Evaluations of interventions to improve implementation of guidelines have failed to produce a clear pattern of results favouring a particular method. While implementation depends on clinicians and managers changing a variety of behaviours, psychological theories of behaviour and behaviour change are seldom used to try to understand difficulties in implementation or to develop interventions to overcome them.
This study applied psychological theory to examine explanations for difficulties in implementation. It used a theoretical framework derived from an interdisciplinary consensus exercise to code interviews across 11 theoretical domains. The focus of the study was a National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's Schizophrenia guideline recommendation that family intervention should be offered to the families of people with schizophrenia.
Participants were recruited from community mental health teams from three United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS) Trusts; 20 members (social workers, nurses, team managers, psychologists, and psychiatrists) participated. Semi-structured interviews were audio-taped and transcribed. Interview questions were based on the theoretical domains and addressed respondents' knowledge, attitudes and opinions regarding the guideline. Two researchers independently coded the transcript segments from each interview that were related to each theoretical domain. A score of 1 indicated that the transcript segments relating to the domain did not appear to contain description of difficulties in implementation of the family therapy guidelines; similarly a score of 0.5 indicated possible difficulties and a score of 0 indicated definite difficulties.
Coding respondents' answers to questions related to the three domains 'beliefs about consequences,' 'social/professional role and identity,' and 'motivation' produced the three highest total scores indicating that factors relating to these domains were unlikely to constitute difficulties in implementation. 'Environmental context and resources' was the lowest scoring domain, with 'Emotion' scoring the second lowest, suggesting that these were likely to be areas for considering intervention. The two main resources identified as problems were time and training. The emotions that appeared to potentially influence the offer of family therapy were self-doubt and fear.
This exploratory study demonstrates an approach to developing a theoretical understanding of implementation difficulties.
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.
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.
The underlying reasons for differences between clinical practice and systematically developed guidelines vary from one clinical problem to another. It is therefore logical to tailor strategies to support the implementation of guidelines to address identified barriers to change. The objective of this trial is to evaluate 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.
Unblinded, cluster-randomised trial. 150 general practices will be recruited from two geographical areas in Norway, and randomised to the intervention or control group (passive dissemination of guidelines). Outcomes will be measured for all eligible patients seen in the participating practices during one year after the intervention. A multifaceted intervention has been tailored to address identified barriers to change. Key components are an educational outreach visit with audit and feedback, and computerised reminders. Pharmacists will conduct the visits. During the outreach visit the main recommendations will be presented and software will be installed that links to the electronic medical record systems used in the participating practices. The software will perform an audit that will be fed back during the visit, present pop-up reminders for patients with high blood pressure or cholesterol, and provide a cardiovascular risk calculator and patient education material. The main outcomes are the proportions of 1) first time prescriptions for hypertension where thiazides are not prescribed, 2) patients not assessed for cardiovascular risk before prescribing antihypertensive or cholesterol-lowering drugs, and 3) patients treated for hypertension or high cholesterol for three months or more who have not achieved recommended treatment goals.
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.
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.
Fourteen physician groups with 120 primary care physician and associate practitioners from 2 group model HMO practices.
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.
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.
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.
clinical guidelines; feedback; low back pain; patient education; randomized trial
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.
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.
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.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN012606000098538 (date registered 14/03/2006).
Implementation research is the scientific study of methods to promote the systematic uptake of clinical research findings into routine clinical practice. Several interventions have been shown to be effective in changing health care professionals' behaviour, but heterogeneity within interventions, targeted behaviours, and study settings make generalisation difficult. Therefore, it is necessary to identify the 'active ingredients' in professional behaviour change strategies. Theories of human behaviour that feature an individual's "intention" to do something as the most immediate predictor of their behaviour have proved to be useful in non-clinical populations. As clinical practice is a form of human behaviour such theories may offer a basis for developing a scientific rationale for the choice of intervention to use in the implementation of new practice. The aim of this review was to explore the relationship between intention and behaviour in clinicians and how this compares to the intention-behaviour relationship in studies of non-clinicians.
We searched: PsycINFO, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Science/Social science citation index, Current contents (social & behavioural med/clinical med), ISI conference proceedings, and Index to Theses. The reference lists of all included papers were checked manually. Studies were eligible for inclusion if they had: examined a clinical behaviour within a clinical context, included measures of both intention and behaviour, measured behaviour after intention, and explored this relationship quantitatively. All titles and abstracts retrieved by electronic searching were screened independently by two reviewers, with disagreements resolved by discussion.
