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1.  Task Shifting for Scale-up of HIV Care: Evaluation of Nurse-Centered Antiretroviral Treatment at Rural Health Centers in Rwanda 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(10):e1000163.
Fabienne Shumbusho and colleagues evaluate a task-shifting model of nurse-centered antiretroviral treatment prescribing in rural primary health centers in Rwanda and find that nurses can effectively and safely prescribe ART when given adequate training, mentoring, and support.
The shortage of human resources for health, and in particular physicians, is one of the major barriers to achieve universal access to HIV care and treatment. In September 2005, a pilot program of nurse-centered antiretroviral treatment (ART) prescription was launched in three rural primary health centers in Rwanda. We retrospectively evaluated the feasibility and effectiveness of this task-shifting model using descriptive data.
Methods and Findings
Medical records of 1,076 patients enrolled in HIV care and treatment services from September 2005 to March 2008 were reviewed to assess: (i) compliance with national guidelines for ART eligibility and prescription, and patient monitoring and (ii) key outcomes, such as retention, body weight, and CD4 cell count change at 6, 12, 18, and 24 mo after ART initiation. Of these, no ineligible patients were started on ART and only one patient received an inappropriate ART prescription. Of the 435 patients who initiated ART, the vast majority had adherence and side effects assessed at each clinic visit (89% and 84%, respectively). By March 2008, 390 (90%) patients were alive on ART, 29 (7%) had died, one (<1%) was lost to follow-up, and none had stopped treatment. Patient retention was about 92% by 12 mo and 91% by 24 mo. Depending on initial stage of disease, mean CD4 cell count increased between 97 and 128 cells/µl in the first 6 mo after treatment initiation and between 79 and 129 cells/µl from 6 to 24 mo of treatment. Mean weight increased significantly in the first 6 mo, between 1.8 and 4.3 kg, with no significant increases from 6 to 24 mo.
Patient outcomes in our pilot program compared favorably with other ART cohorts in sub-Saharan Africa and with those from a recent evaluation of the national ART program in Rwanda. These findings suggest that nurses can effectively and safely prescribe ART when given adequate training, mentoring, and support.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a serious health problem in sub-Saharan Africa. The virus attacks white blood cells that protect against infection, most commonly a type of white blood cell called CD4. When a person has been infected with HIV for a long time, the number of CD4 cells they have goes down, resulting in acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), in which the person's immune system no longer functions effectively.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has divided the disease into four stages as it progresses, according to symptoms including weight loss and so-called opportunistic infections. These are known as clinical stage I, II, III, or IV but were revised and renamed 1, 2, 3, and 4 in September 2005. HIV infection and AIDS cannot be cured but they can be managed with antiretroviral treatment (ART). The WHO currently recommends that ART is begun when the CD4 count falls below 350.
Rwanda is a country situated in the central Africa with a population of around 9 million inhabitants; over 3% of the rural population and 7% of the urban population are infected with HIV. In 2007, the WHO estimated that 220,000 Rwandan children had lost one or both parents to AIDS.
Why Was This Study Done?
The WHO estimates that 9.7 million people with HIV in low- to middle-income countries need ART but at the end of 2007, only 30% of these, including in Rwanda, had access to treatment. In many low-income countries a major factor in this is a lack of doctors. Rwanda, for example, has one doctor per 50,000 inhabitants and one nurse per 3,900 inhabitants.
This situation has led the WHO to recommend “task shifting,” i.e., that the task of prescribing ART should be shifted from doctors to nurses so that more patients can be treated. This type of reorganization is well studied in high-income countries, but the researchers wanted to help develop a system for treating AIDS that would be effective and timely in a predominantly rural, low-income setting such as Rwanda.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In conjunction with the Rwandan Ministry of Health, the researchers developed and piloted a task-shifting program, in which one nurse in each of three rural Rwandan primary health centers (PHCs) was trained to examine HIV patients and prescribe ART in simple cases. Nurses had to complete more than 50 consultations observed by the doctor before being permitted to consult patients independently. More complex cases were referred to a doctor. The authors developed standard checklists, instructions, and evaluation forms to guide nurses and the doctors who supervised them once a week.
The authors evaluated the pilot program by reviewing the records of 1,076 patients who enrolled on it between September 2005 and March 2008. They looked to see whether the nurses had followed guidelines and monitored the patients correctly. They also considered health outcomes for the patients, such as their death rate, their body weight, their CD4 cell count, and whether they maintained contact with caregivers.
They found that by March 2008, 451 patients had been eligible for ART. 435 received treatment and none of the patients were prescribed ART when they should not have been. Only one prescription did not follow national guidelines.
At every visit, nurses were supposed to assess whether patients were taking their drugs and to monitor side effects. They did this and maintained records correctly for the vast majority of the 435 patients who were prescribed ART. 390 patients (over 90%) of the 435 prescribed receiving ART continued to take it and maintain contact with the pilot PHC's program. 29 patients died. Only one was lost to follow up and the others transferred to another ART site. The majority gained weight in the first six months and their CD4 cell counts rose. Outcomes, including death rate, were similar to those treated on the (doctor-led) Rwandan national ART program and other sub-Saharan African national (doctor-led) programs.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The study suggests that nurses are able to prescribe ART safely and effectively in a rural sub-Saharan setting, given sufficient training, mentoring, and support. Nurse-led prescribing of ART could mean that timely, appropriate treatment reaches many more HIV patients. It would reduce the burden of HIV care for doctors, freeing their time for other duties, and the study is already being used by the Rwandan Ministry of Health as a basis for plans to adopt a task-shifting strategy for the national ART program.
The study does have some limitations. The pilot program was funded and designed as a health project to deliver ART in rural areas, rather than a research project to compare nurse-led and doctor-led ART programs. There was no group of equivalent patients treated by doctors rather than nurses for direct comparison, although the authors did compare outcomes with those achieved nationally for doctor-led ART. The most promising sites, nurses, and patients were selected for the pilot and careful monitoring may have been an additional motivation for the nurses and doctors taking part. Health professionals in a scaled-up program may not be as committed as those in the pilot, who were carefully monitored. In addition, the nature of the pilot, which lasted for under three years and recruited new patients throughout, meant that patients were followed up for relatively short periods.
The authors also warn that they did not consider in this study the changes task shifting will make to doctors' roles and the skills required of both doctors and nurses. They recommend that task shifting should be implemented as part of a wider investment in health systems, human resources, training, adapted medical records, tools, and protocols.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
PLoS Medicine includes a page collecting together its recent articles on HIV infection and AIDS that includes research articles, perspectives, editorials, and policy forums provides news, views, and information about science, technology, and the developing world, including a section specific to HIV/AIDs
The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a downloadable booklet Task Shifting to Tackle Health Worker Shortages
The WHO offers information on HIV and AIDS (in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish) as well as health information and fact sheets on individual countries, including on Rwanda
The UNAIDS/WHO working group on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Surveillance gathers and publishes data on the prevalence of HIV and AIDS in individual countries, including on Rwanda
AIDS.ORG provides information to help prevent HIV infections and to improve the lives of those affected by HIV and AIDS. Factsheets on many aspects of HIV and AIDS are available. It is the official online publisher of AIDS Treatment News
PMCID: PMC2752160  PMID: 19823569
2.  Accuracy of Self-Screening for Contraindications to Combined Oral Contraceptive Use 
Obstetrics and gynecology  2008;112(3):572-578.
