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 patient-centered medical home, which is termed the Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is a transformational initiative with mental and behavioral health as integral components. Funding has been provided to VA medical facilities to assist with the transformation and process redesign of primary care into interdisciplinary teams focused on increased access, Veteran-centered care, and active incorporation of collaborative expertise from specialists within primary care. Primary care clinics are not simple machines that change by merely replacing parts or colocating additional resources. Rather, they are complex systems with a relationship infrastructure among members of the team that is critically important to the change process. Mental health professionals are integral, mandated members of the PACTs providing needed mental and behavioral health care to Veterans as an integrated component of primary care. They also work to catalyze a quality improvement process that encourages collaboration, innovation, and adoption of best practices that promote transformation based on patient-centered principles of care. The purpose of this article is to describe the evolution of VA primary care settings toward interdisciplinary teams that provide patient-centered care in collaboration with Primary Care–Mental Health Integration providers and Health Promotion Disease Prevention team members.
Primary care; Patient-centered medical home; Integrated care
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
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.
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
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
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
Patients requiring assessment for cancer surgery encounter a complex series of steps in their cancer journey. Further complicating the process is the fact that care is often delivered in a fragmented, silo-based system. Isolated strategies to improve cancer outcomes within those systems have had inconsistent results.
A regional quality improvement collaborative was developed based on a community of practice (cop) platform, a hub-and-spoke infrastructure, and a regional steering committee linking cop improvement projects with affiliated hospitals and their strategic priorities. The cop provided an avenue for multidisciplinary teams to collect and compare their performance data and to institute regional standards through literature review, discussion, and consensus. Regional interdisciplinary teams developed a set of quality indicators linked to mutually agreed-upon care standards. A limited regional database supported feedback about performance against both provincial and regional standards.
The cop approach helped to develop a multihospital collaboration that facilitated care quality improvements on a regional scale, with clinical outcomes of the improvements able to be measured. The 9 participating hospitals delivered cancer surgery in the specific disease sites according to practitioner-developed and provincially- or regionally-generated care standards and clinical pathways. Compliance with provincial evidence-based clinical guidelines improved (20% increase in 2010–2011 compared with 2006–2007). Other significant improvements included standardization and implementation of regional perioperative pathways in breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer disease sites; rectal cancer surgery centralization; increased use of sentinel lymph node biopsies in breast cancer surgery; and decreased positive surgical margin rates in prostate cancer.
Improved quality is likely a result of diverse confounding factors. The deliberately cultivated multihospital multidisciplinary cops have contributed to positive structural and functional change in cancer surgery in the region. This regional cop model has the potential to play an important role in the development of successful collaborations in care quality improvement.
Community of practice; regional collaboration; quality improvement; cancer care
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)
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.
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.
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
While practice-level or team accreditation is not new to primary care in the UK and there are organisational indicators in the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) organisational domain, there is no universal system of accreditation of the quality of organisational aspects of care in the UK.
To describe the development, content and piloting of version 1 of the Primary Medical Care Provider Accreditation (PMCPA) scheme, which includes 112 separate criteria across six domains: health inequalities and health promotion; provider management; premises, records, equipment, and medicines management; provider teams; learning organisation; and patient experience/involvement, and to present the results from the pilot service evaluation focusing on the achievement of the 30 core criteria and feedback from practice staff.
Design of study
Observational service evaluation using evidence uploaded onto an extranet system in support of 30 core summative pilot PMCPA accreditation criteria.
Thirty-six nationally representative practices across England, between June and December 2008.
Study population: interviews with GPs, practice managers, nurses and other relevant staff from the participating practices were conducted, audiotaped, transcribed, and analysed using a thematic approach. For each practice, the number of core criteria that had received either a‘good’or‘satisfactory’rating from a RCGP-trained assessment team, was counted and expressed as a percentage.
Thirty-two practices completed the scheme, with nine practices passing 100% of core criteria (range: 27–100%). There were no statistical differences in achievement between practices of different sizes and in different localities. Practice feedback highlighted seven key issues: (1) overall view of PMCPA; (2) the role of accreditation; (3) different motivations for taking part; (4) practice managers dominated the workload associated with implementing the scheme; (5) facilitators for implementation; (6) patient benefit — relevance of PMCPA to quality improvement; (7) recommendations for improving the scheme.
Version 1 of PMCPA has been piloted as a primary care accreditation scheme and shown to be relevant to different types of practice. The scheme is undergoing revision in accordance with the findings from the pilot and ongoing consultation.
accreditation; primary care; quality of health care
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
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.
