods is not available. It is also not known whether specific dissemination methods may be more effectively targeted to specific audiences.
Objective
Our aim was to (1) develop an innovative dissemination strategy by adding social media-based dissemination methods to traditional methods for the AAN clinical practice guidelines “Complementary and alternative medicine in multiple sclerosis” (“CAM in MS”) and (2) evaluate whether the addition of social media outreach improves awareness of the CPG and knowledge of CPG recommendations, and affects implementation of those recommendations.
Methods
Outcomes were measured by four surveys in each of the two target populations: patients and physicians/clinicians (“physicians”). The primary outcome was the difference in participants’ intent to discuss use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) with their physicians or patients, respectively, after novel dissemination, as compared with that after traditional dissemination. Secondary outcomes were changes in awareness of the CPG, knowledge of CPG content, and behavior regarding CAM use in multiple sclerosis (MS).
Results
Response rates were 25.08% (622/2480) for physicians and 43.5% (348/800) for patients. Awareness of the CPG increased after traditional dissemination (absolute difference, 95% confidence interval: physicians 36%, 95% CI 25-46, and patients 10%, 95% CI 1-11) but did not increase further after novel dissemination (physicians 0%, 95% CI -11 to 11, and patients -4%, 95% CI -6 to 14). Intent to discuss CAM also increased after traditional dissemination but did not change after novel dissemination (traditional: physicians 12%, 95% CI 2-22, and patients 19%, 95% CI 3-33; novel: physicians 11%, 95% CI -1 to -21, and patients -8%, 95% CI -22 to 8). Knowledge of CPG recommendations and behavior regarding CAM use in MS did not change after either traditional dissemination or novel dissemination.
Conclusions
Social media-based dissemination methods did not confer additional benefit over print-, email-, and Internet-based methods in increasing CPG awareness and changing intent in physicians or patients. Research on audience selection, message formatting, and message delivery is required to utilize Web 2.0 technologies optimally for dissemination.
doi:10.2196/jmir.4414
PMCID: PMC4736287  PMID: 26272267
information dissemination; social media; multiple sclerosis; complementary medicine; medicine, complementary; therapy, complementary; alternative medicine; alternative therapies; clinical practice guidelines; dissemination and implementation
5.  Implementing change in primary care practices using electronic medical records: a conceptual framework 
Background
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).
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-3-3
PMCID: PMC2254645  PMID: 18199330
6.  A Partnered Approach to Opioid Management, Guideline Concordant Care and the Stepped Care Model of Pain Management 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2014;29(Suppl 4):870-876.
ABSTRACT
BACKGROUND
Pain is the most common presenting problem in primary care. Opioid therapy (OT) for chronic pain has increased dramatically over the past decade, as have related negative outcomes. Despite the development and dissemination of policy and clinical practice guidelines for pain management and OT, adoption has been variable. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has established a Stepped Care Model of Pain Management (SCM-PM) as an evidence-based framework and single standard of pain care to promote guideline-concordant care, but to date its adoption and related outcomes have not been systematically examined.
OBJECTIVE
Our aim was to examine changes in care for Veterans receiving long-term OT for management of chronic pain over a four-year study period.
DESIGN
As part of a comprehensive implementation evaluation of performance improvements, the current evaluation reports performance improvement outcomes related to pain management and OT over a four-year period.
SUBJECTS
We studied Veterans receiving long-term (90+ consecutive days) OT through primary care.
INTERVENTIONS
We engaged an interdisciplinary clinical-research team to develop and implement a multifaceted performance improvement approach that included interactive educational strategies and other organizational initiatives.
MAIN MEASURES
We measured the proportion of patients receiving long-term OT; use of opioid risk mitigation strategies; referrals to pain-related specialty services; and use of non-opioid analgesics.
KEY RESULTS
The proportion of patients receiving high-dose opioids decreased over four years (27.7 % to 24.7 %). The use of opioid risk mitigation strategies increased significantly. Referrals to physical therapy and chiropractic care and prescriptions for topical analgesics increased significantly, while referrals to the pain medicine specialty clinic decreased.
CONCLUSIONS
We demonstrate improvements in the management of veterans receiving OT that are consistent with the SCM-PM and published practice guidelines. We highlight how partnerships among funders, researchers, clinicians, and administrators contributed to the project’s design and implementation, and to the dissemination strategy and future directions for improving opioid management and pain care.
doi:10.1007/s11606-014-3019-2
PMCID: PMC4239281  PMID: 25355083
pain; primary care; veterans
7.  Supporting Practices to Adopt Registry-Based Care (SPARC): protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Background
Diabetes is predicted to increase in incidence by 42% from 1995 to 2025. Although most adults with diabetes seek care from primary care practices, adherence to treatment guidelines in these settings is not optimal. Many practices lack the infrastructure to monitor patient adherence to recommended treatment and are slow to implement changes critical for effective management of patients with chronic conditions. Supporting Practices to Adopt Registry-Based Care (SPARC) will evaluate effectiveness and sustainability of a low-cost intervention designed to support work process change in primary care practices and enhance focus on population-based care through implementation of a diabetes registry.
Methods
SPARC is a two-armed randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 30 primary care practices in the Virginia Ambulatory Care Outcomes Research Network (ACORN). Participating practices (including control groups) will be introduced to population health concepts and tools for work process redesign and registry adoption at a meeting of practice-level implementation champions. Practices randomized to the intervention will be assigned study peer mentors, receive a list of specific milestones, and have access to a physician informaticist. Peer mentors are clinicians who successfully implemented registries in their practices and will help champions in the intervention practices throughout the implementation process. During the first year, peer mentors will contact intervention practices monthly and visit them quarterly. Control group practices will not receive support or guidance for registry implementation. We will use a mixed-methods explanatory sequential design to guide collection of medical record, participant observation, and semistructured interview data in control and intervention practices at baseline, 12 months, and 24 months. We will use grounded theory and a template-guided approach using the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research to analyze qualitative data on contextual factors related to registry adoption. We will assess intervention effectiveness by comparing changes in patient-level hemoglobin A1c scores from baseline to year 1 between intervention and control practices.
