University of Limerick
Barry_2023_Qualitative.pdf (2.12 MB)

A qualitative evidence synthesis (QES) exploring the barriers and facilitators to screening in emergency departments using the theoretical domains framework

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Background Validated screening tools can be utilised to detect early disease processes and risk factors for disease and adverse outcomes. Consequently, identifying individuals in need of early intervention and targeted assessment can be achieved through the implementation of screening in the ED. Successful implementation can be impacted by a lack of resources and inefective integration of screening into the clinical workfow. Tailored implementation processes and staf training, which are contextually specifc to the ED setting, are facilitators to efective implementation. This review will assist in the identifcation of barriers and facilitators to screening in the ED using a QES to underpin implementation processes. Healthcare workers engage in screening in the ED routinely. Consequently, this review focused on synthesizing the experience of healthcare workers (HCWs) who are involved in this process. This synthesis is informed by a QES protocol published by the lead author in 2021 (Barry et al., HRB Open Res 3:50, 2021).

Methodology A comprehensive literature search, inclusive of grey literature sources, was undertaken. Initially, an a priori framework of themes was formed to facilitate the interpretation and organisation of search results. A context specifc conceptual model was then formulated using “Best ft” framework synthesis which further assisted in the interpretation of data that was extracted from relevant studies. Dual blind screening of search results was undertaken using RAYYAN as a platform. Thirty studies were identifed that met the inclusion criteria. Dual appraisal of full text articles was undertaken using CASP, GRADE CERQual assessed confdence of fndings and data extraction was performed by two reviewers collaboratively.

Findings This is the frst known synthesis of qualitative research on HCW’s experiences of screening in the ED. Predominantly, the fndings illustrate that staf experience screening in the ED as a complex challenging process. The barriers and facilitators identifed can be broadly categorised under preconditions to screen, motivations to screen and knowledge and skills to screen. Competing interests in the ED, environmental stressors such as overcrowding and an organisational culture that resists screening were clear barriers. Adequate resources and tailored education to underpin the screening process were clear facilitators.

Trial registration PROSPERO: CRD42020188712 05/07/20



BMC Health Services Research, 2023, 23, 1090



Other Funding information

This research is part funded through the Health Research Board (HRB) of Ire?land (Health Research Board, Grattan House 67-72 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2, D02 H6380 under the HRB Research Leader Award RL-2020-010. The HRB had no role in this review or content of the manuscript.

Also affiliated with

  • Health Research Institute (HRI)

Sustainable development goals

  • (3) Good Health and Well-being

Department or School

  • Allied Health
  • Nursing and Midwifery

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