The barriers and facilitators to the implementation of clinical guidance in elective orthopaedic surgery: A qualitative study protocol

Amy Grove, Aileen Clarke, Graeme Currie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Clinical guidelines in orthopaedic surgery aim to improve the efficiency, quality and outcomes of patient care by ensuring that treatment recommendations are based on the best available evidence. The simple provision of guidelines, however, does not ensure fidelity or guarantee their uptake and use in surgical practice. Research exploring the factors that affect surgeons' use of evidence and guidelines has focused on understanding what evidence exists for current clinical decisions. This narrowed scope emphasises the technical, educational and accessibility issues but overlooks wider factors that help explain how and why guidelines are not implemented and used in surgery. It is also important to understand how we can encourage the implementation processes in practice. Methods/design: We will use ethnographic methods to conduct case studies in three English NHS hospitals. Within each case, we will conduct observations, interviews and analysis of key documents to understand experiences, complex processes and decisions made and the role of clinical guidance and other sources of evidence within orthopaedic surgery. The data will be transcribed and analysed thematically. Comparisons will be made within cases and across cases. Discussion: Guidelines are a fundamental part of clinical practice, and various factors must be considered when preparing for their successful implementation into organisations. Understanding the views and experiences of a range of surgical, clerical and managerial staff across multiple orthopaedic departments will capture the complexity and variety of factors that can influence surgical decisions. The findings of our study will identify the specific features of orthopaedic practice to help guide the development of strategies to facilitate guideline uptake in everyday surgical work.

Original languageEnglish
Article number81
JournalImplementation Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Barriers
  • Comparative case study
  • Evidence-based medicine
  • Facilitators
  • Guidelines
  • Implementation
  • Orthopaedic surgery

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