Between 2004 and 2008, 24 Dutch hospitals participated in a two-year multilevel quality collaborative (MQC) comprised of (a) a leadership programme for hospital executives, (b) six quality-improvement collaboratives (QICs) for healthcare professionals and other staff, and (c) an internal programme organisation to help senior management monitor and coordinate team progress. The MQC aimed to stimulate the development of quality-management systems and the spread of methods to improve patient safety and logistics. The objective of this study is to describe how the first group of eight MQC hospitals sustained and disseminated improvements made and the quality methods used.
The approach followed by the hospitals was described using interview and questionnaire data gathered from eight programme coordinators.
MQC hospitals followed a systematic strategy of diffusion and sustainability. Hospital quality-management systems are further developed according to a model linking plan-do-study-act cycles at the unit and hospital level. The model involves quality norms based on realised successes, performance agreements with unit heads, organisational support, monitoring, and quarterly accountability reports.
It is concluded from this study that the MQC contributed to organisational development and dissemination within participating hospitals. Organisational learning effects were demonstrated. System changes affect the context factors in the theory of organisational readiness: organisational culture, policies and procedures, past experience, organisational resources, and organisational structure. Programme coordinator responses indicate that these factors are utilised to manage spread and sustainability. Further research is needed to assess long-term effects.
To identify and assess the barriers that health authorities face as they manage quality improvements in general practice in the context of the NHS reforms.
Qualitative case study.
Three UK health authorities: a rural health authority in the south west, a deprived inner city health authority in the north east, and an affluent suburban health authority in the south east.
Senior and junior managers.
Main outcome measures
Structure of strategic and organisational management, and barriers to the leadership and management of quality improvement in general practice.
Seven barriers were identified: absence of an explicit strategic plan for general practice, competing priorities for attention of the health authority, sensitivity of health professionals, lack of information due to poor quality of clinical data, lack of authority to implement change, unclear roles and responsibilities of managers within the organisations, and isolation from other authorities or organisations facing similar challenges.
The health authorities faced significant barriers that would impede their ability to fulfil their responsibilities in the new NHS and that would reduce their capacity to contribute to quality improvements in general practice.
Key messages Health authorities fail to take a strategic approach to improving quality in general practice Doctors and health authority managers do not work sufficiently closely together to improve the quality of general practice Health authority managers seem to lack the authority and organisational structure to maximise the role in general practice expected of them in the NHS reforms
The practice of medical imaging and interventional radiology are undergoing rapid change in recent years due to technological advances, workload escalation, workforce shortage, globalisation, corporatisation, commercialisation and commoditisation of healthcare. These professional and economical changes are challenging the established norm but may bring new opportunities. There is an increasing awareness of and interest in the quality of care and patient safety in medical imaging and interventional radiology. Among the professional organisations, a range of quality systems are available to address individual, facility and system needs. To manage the limited resources successfully, radiologists and professional organisations must be leaders and champion for the cause of quality care and patient safety. Close collaboration with other stakeholders towards the development and management of proactive, long-term, system-based strategies and infrastructures will underpin a sustainable future in quality radiology. The International Radiology Quality Network can play a useful facilitating role in this worthwhile but challenging endeavour.
Quality and safety; quality systems; accreditation; medical imaging; interventional radiology
Evidence-based practice aims to achieve better health outcomes in the community. It relies on high quality research to inform policy and practice; however research in primary health care continues to lag behind that of other medical professions. The literature suggests that research capacity building (RCB) functions across four levels; individual, team, organisation and external environment. Many RCB interventions are aimed at an individual or team level, yet evidence indicates that many barriers to RCB occur at an organisational or external environment level. This study asks senior managers from a large healthcare organisation to identify the barriers and enablers to RCB. The paper then describes strategies for building allied health (AH) research capacity at an organisational level from a senior managers’ perspective.
This qualitative study is part of a larger collaborative RCB project. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with nine allied health senior managers. Recorded interviews were transcribed and NVivo was used to analyse findings and emergent themes were defined.
