Analyzing implementation dynamics using theory-driven evaluation principles: lessons learnt from a South African centralized chronic dispensing model.
ABSTRACT: Centralized dispensing of essential medicines is one of South Africa's strategies to address the shortage of pharmacists, reduce patients' waiting times and reduce over-crowding at public sector healthcare facilities. This article reports findings of an evaluation of the Chronic Dispensing Unit (CDU) in one province. The objectives of this process evaluation were to: (1) compare what was planned versus the actual implementation and (2) establish the causal elements and contextual factors influencing implementation.This qualitative study employed key informant interviews with the intervention's implementers (clinicians, managers and the service provider) [N = 40], and a review of policy and program documents. Data were thematically analyzed by identifying the main influences shaping the implementation process. Theory-driven evaluation principles were applied as a theoretical framework to explain implementation dynamics.The overall participants' response about the CDU was positive and the majority of informants concurred that the establishment of the CDU to dispense large volumes of medicines is a beneficial strategy to address healthcare barriers because mechanical functions are automated and distribution of medicines much quicker. However, implementation was influenced by the context and discrepancies between planned activities and actual implementation were noted. Procurement inefficiencies at central level caused medicine stock-outs and affected CDU activities. At the frontline, actors were aware of the CDU's implementation guidelines regarding patient selection, prescription validity and management of non-collected medicines but these were adapted to accommodate practical realities and to meet performance targets attached to the intervention. Implementation success was a result of a combination of 'hardware' (e.g. training, policies, implementation support and appropriate infrastructure) and 'software' (e.g. ownership, cooperation between healthcare practitioners and trust) factors.This study shows that health system interventions have unpredictable paths of implementation. Discrepancies between planned and actual implementation reinforce findings in existing literature suggesting that while tools and defined operating procedures are necessary for any intervention, their successful application depends crucially on the context and environment in which implementation occurs. We anticipate that this evaluation will stimulate wider thinking about the implementation of similar models in low- and middle-income countries.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Missed appointments serve as a key indicator for adherence to therapy and as such, identifying patient reasons for this inconsistency could assist in developing programmes to improve health outcomes. In this article, we explore the reasons for missed appointments linked to a centralised dispensing system in South Africa. This system dispenses pre-packed, patient-specific medication parcels for clinically stable patients to health facilities. However, at least 8%-12% of about 300,000 parcels are not collected each month. This article aims to establish whether missed appointments for collection of medicine parcels are indicative of loss-to-follow-up and also to characterise the patient and health system factors linked to missed appointments.<h4>Methods</h4>We applied an exploratory mixed-methods design in two overlapping research phases. This involved in-depth interviews to yield healthcare practitioners' and patients' experiences and medical record reviews. Data collection was conducted during the period 2014-2015. Qualitative data were analysed through a hybrid process of inductive and deductive thematic analysis which integrated data-driven and theory-driven codes. Data from medical records (N = 89) were analysed in MS excel using both descriptive statistics and textual descriptions.<h4>Results</h4>Review of medical records suggests that the majority of patients (67%) who missed original appointments later presented voluntarily to obtain medicines. This could indicate a temporal effect of some barriers. The remaining 33% revealed a range of CDU implementation issues resulting from, among others, erroneous classification of patients as defaulters. Interviews with patients revealed the following reasons for missed appointments: temporary migration, forgetting appointments, work commitments and temporary switch to private care. Most healthcare practitioners confirmed these barriers to collection but perceived that some were beyond the scope of health services. In addition, healthcare practitioners also identified a lack of patient responsibility, under-utilisation of medicines and use of plural healthcare sources (e.g. traditional healers) as contributing to missed appointments.<h4>Conclusion</h4>We suggest developing a patient care model reflecting the local context, attention to improving CDU's implementation processes and strengthening information systems in order to improve patient monitoring. This model presents lessons for other low-and-middle income countries with increasing need for dispensing of medicines for chronic illnesses.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>An automated dose dispensing (ADD) service has been implemented in primary healthcare in some European countries. In this service, regularly used medicines are machine-packed into unit-dose bags for each time of administration. The aim of this study is to review the evidence for ADD's influence on the appropriateness of medication use, medication safety, and costs in primary healthcare.<h4>Methods</h4>A literature search was performed in April 2012 in the most relevant databases (n = 10), including the Medline, Embase, and Cochrane Library. The reference lists of the studies selected were manually searched. A study was included in the review if the study was conducted in primary healthcare or nursing home settings and medicines were dispensed in unit-dose bags.<h4>Results</h4>Out of 328 abstracts, seven studies met the inclusion and reporting quality criteria, but none applied a randomized controlled study design. Of the four controlled studies, one was a national register-based study. It showed that the patient group in the ADD scheme more often used three or more psychotropic drugs and anticholinergics than patients using the standard dispensing procedure, while women in the ADD group used less long-acting benzodiazepines and both genders had fewer drug-drug interactions. In another, regional controlled study, the ADD group consisted of patients with higher risk of inappropriate drug use, according to all indicators applied. The third controlled study indicated that ADD user drug treatments were more likely to remain unchanged than in patients using a standard dispensing procedure. A controlled study from Norway showed that ADD reduced discrepancies in the documentation of patient medication records. Costs were not investigated in any of the studies.<h4>Conclusions</h4>A very limited number of controlled studies have explored ADD in primary healthcare. Consequently, the evidence for ADD's influence on appropriateness and safety of medication use is limited and lacking in information on costs. The findings of this review suggest that patients using the ADD have more inappropriate drugs in their regimens, and that ADD may improve medication safety in terms of reducing the discrepancies in medication records. Further evidence is needed to draw sound conclusions on ADD's outcomes.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:The quadruple burden of disease in South Africa, including the HIV/AIDS epidemic, has placed enormous strains on public healthcare (PHC) facilities. These strains specifically compromised the resources available to deal with high volumes of chronic diseases that contribute to medicine shortages and poor service delivery. In an attempt to address these challenges, the Central Chronic Medicines Dispensing and Distribution (CCMDD) programme, which aimed to provide public sector patients with alternative access to vital antiretroviral and other chronic medication, was implemented. This paper describes the protocol for a process evaluation of the programme compliance at the facility level in Namakwa district, to assess patient experiences and staff expectations of the programme; as well as, identifying factors that may affect the programme implementation so that guidance can be given on which approach to take to achieve programme objectives. METHODS AND ANALYSIS:A multimethod approach will be used in a cross-sectional process evaluation of the CCMDD programme at 11 PHC facilities in Namakwa district. These methods will use checklists to assess programme compliance and subsequently gain an understanding of whether the programme was implemented as planned. Structured questionnaires together with focus group discussions will be conducted with selected patients enrolled in the programme and facility staff to determine patient experiences with and staff expectations of the programme, respectively. Furthermore, in-depth interviews will be conducted with key actors to explore barriers and facilitators of the programme implementation. Descriptive statistics will be conducted to analyse the quantitative data and an inductive interpretive approach will be used to analyse the qualitative data. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:The protocol was approved by Stellenbosch University Health Research Ethics Committee (S19/02/047) and the study will be conducted in line with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki (1964). Findings from the study will be communicated to the study population, and at appropriate local and international conferences, in addition to publishing in peer-reviewed journals.
Project description:BACKGROUND:To explore the key factors affecting prescription practices of essential medicines in Chinese county hospital. National essential medicine policy (NEMP) plays important roles in health care system, especially in developing countries. As a fundamental component in the Chinese health system reform, NEMP was implemented in primary health care institutions during the first stage of reform. As it is rolled out, priority usage and zero-mark-up policy of essential medicines are to be applied in every government-run healthcare institution. However, the intention and influence factors of physicians on priority selecting essential medicine remains unclear. METHODS:Based on the theory of planned behavior, a cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted to analyze physicians' intention, attitude, subjective norms (SNs) and perceived behavioral control (PBC) on prescrictions and their actual behavior on selection of essential medicines. RESULTS:Two hundred eighty-two physicians participated in the structural questionnaire interview. The final structural equation model reflected influencing factors affecting physicians' prescribing behavior (?2/df?=?1.32, GFI?=?0.99, IFI?=?0.99). Structural equation model analysis showed that attitude, other influencers and institutional environment, and PBC significantly affected behavioral intention. However, the control extent of cognition behavior of physicians prescribing had no significant positive effect on the priority usage of essential medicines. CONCLUSION:Investigation results demonstrate physicians are unaware of NEMP design and implementation plans. To help enhance rational use of essential medicines we suggest educating physicians on the value of NEMP, and integrating the drug shortage report into the essential medicine (EM) bidding system seamless communication with pharmaceutical manufacturers' credit information system.
Project description:Background: Community pharmacies are an integrated part of healthcare systems worldwide. In low and middle income countries like Pakistan, the paradigm of pharmacy practice is shifting from dispensing medicines to clinical activities. There are disparities in these practices according to location. Pharmacies in urban localities are better than those in rural areas. This qualitative study was conducted to explore patients' expectations and current practices in rural pharmacies. Methods: A cohort of adult pharmacy visitors (aged > 18 years) that reside in rural community was selected. Consenting participants were recruited by purposive sampling technique until thematic saturation level was achieved. A total of 34 patients were interviewed. Face-to-face interviews were conducted using a semi structured interview guide. All the data were transcribed and used to originate the themes. Results: On analysis, a total of 20 themes were obtained. Sixteen themes pronounced the current provided services. Four themes provided some suggestions for the development of better pharmacies. On call services to provide medicines, limited free extended pharmacy services, interest in patients' wellbeing, appropriate referral, vaccination, free medical camp, medical services at home, first aid, and counseling were appreciated by patients. Patients stated that medicines are inappropriately stored in unhygienic conditions, prices of medicines are comparatively high, and medicines are substandard. Unavailability of medicines, inept dispensing, limited staffing with poor knowledge, limited working hours, and quackery promotion are challenges in rural pharmacy practice. Patients say that non marginal pricing, informative services, new legislation, and proper vigilance by officials can improve the pharmacy services in rural communities. Conclusions: Patients alleged that rural pharmacies perform deprived practices. To improve service, new legislation and the proper implementation of existing law is needed.
Project description:Background:Substandard and falsified medicines, mainly prevalent in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), cause avoidable morbidity and mortality, and put at stake the performance of health systems. They may be prevented by an adequate implementation of pharmaceutical Quality Assurance (QA) guidelines, but unfortunately, most guidelines address upstream stakeholders and specialized staff in the supply chain. A multi-layered approach is needed, in order to empower the health workers at the point-of-care to proactively contribute to the fight against poor-quality medicines.Visual inspection is a simple technique, suitable for field screening. The findings of a survey conducted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) suggested that it might be a fairly good (yet partial) predictor of poor-quality, when compared to full laboratory tests. Methods and results:Starting from the 68-questions checklist originally used in the survey in the DRC, we developed a simplified checklist, specifically designed to guide health workers at the point of care to rapidly identify suspect poor-quality medicines. We selected those medicines' attributes the assessment of which does not require technical expertise, or access to regulatory information. Attributes were categorized according to a 3-level risk scale, to guide decision-making on suspect poor-quality medicines, based on an informed risk assessment.The simplified checklist contains 26 binary questions (YES/NO), grouped into four themes: packaging, identification, traceability, and physical appearance. Each non-conformity corresponds to a level of risk for patients. The user is guided towards three possible actions: A) reasonably safe for dispensing; B) dispense with explanation; C) quarantine and make a risk-benefit evaluation before dispensing. Conclusion:The simplified checklist should now be implemented in real-life setting in LMICs. If proven useful in guiding health workers at the point-of-care to take rapid, transparent, patient-centred actions when facing a suspect poor-quality medicine, it could be further extended to address specific formulations. Digitalization for linkage with pharmacovigilance programs could also be considered.
Project description:Most of the prescribing and dispensing of medicines happens in primary care. Pharmacogenomics (PGx) is the study and clinical application of the role of genetic variation on drug response. Mounting evidence suggests PGx can improve the safety and/or efficacy of several medications commonly prescribed in primary care. However, implementation of PGx has generally been limited to a relatively few academic hospital centres, with little adoption in primary care. Despite this, many primary healthcare providers are optimistic about the role of PGx in their future practice. The increasing prevalence of direct-to-consumer genetic testing and primary care PGx studies herald the plausible gradual introduction of PGx into primary care and highlight the changes needed for optimal translation. In this article, the potential utility of PGx in primary care will be explored and on-going barriers to implementation discussed. The evidence base of several drug-gene pairs relevant to primary care will be outlined with a focus on antidepressants, codeine and tramadol, statins, clopidogrel, warfarin, metoprolol and allopurinol. This review is intended to provide both a general introduction to PGx with a more in-depth overview of elements relevant to primary care.
