Barriers to postpartum diabetes screening: a qualitative synthesis of clinicians' views.
The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners 2020 ; 71: e473-e482.
Lithgow GE, Rossi J, Griffin SJ, Usher-Smith JA, Dennison RA
DOI : 10.3399/BJGP.2020.0928
PubMed ID : 33947667
PMCID : PMC8103924
URL : https://bjgp.org/content/71/707/e473
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is an important risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) later in life. Postpartum screening provides an opportunity for early detection and management of T2DM, but uptake is poor.
To explore barriers to screening from clinicians' perspectives to guide future interventions to increase uptake of postpartum screening.
Systematic review and qualitative synthesis.
Qualitative studies included in a previous review were assessed, and then five electronic databases were searched from January 2013 to May 2019 for qualitative studies reporting clinicians' perspectives on postpartum glucose screening after GDM. Study quality was assessed against the Critical Appraisal Skills Programmes checklist. Qualitative data from the studies were analysed using thematic synthesis.
Nine studies were included, containing views from 187 clinicians from both community and hospital care. Three main themes were identified: difficulties in handover between primary and secondary care (ambiguous roles and communication difficulties); short-term focus in clinical consultations (underplaying risk so as not to overwhelm patients and competing priorities); and patient-centric barriers such as time pressures.
Barriers to diabetes screening were identified at both system and individual levels. At the system level, clarification of responsibility for testing among healthcare professionals and better systems for recall are needed. These could be achieved through registers, improved clinical protocols, and automatic flagging and prompts within electronic medical records. At the individual level, clinicians should be supported to prioritise the importance of screening within consultations and better educational resources made available for women. Making it more convenient for women to attend may also facilitate screening.