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Strategies for improving guideline adherence of anticoagulants for patients with atrial fibrillation in primary healthcare: A systematic review

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 01:14 authored by Gebreyohannes, EA, Mill, D, Salter, S, Chalmers, L, Luke BereznickiLuke Bereznicki, K Lee

Background: Clinical guidelines on atrial fibrillation management help optimize the use of oral anticoagulants. However, guideline non-adherence is common, particularly in the primary care setting. The primary aim of this systematic review was to identify effective strategies for improving adherence to guideline-directed thromboprophylaxis to patients with atrial fibrillation in the primary care setting.

Methods: A search was conducted on 6 electronic databases (Medline, Embase, ScienceDirect, Scopus, the Cumulative Indexing of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and Web of Science) supplemented by a Google advanced search. Studies aimed at improving oral thromboprophylaxis guideline adherence in patients with atrial fibrillation, in the primary care setting, were included in the study.

Results: A total of 33 studies were included in this review. Nine studies employed electronic decision support (EDS), of which 4 reported modest improvements in guideline adherence. Five of 6 studies that utilized local guidelines as quality improvement measures reported improvement in guideline adherence. All 5 studies that employed coordinated care and the use of specialist support and 4 of the 5 studies that involved pharmacist-led interventions reported improvements in guideline adherence. Interventions based mainly on feedback from audits were less effective.

Conclusions: Multifaceted interventions, especially those incorporating coordinated care and specialist support, pharmacists, or local adaptations to and implementation of national and/or international guidelines appear to be more consistently effective in improving guideline adherence in the primary care setting than interventions based mainly on EDS and feedback from audits.


Publication title

Thrombosis Research








School of Pharmacy and Pharmacology


Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd

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Treatment of human diseases and conditions

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