gms | German Medical Science

G-I-N Conference 2012

Guidelines International Network

22.08 - 25.08.2012, Berlin

How a needs assessment can inform guidelines dissemination: A best practice case in atrial fibrillation

Meeting Abstract

  • S. Murray - AXDEV Group Inc., Brossard, Canada
  • P. Lazure - AXDEV Group Inc., Brossard, Canada
  • T. Kellner - AXDEV Europe Inc., Kirchheim, Germany
  • C. Pullen - Canadian Cardiovascular Society, Ottawa, Canada
  • P. Maltais - Sanofi Canada, Laval, Canada
  • P. Dorian - University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; St-Michaels Hospital, Toronto, Canada

Guidelines International Network. G-I-N Conference 2012. Berlin, 22.-25.08.2012. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2012. DocO34

doi: 10.3205/12gin066, urn:nbn:de:0183-12gin0669

Veröffentlicht: 10. Juli 2012

© 2012 Murray et al.
Dieser Artikel ist ein Open Access-Artikel und steht unter den Creative Commons Lizenzbedingungen ( Er darf vervielfältigt, verbreitet und öffentlich zugänglich gemacht werden, vorausgesetzt dass Autor und Quelle genannt werden.



Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common form of sustained arrhythmia. Existing literature indicated uncertainties surrounding strategies to manage patients with AF, including non-adherence to existing guidelines. However, the causality of such gaps was never identified. As a result, evidence is lacking about how to support appropriate dissemination of new guidelines and development of educational interventions.

Context: To investigate gaps and challenges of Canadian physicians caring for patients with AF, a national IRB-approved needs assessment was undertaken. A mixed-method approach was employed, combining qualitative data from semi-structured interviews and quantitative data from an online survey, and included multiple stakeholders: Family Physicians, Cardiologists, ER Physicians, Internists, Neurologists, and Patients with AF.

Description of best practice: Findings revealed perceived gaps across the continuum of care, and identified some of the probable underlying causes. Results provided direction for recommendations on the dissemination of the new guidelines and their integration into practice. Consequently, this study was utilized by a speciality society, who positioned the identified needs of physicians in parallel to the release of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society Atrial Fibrillation Guidelines 2010. Furthermore, the study enabled development of physician education and professional development interventions that go further than simple transfer of knowledge by addressing perceived barriers to guideline adherence.

Lessons: Guideline developers and implementers should consider leveraging needs assessments for a more complete understanding of gaps - and their causality - in guideline adherence. Appropriate use of such knowledge could facilitate optimal guideline, dissemination, implementation and application.