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Strengthening lifestyle interventions in primary health care: the challenge of change and implementation of guidelines in clinical practice
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5115-3398
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Stärka arbetet med levnadsvanor i primärvården : utmaningen att förändra och att introducera riktlinjer i klinisk praxis (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Background: Lifestyle habits like tobacco use, hazardous use of alcohol, unhealthy eating habits and insufficient physical activity are risk factors for developing non-communicable diseases, which are the leading, global causes of death. Furthermore, ill health and chronic diseases are costly and put an increased burden on societies and health systems.  In order to address this situation, governmental bodies and organizations’ have encouraged healthcare providers to reorient the focus of healthcare and undertake effective interventions that support patients to engage in healthy lifestyle habits. In Sweden, national clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) on lifestyle interventions were released in 2011. However, the challenges of changing clinical practice and introducing guidelines are well documented, and health interventions face particular difficulties. The overall purpose of this thesis is to contribute towards a better understanding of the complexities of shifting primary health care to become more health oriented, and to explore the implementation environment and its effect on lifestyle intervention CPGs. The specific aims are to investigate how implementation challenges were addressed during the guideline development process (Study I), to investigate several dimensions of readiness for implementing lifestyle intervention guidelines, including aspects of the intervention and the intervention context (Study II), to explore the extent to which health care professionals are working with lifestyle interventions in primary health care, and to describe and develop a baseline measure of professional knowledge, attitudes and perceived organizational support for lifestyle interventions (Study III), and to assess the progress of implementing lifestyle interventions in primary care settings, as  well as investigate the uptake and usage of the CPGs in clinical practice (Study IV).

 

Methods and results: Interviews were conducted with national guideline-developers (n=7). They were aware of numerous implementation challenges, and applied strategies and ways to address them during the guideline development process. The strategies adhered to four themes: (a) broad agreements and consensus about scope and purpose, (b) systematic and active involvement of stakeholders, (c) formalized and structured development procedures, and (d) openness and transparent development procedures. At the same time, the CPGs for lifestyle interventions challenged the development-model at the National Board of Health and Welfare (NBHW) because of their preventive and non-disease specific focus (I).

A multiple case study was also conducted, using a mixed methods approach to gather data from key organizational individuals that were accountable for planning the implementation of CPGs (n=10), as well as health professionals and managers (n=340). Analysis of this data revealed that conditions for change were favorable in the two organizations that served as case studies, especially concerning change focus (health orientation) and the specific intervention (national guidelines on lifestyle interventions). Somewhat limited support was found for change and learning, and change format (national guidelines in general). Furthermore, factors in the outer context were found to influence the priority and timing of the intervention, as well as considerable inconsistencies across the professional groups (II). A cross-sectional study among physicians and nurses (n=315) in Swedish primary healthcare showed that healthcare professionals have a largely positive attitude and thorough overall knowledge of lifestyle intervention methods. However, both the level of knowledge and the involvement in patients’ lifestyle change, differed between professional groups. Organizational support like CPGs and the development of primary health care (PHC) collaborations with other stakeholders were identified as potential strategies for enhancing the implementation of lifestyle interventions in PHC (III).

In addition to interviews and case studies, a longitudinal survey among health professionals (n=150; n=73) demonstrated that their use of methods to encourage patients to reduce or eliminate tobacco or alcohol use, had increased. The survey also indicated that nurses had increased the extent to which they addressed all four lifestyle habits. The progress of the implementation of CPGs on lifestyle interventions in PHC was somewhat limited, and important differences in physicians and nurses’ attitudes, as well as their use of the guidelines, were found (IV).

Conclusions: Health orientation differs in many ways from more traditional fields in medicine. To strengthen the implementation of this very important (but not “urgent”) field in health care, it needs, first of all, to be prioritized at all levels! The results of the studies demonstrate relatively slow adoption of lifestyle intervention CPGs in clinical practice, and indicate room for improvement. The findings of this thesis can inform healthcare policy and research on further development of the health orientation perspective, as well as on the challenges of implementing CPGs on lifestyle interventions in primary care. In summary, this thesis presents important lessons learned regarding health orientation - from the development of CPGs in the field, via assessing healthcare organizations’ readiness to change and health professionals’ attitudes to methods to support patients with lifestyle changes.