The dominant themes indicate that the organisation plays an integral role in building AH research capacity and is the critical link in creating synergy across the four levels of RCB. The organisation can achieve this by incorporating research into its core business with a whole of organisation approach including its mission, vision and strategic planning. Critical success factors include: developing a co-ordinated and multidisciplinary approach to attain critical mass of research-active AH and enhance learning and development; support from senior managers demonstrated through structures, processes and systems designed to facilitate research; forming partnerships to increase collaboration and sharing of resources and knowledge; and establishing in internal framework to promote recognition for research and career path opportunities.
This study identifies four key themes: whole of organisation approach; structures, processes and systems; partnerships and collaboration; and dedicated research centres, units and positions. These themes form the foundation of a model which can be applied to assist in achieving synergy across the four levels of RCB, overcome barriers and create an environment that supports and facilitates research development in AH.
Research capacity building; Organisational role; Allied health
To explore whether differences between collaboratives with respect to type of topic, type of targets, measures (systems) are also reflected in the degree of effectiveness.
182 teams from long-term healthcare organisation developed improvement initiatives in seven quality-improvement collaboratives (QICs) focusing on patient safety and autonomy.
Multiple case before–after study.
75 team leaders completed a written questionnaire at the end of each QIC on achievability and degree of challenge of targets and measurability of progress. Main outcome indicators were collaborative-specific measures (such as prevalence of pressure ulcers).
The degree of effectiveness and percentage of teams realising targets varied between collaboratives. Collaboratives also varied widely in perceived measurability (F=6.798 and p=0.000) and with respect to formulating achievable targets (F=6.566 and p=0.000). The Problem Behaviour collaborative scored significantly lower than all other collaboratives on both dimensions. The collaborative on Autonomy and control scored significantly lower on measurability than the other collaboratives. Topics for which there are best practices and evidence of effective interventions do not necessarily score higher on effectiveness, measurability, achievable and challenging targets.
The effectiveness of a QIC is associated with the efforts of programme managers to create conditions that provide insight into which changes in processes of care and in client outcomes have been made. Measurability is not an inherent property of the improvement topic. Rather, creating measurability and formulating challenging and achievable targets is one of the crucial tasks for programme managers of QICs.
Quality improvement collaborative; effectiveness; patient safety; collaborative; healthcare quality improvement
In 2006, the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers convened a collaborative to systematically improve health care delivery for patients with diabetes in 17 community health centers. Our goal was to identify facilitators of and barriers to success reported by teams that participated in this collaborative.
The collaborative's activities lasted 13 months. At their conclusion, we interviewed participating team members. We asked about their teams' successes, challenges, and take-home messages for future collaborative efforts. We organized their responses into common themes by using the Chronic Care Model as a framework.
Themes that emerged as facilitators of success included shifting clinic focus to more actively involve patients and to promote their self-management; improving the understanding and implementation of professional guidelines; and expanding staff roles to accommodate these goals. Patient registries were perceived as beneficial but lacking adequate technical support. Other barriers were staffing and time constraints.
Cooperative efforts to improve health care delivery for people with diabetes may benefit from educating the health care team about guidelines, establishing a stronger role for the patient as part of the health care team, and providing adequate technical instruction and support for the use of clinical databases.
Quality improvement collaboratives are increasingly being used in many countries to achieve rapid improvements in health care. However, there is little independent evidence that they are more cost effective than other methods, and little knowledge about how they could be made more effective. A number of systematic evaluations are being performed by researchers in North America, the UK, and Sweden. This paper presents the shared ideas from two meetings of these researchers. The evidence to date is that some collaboratives have stimulated improvements in patient care and organisational performance, but there are significant differences between collaboratives and teams. The researchers agreed on the possible reasons why some were less successful than others, and identified 10 challenges which organisers and teams need to address to achieve improvement. In the absence of more conclusive evidence, these guidelines are likely to be useful for collaborative organisers, teams and their managers and may also contribute to further research into collaboratives and the spread of innovations in health care.
