Diagnostic imaging has been a part of medicine for the last century. It has been difficult to implement guidelines in this field, and unwarranted imaging has been a frequent problem. Some work has been done to explain these phenomena separately. Identifying the barriers to and facilitators of guideline use has been one strategy. The aim of this study is to offer a more comprehensive explanation of deviations from the guideline by studying the two phenomena together.
Eight general practitioners and 10 radiologists from two counties in Norway agreed to semi-structured interviews. Topics covered in the interviews were knowledge of the guideline, barriers to and facilitators of guideline use, implementation of guidelines and factors that influence unwarranted imaging.
Several barriers to and facilitators of guideline use were identified. Among these are lack of time, pressure from patients, and guidelines being too long, rigid or unclear. Facilitators of guideline use were easy accessibility and having the guidelines adapted to the target group. Some of the factors that influence unwarranted imaging are lack of time, pressure from patients and availability of imaging services.
There are similarities between the perceived barriers for guideline adherence and the perceived factors that influence unwarranted imaging. There may be a few reasons that explains the deviation from guidelines, and the amount of unwarranted imaging.
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