To estimate how well a convenience sample of women from the general population could self-screen for contraindications to combined oral contraceptives using a medical checklist.
Women 18-49 years old (N=1,271) were recruited at two shopping malls and a flea market in El Paso, Texas, and asked first whether they thought pills were medically safe for them. They then used a checklist to determine the presence of level 3 or 4 contraindications to combined oral contraceptives according to the World Health Organization Medical Eligibility Criteria. Women were then interviewed by a blinded nurse practitioner who also measured blood pressure.
The sensitivity of the unaided self-screen to detect true contraindications was 56.2% (95% CI: 51.7%-60.6%) and specificity 57.6% (54.0%-61.1%). The sensitivity of the checklist to detect true contraindications was 83.2% (79.5%-86.3%) and specificity 88.8% (86.3%- 90.9%). Using the checklist, 6.6% (5.2%-8.0%) of women incorrectly thought they were eligible for use when, in fact, they were contraindicated, largely due to unrecognized hypertension. Seven percent (5.4%-8.2%) of women incorrectly thought they were contraindicated when they truly were not, primarily due to misclassification of migraine headaches. In regression analysis, younger women, more educated women and Spanish-speakers were significantly more likely to correctly self-screen (p<0.05).
Self-screening for contraindications to oral contraceptives using a medical checklist is relatively accurate. Unaided screening is inaccurate and reflects common misperceptions about the safety of oral contraceptives. Over-the-counter provision of this method would likely be safe, especially for younger women and if independent blood pressure screening were encouraged.
PMCID: PMC2615461  PMID: 18757654
3.  How do caregivers know when to take their child for immunizations? 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:44.
Childhood vaccinations help reduce and eliminate many causes of morbidity and mortality among children. The objective of this study was to compare 4:3:1:3:3 (4+ doses of diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and pertussis vaccine, 3+ doses of poliovirus vaccine, 1+ doses of measles-containing vaccine, 3+ doses of Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine, and 3+ doses of hepatitis B vaccine) coverage among children whose caregivers learned by different methods when their child's most recent immunization was needed.
Between July 2001 and December 2002, a portion of households receiving the National Immunization Survey were asked how they knew when to take the child in for his/her most recent immunization. Responses were post-coded into several categories: 'Doctor/nurse reminder at previous immunization visit', 'Shot card/record', 'Reminder/recall', and 'Other'. Respondents could give more than one answer. Children who did not receive any vaccines, had ≤ 1 visits for vaccinations, or whose caregiver did not provide an answer to the question were excluded from analyses. Chi-square analyses were used to compare 4:3:1:3:3 coverage among 19–35 month old children.
Children whose caregivers indicated that a doctor/nurse told them at a previous immunization visit when to return for the next immunization had significantly greater 4:3:1:3:3 coverage than those who did not choose the response (77.2% vs. 70.1%, p < 0.01). However, no significant difference in coverage was found between households that did/did not indicate that reminder/recalls (71.0% vs. 75.5%, p = 0.24) helped them remember when to take their child for their most recent immunization visit; only borderline significance was found between those that did/did not choose shot cards (70.6% vs. 76.2%, p = 0.07).
A doctor or nurse's reminder during an immunization visit of the next scheduled immunization visit effectively encourages caregivers to bring children in for immunizations, providing an inexpensive and easy way to effectively increase immunization coverage.
PMCID: PMC1314897  PMID: 16316458
4.  Maternal and child health nurse screening and care for mothers experiencing domestic violence (MOVE): a cluster randomised trial 
BMC Medicine  2015;13:150.
Mothers are at risk of domestic violence (DV) and its harmful consequences postpartum. There is no evidence to date for sustainability of DV screening in primary care settings. We aimed to test whether a theory-informed, maternal and child health (MCH) nurse-designed model increased and sustained DV screening, disclosure, safety planning and referrals compared with usual care.
Cluster randomised controlled trial of 12 month MCH DV screening and care intervention with 24 month follow-up.
The study was set in community-based MCH nurse teams (91 centres, 163 nurses) in north-west Melbourne, Australia.
Eight eligible teams were recruited. Team randomisation occurred at a public meeting using opaque envelopes. Teams were unable to be blinded.
The intervention was informed by Normalisation Process Theory, the nurse-designed good practice model incorporated nurse mentors, strengthened relationships with DV services, nurse safety, a self-completion maternal health screening checklist at three or four month consultations and DV clinical guidelines. Usual care involved government mandated face-to-face DV screening at four weeks postpartum and follow-up as required.
Primary outcomes were MCH team screening, disclosure, safety planning and referral rates from routine government data and a postal survey sent to 10,472 women with babies ≤ 12 months in study areas. Secondary outcomes included DV prevalence (Composite Abuse Scale, CAS) and harm measures (postal survey).
No significant differences were found in routine screening at four months (IG 2,330/6,381 consultations (36.5 %) versus CG 1,792/7,638 consultations (23.5 %), RR = 1.56 CI 0.96–2.52) but data from maternal health checklists (n = 2,771) at three month IG consultations showed average screening rates of 63.1 %. Two years post-intervention, IG safety planning rates had increased from three (RR 2.95, CI 1.11–7.82) to four times those of CG (RR 4.22 CI 1.64–10.9). Referrals remained low in both intervention groups (IGs) and comparison groups (CGs) (<1 %).
2,621/10,472 mothers (25 %) returned surveys. No difference was found between arms in preference or comfort with being asked about DV or feelings about self.
A nurse-designed screening and care model did not increase routine screening or referrals, but achieved significantly increased safety planning over 36 months among postpartum women. Self-completion DV screening was welcomed by nurses and women and contributed to sustainability.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12609000424202, 10/03/2009
PMCID: PMC4480893  PMID: 26111528
Domestic violence; Screening; Maternal and child health nursing; Cluster randomised controlled trial; Primary health care; Safety planning; Sustainability
5.  Health checks on patients 75 years and over in Nottinghamshire after the new GP contract. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1992;305(6854):619-621.