Abstract [sv]

Bakgrund: Levnadsvanor som tobaksbruk, riskbruk av alkohol, ohälsosamma matvanor och otillräcklig fysisk aktivitet är riskfaktorer för att utveckla kroniska sjukdomar, vilka orsakar de flesta dödsfallen i världen. Ohälsa och dess följdsjukdomar utmanar också samhällen och hälsosystem världen över p.g.a. de höga kostnader som de medför. För att förbättra situationen så försöker regeringar och organisationer förändra hälso- och sjukvårdens perspektiv till att fokusera mer på hälsa och att arbeta med effektiva interventioner för att förebygga och att förändra människors ohälsosamma vanor. År 2011 i Sverige, publicerades nationella kliniska riktlinjer för vårdens arbete med att förebygga sjukdom genom att stödja förändring av patienters ohälsosamma levnadsvanor. Det är dock välkänt hur svårt det är att förändra klinisk praxis och att introducera riktlinjer, och interventioner på området hälsa i sjukvården brottas med specifika utmaningar. Det övergripande syftet med den här avhandlingen har varit att bidra till en bättre förståelse av komplexiteten i att hälsoorientera primärvården, och att utforska förutsättningarna till att implementera kliniska riktlinjer för att stödja förändring av patienters levnadsvanor. De mer specifika syftena var: att (I) utforska hur implementeringsutmaningarna behandlades i utvecklingsprocessen av riktlinjerna ; att (II) undersöka dimensioner av beredskapen för förändring i primärvården för att implementera riktlinjerna om levnadsvanor inkluderande aspekter av interventionen själv samt kontexten ; att (III) utforska i vilken utsträckning hälsoprofessionerna arbetar med levnadsvanor i primärvården, och att beskriva deras kunskap, attityder och uppfattat organisatoriskt stöd för livsstilsinterventioner ; att (IV) i en två-årig uppföljning utvärdera utvecklingen av arbetet med levnadsvanor i primärvården, och användningen av de specifika nationella riktlinjerna för levnadsvanor.

Metod och resultat: En intervjustudie med riktlinjeutvecklare på nationell nivå (n = 7) visade att många utmaningar för implementeringen av riktlinjerna identifierades och bemöttes under utvecklingsprocessen i fyra teman av strategier: breda överenskommelser och konsensus om inriktning och syfte, systematiskt och aktivt inkluderande av stakeholders, formaliserad och strukturerad utvecklingsprocess, öppenhet och insyn utvecklingsprocess. Samtidigt utmanade dock riktlinjerna om livsstilsinterventioner Socialstyrelsens utvecklingmodell p.g.a. deras förebyggande och icke sjukdomsspecifika fokus (I). En multipel fallstudie med nyckelpersoner ansvariga för implementeringen av riktlinjerna i sjukvårdsorganisationerna (n = 10) samt vårdpersonal och chefer (n = 340), visade på gynnsamma villkor för förändring i båda organisationerna rörande förändringsfokus (d.v.s. hälsoorientering) och den specifika interventionen (d.v.s. riktlinjer om metoder för att stödja förändring av ohälsosamma levnadsvanor). Stödet för förändring och lärande visade på något svagare resultat, likaså formen för förändringen d.v.s. nationella riktlinjer i allmänhet. Faktorer i den yttre kontexten visade sig kunna påverka prioritering av och optimalt val av tidpunkt för interventionen, likaså betydande skillnader i uppfattningar mellan yrkesgrupperna (II). En tvärsnittsstudie bland läkare och sjuksköterskor (n = 315) i primärvården visade att de har en positiv attityd och en god kunskapsnivå om metoder för livsstilsförändring. Både kunskapsnivå och i vilken utsträckning man arbetar med patienters livsstil skiljer sig mellan yrkesgrupper. Organisatoriskt stöd som nationella riktlinjer och utvecklandet av primärvårdens samarbete med intressenter i närområdet identifierades som viktigt för att förbättra arbetet med livsstil interventioner (III). En longitudinell undersökning bland vårdpersonal visade att användning av metoder för att förändra patientens vanor beträffande tobaksbruk och riskbruk av alkohol har ökat över tid, och att sjuksköterskorna arbetar i högre utsträckning med alla fyra levnadsvanorna än i tidigare. Implementeringen av de nationella riktlinjerna för levnadsvanor hade inte kommit så långt vid det andra mättillfället, och stora skillnader visade sig i hur läkare och sköterskor ser på riktlinjer och i vilken utsträckning de använder dem (IV).

