Simon D French

Murdoch University, Perth City, Western Australia, Australia

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Publications (47)85.82 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: This paper extends the findings of the Cochrane systematic review of audit and feedback on professional practice to explore the estimate of effect over time and examine whether new trials have added to knowledge regarding how optimize the effectiveness of audit and feedback.
    Journal of general internal medicine. 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Hot flushes and night sweats (vasomotor symptoms) are common menopausal symptoms, often causing distress, sleep deprivation and reduced quality of life. Although hormone replacement therapy is an effective treatment, there are concerns about serious adverse events. Non-hormonal pharmacological therapies are less effective and can also cause adverse effects. Complementary therapies, including acupuncture, are commonly used for menopausal vasomotor symptoms. While the evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating vasomotor symptoms is inconclusive, acupuncture has a low risk of adverse effects, and two small studies suggest it may be more effective than non-insertive sham acupuncture. Our objective is to assess the efficacy of needle acupuncture in improving hot flush severity and frequency in menopausal women. Our current study design is informed by methods tested in a pilot study.Methods/design: This is a stratified, parallel, randomised sham-controlled trial with equal allocation of participants to two trial groups. We are recruiting 360 menopausal women experiencing a minimum average of seven moderate hot flushes a day over a seven-day period and who meet diagnostic criteria for the Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis of Kidney Yin deficiency. Exclusion criteria include breast cancer, surgical menopause, and current hormone replacement therapy use. Eligible women are randomised to receive either true needle acupuncture or sham acupuncture with non-insertive (blunt) needles for ten treatments over eight weeks. Participants are blinded to treatment allocation. Interventions are provided by Chinese medicine acupuncturists who have received specific training on trial procedures. The primary outcome measure is hot flush score, assessed using the validated Hot Flush Diary. Secondary outcome measures include health-related quality of life, anxiety and depression symptoms, credibility of the sham treatment, expectancy and beliefs about acupuncture, and adverse events. Participants will be analysed in the groups in which they were randomised using an intention-to-treat analysis strategy.
    Trials. 06/2014; 15(1):224.
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    ABSTRACT: Dementia is a growing problem, causing substantial burden for patients, their families, and society. General practitioners (GPs) play an important role in diagnosing and managing dementia; however, there are gaps between recommended and current practice. The aim of this study was to explore GPs' reported practice in diagnosing and managing dementia and to describe, in theoretical terms, the proposed explanations for practice that was and was not consistent with evidence-based guidelines. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with GPs in Victoria, Australia. The Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) guided data collection and analysis. Interviews explored the factors hindering and enabling achievement of 13 recommended behaviours. Data were analysed using content and thematic analysis. This paper presents an in-depth description of the factors influencing two behaviours, assessing co-morbid depression using a validated tool, and conducting a formal cognitive assessment using a validated scale. A total of 30 GPs were interviewed. Most GPs reported that they did not assess for co-morbid depression using a validated tool as per recommended guidance. Barriers included the belief that depression can be adequately assessed using general clinical indicators and that validated tools provide little additional information (theoretical domain of 'Beliefs about consequences'); discomfort in using validated tools ('Emotion'), possibly due to limited training and confidence ('Skills'; 'Beliefs about capabilities'); limited awareness of the need for, and forgetting to conduct, a depression assessment ('Knowledge'; 'Memory, attention and decision processes'). Most reported practising in a manner consistent with the recommendation that a formal cognitive assessment using a validated scale be undertaken. Key factors enabling this were having an awareness of the need to conduct a cognitive assessment ('Knowledge'); possessing the necessary skills and confidence ('Skills'; 'Beliefs about capabilities'); and having adequate time and resources ('Environmental context and resources'). This is the first study to our knowledge to use a theoretical approach to investigate the barriers and enablers to guideline-recommended diagnosis and management of dementia in general practice. It has identified key factors likely to explain GPs' uptake of the guidelines. The results have informed the design of an intervention aimed at supporting practice change in line with dementia guidelines, which is currently being evaluated in a cluster randomised trial.