We investigated the effects on collaborative work within the UK National Health Service (NHS) of an intervention for service quality improvement: informal, structured, reciprocated, multidisciplinary peer review with feedback and action plans. The setting was care for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Theory and methods
We analysed semi-structured interviews with 43 hospital respiratory consultants, nurses and general managers at 24 intervention and 11 control sites, as part of a UK randomised controlled study, the National COPD Resources and Outcomes Project (NCROP), using Scott's conceptual framework for action (inter-organisational, intra-organisational, inter-professional and inter-individual). Three areas of care targeted by NCROP involved collaboration across primary and secondary care.
Hospital respiratory department collaborations with commissioners and hospital managers varied. Analysis suggested that this is related to team responses to barriers. Clinicians in unsuccessful collaborations told ‘atrocity stories’ of organisational, structural and professional barriers to service improvement. The others removed barriers by working with government and commissioner agendas to ensure continued involvement in patients' care. Multidisciplinary peer review facilitated collaboration between participants, enabling them to meet, reconcile differences and exchange ideas across boundaries.
The data come from the first randomised controlled trial of organisational peer review, adding to research into UK health service collaborative work, which has had a more restricted focus on inter-professional relations. NCROP peer review may only modestly improve collaboration but these data suggest it might be more effective than top-down exhortations to change when collaboration both across and within organisations is required.
collaboration; inter-organizational; inter-professional; quality improvement; respiratory disease
Teams are an integral component of quality improvement efforts in healthcare organizations. Quality improvement teams may involve persons either from the same or different disciplines. In either case, the selection of team members may be critical to the team’s success. However, there is little research to guide selection of team members for quality improvement teams. In this paper, we use tools from social network analysis (SNA) to derive principles for the design of effective clinical quality improvement teams and explore the implementation of these principles using social network data collected from the inpatient general medicine services at a large academic medical center in Chicago, USA. While the concept of multidisciplinary teams focuses on the importance of the professional background of team members, SNA emphasizes the importance of the individual and collective connections of team members, both to persons outside the team and to each other. SNA also focuses on the location of individuals and groups between other actors in the flow of information and other resources within larger organizational networks. We hypothesize that external connections may be most important when the collection or dissemination of information or influence are the greatest concerns, while the relationship of team members to each other may matter most when internal coordination, knowledge sharing, and within-group communication are most important.
quality improvement; social network analysis; teams; general internal medicine; USA; hospitals
To assess the reliability of survey measures of organizational characteristics based on reports of single and multiple informants.
Survey of 330 informants in 91 medical clinics providing care to HIV-infected persons under Title III of the Ryan White CARE Act.
Data Collection Methods
Surveys of clinicians and medical directors measured the implementation of quality improvement initiatives, priorities assigned to aspects of HIV care, barriers to providing high-quality HIV care, and quality improvement activities. Reliability of measures was assessed using generalizability coefficients. Components of variance and clinician–director differences were estimated using hierarchical regression models with survey items and informants nested within organizations.
There is substantial item- and informant-related variability in clinic assessments that results in modest or low clinic-level reliability for many measures. Directors occasionally gave more optimistic assessments of clinics than did clinicians.
For most measures studied, obtaining adequate reliability requires multiple informants. Using multiple-item scales or multiple informants can improve the psychometric performance of measures of organizational characteristics. Studies of such characteristics should report the organizational level reliability of the measures used.
Health care organizations; HIV care; reliability; survey research
Background and goal: Curriculum development for residency training is increasingly challenging in times of financial restrictions and time limitations. Several countries have adopted the CanMEDS framework for medical education as a model into their curricula of specialty training. The purpose of the present study was to validate the competency goals, as derived from CanMEDS, of the Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine of the Berlin Charité University Medical Centre, by conducting a staff survey. These goals for the qualification of specialists stipulate demonstrable competencies in seven areas: expert medical action, efficient collaboration in a team, communications with patients and family, management and organisation, lifelong learning, professional behaviour, and advocacy of good health. We had previously developed a catalogue of curriculum items based on these seven core competencies. In order to evaluate the validity of this catalogue, we surveyed anaesthetists at our department in regard to their perception of the importance of each of these items. In addition to the descriptive acquisition of data, it was intended to assess the results of the survey to ascertain whether there were differences in the evaluation of these objectives by specialists and registrars.
