From guidelines to good practice

What are National Clinical Guidelines?

National Clinical Guidelines are evidence-based ‘best practice’ statements, which aim to improve the quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of decisions across health services in Ireland. The Department of Health has published 14 National Clinical Guidelines, covering areas such as palliative care, various forms of cancer and prevention and control of MRSA. There are also another 16 National Clinical Guidelines currently at various stages of development.

Research evidence, clinical expertise and the needs of patients are all important factors in the development of the guidelines. While clinical guidelines have significant potential for improving healthcare in Ireland, they can only be of real benefit to services and patients when they are implemented. Professionals in health services asked for support in implementing the guidelines, and in early 2017 the Department of Health contracted CES to provide some training and tools.  

What our work involves

Our work involves working with health professionals involved in developing, managing and implementing the guidelines.

We designed and gave introductory training in Implementation Science to health professionals. Training covered everything from planning and getting ready for implementation to thinking about evaluation.

We are running a series of workshops with the professional groups involved in the development of the Guidelines. We used logic modelling as a tool in the workshops, which helped them to focus on how to achieve the outcomes of the guidelines.

The final stage of the work involves developing a framework and tools to support implementation. The framework and tools will be specific to the National Clinical Guidelines, and will be live and ready to use by the end of this year. Feedback from the workshops will be used to inform the framework and tools that will be used.

In the short term, an increase in the use of the guidelines will indicate how successful this approach has been. We believe that an understanding of implementation, along with practical tools will support services to implement the guidelines, which have the potential to make a real difference to people’s lives.

Videos of the training will be available on the Department of Health website later in 2017.