    Implementation Science 03/2014; 9(1):31. · 2.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Scant research has been undertaken regarding chiropractors’ skills and knowledge associated with evidence-based practice (EBP), and their perceived barriers to EBP. These issues appear to have been examined in only one small qualitative study and one small study of chiropractors holding orthopaedic diplomas. The lack of research in this area suggests that additional studies are warranted to develop a better understanding of factors that affect chiropractors’ use of research evidence in clinical practice. Methods We used a modified online questionnaire that captured information regarding EBP skills and knowledge, and barriers to EBP. Its adaption was informed by the use of a content validity panel. The questionnaire was disseminated through email by Australian chiropractic professional organisations and the Chiropractic Board of Australia. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine univariate associations between responses to items measuring knowledge and skills with items measuring: age; years since registration; reading research literature; and use of research literature in clinical decision-making. Results 584 respondents returned questionnaires. About half of the respondents stated they had learned the foundations of EBP (56.6%) during their undergraduate training. Slightly more than two thirds of the respondents were confident in their ability to critically review literature (69.5%) and find relevant research to answer clinical questions (72.6%). The most common factors involved with reading more research, and increased use of research literature in clinical decision-making, were confidence in critical appraisal skills and confidence in finding relevant research literature. Conclusion Educational interventions should be implemented to enhance Australian chiropractors’ fundamental EBP skills.
    Complementary therapies in medicine 01/2014; · 1.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Research into chiropractors' use of evidence in clinical practice appears limited to a single small qualitative study. The paucity of research in this area suggests that it is timely to undertake a more extensive study to build a more detailed understanding of the factors that influence chiropractors' adoption of evidence-based practice (EBP) principles. This study aimed to identify Australian chiropractors' attitudes and beliefs towards EBP in clinical practice, and also examine their use of research literature and clinical practice guidelines. We used an online questionnaire about attitudes, beliefs and behaviours towards the use of EBP in clinical practice that had been developed to survey physiotherapists and modified it to ensure that it was relevant to chiropractic practice. We endeavoured to survey all registered Australian chiropractors (n = 4378) via email invitation distributed by Australian chiropractic professional organisations and the Chiropractic Board of Australia. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine univariate associations between responses to items measuring attitudes and beliefs with items measuring: age; years since registration; attention to literature; and use of clinical practice guidelines. Questionnaires were returned by 584 respondents (response rate approximately 13%). The respondents' perceptions of EBP were generally positive: most agreed that the application of EBP is necessary (77.9%), literature and research findings are useful (80.2%), EBP helps them make decisions about patient care (66.5%), and expressed an interest in learning or improving EBP skills (74.9%). Almost half of the respondents (45.1%) read between two to five articles a month. Close to half of the respondents (44.7%) used literature in the process of clinical decision making two to five times each month. About half of the respondents (52.4%) agreed that they used clinical practice guidelines, and around half (54.4%) agreed that they were able to incorporate patient preferences with clinical practice guidelines. The most common factor associated with increased research uptake was the perception that EBP helps make decisions about patient care. Most Australian chiropractors hold positive attitudes towards EBP, thought EBP was useful, and were interested in improving EBP skills. However, despite the favourable inclination towards EBP, many Australian chiropractors did not use clinical practice guidelines. Our findings should be interpreted cautiously due to the low response rate.
    Chiropractic & manual therapies. 12/2013; 21(1):44.
