Background Primary care physicians (PCPs) are optimally situated to identify and manage early-stage chronic kidney disease (CKD). in the study. Interviews were audio-taped and transcribed. Thematic content analysis was used to identify themes. Themes were categorized according to the four domains of Normalization Process Theory (NPT). Results Identified themes illuminated the complex work undertaken in primary care practices to manage CKD. Barriers to guideline implementation were identified in each of the four NPT domains including: 1) lack of knowledge and understanding around CKD (coherence) 2 difficulties engaging providers and patients in CKD management (cognitive participation) 3 limited time and competing demands (collective action) and 4) challenges obtaining and utilizing data to monitor progress (reflexive monitoring). Conclusions Addressing the barriers to GDF5 implementation with concrete interventions at the levels at which they occur informed by NPT will ultimately improve the quality of CKD patient care. Keywords: chronic kidney disease primary care qualitative research normalization process theory implementation Introduction The prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is increasing in the United States.1 Patients with CKD often suffer from other co-morbidities and risk PD 169316 factors such as diabetes hypertension hypercholesterolemia and obesity which add to complexity and increased risk of progression.2-5 Early identification may result in better outcomes such as slowed or halted progression to end-stage renal disease (ESRD).2 4 6 7 Primary care physicians are optimally situated to identify and manage early- stage CKD (Stage 3 defined as at least two consecutive estimated PD 169316 glomerular filtration rates (eGFR) <60 ml/min at least three months apart). 3 8 The majority (over 60% by one estimate) of CKD patients are treated exclusively by primary care physicians.9 In spite of this numerous studies have documented that primary care physician understanding awareness and adequate management of early CKD are lacking and CKD is generally under-recognized and under-treated by primary care physicians.9-14 Implementing established evidence-based guidelines for CKD in practice has proven challenging for multiple reasons.6 12 First in spite of the PD 169316 guidelines there remains a lack of agreement on the definition of CKD treatment and staging 13 15 PD 169316 and concerns about over-diagnosis especially among elderly patients persist.13 18 Other reasons for slow uptake of the guidelines include: limited time to see patients 1 16 limited understanding of the current guidelines 9 10 and lack of educational and administrative resources including quality indicators to support CKD care.9 12 14 16 Studies have also documented provider discomfort with disclosing and discussing CKD with patients due to provider uncertainty about the disease and concerns about frightening patients.13 16 17 Despite the demonstrated benefits of evidence-based medicine the process of translating research to clinical application can be arduous tedious and lengthy.18 Theory may help illuminate the barriers and facilitators to implementation and inform interventions.19 Normalization Process Theory (NPT) has proven useful in understanding the work involved in implementing and integrating new practices into health care settings.13 20 NPT provides a framework for examining implementation processes PD 169316 by dividing the “work” of integrating new practices into four domains: 1) coherence or sense-making involving developing an understanding of the task and one’s role; 2) cognitive participation or relationship work involving organizing personnel and resources around a task; 3) collective action or operationalizing and engaging in a task; and 4) reflexive monitoring which includes appraising progress on a task and its effects.24 Blakeman et. al used this approach to examine the management of early stage CKD in primary care in Britain focusing on the difficulties faced by providers in identifying and discussing early stage CKD with patients and the embedding of CKD care into discussions about vascular care.13 Another study used NPT to examine the implementation of nutritional guidelines in nursing homes finding that the theory was especially useful to conceptualizing the barriers to implementation by identifying concrete domains (coherence collective action etc.) for intervention.20 We applied Normalization Process Theory to better understand and illuminate facilitators and barriers to primary care physicians’ adoption and implementation of.