Management of asthma and COPD patients: feasibility of the application of guidelines in general practice.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the feasibility of the application of guidelines to the management of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by assessing compliance with the guidelines and listing the barriers general practitioners (GPs) encountered during implementation. Insight into the feasibility of individual items in the guidelines can guide implementation strategies in the future and, if necessary, support revision of the guidelines. DESIGN: Descriptive study of care delivered during the implementation of guidelines by means of documentation of the care provided, education, feedback on compliance and peer review. SETTING: General practice. STUDY PARTICIPANTS: Sixteen GPs in 14 general practices. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Compliance was expressed as the percentage of patients per practice managed by the GPs according to the guidelines. For each patient (n=413) data were collected on the care delivered during the first year of the implementation. Barriers encountered were derived from the summaries of the discussions held during the monthly meetings. RESULTS: The GPs were most compliant on the items 'PEFR measurement at every consultation' (98%), 'allergy test' (78%) and 'advice to stop smoking' (82%), and less compliant on the items 'four or more consultations a year' (46%), 'ordering spirometry' (33%), 'adjustment of medication' (42%), 'check on inhalation technique' (38%) and referral to a chest physician (17%) or a district nurse (5%). The main barriers were the amount of time to be invested, doubts about the necessity of regular consultations and about the indications for ordering spirometry and for referral to a chest physician or a district nurse. CONCLUSION: Although the feasibility was assessed in a fairly optimal situation, compliance with the guidelines was not maximal, and differed between the individual items of care. Suggestions are given for further improvements in compliance with the guidelines and for revision of the guidelines. (+info)
Voluntary euthanasia under control? Further empirical evidence from The Netherlands.
Nineteen ninety-six saw the publication of a major Dutch survey into euthanasia in the Netherlands. This paper outlines the main statistical findings of this survey and considers whether it shows that voluntary euthanasia is under effective control in the Netherlands. The paper concludes that although there has been some improvement in compliance with procedural requirements, the practice of voluntary euthanasia remains beyond effective control. (+info)
Slippery slopes in flat countries--a response.
In response to the paper by Keown and Jochemsen in which the latest empirical data concerning euthanasia and other end-of-life decisions in the Netherlands is discussed, this paper discusses three points. The use of euthanasia in cases in which palliative care was a viable alternative may be taken as proof of a slippery slope. However, it could also be interpreted as an indication of a shift towards more autonomy-based end-of-life decisions. The cases of non-voluntary euthanasia are a serious problem in the Netherlands and they are only rarely justifiable. However, they do not prove the existence of a slippery slope. Persuading the physician to bring euthanasia cases to the knowledge of the authorities is a problem of any euthanasia policy. The Dutch notification procedure has recently been changed to reduce the underreporting of cases. However, many questions remain. (+info)
When do HIV-infected persons start with antiretroviral therapy? A retrospective analysis of patients' monitoring and treatment status in general practice, as compared with the 1991 Dutch HIV treatment guidelines.
OBJECTIVE: We aimed to compare, in a sample of Amsterdam general practices, the monitoring and treatment status of HIV-infected patients according to the 1991 Dutch consensus guidelines for antiretroviral treatment of HIV-infection, which advise that therapy be started at a peripheral blood CD4+ cell count of < or = 300 x 10(6)/l in asymptomatic patients, or < or = 400 x 10(6)/l in symptomatic patients. METHOD: In 1994, data were collected from the records of all 511 HIV-infected patients registered in 14 Amsterdam general practices (20 doctors). The main outcome measures were the antiretroviral treatment status of all patients who were eligible for treatment, and the disease stage and CD4+ cell counts at the onset of therapy for patients who started treatment after publication of the 1991 guidelines. RESULTS: For 472 patients, data were available on CD4+ cell measurement status and disease stage. For 15.9% of patients, CD4+ cells had never been measured; most of them were asymptomatic. In 84.1 % of patients, CD4+ cells had been measured. Of the 8.9% of patients whose results were not known to GPs, 93% were treated by a specialist and 76% were symptomatic. Of the remaining 355 (75.2%) patients whose CD4+ count and disease status were known, 201 (56.7%) met the guideline criteria for treatment. Of these, 53.7% received treatment, 27.4% were never treated and 18.9% had discontinued treatment. Of the 67 patients who started treatment after publication of the guidelines, 36.2% of asymptomatic patients and 92.8% of symptomatic patients started later than the guidelines advised. CONCLUSION: In the population studied, we found a discrepancy between the 1991 treatment guidelines and the actual situation. In a substantial proportion of eligible patients, antiretroviral treatment was either not administered at all or was administered at a (very) late disease stage. This can only be attributed to physicians' and/or patients' attitudes towards antiretroviral treatment. Other studies confirm that a number of psychological factors may influence treatment decisions. The new combination treatment of HIV-infection requires an early start and compliance with the guidelines. The degree to which doctors and patients are willing and able to comply with the guidelines is an important factor to be taken into account, both in research and in the development of guidelines. (+info)
A design model for computer-based guideline implementation based on information management services.