Discussion
Findings will enhance our understanding of how to leverage existing practice resources to improve diabetes care in primary care practices by implementing and using a registry. SPARC has the potential to validate the effectiveness of low-cost implementation strategies that target practice change in primary care.
Trial registration
NCT02318108
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13012-015-0232-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s13012-015-0232-2
PMCID: PMC4399225  PMID: 25885661
Population health; Diabetes; Disease registry; Implementation; Primary care; Sustainability
8.  Fast tracking the design of theory-based KT interventions through a consensus process 
Background
Despite available evidence for optimal management of spinal pain, poor adherence to guidelines and wide variations in healthcare services persist. One of the objectives of the Canadian Chiropractic Guideline Initiative is to develop and evaluate targeted theory- and evidence-informed interventions to improve the management of non-specific neck pain by chiropractors. In order to systematically develop a knowledge translation (KT) intervention underpinned by the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF), we explored the factors perceived to influence the use of multimodal care to manage non-specific neck pain, and mapped behaviour change techniques to key theoretical domains.
Methods
Individual telephone interviews exploring beliefs about managing neck pain were conducted with a purposive sample of 13 chiropractors. The interview guide was based upon the TDF. Interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed by two independent assessors using thematic content analysis. A 15-member expert panel formally met to design a KT intervention.
Results
Nine TDF domains were identified as likely relevant. Key beliefs (and relevant domains of the TDF) included the following: influence of formal training, colleagues and patients on clinicians (Social Influences); availability of educational material (Environmental Context and Resources); and better clinical outcomes reinforcing the use of multimodal care (Reinforcement). Facilitating factors considered important included better communication (Skills); audits of patients’ treatment-related outcomes (Behavioural Regulation); awareness and agreement with guidelines (Knowledge); and tailoring of multimodal care (Memory, Attention and Decision Processes). Clinicians conveyed conflicting beliefs about perceived threats to professional autonomy (Social/Professional Role and Identity) and speed of recovery from either applying or ignoring the practice recommendations (Beliefs about Consequences). The expert panel mapped behaviour change techniques to key theoretical domains and identified relevant KT strategies and modes of delivery to increase the use of multimodal care among chiropractors.
Conclusions
A multifaceted KT educational intervention targeting chiropractors’ management of neck pain was developed. The KT intervention consisted of an online education webinar series, clinical vignettes and a video underpinned by the Brief Action Planning model. The intervention was designed to reflect key theoretical domains, behaviour change techniques and intervention components. The effectiveness of the proposed intervention remains to be tested.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13012-015-0213-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s13012-015-0213-5
PMCID: PMC4330935  PMID: 25880218
Theoretical domains framework; Knowledge translation; Interviews; Content analysis; Intervention design; Multifaceted intervention; Chiropractic; Neck pain; Self-management
9.  Factors influencing performance of health workers in the management of seriously sick children at a Kenyan tertiary hospital - participatory action research 
Background
Implementation of World Health Organization case management guidelines for serious childhood illnesses remains a challenge in hospitals in low-income countries. Facilitators of and barriers to implementation of locally adapted clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) have not been explored.
Methods
This ethnographic study based on the theory of participatory action research (PAR) was conducted in Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya’s largest teaching hospital. The primary intervention consisted of dissemination of locally adapted CPGs. The PRECEDE-PROCEED health education model was used as the conceptual framework to guide and examine further reinforcement activities to improve the uptake of the CPGs. Activities focussed on introduction of routine clinical audits and tailored educational sessions. Data were collected by a participant observer who also facilitated the PAR over an eighteen-month period. Naturalistic inquiry was utilized to obtain information from all hospital staff encountered while theoretical sampling allowed in-depth exploration of emerging issues. Data were analysed using interpretive description.
Results
Relevance of the CPGs to routine work and emergence of a champion of change facilitated uptake of best-practices. Mobilization of basic resources was relatively easily undertaken while activities that required real intellectual and professional engagement of the senior staff were a challenge. Accomplishments of the PAR were largely with the passive rather than active involvement of the hospital management. Barriers to implementation of best-practices included i) mismatch between the hospital’s vision and reality, ii) poor communication, iii) lack of objective mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating quality of clinical care, iv) limited capacity for planning strategic change, v) limited management skills to introduce and manage change, vi) hierarchical relationships, and vii) inadequate adaptation of the interventions to the local context.
Conclusions
Educational interventions, often regarded as ‘quick-fixes’ to improve care in low-income countries, may be necessary but are unlikely to be sufficient to deliver improved services. We propose that an understanding of organizational issues that influence the behaviour of individual health professionals should guide and inform the implementation of best-practices.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-59
PMCID: PMC3942276  PMID: 24507629
Clinical audits; Clinical practice guidelines; Continuous medical educational sessions; ETAT+; Ethnographic study; Implementation of best-practices; Interpretive description; Participatory action research; Participant observer; Performance of health workers
10.  Can't do it, won't do it! Developing a theoretically framed intervention to encourage better decontamination practice in Scottish dental practices 
Background
Guidance on the cleaning of dental instruments in primary care has recently been published. The aims of this study are to determine if the publication of the guidance document was enough to influence decontamination best practice and to design an implementation intervention strategy, should it be required.
Methods
A postal questionnaire assessing current decontamination practice and beliefs was sent to a random sample of 200 general dental practitioners.
