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Barriers and Facilitators to the Outpatient Management of Low-risk Pulmonary Embolism From the Emergency Department

Although recommended by professional society guidelines, outpatient management of low-risk pulmonary embolism (PE) from emergency departments (EDs) in the US remains uncommon. The objective of this study was to identify barriers and facilitators to the outpatient management of PE from the ED using implementation science methodology. We conducted semistructured interviews with a purposeful sample of emergency physicians using maximum variation sampling, aiming to recruit physicians with diverse practice patterns regarding the management of low-risk PE. We developed an interview guide using the implementation science frameworks-the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research and the Theoretical Domains Framework. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed in an iterative process. We interviewed 26 emergency physicians from 11 hospital systems, and the participants were diverse with regard to years in practice, practice setting, and engagement with outpatient management of PE. Although outer setting determinants, such as medicolegal climate, follow-up, and insurance status were universal, our participants revealed that the importance of these determinants were moderated by individual-level and inner setting determinants. Prominent themes included belief in consequences, belief in capabilities, and institutional support and culture. Inertia of clinical practice and complexity of the process were important subthemes. In this qualitative study, clinicians reported common barriers and facilitators that initially focused on outer setting and external barriers but centered on clinician beliefs, fear, and local culture. Efforts to increase outpatient treatment of select patients with acute PE should be informed by these barriers and facilitators, which are aligned with the deimplementation theory.

Authors: Westafer, Lauren M;Jessen, Erica;Zampi, Michael;Boccio, Eric;Casey, Scott D;Lindenauer, Peter K;Vinson, David R

Ann Emerg Med. 2023 Sep;82(3):381-393. Epub 2023-04-12.

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