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Addressing implementation challenges during guideline development - A case study of Swedish national guidelines for methods of preventing disease.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health. Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Medical Management Centre, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health. Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Medical Management Centre, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3025-2690
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2015 (English)In: BMC Health Services Research, ISSN 1472-6963, E-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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 15, no 1, 19- p.
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-98924DOI: 10.1186/s12913-014-0672-4ISI: 000348429700001PubMedID: 25608684OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-98924DiVA: diva2:784111
Available from: 2015-01-28 Created: 2015-01-28 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Mind the Gap: exploring evidence-based policymaking for improved preventive and mental health services in the Swedish health system
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mind the Gap: exploring evidence-based policymaking for improved preventive and mental health services in the Swedish health system
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: The challenges in the utilization of scientific findings in the fields of prevention and mental health are well documented. Scholars have found significant gaps between the knowledge available and the knowledge applied in healthcare. Studies have suggested that about half of the patients receive the recommended care for their medical condition. In order to address this gap, health systems at global, national, regional and local levels have made diverse efforts to facilitate the uptake of research for example through evidence-based health policy processes. In Sweden, government agencies and health policy actors such as the National Board of Health and Welfare support and control the health care system through evidence-based policies amongst other steering tools. The overall aim of this thesis is to explore evidence-based policy processes, and to further understand barriers to implementation of policies in the fields of preventive and mental health services.

Methods: A multiple case study approach was used, and data were collected from several sources. Qualitative content analysis methodology was used. Case 1 comprises the development and early implementation of national guidelines for methods of preventing disease managed by the National Board of Health and Welfare during 2007–2014. Case 2 covers the effort to improve health care for the older population that was undertaken through an agreement between the Swedish government and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions during 2009–2014. Case 3 involves an effort to implement an adapted version of a systematic review from the Swedish agency for health technology assessment and assessment of social services on treatment of depression in primary health care. Data was collected between 2007 and 2010.

In Paper 1, the policies from Case 1 and 2 were studied using a longitudinal, comparative case study approach. Data were collected through interviews, documents and observations. A conceptual model was developed based on prior frameworks. The model was used to organize and analyse the data. In Paper 2, the guideline development process (Case 1) was studied through interviews and the collection of documents. A prior framework on guideline quality was used in order to organize the data. Paper 3 investigated decision-making processes during guideline development using a longitudinal approach. Qualitative data were collected from questionnaires, documents and observations and analysed using conventional and summative content analysis. In Paper 4, the barriers to implementation were investigated through interviews and the collection of

documents. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis with a conceptual model to structure the analysis.

Results: The sources and procedures for policy formulation differed in Case 1 and 2, as did the approaches to promote the implementation of the policies. The policy processes were cyclical, and phases overlapped to a large degree. The policy actors intended to promote implementation, both during and after the policy formulation process.

The thesis shows variation in how the key policy actors defined and used research evidence in the policy processes. In addition, other types of knowledge (e.g. politics, context, experience) served as alternative or multiple sources to inform the health policies. The composition of sources that informed the policies changed over time in Cases 1 and B. During the policy formulation and implementation process, efforts to integrate research evidence with clinical experiences and values were associated with tension and recurrent dilemmas. On the local level (i.e. primary health care centres), barriers to implementation were found related to the innovation and among health professionals, patients, in social networks as well as in the organizational, economic and political contexts.

Conclusion: The concept of evidence holds a key position in terms of goals and means for knowledge based policymaking in the Swedish health system. Broad definitions of evidence – including research and non-research evidence - were requested and to various extents utilized by the policy actors in the studied cases. An explicit terminology and systematic, transparent methodology to define, identify, and assess also non-research evidence in policy processes would potentially strengthen the clarity and validity of these processes and also enhance policy implementation.

Particular determinants to implementation, such as the interventions characteristic, are to a considerable degree established early in the policy process, during agenda setting and policy formulation. This early phase offers unique opportunities to assess and build capacity, initiate and facilitate implementation.

Early analysis and considerations of target populations and contexts and other implementation determinants related to the specific policy scope (e.g. disease preventive guidelines) could enhance the forth-coming implementation of the policy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2016. 82 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1788
Keyword
Evidence-based policymaking, guidelines, implementation, prevention, depression
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Public health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-118179 (URN)978-91-7601-432-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-04-08, Målpunkt R, E04, Umeå, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
VINNOVA, A2008-025The Kempe FoundationsForte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2014-1552Sven Jerring Foundation
Available from: 2016-03-17 Created: 2016-03-14 Last updated: 2016-05-02Bibliographically approved
2. Strengthening lifestyle interventions in primary health care: the challenge of change and implementation of guidelines in clinical practice
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Strengthening lifestyle interventions in primary health care: the challenge of change and implementation of guidelines in clinical practice
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Stärka arbetet med levnadsvanor i primärvården : utmaningen att förändra och att introducera riktlinjer i klinisk praxis
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
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:nbn:se:umu:diva-141323 (URN)978-91-7601-789-0 (ISBN)
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

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