Results
Fifty-seven percent (N = 113) of general dental practitioners responded. The survey showed large variation in what dentists self-reported doing, perceived as necessary or practical to do, were willing to do, felt able to do, as well as what they planned to change. Only 15% self-reported compliance with the five key guideline-recommended individual-level decontamination behaviours; only 2% reported compliance with all 11 key practice-level behaviours. The results also showed that our participants were almost equally split between dentists who were completely unmotivated to implement best decontamination practice or else highly motivated. The results suggested there was scope for further enhancing the implementation of decontamination guidance, and that an intervention with the greatest likelihood of success would require a tailored format, specifically targeting components of the theory of planned behaviour (attitude, perceived behavioural control, intention) and implementation intention theory (action planning).
Conclusion
Considerable resources are devoted to encouraging clinicians to implement evidence-based practice using interventions with erratic success records, or no known applicability to a specific clinical behaviour, selected mainly by means of researchers' intuition or optimism. The methodology used to develop this implementation intervention is not limited to decontamination or to a single segment of primary care. It is also in accordance with the preliminary stages of the framework for evaluating complex interventions suggested by the medical research council. The next phases of this work are to test the intervention feasibility and evaluate its effectiveness in a randomised control trial.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-4-31
PMCID: PMC2701915  PMID: 19500342
11.  Study protocol for “Study of Practices Enabling Implementation and Adaptation in the Safety Net (SPREAD-NET)”: a pragmatic trial comparing implementation strategies 
Background
Little research has directly compared the effectiveness of implementation strategies in any setting, and we know of no prior trials directly comparing how effectively different combinations of strategies support implementation in community health centers. This paper outlines the protocol of the Study of Practices Enabling Implementation and Adaptation in the Safety Net (SPREAD-NET), a trial designed to compare the effectiveness of several common strategies for supporting implementation of an intervention and explore contextual factors that impact the strategies’ effectiveness in the community health center setting.
Methods/design
This cluster-randomized trial compares how three increasingly hands-on implementation strategies support adoption of an evidence-based diabetes quality improvement intervention in 29 community health centers, managed by 12 healthcare organizations. The strategies are as follows: (arm 1) a toolkit, presented in paper and electronic form, which includes a training webinar; (arm 2) toolkit plus in-person training with a focus on practice change and change management strategies; and (arm 3) toolkit, in-person training, plus practice facilitation with on-site visits. We use a mixed methods approach to data collection and analysis: (i) baseline surveys on study clinic characteristics, to explore how these characteristics impact the clinics’ ability to implement the tools and the effectiveness of each implementation strategy; (ii) quantitative data on change in rates of guideline-concordant prescribing; and (iii) qualitative data on the “how” and “why” underlying the quantitative results. The outcomes of interest are clinic-level results, categorized using the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, Maintenance (RE-AIM) framework, within an interrupted time-series design with segmented regression models. This pragmatic trial will compare how well each implementation strategy works in “real-world” practices.
Discussion
Having a better understanding of how different strategies support implementation efforts could positively impact the field of implementation science, by comparing practical, generalizable methods for implementing clinical innovations in community health centers. Bridging this gap in the literature is a critical step towards the national long-term goal of effectively disseminating and implementing effective interventions into community health centers.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02325531
doi:10.1186/s13012-015-0333-y
PMCID: PMC4609090  PMID: 26474759
Diabetes mellitus; Cardiovascular disease; Quality improvement; Community health centers; Evidence-based; Translational medical research
12.  Randomized Controlled Trial of Education and Feedback for Implementation of Guidelines for Acute Low Back Pain 
OBJECTIVE
The effect of clinical guidelines on resource utilization for complex conditions with substantial barriers to clinician behavior change has not been well studied. We report the impact of a multifaceted guideline implementation intervention on primary care clinician utilization of radiologic and specialty services for the care of acute low back pain.
DESIGN
Physician groups were randomized to receive guideline education and individual feedback, supporting patient education materials, both, or neither. The impact on guideline adherence and resource utilization was evaluated during the 12-month period before and after implementation.
PARTICIPANTS
Fourteen physician groups with 120 primary care physician and associate practitioners from 2 group model HMO practices.
INTERVENTIONS
Guideline implementation utilized an education/audit/feedback model with local peer opinion leaders. The patient education component included written and videotaped materials on the care of low back pain.
MAIN RESULTS
The clinician intervention was associated with an absolute increase in guideline-consistent behavior of 5.4% in the intervention group versus a decline of 2.7% in the control group (P = .04). The patient education intervention produced no significant change in guideline-consistent behavior, but was poorly adopted. Patient characteristics including duration of pain, prior history of low back pain, and number of visits during the illness episode were strong predictors of service utilization and guideline-consistent behavior.
CONCLUSIONS
Implementation of an education and feedback-supported acute low back pain care guideline for primary care clinicians was associated with an increase in guideline-consistent behavior. Patient education materials did not enhance guideline effectiveness. Implementation barriers could limit the utility of this approach in usual care setttings.
doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.2003.10205.x
PMCID: PMC1494929  PMID: 14521638
clinical guidelines; feedback; low back pain; patient education; randomized trial
13.  Rational Prescribing in Primary Care (RaPP): Economic Evaluation of an Intervention to Improve Professional Practice 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(6):e216.
Background
Interventions designed to narrow the gap between research findings and clinical practice may be effective, but also costly. Economic evaluations are necessary to judge whether such interventions are worth the effort. We have evaluated the economic effects of a tailored intervention to support the implementation of guidelines for the use of antihypertensive and cholesterol-lowering drugs. The tailored intervention was evaluated in a randomized trial, and was shown to significantly increase the use of thiazides for patients started on antihypertensive medication, but had little or no impact on other outcomes. The increased use of thiazides was not expected to have an impact on health outcomes.
Methods and Findings
We performed cost-minimization and cost-effectiveness analyses on data from a randomized trial involving 146 general practices from 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). Only patients that were being started on antihypertensive medication were included in the analyses. 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. Pharmacists conducted the visits. A cost-minimization framework was adopted, where the costs of intervention were set against the reduced treatment costs (principally due to increased use of thiazides rather than more expensive medication). The cost-effectiveness of the intervention was estimated as the cost per additional patient being started on thiazides. The net annual cost (cost minimization) in our study population was US$53,395, corresponding to US$763 per practice. The cost per additional patient started on thiazides (cost-effectiveness) was US$454. The net annual savings in a national program was modeled to be US$761,998, or US$540 per practice after 2 y. In this scenario the savings exceeded the costs in all but two of the sensitivity analyses we conducted, and the cost-effectiveness was estimated to be US$183.
