Objective: To obtain feedback from contracted health plan (HP) clinicians responsible for implementing preventive services regarding an established set of priority guidelines identified by a coalition of medical directors and to identify barriers to and facilitators of the implementation of these priority guidelines in clinician practice.
Study design: Qualitative design using a focus group approach.
Participants and methods: Three focus group meetings among contracted HP clinicians were conducted in New Jersey in 3 geographic regions (northern, central, and southern New Jersey). Clinicians directly involved in delivering preventive services to pediatric, adult, and geriatric patients participated.
Results: Barriers to guideline implementation were identified by the clinicians regarding payment and cost, time, legal issues, inconsistency among HP tools, tracking, a lack of internalization, and the patient-clinician relationship. In addition, facilitators of guideline implementation, including HP support, patient materials, clinician awareness, and tool consistency, were identified.
Conclusions: Clinicians' perceived barriers to guideline implementation are in themselves a barrier to the delivery of preventive care services. If clinicians perceive barriers to implementing priority recommendations, they may be unlikely to make the conscious effort to deliver preventive care. There needs to be better dialogue between HPs and contracted clinicians to minimize the perceptions of barriers and to increase clinician awareness of and sensitivity to preventive care for priority implementation. To improve the delivery of preventive services in clinician practice, competing HPs must communicate in a single voice with contracted clinicians in the area of preventive care.