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1.  Development and Evaluation of an Educational E-Tool to Help Patients With Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Manage Their Personal Care Pathway 
JMIR Research Protocols  2015;4(1):e6.
An overload of health-related information is available for patients on numerous websites, guidelines, and information leaflets. However, the increasing need for personalized health-related information is currently unmet.
This study evaluates an educational e-tool for patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) designed to meet patient needs with respect to personalized and complete health-related information provision. The e-tool aims to help NHL patients manage and understand their personal care pathway, by providing them with insight into their own care pathway, the possibility to keep a diary, and structured health-related information.
Together with a multidisciplinary NHL expert panel, we developed an e-tool consisting of two sections: (1) a personal section for patients’ own care pathway and their experiences, and (2) an informative section including information on NHL. We developed an ideal NHL care pathway based on the available (inter)national guidelines. The ideal care pathway, including date of first consultation, diagnosis, and therapy start, was used to set up the personal care pathway. The informative section was developed in collaboration with the patient association, Hematon. Regarding participants, 14 patients and 6 laymen were asked to evaluate the e-tool. The 24-item questionnaire used discussed issues concerning layout (6 questions), user convenience (3 questions), menu clarity (3 questions), information clarity (5 questions), and general impression (7 questions). In addition, the panel members were asked to give their feedback by email.
A comprehensive overview of diagnostics, treatments, and aftercare can be established by patients completing the questions from the personal section. The informative section consisted of NHL information regarding NHL in general, diagnostics, therapy, aftercare, and waiting times. Regarding participants, 6 patients and 6 laymen completed the questionnaire. Overall, the feedback was positive, with at least 75% satisfaction on each feedback item. Important strengths mentioned were the use of a low health-literacy level, the opportunity to document the personal care pathway and experiences, and the clear overview of the information provided. The added value of the e-tool in general was pointed out as very useful for preparing the consultation with one’s doctor and for providing all information on one website, including the opportunity for a personalized care pathway and diary. The majority of the revisions concerned wording and clarity. In addition, more explicit information on immunotherapy, experimental therapy, and psychosocial support was added.
We have developed a personal care management e-tool for NHL patients. This tool contains a unique way to help patients manage their personal care pathway and give them insight into their NHL by providing health-related information and a personal diary. This evaluation showed that our e-tool meets patients’ needs concerning personalized health-related information, which might serve as a good example for other oncologic diseases. Future research should focus on the possible impact of the e-tool on doctor-patient communication during consultations.
PMCID: PMC4296091  PMID: 25575019
eHealth; personalized care; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; patient education; care pathway; consumer health information; empowerment; personal care management
2.  Feasibility of a Wiki as a Participatory Tool for Patients in Clinical Guideline Development 
Patient participation is essential in developing high-quality guidelines but faces practical challenges. Evidence on timing, methods, evaluations, and outcomes of methodologies for patient participation in guideline development is lacking.
To assess the feasibility of a wiki as a participatory tool for patients in the development of a guideline on infertility determined by (1) use of the wiki (number of page views and visitors), (2) benefits of the wiki (ie, number, content, and eligibility of the recommendations to be integrated into the guideline), and (3) patients’ facilitators of and barriers to adoption, and the potential challenges to be overcome in improving this wiki.
To obtain initial content for the wiki, we conducted in-depth interviews (n = 12) with infertile patients. Transcripts from the interviews were translated into 90 draft recommendations. These were presented on a wiki. Over 7 months, infertile patients were invited through advertisements or mailings to formulate new or modify existing recommendations. After modifying the recommendations, we asked patients to select their top 5 or top 3 recommendations for each of 5 sections on fertility care. Finally, the guideline development group assessed the eligibility of the final set of recommendations within the scope of the guideline. We used a multimethod evaluation strategy to assess the feasibility of the wiki as a participatory tool for patients in guideline development.
The wiki attracted 298 unique visitors, yielding 289 recommendations. We assessed the 21 recommendations ranked as the top 5 or top 3 for their eligibility for being integrated into the clinical practice guideline. The evaluation identified some challenges needed to be met to improve the wiki tool, concerning its ease of use, website content and layout, and characteristics of the wiki tool.
The wiki is a promising and feasible participatory tool for patients in guideline development. A modified version of this tool including new modalities (eg, automatically limiting the number and length of recommendations, using a fixed format for recommendations, including a motivation page, and adding a continuous prioritization system) should be developed and evaluated in a patient-centered design.