Methods: The questionnaire with the seven adapted CanMEDS Roles included items describing each of their underlying competencies. Each anaesthetist (registrars and specialists) working at our institution in May of 2007 was asked to participate in the survey. Individual perception of relevance was rated for each item on a scale similar to the Likert system, ranging from 1 (highly relevant) to 5 (not at all relevant), from which ratings means were calculated. For determination of reliability, we calculated Cronbach’s alpha. To assess differences between subgroups, we performed analysis of variance.
Results: All seven roles were rated as relevant. Three of the seven competency goals (expert medical action, efficient collaboration in a team, and communication with patients and family) achieved especially high ratings. Only a few items differed significantly in their average rating between specialists and registrars.
Conclusions: We succeeded in validating the relevance of the adapted seven CanMEDS competencies for residency training within our institution. So far, many countries have adopted the Canadian Model, which indicates the great practicability of this competency-based model in curriculum planning. Roles with higher acceptance should be prioritised in existing curricula. It would be desirable to develop and validate a competency-based curriculum for specialty training in anaesthesiology throughout Germany by conducting a national survey to include specialists as well as registrars in curriculum development.
clinical competence; physicians; medical education; questionnaires; attitude of health personnel; curriculum
Quality improvement collaboratives (QICs) bring together groups of healthcare professionals to work in a structured manner to improve the quality of healthcare delivery within particular domains. We explored which characteristics of the composition, participation, functioning, and organization of these collaboratives related to changes in the healthcare for patients with anxiety disorders, dual diagnosis, or schizophrenia.
We studied three QICs involving 29 quality improvement (QI) teams representing a number of mental healthcare organizations in the Netherlands. The aims of the three QICs were the implementation of multidisciplinary practice guidelines in the domains of anxiety disorders, dual diagnosis, and schizophrenia, respectively. We used eight performance indicators to assess the impact of the QI teams on self-reported patient outcomes and process of care outcomes for 1,346 patients. The QI team members completed a questionnaire on the characteristics of the composition, participation in a national program, functioning, and organizational context for their teams. It was expected that an association would be found between these team characteristics and the quality of care for patients with anxiety disorders, dual diagnosis, and schizophrenia.
No consistent patterns of association emerged. Theory-based factors did not perform better than practice-based factors. However, QI teams that received support from their management and both active and inspirational team leadership showed better results. Rather surprisingly, a lower average level of education among the team members was associated with better results, although less consistently than the management and leadership characteristics. Team views with regard to the QI goals of the team and attitudes towards multidisciplinary practice guidelines did not correlate with team success.
No general conclusions about the impact of the characteristics of QI teams on the quality of healthcare can be drawn, but support of the management and active, inspirational team leadership appear to be important. Not only patient outcomes but also the performance indicators of monitoring and screening/assessment showed improvement in many but not all of the QI teams with such characteristics. More studies are needed to identify factors associated with the impact of multidisciplinary practice guidelines in mental healthcare.
Type 2 diabetes is an increasingly prevalent chronic illness and is an important cause of avoidable mortality. Patients are managed by the integrated activities of clinical and non-clinical members of the primary care team. Studies of the quality of care for patients with diabetes suggest less than optimum care in a number of areas.
The aim of this study is to improve the quality of care for patients with diabetes cared for in primary care in the UK by identifying individual, team, and organisational factors that predict the implementation of best practice.
