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The value of theory in programmes to implement clinical guidelines: Insights from a retrospective mixed-methods evaluation of a programme to increase adherence to national guidelines for chronic disease in primary care

Sheringham, J; Solmi, F; Ariti, C; Baim-Lance, A; Morris, S; Fulop, NJ; (2017) The value of theory in programmes to implement clinical guidelines: Insights from a retrospective mixed-methods evaluation of a programme to increase adherence to national guidelines for chronic disease in primary care. PLOS One , 12 (3) , Article e0174086. 10.1371/journal.pone.0174086. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Programmes have had limited success in improving guideline adherence for chronic disease. Use of theory is recommended but is often absent in programmes conducted in 'real-world' rather than research settings. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This mixed-methods study tested a retrospective theory-based approach to evaluate a 'real-world' programme in primary care to improve adherence to national guidelines for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Qualitative data, comprising analysis of documents generated throughout the programme (n>300), in-depth interviews with planners (clinicians, managers and improvement experts involved in devising, planning, and implementing the programme, n = 14) and providers (practice clinicians, n = 14) were used to construct programme theories, experiences of implementation and contextual factors influencing care. Quantitative analyses comprised controlled before-and-after analyses to test 'early' and evolved' programme theories with comparators grounded in each theory. 'Early' theory predicted the programme would reduce emergency hospital admissions (EHA). It was tested using national analysis of standardized borough-level EHA rates between programme and comparator boroughs. 'Evolved' theory predicted practices with higher programme participation would increase guideline adherence and reduce EHA and costs. It was tested using a difference-in-differences analysis with linked primary and secondary care data to compare changes in diagnosis, management, EHA and costs, over time and by programme participation. RESULTS: Contrary to programme planners' predictions in 'early' and 'evolved' programme theories, admissions did not change following the programme. However, consistent with 'evolved' theory, higher guideline adoption occurred in practices with greater programme participation. CONCLUSIONS: Retrospectively constructing theories based on the ideas of programme planners can enable evaluators to address some limitations encountered when evaluating programmes without a theoretical base. Prospectively articulating theory aided by existing models and mid-range implementation theories may strengthen guideline adoption efforts by prompting planners to scrutinise implementation methods. Benefits of deriving programme theory, with or without the aid of mid-range implementation theories, however, may be limited when the evidence underpinning guidelines is flawed.

Type: Article
Title: The value of theory in programmes to implement clinical guidelines: Insights from a retrospective mixed-methods evaluation of a programme to increase adherence to national guidelines for chronic disease in primary care
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0174086
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0174086
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 Sheringham et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Applied Health Research
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1546064
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