OBJECTIVE--To investigate annual health checks for patients of 75 years and over required by the 1990 contract for general practitioners. DESIGN--Visits to practices to collect information on how assessments were organised and carried out; completion of questionnaires for every patient who had been assessed in a sample month, using information provided by the practice records. SETTING--20 general practices in one family health services authority. SUBJECTS--Patients of 75 years and over in 20 general practices. RESULTS--Three practices (15%) had not performed checks. Thirteen practices sent a letter to invite patients to undergo a check. Of these practices, seven followed up non-responders. Two practices visited patients' homes unannounced, and two did checks on an opportunistic basis only. Sixteen practices used a checklist. Sixteen practices involved their practice nurses; at eight of these, doctors also performed checks; in six practices the nurses undertaking the checks had no training in assessing old people. Ten practices assessed more than 75% of their old people in the first year of the new contract. Practices that did not follow up patients who had not responded to the invitation for assessment completed significantly fewer checks. During the sample month, 331 patients were assessed in the 17 practices. 204 new problems were discovered in 143 patients. Significantly more problems per patient were found in inner city areas. CONCLUSIONS--The way health checks were performed varied greatly, both in their organisation and the practices' attitudes. Many old people did not respond to letters asking if they wanted an assessment but very few refused one if followed up. Forty three per cent of those assessed had some unmet need. The number of new problems found per patient may reduce over the next few years if the assessments are successful. The need for annual assessment should be kept under review and adequate resources made available for the needs uncovered. Improved training for practice nurses in assessment is needed. Effectiveness of the checks must be monitored. If most unmet need falls in particular high risk groups it would seem sensible to modify the annual check to target these groups.
PMCID: PMC1883333  PMID: 1393076
6.  Child protection procedures in emergency departments 
Emergency Medicine Journal : EMJ  2007;24(12):831-835.
Emergency departments (EDs) may be the first point at which children who have been subject to abuse or neglect come into contact with professionals who are able to act for their protection. In order to ascertain current procedures for identifying and managing child abuse, we conducted a survey of EDs in England and Northern Ireland.
Questionnaires were sent to the lead professionals in a random sample of 81 EDs in England and 20 in Northern Ireland. Departments were asked to provide copies of their procedures for child protection. These were analysed qualitatively using a structured template.
A total of 74 questionnaires were returned. 91.3% of departments had written protocols for child protection. Of these, 27 provided copies of their protocols for analysis. Factors judged to improve the practical usefulness of protocols included: those that were brief; were specific to the department; incorporated both medical and nursing management; included relevant contact details; included a single page flow chart which could be accessed separately. 25/71 (35.2%) departments reported that they used a checklist to highlight concerns. The most common factors on the checklists included an inconsistent history or one which did not match the examination; frequent attendances; delay in presentation; or concerns about the child's appearance or behaviour, or the parent–child interaction.
There is a lack of consistency in the approach to identifying and responding to child abuse in EDs. Drawing on the results of this survey, we are able to suggest good practice guidelines for the management of suspected child abuse in EDs. Minimum standards could improve management and facilitate clinical audit and relevant training.
PMCID: PMC2658353  PMID: 18029514
7.  Barriers to Provider-Initiated Testing and Counselling for Children in a High HIV Prevalence Setting: A Mixed Methods Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(5):e1001649.
Rashida Ferrand and colleagues combine quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate HIV prevalence among older children receiving primary care in Harare, Zimbabwe, and reasons why providers did not pursue testing.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
There is a substantial burden of HIV infection among older children in sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of whom are diagnosed after presentation with advanced disease. We investigated the provision and uptake of provider-initiated HIV testing and counselling (PITC) among children in primary health care facilities, and explored health care worker (HCW) perspectives on providing HIV testing to children.
Methods and Findings
Children aged 6 to 15 y attending six primary care clinics in Harare, Zimbabwe, were offered PITC, with guardian consent and child assent. The reasons why testing did not occur in eligible children were recorded, and factors associated with HCWs offering and children/guardians refusing HIV testing were investigated using multivariable logistic regression. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with clinic nurses and counsellors to explore these factors. Among 2,831 eligible children, 2,151 (76%) were offered PITC, of whom 1,534 (54.2%) consented to HIV testing. The main reasons HCWs gave for not offering PITC were the perceived unsuitability of the accompanying guardian to provide consent for HIV testing on behalf of the child and lack of availability of staff or HIV testing kits. Children who were asymptomatic, older, or attending with a male or a younger guardian had significantly lower odds of being offered HIV testing. Male guardians were less likely to consent to their child being tested. 82 (5.3%) children tested HIV-positive, with 95% linking to care. Of the 940 guardians who tested with the child, 186 (19.8%) were HIV-positive.
The HIV prevalence among children tested was high, highlighting the need for PITC. For PITC to be successfully implemented, clear legislation about consent and guardianship needs to be developed, and structural issues addressed. HCWs require training on counselling children and guardians, particularly male guardians, who are less likely to engage with health care services. Increased awareness of the risk of HIV infection in asymptomatic older children is needed.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Over 3 million children globally are estimated to be living with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). While HIV infection is most commonly spread through unprotected sex with an infected person, most HIV infections among children are the result of mother-to-child HIV transmission during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. Mother-to-child transmission can be prevented by administering antiretroviral therapy to mothers with HIV during pregnancy, delivery, and breast feeding, and to their newborn babies. According to a report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS published in 2012, 92% of pregnant women with HIV were living in sub-Saharan Africa and just under 60% were receiving antiretroviral therapy. Consequently, sub-Saharan Africa is the region where most children infected with HIV live.
Why Was This Study Done?
If an opportunity to prevent mother-to-child transmission around the time of birth is missed, diagnosis of HIV infection in a child or adolescent is likely to depend on HIV testing in health care facilities. Health care provider–initiated HIV testing and counselling (PITC) for children is important in areas where HIV infection is common because earlier diagnosis allows children to benefit from care that can prevent the development of advanced HIV disease. Even if a child or adolescent appears to be in good health, access to care and antiretroviral therapy provides a health benefit to the individual over the long term. The administration of HIV testing (and counselling) to children relies not only on health care workers (HCWs) offering HIV testing but also on parents or guardians consenting for a child to be tested. However, more than 30% of children in countries with severe HIV epidemics are AIDS orphans, and economic conditions in these countries cause many adults to migrate for work, leaving children under the care of extended families. This study aimed to investigate the reasons for acceptance and rejection of PITC in primary health care settings in Harare, Zimbabwe. By exploring HCW perspectives on providing HIV testing to children and adolescents, the study also sought to gain insight into factors that could be hindering implementation of testing procedures.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified all children aged 6 to 15 years old at six primary care clinics in Harare, who were offered HIV testing as part of routine care between 22 January and 31 May 2013. Study fieldworkers collected data on numbers of child attendances, numbers offered testing, numbers who underwent HIV testing, and reasons why HIV testing did not occur. During the study 2,831 children attending the health clinics were eligible for PITC, and just over half (1,534, 54.2%) underwent HIV testing. Eighty-two children tested HIV-positive, and nearly all of them received counselling, medication, and follow-up care. HCWs offered the test to around 75% of those eligible. The most frequent explanation given by HCWs for a diagnostic test not being offered was that the child was accompanied by a guardian not appropriate for providing consent (401 occasions, 59%); Other reasons given were a lack of available counsellors or test kits and counsellors refusing to conduct the test. The likelihood of being offered the test was lower for children not exhibiting symptoms (such as persistent skin problems), older children, or those attending with a male or a younger guardian. In addition, over 100 guardians or parents provided consent but left before the child could be tested.
