After a spinal cord injury, quality of life, as well as the determinants of quality of life, has been widely assessed. However, to date, there have been no systematic reviews on the impact of quality improvement strategies, including self-management strategies, on the quality of life and well-being of individuals with a spinal cord injury. The current protocol outlines a strategy for a systematic review that aims to identify, assess, and synthesize evidence on the impact of quality improvement strategies on the quality of life and physical and psychological well-being of individuals with spinal cord injury.
All study designs, except qualitative studies will be included. Studies reporting on quality improvement including audit and feedback, case management, team changes, electronic patient registries, clinician education, clinical reminders, facilitated relay of clinical information to clinicians, patient education, (promotion of) self-management, patient reminder systems, and continuous quality improvement among individuals with spinal cord injury will be included. The primary outcome is quality of life. The secondary outcomes are physical and psychological well-being. Studies will be included regardless of publication status, year of dissemination, or language of dissemination. Potentially relevant articles not written in English will be translated. We will search Medline, CINAHL, EMBASE, and PsycINFO. The use of these databases will be supplemented by other data sources, including unpublished data. Two independent reviewers will conduct all levels of screening, data abstraction, and quality appraisal. Results will be grouped according to the target group of the varying quality improvement strategies (that is, health system, health-care professionals, or patients) and/or by any other noteworthy grouping variable, such as etiology of spinal cord condition or by sex. If deemed appropriate, a meta-analysis will be conducted.
This systematic review will identify those quality improvement strategies aimed at the health system, health-care professionals, and patients that impact the quality of life and well-being of individuals with spinal cord injury. Knowledge and application of such quality improvement strategies may reduce inappropriate health-care utilization costs, such as acute care inpatient readmission in the years post injury. Prospero registry number: CRD42012003058.
Quality of life; Well-being; Spinal cord injury; Quality improvement; Systematic review; Protocol
Quality indicators (QI) are used in health care to measure quality of service and performance improvement. Health care professionals and organizations caring for patients with injuries need information regarding the quality of care provided and the outcomes experienced in order to target improvement efforts. However, very little is known about the quality of injury care provided to individual patients and populations and even less about patients’ perspectives on quality of care. The absence of QIs that incorporate patient or family preferences, needs or values has been identified as an important gap in the science and practice of injury quality improvement. The primary objective of this research protocol is to develop and evaluate the first set of patient and family-centred QIs of injury care for critically injured patients
This mixed methods study is comprised of three Sub-Studies. Sub-Study A will utilize focus group methodology to describe the preferences, needs and values of critically injured patients and their family members regarding the quality of health care delivered. Qualitative content analysis of the transcripts will begin after the first completed focus group and will draw on grounded theory using a process of open, axial and selective coding. A panel of stakeholders will be assembled during Sub-Study B to review the themes identified from the focus groups and develop a catalogue of potential patient and family-centred QIs of injury care using the RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method (RAM). The QIs developed by the stakeholder panel will be pilot tested in Sub-Study C using surveys of patients and their family members to determine construct validity, intra-rater reliability and clinical sensibility.
Measuring the quality of injury care is but a first step towards improving patient outcomes. This research will develop the first set of patient and family-centred QIs of injury care. To improve patient care, we need accessible, reliable indicators of quality that are important to patients, and that can then be used to establish quality of care benchmarks, to flag potential problems or successes, follow trends over time and identify disparities across organizations, communities, populations and regions.
Injury; Patient-centred care; Quality improvement; Quality indicators; Trauma; Focus group; Consensus panel; Survey
The electronic medical record (EMR)/electronic health record (EHR) is becoming an integral component of many primary-care outpatient practices. Before implementing an EMR/EHR system, primary-care practices should have an understanding of the potential benefits and limitations.
The objective of this study was to systematically review the recent literature around the impact of the EMR/EHR within primary-care outpatient practices.
Materials and methods
Searches of Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, ABI Inform, and Cochrane Library were conducted to identify articles published between January 1998 and January 2010. The gray literature and reference lists of included articles were also searched. 30 studies met inclusion criteria.
Results and discussion
The EMR/EHR appears to have structural and process benefits, but the impact on clinical outcomes is less clear. Using Donabedian's framework, five articles focused on the impact on healthcare structure, 21 explored healthcare process issues, and four focused on health-related outcomes.
