Improving occupational physicians' adherence to a practice guideline: feasibility and impact of a tailored implementation strategy.BMC Med Educ 2015; 15:82BM
Although practice guidelines are important tools to improve quality of care, implementation remains challenging. To improve adherence to an evidence-based guideline for the management of mental health problems, we developed a tailored implementation strategy targeting barriers perceived by occupational physicians (OPs). Feasibility and impact on OPs' barriers were evaluated.
OPs received 8 training-sessions in small peer-learning groups, aimed at discussing the content of the guideline and their perceived barriers to adhere to guideline recommendations; finding solutions to overcome these barriers; and implementing solutions in practice. The training had a plan-do-check-act (PDCA) structure and was guided by a trainer. Protocol compliance and OPs' experiences were qualitatively and quantitatively assessed. Using a questionnaire, impact on knowledge, attitude, and external barriers to guideline adherence was investigated before and after the training.
The training protocol was successfully conducted; guideline recommendations and related barriers were discussed with peers, (innovative) solutions were found and implemented in practice. The participating 32 OPs were divided into 6 groups and all OPs attended 8 sessions. Of the OPs, 90% agreed that the peer-learning groups and the meetings spread over one year were highly effective training components. Significant improvements (p < .05) were found in knowledge, self-efficacy, motivation to use the guideline and its applicability to individual patients. After the training, OPs did not perceive any barriers related to knowledge and self-efficacy. Perceived adherence increased from 48.8% to 96.8% (p < .01).
The results imply that an implementation strategy focusing on perceived barriers and tailor-made implementation interventions is a feasible method to enhance guideline adherence. Moreover, the strategy contributed to OPs' knowledge, attitudes, and skills in using the guideline. As a generic approach to overcome barriers perceived in specific situations, this strategy provides a useful method to guideline implementation for other health care professionals too.