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Healthcare professionals' intentions to use clinical guidelines: a survey using the theory of planned behaviour

Author(s): Kortteisto Tiina | Kaila Minna | Komulainen Jorma | Mäntyranta Taina | Rissanen Pekka

Journal: Implementation Science
ISSN 1748-5908

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 51;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Abstract Background Finnish clinical guidelines are evolving toward integration of knowledge modules into the electronic health record in the Evidence-Based Medicine electronic Decision Support project. It therefore became important to study which factors affect professionals' intention to use clinical guidelines generally in their decision-making on patient care. A theory-based approach is a possible solution to explore determinants of professionals' behaviour. The study's aim was to produce baseline information for developers and implementers by using the theory of planned behaviour. Methods A cross-sectional internet-based survey was carried out in Finnish healthcare organisations within three hospital districts. The target population (n = 2,252) included physicians, nurses, and other professionals, of whom 806 participated. Indicators of the intention to use clinical guidelines were observed by using a theory-based questionnaire. The main data analysis was done by means of multiple linear regressions. Results The results indicated that all theory-based variables--the attitude toward the behaviour, the subjective norm, and the perceived behaviour control--were important factors associated with the professionals' intention to use clinical practice guidelines for their area of specialisation in the decisions they would make on the care of patients in the next three months. In addition, both the nurse and the physician factors had positive (p < 0.01) effects on this intention in comparison to other professionals. In the similar models for all professions, the strongest factor for the physicians was the perceived behaviour control, while the key factor for the nurses and the other professionals was the subjective norm. This means that context- and guideline-based factors either facilitate or hinder the intention to use clinical guidelines among physicians and, correspondingly, normative beliefs related to social pressures do so for nurses and other healthcare professionals. Conclusions The results confirm suggestions that the theory of planned behaviour is a suitable theoretical basis for implementing clinical guidelines in healthcare practices. Our new finding was that, in general, profession had an effect on intention to use clinical guidelines in patient care. Therefore, the study reaffirms the general contention that different strategies need to be in place when clinical guidelines are targeted at different professional groups.
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