The researchers also conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 clinic nurses and counsellors (two from each clinic) to explore challenges to implementation of PITC. The researchers recorded the factors associated with testing not taking place, either when offered to eligible children or when HCWs declined to offer the test. The interviewees identified the frequent absence or unavailability of parents or legal guardians as an obstacle, and showed uncertainty or misconceptions around whether testing of the guardian was mandatory (versus recommended) and whether specifically a parent (if one was living) must provide consent. The interviews also revealed HCW concerns about the availability of adequate counselling and child services, and fears that a child might experience maltreatment if he or she tested positive. HCWs also noted long waiting times and test kits being out of stock as practical hindrances to testing.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Prevalence of HIV was high among the children tested, validating the need for PITC in sub-Saharan health care settings. Although 76% of eligible attendees were offered testing, the authors note that this is likely higher than in routine settings because the researchers were actively recording reasons for not offering testing and counselling, which may have encouraged heath care staff to offer PITC more often than usual. The researchers outline strategies that may improve PITC rates and testing acceptance for Zimbabwe and other sub-Saharan settings. These strategies include developing clear laws and guidance concerning guardianship and proxy consent when testing older children for HIV, training HCWs around these policies, strengthening legislation to address discrimination, and increasing public awareness about HIV infection in older children.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Davies and Kalk
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS publishes an annual report on the global AIDS epidemic, which provides information on progress towards eliminating new HIV infections
The World Health Organization has more information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV
The World Health Organization's website also has information about treatment for children living with HIV
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS, including stories from young people infected with HIV, are available through Avert, through NAM/aidsmap, and through the charity website Healthtalkonline
PMCID: PMC4035250  PMID: 24866209
8.  Improving preventive service delivery at adult complete health check-ups: the Preventive health Evidence-based Recommendation Form (PERFORM) cluster randomized controlled trial 
BMC Family Practice  2006;7:44.
To determine the effectiveness of a single checklist reminder form to improve the delivery of preventive health services at adult health check-ups in a family practice setting.
A prospective cluster randomized controlled trial was conducted at four urban family practice clinics among 38 primary care physicians affiliated with the University of Toronto. Preventive Care Checklist Forms© were created to be used by family physicians at adult health check-ups over a five-month period. The sex-specific forms incorporate evidence-based recommendations on preventive health services and documentation space for routine procedures such as physical examination. The forms were used in two intervention clinics and two control clinics. Rates and relative risks (RR) of the performance of 13 preventive health maneuvers at baseline and post-intervention and the percentage of up-to-date preventive health services delivered per patient were compared between the two groups.
Randomly-selected charts were reviewed at baseline (n = 509) and post-intervention (n = 608). Baseline rates for provision of preventive health services ranged from 3% (fecal occult blood testing) to 93% (blood pressure measurement), similar to other settings. The percentage of up-to-date preventive health services delivered per patient at the end of the intervention was 48.9% in the control group and 71.7% in the intervention group. This is an overall 22.8% absolute increase (p = 0.0001), and 46.6% relative increase in the delivery of preventive health services per patient in the intervention group compared to controls. Eight of thirteen preventive health services showed a statistically significant change (p < 0.05) in favor of the intervention (adjusted RR (95% C.I.)): counseling on brushing/flossing teeth (9.2 (4.3–19.6)), folic acid counseling (7.5 (2.7–20.8)), fecal occult blood testing (6.7 (1.9–24.1)), smoking cessation counseling (3.9 (2.2–7.2)), tetanus immunization (3.0 (1.7–5.2)), history of alcohol intake (1.33 (1.2–1.5)), history of smoking habits (1.28 (1.2–1.4)) and blood pressure measurement (1.05 (1.00–1.10)).
This simple, low cost, clinically relevant intervention improves the delivery of preventive health services by prompting physicians of evidence-based recommendations in a checklist format that incorporates existing practice patterns. Periodic updates of the Preventive Care Checklist Forms© will allow a feasible and easy-to-use tool for primary care physicians to provide evidence-based preventive health services to adults at routine health check-ups. The forms can also be incorporated into an electronic health record. The Preventive Care Checklist Forms© are accessible in English and French at the College of Family Physicians of Canada web site.
PMCID: PMC1543627  PMID: 16836761
9.  Improving Child Protection in the Emergency Department: A Systematic Review of Professional Interventions for Health Care Providers 
This systematic review evaluated the effectiveness of professional and organizational interventions aimed at improving medical processes, such as documentation or clinical assessments by health care providers, in the care of pediatric emergency department (ED) patients where abuse was suspected.
A search of electronic databases, references, key journals/conference proceedings was conducted and primary authors contacted. Studies whose purpose was to evaluate a strategy aimed at improving ED clinical care of suspected abuse were included. Study methodological quality was assessed by two independent reviewers. One reviewer extracted the data and a second checked for completeness and accuracy.
Six studies met the inclusion criteria: one randomized (RCT) and one quasi-randomized trial (qRCT), and four observational studies. Study quality ranged from modest (observational studies) to good (trials). Variation in study interventions and outcomes limited between study comparisons. One qRCT supported self-instructional education kits as a means to improve physician knowledge for both physical abuse (mean pre-test score: 13.12, SD 2.36; mean post-test score: 18.16, SD 1.64) and sexual abuse (mean pre-test score: 10.81, SD 3.20; mean post-test score: 18.45, SD 1.79). Modest quality observational studies evaluated reminder systems for physician documentation with similar results across studies. Compared to standard practice, chart checklists paired with an educational program increased physician consideration of non-accidental burns in burn cases (59% increase), documentation of time of injury (36% increase), as well as documentation of consistency (53% increase) and compatibility (55% increase) of reported histories. Decisional flowcharts for suspected physical abuse also increased documentation of non-accidental physical injury (69.5% increase; p<0.0001) and had a similar significant impact as checklists on increasing documentation of history consistency and compatibility (69.5% and 70.0% increases, respectively; p<0.0001) when compared to standard practice. No improvements were noted in these studies for documentation of consultations or current status with child protective services. The introduction of a specialized team and crisis center to standardize practice had little effect on physician documentation, but did increase documentation of child protective services involvement (22.7% increase; p<0.005) and discharge status (23.7% increase; p<0.02). Referral to social services increased in one study following the introduction of a chart checklist (8.6% increase; p=0.018). A recently conducted multi-site RCT did not support observational findings, reporting no significant effect of educational sessions and/or a chart checklist on ED practices.