Participants will be clinical and non-clinical staff within 100 general practices sampled from practices who are members of the MRC General Practice Research Framework. Self-completion questionnaires will be developed to measure the attributes of individual health care professionals, primary care teams (including both clinical and non-clinical staff), and their organisation in primary care. Questionnaires will be administered using postal survey methods. A range of validated theories will be used as a framework for the questionnaire instruments. Data relating to a range of dimensions of the organisational structure of primary care will be collected via a telephone interview at each practice using a structured interview schedule. We will also collect data relating to the processes of care, markers of biochemical control, and relevant indicator scores from the quality and outcomes framework (QOF). Process data (as a proxy indicator of clinical behaviours) will be collected from practice databases and via a postal questionnaire survey of a random selection of patients from each practice. Levels of biochemical control will be extracted from practice databases. A series of analyses will be conducted to relate the individual, team, and organisational data to the process, control, and QOF data to identify configurations associated with high quality care.
UKCRN ref:DRN120 (ICPD)
OBJECTIVE: To describe perceptions of physicians and home care professionals working in local community service centres (CLSCs) with respect to collaboration on home care follow up, and to identify conditions likely to help or hinder cooperation. DESIGN: Descriptive study using individual and group interviews. SETTING: Areas served by three CLSCs in the Quebec city region. PARTICIPANTS: Forty-five general practitioners with large home care practices and coordinators and representatives of CLSC home care teams. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Perceptions of physicians and home care professionals with respect to interprofessional cooperation on and barriers to home care follow up. RESULTS: Most participants thought that cooperation would be beneficial to complex case management and continuity of follow-up care. In practice, however, cooperation is hindered by differences in medical practice and home care team service delivery and in methods of remuneration, and lack of knowledge of the other field of practice. CONCLUSION: All participants recognized the importance of cooperation. This study did not reveal any real integration of medical and CLSC home care services. Efforts must be made to identify the strategies most conducive to improving interprofessional cooperation.
Oral anticoagulant therapy (OAT) involves many health care disciplines. Even though collaboration between care professionals is assumed to improve the quality of OAT, very little research has been done into the practice of OAT management to arrange and manage the collaboration. This study aims to identify the problems in collaboration experienced by the care professionals involved, the solutions they proposed to improve collaboration, and the barriers they encountered to the implementation of these solutions.
In the Netherlands, intensive follow-up of OAT is provided by specialized anticoagulant clinics (ACs). Sixty-eight semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with 103 professionals working at an AC. These semi-structured interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed inductively. Wagner's chronic care model (CCM) and Cabana's framework for improvement were used to categorize the results.
AC professionals experienced three main bottlenecks in collaboration: lack of knowledge (mostly of other professionals), lack of consensus on OAT, and limited information exchange between professionals. They mentioned several solutions to improve collaboration, especially solutions of CCM's decision support component (i.e. education, regular meetings, and agreements and protocols). Education is considered a prerequisite for the successful implementation of other proposed solutions such as developing a multidisciplinary protocol and changing the allocation of tasks. The potential of the health care organization to improve collaboration seemed to be underestimated by professionals. They experienced several barriers to the successful implementation of the proposed solutions. Most important barriers were the lack motivation of non-AC professionals and lack of time to establish collaboration.
This study revealed that the collaboration in OAT is limited by a lack of knowledge, a lack of consensus, and a limited information exchange. Education was identified as the best way to improve collaboration and considered a prerequisite for a successful implementation of other proposed solutions. Hence, the implementation sequence is of importance in order to improve the collaboration successfully. First step is to establish alignment regarding collaboration with all involved professionals to encounter the lack of motivation of non-AC professionals and lack of time.
Improving the quality and effectiveness of clinical practice is becoming a key task within all health services. Primary medical care, as organised in the UK is composed of clinicians who work in independent partnerships (general practices) that collaborate with other health care professionals. Although many practices have successfully introduced innovations, there are no organisational development structures in place that support the evolution of primary medical care towards integrated care processes. Providing incentives for attendance at passive educational events and promoting 'teamwork' without first identifying organisational priorities are interventions that have proved to be ineffective at changing clinical processes. A practice and professional development plan feasibility study was evaluated in Wales and provided the experiential basis for a summary of the lessons learnt on how best to guide organisational development systems for primary medical care.
