Background Adaptation of high-quality external guidelines can be an efficient and effective means to develop guidance more rapidly, allowing for shifting of resources to knowledge transfer and health system implementation efforts.
Context To describe successful guideline adaptation and implementation strategies used by a large US health care organisation to improve the quality of care for adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Description of Best Practice A multidisciplinary guideline team evaluated and adapted a guideline on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) developed by the American College of Physicians, American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society, and European Respiratory Society (ACP/ACCP/ATS/ERS). Recommendations were evaluated and modified for implementability based on several dimensions of the GLIA tool. Implementation strategies targeted to physicians included electronic distribution of guidelines, interactive online continuing medical education, and point-of-care encounter support. Implementation efforts targeted to patients included point-of-care education booklets, online resources for COPD self-management, and proactive outreach for spirometry testing. Systems- level interventions included development of patient outreach lists and computerised decision support. Monthly reporting and review on three measures was conducted to monitor performance. Ongoing implementation efforts resulted in increased rates of spirometry testing and management of COPD exacerbations with systemic corticosteroid and bronchodilator medications over a four-year period.
Lessons Challenges arise when externally developed guidelines lack the specificity necessary for recommendations to be successfully implemented. Systematic evaluation and modification of recommendations is necessary to enhance implementability at the patient, provider and systems levels, as well as to improve performance.
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