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    ABSTRACT: COAST (Chiropractic Observation and Analysis Study) aimed to describe the clinical practices of chiropractors in Victoria, Australia. Cross-sectional study using the BEACH (Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health) methods for general practice. 180 chiropractors in active clinical practice in Victoria were randomly selected from the list of 1298 chiropractors registered on Chiropractors Registration Board of Victoria. Twenty-four chiropractors were ineligible, 72 agreed to participate, and 52 completed the study. Each participating chiropractor documented encounters with up to 100 consecutive patients. For each chiropractor-patient encounter, information collected included patient health profile, patient reasons for encounter, problems and diagnoses, and chiropractic care. Data were collected on 4464 chiropractor-patient encounters from 52 chiropractors between 11 December 2010 and 28 September 2012. In most (71%) encounters, patients were aged 25-64 years; 1% of encounters were with infants (age < 1 year; 95% CI, 0.3%-3.2%). Musculoskeletal reasons for encounter were described by patients at a rate of 60 per 100 encounters (95% CI, 54-67 encounters) and maintenance and wellness or check-up reasons were described at a rate of 39 per 100 encounters (95% CI, 33-47 encounters). Back problems were managed at a rate of 62 per 100 encounters (95% CI, 55-71 encounters). The most frequent care provided by the chiropractors was spinal manipulative therapy and massage. A range of conditions are managed by chiropractors in Victoria, Australia, but most commonly these conditions are musculoskeletal-related. These results can be used by stakeholders of the chiropractic profession in workforce development, education and health care policy.
    The Medical journal of Australia 11/2013; 199(10):687-91. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: STUDY DESIGN: Parallel-group randomized controlled trial. OBJECTIVE: Establish the short-term effectiveness of chiropractic therapy for spinal pain compared with a sham intervention and explore the predictors of chiropractic treatment satisfaction. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Chiropractic treatment is widely used for spinal pain. However, a lack of sound evidence precludes conclusions about the effectiveness of chiropractic for spinal pain. METHODS: Participants were adults experiencing spinal pain, randomized to receive 2 treatments of chiropractic or sham therapy. Participants and outcome assessors were blinded to group allocation. Primary outcomes at 2 weeks were pain intensity (0-10 scale) and function (0-40 Functional Rating Index). Secondary outcomes were global change, minimum acceptable outcome, and treatment satisfaction. Treatment effects were estimated with linear mixed models for the primary outcomes. We used logistic regression to identify differences in the secondary outcomes and explore for predictors of treatment satisfaction. RESULTS: One hundred eighty three participants (chiropractic, n = 92; sham, n = 91) were recruited and included in the analyses. Participants receiving chiropractic therapy reported greater improvements in pain (mean difference, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.5 [0.1-0.9]), physical function (mean difference [95% CI] = 2.1 [0.3-4.0]), and were more likely to experience global improvement (48% vs. 24%, P = 0.01) and treatment satisfaction (78% vs. 56%, P < 0.01). There was no between-group difference in achieving a minimally acceptable outcome (34% sham vs. 29% chiropractic, P = 0.42). Awareness of treatment assignment and achieving minimally important improvement in pain intensity were associated with chiropractic treatment satisfaction. CONCLUSION: Short-term chiropractic treatment was superior to sham; however, treatment effects were not clinically important. Awareness of treatment assignment and clinically important reductions in pain were associated with chiropractic treatment satisfaction.Level of Evidence: 2
    Spine 11/2013; 38(24):2071-8. · 2.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Study Design: Blinded parallel group randomised controlledObjective: Establish the frequency and severity of adverse effects from short term usual chiropractic treatment of the spine when compared to a sham treatment group.Summary of Background Data: Previous studies have demonstrated that adverse events occur during chiropractic treatment. However, as a result of design limitations in previous studies, particularly the lack of sham-controlled randomised trials, understanding of these adverse events and their relation with chiropractic treatment, is suboptimal.Methods: We conducted a trial to examine the occurrence of adverse events resulting from chiropractic treatment. It was conducted across 12 chiropractic clinics in Perth, Western Australia. The participants comprised 183 adults, aged 20-85, with spinal pain. Ninety two participants received individualized care consistent with the chiropractors' usual treatment approach; 91 participants received a sham intervention. Each participant received two treatments.Results: Completed adverse questionnaires were returned by 94.5% of the participants after appointment one and 91.3% after appointment two. Thirty three per cent of the sham group and 42% of the usual care group reported at least one adverse event. Common adverse events were increased pain (sham 29%; usual care 36%), muscle stiffness (sham 29%; usual care 37%), headache (sham 17%; usual care 9%). The relative risk was not significant for either adverse event occurrence (RR = 1.24 95% CI 0.85 to 1.81); occurrence of severe adverse events (RR = 1.9; 95% CI 0.98 to 3.99); adverse event onset (RR = 0.16; 95% CI 0.02 to 1.34); or adverse event duration (RR = 1.13; 95% CI 0.59 to 2.18). No serious adverse events were reported.Conclusions: A substantial proportion of adverse events following chiropractic treatment may result from natural history variation and non-specific effects.