Conclusions
We found a significant shift in prescribing of antihypertensive drugs towards the use of thiazides in our trial. A major reason to promote the use of thiazides is their lower price compared to other drugs. The cost of the intervention was more than twice the savings within the time frame of our study. However, we predict modest savings over a 2-y period.
Editors' Summary
Background
The importance of bridging the gap between research and practice, and the need to improve the prescribing practices of family doctors (general practitioners), is discussed in the Editors' Summary for an article related to this one (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030134). However, measures to improve prescribing practice can be expensive. Economic evaluations are necessary to judge whether such measures are worth the effort.
Doctors in a Norwegian study, described in the related article, were encouraged to make more use of drugs belonging to the thiazide “family” to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Thiazides are cheaper than other antihypertensive drugs and in the average patient at least as effective. Increasing their use should therefore save health services money, but not reduce the effectiveness of the treatment of hypertension. The study found that measures to actively encourage doctors to follow prescribing guidelines did increase the use of thiazides, but only by a small amount.
Why Was This Study Done?
After having found that active promotion of guidelines can make a difference, the researchers wanted to know whether the cost of the efforts they made to encourage doctors to follow the guidelines were justified by the savings made by increased use of the cheaper drugs.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
They calculated the money saved where the prescribing guidelines were actively promoted, and then worked out what this would amount to if the same were done in all the family practices in Norway. They found that the cost of promoting the guidelines was greater than the savings achieved during the course of their study, which lasted one year. However, their calculations show that after two years the money saved would have exceeded the costs. After that, the savings would increase every year.
What Do These Findings Mean?
As far as this particular example of prescribing practice is concerned, although active promotion of guidelines increased costs in the short term, it will soon produce savings. This will not always be the case; efforts to change prescribing practice may sometimes involve the use of more effective but costlier drugs. Improving the care of patients must always be the main aim, but encouraging doctors to follow recommended guidelines on the prescribing of drugs can sometimes reduce costs, too. These issues are discussed further in a Perspective about this study (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030229).
A significant increase in prescribing of thiazides, in preference to more expensive antihypertensives, resulted from active promotion of guidelines. The cost of the intervention was greater than the saving during the study period. Modest savings are predicted after two years.
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030216
PMCID: PMC1472698  PMID: 16737349
14.  Determinants of implementation of maternal health guidelines in Kosovo: mixed methods study 
Background
One of the challenges to implementing clinical practice guidelines is the need to adapt guidelines to the local context and identify barriers to their uptake. Several models of framework are available to consider for use in guideline adaptation.
Methods
We completed a multiphase study to explore the implementation of maternal health guidelines in Kosovo, focusing on determinants of uptake and methods to contextualize for local use. The study involved a survey, individual interviews, focus groups, and a consensus meeting with relevant stakeholders, including clinicians (obstetricians, midwives), managers, researchers, and policy makers from the national Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization office in Pristina, Kosovo.
Results
Participants identified several important barriers to implementation. First, lack of communication between clinicians and ministry representatives was seen as leading to duplication of effort in creating or adapting guidelines, as well as substantial mistrust between clinicians and policy makers. Second, there was a lack of communication across clinical groups that provide obstetric care and a lack of integration across the entire healthcare system, including rural and urban centers. This fragmentation was thought to have directly resulted from the war in 1998 – 1999. Third, the conflict substantially and adversely affected the healthcare infrastructure in Kosovo, which has resulted in an inability to monitor quality of care across the country. Furthermore, the impact on infrastructure has affected the ability to access required medications consistently and to smoothly transfer patients from rural to urban centers. Another issue raised during this project was the appropriateness of including guideline recommendations perceived to be ‘aspirational’.
Conclusions
Implementing clinical practice guidelines in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) requires consideration of several specific barriers. Particularly pertinent to this study were the effects of recent conflict and the resulting fragmentation of healthcare and communication strategies among relevant stakeholders. However, as Kosovo rebuilds and invests in infrastructure after the conflict, there is a tremendous opportunity to create comprehensive, thoughtful strategies to monitor and improve quality of care. To avoid duplication of effort, it may be beneficial for LMICs to share information on assessing barriers as well as on guideline implementation strategies.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-8-108
PMCID: PMC3846581  PMID: 24016149
Guideline implementation; Determinants of evidence uptake
15.  Knowledge Translation Tools are Emerging to Move Neck Pain Research into Practice 
Development or synthesis of the best clinical research is in itself insufficient to change practice. Knowledge translation (KT) is an emerging field focused on moving knowledge into practice, which is a non-linear, dynamic process that involves knowledge synthesis, transfer, adoption, implementation, and sustained use. Successful implementation requires using KT strategies based on theory, evidence, and best practice, including tools and processes that engage knowledge developers and knowledge users. Tools can provide instrumental help in implementing evidence. A variety of theoretical frameworks underlie KT and provide guidance on how tools should be developed or implemented. A taxonomy that outlines different purposes for engaging in KT and target audiences can also be useful in developing or implementing tools. Theoretical frameworks that underlie KT typically take different perspectives on KT with differential focus on the characteristics of the knowledge, knowledge users, context/environment, or the cognitive and social processes that are involved in change. Knowledge users include consumers, clinicians, and policymakers. A variety of KT tools have supporting evidence, including: clinical practice guidelines, patient decision aids, and evidence summaries or toolkits. Exemplars are provided of two KT tools to implement best practice in management of neck pain—a clinician implementation guide (toolkit) and a patient decision aid. KT frameworks, taxonomies, clinical expertise, and evidence must be integrated to develop clinical tools that implement best evidence in the management of neck pain.
doi:10.2174/1874325001307010582
PMCID: PMC3805983  PMID: 24155807
Knowledge translation; neck pain; tools; implementation.