Ten studies were found that examined the relationship between intention and clinical behaviours in 1623 health professionals. The proportion of variance in behaviour explained by intention was of a similar magnitude to that found in the literature relating to non-health professionals. This was more consistently the case for studies in which intention-behaviour correspondence was good and behaviour was self-reported. Though firm conclusions are limited by a smaller literature, our findings are consistent with that of the non-health professional literature. This review, viewed in the context of the larger populations of studies, provides encouragement for the contention that there is a predictable relationship between the intentions of a health professional and their subsequent behaviour. However, there remain significant methodological challenges.
There is little systematic operational guidance about how best to develop complex interventions to reduce the gap between practice and evidence. This article is one in a Series of articles documenting the development and use of the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) to advance the science of implementation research.
The intervention was developed considering three main components: theory, evidence, and practical issues. We used a four-step approach, consisting of guiding questions, to direct the choice of the most appropriate components of an implementation intervention: Who needs to do what, differently? Using a theoretical framework, which barriers and enablers need to be addressed? Which intervention components (behaviour change techniques and mode(s) of delivery) could overcome the modifiable barriers and enhance the enablers? And how can behaviour change be measured and understood?
A complex implementation intervention was designed that aimed to improve acute low back pain management in primary care. We used the TDF to identify the barriers and enablers to the uptake of evidence into practice and to guide the choice of intervention components. These components were then combined into a cohesive intervention. The intervention was delivered via two facilitated interactive small group workshops. We also produced a DVD to distribute to all participants in the intervention group. We chose outcome measures in order to assess the mediating mechanisms of behaviour change.
We have illustrated a four-step systematic method for developing an intervention designed to change clinical practice based on a theoretical framework. The method of development provides a systematic framework that could be used by others developing complex implementation interventions. While this framework should be iteratively adjusted and refined to suit other contexts and settings, we believe that the four-step process should be maintained as the primary framework to guide researchers through a comprehensive intervention development process.
Behaviour change is key to increasing the uptake of evidence into healthcare practice. Designing behaviour-change interventions first requires problem analysis, ideally informed by theory. Yet the large number of partly overlapping theories of behaviour makes it difficult to select the most appropriate theory. The need for an overarching theoretical framework of behaviour change was addressed in research in which 128 explanatory constructs from 33 theories of behaviour were identified and grouped. The resulting Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) appears to be a helpful basis for investigating implementation problems. Research groups in several countries have conducted TDF-based studies. It seems timely to bring together the experience of these teams in a thematic series to demonstrate further applications and to report key developments. This overview article describes the TDF, provides a brief critique of the framework, and introduces this thematic series.
In a brief review to assess the extent of TDF-based research, we identified 133 papers that cite the framework. Of these, 17 used the TDF as the basis for empirical studies to explore health professionals’ behaviour. The identified papers provide evidence of the impact of the TDF on implementation research. Two major strengths of the framework are its theoretical coverage and its capacity to elicit beliefs that could signify key mediators of behaviour change. The TDF provides a useful conceptual basis for assessing implementation problems, designing interventions to enhance healthcare practice, and understanding behaviour-change processes. We discuss limitations and research challenges and introduce papers in this series.
BACKGROUND: Providing doctors with new research findings or clinical guidelines is rarely sufficient to promote changes in clinical practice. An implementation strategy is required to provide clinicians with the skills and encouragement needed to alter established routines. AIM: To evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of different training and support strategies in promoting implementation of screening and brief alcohol intervention (SBI) by general practitioners (GPs). METHOD: Subjects were 128 GPs, one per practice, from the former Northern and Yorkshire Regional Health Authority, who agreed to use the 'Drink-Less' SBI programme in an earlier dissemination trial. GPs were stratified by previous marketing conditions and randomly allocated to three intensities of training and support: controls (n = 43) received the programme with written guidelines only, trained GPs (n = 43) received the programme plus practice-based training in programme usage, trained and supported GPs (n = 42) received the programme plus practice-based training and a support telephone call every two weeks. GPs were requested to use the programme for three months. Outcome measures included proportions of GPs implementing the programme and numbers of patients screened and intervened with. RESULTS: Seventy-three (57%) GPs implemented the programme and screened 11,007 patients for risk drinking. Trained and supported GPs were significantly more likely to implement the programme (71%) than controls (44%) or trained GPs (56%); they also screened, and intervened with, significantly more patients. Costs per patient screened were: trained and supported GPs, 1.05 Pounds; trained GPs, 1.08 Pounds; and controls, 1.47 Pounds. Costs per patient intervened with were: trained and supported GPs, 5.43 Pounds; trained GPs, 6.02 Pounds; and controls, 8.19 Pounds. CONCLUSION: Practice-based training plus support telephone calls was the most effective and cost-effective strategy to encourage implementation of SBI by GPs.