PMCID: PMC3510744  PMID: 23103790
Wiki; patient participation; infertility; Web 2.0; guideline development
3.  A patient-centered network approach to multidisciplinary-guideline development: a process evaluation 
Guideline development and uptake are still suboptimal; they focus on clinical aspects of diseases rather than on improving the integration of care. We used a patient-centered network approach to develop five harmonized guidelines (one multidisciplinary and four monodisciplinary) around clinical pathways in fertility care. We assessed the feasibility of this approach with a detailed process evaluation of the guideline development, professionals’ experiences, and time invested.
The network structure comprised the centrally located patients and the steering committee; a multidisciplinary guideline development group (gynecologists, physicians, urologists, clinical embryologists, clinical chemists, a medical psychologist, an occupational physician, and two patient representatives); and four monodisciplinary guideline development groups. The guideline development addressed patient-centered, organizational, and medical-technical key questions derived from interviews with patients and professionals. These questions were elaborated and distributed among the groups. We evaluated the project performance, participants’ perceptions of the approach, and the time needed, including time for analysis of secondary sources, interviews with eight key figures, and a written questionnaire survey among 35 participants.
Within 20 months, this approach helped us develop a multidisciplinary guideline for treating infertility and four related monodisciplinary guidelines for general infertility, unexplained infertility, male infertility, and semen analysis. The multidisciplinary guideline included recommendations for the main medical-technical matters and for organizational and patient-centered issues in clinical care pathways. The project was carried out as planned except for minor modifications and three extra consensus meetings. The participants were enthusiastic about the approach, the respect for autonomy, the project coordinator’s role, and patient involvement. Suggestions for improvement included timely communication about guideline formats, the timeline, participants’ responsibilities, and employing a librarian and more support staff. The 35 participants spent 4497 hours in total on this project.
The novel patient-centered network approach is feasible for simultaneously and collaboratively developing a harmonized set of multidisciplinary and monodisciplinary guidelines around clinical care pathways for patients with fertility problems. Further research is needed to compare the efficacy of this approach with more traditional approaches.
PMCID: PMC4087268  PMID: 24898160
Clinical practice guideline development; Evaluation; Patient involvement; Clinical care pathway; Infertility
4.  Improvement of hospital care for patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial (PEARL study) 
Malignant lymphomas constitute a diverse group of cancers of lymphocytes. One well-known disease is Hodgkin’s lymphoma; the others are classified as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). NHLs are the most common hematologic neoplasms in adults worldwide, and in 2012 over 170,000 new cases were estimated in the United States and Europe.
In previous studies, several practice gaps in hospital care for patients with NHL have been identified. To decrease this variation in care, the present study aims to perform a problem analysis in which barriers to and facilitators for optimal NHL care will be identified and, based on these findings, to develop (tailored) improvement strategies. Subsequently, we will assess the effectiveness, feasibility and costs of the improvement strategies.
Barriers and facilitators will be explored using the literature, using interviews and questionnaires among physicians involved in NHL care, and patients diagnosed with NHL. The results will be used to develop a tailored improvement strategy. A cluster randomized controlled trial involving 19 Dutch hospitals will be conducted. Hospitals will be randomized to receive either an improvement strategy tailored to the barriers and facilitators found or, a standard strategy of audit and feedback.
The effects of both strategies will be evaluated using previously developed quality indicators. Adherence to the indicators will be measured before and after the intervention period based on medical records from newly diagnosed NHL patients. To study the feasibility of both strategies, a process evaluation will be additionally performed. Data about exposure to the different elements of the strategies will be collected using questionnaires. Economic evaluation from a healthcare perspective will compare the two implementation strategies, where the costs of the implementation strategy and changes in healthcare consumption will be assessed.
The presence of variation in the use of diagnostic tests, treatment, and follow-up between different physicians in different hospitals in the Netherlands is important for patients. To reduce the existing variation in care, implementation of tailored interventions to improve NHL care is necessary.
Trial registration
This trial is registered at as the PEARL study, registration number NCT01562509.