    Spine 09/2013; 38(20):1723-9. · 2.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dementia is a common and complex condition. Evidence-based guidelines for the management of people with dementia in general practice exist; however, detection, diagnosis and disclosure of dementia have been identified as potential evidence-practice gaps. Interventions to implement guidelines into practice have had varying success. The use of theory in designing implementation interventions has been limited, but is advocated because of its potential to yield more effective interventions and aid understanding of factors modifying the magnitude of intervention effects across trials. This protocol describes methods of a randomised trial that tests a theory-informed implementation intervention that, if effective, may provide benefits for patients with dementia and their carers. This trial aims to estimate the effectiveness of a theory-informed intervention to increase GPs' (in Victoria, Australia) adherence to a clinical guideline for the detection, diagnosis, and management of dementia in general practice, compared with providing GPs with a printed copy of the guideline. Primary objectives include testing if the intervention is effective in increasing the percentage of patients with suspected cognitive impairment who receive care consistent with two key guideline recommendations: receipt of a i) formal cognitive assessment, and ii) depression assessment using a validated scale (primary outcomes for the trial). The design is a parallel cluster randomised trial, with clusters being general practices. We aim to recruit 60 practices per group. Practices will be randomised to the intervention and control groups using restricted randomisation. Patients meeting the inclusion criteria, and GPs' detection and diagnosis behaviours directed toward these patients, will be identified and measured via an electronic search of the medical records nine months after the start of the intervention. Practitioners in the control group will receive a printed copy of the guideline. In addition to receipt of the printed guideline, practitioners in the intervention group will be invited to participate in an interactive, opinion leader-led, educational face-to-face workshop. The theory-informed intervention aims to address identified barriers to and enablers of implementation of recommendations. Researchers responsible for identifying the cohort of patients with suspected cognitive impairment, and their detection and diagnosis outcomes, will be blind to group allocation.Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12611001032943 (date registered 28 September, 2011).
    Implementation Science 08/2013; 8(1):91. · 2.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to systematically search the literature for studies reporting serious adverse events following lumbopelvic spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) and to describe the case details. A systematic search was conducted in PubMed including MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and The Cochrane Library up to January 12, 2012, by an experienced reference librarian. Study selection was performed by 2 independent reviewers using predefined criteria. We included cases involving individuals 18 years or older who experienced a serious adverse event following SMT applied to the lumbar spine or pelvis by any type of provider (eg, chiropractic, medical, physical therapy, osteopathic, layperson). A serious adverse event was defined as an untoward occurrence that results in death or is life threatening, requires hospital admission, or results in significant or permanent disability. We included studies published in English, German, Dutch, and Swedish. A total of 2046 studies were screened, and 41 studies reporting on 77 cases were included. Important case details were frequently unreported, such as descriptions of SMT technique, the pre-SMT presentation of the patient, the specific details of the adverse event, time from SMT to the adverse event, factors contributing to the adverse event, and clinical outcome. Adverse events consisted of cauda equina syndrome (29 cases, 38% of total); lumbar disk herniation (23 cases, 30%); fracture (7 cases, 9%); hematoma or hemorrhagic cyst (6 cases, 8%); or other serious adverse events (12 cases, 16%) such as neurologic or vascular compromise, soft tissue trauma, muscle abscess formation, disrupted fracture healing, and esophageal rupture. This systematic review describes case details from published articles that describe serious adverse events that have been reported to occur following SMT of the lumbopelvic region. The anecdotal nature of these cases does not allow for causal inferences between SMT and the events identified in this review. Recommendations regarding future case reporting and research aimed at furthering the understanding of the safety profile of SMT are discussed.
    Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 06/2013; · 1.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Typically a large amount of information is collected during healthcare research and this information needs to be organised in a way that will make it manageable and to facilitate clear reporting. The Chiropractic Observation and Analysis STudy (COAST) was a cross sectional observational study that described the clinical practices of chiropractors in Victoria, Australia. To code chiropractic encounters COAST used the International Classification for Primary Care (ICPC-2) with the PLUS general practice clinical terminology to code chiropractic encounters. This paper describes the process by which a chiropractic-profession specific terminology was developed for use in research by expanding the current ICPC-2 PLUS system. METHODS: The coder referred to the ICPC-2 PLUS system when coding chiropractor recorded encounter details (reasons for encounter, diagnoses/problems and processes of care). The coder used rules and conventions supplied by the Family Medicine Research Unit at the University of Sydney, the developers of the PLUS system. New chiropractic specific terms and codes were created when a relevant term was not available in ICPC-2 PLUS. RESULTS: Information was collected from 52 chiropractors who documented 4,464 chiropractor-patient encounters. During the study, 6,225 reasons for encounter and 6,491 diagnoses/problems were documented, coded and analysed; 169 new chiropractic specific terms were added to the ICPC-2 PLUS terminology list. Most new terms were allocated to diagnoses/problems, with reasons for encounter generally well covered in the original ICPC 2 PLUS terminology: 3,074 of the 6,491 (47%) diagnoses/problems and 274 of the 6,225 (4%) reasons for encounter recorded during encounters were coded to a new term. Twenty nine new terms (17%) represented chiropractic processes of care. CONCLUSION: While existing ICPC-2 PLUS terminology could not fully represent chiropractic practice, adding terms specific to chiropractic enabled coding of a large number of chiropractic encounters at the desired level. Further, the new system attempted to record the diversity among chiropractic encounters while enabling generalisation for reporting where required. COAST is ongoing, and as such, any further encounters received from chiropractors will enable addition and refinement of ICPC-2 PLUS (Chiro). More research is needed into the diagnosis/problem descriptions used by chiropractors.
    Chiropractic & manual therapies. 01/2013; 21(1):4.
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    ABSTRACT: This cluster randomised trial evaluated an intervention to decrease x-ray referrals and increase giving advice to stay active for people with acute low back pain (LBP) in general practice. General practices were randomised to either access to a guideline for acute LBP (control) or facilitated interactive workshops (intervention). We measured behavioural predictors (e.g. knowledge, attitudes and intentions) and fear avoidance beliefs. We were unable to recruit sufficient patients to measure our original primary outcomes so we introduced other outcomes measured at the general practitioner (GP) level: behavioural simulation (clinical decision about vignettes) and rates of x-ray and CT-scan (medical administrative data). All those not involved in the delivery of the intervention were blinded to allocation. 47 practices (53 GPs) were randomised to the control and 45 practices (59 GPs) to the intervention. The number of GPs available for analysis at 12 months varied by outcome due to missing confounder information; a minimum of 38 GPs were available from the intervention group, and a minimum of 40 GPs from the control group. For the behavioural constructs, although effect estimates were small, the intervention group GPs had greater intention of practising consistent with the guideline for the clinical behaviour of x-ray referral. For behavioural simulation, intervention group GPs were more likely to adhere to guideline recommendations about x-ray (OR 1.76, 95%CI 1.01, 3.05) and more likely to give advice to stay active (OR 4.49, 95%CI 1.90 to 10.60). Imaging referral was not statistically significantly different between groups and the potential importance of effects was unclear; rate ratio 0.87 (95%CI 0.68, 1.10) for x-ray or CT-scan. The intervention led to small changes in GP intention to practice in a manner that is consistent with an evidence-based guideline, but it did not result in statistically significant changes in actual behaviour. Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN012606000098538.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(6):e65471. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The development and publication of clinical practice guidelines for acute low-back pain has resulted in evidence-based recommendations that have the potential to improve the quality and safety of care for acute low-back pain. Development and dissemination of guidelines may not, however, be sufficient to produce improvements in clinical practice; further investment in active implementation of guideline recommendations may be required. Further research is required to quantify the trade-off between the additional upfront cost of active implementation of guideline recommendations for low-back pain and any resulting improvements in clinical practice. Cost-effectiveness analysis alongside the IMPLEMENT trial from a health sector perspective to compare active implementation of guideline recommendations via the IMPLEMENT intervention (plus standard dissemination) against standard dissemination alone. The base-case analysis suggests that delivery of the IMPLEMENT intervention dominates standard dissemination (less costly and more effective), yielding savings of $135 per x-ray referral avoided (-$462.93/3.43). However, confidence intervals around point estimates for the primary outcome suggest that - irrespective of willingness to pay (WTP) - we cannot be at least 95% confident that the IMPLEMENT intervention differs in value from standard dissemination. Our findings demonstrate that moving beyond development and dissemination to active implementation entails a significant additional upfront investment that may not be offset by health gains and/or reductions in health service utilization of sufficient magnitude to render active implementation cost-effective.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(10):e75647. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The use of chiropractic services is widespread, however, little is known about the characteristics of people who seek chiropractic care in Australia. This study compared the characteristics of users and non-users of chiropractic services from a cohort of patients sourced from general medical practice in Victoria, Australia. This is a secondary analysis of baseline screening data from a prospective adult cohort study beginning in 2005. Thirty randomly selected Australian general medical practices mailed out surveys to 17,780 of their patients. Differences were examined between chiropractic users and others, and between chiropractic users who reported a back problem to those who did not. Of 7,519 respondents, 15% indicated they had visited a chiropractor in the last 12 months. Chiropractic users were more likely to have their GP located in a rural location and to be born in Australia; they were less likely to be in the older age group (55-76), to be unemployed or to have a pension/benefit as their main source of income. Chiropractic users were more likely to: have a back problem; use complementary or alternative medication; visit another type of complementary health practitioner or a physiotherapist. They were less likely to take medication for certain health problems (e.g. for high blood pressure, high cholesterol or asthma). No important differences were seen between chiropractic users and non-users for other health problems. People who visited a chiropractor and reported a back problem were more likely to: be a current smoker; have a number of other chronic conditions, including arthritis, hypertension, chronic sinusitis, asthma, dermatitis, depression and anxiety; report taking medications, including antidepressants, analgesics (painkillers and arthritis medication) and complementary or alternative medications. This large cross-sectional study of general medical practice attendees suggests that chiropractors are the most commonly consulted complementary health profession. Chiropractors should ensure they are aware of their patients' health conditions other than musculoskeletal problems and should ensure they are appropriately managed.
    Chiropractic & manual therapies. 01/2013; 21(1):31.
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    ABSTRACT: There is little systematic operational guidance about how best to develop complex interventions to reduce the gap between practice and evidence. This article is one in a Series of articles documenting the development and use of the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) to advance the science of implementation research. The intervention was developed considering three main components: theory, evidence, and practical issues. We used a four-step approach, consisting of guiding questions, to direct the choice of the most appropriate components of an implementation intervention: Who needs to do what, differently? Using a theoretical framework, which barriers and enablers need to be addressed? Which intervention components (behaviour change techniques and mode(s) of delivery) could overcome the modifiable barriers and enhance the enablers? And how can behaviour change be measured and understood? A complex implementation intervention was designed that aimed to improve acute low back pain management in primary care. We used the TDF to identify the barriers and enablers to the uptake of evidence into practice and to guide the choice of intervention components. These components were then combined into a cohesive intervention. The intervention was delivered via two facilitated interactive small group workshops. We also produced a DVD to distribute to all participants in the intervention group. We chose outcome measures in order to assess the mediating mechanisms of behaviour change. We have illustrated a four-step systematic method for developing an intervention designed to change clinical practice based on a theoretical framework. The method of development provides a systematic framework that could be used by others developing complex implementation interventions. While this framework should be iteratively adjusted and refined to suit other contexts and settings, we believe that the four-step process should be maintained as the primary framework to guide researchers through a comprehensive intervention development process.