Implementing change in primary care is difficult, and little practical guidance is available to assist small primary care practices. Methods to structure care and develop new roles are often needed to implement an evidence-based practice that improves care. This study explored the process of change used to implement clinical guidelines for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease in primary care practices that used a common electronic medical record (EMR).
Multiple conceptual frameworks informed the design of this study designed to explain the complex phenomena of implementing change in primary care practice. Qualitative methods were used to examine the processes of change that practice members used to implement the guidelines. Purposive sampling in eight primary care practices within the Practice Partner Research Network-Translating Researching into Practice (PPRNet-TRIP II) clinical trial yielded 28 staff members and clinicians who were interviewed regarding how change in practice occurred while implementing clinical guidelines for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease and strokes.
A conceptual framework for implementing clinical guidelines into primary care practice was developed through this research. Seven concepts and their relationships were modelled within this framework: leaders setting a vision with clear goals for staff to embrace; involving the team to enable the goals and vision for the practice to be achieved; enhancing communication systems to reinforce goals for patient care; developing the team to enable the staff to contribute toward practice improvement; taking small steps, encouraging practices' tests of small changes in practice; assimilating the electronic medical record to maximize clinical effectiveness, enhancing practices' use of the electronic tool they have invested in for patient care improvement; and providing feedback within a culture of improvement, leading to an iterative cycle of goal setting by leaders.
This conceptual framework provides a mental model which can serve as a guide for practice leaders implementing clinical guidelines in primary care practice using electronic medical records. Using the concepts as implementation and evaluation criteria, program developers and teams can stimulate improvements in their practice settings. Investing in collaborative team development of clinicians and staff may enable the practice environment to be more adaptive to change and improvement.
Health care practice based on research evidence requires that evidence is synthesised, and that recommendations based on this evidence are implemented. It also requires an intermediate step: translating synthesised evidence into practice recommendations. There is considerable literature on evidence synthesis and implementation, but little on how guideline development groups (GDGs) produce recommendations. This is a complex process, with many influences on communication and decision-making, e.g., the quality of evidence, methods of presentation, practical/resource constraints, individual values, professional and scientific interests, social and psychological processes. To make this process more transparent and potentially effective, we need to understand these influences. Psychological theories of decision-making and social influence provide a framework for this understanding.
This study aims to investigate the processes by which GDGs formulate recommendations, drawing on psychological theories of decision-making and social influence. The findings will potentially inform the further evolution of GDG methods, such as choice of members and procedures for presenting evidence, conducting discussion and formulating recommendations.
Longitudinal observation of the meetings of three National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) GDGs, one from each of acute, mental health and public health, will be tape recorded and transcribed. Interviews with a sample of GDG members at the beginning, middle, and end of the GDG's work will be recorded and transcribed. Site documents including relevant e-mail interchanges, GDG meeting minutes, and stakeholders' responses to the drafts of the recommendations will be collected. Data will be selected for analysis if they refer to either evidence or recommendations; the focus is on "hot spots", e.g., dilemmas, conflicts, and uncertainty. Data will be analysed thematically and by content analysis, drawing on psychological theories of decision-making and social influence.
