Systematic Review of Practice Facilitation and Evaluation of a Chronic Illness Care Management Tailored Outreach Facilitation Intervention for Rural Primary Care Physicians
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Nearly two decades of research on translating evidence-based care guidelines into practice has resulted in a considerable body of primary and secondary evidence about guideline implementation strategies and the individual, organizational and environmental challenges associated with closing the evidence to practice gap in primary care. Interventions to improve professional performance are complex and a disentangling of the various independent, intervening and constraining variables is required in order to be able to design and implement interventions that can improve primary care practice performance. The PRECEDE-PROCEED planning model (Green & Kreuter, 1999) provides a step-wise theoretical framework for understanding the complexity of causal relationships among the variables that affect the adoption of evidence-based practice and may assist in the design and implementation of practice-based interventions. Knowledge of an evidence-based practice guideline is important, but a consensus has emerged that having knowledge is rarely sufficient to change practice behaviour. Didactic education or passive dissemination strategies are ineffective, whereas interactive education, reminder systems and multifaceted interventions tailored to the needs of the practice are effective. Outreach or practice facilitation is a proven effective multifaceted approach that involves skilled individuals who enable others, through a range of tailored interventions, to address the challenges in implementing evidence-based care guidelines within the primary care setting. The challenges to implementing evidence-based chronic illness care practice guidelines are thought to be similar to the other contextual, organizational and individual behavioural challenges associated with the uptake of research findings into practice. A multifaceted guideline implementation strategy such as practice facilitation may be well-suited to improving the adoption of these guidelines within rural primary care settings. However, research has not systematically reviewed, through meta-analysis, the published practice facilitation trials to determine overall effects and an implementation research study of practice facilitation that has considered fidelity of implementation within the rural Ontario setting for a complex practice guideline such as chronic illness management has not been done. The systematic review in the thesis incorporated an exploratory meta-analysis of randomized and non-randomized controlled trials of interventions targeted towards implementing evidence-based practice guidelines through practice facilitation, and was conducted to gain an understanding of the overall effect of practice facilitation and the factors that moderate implementation success. The results were the identification of an improvement overtime in the methodological rigour of practice facilitation implementation research based on a critical appraisal of methods, a significant moderate overall effect size of 0.54 (95% CI 0.43 – 0.65) for 19 good quality practice facilitation intervention studies and several significant effect size modifiers; notably, tailoring to the needs of the practice, using multiple intervention components, extending duration, and increasing the intensity of practice facilitation were associated with larger effect sizes. As more practices were assigned to the practice facilitator, the effect diminished. A significant positive association between the number of PRECEDE predisposing, enabling and reinforcing strategies employed by the facilitator and the effect size was detected. The implementation research study utilized mixed methods for data collection as part of an embedded case study of four rural primary care practices to determine the implementation fidelity of the practice facilitation of chronic illness care planning and the factors that impeded and contributed to implementation success. The feasibility of and potential cost savings of practice facilitation via videoconferencing was also implemented for two of the practices. For those practices that successfully implemented care planning, fidelity was achieved for the implementation of care plans. On the other hand, the dosage, duration, component delivery of the practice facilitation intervention was low in comparison to other published studies, and tailoring of the intervention to the practice was inconsistent. Based on the qualitative analysis of physician interviews, the moderating factors for successful implementation were categorized into the broad themes of pessimism and tempered optimism. Pessimistic physicians were unsuccessful at implementation, lacked a willingness to engage and were uncomfortable with the patient-centred approach to chronic illness care. Optimists were positive about the psychosocial, patient-centred assessment aspects of the chronic illness care protocol and provided anecdotes of success in resolving patient problems. However, this was tempered as both pessimists and optimists reflected on the time intensive aspect of the protocol and the unlikelihood of widespread implementation without additional supports. Participating physicians were satisfied with the facilitator and the videoconferencing experience, and the intervention cost analysis revealed opportunities for cost saving via the use of videoconferenced facilitation. Improvements to the intervention suggested by participants included integrating chronic illness management with medical information systems, involving other health disciplines, and forming networks of community health resources and support services for health providers and patients. This work has demonstrated that although practice facilitation can successfully result in moderate significant improvements in practice behaviour, it is not necessarily singularly effective in all contexts or for all targeted behaviours. A complex practice guideline such as the chronic illness care management model is unlikely to be adopted in the current context of primary care in rural Ontario and as a consequence to have any impact on the health of chronically ill patients without further intervention supports, adaptation, and implementation research undertaken to demonstrate successful execution of chronic illness care management. Alternative care delivery models are required to address barriers and improve the delivery of chronic illness care management.