Purpose: To determine the effectiveness of two dissemination and implementation strategies to implement a national guideline for epilepsy management in primary care settings.
Methods: Three-arm cluster-randomized controlled trial. The participants were general practitioners from 68 practices in Tayside, Scotland, and 1,133 of their patients with self-reported epilepsy treated with antiepileptic medications (AEDs). Practices were randomized blind to a control, intermediate, or intensive intervention.
Control: Postal dissemination of a nationally developed clinical guideline. Intermediate intervention: Postal dissemination of the guideline supported by interactive, accredited workshops, and dedicated, structured protocol documents. Intensive intervention: Intermediate intervention plus a nurse specialist who supported and educated practices in the establishment of epilepsy review clinics. The primary outcome was the SF-36 health-related quality-of-life instrument. Secondary measures were a battery of prevalidated epilepsy-specific quality-of-life instruments. These were administered at baseline and after the intervention phase. Process of care was assessed by case-note review on number of review meetings and counseling sessions for epilepsy before and after the interventions.
Results: None of the intervention groups showed any change in the primary or secondary outcome measures or process-of-care measures.
Conclusions: None of the intervention strategies led to improvements in patient quality of life or quality of epilepsy care. Further research is needed to discover why the interventions failed, to identify barriers to adoption of guidelines, and to develop strategies that might improve implementation and uptake in the future.