Clinical practice guidelines must be implemented effectively if they are to influence the behavior of clinicians. The authors describe a model for computer-based guideline implementation that identifies eight information management services needed to integrate guideline-based decision support with clinical workflow. Recommendation services determine appropriate activities in specific clinical circumstances. Documentation services involve data capture. Registration services integrate demographic and administrative data. Explanation services enhance the credibility of automated recommendations by providing supportive evidence and rating the quality of evidence. Calculation services measure time intervals, suggest medication dosages, and perform other computational tasks. Communication services employ standards for information transfer and provide data security. Effective presentation services facilitate understanding of complex data, clarify trends, and format written materials (including prescriptions) for patients. Aggregation services associate outcomes with specific guideline interventions. The authors provide examples of the eight services that make up the model from five evidence-based practice parameters developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. (+info)
Computer-based guideline implementation systems: a systematic review of functionality and effectiveness.
In this systematic review, the authors analyze the functionality provided by recent computer-based guideline implementation systems and characterize the effectiveness of the systems. Twenty-five studies published between 1992 and January 1998 were identified. Articles were included if the authors indicated an intent to implement guideline recommendations for clinicians and if the effectiveness of the system was evaluated. Provision of eight information management services and effects on guideline adherence, documentation, user satisfaction, and patient outcome were noted. All systems provided patient-specific recommendations. In 19, recommendations were available concurrently with care. Explanation services were described for nine systems. Nine systems allowed interactive documentation, and 17 produced paper-based output. Communication services were present most often in systems integrated with electronic medical records. Registration, calculation, and aggregation services were infrequently reported. There were 10 controlled trials (9 randomized) and 10 time-series correlational studies. Guideline adherence improved in 14 of 18 systems in which it was measured. Documentation improved in 4 of 4 studies. (+info)
Measuring the effects of reminders for outpatient influenza immunizations at the point of clinical opportunity.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the influence of computer-based reminders about influenza vaccination on the behavior of individual clinicians at each clinical opportunity. DESIGN: The authors conducted a prospective study of clinicians' influenza vaccination behavior over four years. Approximately one half of the clinicians in an internal medicine clinic used a computer-based patient record system (CPR users) that generated computer-based reminders. The other clinicians used traditional paper records (PR users). MEASUREMENTS: Each nonacute visit by a patient eligible for an influenza vaccination was considered an opportunity for intervention. Patients who had contraindications for vaccination were excluded. Compliance with the guideline was defined as documentation that a clinician ordered the vaccine, counseled the patient about the vaccine, offered the vaccine to a patient who declined it, or verified that the patient had received the vaccine elsewhere. The authors calculated the proportion of opportunities on which each clinician documented action in the CPR and PR user groups. RESULTS: The CPR and PR user groups had different baseline compliance rates (40.1 and 27.9 per cent, respectively; P<0.05). Both rates remained stable during a two-year baseline period (P = 0.34 and P = 0.47, respectively). The compliance rates in the CPR user group increased 78 per cent from baseline (P<0.001), whereas the rates for the PR user group did not change significantly (P = 0.18). CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians who used a CPR with reminders had higher rates of documentation of compliance with influenza-vaccination guidelines than did those who used a paper record. Measurements of individual clinician behavior at the point of each clinical opportunity can provide precise evaluation of interventions that are designed to improve compliance with guidelines. (+info)
Understanding the relation between research and clinical policy: a study of clinicians' views.
OBJECTIVES: To describe the relation between research evidence and local obstetric unit policy for specific areas of care and to explore clinicians' views about the reasons for any discrepancies identified. DESIGN: An independent evaluation of a project undertaken by a district maternity services liaison committee (MSLC) to promote evidence based maternity care in specific areas of care. The evaluation involved a combination of qualitative methodologies including documentary analysis, non-participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and self completed open ended questionnaires. SETTING: One English health district with three obstetric units. MAIN MEASURES: Congruence between unit policies and research evidence in specific areas of care. Views expressed by unit staff concerning the reasons for any discrepancies identified. Consistency between staff views within and between units. Unit attitudes to modification of discrepant policies and details of any subsequent changes made. RESULTS: Of the 12 unit policies considered, seven were consistent with the research evidence. In all cases in which unit policy did not reflect the evidence, provider unit staff thought that the differences were justified. In several cases there were substantive differences of view between staff in different units. No differences of view were expressed between staff in the same unit. There were three different types of concern about the research evidence and the problems of using it as a basis for deciding unit policy. These were: concerns about the adequacy or completeness of the evidence; concerns about the applicability of the evidence in the local setting; and concerns about local capacity to act on the evidence. At the time of the project, none of the units expressed any intention of modifying the policies under discussion. Subsequently, two of them did make changes of this sort. CONCLUSION: The results suggest the need for further research to ascertain what factors may produce such varying assessments of the validity and adequacy of particular sets of research findings as were found between clinicians in this study and to understand what considerations other than views about evidence may affect decisions to alter clinical policy. IMPLICATIONS: When clinicians have clear reasons for not following research evidence, two contrasting responses are possible. One is to take the view that the clinicians are mistaken, and seek to change their attitudes or persuade them to change their behaviour regardless of their views. An alternative response is to accept that the concerns they express may be legitimate and consider how their doubts may be addressed. The challenge is to recognise which response is preferable in any particular situation. (+info)