Rational Prescribing in Primary care (RaPP): process evaluation of an intervention to improve prescribing of antihypertensive and cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionImplementation science : IS 2006, 1:19 10.1186/1748-5908-1-19
BACKGROUND: A randomised trial of a multifaceted intervention for improving adherence to clinical practice guidelines for the pharmacological management of hypertension and hypercholesterolemia increased prescribing of thiazides, but detected no impact on the use of cardiovascular risk assessment tools or achievement of treatment targets. We carried out a predominantly quantitative process evaluation to help explain and interpret the trial-findings. METHODS: Several data-sources were used including: questionnaires completed by pharmacists immediately after educational outreach visits, semi-structured interviews with physicians subjected to the intervention, and data extracted from their electronic medical records. Multivariate regression analyses were conducted to explore the association between possible explanatory variables and the observed variation across practices for the three main outcomes. RESULTS: The attendance rate during the educational sessions in each practice was high; few problems were reported, and the physicians were perceived as being largely supportive of the recommendations we promoted, except for some scepticism regarding the use of thiazides as first-line antihypertensive medication. Multivariate regression models could explain only a small part of the observed variation across practices and across trial-outcomes, and key factors that might explain the observed variation in adherence to the recommendations across practices were not identified. CONCLUSION: This study did not provide compelling explanations for the trial results. Possible reasons for this include a lack of statistical power and failure to include potential explanatory variables in our analyses, particularly organisational factors. More use of qualitative research methods in the course of the trial could have improved our understanding.