January 22, 2020

✪ Addressing low-value pharmacological prescribing in primary prevention of CVD through a structured evidence-based and theory-informed process for the design and testing of de-implementation strategies: the DE-imFAR study


Alvaro Sanchez, Jose Ignacio Pijoan, Susana Pablo, Marta Mediavilla, Rita Sainz de Rozas, Itxasne Lekue, Susana Gonzalez-Larragan, Gaspar Lantaron, Jon Argote, Arturo García-Álvarez, Pedro Maria Latorre, Christian D. Helfrich & Gonzalo Grandes

University of Washington affiliated authors are displayed in bold.

✪ Open Access

Published: January 2020

Read the full text in the open access journal Implementation Science



De-implementation or abandonment of ineffective or low-value healthcare is becoming a priority research field globally due to the growing empirical evidence of the high prevalence of such care and its impact in terms of patient safety and social inefficiency. Little is known, however, about the factors, barriers, and facilitators involved or about interventions that are effective in promoting and accelerating the de-implementation of low-value healthcare. The De-imFAR study seeks to carry out a structured, evidence-based, and theory-informed process involving the main stakeholders (clinicians, managers, patients, and researchers) for the design, deployment, and assessment of de-implementation strategies for reducing low-value pharmacological prescribing.


A phase I formative study using a systematic and comprehensive framework based on theory and evidence for the design of implementation strategies—specifically, the Behavior Change Wheel (BCW)—will be conducted to design and model de-implementation strategies to favor reductions in low-value pharmacological prescribing of statins in primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by main stakeholders (clinicians, managers, patients, and researchers) in a collegiate way. Subsequently, a phase II comparative hybrid trial will be conducted to assess the feasibility and potential effectiveness of at least one active de-implementation strategy to reduce low-value pharmacological prescribing of statins in primary prevention of CVD compared to the usual procedures for dissemination of clinical practice guidelines (“what-not-to-do” recommendations). A mixed-methods evaluation will be used: quantitative for the results of the implementation at the professional level (e.g., adoption, reach and implementation or execution of the recommended clinical practice); and qualitative to determine the feasibility and perceived impact of the de-implementation strategies from the clinicians’ perspective, and patients’ experiences related to the clinical care received.


The DE-imFAR study aims to generate valid scientific knowledge about the design and development of de-implementation strategies using theory- and evidence-based methodologies suggested by implementation science. It will explore the effectiveness of these strategies and their acceptability among clinicians, policymakers, and patients. Its ultimate goal is to maximize the quality and efficiency of our health system by abandoning low-value pharmacological prescribing.

Trial Registration

Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT04022850. Registered 17 July 2019

**This abstract is posted with permission under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License**