Clinical informatics; quality of healthcare; systematic review; machine learning; health data standards; vocabulary; ontology; scientific information and health data policy; consumer health/patient education information; information retrieval; NLP; public health informatics; clinical trials; electronic medical records; primary care; systematic review
Canadian medical oncologists are struggling to provide optimal care for their patients with metastatic colorectal cancer as a result of differential access to preferred therapeutic drugs.
To evaluate Canadian medical oncologists' perspectives on how barriers to accessing new expensive cancer drugs have affected their practice and their opinions on the drug approval and funding processes.
Canadian medical oncologists treating colorectal cancer (CRC) were surveyed by means of a self-administered, cross-sectional survey.
Of the 164 eligible oncologists, there were 68 respondents (41.4% response rate). Only 29.4% of physicians felt they had been using the ideal first-line chemotherapy regimen for patients with metastatic CRC. Although all considered bevacizumab to be a component of the ideal first-line regimen, only 18% could use bevacizumab routinely, and less than half (44.8%) always discussed its role with their patients. In terms of accessing unfunded drugs, most physicians agreed that private payment should be allowed for drugs to be delivered at their own centers (76.1%) or private infusion clinics (52.2%). Ninety-seven percent of physicians reported major concerns about the drug approval and funding processes, and 85% of physicians supported the establishment of a national drug formulary.
Canadian medical oncologists are struggling to provide optimal cancer care for their patients with metastatic CRC as a result of nonuniform access to preferred therapeutic drugs. In face of these challenges, physicians have had to use clinical trials and private infusion clinics and, at times, may avoid discussing drugs with limited access. Many oncologists are dissatisfied with the existing funding mechanism and approval processes and support private payment for unfunded drugs.
The burden of H1N1 among socially disadvantaged populations is unclear. We aimed to synthesize hospitalization, severe illness, and mortality data associated with pandemic A/H1N1/2009 among socially disadvantaged populations.
Studies were identified through searching MEDLINE, EMBASE, scanning reference lists, and contacting experts. Studies reporting hospitalization, severe illness, and mortality attributable to laboratory-confirmed 2009 H1N1 pandemic among socially disadvantaged populations (e.g., ethnic minorities, low-income or lower-middle-income economy countries [LIC/LMIC]) were included. Two independent reviewers conducted screening, data abstraction, and quality appraisal (Newcastle Ottawa Scale). Random effects meta-analysis was conducted using SAS and Review Manager.
Sixty-two studies including 44,777 patients were included after screening 787 citations and 164 full-text articles. The prevalence of hospitalization for H1N1 ranged from 17–87% in high-income economy countries (HIC) and 11–45% in LIC/LMIC. Of those hospitalized, the prevalence of intensive care unit (ICU) admission and mortality was 6–76% and 1–25% in HIC; and 30% and 8–15%, in LIC/LMIC, respectively. There were significantly more hospitalizations among ethnic minorities versus non-ethnic minorities in two studies conducted in North America (1,313 patients, OR 2.26 [95% CI: 1.53–3.32]). There were no differences in ICU admissions (n = 8 studies, 15,352 patients, OR 0.84 [0.69–1.02]) or deaths (n = 6 studies, 14,757 patients, OR 0.85 [95% CI: 0.73–1.01]) among hospitalized patients in HIC. Sub-group analysis indicated that the meta-analysis results were not likely affected by confounding. Overall, the prevalence of hospitalization, severe illness, and mortality due to H1N1 was high for ethnic minorities in HIC and individuals from LIC/LMIC. However, our results suggest that there were little differences in the proportion of hospitalization, severe illness, and mortality between ethnic minorities and non-ethnic minorities living in HIC.
Systematic reviews have the potential to inform clinical decisions, yet little is known about the impact of interventions on increasing the use of systematic reviews in clinical decision-making.
To systematically review the evidence on the impact of interventions for seeking, appraising, and applying evidence from systematic reviews in decision-making by clinicians.
Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and LISA were searched from the earliest date available until July 2009.
Study Selection and Data Extraction
Two independent reviewers selected studies for inclusion if the intervention intended to increase seeking, appraising, or applying evidence from systematic reviews by a clinician. Information about the study population, features of each intervention, methods used to measure the use of systematic reviews and those used to measure professional performance or health care outcomes, existence and use of statistical tests, study outcomes, and comparative data were extracted.