The small number of studies identified in this review highlights the need for future studies that address care of a vulnerable clinical population. While moderate quality observational studies suggested education and reminder systems increased clinical knowledge and documentation, these findings were not supported by a single randomized trial. The limited theoretical base for conceptualizing change in health care providers and the influence of the ED environment on clinical practice are limitations to this current evidence base.
PMCID: PMC3023813  PMID: 20370740 CAMSID: cams1630
10.  Surgical checklists: the human factor 
Surgical checklists has been shown to improve patient safety and teamwork in the operating theatre. However, despite the known benefits of the use of checklists in surgery, in some cases the practical implementation has been found to be less than universal. A questionnaire methodology was used to quantitatively evaluate the attitudes of theatre staff towards a modified version of the World Health Organisation (WHO) surgical checklist with relation to: beliefs about levels of compliance and support, impact on patient safety and teamwork, and barriers to the use of the checklist.
Using the theory of planned behaviour as a framework, 14 semi-structured interviews were conducted with theatre personnel regarding their attitudes towards, and levels of compliance with, a checklist. Based upon the interviews, a 27-item questionnaire was developed and distribute to all theatre personnel in an Irish hospital.
Responses were obtained from 107 theatre staff (42.6% response rate). Particularly for nurses, the overall attitudes towards the effect of the checklist on safety and teamworking were positive. However, there was a lack of rigour with which the checklist was being applied. Nurses were significantly more sensitive to the barriers to the use of the checklist than anaesthetists or surgeons. Moreover, anaesthetists were not as positively disposed to the surgical checklist as surgeons and nurse. This finding was attributed to the tendency for the checklist to be completed during a period of high workload for the anaesthetists, resulting in a lack of engagement with the process.
In order to improve the rigour with which the surgical checklist is applied, there is a need for: the involvement of all members of the theatre team in the checklist process, demonstrated support for the checklist from senior personnel, on-going education and training, and barriers to the implementation of the checklist to be addressed.
PMCID: PMC3669630  PMID: 23672665
Surgical checklist; Surgery; Patient safety
11.  Practice nurses' workload and consultation patterns. 
BACKGROUND. There are calls for the role of the practice nurse to be developed and extended. Before areas for further training and education can be identified, baseline data are needed on practice nurses' current activity and workload. AIM. A study was undertaken to analyse the activity of practice nurses in two large inner city general practices and to assess the skills mix of the nursing staff required to meet the needs of the practices. METHOD. The study practices had a combined list of 26,000 patients, 80% of patients attracting a deprivation allowance. Each practice employed three practice nurses. A nurse activity index with 45 codes was constructed to describe patient-nurse consultations. Activity codes were categorized into traditional treatment tasks, extended role tasks or diagnosis and management tasks. For eight months, practice nurses in practices Y and Z recorded activity index codes for each patient consultation. Practice Y also recorded the source of referral and the age and sex of the patient. RESULTS. There were 13,898 practice nurse consultations during the study period, equivalent to an annual nurse consultation rate of 0.8 per patient. Compared with the practice population as a whole, the patients attending the practice nurses in practice Y were older (mean age 43 years versus 37 years, P < 0.001). Those attending the practice nurses in practice Y were also more likely to be female (61% of consultations were with female patients compared with 50% of the practice population as a whole, P < 0.001). In practice Y, patients referred themselves to the practice nurse in 42% of consultations, 32% were follow-up consultations and in 25% of cases the patient had been referred by a doctor. The most common reasons for nurse consultation were blood tests (15% of procedures in practice Y and 18% in practice Z) and dressings (13% in both practices). Most procedures in practices Y and Z were in the traditional treatment category (61%), 26% were in the extended role category and 9% in the diagnosis and management category (3% coded 'other', 1% uncoded). Between practices, the greatest difference in recorded procedures was for asthma check ups (7% of procedures in practice Y compared with 2% in practice Z). CONCLUSION. This study describes the workload of practice nurses in two inner city practices over eight months. Other practices could use the activity index to make comparisons over time and between practices. Up to 60% of nurses' work in the study practices could be done by a nurse without extended training and up to 30% could be done by a health care assistant, but with some loss of quality. It is suggested that half the nursing hours available to a practice should be offered by a nurse with extended training in order to undertake and develop extended role tasks and diagnosis and management tasks.
PMCID: PMC1239335  PMID: 7576846
12.  Implementation of the WHO safe childbirth checklist program at a tertiary care setting in Sri Lanka: a developing country experience 
To study institutionalization of the World Health Organization’s Safe Childbirth Checklist (SCC) in a tertiary care center in Sri Lanka.
A hospital-based, prospective observational study was conducted in the De Soysa Hospital for Women, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Healthcare workers were educated regarding the SCC, which was to be used for each woman admitted to the labor room during the study period. A qualitatively pretested, self-administered questionnaire was given to all nursing and midwifery staff to assess knowledge and attitudes towards the checklist. Each item of the SCC was reviewed for adherence.
A total of 824 births in which the checklist used were studied. There were a total of births 1800 during the period, giving an adoption rate of 45.8%. Out of the 170 health workers in the hospital (nurses, midwives and nurse midwives) 98 answered the questionnaire (response rate = 57.6%). The average number of childbirth practices checked in the checklist was 21 out of 29 (95% CI 20.2, 21.3). Educating the mother to seek help during labor, after delivery and after discharge from hospital, seeking an assistant during labor, early breast-feeding, maternal HIV infection and discussing contraceptive options were checked least often. The mean level of knowledge on the checklist among health workers was 60.1% (95% CI 57.2, 63.1). Attitudes for acceptance of using the checklist were satisfactory. Average adherence to checklist practices was 71.3%. Sixty eight (69.4%) agreed that the Checklist stimulates inter-personal communication and teamwork. Increased workload, poor enthusiasm of health workers towards new additions to their routine schedule and level of user-friendliness of Checklist were limitations to its greater use.
Amongst users, the attitude towards the checklist was satisfactory. Adoption rate amongst all workers was 45.8% and knowledge regarding the checklist was 60.1%. These two factors are probably linked. Therefore prior to introducing it to a facility awareness about the value and correct use of the SCC needs to be increased, while giving attention to satisfactory staffing levels.
