Guidelines in disrepute: a case study of influenza vaccination of healthcare workers

Jackie Street, Toni Delany

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: Practice guidelines are an important support tool for health behaviour change, but effective implementation of guidelines can be difficult and the gaps between guidelines and practice may be intractable. This paper examines a neglected but important area; namely, the reasons why problems may develop in the implementation and uptake of practice guidelines. We explore the existence of gaps in the translation of evidence into practice-based guidelines for health promotion. Approach: Drawing on relevant literature we examine influenza vaccination, in particular, guidelines that advise influenza vaccination for all healthcare workers. We highlight gaps between the actions advised within these guidelines and the relevant evidence, and explore some of the processes that have amplified and obscured this evidence during the development of guidelines. Implications: The processes that underlie the translation of evidence into practice guidelines risk the loss of the nuanced and rich information needed for individual decision-making. Where evidence is limited, the propagation of evidenceguidelines gaps, without transparency as to the basis of decision-making, compromises the credibility of guidelines and puts at risk the benefits that guidelines can provide. Conclusion: We argue that evidenceguideline gaps may arise because of a range of problems with the nature of the evidence used to justify the guidelines and the way in which that evidence is applied and interpreted. We suggest that these problems may bring potentially useful guidelines into disrepute.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)357-363
    Number of pages7
    JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


    • Evidence-based medicine
    • Evidence-based practice
    • Guideline adherence
    • Health personnel
    • Influenza
    • Vaccination


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