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1.  General practitioners' perceptions of the effectiveness of medical interventions: an exploration of underlying constructs 
Background
Many interventions shown to be effective through clinical trials are not readily implemented in clinical practice. Unfortunately, little is known regarding how clinicians construct their perceptions of the effectiveness of medical interventions. This study aims to explore general practitioners' perceptions of the nature of 'effectiveness'.
Methods
The design was qualitative in nature using the repertory grid technique to elicit the constructs underlying the perceived effectiveness of a range of medical interventions. Eight medical interventions were used as stimuli (diclophenac to reduce acute pain, cognitive behaviour therapy to treat depression, weight loss surgery to achieve weight loss, diet and exercise to prevent type 2 diabetes, statins to prevent heart disease, stopping smoking to prevent heart disease, nicotine replacement therapy to stop smoking, and stop smoking groups to stop smoking). The setting involved face-to-face interviews followed by questionnaires in London Primary Care Trusts. Participants included a random sample of 13 general practitioners.
Results
Analysis of the ratings showed that the constructs clustered around two dimensions: low patient effort versus high patient effort (dimension one), and small impact versus large impact (dimension two). Dimension one represented constructs such as 'success requires little motivation', 'not a lifestyle intervention', and 'health-care professional led intervention'. Dimension two represented constructs such as 'weak and/or minimal evidence of effectiveness', 'small treatment effect for users', 'a small proportion of users will benefit' and 'not cost-effective'. Constructs within each dimension were closely related.
Conclusions
General practitioners judged the effectiveness of medical interventions by considering two broad dimensions: the extent to which interventions involve patient effort, and the size of their impact. The latter is informed by trial evidence, but the patient effort required to achieve effectiveness seems to be based on clinical judgement. Some of the failure of evidence-based medicine to be implemented may be more explicable if both dimensions were attended to.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-5-17
PMCID: PMC2827366  PMID: 20158896
2.  An implementation research agenda 
In October 2006, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of England asked Professor Sir John Tooke to chair a High Level Group on Clinical Effectiveness in response to the chapter 'Waste not, want not' in the CMOs 2005 annual report 'On the State of the Public Health'. The high level group made recommendations to the CMO to address possible ways forward to improve clinical effectiveness in the UK National Health Service (NHS) and promote clinical engagement to deliver this. The report contained a short section on research needs that emerged from the process of writing the report, but in order to more fully identify the relevant research agenda Professor Sir John Tooke asked Professor Martin Eccles to convene an expert group – the Clinical Effectiveness Research Agenda Group (CERAG) – to define the research agenda. The CERAG's terms of reference were 'to further elaborate the research agenda in relation to pursuing clinically effective practice within the (UK) National Health Service'. This editorial presents the summary of the CERAG report and recommendations.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-4-18
PMCID: PMC2671479  PMID: 19351400

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