16.  Using theories of behaviour to understand transfusion prescribing in three clinical contexts in two countries: Development work for an implementation trial 
Background
Blood transfusion is an essential part of healthcare and can improve patient outcomes. However, like most therapies, it is also associated with significant clinical risks. In addition, there is some evidence of overuse. Understanding the potential barriers and enablers to reduced prescribing of blood products will facilitate the selection of intervention components likely to be effective, thereby reducing the number of costly trials evaluating different implementation strategies. Using a theoretical basis to understand behaviours targeted for change will contribute to a 'basic science' relating to determinants of professional behaviour and how these inform the selection of techniques for changing behaviour. However, it is not clear which theories of behaviour are relevant to clinicians' transfusing behaviour. The aim of this study is to use a theoretical domains framework to identify relevant theories, and to use these theories to identify factors that predict the decision to transfuse.
Methods
The study involves two steps: interview study and questionnaire study. Using a previously identified framework, we will conduct semi-structured interviews with clinicians to elicit their views about which factors are associated with waiting and further monitoring the patient rather than transfusing red blood cells. Interviews will cover the following theoretical domains: knowledge; skills; social/professional role and identity; beliefs about capabilities; beliefs about consequences; motivation and goals; memory, attention, and decision processes; environmental context and resources; social influences; emotion; behavioural regulation; nature of the behaviour. The interviews will take place independently in Canada and the UK and involve two groups of physicians in each country (UK: adult and neonatal intensive care physicians; Canada: intensive care physicians and orthopaedic surgeons). We will: analyse interview transcript content to select relevant theoretical domains; use consensus processes to map these domains on to theories of behaviour; develop questionnaires based on these theories; and mail them to each group of physicians in the two countries. From our previous work, it is likely that the theories will include: theory of planned behaviour, social cognitive theory and the evidence-based strategy, implementation intention. The questionnaire data will measure predictor variables (theoretical constructs) and outcome variables (intention and clinical decision), and will be analysed using multiple regression analysis. We aim to achieve 150 respondents in each of the four groups for each postal survey.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-4-70
PMCID: PMC2777847  PMID: 19852832
17.  Addressing implementation challenges during guideline development – a case study of Swedish national guidelines for methods of preventing disease 
Background
Many of the world’s life threatening diseases (e.g. cancer, heart disease, stroke) could be prevented by eliminating life-style habits such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use. Incorporating evidence-based research on methods to change unhealthy lifestyle habits in clinical practice would be equally valuable. However gaps between guideline development and implementation are well documented, with implications for health care quality, safety and effectiveness. The development phase of guidelines has been shown to be important both for the quality in guideline content and for the success of implementation. There are, however, indications that guidelines related to general disease prevention methods encounter specific barriers compared to guidelines that are diagnosis-specific. In 2011 the Swedish National board for Health and Welfare launched guidelines with a preventive scope. The aim of this study was to investigate how implementation challenges were addressed during the development process of these disease preventive guidelines.
Methods
Seven semi-structured interviews were conducted with members of the guideline development management group. Archival data detailing the guideline development process were also collected and used in the analysis. Qualitative data were analysed using content analysis as the analytical framework.
Results
The study identified several strategies and approaches that were used to address implementation challenges during guideline development. Four themes emerged from the analysis: broad agreements and consensus about scope and purpose; a formalized and structured development procedure; systematic and active involvement of stakeholders; and openness and transparency in the specific guideline development procedure. Additional factors concerning the scope of prevention and the work environment of guideline developers were perceived to influence the possibilities to address implementation issues.
Conclusions
This case study provides examples of how guideline developers perceive and approach the issue of implementation during the development and early launch of prevention guidelines. Models for guideline development could benefit from an initial assessment of how the guideline topic, its target context and stakeholders will affect the upcoming implementation.
doi:10.1186/s12913-014-0672-4
PMCID: PMC4308005  PMID: 25608684
Clinical practice guidelines; Development process; Evidence-based public health; Implementation; Disease prevention; Lifestyle change
18.  IMPLEmenting a clinical practice guideline for acute low back pain evidence-based manageMENT in general practice (IMPLEMENT): Cluster randomised controlled trial study protocol 
Background
Evidence generated from reliable research is not frequently implemented into clinical practice. Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines are a potential vehicle to achieve this. A recent systematic review of implementation strategies of guideline dissemination concluded that there was a lack of evidence regarding effective strategies to promote the uptake of guidelines. Recommendations from this review, and other studies, have suggested the use of interventions that are theoretically based because these may be more effective than those that are not. An evidence-based clinical practice guideline for the management of acute low back pain was recently developed in Australia. This provides an opportunity to develop and test a theory-based implementation intervention for a condition which is common, has a high burden, and for which there is an evidence-practice gap in the primary care setting.
Aim
This study aims to test the effectiveness of a theory-based intervention for implementing a clinical practice guideline for acute low back pain in general practice in Victoria, Australia. Specifically, our primary objectives are to establish if the intervention is effective in reducing the percentage of patients who are referred for a plain x-ray, and improving mean level of disability for patients three months post-consultation.
Methods/Design
This study protocol describes the details of a cluster randomised controlled trial. Ninety-two general practices (clusters), which include at least one consenting general practitioner, will be randomised to an intervention or control arm using restricted randomisation. Patients aged 18 years or older who visit a participating practitioner for acute non-specific low back pain of less than three months duration will be eligible for inclusion. An average of twenty-five patients per general practice will be recruited, providing a total of 2,300 patient participants. General practitioners in the control arm will receive access to the guideline using the existing dissemination strategy. Practitioners in the intervention arm will be invited to participate in facilitated face-to-face workshops that have been underpinned by behavioural theory. Investigators (not involved in the delivery of the intervention), patients, outcome assessors and the study statistician will be blinded to group allocation.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN012606000098538 (date registered 14/03/2006).
