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Barriers and facilitators to implement shared decision making in multidisciplinary sciatica care: a qualitative study

Stefanie N Hofstede1, Perla J Marang-van de Mheen1, Manon M Wentink1, Anne M Stiggelbout1, Carmen LA Vleggeert-Lankamp2, Thea PM Vliet Vlieland3, Leti van Bodegom-Vos1* and for the DISC study group

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Decision Making, Leiden University Medical Center, Albinusdreef 2, 2333 Leiden, ZA, The Netherlands

2 Department of Neurosurgery, Leiden University Medical Center, Albinusdreef 2, 2333 Leiden, ZA, The Netherlands

3 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Leiden University Medical Center, Albinusdreef 2, 2333 Leiden, ZA, The Netherlands

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Implementation Science 2013, 8:95  doi:10.1186/1748-5908-8-95

Published: 23 August 2013



The Dutch multidisciplinary sciatica guideline recommends that the team of professionals involved in sciatica care and the patient together decide on surgical or prolonged conservative treatment (shared decision making [SDM]). Despite this recommendation, SDM is not yet integrated in sciatica care. Existing literature concerning barriers and facilitators to SDM implementation mainly focuses on one discipline only, whereas multidisciplinary care may involve other barriers and facilitators, or make these more complex for both professionals and patients. Therefore, this qualitative study aims to identify barriers and facilitators perceived by patients and professionals for SDM implementation in multidisciplinary sciatica care.


We conducted 40 semi-structured interviews with professionals involved in sciatica care (general practitioners, physical therapists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, and orthopedic surgeons) and three focus groups among patients (six to eight per group). The interviews and focus groups were audiotaped and transcribed in full. Reported barriers and facilitators were classified according to the framework of Grol and Wensing. The software package Atlas.ti 7.0 was used for analysis.


Professionals reported 53 barriers and 5 facilitators, and patients 35 barriers and 18 facilitators for SDM in sciatica care. Professionals perceived most barriers at the level of the organizational context, and facilitators at the level of the individual professional. Patients reported most barriers and facilitators at the level of the individual professional. Several barriers and facilitators correspond with barriers and facilitators found in the literature (e.g., lack of time, motivation) but also new barriers and facilitators were identified. Many of these new barriers mentioned by both professionals and patients were related to the multidisciplinary setting, such as lack of visibility, lack of trust in expertise of other disciplines, and lack of communication between disciplines.


This study identified barriers and facilitators for SDM in the multidisciplinary sciatica setting, by both professionals and patients. It is clear that more barriers than facilitators are perceived for implementation of SDM in sciatica care. Newly identified barriers and facilitators are related to the multidisciplinary care setting. Therefore, an effective implementation strategy of SDM in a multidisciplinary setting such as in sciatica care should focus on these barriers and facilitators.

Sciatica; Lumbar radicular syndrome; Implementation strategy; Shared decision making; Barriers and facilitators; Multidisciplinary; Patients; Professionals; Providers