Uptake of validated clinical practice guidelines: experience with implementing the Ottawa Ankle Rules


      This study examined whether emergency physicians (EPs) exposed to multiple dissemination strategies for the Ottawa Ankle Rules (OARs) would reduce extremity radiography use. We conducted a prospective cohort study comparing intervention (n = 2) with control (n = 2) hospitals over a 2-year period. All EPs received the paper-based rules during the run-in phase; EPs in the intervention hospitals were also subjected in sequence to valid dissemination approaches. Provincewide dissemination of the OARs did not decrease radiography during the run-in period (92% vs. 93%; P = .36). Sequential directed education and personalized feedback strategies failed to reduce radiographic ordering rates (P = .54) or the ordering of both foot and ankle radiographs (P = .11) over time. The use of radiography did not decrease despite the use of a variety of dissemination strategies. Additional research is required to determine the most effective methods of incorporating guidelines into emergency practice.


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