The use of Human Factors and Ergonomics (HFE) tools, methods, concepts and theories has been advocated by many experts and organizations to improve patient safety. To facilitate and support the spread of HFE knowledge and skills in health care and patient safety, we propose to conceptualize HFE as innovations whose diffusion, dissemination, implementation and sustainability need to be understood and specified. Using Greenhalgh et al. (2004) model of innovation, we identified various factors that can either hinder or facilitate the spread of HFE innovations in healthcare organizations. Barriers include lack of systems thinking, complexity of HFE innovations and lack of understanding about the benefits of HFE innovations. Positive impact of HFE interventions on task performance and the presence of local champions can facilitate the adoption, implementation and sustainability of HFE innovations. This analysis concludes with a series of recommendations for HFE professionals, researchers and educators.
human factors and ergonomics; patient safety; health care; innovation; adoption; dissemination; diffusion; implementation
In recent years the development of clinical guidelines has received increasing attention from medical educators and those involved in standard setting, and has been initiated at both central and local levels. This review article outlines the current state of knowledge with regard to clinical guideline implementation in medical practice. It deals with the main aspects of the current guideline debate, such as, clinical freedom and doctor autonomy, the importance of ownership in guideline implementation, the effectiveness of guidelines in changing practice and, in particular, the strategies needed to implement clinical guidelines in general practice. Mechanisms of behavioural change that have been recognized as being important for implementation are also discussed. If implementation strategies are not treated as an integral part of the development process then clinical guidelines may fail to achieve their potential in changing clinical practice.
BACKGROUND: Various methods are available for implementing change in the clinical behaviour of general practitioners (GPs). Although passive dissemination of information is generally ineffective, other methods can be variably effective. Few studies have investigated the impact of tailored methods. AIM: To determine whether methods tailored to overcome obstacles to change using psychological theories are more effective than dissemination alone in the implementation of guidelines for depression among GPs. DESIGN OF STUDY: Randomised controlled trial. SETTING: Sixty general practices in England; 30 GPs in the control group, 34 in the intervention group. METHOD: Practitioners identified patients presenting with depression before and after the implementation of guidelines (control group n = 192 in the first data collection, n = 181 in the second; intervention group n = 210 in the first data collection and n = 197 in the second). The main outcome measures were: record of adherence to guideline recommendations in clinical records; proportion of patients with Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) score less than 11 at 16 weeks after diagnosis. RESULTS: In comparison with the control group, in the group of GPs receiving tailored implementation, there were increases in the proportions of patients assessed for suicide risk. In the intervention group, the proportion of patients with BDI scores of less than 11 at 16 weeks increased. CONCLUSION: Obstacles to implementation can be identified and strategies tailored to address them. The findings indicate a new approach for research to understand and develop methods of implementation.
We describe here the use of a conceptual framework for implementing and disseminating in a Health Maintenance Organization an evidence-based model of well-child care (WCC) that includes developmental and preventive services recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Twenty-first Century WCC is a parent-centered, team-based, primary care model that combines online previsit assessments—completed by parents and caregivers regarding clinic-based weight, growth, and development assessments—with vaccinations and anticipatory guidance. Nurses, nurse practitioners, developmental specialists, and pediatricians all play roles in the WCC model. Patient and clinician interaction, health records, and resources are all facilitated through a Web-based diagnostic, management, tracking, and resource information tool. Implementation and dissemination concepts and their attendant practices and tools can reliably be used to augment strategic decisions about how to best disseminate and implement innovations in health care delivery. Unlike innovations that are embedded only in technical systems, validated models of team-based health care have multiple components that must be made compatible with complex sociotechnical systems. Interpersonal communication, work, coordination, and judgment are key processes that affect implementation quality. Implementation can involve tailoring to a particular site and customizing either the model or the organizational context to accommodate it.
Effective clinician-patient communication about health behavior change is one of the most important and most overlooked strategies to promote health and prevent disease. Existing guidelines for specific health behavior counseling have been created and promulgated, but not successfully adopted in primary care practice. Building on work focused on creating effective clinician strategies for prompting health behavior change in the primary care setting, we developed an intervention intended to enhance clinician communication skills to create and act on teachable moments for smoking cessation. In this manuscript, we describe the development and implementation of the Teachable Moment Communication Process (TMCP) intervention and the baseline characteristics of a group randomized trial designed to evaluate its effectiveness.
This group randomized trial includes thirty-one community-based primary care clinicians practicing in Northeast Ohio and 840 of their adult patients. Clinicians were randomly assigned to receive either the Teachable Moments Communication Process (TMCP) intervention for smoking cessation, or the delayed intervention. The TMCP intervention consisted of two, 3-hour educational training sessions including didactic presentation, skill demonstration through video examples, skills practices with standardized patients, and feedback from peers and the trainers. For each clinician enrolled, 12 patients were recruited for two time points. Pre- and post-intervention data from the clinicians, patients and audio-recorded clinician‒patient interactions were collected. At baseline, the two groups of clinicians and their patients were similar with regard to all demographic and practice characteristics examined. Both physician and patient recruitment goals were met, and retention was 96% and 94% respectively.
