Send to

Choose Destination
BMJ Open. 2019 Mar 15;9(3):e024159. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-024159.

Barriers and facilitators to adopting high value practices and de-adopting low value practices in Canadian intensive care units: a multimethod study.

Author information

Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.



To compare and contrast illustrative examples of the adoption of high value practices and the de-adoption of low value practices.


(1) Retrospective, population-based audit of low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) for venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis (high value practice) and albumin for fluid resuscitation (low value practice) and (2) cross-sectional survey of healthcare providers.


Data were collected from nine adult medical-surgical intensive care units (ICUs) in two large Canadian cities. Patients are managed in these ICUs by a group of multiprofessional and multidisciplinary healthcare providers.


Participants included 6946 ICU admissions and 309 healthcare providers from the same ICUs.


(1) The use of LMWH for VTE prophylaxis (per cent ICU days) and albumin for fluid resuscitation (per cent of patients); and (2) provider knowledge of evidence underpinning these practices, and barriers and facilitators to adopt and de-adopt these practices.


LMWH was administered on 38.7% of ICU days, and 20.0% of patients received albumin.Most participants had knowledge of evidence underpinning VTE prophylaxis and fluid resuscitation (59.1% and 84.2%, respectively). Providers perceived these practices to be followed. The most commonly reported barrier to adoption was insufficient knowledge/understanding (32.8%), and to de-adoption was clinical leader preferences (33.2%). On-site education was the most commonly identified facilitator for adoption and de-adoption (67.8% and 68.6%, respectively).


Despite knowledge of and self-reported adherence to best practices, the audit demonstrated opportunity to improve. Provider-reported barriers and facilitators to adoption and de-adoption are broadly similar.


appropriateness; healthcare system; intensive care; quality improvement; under-use and over-use

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center