PMCID: PMC4324022  PMID: 25648543
Safe childbirth; Checklist; World health organization; Sri Lanka
13.  A pragmatic randomised controlled trial of a prompt and reminder card in the care of people with epilepsy. 
BACKGROUND: The quality of epilepsy care has often been noted to be poor and fragmentary. Most people with epilepsy are solely under the care of their general practitioner (GP). Many patients report medication side-effects and poor seizure control. Most GPs accept responsibility for epilepsy care; however, many report problems with knowledge of epilepsy and nearly all support guidance on epilepsy management. AIM: To determine whether a GP-completed prompt and reminder card is effective in improving the quality of epilepsy care when used opportunistically. DESIGN OF STUDY: Primary care-based pragmatic cluster-randomised controlled trial. SETTING: People with active epilepsy (n = 1275) from 82 practices. METHOD: Practices were randomly categorised as 'control', 'doctor-held card' (card in patient records), or 'patient-held card' practices. RESULTS: Compared with control practices, recording of seizure frequency was significantly increased in doctor-held card practices (57.4% versus 42.8%, P = 0.003) but not in patient-held card practices (44.6% versus 42.8%). No differences were found in the proportion of seizure-free patients (doctor-held card [56.0%] versus control [51.5%]; patient-held card [58.1%] versus control [51.5%]) or in the proportion on monotherapy. Patients in both intervention groups reported more medication-related side-effects and patients in doctor-held card practices were less satisfied with information provision about epilepsy. Participating GPs found the card useful. The doctor-held card was retrieved and completed more often than the patient-held card. CONCLUSIONS: A doctor-held prompt and reminder card is effective in improving the recording of key clinical information for people with epilepsy, is felt to be useful by GPs, and is completed more often than a patient-held card. However it does not improve outcomes and may result in less patient-centred care.
PMCID: PMC1314230  PMID: 11885833
14.  Are physicians performing neonatal circumcisions well-trained? 
Notwithstanding the recommendations from the Canadian Pediatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics on the indications for neonatal circumcision, this procedure is still common in North America and throughout the world. Our purpose is not to argue whether this procedure should be done, but rather to examine who is doing it, their training, how it is performed and how can we prevent unsatisfactory results and complications. The objective is to identify what fields of knowledge require improvement and then design a teaching module to improve the outcomes of neonatal circumcision.
A 19-question cross-sectional survey, including a visual identification item, was submitted to 87 physicians who perform neonatal circumcisions in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. To improve our response rate, study subjects were contacted in a variety of ways, including mail and fax and telephone. Once the survey was completed, we produced a surgical technique training video on using the Gomco clamp and the Plastibell techiques. A knowledge dissemination workshop was held with survey participants to discuss contraindications and the use of anesthesia and management of complications of neonatal circumcision and to evaluate the surgical technique training video. A 6-month follow-up questionnaire was completed to determine the impact of the teaching course on participants’ daily practice.
In total, we received 54 responses (62% response rate). From these, 46 (85%) were family doctors and pediatricians, while the remaining 8 (15%) were pediatric general surgeons and urologists. The circumcisions were carried out with the Gomco clamp 35 (63%) and the Plastibell 21 (37%). No respondent admitted to learning the procedure through a structured training course. Of the non-surgeons, 19 (43%) learned to perform a circumcision from a non-surgeon colleague. A little over a third of the participants (17, 31%) were happy to perform a circumcision in a child born with a concealed penis, where circumcision is contraindicated. With respect to the early complications post-circumcision, 8 (100%) surgeons versus 29 (63%) non-surgeons felt comfortable dealing with bleeding (p = 0.046). In total, 7 (88%) surgeons versus 16 (35%) non-surgeons were comfortable dealing with urinary retention (p = 0.01). Also, 8 (100%) surgeons versus 24 (52%) non-surgeons were comfortable dealing with a wound dehiscence (p = 0.02). Moreover, 6 (75%) surgeons and 5 (10%) non-surgeons were comfortable managing meatal stenosis (p < 0.01). Five (63%) surgeons versus 15 (33%) non-surgeons were confident in dealing with a trapped penis post-circumcision (p = 0.24).
Our survey findings indicate that most physicians performing neonatal circumcisions in our community have received informal and unstructured training. This lack of formal instruction may explain the complications and unsatisfactory results witnessed in our pediatric urology practice. Many practitioners are not aware of the contraindications to neonatal circumcision and most non-surgeons perform the procedure without being able to handle common post-surgical complications. Based on our survey findings, we planned and carried out a formal training course to address these issues.
PMCID: PMC3758943  PMID: 24032062
15.  Nurse-patient communication in primary care diabetes management: an exploratory study 
BMC Nursing  2013;12:20.
Diabetes is a major health issue for individuals and for health services. There is a considerable literature on the management of diabetes and also on communication in primary care consultations. However, few studies combine these two topics and specifically in relation to nurse communication. This paper describes the nature of nurse-patient communication in diabetes management.
Thirty-five primary health care consultations involving 18 patients and 10 nurses were video-recorded as part of a larger multi-site study tracking health care interactions between health professionals and patients who were newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Patients and nurses were interviewed separately at the end of the 6-month study period and asked to describe their experience of managing diabetes. The analysis used ethnography and interaction analysis.
In addition to analysis of the recorded consultations and interviews, the number of consultations for each patient and total time spent with nurses and other health professionals were quantified and compared.
This study showed that initial consultations with nurses often incorporated completion of extensive checklists, physical examination, referral to other health professionals and distribution of written material, and were typically longer than consultations with other health professionals. The consultations were driven more by the nurses’ clinical agenda than by what the patient already knew or wanted to know. Interactional analysis showed that protocols and checklists both help and hinder the communication process. This contradictory outcome was also evident at a health systems level: although organisational targets may have been met, the patient did not always feel that their priorities were attended to. Both nurses and patients reported a sense of being overwhelmed arising from the sheer volume of information exchanged along with a mismatch in expectations.
Conscientious nursing work was evident but at times misdirected in terms of optimal use of time. The misalignment of patient expectations and clinical protocols highlights a common dilemma in clinical practice and raises questions about the best ways to balance the needs of individuals with the needs of a health system. Video- recording can be a powerful tool for reflection and peer review.
PMCID: PMC3856446  PMID: 24028348
16.  Contraindications to progestin-only oral contraceptive pills among reproductive aged women 
Contraception  2012;86(3):199-203.
Progestin-only oral contraceptive pills (POPs) have fewer contraindications to use compared to combined pills. However, the overall prevalence of contraindications to POPs among reproductive aged women has not been assessed.
Study Design
We collected information on contraindications to POPs in two studies: 1) the Self-Screening Study, a sample of 1,267 reproductive aged women in the general population in El Paso, Texas, and 2) the Prospective Study of Oral Contraceptive (OC) Users, a sample of current OC users who obtained their pills in El Paso clinics (n=532) or over the counter (OTC) in Mexican pharmacies (n=514). In the Self-Screening Study, we also compared women’s self-assessment of contraindications using a checklist to a clinician’s evaluation.
Only 1.6% of women in the Self-Screening Study were identified as having at least one contraindication to POPs. The sensitivity of the checklist for identifying women with at least one contraindication was 75.0% (95% CI: 50.6–90.4%), and the specificity was 99.4% (95% CI: 98.8–99.7%). In total, 0.6% of women in the Prospective Study of OC Users reported having any contraindication to POPs. There were no significant differences between clinic and OTC users.
