Objective: To estimate effective strategies for implementing clinical practice guidelines in obstetric care and to identify specific barriers to behavior change and facilitators in obstetrics.
Data sources: The Cochrane Library, EMBASE, and MEDLINE were consulted from January 1990 to June 2005. Additional studies were identified by screening reference lists from identified studies and experts' suggestions.
Methods of study selection: Studies of clinical practice guidelines implementation strategies in obstetric care and reviews of such studies were selected. Randomized controlled trials, controlled before-after studies, and interrupted time series studies were evaluated according to Effective Practice and Organization of Care criteria standards.
Tabulation, integration, and results: Studies were reviewed by two investigators to assess the quality and the efficacy of each strategy. Discordances between the two reviewers were resolved by consensus. In obstetrics, educational strategies with medical providers are generally ineffective; educational strategies with paramedical providers, opinion leaders, qualitative improvement, and academic detailing have mixed effects; audit and feedback, reminders, and multifaceted strategies are generally effective. These findings differ from data on the efficacy of clinical practice guidelines implementation strategies in other medical specialties. Specific barriers to behavior change in obstetrics and methods to overcome these barriers could explain these differences. The proportion of effective strategies is significantly higher among the interventions that include a prospective identification of barriers to change compared with standardized interventions.
Conclusion: Prospective identification of efficient strategies and barriers to change is necessary to achieve a better adaptation of intervention and to improve clinical practice guidelines implementation. In the field of obstetric care, multifaceted strategy based on audit and feedback and facilitated by local opinion leaders is recommended to effectively change behaviors.