Practice and professional development plans are hybrids produced by the combination of ideas from management (the applied behavioural science of organisational development) and education (self-directed adult learning theories) and, in conceptual terms, address the lack of effectiveness of passive educational strategies by making interventions relevant to identified system wide needs. In the intervention, each practice participated in a series of multidisciplinary workshops (minimum 4) where the process outcome was the production of a practice development plan and a set of personal portfolios, and the final outcome was a realised organisational change.
It was apparent during the project that organisational admission to a process of developmental planning needed to be a stepwise process, where initial interest can lead to a fuller understanding, which subsequently develops into motivation and ownership, sufficient to complete the exercise. The advantages of introducing expert external facilitation were clear: evaluations of internal group processes were possible, strategic issues could be raised and explored and financial probity ensured. These areas are much more difficult to examine when only internal stakeholders are engaged in a planning process.
It is not possible to introduce practice and professional development plans (organisational development and organisational learning projects) in a publicly funded health care system without first addressing existing educational and management structures. Existing systems are based on educational credits for attendance and emerging accountability frameworks (criteria checklists) for clinical governance. Moving to systems that are less summative and more formative, and based on the philosophies of continual quality improvement, require changes to be made in the relevant support systems in order achieve policy proposals.
Over the past 15 years, the multidisciplinary team management of many medical conditions especially cancers has increasingly taken a prominent role in patient management in many hospitals and medical centres in the developed countries. In the United Kingdom, it began to gain prominence following the Calman-Heine report in 1995 which suggested that each Cancer Unit in a hospital should have in place arrangements for non-surgical oncological input into services, with a role for a non-surgical oncologist. The report further suggested that a lead clinician with a well established interest in cancer care should be appointed to organise and coordinate the whole range of cancer services provided within the Cancer Unit. Many people have argued that the multidisciplinary team management of patients has resulted in better care and improved survival. However, there are barriers to the optimal effectiveness of the multidisciplinary team. This paper aims to review various studies on the effectiveness of the multidisciplinary team in the management of cancer patients and also discuss some of the barriers to the multidisciplinary team.
Multidisciplinary; cancer; team; effectiveness; malignancy; MDT
Improvements in patient safety result primarily from organisational and individual learning. This paper discusses the learning that can take place within organisations and the cultural change necessary to encourage it. It focuses on teams and team leaders as potentially powerful forces for bringing about the management of patient safety and better quality of care.
Key Words: patient safety; teamwork; learning
The Health Disparities Collaboratives (HDC) are the largest national quality improvement (QI) initiative in community health centers. This paper identifies the incentives and assistance personnel believe are necessary to sustain QI. In 2004, 1006 survey respondents (response rate 67%) at 165 centers cited lack of resources, time, and staff burnout as common barriers. Release time was the most desired personal incentive. The highest funding priorities were direct patient care services (44% ranked #1), data entry (34%), and staff time for QI (26%). Participants also needed help with patient self-management (73%), information systems (77%), and getting providers to follow guidelines (64%).
quality improvement; quality of care; disparities; community health center; vulnerable populations
A growing body of international literature points to the importance of a system approach to improve the quality of care in primary health care settings. Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) concepts and techniques provide a theoretically coherent and practical way for primary care organisations to identify, address, and overcome the barriers to improvements. The Audit and Best Practice for Chronic Disease (ABCD) study, a CQI-based quality improvement project conducted in Australia's Northern Territory, has demonstrated significant improvements in primary care service systems, in the quality of clinical service delivery and in patient outcomes related to chronic illness care. The aims of the extension phase of this study are to examine factors that influence uptake and sustainability of this type of CQI activity in a variety of Indigenous primary health care organisations in Australia, and to assess the impact of collaborative CQI approaches on prevention and management of chronic illness and health outcomes in Indigenous communities.