Findings support the feasibility of training clinicians to use the Teachable Moments Communication Process. The next steps are to assess how well clinicians employ these skills within their practices and to assess the effect on patient outcomes.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01575886
Smoking cessation; Health behavior change; Doctor-patient communication; Primary care; Study protocol; Teachable moments
The implementation of evidence-based treatments (EBTs) and practices (EBPs) depends on both top-down and bottom-up responsibilities. Many of the articles in this special section on Implementation Science in Substance Use Disorders address the interaction between these two approaches when implementing new substance use disorder (SUD) treatments. Generally the articles place this interaction within the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR), a relatively new and comprehensive synthesis of theories and conceptualizations of the components needed for any successful implementation strategy. The range of SUD treatments covered includes well-established behavioral interventions, such as screening and brief interventions for alcohol, as well as new pharmacotherapies, such as buprenorphine for opiates. One contribution uses the CFIR to review continuing care interventions and self-help groups that can follow-up after more intensive, acute clinical care. External and internal pressures for change drive implementation. The successful EBT/EBP implementations reviewed in these articles recognized all these potential change drivers in designing their strategy for introducing the EBT/EBP, and they modified aspects of the EBT/EBP to satisfy as many of these drivers as possible. The CFIR model has limitations, as do the contributions to this special section. The implementation science field is new and developing rapidly, and many of the EBTs and EBPs were developed and tested through controlled studies evaluating the efficacy of the interventions under controlled conditions, rather than examining their performance in the broader landscape of addiction treatment programs. These limitations may also be considered as boundary conditions that need to be explored in further research, implementation, and development of the next edition of the CFIR.
How humans think and make decisions is important in understanding behaviour. Hence an understanding of cognitive processes among physicians may inform our understanding of behaviour in relation to evidence implementation strategies. A personality theory, Cognitive-Experiential Self Theory (CEST) proposes a relationship between different ways of thinking and behaviour, and articulates pathways for behaviour change. However prior to the empirical testing of interventions based on CEST, it is first necessary to demonstrate its suitability among a sample of healthcare workers.
To investigate the relationship between thinking styles and the knowledge and clinical practices of doctors directly involved in the management of acute coronary syndromes.
Self-reported doctors' thinking styles (N = 74) were correlated with results from a survey investigating knowledge, attitudes, and clinical practice, and evaluated against recently published acute coronary syndrome clinical guidelines.
Guideline-discordant practice was associated with an experiential style of thinking. Conversely, guideline-concordant practice was associated with a higher preference for a rational style of reasoning.
Findings support that while guidelines might be necessary to communicate evidence, other strategies may be necessary to target discordant behaviours. Further research designed to examine the relationships found in the current study is required.
Theories of behaviour change indicate that an analysis of factors that facilitate or impede change is helpful when trying to influence professional practice. The aim of this study was to identify barriers to implementing evidence-based guidelines for urinary tract infection and sore throat in general practice in Norway, and to tailor interventions to address these barriers.
We used a checklist to identify barriers and possible interventions to address these in an iterative process that included a review of the literature, brainstorming, focus groups, a pilot study, small group discussions and interviews.
We identified at least one barrier for each category. Both guidelines recommended increased use of telephone consultations and reduced use of laboratory tests, and the barriers and the interventions were similar for the two guidelines. The complexity of changing routines involving patients, general practitioners and general practitioner assistants, loss of income with telephone consultations, fear of overlooking serious disease, perceived patient expectations and lack of knowledge about the evidence for the guidelines were the most prominent barriers. The interventions that were tailored to address these barriers included support for change processes in the practices, increasing the fee for telephone consultations, patient information leaflets and computer-based decision support and reminders.
A systematic approach using qualitative methods helped identify barriers and generate ideas for tailoring interventions to support the implementation of guidelines for the management of urinary tract infections and sore throat. Lack of resources limited our ability to address all of the barriers adequately.