PMCID: PMC3711783  PMID: 23837833
non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; Quality of healthcare; Guidelines; Oncology; Implementation; Interventions
5.  Improving the implementation of tailored expectant management in subfertile couples: protocol for a cluster randomized trial 
Prognostic models in reproductive medicine can help to identify subfertile couples who would benefit from fertility treatment. Expectant management in couples with a good chance of natural conception, i.e., tailored expectant management (TEM), prevents unnecessary treatment and is therefore recommended in international fertility guidelines. However, current implementation is not optimal, leaving room for improvement. Based on barriers and facilitators for TEM that were recently identified among professionals and subfertile couples, we have developed a multifaceted implementation strategy. The goal of this study is to assess the effects of this implementation strategy on the guideline adherence on TEM.
In a cluster randomized trial, 25 clinics and their allied practitioners units will be randomized between the multifaceted implementation strategy and care as usual. Randomization will be stratified for in vitro fertilization (IVF) facilities (full licensed, intermediate/no IVF facilities). The effect of the implementation strategy, i.e., the percentage guideline adherence on TEM, will be evaluated by pre- and post-randomization data collection. Furthermore, there will be a process and cost evaluation of the strategy. The implementation strategy will focus on subfertile couples and their care providers i.e., general practitioners (GPs), fertility doctors, and gynecologists. The implementation strategy addresses three levels: patient level: education materials in the form of a patient information leaflet and a website; professional level: audit and feedback, educational outreach visit, communication training, and access to a digital version of the prognostic model of Hunault on a website; organizational level: providing a protocol based on the guideline. The primary outcome will be the percentage guideline adherence on TEM. Additional outcome measures will be treatment-, patient-, and process-related outcome measures.
This study will provide evidence about the effectiveness and costs of a multifaceted implementation strategy to improve guideline adherence on TEM.
Trial registration
http://www.trialregister.nlNTR3405. This study is sponsored by ZonMW.
PMCID: PMC3680105  PMID: 23688282
6.  SIMPLE: implementation of recommendations from international evidence-based guidelines on caesarean sections in the Netherlands. Protocol for a controlled before and after study 
Caesarean section (CS) rates are rising worldwide. In the Netherlands, the most significant rise is observed in healthy women with a singleton in vertex position between 37 and 42 weeks gestation, whereas it is doubtful whether an improved outcome for the mother or her child was obtained. It can be hypothesized that evidence-based guidelines on CS are not implemented sufficiently.
Therefore, the present study has the following objectives: to develop quality indicators on the decision to perform a CS based on key recommendations from national and international guidelines; to use the quality indicators in order to gain insight into actual adherence of Dutch gynaecologists to guideline recommendations on the performance of a CS; to explore barriers and facilitators that have a direct effect on guideline application regarding CS; and to develop, execute, and evaluate a strategy in order to reduce the CS incidence for a similar neonatal outcome (based on the information gathered in the second and third objectives).
An independent expert panel of Dutch gynaecologists and midwives will develop a set of quality indicators on the decision to perform a CS. These indicators will be used to measure current care in 20 hospitals with a population of 1,000 women who delivered by CS, and a random selection of 1,000 women who delivered vaginally in the same period. Furthermore, by interviewing healthcare professionals and patients, the barriers and facilitators that may influence the decision to perform a CS will be measured. Based on the results, a tailor-made implementation strategy will be developed and tested in a controlled before-and-after study in 12 hospitals (six intervention, six control hospitals) with regard to effectiveness, experiences, and costs.
This study will offer insight into the current CS care and into the hindering and facilitating factors influencing obstetrical policy on CS. Furthermore, it will allow definition of patient categories or situations in which a tailor-made implementation strategy will most likely be meaningful and cost effective, without negatively affecting the outcome for mother and child.
Trial registration NCT01261676
PMCID: PMC3547819  PMID: 23281646
7.  Improving patient-centeredness of fertility care using a multifaceted approach: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:175.
Beside traditional outcomes of safety and (cost-)effectiveness, the Institute of Medicine states patient-centeredness as an independent outcome indicator to evaluate the quality of healthcare. Providing patient-centered care is important because patients want to be heard for their ideas and concerns. Healthcare areas associated with high emotions and intensive treatment periods could especially benefit from patient-centered care. How care can become optimally improved in patient-centeredness is unknown. Therefore, we will conduct a study in the context of Dutch fertility care to determine the effects of a multifaceted approach on patient-centeredness, patients’ quality of life (QoL) and levels of distress. Our aims are to investigate the effectiveness of a multifaceted approach and to identify determinants of a change in the level of patient-centeredness, patients’ QoL and distress levels. This paper presents the study protocol.
