Facilitators and barriers to adoption of evidence-based perinatal care in Latin American hospitals: a qualitative study

Health Educ Res. 2007 Dec;22(6):839-53. doi: 10.1093/her/cym012. Epub 2007 Mar 29.


Selective episiotomy and the active management of labor have been shown by numerous studies to benefit women's experience of labor as well as its outcomes. However, many Latin American public hospitals have not updated their clinical practices to reflect these findings. Limited access to new knowledge, limited time and physical resources and attitudes resistant to change are factors limiting the adoption of new practices in such hospitals. Interviews were conducted with three department heads, and focus groups were conducted with 31 physicians and midwives working in 10 public hospitals in Argentina and Uruguay. All were asked about facilitators and barriers to making changes in clinical practice. In addition, three focus groups were conducted with 16 pregnant women served by public hospitals. Responses were grouped according to stages of change in incorporating new evidence into practice. Numerous facilitators and barriers were identified by participants, as well as potential strategies for promoting change that could be incorporated into interventions. Barriers included limited access to information, negative attitudes toward changes in practice, lack of skills in performing new practices, lack of medical resources and explicit guidelines and a perceived need to practice defensive medicine. Changing long-standing clinical practice is difficult. Interventions must be adapted to translate evidence-based approaches to new cultures and contexts. Improving information access, use of role models, skill development and improved resources and support may be effective ways to overcome barriers to change in Latin American obstetric care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Argentina
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Defensive Medicine
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hospitals, Public / standards*
  • Hospitals, Public / trends
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, Hospital / standards*
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, Hospital / trends
  • Perinatal Care / standards*
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / prevention & control
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Pregnancy
  • Qualitative Research
  • Uruguay