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      Facilitators and barriers to implementing clinical care pathways

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          Abstract

          Background

          The promotion of care pathways in the recent Governmental health policy reports of Lord Darzi is likely to increase efforts to promote the use of care pathways in the NHS. Evidence on the process of pathway implementation, however, is sparse and variations in how organisations go about the implementation process are likely to be large. This paper summarises what is known about factors which help or hinder clinicians in adopting and putting care pathways into practice, and which consequently promote or hinder the implementation of scientific evidence in clinical practice.

          Discussion

          Care pathways can provide patients with clear expectations of their care, provide a means of measuring patient's progress, promote teamwork on a multi-disciplinary team, facilitate the use of guidelines, and may act as a basis for a payment system. In order to achieve adequate implementation, however, facilitators and barriers must be considered, planned for, and incorporated directly into the pathway with full engagement among clinical and management staff. Barriers and/or facilitators may be present at each stage of development, implementation and evaluation; and, barriers at any stage can impede successful implementation. Important considerations to be made are ensuring the inclusion of all types of staff, plans for evaluating and incorporating continuous improvements, allowing for organisational adaptations and promoting the use of multifaceted interventions.

          Summary

          Although there is a dearth of information regarding the successful implementation of care pathways, evidence is available which may be applied when implementing a care pathway. Multifaceted interventions which incorporate all staff and facilitate organisational adaptations must be seriously considered and incorporated alongside care pathways in a continuous manner. In order to better understand the mechanism upon which care pathways are effective, however, more research specifically addressing conditions under which providers become engaged in using care pathways is needed.

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          Most cited references 23

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          Effects of computerized clinical decision support systems on practitioner performance and patient outcomes: a systematic review.

          Developers of health care software have attributed improvements in patient care to these applications. As with any health care intervention, such claims require confirmation in clinical trials. To review controlled trials assessing the effects of computerized clinical decision support systems (CDSSs) and to identify study characteristics predicting benefit. We updated our earlier reviews by searching the MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, Inspec, and ISI databases and consulting reference lists through September 2004. Authors of 64 primary studies confirmed data or provided additional information. We included randomized and nonrandomized controlled trials that evaluated the effect of a CDSS compared with care provided without a CDSS on practitioner performance or patient outcomes. Teams of 2 reviewers independently abstracted data on methods, setting, CDSS and patient characteristics, and outcomes. One hundred studies met our inclusion criteria. The number and methodologic quality of studies improved over time. The CDSS improved practitioner performance in 62 (64%) of the 97 studies assessing this outcome, including 4 (40%) of 10 diagnostic systems, 16 (76%) of 21 reminder systems, 23 (62%) of 37 disease management systems, and 19 (66%) of 29 drug-dosing or prescribing systems. Fifty-two trials assessed 1 or more patient outcomes, of which 7 trials (13%) reported improvements. Improved practitioner performance was associated with CDSSs that automatically prompted users compared with requiring users to activate the system (success in 73% of trials vs 47%; P = .02) and studies in which the authors also developed the CDSS software compared with studies in which the authors were not the developers (74% success vs 28%; respectively, P = .001). Many CDSSs improve practitioner performance. To date, the effects on patient outcomes remain understudied and, when studied, inconsistent.
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            Changing provider behavior: an overview of systematic reviews of interventions.

            Increasing recognition of the failure to translate research findings into practice has led to greater awareness of the importance of using active dissemination and implementation strategies. Although there is a growing body of research evidence about the effectiveness of different strategies, this is not easily accessible to policy makers and professionals. To identify, appraise, and synthesize systematic reviews of professional educational or quality assurance interventions to improve quality of care. An overview was made of systematic reviews of professional behavior change interventions published between 1966 and 1998. Forty-one reviews were identified covering a wide range of interventions and behaviors. In general, passive approaches are generally ineffective and unlikely to result in behavior change. Most other interventions are effective under some circumstances; none are effective under all circumstances. Promising approaches include educational outreach (for prescribing) and reminders. Multifaceted interventions targeting different barriers to change are more likely to be effective than single interventions. Although the current evidence base is incomplete, it provides valuable insights into the likely effectiveness of different interventions. Future quality improvement or educational activities should be informed by the findings of systematic reviews of professional behavior change interventions.
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              Impact of disseminating quality improvement programs for depression in managed primary care: a randomized controlled trial.

              Care of patients with depression in managed primary care settings often fails to meet guideline standards, but the long-term impact of quality improvement (QI) programs for depression care in such settings is unknown. To determine if QI programs in managed care practices for depressed primary care patients improve quality of care, health outcomes, and employment. Randomized controlled trial initiated from June 1996 to March 1997. Forty-six primary care clinics in 6 US managed care organizations. Of 27332 consecutively screened patients, 1356 with current depressive symptoms and either 12-month, lifetime, or no depressive disorder were enrolled. Matched clinics were randomized to usual care (mailing of practice guidelines) or to 1 of 2 QI programs that involved institutional commitment to QI, training local experts and nurse specialists to provide clinician and patient education, identification of a pool of potentially depressed patients, and either nurses for medication follow-up or access to trained psychotherapists. Process of care (use of antidepressant medication, mental health specialty counseling visits, medical visits for mental health problems, any medical visits), health outcomes (probable depression and health-related quality of life [HRQOL]), and employment at baseline and at 6- and 12-month follow-up. Patients in QI (n = 913) and control (n = 443) clinics did not differ significantly at baseline in service use, HRQOL, or employment after nonresponse weighting. At 6 months, 50.9% of QI patients and 39.7% of controls had counseling or used antidepressant medication at an appropriate dosage (P or = .21). At 6 months, 47.5% of QI patients and 36.6% of controls had a medical visit for mental health problems (P = .001), and QI patients were more likely to see a mental health specialist at 6 months (39.8% vs 27.2%; P<.001) and at 12 months (29.1% vs 22.7%; P = .03). At 6 months, 39.9% of QI patients and 49.9% of controls still met criteria for probable depressive disorder (P = .001), with a similar pattern at 12 months (41.6% vs 51.2%; P = .005). Initially employed QI patients were more likely to be working at 12 months relative to controls (P = .05). When these managed primary care practices implemented QI programs that improve opportunities for depression treatment without mandating it, quality of care, mental health outcomes, and retention of employment of depressed patients improved over a year, while medical visits did not increase overall.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                BMC Health Serv Res
                BMC Health Services Research
                BioMed Central
                1472-6963
                2010
                28 June 2010
                : 10
                : 182
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, London, SE5 8AF, UK
                [2 ]Centre for the Economics of Mental Health, Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London, SE5 8AF, UK
                Article
                1472-6963-10-182
                10.1186/1472-6963-10-182
                2912894
                20584273
                Copyright ©2010 Evans-Lacko et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Correspondence

                Health & Social care

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