In a cluster-randomized trial in 32 Dutch fertility clinics the effects of a multifaceted approach will be determined on the level of patient-centeredness (Patient-centredness Questionnaire – Infertility), patients’ QoL (FertiQoL) and levels of distress (SCREENIVF). The multifaceted approach includes audit and feedback, educational outreach visits and patient-mediated interventions. Potential determinants of a change in patient-centeredness, patients’ QoL and levels of distress will be collected by an addendum to the patients’ questionnaire and a professionals’ questionnaire. The latter includes the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument about the clinic’s culture as a possible determinant of an increase in patient-centered care.
The study is expected to yield important new evidence about the effects of a multifaceted approach on levels of patient-centeredness, patients’ QoL and distress in fertility care. Furthermore, determinants associated with a change in these outcome measures will be studied. With knowledge of these results, patient-centered care and thus the quality of healthcare can be improved. Moreover, the results of this study could be useful for similar initiatives to improve the quality of care delivery. The results of this project are expected at the end of 2013.
Trial registration NCT01481064
PMCID: PMC3489822  PMID: 23006997
Patient-centeredness; Quality of life; Distress; Multifaceted approach; Determinants; Protocol
8.  The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis: an electronic guideline implementability appraisal 
Clinical guidelines are intended to improve healthcare. However, even if guidelines are excellent, their implementation is not assured. In subfertility care, the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) guidelines have been inventoried, and their methodological quality has been assessed. To improve the impact of the ESHRE guidelines and to improve European subfertility care, it is important to optimise the implementability of guidelines. We therefore investigated the implementation barriers of the ESHRE guideline with the best methodological quality and evaluated the used instrument for usability and feasibility.
We reviewed the ESHRE guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis to assess its implementability. We used an electronic version of the guideline implementability appraisal (eGLIA) instrument. This eGLIA tool consists of 31 questions grouped into 10 dimensions. Seven items address the guideline as a whole, and 24 items assess the individual recommendations in the guideline. The eGLIA instrument identifies factors that influence the implementability of the guideline recommendations. These factors can be divided into facilitators that promote implementation and barriers that oppose implementation. A panel of 10 experts from three European countries appraised all 36 recommendations of the guideline. They discussed discrepancies in a teleconference and completed a questionnaire to evaluate the ease of use and overall utility of the eGLIA instrument.
Two of the 36 guideline recommendations were straightforward to implement. Five recommendations were considered simply statements because they contained no actions. The remaining 29 recommendations were implementable with some adjustments. We found facilitators of the guideline implementability in the quality of decidability, presentation and formatting, apparent validity, and novelty or innovation of the recommendations. Vaguely defined actions, lack of facilities, immeasurable outcomes, and inflexibility within the recommendations formed barriers to implementation. The eGLIA instrument was generally useful and easy to use. However, assessment with the eGLIA instrument is very time-consuming.
The ESHRE guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis could be improved to facilitate its implementation in daily practice. The eGLIA instrument is a helpful tool for identifying obstacles to implementation of a guideline. However, we recommend a concise version of this instrument.
PMCID: PMC3034686  PMID: 21247418
9.  Study protocol: Cost effectiveness of two strategies to implement the NVOG guidelines on hypertension in pregnancy: An innovative strategy including a computerised decision support system compared to a common strategy of professional audit and feedback, a randomized controlled trial 
Hypertensive disease in pregnancy remains the leading cause of maternal mortality in the Netherlands. Seventeen percent of the clinical pregnancies are complicated by hypertension and 2% by preeclampsia. The Dutch Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (NVOG) has developed evidence-based guidelines on the management of hypertension in pregnancy and chronic hypertension. Previous studies showed a low adherence rate to other NVOG guidelines and a large variation in usual care in the different hospitals. An explanation is that the NVOG has no general strategy of practical implementation and evaluation of its guidelines. The development of an effective and cost effective implementation strategy to improve adherence to the guidelines on hypertension in pregnancy is needed.
The objective of this study is to assess the cost effectiveness of an innovative implementation strategy of the NVOG guidelines on hypertension including a computerised decision support system (BOS) compared to a common strategy of professional audit and feedback. A cluster randomised controlled trial with an economic evaluation alongside will be performed. Both pregnant women who develop severe hypertension or pre-eclampsia and professionals involved in the care for these women will participate. The main outcome measures are a combined rate of major maternal complications and process indicators extracted from the guidelines. A total of 472 patients will be included in both groups. For analysis, descriptive as well as regression techniques will be used. A cost effectiveness and cost utility analysis will be performed according to the intention-to-treat principle and from a societal perspective. Cost effectiveness ratios will be calculated using bootstrapping techniques.