    Implementation Science 04/2012; 7:38. · 2.37 Impact Factor
  • Bruce F Walker, Simon D French
    Annals of internal medicine 01/2012; 156(1 Pt 1):52-3. · 13.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Audit and feedback is widely used as a strategy to improve professional practice either on its own or as a component of multifaceted quality improvement interventions. This is based on the belief that healthcare professionals are prompted to modify their practice when given performance feedback showing that their clinical practice is inconsistent with a desirable target. Despite its prevalence as a quality improvement strategy, there remains uncertainty regarding both the effectiveness of audit and feedback in improving healthcare practice and the characteristics of audit and feedback that lead to greater impact. To assess the effects of audit and feedback on the practice of healthcare professionals and patient outcomes and to examine factors that may explain variation in the effectiveness of audit and feedback. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) 2010, Issue 4, part of The Cochrane Library. www.thecochranelibrary.com, including the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) Group Specialised Register (searched 10 December 2010); MEDLINE, Ovid (1950 to November Week 3 2010) (searched 09 December 2010); EMBASE, Ovid (1980 to 2010 Week 48) (searched 09 December 2010); CINAHL, Ebsco (1981 to present) (searched 10 December 2010); Science Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index, ISI Web of Science (1975 to present) (searched 12-15 September 2011). Randomised trials of audit and feedback (defined as a summary of clinical performance over a specified period of time) that reported objectively measured health professional practice or patient outcomes. In the case of multifaceted interventions, only trials in which audit and feedback was considered the core, essential aspect of at least one intervention arm were included. All data were abstracted by two independent review authors. For the primary outcome(s) in each study, we calculated the median absolute risk difference (RD) (adjusted for baseline performance) of compliance with desired practice compliance for dichotomous outcomes and the median percent change relative to the control group for continuous outcomes. Across studies the median effect size was weighted by number of health professionals involved in each study. We investigated the following factors as possible explanations for the variation in the effectiveness of interventions across comparisons: format of feedback, source of feedback, frequency of feedback, instructions for improvement, direction of change required, baseline performance, profession of recipient, and risk of bias within the trial itself. We also conducted exploratory analyses to assess the role of context and the targeted clinical behaviour. Quantitative (meta-regression), visual, and qualitative analyses were undertaken to examine variation in effect size related to these factors. We included and analysed 140 studies for this review. In the main analyses, a total of 108 comparisons from 70 studies compared any intervention in which audit and feedback was a core, essential component to usual care and evaluated effects on professional practice. After excluding studies at high risk of bias, there were 82 comparisons from 49 studies featuring dichotomous outcomes, and the weighted median adjusted RD was a 4.3% (interquartile range (IQR) 0.5% to 16%) absolute increase in healthcare professionals' compliance with desired practice. Across 26 comparisons from 21 studies with continuous outcomes, the weighted median adjusted percent change relative to control was 1.3% (IQR = 1.3% to 28.9%). For patient outcomes, the weighted median RD was -0.4% (IQR -1.3% to 1.6%) for 12 comparisons from six studies reporting dichotomous outcomes and the weighted median percentage change was 17% (IQR 1.5% to 17%) for eight comparisons from five studies reporting continuous outcomes. Multivariable meta-regression indicated that feedback may be more effective when baseline performance is low, the source is a supervisor or colleague, it is provided more than once, it is delivered in both verbal and written formats, and when it includes both explicit targets and an action plan. In addition, the effect size varied based on the clinical behaviour targeted by the intervention. Audit and feedback generally leads to small but potentially important improvements in professional practice. The effectiveness of audit and feedback seems to depend on baseline performance and how the feedback is provided. Future studies of audit and feedback should directly compare different ways of providing feedback.
    Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) 01/2012; 6:CD000259. · 5.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chiropractors commonly provide care to people with acute low-back pain (LBP). The aim of this survey was to determine how chiropractors intend to support and manage people with acute LBP and if this management is in accordance with two recommendations from an Australian evidence-based acute LBP guideline. The two recommendations were directed at minimising the use of plain x-ray and encouraging the patient to stay active. This is a cross sectional survey of chiropractors in Australia. This paper is part of the ALIGN study in which a targeted implementation strategy was developed to improve the management of acute LBP in a chiropractic setting. This implementation strategy was subsequently tested in a cluster randomised controlled trial. In this survey phase of the ALIGN study we approached a random sample of 880 chiropractors in three States of Australia. The mailed questionnaire consisted of five patient vignettes designed to represent people who would typically present to chiropractors with acute LBP. Four vignettes represented people who, according to the guideline, would not require a plain lumbar x-ray, and one vignette represented a person with a suspected vertebral fracture. Respondents were asked, for each vignette, to indicate which investigation(s) they would order, and which intervention(s) they would recommend or undertake. Of the 880 chiropractors approached, 137 were deemed ineligible to participate, mostly because they were not currently practising, or mail was returned to sender. We received completed questionnaires from 274 chiropractors (response rate of 37%). Male chiropractors made up 66% of respondents, 75% practised in an urban location and their mean number of years in practice was 15. Across the four vignettes where an x-ray was not indicated 68% (95% Confidence Intervals (CI): 64%, 71%) of chiropractors responded that they would order or take an x-ray. In addition 51% (95%CI: 47%, 56%) indicated they would give advice to stay active when it was indicated. For the vignette where a fracture was suspected, 95% (95% CI: 91%, 97%) of chiropractors would order an x-ray. The intention of chiropractors surveyed in this study shows low adherence to two recommendations from an evidence-based guideline for acute LBP. Quality of care for these patients could be improved through effective implementation of evidence-based guidelines. Further research to find cost-effective methods to increase implementation is warranted.
    Chiropractic & manual therapies. 12/2011; 19(1):29.
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    ABSTRACT: Recruitment of patients by health professionals is reported as one of the most challenging steps when undertaking studies in primary care settings. Numerous investigations of the barriers to patient recruitment in trials which recruit patients to receive an intervention have been published. However, we are not aware of any studies that have reported on the recruitment barriers as perceived by health professionals to recruiting patients into cluster randomised trials where patients do not directly receive an intervention. This particular subtype of cluster trial is commonly termed a professional-cluster trial. The aim of this study was to investigate factors that contributed to general practitioners recruitment of patients in a professional-cluster trial which evaluated the effectiveness of an intervention to increase general practitioners adherence to a clinical practice guideline for acute low-back pain. General practitioners enrolled in the study were posted a questionnaire, consisting of quantitative items and an open-ended question, to assess possible reasons for poor patient recruitment. Descriptive statistics were used to summarise quantitative items and responses to the open-ended question were coded into categories. Seventy-nine general practitioners completed at least one item (79/94 = 84%), representing 68 practices (85% practice response rate), and 44 provided a response to the open-ended question. General practitioners recalled inviting a median of two patients with acute low-back pain to participate in the trial over a seven-month period; they reported that they intended to recruit patients, but forgot to approach patients to participate; and they did not perceive that patients had a strong interest or disinterest in participating. Additional open-ended comments were generally consistent with the quantitative data. A number of barriers to the recruitment of patients with acute low-back pain by general practitioners in a professional-cluster trial were identified. These barriers were similar to those that have been identified in the literature surrounding the recruitment of patients in individual patient randomised trials. To advance the evidence base for patient recruitment strategies in primary care settings, trialists undertaking professional-cluster trials need to develop and evaluate patient recruitment strategies that minimise the efforts required by practice staff to recruit patients, while also meeting privacy and ethical responsibilities and minimising the risk of selection bias.
    BMC Medical Research Methodology 03/2011; 11:35. · 2.21 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

392 Citations
85.82 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008–2014
    • Murdoch University
      • • School of Health Professions
      • • School of Psychology and Exercise Science
      Perth City, Western Australia, Australia
  • 2010–2013
    • University of Melbourne
      • Primary Care Research Unit (PRCU)
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 2005–2013
    • Monash University (Australia)
      • • Centre for Health Economics
      • • School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine
      • • Monash Medical Centre
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 2011
    • Victoria University Melbourne
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia