Influence of research evidence on the use of cardiovascular clinical prediction rules in primary care: an exploratory qualitative interview study
Ban JW., Perera R., Williams V.
Background: Cardiovascular clinical prediction rules (CPRs) are widely used in primary care. They accumulate research evidence through derivation, external validation, and impact studies. However, existing knowledge about the influence of research evidence on the use of CPRs is limited. Therefore, we explored how primary care clinicians’ perceptions of and experiences with research influence their use of cardiovascular CPRs. Methods: We conducted an exploratory qualitative interview study with thematic analysis. Primary care clinicians were recruited from the WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) region Practice and Research Network (WPRN). We used purposeful sampling to ensure maximum variation within the participant group. Data were collected by conducting semi-structured online interviews. We analyzed data using inductive thematic analysis to identify commonalities and differences within themes. Results: Of 29 primary care clinicians who completed the questionnaire, 15 participated in the interview. We identified two main themes relating to the influence of clinicians’ perceptions of and experiences with cardiovascular CPR research on their decisions about using cardiovascular CPRs: “Seek and judge” and “be acquainted and assume.” When clinicians are familiar with, trust, and feel confident in using research evidence, they might actively search and assess the evidence, which may then influence their decisions about using cardiovascular CPRs. However, clinicians, who are unfamiliar with, distrust, or find it challenging to use research evidence, might be passively acquainted with evidence but do not make their own judgment on the trustworthiness of such evidence. Therefore, these clinicians might not rely on research evidence when making decisions about using cardiovascular CPRs. Conclusions: Clinicians’ perceptions and experiences could influence how they use research evidence in decisions about using cardiovascular CPRs. This implies, when promoting evidence-based decisions, it might be useful to target clinicians’ unfamiliarity, distrust, and challenges regarding the use of research evidence rather than focusing only on their knowledge and skills. Further, because clinicians often rely on evidence-unrelated factors, guideline developers and policymakers should recommend cardiovascular CPRs supported by high-quality evidence.