Background: Modifying the format and content of guidelines may facilitate their use and lead to improved quality of care. We reviewed the medical literature to identify features desired by different users and associated with guideline use to develop a framework of implementability and found that most guidelines do not contain these elements. Further research is needed to develop and evaluate implementability tools.
Methods: We are launching the Guideline Implementability Research and Application Network (GIRAnet) to enable the development and testing of implementability tools in three domains: Resource Implications, Implementation, and Evaluation. Partners include the Guidelines International Network (G-I-N) and its member guideline developers, implementers, and researchers. In phase one, international guidelines will be examined to identify and describe exemplar tools. Indication-specific and generic tools will populate a searchable repository. In phase two, qualitative analysis of cognitive interviews will be used to understand how developers can best integrate implementability tools in guidelines and how health professionals use them for interpreting and applying guidelines. In phase three, a small-scale pilot test will assess the impact of implementability tools based on quantitative analysis of chart-based behavioural outcomes and qualitative analysis of interviews with participants. The findings will be used to plan a more comprehensive future evaluation of implementability tools.
Discussion: Infrastructure funding to establish GIRAnet will be leveraged with the in-kind contributions of collaborating national and international guideline developers to advance our knowledge of implementation practice and science. Needs assessment and evaluation of GIRAnet will provide a greater understanding of how to develop and sustain such knowledge-exchange networks. Ultimately, by facilitating use of guidelines, this research may lead to improved delivery and outcomes of patient care.