Quality improvement education and work in interdisciplinary teams is a healthcare priority. Healthcare systems are trying to meet core measures and provide excellent patient care, thus improving their Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems scores. Crittenton Hospital Medical Center in Rochester Hills, MI, aligned educational and clinical objectives, focusing on improving immunization rates against pneumonia and influenza prior to the rates being implemented as core measures. Improving immunization rates prevents infections, minimizes hospitalizations, and results in overall improved patient care. Teaching hospitals offer an effective way to work on clinical projects by bringing together the skill sets of residents, faculty, and hospital staff to achieve superior results.
We designed and implemented a structured curriculum in which interdisciplinary teams acquired knowledge on quality improvement and teamwork, while focusing on a specific clinical project: improving global immunization rates. We used the Lean Six Sigma process tools to quantify the initial process capability to immunize against pneumococcus and influenza.
The hospital's process to vaccinate against pneumonia overall was operating at a Z score of 3.13, and the influenza vaccination Z score was 2.53. However, the process to vaccinate high-risk patients against pneumonia operated at a Z score of 1.96. Improvement in immunization rates of high-risk patients became the focus of the project. After the implementation of solutions, the process to vaccinate high-risk patients against pneumonia operated at a Z score of 3.9 with a defects/million opportunities rate of 9,346 and a yield of 93.5%. Revisions to the adult assessment form fixed 80% of the problems identified.
This process improvement project was not only beneficial in terms of improved quality of patient care but was also a positive learning experience for the interdisciplinary team, particularly for the residents. The hospital has completed quality improvement projects in the past; however, this project was the first in which residents were actively involved. The didactic components and experiential learning were powerfully synergistic. This and similar projects can have far-reaching implications in terms of promoting patient health and improving the quality of care delivered by the healthcare systems and teaching hospitals.
Graduate medical education; immunization; influenza–human; patient care team; pneumococcal vaccines; quality improvement; vaccination
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
Knowledge about the quality and organisation of care to terminally ill cancer patients with a relatives' view in a primary health care setting is limited.
The aim of the study is to analyse experiences and preferences of bereaved relatives to terminally ill cancer patients in a primary care setting to explore barriers and facilitators for delivery of good palliative home care.
Three focus group interviews with fourteen bereaved relatives in Aarhus County, Denmark.
Three main categories of experience were identified: 1) The health professionals' management, where a need to optimize was found. 2) Shared care, which was lacking. 3) The relatives' role, which needs an extra focus.
Relatives experience insufficient palliative care mainly due to organizational and cultural problems among professionals. Palliative care in primary care in general needs improvement and attention should be drawn to the "professionalization" of the relatives and the need to strike a balance between their needs, wishes and resources in end-of-life care and bereavement.
This mixed methods study was designed to explore the acceptability and impact of feedback of team performance data to primary care interdisciplinary teams.
Seven interdisciplinary teams were offered a one-hour, facilitated performance feedback session presenting data from a comprehensive, previously-conducted evaluation, selecting highlights such as performance on chronic disease management, access, patient satisfaction and team function.
Several recurrent themes emerged from participants' surveys and two rounds of interviews within three months of the feedback session. Team performance measurement and feedback was welcomed across teams and disciplines. This feedback could build the team, the culture, and the capacity for quality improvement. However, existing performance indicators do not equally reflect the role of different disciplines within an interdisciplinary team. Finally, the effect of team performance feedback on intentions to improve performance was hindered by a poor understanding of how the team could use the data.
The findings further our understanding of how performance feedback may engage interdisciplinary team members in improving the quality of primary care and the unique challenges specific to these settings. There is a need to develop a shared sense of responsibility and agenda for quality improvement. Therefore, more efforts to develop flexible and interactive performance-reporting structures (that better reflect contributions from all team members) in which teams could specify the information and audience may assist in promoting quality improvement.
This study was part of the Methods of Assessing Response to Quality Improvement Strategies (MARQuIS) research project investigating the impact of quality improvement strategies on hospital care in various countries of the European Union (EU), in relation to specific needs of cross-border patients.
This paper describes how EU hospitals have applied seven quality improvement strategies previously defined by the MARQuIS study: organisational quality management programmes; systems for obtaining patients’ views; patient safety systems; audit and internal assessment of clinical standards; clinical and practice guidelines; performance indicators; and external assessment.
A web-based questionnaire was used to survey acute care hospitals in eight EU countries. The reported findings were later validated via on-site survey and site visits in a sample of the participating hospitals. Data collection took place from April to August 2006.
389 hospitals participated in the survey; response rates varied per country. All seven quality improvement strategies were widely used in European countries. Activities related to external assessment were the most broadly applied across Europe, and activities related to patient involvement were the least widely implemented. No one country implemented all quality strategies at all hospitals. There were no differences between participating hospitals in western and eastern European countries regarding the application of quality improvement strategies.
Implementation varied per country and per quality improvement strategy, leaving considerable scope for progress in quality improvements. The results may contribute to benchmarking activities in European countries, and point to further areas of research to explore the relationship between the application of quality improvement strategies and actual hospital performance.