Slutsats: Hälsofrämjande och prevention skiljer sig på många sätt från mer traditionella fält inom medicinen. För att stärka implementeringen av det här viktiga (men ej akuta) fältet i hälso- och sjukvården, så måste det först av allt prioriteras på alla nivåer! Resultatet visar på ett svagt upptag av riktlinjerna för livsstilsinterventioner i klinisk praxis, och lämnar utrymme till förbättring. Aspekter av resultatet som presenteras i avhandlingen kan vägleda fortsatt utveckling och implementering av hälsoorientering och riktlinjer för livsstilsinterventioner inom primärvården, samt användas för att påverka policy, praxis och framtida forskning. Det gäller framför allt aspekter av utveckling av nationella riktlinjer på området; hälso- och sjukvårdsorganisationernas beredskap till förändring; hälsoprofessionernas attityder, kunskap och i vilken utsträckning de arbetar med livsstilsinterventioner och riktlinjer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet , 2017. , 91+4 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1926
Keyword [en]
Health orientation, health promotion, prevention, primary health care, readiness for change, lifestyles, clinical practice guidelines, implementation, guideline development, tobacco use, alcohol use, unhealthy eating habits, physical activity, organizational support
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Public health
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-141323ISBN: 978-91-7601-789-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-141323DiVA: diva2:1153531
Public defence
2017-11-24, Sal 135, Allmänmedicin, By 9A, Norrlands universitetssjukhus, 90187 Umeå, Umeå, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-11-02 Created: 2017-10-30 Last updated: 2017-11-23Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Addressing implementation challenges during guideline development - A case study of Swedish national guidelines for methods of preventing disease.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Addressing implementation challenges during guideline development - A case study of Swedish national guidelines for methods of preventing disease.
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2015 (English)In: BMC Health Services Research, ISSN 1472-6963, Vol. 15, no 1, 19- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BackgroundMany of the world¿s life threatening diseases (e.g. cancer, heart disease, stroke) could be prevented by eliminating life-style habits such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use. Incorporating evidence-based research on methods to change unhealthy lifestyle habits in clinical practice would be equally valuable. However gaps between guideline development and implementation are well documented, with implications for health care quality, safety and effectiveness. The development phase of guidelines has been shown to be important both for the quality in guideline content and for the success of implementation. There are, however, indications that guidelines related to general disease prevention methods encounter specific barriers compared to guidelines that are diagnosis-specific. In 2011 the Swedish National board for Health and Welfare launched guidelines with a preventive scope. The aim of this study was to investigate how implementation challenges were addressed during the development process of these disease preventive guidelines.MethodsSeven semi-structured interviews were conducted with members of the guideline development management group. Archival data detailing the guideline development process were also collected and used in the analysis. Qualitative data were analysed using content analysis as the analytical framework.ResultsThe study identified several strategies and approaches that were used to address implementation challenges during guideline development. Four themes emerged from the analysis: broad agreements and consensus about scope and purpose; a formalized and structured development procedure; systematic and active involvement of stakeholders; and openness and transparency in the specific guideline development procedure. Additional factors concerning the scope of prevention and the work environment of guideline developers were perceived to influence the possibilities to address implementation issues.ConclusionsThis case study provides examples of how guideline developers perceive and approach the issue of implementation during the development and early launch of prevention guidelines. Models for guideline development could benefit from an initial assessment of how the guideline topic, its target context and stakeholders will affect the upcoming implementation.

National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-98924 (URN)10.1186/s12913-014-0672-4 (DOI)000348429700001 ()25608684 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2015-01-28 Created: 2015-01-28 Last updated: 2017-10-30Bibliographically approved
2. Assessing context and intervention specific organisational readiness for change: Preparing primary healthcare for clinical practice guidelines on lifestyle interventions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Assessing context and intervention specific organisational readiness for change: Preparing primary healthcare for clinical practice guidelines on lifestyle interventions
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-140985 (URN)
Available from: 2017-10-20 Created: 2017-10-20 Last updated: 2017-11-01
3. Lifestyle interventions in primary health care: professional and organizational challenges
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Lifestyle interventions in primary health care: professional and organizational challenges
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2014 (English)In: European Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1101-1262, E-ISSN 1464-360X, Vol. 24, no 1, 79-84 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Interventions that support patient efforts at lifestyle changes that reduce tobacco use, hazardous use of alcohol, unhealthy eating habits and insufficient physical activity represent important areas of development for health care. Current research shows that it is challenging to reorient health care toward health promotion. The aim of this study was to explore the extent of health care professional work with lifestyle interventions in Swedish primary health care, and to describe professional knowledge, attitudes and perceived organizational support for lifestyle interventions.

METHODS: The study is based on a cross-sectional Web-based survey directed at general practitioners, other physicians, residents, public health nurses and registered nurses (n = 315) in primary health care.

RESULTS: Fifty-nine percent of the participants indicated that lifestyle interventions were a substantial part of their duties. A majority (77%) would like to work more with patient lifestyles. Health professionals generally reported a thorough knowledge of lifestyle intervention methods for disease prevention. Significant differences between professional groups were found with regard to specific knowledge and extent of work with lifestyle interventions. Alcohol was the least addressed lifestyle habit. Management was supportive, but structures to sustain work with lifestyle interventions were scarce, and a need for national guidelines was identified.

CONCLUSIONS: Health professionals reported thorough knowledge and positive attitudes toward lifestyle interventions. When planning for further implementation of lifestyle interventions in primary health care, differences between professional groups in knowledge, extent of work with promotion of healthy lifestyles and lifestyle issues and provision of organizational support such as national guidelines should be considered.

National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-79767 (URN)10.1093/eurpub/ckt052 (DOI)000330838200018 ()23722861 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2013-09-02 Created: 2013-09-02 Last updated: 2017-10-30Bibliographically approved
4. Implementation of clinical guidelines on lifestyle in primary health care - a two-year follow up
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Implementation of clinical guidelines on lifestyle in primary health care - a two-year follow up
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(English)In: Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-141002 (URN)
Available from: 2017-10-20 Created: 2017-10-20 Last updated: 2017-10-30

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