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-3-11
PMCID: PMC2291069  PMID: 18294375
19.  Addressing methodological challenges in implementing the nursing home pain management algorithm randomized controlled trial 
Background
Unrelieved pain among nursing home (NH) residents is a well-documented problem. Attempts have been made to enhance pain management for older adults, including those in NHs. Several evidence-based clinical guidelines have been published to assist providers in assessing and managing acute and chronic pain in older adults. Despite the proliferation and dissemination of these practice guidelines, research has shown that intensive systems-level implementation strategies are necessary to change clinical practice and patient outcomes within a health-care setting. One promising approach is the embedding of guidelines into explicit protocols and algorithms to enhance decision making.
Purpose
The goal of the article is to describe several issues that arose in the design and conduct of a study that compared the effectiveness of pain management algorithms coupled with a comprehensive adoption program versus the effectiveness of education alone in improving evidence-based pain assessment and management practices, decreasing pain and depressive symptoms, and enhancing mobility among NH residents.
Methods
The study used a cluster-randomized controlled trial (RCT) design in which the individual NH was the unit of randomization. The Roger's Diffusion of Innovations theory provided the framework for the intervention. Outcome measures were surrogate-reported usual pain, self-reported usual and worst pain, and self-reported pain-related interference with activities, depression, and mobility.
Results
The final sample consisted of 485 NH residents from 27 NHs. The investigators were able to use a staggered enrollment strategy to recruit and retain facilities. The adaptive randomization procedures were successful in balancing intervention and control sites on key NH characteristics. Several strategies were successfully implemented to enhance the adoption of the algorithm.
Limitations/Lessons
The investigators encountered several methodological challenges that were inherent to both the design and implementation of the study. The most problematic issue concerned the measurement of outcomes in persons with moderate to severe cognitive impairment. It was difficult to identify valid, reliable, and sensitive outcome measures that could be applied to all NH residents regardless of the ability to self-report. Another challenge was the inability to incorporate advances in implementation science into the ongoing study
Conclusions
Methodological challenges are inevitable in the conduct of an RCT. The need to optimize internal validity by adhering to the study protocol is compromised by the emergent logistical issues that arise during the course of the study.
doi:10.1177/1740774512454243
PMCID: PMC4426859  PMID: 22879574
20.  Introducing the Canadian Thoracic Society Framework for Guideline Dissemination and Implementation, with Concurrent Evaluation 
The Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS) is leveraging its strengths in guideline production to enable respiratory guideline implementation in Canada. The authors describe the new CTS Framework for Guideline Dissemination and Implementation, with Concurrent Evaluation, which has three spheres of action: guideline production, implementation infrastructure and knowledge translation (KT) methodological support. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research ‘Knowledge-to-Action’ process was adopted as the model of choice for conceptualizing KT interventions. Within the framework, new evidence for formatting guideline recommendations to enhance the intrinsic implementability of future guidelines were applied. Clinical assemblies will consider implementability early in the guideline production cycle when selecting clinical questions, and new practice guidelines will include a section dedicated to KT. The framework describes the development of a web-based repository and communication forum to inventory existing KT resources and to facilitate collaboration and communication among implementation stakeholders through an online discussion board. A national forum for presentation and peer-review of proposed KT projects is described. The framework outlines expert methodological support for KT planning, development and evaluation including a practical guide for implementers and a novel ‘Clinical Assembly – KT Action Team’, and in-kind logistical support and assistance in securing peer-reviewed funding.
PMCID: PMC3956335  PMID: 23936883
Implementation; Guidelines; Knowledge translation
21.  Testing the effectiveness of an innovative information package on practitioner reported behaviour and beliefs: The UK Chiropractors, Osteopaths and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists Low back pain ManagemENT (COMPLeMENT) trial [ISRCTN77245761] 
Background
Low back pain (LBP) is a common and costly problem. Initiatives designed to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate healthcare for LBP include printed evidence-based clinical guidelines. The three professional groups of chiropractic, osteopathy and musculoskeletal physiotherapy in the UK share common ground with their approaches to managing LBP and are amongst those targeted by LBP guidelines. Even so, many seem unaware that such guidelines exist. Furthermore, the behaviour of at least some of these practitioners differs from that recommended in these guidelines.
Few randomised controlled trials evaluating printed information as an intervention to change practitioner behaviour have utilised a no-intervention control. All these trials have used a cluster design and most have methodological flaws. None specifically focus upon practitioner behaviour towards LBP patients. Studies that have investigated other strategies to change practitioner behaviour with LBP patients have produced conflicting results. Although numerous LBP guidelines have been developed worldwide, there is a paucity of data on whether their dissemination actually changes practitioner behaviour. Primarily because of its low unit cost, sending printed information to large numbers of practitioners is an attractive dissemination and implementation strategy. The effect size of such a strategy, at an individual practitioner level, is likely to be small. However, if large numbers of practitioners are targeted, this strategy might achieve meaningful changes at a population level.
Methods
The primary aim of this prospective, pragmatic randomised controlled trial is to test the short-term effectiveness (six-months following intervention) of a directly-posted information package on the reported clinical behaviour (primary outcome), attitudes and beliefs of UK chiropractors, osteopaths and musculoskeletal physiotherapists. We sought to randomly allocate a combined sample of 1,800 consenting practitioners to receive either the information package (intervention arm) or no information above that gained during normal practice (control arm). We collected questionnaire data at baseline and six-months post-intervention. The analysis of the primary outcome will assess between-arm differences of proportions of responses to questions on recommendations about activity, work and bed-rest, that fall within categories previously defined by an expert consensus exercise as either 'guideline-consistent' and 'guideline-inconsistent'.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-6-41
PMCID: PMC1208895  PMID: 16033646
22.  Dentists United to Extinguish Tobacco (DUET): a study protocol for a cluster randomized, controlled trial for enhancing implementation of clinical practice guidelines for treating tobacco dependence in dental care settings 
Background
Although dental care settings provide an exceptional opportunity to reach smokers and provide brief cessation advice and treatment to reduce oral and other tobacco-related health conditions, dental care providers demonstrate limited adherence to evidence-based guidelines for treatment of tobacco use and dependence.
