Exploring the black box of change in improving test-ordering routines.
until further notice
SourceFamily Practice, 25, 3, (2008), pp. 139-145
Article / Letter to editor
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Centre for Quality of Care Research
SubjectEBP 4: Quality of Care; NCEBP 3: Implementation Science; NCEBP 4: Quality of hospital and integrated care
BACKGROUND: The effects of quality improvement strategies are sometimes limited in spite of a systematic development approach. What elements play a role in the change process is not yet fully understood. OBJECTIVE: To explore this 'black box' of change, by analysing the barriers and facilitators GPs perceive during the change process. METHODS: Qualitative study among GPs who participated in the quality improvement strategy arm of a randomized clinical trial on blood test ordering for unexplained complaints (UCs). The strategy was based on a national guideline that advocates delayed test ordering in patients presenting with UCs. Each GP's change process was assessed by means of a semi-structured interview about barriers to and facilitators of change. RESULTS: Twenty-four interviews were analysed. Important themes identified in the interviews were lack of problem awareness, the time and effort it takes to change, influence of patients and the pros and cons of the changed behaviour. CONCLUSION: The themes can be summarized into one comprehensive issue: the GPs lack a sense of urgency to change. An important explanation seems to be that two questions from the problem analysis prior to the development of the strategy had not been adequately answered: "Is the GPs' current behaviour a problem and does the problem have consequences for patients?" and if so, "What is the extent of the problem?." As a result, insufficient attention was given to applicability issues, such as time investment, costs and patient and practitioner satisfaction and anxiety.
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