Background Many guidelines have been published that are relevant to Australian general practitioners. However, it is unclear whether these guidelines have the attributes required for facilitating implementation.
Objectives To determine the proportion of current Australian general practice guidelines that have incorporated the attributes required for facilitating implementation.
Methods We conducted an audit of the National Health and Medical Research Council Clinical Guidelines Portal to identify guidelines published between 2007 and 2011 that listed general practitioners (GPs) as a primary user and examined them for attributes identified in literature as facilitating implementation.
Results A total of 146 guidelines targeting Australian GPs were identified in our study. Approximately 46% of these guidelines were developed by “collaborating authors”, with 27% and 19% developed by “government organisations” and “not-for-profit organisations”, respectively. Almost half (43%) of the guidelines did not state the methodology used, with 33% using “expert opinion” and only 16% using “systematic literature reviews”. Only 14% of the guidelines were endorsed by professional colleges and only 10% of the guidelines were government-approved. Additional resources to facilitate guideline uptake were included for only 23% of the guidelines.
Discussion While some attributes of implementation have been incorporated into general practice guidelines, many are absent from most of these guidelines. Given the rapid growth in evidence-based guidelines in Australia, it is imperative that clinical practice guidelines incorporate the attributes necessary for facilitating implementation.
Implications for Guideline Developers/Users Developing an evidence-based guideline implementability framework may be useful for improving the development and dissemination of guidelines.
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