Awareness and Perceptions of Published Osteoporosis Clinical Guidelines-a Survey of Primary Care Practitioners in the Cape Town Metropolitan Area
Background: Despite the widespread production and dissemination of clinical practice guidelines both worldwide and in South Africa; they have not resulted in the expected improvements in quality of care and patient outcomes. There are limited studies concerning the impact of South African developed guidelines on local physician behaviour and knowledge. Awareness of a guideline is a necessary prerequisite for its successful implementation. The study aimed to survey Cape Town primary care practitioners employed in both the private and state sectors on their awareness and perceptions of the “Osteoporosis Clinical Guidelines�?, published in the South African Medical Journal in September 2000.
Methods: Design: Descriptive cross-sectional survey. A telephonic survey of 150 randomized Cape Town primary care practitioners was conducted (100 private general practitioners and 50 public sector primary care practitioners). A survey instrument developed for the study was applied in a standardised manner. Respondents' levels of awareness and perceptions of the published guideline on osteoporosis were evaluated.
Results: A total of 18.7% (95% confidence interval 12.5–24.9%) of respondents reported being aware of the clinical guideline. Of the surveyed primary care practitioners 12.7% (95% confidence interval 7.4–18%) reported having read the guideline. There was no difference in reported awareness of the guideline between doctors working in the private and public sectors. The respondents who had read the guidelines were generally well disposed towards them. Significantly fewer public sector primary care practitioners felt able to implement the guidelines than private general practitioners – organizational barriers were most commonly cited as barriers to implementation.
Conclusion: Passive dissemination of the Osteoporosis Clinical Guideline resulted in low levels of awareness among the surveyed group. This result has implications regarding future clinical guideline dissemination and implementation in South Africa. Further attention needs to be focused on developing implementation and dissemination strategies of evidence-based guidelines in South Africa.
South African Journal of Family Practice Vol. 50 (4) 2008: pp. 71a-71f