Empirical and conceptual investigation of de-implementation of low-value care from professional and health care system perspectives: a study protocol

May 15, 2018 | H. Hasson, P. Nilsen, H. Augustsson and U. von Thiele Schwarz

BACKGROUND: A considerable proportion of interventions provided to patients lacks evidence of their effectiveness. This implies that patients may receive ineffective, unnecessary, or even harmful care. Thus, in addition to implementing evidence-based practices, there is also a need to abandon interventions that are not based on best evidence, i.e., low-value care. However, research on de-implementation is limited, and there is a lack of knowledge about how effective de-implementation processes should be carried out. The aim of this project is to explore the phenomenon of the de-implementation of low-value health care practices from the perspective of professionals and the health care system.

METHODS: Theories of habits and developmental learning in combination with theories of organizational alignment will be used. The project’s work will be conducted in five steps. Step 1 is a scoping review of the literature, and Step 2 has an explorative design involving interviews with health care stakeholders. Step 3 has a prospective design in which workplaces and professionals are shadowed during an ongoing de-implementation. In Step 4, a conceptual framework for de-implementation will be developed based on the previous steps. In Step 5, strategies for de-implementation are identified using a co-design approach.

DISCUSSION: This project contributes new knowledge to implementation science consisting of empirical data, a conceptual framework, and strategy suggestions on de-implementation of low-value care. The professionals’ perspectives will be highlighted, including insights into how they make decisions, handle de-implementation in daily practice, and what consequences it has on their work. Furthermore, the health care system perspective will be considered and new knowledge on how de-implementation can be understood across health care system levels will be obtained. The theories of habits and developmental learning can also offer insights into how context triggers and reinforces certain behaviors and how factors at the individual and the organizational levels interact. The project employs a solution-oriented perspective by developing a framework for de-implementation of low-value practices and suggesting practical strategies to improve de-implementation processes at all levels of the health care system. The framework and the strategies can thereafter be evaluated for their validity and impact in future studies.

PubMed Abstract

Hasson, H., Nilsen, P., Augustsson, H., & von Thiele Schwarz, U. (2018). Empirical and conceptual investigation of de-implementation of low-value care from professional and health care system perspectives: a study protocol. Implement Sci, 13(1), 67. doi:10.1186/s13012-018-0760-7