Methods/Design
Guided by a multi-level, conceptual framework that emphasizes changes in provider beliefs and organizational characteristics as drivers of improvement in tobacco treatment delivery, the current protocol will use a cluster, randomized design and multiple data sources (patient exit interviews, provider surveys, site observations, chart audits, and semi-structured provider interviews) to study the process of implementing clinical practice guidelines for treating tobacco dependence in 18 public dental care clinics in New York City. The specific aims of this comparative-effectiveness research trial are to: compare the effectiveness of three promising strategies for implementation of tobacco use treatment guidelines—staff training and current best practices (CBP), CBP + provider performance feedback (PF), and CBP + PF + provider reimbursement for delivery of tobacco cessation treatment (pay-for-performance, or P4P); examine potential theory-driven mechanisms hypothesized to explain the comparative effectiveness of three strategies for implementation; and identify baseline organizational factors that influence the implementation of evidence-based tobacco use treatment practices in dental clinics. The primary outcome is change in providers’ tobacco treatment practices and the secondary outcomes are cost per quit, use of tobacco cessation treatments, quit attempts, and smoking abstinence.
Discussion
We hypothesize that the value of these promising implementation strategies is additive and that incorporating all three strategies (CBP, PF, and P4P) will be superior to CBP alone and CBP + PF in improving delivery of cessation assistance to smokers. The findings will improve knowledge pertinent to the implementation, dissemination, and sustained utilization of evidence-based tobacco use treatment in dental practices.
Trial registration
NCT01615237.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-9-25
PMCID: PMC3936874  PMID: 24559178
Dental care; Clinical practice guidelines; Treatment of tobacco dependence; Tobacco cessation
23.  Threats to Validity in the Design and Conduct of Preclinical Efficacy Studies: A Systematic Review of Guidelines for In Vivo Animal Experiments 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(7):e1001489.
Background
The vast majority of medical interventions introduced into clinical development prove unsafe or ineffective. One prominent explanation for the dismal success rate is flawed preclinical research. We conducted a systematic review of preclinical research guidelines and organized recommendations according to the type of validity threat (internal, construct, or external) or programmatic research activity they primarily address.
Methods and Findings
We searched MEDLINE, Google Scholar, Google, and the EQUATOR Network website for all preclinical guideline documents published up to April 9, 2013 that addressed the design and conduct of in vivo animal experiments aimed at supporting clinical translation. To be eligible, documents had to provide guidance on the design or execution of preclinical animal experiments and represent the aggregated consensus of four or more investigators. Data from included guidelines were independently extracted by two individuals for discrete recommendations on the design and implementation of preclinical efficacy studies. These recommendations were then organized according to the type of validity threat they addressed. A total of 2,029 citations were identified through our search strategy. From these, we identified 26 guidelines that met our eligibility criteria—most of which were directed at neurological or cerebrovascular drug development. Together, these guidelines offered 55 different recommendations. Some of the most common recommendations included performance of a power calculation to determine sample size, randomized treatment allocation, and characterization of disease phenotype in the animal model prior to experimentation.
Conclusions
By identifying the most recurrent recommendations among preclinical guidelines, we provide a starting point for developing preclinical guidelines in other disease domains. We also provide a basis for the study and evaluation of preclinical research practice.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
The development process for new drugs is lengthy and complex. It begins in the laboratory, where scientists investigate the causes of diseases and identify potential new treatments. Next, promising interventions undergo preclinical research in cells and in animals (in vivo animal experiments) to test whether the intervention has the expected effect and to support the generalization (extension) of this treatment–effect relationship to patients. Drugs that pass these tests then enter clinical trials, where their safety and efficacy is tested in selected groups of patients under strictly controlled conditions. Finally, the government bodies responsible for drug approval review the results of the clinical trials, and successful drugs receive a marketing license, usually a decade or more after the initial laboratory work. Notably, only 11% of agents that enter clinical testing (investigational drugs) are ultimately licensed.
Why Was This Study Done?
The frequent failure of investigational drugs during clinical translation is potentially harmful to trial participants. Moreover, the costs of these failures are passed onto healthcare systems in the form of higher drug prices. It would be good, therefore, to reduce the attrition rate of investigational drugs. One possible explanation for the dismal success rate of clinical translation is that preclinical research, the key resource for justifying clinical development, is flawed. To address this possibility, several groups of preclinical researchers have issued guidelines intended to improve the design and execution of in vivo animal studies. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic), the authors identify the experimental practices that are commonly recommended in these guidelines and organize these recommendations according to the type of threat to validity (internal, construct, or external) that they address. Internal threats to validity are factors that confound reliable inferences about treatment–effect relationships in preclinical research. For example, experimenter expectation may bias outcome assessment. Construct threats to validity arise when researchers mischaracterize the relationship between an experimental system and the clinical disease it is intended to represent. For example, researchers may use an animal model for a complex multifaceted clinical disease that only includes one characteristic of the disease. External threats to validity are unseen factors that frustrate the transfer of treatment–effect relationships from animal models to patients.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 26 preclinical guidelines that met their predefined eligibility criteria. Twelve guidelines addressed preclinical research for neurological and cerebrovascular drug development; other disorders covered by guidelines included cardiac and circulatory disorders, sepsis, pain, and arthritis. Together, the guidelines offered 55 different recommendations for the design and execution of preclinical in vivo animal studies. Nineteen recommendations addressed threats to internal validity. The most commonly included recommendations of this type called for the use of power calculations to ensure that sample sizes are large enough to yield statistically meaningful results, random allocation of animals to treatment groups, and “blinding” of researchers who assess outcomes to treatment allocation. Among the 25 recommendations that addressed threats to construct validity, the most commonly included recommendations called for characterization of the properties of the animal model before experimentation and matching of the animal model to the human manifestation of the disease. Finally, six recommendations addressed threats to external validity. The most commonly included of these recommendations suggested that preclinical research should be replicated in different models of the same disease and in different species, and should also be replicated independently.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This systematic review identifies a range of investigational recommendations that preclinical researchers believe address threats to the validity of preclinical efficacy studies. Many of these recommendations are not widely implemented in preclinical research at present. Whether the failure to implement them explains the frequent discordance between the results on drug safety and efficacy obtained in preclinical research and in clinical trials is currently unclear. These findings provide a starting point, however, for the improvement of existing preclinical research guidelines for specific diseases, and for the development of similar guidelines for other diseases. They also provide an evidence-based platform for the analysis of preclinical evidence and for the study and evaluation of preclinical research practice. These findings should, therefore, be considered by investigators, institutional review bodies, journals, and funding agents when designing, evaluating, and sponsoring translational research.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001489.