Project description:Globally, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality, including in the WHO European region. Within this region, the Member States with the greatest cardiovascular disease (CVD) burden are also some of the lowest resourced. As the need for technical support for the implementation of essential CVD/NCD interventions in primary healthcare (PHC) in these regions grew urgent, the WHO Regional Office for Europe has been directly supporting national governments in the development, assessment, scale-up and quality improvement of large scale PHC interventions for CVD. Herein, we synthesise the key learnings from providing technical support to national governments under the auspices of the WHO across the European region and share these learnings as a resource for public health professionals to consider when increasing coverage of quality essential health services. Based on our experience providing technical support to a diversity of Member States in the European Region (eg, Tajikistan, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Uzbekistan), we have identified six key lessons: prioritising NCDs for public health intervention, identifying and mapping existing resources, engaging key stakeholders, tailoring interventions to the local health system, generating local evidence and ensuring quality improvement while mainstreaming. Common challenges across all phases of implementation include multiple and inconsistent international toolkits and guidance, lack of national capacity for evidence-based healthcare, limited access to essential medicines and technologies, inconsistent national guidelines and limited experience in evaluation methodology, clinical epidemiology and guideline implementation. We map the lessons to the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research and highlight key learnings and challenges specific to the region. Member States in the region are at various stages of implementation; however, several are currently conducting pragmatic clinical trials to generate local evidence for health policy. As this work expands, greater engagement with peer-to-peer sharing of contextual wisdom, sharing of resources, publishing methodology and results and development of region-specific resources is planned.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:The study sought to examine the implementation of sick day guidance cards designed to prevent acute kidney injury (AKI), in primary care settings. DESIGN:Qualitative semistructured interviews were conducted and comparative analysis informed by normalisation process theory was undertaken to understand sense-making, implementation and appraisal of the cards and associated guidance. SETTING:A single primary care health setting in the North of England. PARTICIPANTS:29 participants took part in the qualitative evaluation: seven general practitioners, five practice nurses, five community pharmacists, four practice pharmacists, two administrators, one healthcare assistant and five patients. INTERVENTION:The sick day guidance intervention was rolled out (2015-2016) in general practices (n=48) and community pharmacies (n=60). The materials consisted of a 'medicine sick day guidance' card, provided to patients who were taking the listed drugs. The card provided advice about medicines management during episodes of acute illness. An information leaflet was provided to healthcare practitioners and administrators suggesting how to use and give the cards. RESULTS:Implementation of sick day guidance cards to prevent AKI entailed a new set of working practises across primary care. A tension existed between ensuring reach in administration of the cards to at risk populations while being confident to ensure patient understanding of their purpose and use. Communicating the concept of temporary cessation of medicines was a particular challenge and limited their administration to patient populations at higher risk of AKI, particularly those with less capacity to self-manage. CONCLUSIONS:Sick day guidance cards that focus solely on medicines management may be of limited patient benefit without adequate resourcing or if delivered as a standalone intervention. Development and evaluation of primary care interventions is urgently warranted to tackle the harm associated with AKI.
Project description:Information technology (IT) systems are being utilised with increasing frequency at the prescribing and dispensing stage of the medicines-use process in UK hospitals. However, much less development has taken place with regard to the implementation of IT systems at the administration stage of medicines-use. A technology that has been implemented widely at the administration stage in North American hospitals is the automated dispensing cabinet (ADC), which has been shown to reduce nurse medication administration errors and reduce the time that nurses spend administering medication. The current project was undertaken to assess whether these benefits would be realised with the introduction of an ADC on an inpatient ward in a UK mental health hospital. Nurses were observed administering medication before and after the implementation of an ADC on a ward at East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT). The findings from these observations showed that the use of the ADC led to a reduction in the medication administration error rate from 8.9% to 7.2%; however, this reduction was solely accounted for by a reduction in errors of negligible clinical severity. The types of administration errors noted after implementation of the ADC remained largely unchanged from beforehand. The ADC was found to reduce the amount of time that nurses spent administering medication from 2.94 min per dose to 2.37 min per dose. It is estimated that this reduction could generate around 66 min of additional free nursing time per ward per day. As a standalone device, the ADC was found to improve the efficiency of the medicines-use process, but had little meaningful effect on medication administration error rate at ELFT. However, it could be anticipated that additional benefit with regard to reducing medication administration errors may be demonstrated if the ADC was used in combination with other IT systems, such as electronic prescribing.