PMCID: PMC2940931  PMID: 20819222
10.  Haemorrhagia post partum; an implementation study on the evidence-based guideline of the Dutch Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (NVOG) and the MOET (Managing Obstetric Emergencies and Trauma-course) instructions; the Fluxim study 
One of the most important causes of maternal mortality and severe morbidity worldwide is post partum haemorrhage (PPH). Factors as substandard care are frequently reported in the international literature and there are similar reports in the Netherlands. The incidence of PPH in the Dutch population is 5% containing 10.000 women a year. The introduction of an evidence-based guideline on PPH by the Dutch society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (NVOG) and the initiation of the MOET course (Managing Obstetrics Emergencies and Trauma) did not lead to a reduction of PPH. This implies the possibility of an incomplete implementation of both the NVOG guideline and MOET-instructions. Therefore, the aim of this study is to develop and test a tailored strategy to implement both the NVOG guideline and MOET-instructions
One step in the development procedure is to evaluate the implementation of the guideline and MOET-instructions in the current care. Therefore measurement of the actual care will be performed in a representative sample of 20 hospitals. This will be done by prospective observation of the third stage of labour of 320 women with a high risk of PPH using quality indicators extracted from the NVOG guideline and MOET instructions. In the next step barriers and facilitators for guideline adherence will be analyzed by performance of semi structured interviews with 30 professionals and 10 patients, followed by a questionnaire study among all Dutch gynaecologists and midwives to quantify the barriers mentioned. Based on the outcomes, a tailored strategy to implement the NVOG guideline and MOET-instructions will be developed and tested in a feasibility study in 4 hospitals, including effect-, process- and cost evaluation.
This study will provide insight into current Dutch practice, in particular to what extent the PPH guidelines of the NVOG and the MOET-instructions have been implemented in the actual care, and into the barriers and facilitators regarding guideline adherence. The knowledge of the feasibility study regarding the effects and costs of the tailored strategy and the experiences of the users can be used in countries with a relatively high incidence of PPH.
Trial Registration NCT00928863
PMCID: PMC2824637  PMID: 20102607
11.  Improving calculation, interpretation and communication of familial colorectal cancer risk: Protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Individuals with multiple relatives with colorectal cancer (CRC) and/or a relative with early-onset CRC have an increased risk of developing CRC. They are eligible for preventive measures, such as surveillance by regular colonoscopy and/or genetic counselling. Currently, most at-risk individuals do not follow the indicated follow-up policy. In a new guideline on familial and hereditary CRC, clinicians have new tasks in calculating, interpreting, and communicating familial CRC risk. This will lead to better recognition of individuals at an increased familial CRC risk, enabling them to take effective preventive measures. This trial compares two implementation strategies (a common versus an intensive implementation strategy), focussing on clinicians' risk calculation, interpretation, and communication, as well as patients' uptake of the indicated follow-up policy.
A clustered randomized controlled trial including an effect, process, and cost evaluation will be conducted in eighteen hospitals. Nine hospitals in the control group will receive the common implementation strategy (i.e., dissemination of the guideline). In the intervention group, an intensive implementation strategy will be introduced. Clinicians will receive education and tools for risk calculation, interpretation, and communication. Patients will also receive these tools, in addition to patient decision aids. The effect evaluation includes assessment of the number of patients for whom risk calculation, interpretation, and communication is performed correctly, and the number of patients following the indicated follow-up policy. The actual exposure to the implementation strategies and users' experiences will be assessed in the process evaluation. In a cost evaluation, the costs of the implementation strategies will be determined.
The results of this study will help determine the most effective method as well as the costs of improving the recognition of individuals at an increased familial CRC risk. It will provide insight into the experiences of both patients and clinicians with these strategies.
The knowledge gathered in this study can be used to improve the recognition of familial and hereditary CRC at both the national and international level, and will serve as an example to improve care for patients and their relatives worldwide. Our results may also be useful in improving healthcare in other diseases.
Trial registration NCT00929097
PMCID: PMC2832626  PMID: 20181032

Results 1-11 (11)