A national needs assessment of Canadian gastroenterologists and gastroenterology nurses was undertaken to determine the perceived and unperceived educational and performance barriers to caring for patients with Crohn's disease (CD).
A triangulated, mixed-method approach (qualitative and quantitative) was used to determine the nature and extent of knowledge gaps and barriers in the care of patients with CD.
Qualitative interviews were conducted with nine gastroenterologists, four gastroenterology nurses and nine patients with CD. Based on this exploratory research, a survey was designed and launched nationally (37 gastroenterologists, 36 gastroenterology nurses). Findings indicated that Canadian gastroenterologists and gastroenterology nurses lacked clarity regarding their roles and responsibilities across the continuum of CD care, and face communication gaps within the health care team, undermining their effectiveness. Gastroenterologists identified challenges in optimal diagnosis due to unclear testing and diagnostic criteria. They recognized knowledge gaps when treating patient subgroups and in prescribing biological therapies. Furthermore, gastroenterologists self-identified gaps in skill, knowledge, and confidence in monitoring disease progression and effectively assessing response to therapy. When managing patients with CD, gastroenterologists expressed challenges with patient issues outside their domain of medical expertise, particularly with the skills needed to facilitate effective patient communication and education that would enhance adherence to recommended treatments.
Educational initiatives should address diagnostic and treatment guidelines, as well as enhancement of clinical performance gaps in health care team processes and the patient-professional therapeutic relationship. To impact care and patient outcomes, these initiatives must be relevant to clinical practice settings and applicable to the practice context.
Cites: Am J Gastroenterol. 2003 Apr;98(4):844-912738466
Cites: Am J Gastroenterol. 2006 Jan;101(1):110-816405542
Cites: Am J Gastroenterol. 2006 Jul;101(7):1559-6816863561
Current debates around the choice of management strategy for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) combined with limited efficacy and frequent adverse effects of current pharmacotherapies cause uncertainty and confusion, challenging optimal care delivery to AF patients.
To determine gaps in knowledge, skill, and competencies of Canadian physicians caring for patients with AF as well as underlying causes of these gaps.
A mixed-method approach --consisting of qualitative (semistructured interviews) and quantitative data collection techniques (online survey) --was conducted. Findings were triangulated to ensure the reliability and trustworthiness of findings. The combined sample (n = 161) included 43 family physicians/general practitioners, 23 internal medicine specialists, 48 cardiologists, 28 emergency physicians, 14 neurologists, and 5 patients.
Gaps and barriers impeding optimal care were related to an unclear definition of AF, uncertainty of its pathophysiology, and knowledge gaps across the care continuum, including screening, diagnosis, and treatment. Clinical decision-making, individualized patient therapy, communication with patients and between professionals, and application of guidelines were found to be particularly challenging. These issues are discussed in the context of the newly revised Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) AF Guidelines.
Educational gaps exist across the entire continuum of care. Results from this study, along with the 2011 CCS guidelines for AF management, provide direction for solutions through physician education and professional development.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Cites: Can J Gastroenterol. 2004 Sep;18(9):567-7115457296
Cites: N Engl J Med. 2008 Aug 28;359(9):928-3718753649
Governments and healthcare organizations in Canada are reforming the clinical practice structures and policies to deliver primary care to the population. A key component of primary healthcare reform is the establishment of an interdisciplinary, community-based team approach to patient care. This study was undertaken to provide in-depth insight regarding primary healthcare providers' beliefs and attitudes in regard to their current group practice, what changes they believe are occurring and those necessary to reform group practice settings, their willingness to embrace changes, and the challenges they face to realize the proposed reform.
This study employed a mixed-method research design (qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques) through day-long focus groups of primary healthcare professionals (eg, family physicians, specialists, dieticians, psychologists) from across Canada.
There is considerable variation in the composition of primary care group practices across Canada. Respondents report that group practices are little more than an economic convenience to facilitate sharing of resources. Even when a practice is composed of several disciplines, there is little to no organized or systematic interaction among healthcare professionals aimed at improving patient care, lack of clarity as to identified leaders/managers of the team, and inconsistencies in the model of care provided to patients. However, there is a perception of value and benefit in working in a cohesive group practice to improve patient care.
Findings revealed that although healthcare providers report themselves ready to make the necessary changes and willing to move to interdisciplinary team-based practices, there are substantive challenges that impede a movement to truly effective interdisciplinary team practice and functioning. These challenges include the type and allocation of funding, interprofessional healthcare provider education, changing the healthcare provision model, and barriers among healthcare professionals regarding shared and equitable team accountability for patient health outcomes.