A total of 8,104 titles and abstracts were reviewed, leading to retrieval of 189 full-text articles for assessment; five of these studies met all inclusion criteria. All five studies reported on professional performance behavior; none reported on patient health outcomes. One study reported positive outcomes in improving preventive care. Three studies focused on obstetrical care, with two reporting no impact on professional practice change, and one study reporting increases in the use of prophylactic oxytocin and episiotomy. One study found no improvement in the sealant rate of newly erupted molars among dentists in Scotland.
The small number of studies available for examination indicates the difficulty in summarizing and identifying key aspects in successful strategies that encourage clinicians to use systematic reviews in decision-making. Other concerns lay in selective reporting and lack of blinding during data collection.
The limited empirical data render the strength of evidence weak for the effectiveness and types of interventions that encourage clinicians to use systematic reviews in clinical decision making.
systematic review; evidence-based practice; decision-making; review literature as a topic
To identify and evaluate the effectiveness, clinical usefulness, sustainability, and usability of web-compatible diabetes-related tools.
Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, world wide web.
Studies were included if they described an electronic audiovisual tool used as a means to educate patients, care givers, or clinicians about diabetes management and assessed a psychological, behavioral, or clinical outcome.
Study abstraction and evaluation for clinical usefulness, sustainability, and usability were performed by two independent reviewers.
Of 12616 citations and 1541 full-text articles reviewed, 57 studies met inclusion criteria. Forty studies used experimental designs (25 randomized controlled trials, one controlled clinical trial, 14 before–after studies), and 17 used observational designs. Methodological quality and ratings for clinical usefulness and sustainability were variable, and there was a high prevalence of usability errors. Tools showed moderate but inconsistent effects on a variety of psychological and clinical outcomes including HbA1c and weight. Meta-regression of adequately reported studies (12 studies, 2731 participants) demonstrated that, although the interventions studied resulted in positive outcomes, this was not moderated by clinical usefulness nor usability.
This review is limited by the number of accessible tools, exclusion of tools for mobile devices, study quality, and the use of non-validated scales.
Few tools were identified that met our criteria for effectiveness, usefulness, sustainability, and usability. Priority areas include identifying strategies to minimize website attrition and enabling patients and clinicians to make informed decisions about website choice by encouraging reporting of website quality indicators.
Diabetes mellitus; medical informatics; medical education; patient education; endocrinology; knowledge translation; quality improvement; process redesign; CPOE; information; EMR
Globally, healthcare systems are attempting to optimize quality of care. This challenge has resulted in the development of implementation science or knowledge translation (KT) and the resulting need to build capacity in both the science and practice of KT.
We are attempting to meet these challenges through the creation of a national training initiative in KT. We have identified core competencies in this field and have developed a series of educational courses and materials for three training streams. We report the outline for this approach and the progress to date.
We have prepared a strategy to develop, implement, and evaluate a national training initiative to build capacity in the science and practice of KT. Ultimately through this initiative, we hope to meet the capacity demand for KT researchers and practitioners in Canada that will lead to improved care and a strengthened healthcare system.
The purpose of this study was to conduct a scoping review of the literature about the establishment and impact of quality and safety team initiatives in acute care.
Studies were identified through electronic searches of Medline, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, ABI Inform, Cochrane databases. Grey literature and bibliographies were also searched. Qualitative or quantitative studies that occurred in acute care, describing how quality and safety teams were established or implemented, the impact of teams, or the barriers and/or facilitators of teams were included. Two reviewers independently extracted data on study design, sample, interventions, and outcomes. Quality assessment of full text articles was done independently by two reviewers. Studies were categorized according to dimensions of quality.
Of 6,674 articles identified, 99 were included in the study. The heterogeneity of studies and results reported precluded quantitative data analyses. Findings revealed limited information about attributes of successful and unsuccessful team initiatives, barriers and facilitators to team initiatives, unique or combined contribution of selected interventions, or how to effectively establish these teams.
Not unlike systematic reviews of quality improvement collaboratives, this broad review revealed that while teams reported a number of positive results, there are many methodological issues. This study is unique in utilizing traditional quality assessment and more novel methods of quality assessment and reporting of results (SQUIRE) to appraise studies. Rigorous design, evaluation, and reporting of quality and safety team initiatives are required.
