Towards local implementation of Dutch health policy guidelines: A concept-mapping approach

T.J.M. Kuunders, M.J.H. Van Bon-martens, L.A.M. Van De Goor, T.G.W.M. Paulussen, J.A.M. Van Oers

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To develop a targeted implementation strategy for a municipal health policy guideline, implementation targets of two guideline users [Regional Health Services (RHSs)] and guideline developers of leading national health institutes were made explicit. Therefore, characteristics of successful implementation of the guideline were identified. Differences and similarities in perceptions of these characteristics between RHSs and developers were explored. Separate concept mapping procedures were executed in two RHSs, one with representatives from partner local health organizations and municipalities, the second with RHS members only. A third map was conducted with the developers of the guideline. All mapping procedures followed the same design of generating statements up to interpretation of results with participants. Concept mapping, as a practical implementation tool, will be discussed in the context of international research literature on guideline implementation in public health. Guideline developers consider implementation successful when substantive components (health issues) of the guidelines, content are visible in local policy practice. RHSs, local organizations and municipalities view the implementation process itself within and between organizations as more relevant, and state that usability of the guideline for municipal policy and commitment by officials and municipal managers are critical targets for successful implementation. Between the RHSs, differences in implementation targets were smaller than between RHSs and guideline developers. For successful implementation, RHSs tend to focus on process targets while developers focus more on the thematic contents of the guideline. Implications of these different orientations for implementation strategies are dealt with in the discussion.
Keywords:policy and implementation, municipality, integrated health promotion, network analysis, evidence-based guidelines
Original languageEnglish
Article numberdax003
Pages (from-to)1-13
JournalHealth Promotion International
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


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