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Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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Provider adherence to implementation of clinical practice guidelines for neurogenic bowel in adults with spinal cord injury


Goetz LL, Nelson AL, Guihan M, Bosshart HT, Harrow JJ, Gerhart KD, Krasnicka B, Burns SP



Publication Info:

Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 28(5):394-406


BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) have been published on a number of topics in spinal cord injury (SCI) medicine. Research in the general medical literature shows that the distribution of CPGs has a minimal effect on physician practice without targeted implementation strategies. The purpose of this study was to determine (a) whether dissemination of an SCI CPG improved the likelihood that patients would receive CPG recommended care and (b) whether adherence to CPG recommendations could be improved through a targeted implementation strategy. Specifically, this study addressed the "Neurogenic Bowel Management in Adults with Spinal Cord Injury" Clinical Practice Guideline published in March 1998 by the Consortium for Spinal Cord Medicine
METHODS: CPG adherence was determined from medical record review at 6 Veterans Affairs SCI centers for 3 time periods: before guideline publication (T1), after guideline publication but before CPG implementation (T2), and after targeted CPG implementation (T3). Specific implementation strategies to enhance guideline adherence were chosen to address the barriers identified by SCI providers in focus groups before the intervention.
RESULTS: Overall adherence to recommendations related to neurogenic bowel did not change between T1 and T2 (P = not significant) but increased significantly between T2 and T3 (P < 0.001) for 3 of 6 guideline recommendations. For the other 3 guideline recommendations, adherence rates were noted to be high at T1.
CONCLUSIONS: While publication of the CPG alone did not alter rates of provider adherence, the use of a targeted implementation plan resulted in increases in adherence rates with some (3 of 6) CPG recommendations for neurogenic bowel management.

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