The Canadian CT Head Rule was prospectively derived and validated to assist clinicians with diagnostic decision-making regarding the use of computed tomography (CT) in adult patients with minor head injury. A recent intervention trial failed to demonstrate a decrease in the rate of head CTs following implementation of the rule in Canadian emergency departments. Yet, the same intervention, which included a one-hour educational session and reminders at the point of requisition, was successful in reducing cervical spine imaging rates in the same emergency departments. The reason for the varied effect of the intervention across these two behaviours is unclear. There is an increasing appreciation for the use of theory to conduct process evaluations to better understand how strategies are linked with outcomes in implementation trials. The Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) has been used to explore health professional behaviour and to design behaviour change interventions but, to date, has not been used to guide a theory-based process evaluation. In this proof of concept study, we explored whether the TDF could be used to guide a retrospective process evaluation to better understand emergency physicians’ responses to the interventions employed in the Canadian CT Head Rule trial.
A semi-structured interview guide, based on the 12 domains from the TDF, was used to conduct telephone interviews with project leads and physician participants from the intervention sites in the Canadian CT Head Rule trial. Two reviewers independently coded the anonymised interview transcripts using the TDF as a coding framework. Relevant domains were identified by: the presence of conflicting beliefs within a domain; the frequency of beliefs; and the likely strength of the impact of a belief on the behaviour.
Eight physicians from four of the intervention sites in the Canadian CT Head Rule trial participated in the interviews. Barriers likely to assist with understanding physicians’ responses to the intervention in the trial were identified in six of the theoretical domains: beliefs about consequences; beliefs about capabilities; behavioural regulation; memory, attention and decision processes; environmental context and resources; and social influences. Despite knowledge that the Canadian CT Head Rule was highly sensitive and reliable for identifying clinically important brain injuries and strong beliefs about the benefits for using the rule, a number of barriers were identified that may have prevented physicians from consistently applying the rule.
This proof of concept study demonstrates the use of the TDF as a guiding framework to design a retrospective theory-based process evaluation. There is a need for further development and testing of methods for using the TDF to guide theory-based process evaluations running alongside behaviour change intervention trials.
We evaluated the effect of implementing quality improvement (QI) programs for depression, relative to usual care, on primary care clinicians' knowledge about treatment.
DESIGN AND METHODS
Matched primary care clinics (46) from seven managed care organizations were randomized to usual care (mailed written guidelines only) versus one of two QI interventions. Self-report surveys assessed clinicians' knowledge of depression treatments prior to full implementation (June 1996 to March 1997) and 18 months later. We used an intent-to-treat analysis to examine intervention effects on change in knowledge, controlling for clinician and practice characteristics, and the nested design.
One hundred eighty-one primary care clinicians.
The interventions included institutional commitment to QI, training local experts, clinician education, and training nurses for patient assessment and education. One intervention had resources for nurse follow-up on medication use (QI-meds) and the other had reduced copayment for therapy from trained, local therapists (QI-therapy).
Clinicians in the intervention group had greater increases compared with clinicians in the usual care group over 18 months in knowledge of psychotherapy (by 20% for QI-meds, P = .04 and by 33% for QI-therapy, P = .004), but there were no significant increases in medication knowledge. Significant increases in knowledge scores (P = .01) were demonstrated by QI-therapy clinicians but not clinicians in the QI-meds group. Clinicians were exposed to multiple intervention components.
Dissemination of QI programs for depression in managed, primary care practices improved clinicians' treatment knowledge over 18 months, but breadth of learning was somewhat greater for a program that also included active collaboration with local therapists.
primary care clinicians; depression; quality improvement; treatment knowledge; managed care
Evidence-based guidelines are important tools and common pathways for translating evidence into clinical practice. It is most urgently needed when significant heterogeneity in practice exist. Actively engaging opinion leaders in the process of evidence-based guidelines development is important for several reasons. These include allowing the collective views of the practice communities to be represented, resolving heterogeneity in practice through discussion, and allowing credible recommendations to be formulated. Most importantly, the process itself is a tool for facilitating dissemination and implementation. Recognizing the gap between practice pattern and guideline recommendations, and devising strategies to address it represent an important step toward maximizing concordance between guideline and practice. Evidence-based recommendations serve as important reference points, against which we can measure, debate, and innovate from.