The study will be conducted in 40–50 Indigenous community health centres from 4 States/Territories (Northern Territory, Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland) over a five year period. The project will adopt a participatory, quality improvement approach that features annual cycles of: 1) organisational system assessment and audits of clinical records; 2) feedback to and interpretation of results with participating health centre staff; 3) action planning and goal setting by health centre staff to achieve system changes; and 4) implementation of strategies for change. System assessment will be carried out using a System Assessment Tool and in-depth interviews of key informants. Clinical audit tools include two essential tools that focus on diabetes care audit and preventive service audit, and several optional tools focusing on audits of hypertension, heart disease, renal disease, primary mental health care and health promotion.
The project will be carried out in a form of collaborative characterised by a sequence of annual learning cycles with action periods for CQI activities between each learning cycle.
Key outcome measures include uptake and integration of CQI activities into routine service activity, state of system development, delivery of evidence-based services, intermediate patient outcomes (e.g. blood pressure and glucose control), and health outcomes (complications, hospitalisations and mortality).
The ABCD Extension project will contribute directly to the evidence base on effectiveness of collaborative CQI approaches on prevention and management of chronic disease in Australia's Indigenous communities, and to inform the operational and policy environments that are required to incorporate CQI activities into routine practice.
Recent federal and state public policy focuses on advance care planning, suggesting the promise for care delivery improvements and the means for surmounting barriers.
Federal and state provisions for advance care planning—the process by which patients, families, and medical professionals plan for future and, in particular, end-of-life care—continue to receive attention. Such planning remains an integral component of palliative care, complementing the recognition and treatment of pain and other symptoms that patients with advanced malignancies and their families encounter. Historically, advance care planning interventions (particularly those involving advance directives) have been unable to consistently demonstrate positive outcomes for patients with life-threatening illnesses. However, more recent literature, including that on patients with cancer, illustrates that both patients and caregivers report improved quality of life and less distress after discussions with their health care teams about end-of-life care. Herein, we discuss recent federal and state public policy that focuses on advance care planning, suggesting the promise for care delivery improvements and the means by which existing barriers might be surmounted. These care delivery issues apply to several disease states but are particularly pertinent to the adult oncology setting.
Family physicians provide most of the care for the frail elderly population, but many challenges and barriers can lead to difficulties with fragmented, ineffective, and inefficient services.
Objective of program
To improve the quality, efficiency, and coordination of care for the frail elderly living in the community and to enhance geriatric and interprofessional skills for providers and learners.
The Seniors Collaborative Care Program used an interprofessional, shared-care, geriatric model. The feasibility of the program was evaluated through a pilot study conducted between November 2008 and June 2009 at Stonechurch Family Health Centre, part of the McMaster Family Health Team. The core team comprised a nurse practitioner, an FP, and a registered practical nurse. Additional team members included a pharmacist, a dietitian, a social worker, and a visiting geriatrician. Twenty-five seniors were evaluated through the pilot program. Patients were assessed within 5 weeks of initial contact. Patients and practitioners valued timely, accessible, preventive, and multidisciplinary aspects of care. The nurse practitioner’s role was prominent in the program, while the geriatrician’s clinical role was focused efficiently.
The family health team is ideally positioned to deliver shared care for the frail elderly. Our model allowed for a short referral time and easy access, which might allow seniors to remain in their environment of choice.
Previous studies testing continuous quality improvement (CQI) for depression showed no effects. Methods for practices to self-improve depression care performance are needed. We assessed the impacts of evidence-based quality improvement (EBQI), a modification of CQI, as carried out by 2 different health care systems, and collected qualitative data on the design and implementation process.
Evaluate impacts of EBQI on practice-wide depression care and outcomes.
Practice-level randomized experiment comparing EBQI with usual care.
Six Kaiser Permanente of Northern California and 3 Veterans Administration primary care practices randomly assigned to EBQI teams (6 practices) or usual care (3 practices). Practices included 245 primary care clinicians and 250,000 patients.
Researchers assisted system senior leaders to identify priorities for EBQI teams; initiated the manual-based EBQI process; and provided references and tools.
