Purpose: An exploration was completed of health professionals' experiences implementing evidence-based guidelines that promote intensive management (IM) for people with diabetes.
Methods: In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 50 health professionals from across Canada. These professionals are considered to be opinion leaders in diabetes care. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and coded with the assistance of NVivo software. Transcripts were analyzed using Potter and Wetherell's approach to discourse analysis.
Results: Participants noted that recent clinical trials validated intensive approaches to diabetes management. While they viewed the evidence as sound, they did not feel that it justified IM approaches in all situations. Evidence-based practice therefore gave way to individual patient considerations. Implementing behavioural strategies, such as the stages of change model, allowed participants to modify their practices in ways that accommodated both evidence-based and patient-focused practice paradigms.
Conclusions: While evidence-based medicine influenced practice, it was only one discourse that shaped the way health professionals approached diabetes care.