Stakeholder Assessment of Evidence-Based Guideline Dissemination and Implementation in a Dental Group Practice

JDR Clin Trans Res. 2021 Jan;6(1):87-95. doi: 10.1177/2380084420903999. Epub 2020 Feb 10.


Objective: This evaluation captures the perspectives of multiple stakeholders within a salaried dental care delivery organization (dentists, dental assistants, dental hygienists, and dental management) on the implementation of a pit-and-fissure sealant guideline in the Kaiser Permanente Dental Program. Also assessed is the role of formal processes and structures in providing a framework for guideline implementation.

Methods: We collected qualitative data through field observations, stakeholder interviews (n = 6), and focus groups (30 participants in 5 focus groups). Field observation notes captured summaries of conversations and other activities. Interviews and focus groups were recorded and transcribed. We analyzed transcripts and field notes using a template analysis with NVivo 12 software to identify themes related to the existing implementation process of clinical guidelines and stakeholder perspectives on the strengths and weaknesses of this process.

Results: Stakeholders perceived 2 main barriers for achieving implementation of the pit-and-fissure sealant guideline: 1) shortcomings in the implementation infrastructure resulting in lack of clarity about the roles and responsibilities in the guideline implementation process and lack of effective mechanisms to disseminate guideline content and 2) resource constraints, such as limited human, space, and material resources. Perceived opportunities for the dissemination and implementation of guidelines included recognition of the importance of guidelines in dental practice and well-functioning workflows within dental specialties.

Conclusion: Our research points to the importance of developing and maintaining an infrastructure to ensure standardized, predictable mechanisms for implementation of guidelines and thereby promoting practice change. While addressing resource constraints may not be possible in all circumstances, an important step for improving guideline implementation-wherever feasible-would be the development of a robust implementation infrastructure that captures and delineates roles and responsibilities of different clinical actors in the guideline implementation process.

Knowledge transfer statement: The results of this study can be used by health care leadership and administrators to understand possible reasons for a lack of guideline implementation and provide suggestions for establishing sustainable infrastructure to promote the adoption of clinical guidelines in salaried dental clinics.

Keywords: clinical practice guidelines; dental caries; evidence-based dentistry; occlusal caries prevention and arresting; pit-and-fissure sealants; qualitative research.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Dental Caries*
  • Group Practice, Dental*
  • Humans
  • Pit and Fissure Sealants


  • Pit and Fissure Sealants