The prevalence of contraindications to POPs was very low in these samples. POPs may be the best choice for the first OTC oral contraceptive in the US.
PMCID: PMC3368072  PMID: 22364816
oral contraceptives; contraindications; self-screening; over-the-counter status
17.  Applying normalization process theory to understand implementation of a family violence screening and care model in maternal and child health nursing practice: a mixed method process evaluation of a randomised controlled trial 
In Victoria, Australia, Maternal and Child Health (MCH) services deliver primary health care to families with children 0–6 years, focusing on health promotion, parenting support and early intervention. Family violence (FV) has been identified as a major public health concern, with increased prevalence in the child-bearing years. Victorian Government policy recommends routine FV screening of all women attending MCH services. Using Normalization Process Theory (NPT), we aimed to understand the barriers and facilitators of implementing an enhanced screening model into MCH nurse clinical practice.
NPT informed the process evaluation of a pragmatic, cluster randomised controlled trial in eight MCH nurse teams in metropolitan Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Using mixed methods (surveys and interviews), we explored the views of MCH nurses, MCH nurse team leaders, FV liaison workers and FV managers on implementation of the model. Quantitative data were analysed by comparing proportionate group differences and change within trial arm over time between interim and impact nurse surveys. Qualitative data were inductively coded, thematically analysed and mapped to NPT constructs (coherence, cognitive participation, collective action and reflexive monitoring) to enhance our understanding of the outcome evaluation.
MCH nurse participation rates for interim and impact surveys were 79% (127/160) and 71% (114/160), respectively. Twenty-three key stakeholder interviews were completed. FV screening work was meaningful and valued by participants; however, the implementation coincided with a significant (government directed) change in clinical practice which impacted on full engagement with the model (coherence and cognitive participation). The use of MCH nurse-designed FV screening/management tools in focussed women’s health consultations and links with FV services enhanced the participants’ work (collective action). Monitoring of FV work (reflexive monitoring) was limited.
The use of theory-based process evaluation helped identify both what inhibited and enhanced intervention effectiveness. Successful implementation of an enhanced FV screening model for MCH nurses occurred in the context of focussed women’s health consultations, with the use of a maternal health and wellbeing checklist and greater collaboration with FV services. Improving links with these services and the ongoing appraisal of nurse work would overcome the barriers identified in this study.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13012-015-0230-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4379540  PMID: 25890352
Normalization process theory; Process evaluation; Intimate partner violence; Maternal and child health nursing; Complex intervention
18.  An audit of blood bank services 
An audit is a written series of simple, direct questions, which when answered and reviewed, tell whether the laboratory is performing its procedures, activities, and policies correctly and on time.
The aim of this study is to briefly highlight the importance of audit in blood bank services.
Materials and Methods:
An Audit of Blood Bank Services was carried out in a Blood bank of the tertiary care hospital, Central India by using the tool kit, (comprised of checklists) developed by Directorate General of Health Services, Dhaka WHO, July 2008.
After going through these checklists, we observed that there is no system for assessing the training needs of staff in the blood bank. There was no provision for duty doctor's room, expert room, medical technologist room and duty care service. There was no checklist for routine check for observation of hemolysis and deterioration of blood and plasma. There was no facility for separate private interview to exclude sexual disease in the donor. Requisition forms were not properly filled for blood transfusion indications. There was no facility for notification of donors who are permanently deferred. There were no records documented for donors who are either temporarily or permanently deferred on the basis of either clinical examination, history, or serological examination. It was found that wearing of apron, cap, and mask was not done properly except in serology laboratory. When the requisition forms for blood transfusions were audited, it was found that many requisition forms were without indications.
Regular audit of blood bank services needs to be initiated in all blood banks and the results needs to be discussed among the managements, colleagues, and staffs of blood bank. These results will provide a good opportunity for finding strategies in improving the blood bank services with appropriate and safe use of blood.
PMCID: PMC3977393  PMID: 24741651
Audit; blood bank; checklists; quality control
19.  Checking it twice: an evaluation of checklists for detecting medication errors at the bedside using a chemotherapy model 
Quality & Safety in Health Care  2010;19(6):562-567.
To determine what components of a checklist contribute to effective detection of medication errors at the bedside.
High-fidelity simulation study of outpatient chemotherapy administration.
Usability laboratory.
Nurses from an outpatient chemotherapy unit, who used two different checklists to identify four categories of medication administration errors.
Main outcome measures
Rates of specified types of errors related to medication administration.
As few as 0% and as many as 90% of each type of error were detected. Error detection varied as a function of error type and checklist used. Specific step-by-step instructions were more effective than abstract general reminders in helping nurses to detect errors. Adding a specific instruction to check the patient's identification improved error detection in this category by 65 percentage points. Matching the sequence of items on the checklist with nurses' workflow had a positive impact on the ease of use and efficiency of the checklist.
Checklists designed with explicit step-by-step instructions are useful for detecting specific errors when a care provider is required to perform a long series of mechanistic tasks under a high cognitive load. Further research is needed to determine how best to assist clinicians in switching between mechanistic tasks and abstract clinical problem solving.
PMCID: PMC3002832  PMID: 20724398
Medication error; medication safety; checklist; double check; error detection
20.  Frequency of use and knowledge of the WHO-surgical checklist in Swiss hospitals: a cross-sectional online survey 
The WHO-surgical checklist is strongly recommended as a highly effective yet economically simple intervention to improve patient safety. Its use and potentially influential factors were investigated as little data exist on the current situation in Switzerland.
A cross-sectional online survey with members (N = 1378) of three Swiss professional associations of invasive health care professionals was conducted in German, French, and Italian. The survey assessed use of, knowledge of and satisfaction with the WHO-surgical checklist. T-Tests and ANOVA were conducted to test for differences between professional groups. Bivariate correlations were computed to test for associations between measures of knowledge and satisfaction.
1090 (79.1%) reported the use of a surgical checklist. 346 (25.1%) use the WHO-checklist, 532 (38.6%) use the Swiss Patient Safety Foundation recommendations to avoid Wrong Site Surgery, and 212 (15.7%) reported the use of other checklists. Satisfaction with checklist use was generally high (doctors: 71.9% satisfied, nurses: 60.8% satisfied) and knowledge was moderate depending on the use of the WHO-checklist. No association between measures of subjective and objective knowledge was found.
Implementation of a surgical checklist remains an important task for health care institutions in Switzerland. Although checklist use is present in Switzerland on a regular basis, a substantial group of health care personnel still do not use a checklist as a routine. Influential factors and the associations among themselves need to be addressed in future studies in more detail.
