1 Institute of Cellular Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
2 Liver Unit, Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK.
3 Faculty of Kinesiology, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada.
4 Centre for Rehabilitation, Exercise and Sports Science, Teesside University, Tees Valley, UK.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver condition worldwide and is steadily on the increase. In response, national and international guidance have been developed to standardize diagnosis and guide management of the condition. However, research has highlighted a discordance between published guidance and clinical practice. The purpose of this study is to identify barriers and enabling factors to implementation of guidance to inform the development of an intervention. We interviewed 21 health care professionals and 12 patients with NAFLD. Topic guides were developed with reference to national and international guidance. Data were content analyzed using the Theoretical Domains Framework. Beliefs about consequences and professional role and identity were the most prominent domains identified from health care professionals in the context of diagnosis and management of NAFLD. Environmental context and resources, memory, attention and decision processes, goals, behavioral regulation, knowledge, and skills emerged as important barriers/facilitators to implementation of guidance targeting management of NAFLD. Knowledge and beliefs about consequences were the most prominent domains from the perspective of patients. Social influences, environmental context and resources and behavioral regulation were most prominent in the context of NAFLD management. Guideline implementation can be improved by use of interventions that target standardized use of diagnostic criteria by health care professionals. Training of health care professionals was identified as important to improve care delivered to patients in order to effectively manage NAFLD. Interventions that target knowledge of patients, in particular, raising awareness that NAFLD can be progressive when not actively managed would facilitate implementation of guidance.