Developers, users and others have requested or advocated for guidance on how to plan for, and implement guidelines concurrent to their development given that existing resources are lacking such information. The purpose of this research was to develop a guideline implementation planning checklist.
Documents that described or evaluated the processes of planning or undertaking implementation were identified in several publications that had systematically identified such resources, and by searching medical literature databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE). Data that described implementation planning; how to develop guideline versions or tools that would support user implementation; and options and mechanisms for disseminating or implementing guidelines were independently extracted from eligible documents by the principal investigator and a trained research assistant. Data were integrated to create a unique list of guideline implementation planning processes and considerations.
Thirty-five documents were eligible. Of these, 16 (45.7%) provided sparse information on implementation planning, 25 (71.4%) mentioned different versions or tools for implementation, and 30 (85.7%) listed options for dissemination or implementation. None provided instructions for operationalizing implementation strategies. Data were integrated into a multi-item Guideline Implementation Planning Checklist including considerations for implementation planning (12), development of implementation tools (8), types of implementation tools (12), and options for dissemination (11) and implementation (12).
Developers or users can apply the Guideline Implementation Planning Checklist to prepare for and/or undertake guideline implementation. Further development of the checklist is warranted to elaborate on all components. In ongoing research, we will consult with the international guideline community to do so. At the same time, guideline implementation is complex, so developers and users would benefit from training, and by including knowledge translation experts and brokers on implementation planning committees.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13012-015-0205-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.