What is protocol-based care? A concept analysis

Authors

  • IRENE ILOTT BA, MEd, PhD, FCOT,

    1. Research Associate, Institute of Work Psychology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield
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  • JO RICK BA(Hons), PhD,

    1. Research Fellow, Institute of Work Psychology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield
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    • *

      These authors contributed equally to this study.

  • MALCOLM PATTERSON BA(Hons), MSc,

    1. Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Work Psychology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield
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      These authors contributed equally to this study.

  • CHRISTINE TURGOOSE BSc(Hons), MSc,

    1. Director, Research and Consultancy Service, Institute of Work Psychology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield
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      These authors contributed equally to this study.

  • ANNE LACEY BSc(Hons), MSc, DPhil, RN

    1. Director for Sheffield, Trent Research and Development Support Unit, School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
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      These authors contributed equally to this study.


Irene Ilott
Institute of Work Psychology
University of Sheffield
Mushroom Lane
Sheffield S10 2TN
UK
E-mail: irene.ilott@sheffield.ac.uk

Abstract

Aim  To define protocol-based care to make this way of delivering health care amenable to theoretical and empirical studies.

Background  Although protocol-based care is associated with the evidence-based practice and standardization movements, it is an ill-defined and understood concept.

Method  A multiphase concept analysis, inspired by an evolutionary view was used to clarify ‘what is protocol-based care’. The inductive, five-phase process drew upon content analysis of policy documents and the literature, plus interviews with a purposive sample of 35 opinion leaders.

Results  The term was used interchangeably with protocols, pathways and guide- lines in policy and guidance documents. A search of seven databases produced only 57 references to protocol-based care. The concept analysis revealed a continuum of scope and specificity and also distinguished specialist and generic applications of protocol-based care.

Conclusions  Managers need to take cognizance of the significance and complex- ity of protocol-based care when introducing this way of working.

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