PMCID: PMC4176192  PMID: 24304634
Dissemination of surgical checklist; Self-rated knowledge; Objective knowledge; Satisfaction; Patient safety; Survey data
21.  Checklists in the operating room: Help or hurdle? A qualitative study on health workers' experiences 
Checklists have been used extensively as a cognitive aid in aviation; now, they are being introduced in many areas of medicine. Although few would dispute the positive effects of checklists, little is known about the process of introducing this tool into the health care environment. In 2008, a pre-induction checklist was implemented in our anaesthetic department; in this study, we explored the nurses' and physicians' acceptance and experiences with this checklist.
Focus group interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of checklist users (nurses and physicians) from the Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care in a tertiary teaching hospital. The interviews were analysed qualitatively using systematic text condensation.
Users reported that checklist use could divert attention away from the patient and that it influenced workflow and doctor-nurse cooperation. They described senior consultants as both sceptical and supportive; a head physician with a positive attitude was considered crucial for successful implementation. The checklist improved confidence in unfamiliar contexts and was used in some situations for which it was not intended. It also revealed insufficient equipment standardisation.
Our findings suggest several issues and actions that may be important to consider during checklist use and implementation.
PMCID: PMC3009978  PMID: 21171967
22.  A Checklist to Improve Patient Safety in Interventional Radiology 
To develop a specific RADiological Patient Safety System (RADPASS) checklist for interventional radiology and to assess the effect of this checklist on health care processes of radiological interventions.
Materials and Methods
On the basis of available literature and expert opinion, a prototype checklist was developed. The checklist was adapted on the basis of observation of daily practice in a tertiary referral centre and evaluation by users. To assess the effect of RADPASS, in a series of radiological interventions, all deviations from optimal care were registered before and after implementation of the checklist. In addition, the checklist and its use were evaluated by interviewing all users.
The RADPASS checklist has two parts: A (Planning and Preparation) and B (Procedure). The latter part comprises checks just before starting a procedure (B1) and checks concerning the postprocedural care immediately after completion of the procedure (B2). Two cohorts of, respectively, 94 and 101 radiological interventions were observed; the mean percentage of deviations of the optimal process per intervention decreased from 24 % before implementation to 5 % after implementation (p < 0.001). Postponements and cancellations of interventions decreased from 10 % before implementation to 0 % after implementation. Most users agreed that the checklist was user-friendly and increased patient safety awareness and efficiency.
The first validated patient safety checklist for interventional radiology was developed. The use of the RADPASS checklist reduced deviations from the optimal process by three quarters and was associated with less procedure postponements.
PMCID: PMC3595473  PMID: 22562482
Checklist; Interventional radiology; Patient safety
23.  Surgical checklists: a systematic review of impacts and implementation 
BMJ Quality & Safety  2013;23(4):299-318.
Surgical complications represent a significant cause of morbidity and mortality with the rate of major complications after inpatient surgery estimated at 3–17% in industrialised countries. The purpose of this review was to summarise experience with surgical checklist use and efficacy for improving patient safety.
A search of four databases (MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE and the Cochrane Database of Controlled Trials) was conducted from 1 January 2000 to 26 October 2012. Articles describing actual use of the WHO checklist, the Surgical Patient Safety System (SURPASS) checklist, a wrong-site surgery checklist or an anaesthesia equipment checklist were eligible for inclusion (this manuscript summarises all but the anaesthesia equipment checklists, which are described in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality publication).
We included a total of 33 studies. We report a variety of outcomes including avoidance of adverse events, facilitators and barriers to implementation. Checklists have been adopted in a wide variety of settings and represent a promising strategy for improving the culture of patient safety and perioperative care in a wide variety of settings. Surgical checklists were associated with increased detection of potential safety hazards, decreased surgical complications and improved communication among operating staff. Strategies for successful checklist implementation included enlisting institutional leaders as local champions, incorporating staff feedback for checklist adaptation and avoiding redundancies with existing systems for collecting information.
Surgical checklists represent a relatively simple and promising strategy for addressing surgical patient safety worldwide. Further studies are needed to evaluate to what degree checklists improve clinical outcomes and whether improvements may be more pronounced in particular settings.
PMCID: PMC3963558  PMID: 23922403
Surgery; Checklists; Patient Safety; Teamwork
24.  Implementation of a quality and safety checklist for haemodialysis sessions 
Clinical Kidney Journal  2015;8(3):265-270.
Patient survival and quality of life depend on each haemodialysis session being performed without fault. Monthly assessments of dialysis dose adequacy often fall short of this. This study reports the results of a feasibility study for the achievement of improved safety and quality in a haemodialysis session with the implementation of a 15-point checklist.
Fifteen quality indicators were compiled and tested in a Portuguese dialysis clinic from 1 February 2012 to 30 June 2013. The checklist was completed by the nursing staff and comprised three parts: Pre-session Safety Checks; Session Initiation Checks and Post-session Quality Checks. The maximum score that could be reached per session was 15.
One hundred and twenty-eight patients were distributed over 2–3 shifts. Of the 16 nurses employed, 4 were full time. The final average score was between 14 and 15. No nurse-specific and no shift-specific significant differences were detected. Four issues were identified that had a major effect on the results as a whole: delays in connection time; incompletely delivered treatment time; non-achievement of final body weight and failure to reach a Kt/V of at least 1.4. Improvements were most consistent in the Monday–Wednesday–Friday morning shifts compared with other shifts, and were temporarily compromised by the opening of a new shift.
The implementation of checklists for haemodialysis is feasible in routine clinical practice, even in clinics where only part of the staff is employed full time. The application of such checklists enhances the overall quality and safety of the delivered treatment.
PMCID: PMC4440460  PMID: 26034586
checklist; haemodialysis; patient safety; quality improvement; quality tool
25.  The WHO surgical safety checklist: survey of patients’ views 
BMJ Quality & Safety  2014;23(11):939-946.
Evidence suggests that full implementation of the WHO surgical safety checklist across NHS operating theatres is still proving a challenge for many surgical teams. The aim of the current study was to assess patients’ views of the checklist, which have yet to be considered and could inform its appropriate use, and influence clinical buy-in.
Postoperative patients were sampled from surgical wards at two large London teaching hospitals. Patients were shown two professionally produced videos, one demonstrating use of the WHO surgical safety checklist, and one demonstrating the equivalent periods of their operation before its introduction. Patients’ views of the checklist, its use in practice, and their involvement in safety improvement more generally were captured using a bespoke 19-item questionnaire.
141 patients participated. Patients were positive towards the checklist, strongly agreeing that it would impact positively on their safety and on surgical team performance. Those worried about coming to harm in hospital were particularly supportive. Views were divided regarding hearing discussions around blood loss/airway before their procedure, supporting appropriate modifications to the tool. Patients did not feel they had a strong role to play in safety improvement more broadly.
It is feasible and instructive to capture patients’ views of the delivery of safety improvements like the checklist. We have demonstrated strong support for the checklist in a sample of surgical patients, presenting a challenge to those resistant to its use.
PMCID: PMC4215340  PMID: 25038036
Checklists; Patient safety; Attitudes; Quality improvement; Surgery

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