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Factors associated with clinical inertia: an integrative review

Authors Aujoulat I, Jacquemin P, Rietzschel E, Scheen A, Tréfois P, Wens J, Darras E, Hermans M

Received 11 December 2013

Accepted for publication 29 January 2014

Published 8 May 2014 Volume 2014:5 Pages 141—147

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AMEP.S59022

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3


Isabelle Aujoulat,1 Patricia Jacquemin,1 Ernst Rietzschel,2 André Scheen,3 Patrick Tréfois,4 Johan Wens,5 Elisabeth Darras,1 Michel P Hermans6

1Université Catholique de Louvain, Institute of Health and Society, Brussels, 2Ghent University, Department of Cardiovascular Diseases and Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent, 3University of Liège, Division of Diabetes, Nutrition and Metabolic Disorders and Clinical Pharmacology Unit, CHU Liège, Liège, 4Société Scientifique de Médecine Générale, Brussels, 5University of Antwerp, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Primary and Interdisciplinary Care Antwerp, 6Université Catholique de Louvain, Institute of Experimental and Clinical Research and Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Department of Endocrinology and Nutrition, Brussels, Belgium

Abstract: Failure to initiate or intensify therapy according to evidence-based guidelines is increasingly being acknowledged as a phenomenon that contributes to inadequate management of chronic conditions, and is referred to as clinical inertia. However, the number and complexity of factors associated with the clinical reasoning that underlies the decision-making processes in medicine calls for a critical examination of the consistency of the concept. Indeed, in the absence of information on and justification of treatment decisions that were made, clinical inertia may be only apparent, and actually reflect good clinical practice. This integrative review seeks to address the factors generally associated with clinical inaction, in order to better delineate the concept of true clinical inertia.

Keywords: clinical inertia, evidence-based medicine, clinical decision, integrative review, concept clarification, physician adherence to guidelines


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