Osteoporosis affects over 200 million people worldwide at a high cost to healthcare systems. Although guidelines on assessing and managing osteoporosis are available, many patients are not receiving appropriate diagnostic testing or treatment. Findings from a systematic review of osteoporosis interventions, a series of mixed-methods studies, and advice from experts in osteoporosis and human-factors engineering were used collectively to develop a multicomponent tool (targeted to family physicians and patients at risk for osteoporosis) that may support clinical decision making in osteoporosis disease management at the point of care.
A three-phased approach will be used to evaluate the osteoporosis tool. In phase 1, the tool will be implemented in three family practices. It will involve ensuring optimal functioning of the tool while minimizing disruption to usual practice. In phase 2, the tool will be pilot tested in a quasi-experimental interrupted time series (ITS) design to determine if it can improve osteoporosis disease management at the point of care. Phase 3 will involve conducting a qualitative postintervention follow-up study to better understand participants' experiences and perceived utility of the tool and readiness to adopt the tool at the point of care.
The osteoporosis tool has the potential to make several contributions to the development and evaluation of complex, chronic disease interventions, such as the inclusion of an implementation strategy prior to conducting an evaluation study. Anticipated benefits of the tool may be to increase awareness for patients about osteoporosis and its associated risks and provide an opportunity to discuss a management plan with their physician, which may all facilitate patient self-management.
Clinical practice guidelines have the potential to facilitate the implementation of evidence into practice, support clinical decision making, specify beneficial therapeutic approaches, and influence public policy. However, these potential benefits have not been consistently achieved. The limited impact of guidelines can be attributed to organisational constraints, the complexity of the guidelines, and the lack of usability testing or end-user involvement in their development. Implementability has been referred to as the perceived characteristics of guidelines that predict the relative ease of their implementation at the clinical level, but this concept is as yet poorly defined. The objective of our study is to identify guideline attributes that affect uptake in practice by considering evidence from four disciplines (medicine, psychology, management, human factors engineering) to determine the relationship between the perceived characteristics of recommendations and their uptake and to develop a framework of implementability.
A realist-review approach to knowledge synthesis will be used to understand attributes of guidelines (e.g., its text and content) and how changing these elements might impact clinical practice and clinical decision making. It also allows for the exploration of 'what works for whom, in what circumstances, and in what respects'. The realist review will be structured according to Pawson's five practical steps in realist reviews: (1) clarifying the scope of the review, (2) determining the search strategy, (3) ensuring proper article selection and study quality assessment, (4) extracting and organising data, and (5) synthesising the evidence and drawing conclusions. Data will be synthesised according to a two-stage analysis: (1) we will extract and define all relevant guideline attributes from the different disciplines, then create a shortlist of unique attributes and investigate their relationships with uptake, and (2) we will compare and contrast the attributes and guideline uptake within each and between the four disciplines to create a robust framework of implementability.
Creating guidelines that are designed to maximise uptake may be a potentially effective and inexpensive way of increasing their impact. However, this is best achieved by a comprehensive framework to inform the design of guidelines drawing on a range of disciplines that study behaviour change. This study will use a customised realist-review approach to synthesising the literature to better understand and operationalise a complex and under-theorised concept.
Systematic reviews have the potential to inform decisions made by health policymakers and managers, yet little is known about the impact of interventions to increase the use of systematic reviews by these groups in decision making.
We systematically reviewed the evidence on the impact of interventions for seeking, appraising, and applying evidence from systematic reviews in decision making by health policymakers or managers. Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Methodology Register, Health Technology Assessment Database, and LISA were searched from the earliest date available until April 2010. Two independent reviewers selected studies for inclusion if the intervention intended to increase seeking, appraising, or applying evidence from systematic reviews by a health policymaker or manager. Minimum inclusion criteria were a description of the study population and availability of extractable data.
11,297 titles and abstracts were reviewed, leading to retrieval of 37 full-text articles for assessment; four of these articles met all inclusion criteria. Three articles described one study where five systematic reviews were mailed to public health officials and followed up with surveys at three months and two years. The articles reported from 23% to 63% of respondents declaring they had used systematic reviews in policymaking decisions. One randomised trial indicated that tailored messages combined with access to a registry of systematic reviews had a significant effect on policies made in the area of healthy body weight promotion in health departments.