Guidelines; Concordance; Rectal cancer; Radiotherapy; Ontario; Medicine & Public Health; Colorectal Surgery; Proctology; Oncology
BACKGROUND: Quality improvement initiatives in health services rely upon the effective introduction of clinical practice guidelines. However, even well constructed guidelines have little effect unless supported by dissemination and implementation strategies. AIM: To test the effectiveness of 'educational outreach' as a strategy for facilitating the uptake of dyspepsia management guidelines in primary care. DESIGN OF STUDY: A pragmatic, cluster-randomised controlled trial of guideline introduction, comparing educational outreach with postal guideline dissemination alone. SETTING: One-hundred and fourteen general practices (233 general practitioners) in the Salford and Trafford Health authority catchment area in the northwest of England. METHOD: All practices received guidelines by post in July 1997. The intervention group practices began to receive educational outreach three months later. This consisted of practice-based seminars with hospital specialists at which guideline recommendations were appraised, and implementation plans formulated. Seminars were followed up with 'reinforcement' visits after a further 12 weeks. Outcome measures were: (a) the appropriateness of referral for; and (b) findings at, open access upper gastrointestinal endoscopy; (c) costs of GP prescriptions for acid-suppressing drugs, and (d) the use of laboratory-based serological tests for Helicobacter pylori. Data were collected for seven months before and/or after the intervention and analysed by intention-to-treat. RESULTS: (a) The proportion of appropriate referrals was higher in the intervention group in the six-month post-intervention period (practice medians: control = 50.0%, intervention = 63.9%, P < 0.05); (b) the proportion of major findings at endoscopy did not alter significantly; (c) there was a greater rise in overall expenditure on acid-suppressing drugs in the intervention as compared with the control group (+8% versus +2%, P = 0.005); and (d) the median testing rate per practice for H pylori in the post-intervention period was significantly greater in the intervention group (four versus O, P < 0.001). CONCLUSION: This study suggests that educational outreach may be more effective than passive guideline dissemination in changing clinical behaviour. It also demonstrates that unpredictable and unanticipated outcomes may emerge.
There is growing interest in the use of cognitive, behavioural, and organisational theories in implementation research. However, the extent of use of theory in implementation research is uncertain.
We conducted a systematic review of use of theory in 235 rigorous evaluations of guideline dissemination and implementation studies published between 1966 and 1998. Use of theory was classified according to type of use (explicitly theory based, some conceptual basis, and theoretical construct used) and stage of use (choice/design of intervention, process/mediators/moderators, and post hoc/explanation).
Fifty-three of 235 studies (22.5%) were judged to have employed theories, including 14 studies that explicitly used theory. The majority of studies (n = 42) used only one theory; the maximum number of theories employed by any study was three. Twenty-five different theories were used. A small number of theories accounted for the majority of theory use including PRECEDE (Predisposing, Reinforcing, and Enabling Constructs in Educational Diagnosis and Evaluation), diffusion of innovations, information overload and social marketing (academic detailing).
There was poor justification of choice of intervention and use of theory in implementation research in the identified studies until at least 1998. Future research should explicitly identify the justification for the interventions. Greater use of explicit theory to understand barriers, design interventions, and explore mediating pathways and moderators is needed to advance the science of implementation research.
BACKGROUND: It is crucial that research findings are implemented in general practice if high-quality care is to be achieved. Multifaceted interventions are usually assumed to be more effective than single interventions, but this hypothesis has yet to be tested for general practice care. This review evaluates the effectiveness of interventions in influencing the implementation of guidelines and adoption of innovations in general practice. A systematic literature study was carried out using MEDLINE searches for the period from January 1980 until June 1994, and 21 medical journals were searched manually. Randomized controlled trials and controlled before and after studies (with pre- and post-intervention measurements in all groups) were selected for the analysis. Clinical area, interventions used, methodological characteristics and effects on clinical behaviour were noted independently by two researchers using a standardized scoring form. Of 143 studies found, 61 were selected for the analysis, covering 86 intervention groups that could be compared with a control group without the intervention. Information transfer alone was effective in two out of 18 groups, whereas combinations of information transfer and learning through social influence or management support were effective in four out of eight and three out of seven groups respectively. Information linked to performance was effective in 10 out of 15 groups, but the combination of information transfer and information linked to performance was effective in only three out of 20 groups. Some, but not all, multifaceted interventions are effective in inducing change in general practice. Social influence and management support can improve the effectiveness of information transfer, but information linked to performance does not necessarily do so. The variation in the effectiveness of interventions needs further analysis.