Five hundred and sixty-seven representative patients with major depression.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Appropriate treatment, depression, functional status, and satisfaction.
Depressed patients in EBQI practices showed a trend toward more appropriate treatment compared with those in usual care (46.0% vs 39.9% at 6 months, P = .07), but no significant improvement in 12-month depression symptom outcomes (27.0% vs 36.1% poor depression outcome, P = .18). Social functioning improved significantly (mean score 65.0 vs 56.8 at 12 months, P = .02); physical functioning did not.
Evidence-based quality improvement had perceptible, but modest, effects on practice performance for patients with depression. The modest improvements, along with qualitative data, identify potential future directions for improving CQI research and practice.
quality improvement; depression; continuous quality management; social function
To describe initial testing of the Assessment of Chronic Illness Care (ACIC), a practical quality-improvement tool to help organizations evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their delivery of care for chronic illness in six areas: community linkages, self-management support, decision support, delivery system design, information systems, and organization of care.
(1) Pre-post, self-report ACIC data from organizational teams enrolled in 13-month quality-improvement collaboratives focused on care for chronic illness; (2) independent faculty ratings of team progress at the end of collaborative.
Teams completed the ACIC at the beginning and end of the collaborative using a consensus format that produced average ratings of their system's approach to delivering care for the targeted chronic condition. Average ACIC subscale scores (ranging from 0 to 11, with 11 representing optimal care) for teams across all four collaboratives were obtained to indicate how teams rated their care for chronic illness before beginning improvement work. Paired t-tests were used to evaluate the sensitivity of the ACIC to detect system improvements for teams in two (of four) collaboratives focused on care for diabetes and congestive heart failure (CHF). Pearson correlations between the ACIC subscale scores and a faculty rating of team performance were also obtained.
Average baseline scores across all teams enrolled at the beginning of the collaboratives ranged from 4.36 (information systems) to 6.42 (organization of care), indicating basic to good care for chronic illness. All six ACIC subscale scores were responsive to system improvements diabetes and CHF teams made over the course of the collaboratives. The most substantial improvements were seen in decision support, delivery system design, and information systems. CHF teams had particularly high scores in self-management support at the completion of the collaborative. Pearson correlations between the ACIC subscales and the faculty rating ranged from .28 to .52.
These results and feedback from teams suggest that the ACIC is responsive to health care quality-improvement efforts and may be a useful tool to guide quality improvement in chronic illness care and to track progress over time.
Measurement; quality; chronic illness; health care; systems
The Spanish National Health System recognised multidisciplinary care as a health priority in 2006, when a national strategy for promoting quality in cancer care was first published. This institutional effort is being implemented on a co-operative basis within the context of Spain's decentralised health care system, so a high degree of variability is to be expected. This study was aimed to explore the views of professionals working with multidisciplinary cancer teams and identify which barriers to effective team work should be considered to ensure implementation of health policy.
Qualitative interview study with semi-structured, one-to-one interviews. Data were examined inductively, using content analysis to generate categories and an explanatory framework. 39 professionals performing their tasks, wholly or in part, in different multidisciplinary cancer teams were interviewed. The breakdown of participants' medical specialisations was as follows: medical oncologists (n = 10); radiation oncologists (n = 8); surgeons (n = 7); pathologists or radiologists (n = 6); oncology nurses (n = 5); and others (n = 3).
Teams could be classified into three models of professional co-operation in multidisciplinary cancer care, namely, advisory committee, formal co-adaptation and integrated care process. The following barriers to implementation were posed: existence of different gateways for the same patient profile; variability in development and use of clinical protocols and guidelines; role of the hospital executive board; outcomes assessment; and the recording and documenting of clinical decisions in a multidisciplinary team setting. All these play a key role in the development of cancer teams and their ability to improve quality of care.
Cancer team development results from an specific adaptation to the hospital environment. Nevertheless, health policy plays an important role in promoting an organisational approach that changes the way in which professionals develop their clinical practice.