The limited empirical data renders the strength of evidence weak for the effectiveness and the types of interventions that encourage health policymakers and managers to use systematic reviews in decision making.
A study conducted by Lai and colleagues, published this week in BMC Medicine, suggests that more guidance might be required for interpreting systematic review (SR) results. In the study by Lai and colleagues, positive (or favorable) results were influential in changing participants' prior beliefs about the interventions presented in the systematic review. Other studies have examined the relationship between favorable systematic review results and the publication of systematic reviews. An international registry may decrease the number of unpublished systematic reviews and will hopefully decrease redundancy, increase transparency, and increase collaboration within the SR community. In addition, using guidance from the Preferred Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA: http://www.prisma-statement.org/) Statement and the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE: http://www.gradeworkinggroup.org/) approach can also be used to improve the interpretation of systematic reviews. In this commentary, we highlight important methodological issues related to the conduct and reporting of systematic reviews and also present our own guidance on interpreting systematic reviews.
Please see Research article: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/9/30/.
Mentorship is perceived to play a significant role in the career development and productivity of academic clinicians, but little is known about the characteristics of mentorship. This knowledge would be useful for those developing mentorship programs.
To complete a systematic review of the qualitative literature to explore and summarize the development, perceptions and experiences of the mentoring relationship in academic medicine.
Medline, PsycINFO, ERIC, Scopus and Current Contents databases from the earliest available date to December 2008.
We included studies that used qualitative research methodology to explore the meaning and characteristics of mentoring in academic medicine. Two investigators independently assessed articles for relevance and study quality, and extracted data using standardized forms. No restrictions were placed on the language of articles.
A total of 8,487 citations were identified, 114 full text articles were assessed, and 9 articles were selected for review. All studies were conducted in North America, and most focused on the initiation and cultivation phases of the mentoring relationship. Mentoring was described as a complex relationship based on mutual interests, both professional and personal. Mentees should take an active role in the formation and development of mentoring relationships. Good mentors should be sincere in their dealings with mentees, be able to listen actively and understand mentees' needs, and have a well-established position within the academic community. Some of the mentoring functions aim at the mentees’ academic growth and others at personal growth. Barriers to mentoring and dysfunctional mentoring can be related to personal factors, relational difficulties and structural/institutional barriers.
Successful mentoring requires commitment and interpersonal skills of the mentor and mentee, but also a facilitating environment at academic medicine's institutions.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-009-1165-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
mentoring; academic medicine; systematic review; qualitative research
Osteoporosis affects over 200 million people worldwide at a high cost to healthcare systems. Although guidelines are available, patients are not receiving appropriate diagnostic testing or treatment. Findings from a systematic review of osteoporosis interventions and a series of focus groups were used to develop a functional multifaceted tool that can support clinical decision-making in osteoporosis disease management at the point of care. The objective of our study was to assess how well the prototype met functional goals and usability needs.
We conducted a usability study for each component of the tool--the Best Practice Recommendation Prompt (BestPROMPT), the Risk Assessment Questionnaire (RAQ), and the Customised Osteoporosis Education (COPE) sheet--using the framework described by Kushniruk and Patel. All studies consisted of one-on-one sessions with a moderator using a standardised worksheet. Sessions were audio- and video-taped and transcribed verbatim. Data analysis consisted of a combination of qualitative and quantitative analyses.
In study 1, physicians liked that the BestPROMPT can provide customised recommendations based on risk factors identified from the RAQ. Barriers included lack of time to use the tool, the need to alter clinic workflow to enable point-of-care use, and that the tool may disrupt the real reason for the visit. In study 2, patients completed the RAQ in a mean of 6 minutes, 35 seconds. Of the 42 critical incidents, 60% were navigational and most occurred when the first nine participants were using the stylus pen; no critical incidents were observed with the last six participants that used the touch screen. Patients thought that the RAQ questions were easy to read and understand, but they found it difficult to initiate the questionnaire. Suggestions for improvement included improving aspects of the interface and navigation. The results of study 3 showed that most patients were able to understand and describe sections of the COPE sheet, and all considered discussing the information with their physicians. Suggestions for improvement included simplifying the language and improving the layout.
Findings from the three studies informed changes to the tool and confirmed the importance of usability testing on all end users to reduce errors, and as an important step in the development process of knowledge translation interventions.