The US Food and Drug Administration provides information about drug approval in the US for consumers and for health professionals; its Patient Network provides a step-by-step description of the drug development process that includes information on preclinical research
The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) provides information about all aspects of the scientific evaluation and approval of new medicines in the UK; its My Medicine: From Laboratory to Pharmacy Shelf web pages describe the drug development process from scientific discovery, through preclinical and clinical research, to licensing and ongoing monitoring
The STREAM website provides ongoing information about policy, ethics, and practices used in clinical translation of new drugs
The CAMARADES collaboration offers a “supporting framework for groups involved in the systematic review of animal studies” in stroke and other neurological diseases
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001489
PMCID: PMC3720257  PMID: 23935460
24.  Collaborating with front-line healthcare professionals: the clinical and cost effectiveness of a theory based approach to the implementation of a national guideline 
Background
Clinical guidelines are an integral part of healthcare. Whilst much progress has been made in ensuring that guidelines are well developed and disseminated, the gap between routine clinical practice and current guidelines often remains wide. A key reason for this gap is that implementation of guidelines typically requires a change in the behaviour of healthcare professionals – but the behaviour change component is often overlooked. We adopted the Theoretical Domains Framework Implementation (TDFI) approach for supporting behaviour change required for the uptake of a national patient safety guideline to reduce the risk of feeding through misplaced nasogastric tubes.
Methods
The TDFI approach was used in a pre-post study in three NHS hospitals with a fourth acting as a control (with usual care and no TDFI). The target behavior identified for change was to increase the use of pH testing as the first line method for checking the position of a nasogastric tube. Repeat audits were undertaken in each hospital following intervention implementation. We used Zou’s modified Poisson regression approach with robust standard errors to estimate risk ratios for the use of pH testing. The projected return on investment (ROI) was also calculated.
Results
Following intervention implementation, the use of pH first line increased significantly across intervention hospitals [risk ratio (95% CI) ranged from 3.1 (1.14 to8.43) p < .05, to 8.14 (3.06 to21.67) p < .001] compared to the control hospital, which remained unchanged [risk ratio (CI) = .77 (.47-1.26) p = .296]. The estimated savings and costs in the first year were £2.56 million and £1.41 respectively, giving an ROI of 82%, and this was projected to increase to 270% over five years.
Conclusion
The TDFI approach improved the uptake of a patient safety guideline across three hospitals. The TDFI approach is clinically and cost effective in comparison to the usual practice.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12913-014-0648-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12913-014-0648-4
PMCID: PMC4301624  PMID: 25528580
Theoretical domains framework; Patient safety; Hospitals; Barriers; Interventions
25.  Clinician-led improvement in cancer care (CLICC) - testing a multifaceted implementation strategy to increase evidence-based prostate cancer care: phased randomised controlled trial - study protocol 
Background
Clinical practice guidelines have been widely developed and disseminated with the aim of improving healthcare processes and patient outcomes but the uptake of evidence-based practice remains haphazard. There is a need to develop effective implementation methods to achieve large-scale adoption of proven innovations and recommended care. Clinical networks are increasingly being viewed as a vehicle through which evidence-based care can be embedded into healthcare systems using a collegial approach to agree on and implement a range of strategies within hospitals. In Australia, the provision of evidence-based care for men with prostate cancer has been identified as a high priority. Clinical audits have shown that fewer than 10% of patients in New South Wales (NSW) Australia at high risk of recurrence after radical prostatectomy receive guideline recommended radiation treatment following surgery. This trial will test a clinical network-based intervention to improve uptake of guideline recommended care for men with high-risk prostate cancer.
Methods/Design
In Phase I, a phased randomised cluster trial will test a multifaceted intervention that harnesses the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) Urology Clinical Network to increase evidence-based care for men with high-risk prostate cancer following surgery. The intervention will be introduced in nine NSW hospitals over 10 months using a stepped wedge design. Outcome data (referral to radiation oncology for discussion of adjuvant radiotherapy in line with guideline recommended care or referral to a clinical trial of adjuvant versus salvage radiotherapy) will be collected through review of patient medical records. In Phase II, mixed methods will be used to identify mechanisms of provider and organisational change. Clinicians’ knowledge and attitudes will be assessed through surveys. Process outcome measures will be assessed through document review. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted to elucidate mechanisms of change.
Discussion
The study will be one of the first randomised controlled trials to test the effectiveness of clinical networks to lead changes in clinical practice in hospitals treating patients with high-risk cancer. It will additionally provide direction regarding implementation strategies that can be effectively employed to encourage widespread adoption of clinical practice guidelines.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR): ACTRN12611001251910.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-9-64
PMCID: PMC4048539  PMID: 24884877
Implementation strategies; Clinical practice guidelines; Clinical networks; Cancer; Interventions

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