Not of one mind: Mental models of clinical practice guidelines in the veterans health administration

Sylvia J. Hysong, Richard G. Best, Jacqueline A. Pugh, Frank I. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Objective. The purpose of this paper is to present differences in mental models of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) among 15 Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities throughout the United States. Data Sources. Two hundred and forty-four employees from 15 different VHA facilities across four service networks around the country were invited to participate. Participants were selected from different levels throughout each service setting from primary care personnel to facility leadership. Study Design. This qualitative study used purposive sampling, a semistructured interview process for data collection, and grounded theory techniques for analysis. Data Collection. A semistructured interview was used to collect information on participants' mental models of CPGs, as well as implementation strategies and barriers in their facility. Findings. Analysis of these interviews using grounded theory techniques indicated that there was wide variability in employees' mental models of CPGs. Findings also indicated that high-performing facilities exhibited both (a) a clear, focused shared mental model of guidelines and (b) a tendency to use performance feedback as a learning opportunity, thus suggesting that a shared mental model is a necessary but not sufficient step toward successful guideline implementation. Conclusions. We conclude that a clear shared mental model of guidelines, in combination with a learning orientation toward feedback are important components for successful guideline implementation and improved quality of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-848
Number of pages20
JournalHealth Services Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical practice guidelines
  • Feedback
  • Learning orientation
  • Performance
  • Shared mental models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


Dive into the research topics of 'Not of one mind: Mental models of clinical practice guidelines in the veterans health administration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this