Osteoporosis-related fractures are a significant public health concern. Interventions that increase detection and treatment of osteoporosis are underutilized. This pragmatic randomised study was done to evaluate the impact of a multifaceted community-based care program aimed at optimizing evidence-based management in patients at risk for osteoporosis and fractures.
This was a 12-month randomized trial performed in Ontario, Canada. Eligible patients were community-dwelling, aged ≥55 years, and identified to be at risk for osteoporosis-related fractures. Two hundred and one patients were allocated to the intervention group or to usual care. Components of the intervention were directed towards primary care physicians and patients and included facilitated bone mineral density testing, patient education and patient-specific recommendations for osteoporosis treatment. The primary outcome was the implementation of appropriate osteoporosis management.
101 patients were allocated to intervention and 100 to control. Mean age of participants was 71.9 ± 7.2 years and 94% were women. Pharmacological treatment (alendronate, risedronate, or raloxifene) for osteoporosis was increased by 29% compared to usual care (56% [29/52] vs. 27% [16/60]; relative risk [RR] 2.09, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.29 to 3.40). More individuals in the intervention group were taking calcium (54% [54/101] vs. 20% [20/100]; RR 2.67, 95% CI 1.74 to 4.12) and vitamin D (33% [33/101] vs. 20% [20/100]; RR 1.63, 95% CI 1.01 to 2.65).
A multi-faceted community-based intervention improved management of osteoporosis in high risk patients compared with usual care.
This trial has been registered with clinicaltrials.gov (ID: NCT00465387)
We sought to evaluate agreement between a new and widely implemented method of temperature measurement in critical care, temporal artery thermometry and an established method of core temperature measurement, bladder thermometry as performed in clinical practice.
Temperatures were simultaneously recorded hourly (n = 736 observations) using both devices as part of routine clinical monitoring in 14 critically ill adult patients with temperatures ranging ≥1°C prior to consent.
The mean difference between temporal artery and bladder temperatures measured was -0.44°C (95% confidence interval, -0.47°C to -0.41°C), with temporal artery readings lower than bladder temperatures. Agreement between the two devices was greatest for normothermia (36.0°C to < 38.3°C) (mean difference -0.35°C [95% confidence interval, -0.37°C to -0.33°C]). The temporal artery thermometer recorded higher temperatures during hypothermia (< 36°C) (mean difference 0.66°C [95% confidence interval, 0.53°C to 0.79°C]) and lower temperatures during hyperthermia (≥38.3°C) (mean difference -0.90°C [95% confidence interval, -0.99°C to -0.81°C]). The sensitivity for detecting fever (core temperature ≥38.3°C) using the temporal artery thermometer was 0.26 (95% confidence interval, 0.20 to 0.33), and the specificity was 0.99 (95% confidence interval, 0.98 to 0.99). The positive likelihood ratio for fever was 24.6 (95% confidence interval, 10.7 to 56.8); the negative likelihood ratio was 0.75 (95% confidence interval, 0.68 to 0.82).
Temporal artery thermometry produces somewhat surprising disagreement with an established method of core temperature measurement and should not to be used in situations where body temperature needs to be measured with accuracy.
Osteoporosis affects over 200 million people worldwide, and represents a significant cost burden. Although guidelines are available for best practice in osteoporosis, evidence indicates that patients are not receiving appropriate diagnostic testing or treatment according to guidelines. The use of clinical decision support systems (CDSSs) may be one solution because they can facilitate knowledge translation by providing high-quality evidence at the point of care. Findings from a systematic review of osteoporosis interventions and consultation with clinical and human factors engineering experts were used to develop a conceptual model of an osteoporosis tool. We conducted a qualitative study of focus groups to better understand physicians' perceptions of CDSSs and to transform the conceptual osteoporosis tool into a functional prototype that can support clinical decision making in osteoporosis disease management at the point of care.
The conceptual design of the osteoporosis tool was tested in 4 progressive focus groups with family physicians and general internists. An iterative strategy was used to qualitatively explore the experiences of physicians with CDSSs; and to find out what features, functions, and evidence should be included in a working prototype. Focus groups were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide using an iterative process where results of the first focus group informed changes to the questions for subsequent focus groups and to the conceptual tool design. Transcripts were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using grounded theory methodology.
