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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 24, Issue 5, Pages 289-296
Original Article

Barriers to the Implementation of Practice Guidelines in Managing Patients with Nonvariceal Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding: A Qualitative Approach

Sean M Hayes,1 Suzanne Murray,1 Martin Dupuis,1 Martin Dawes,2 Ian A Hawes,3 and Alan N Barkun4

1AXDEV Group Inc, Brossard, Canada
2Division of Family Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
3AstraZeneca Canada Inc, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
4Division of Gastroenterology and Clinical Epidemiology, McGill University Health Centre and McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Received 16 September 2009; Accepted 22 October 2009

Copyright © 2010 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: Guidelines for the management of patients with nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding (NVUGIB) are inconsistently applied by health care providers, potentially resulting in suboptimal care and patient outcomes. A needs assessment was performed to assess health care providers’ barriers to the implementation of these guidelines in Canada.

METHODS: Semistructured telephone interviews were conducted by trained research personnel with 22 selectively sampled health care professionals actively treating and managing NVUGIB patients, including emergency room physicians (ER), intensivists (ICU), gastroenterologists (GI), gastroenterology nurses and hospital administrators. Participants were chosen from a representative sample of six Canadian community- and academic-based hospitals that participated in a national Canadian audit on the management of NVUGIB.

RESULTS: Participants reported substantive gaps in the implementation of NVUGIB guidelines that included the following: lack of knowledge of the specifics of the NVUGIB guidelines (ER, ICU, nurses); limited belief in the value of guidelines, especially in areas where evidence is lacking (ER, ICU); limited belief in the value of available tools to support implementation of guidelines (GI); lack of knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of health care professions and disciplines, and lack of effective collaboration skills (ER, ICU and GI); variability of knowledge and skills of health care professionals within professions (eg, variability of nurses’ knowledge and skills in endoscopic procedures); and perceived overuse of intravenous proton pump inhibitor treatment, with limited concern regarding cost or side effect implications (all participants).

CONCLUSIONS: In the present study population, ER, ICU and nurses did not adhere to NVUGIB guidelines because they were neither aware of nor familiar with them, whereas the GI lack of adherence to NVUGIB guidelines was influenced more by attitudinal and contextual barriers. These findings can guide the design of multifaceted educational and behavioural interventions when attempting to effectively disseminate existing guidelines, and for guideline implementation into practice.