Implementation of cardiovascular disease prevention in primary health care: Enhancing understanding using normalisation process theory

Nerida VOLKER, Lauren Williams, Rachel DAVEY, Tom COCHRANE, Tanya Clancy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


Background: The reorientation of primary health care towards prevention is fundamental to addressing the rising burden of chronic disease. However, in Australia, cardiovascular disease prevention practice in primary health care is not generally consistent with existing guidelines. The Model for Prevention study was a whole-of-system cardiovascular disease prevention intervention, with one component being enhanced lifestyle modification support and addition of a health coaching service in the general practice setting. To determine the feasibility of translating intervention outcomes into real world practice, implementation work done by stakeholders was examined using Normalisation Process Theory as a framework. Methods: Data was collected through interviews with 40 intervention participants and included general practitioners, practice nurses, practice managers, lifestyle advisors and participants. Data analysis was informed by normalisation process theory constructs. Results: Stakeholders were in agreement that, while prevention is a key function of general practice, it was not their usual work. There were varying levels of engagement with the intervention by practice staff due to staff interest, capacity and turnover, but most staff reconfigured their work for required activities. The Lifestyle Advisors believed staff had varied levels of interest in and understanding of, their service, but most staff felt their role was useful. Patients expanded their existing relationships with their general practice, and most achieved their lifestyle modification goals. While the study highlighted the complex nature of the change required, many of the new or enhanced processes implemented as part of the intervention could be scaled up to improve the systems approach to prevention. Overcoming the barriers to change, such as the perception of CVD prevention as a 'hard sell', is going to rely on improving the value proposition for all stakeholders. Conclusions: The study provided a detailed understanding of the work required to implement a complex cardiovascular disease prevention intervention within general practice. The findings highlighted the need for multiple strategies that engage all stakeholders. Normalisation process theory was a useful framework for guiding change implementation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number28
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Family Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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