Of the 3 broad categories of themes that were identified, major barriers related to the accuracy and feasibility of extracting bone mineral density test results and medications from the risk assessment questionnaire; using an electronic input device such as a Tablet PC in the waiting room; and the importance of including well-balanced information in the patient education component of the osteoporosis tool. Suggestions for modifying the tool included the addition of a percentile graph showing patients' 10-year risk for osteoporosis or fractures, and ensuring that the tool takes no more than 5 minutes to complete.
Focus group data revealed the facilitators and barriers to using the osteoporosis tool at the point of care so that it can be optimized to aid physicians in their clinical decision making.
The gap between the level of care recommended by evidence-based clinical practice guidelines and the actual care delivered to patients in practice has been well established. The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) created an implementation strategy to improve the implementation of its 2008 guidelines. This study will evaluate the impact of the strategy to improve cardiovascular disease (CVD) screening, prevention and treatment for people with diabetes.
A pragmatic cluster-randomized trial will be conducted to evaluate the CDA's CVD Toolkit. All family physicians in Ontario, Canada were randomly allocated to receive the Toolkit, which includes several printed educational materials targeting CVD screening, prevention and treatment, either in spring 2009 (intervention arm) or in spring 2010 (control arm). Randomization occurred at the level of the practice. Forty family physicians from each arm will be recruited to participate, and the medical records for 20 of their diabetic patients at high risk for CVD will be retrospectively reviewed. Outcome measures will be assessed for each patient between July 2009 and March 2010. The primary outcome will be that the patient is receiving a statin. Secondary outcomes will include 1) the receipt of an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker, 2) various intermediate measures (A1c, blood pressure, LDL-cholesterol, total-/HDL-cholesterol ratio, body mass index and waist circumference), and 3) clinical inertia (the failure to change therapy in response to an abnormal A1c, blood pressure or cholesterol reading). The analysis will be carried out using multilevel hierarchical logistic regression models to account for the clustered nature of the data. The group assignment will be a physician-level variable. In addition, a process evaluation study with six focus groups of family physicians will assess the acceptability of the CDA's Toolkit and will explore factors contributing to any change or lack of change in behaviour, from the perspectives of family physicians.
Printed educational materials for physicians have been shown to exert small-to-moderate changes in patient care. The CDA's CVD Toolkit is an example of a practice guideline implementation strategy that can be disseminated to a wide audience relatively inexpensively, and so demonstrating its effectiveness at improving diabetes care could have important consequences for guideline developers, policy makers and clinicians.
The trial is registered with http://www.clinicaltrials.gov, ID # NCT01026688
The study of implementing research findings into practice is rapidly growing and has acquired many competing names (e.g., dissemination, uptake, utilization, translation) and contributing disciplines. The use of multiple terms across disciplines pose barriers to communication and progress for applying research findings. We sought to establish an inventory of terms describing this field and how often authors use them in a collection of health literature published in 2006.
We refer to this field as knowledge translation (KT). Terms describing aspects of KT and their definitions were collected from literature, the internet, reports, textbooks, and contact with experts. We compiled a database of KT and other articles by reading 12 healthcare journals representing multiple disciplines. All articles published in these journals in 2006 were categorized as being KT or not. The KT articles (all KT) were further categorized, if possible, for whether they described KT projects or implementations (KT application articles), or presented the theoretical basis, models, tools, methods, or techniques of KT (KT theory articles). Accuracy was checked using duplicate reading. Custom designed software determined how often KT terms were used in the titles and abstracts of articles categorized as being KT.
A total of 2,603 articles were assessed, and 581 were identified as KT articles. Of these, 201 described KT applications, and 153 included KT theory. Of the 100 KT terms collected, 46 were used by the authors in the titles or abstracts of articles categorized as being KT. For all 581 KT articles, eight terms or term variations used by authors were highly discriminating for separating KT and non-KT articles (p < 0.001): implementation, adoption, quality improvement, dissemination, complex intervention (with multiple endings), implementation (within three words of) research, and complex intervention. More KT terms were associated with KT application articles (n = 13) and KT theory articles (n = 18).
We collected 100 terms describing KT research. Authors used 46 of them in titles and abstracts of KT articles. Of these, approximately half discriminated between KT and non-KT articles. Thus, the need for consolidation and consistent use of fewer terms related to KT research is evident.