A randomized trial to implement practice recommendations: Design and methods of the Dementia Care Study

Robert G. Holloway, David R. Gifford, Martin R. Frankel, Barbara G. Vickrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The objective of the Dementia Care Study was to design, implement, and evaluate, in a randomized controlled trial a multi-faceted, specialty-society sponsored intervention to encourage neurologists' adoption of practice recommendations. Eligible participants were 417 neurologists in six regions in New York State (NYS) who were identified through the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Membership Database and the NYS Physician Masterfile. An Advisory Panel of experts on dementia, neurologists who were local opinion leaders, and local representatives of the Alzheimer's Association guided the development of the intervention. The intervention included six components: (1) a mailing of six practice recommendations in a course of continuing medical education (CME) sponsored by the AAN; (2) a mailing of supplementary, practice-based tools; (3) follow-up mailings reinforcing the recommendations; (4) an invitation to an AAN-sponsored seminar; (5) endorsement by opinion leaders; and (6) specialty-society sponsorship and endorsement. The primary outcome measure was neurologists' decision-making, as assessed through a mailed survey that used detailed clinical scenarios. Intervention and control neurologists received the survey six months after the intervention, and a baseline group received it three months prior to the intervention. To evaluate the concordance of responses to scenarios with actual processes of care, we reviewed medical records in one study region. Secondary outcome measures included number of patient referrals received by the local Alzheimer's Associations and by the Association's National Safe Return Program. The specialty society, the opinion leaders, the dementia experts, local advocacy groups, and the study investigators achieved a high degree of collaboration. Specialty societies can integrate within their educational programs the capability to design and evaluate the impact of novel strategies to encourage the adoption of practice recommendations that are linked to improved quality of care. Control Clin Trials 1999;20:369-385 Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-385
Number of pages17
JournalControlled Clinical Trials
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Dementia
  • Education
  • Physician behavior
  • Practice guidelines
  • Quality of care


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