Being able to compare hospitals in terms of quality and safety between countries is important for a number of reasons. For example, the 2011 European Union directive on patients' rights to cross-border health care places a requirement on all member states to provide patients with comparable information on health-care quality, so that they can make an informed choice. Here, we report on the feasibility of using common process and outcome indicators to compare hospitals for quality and safety in five countries (England, Portugal, The Netherlands, Sweden and Norway).
Main Challenges Identified
The cross-country comparison identified the following seven challenges with respect to comparing the quality of hospitals across Europe: different indicators are collected in each country; different definitions of the same indicators are used; different mandatory versus voluntary data collection requirements are in place; different types of organizations oversee data collection; different levels of aggregation of data exist (country, region and hospital); different levels of public access to data exist; and finally, hospital accreditation and licensing systems differ in each country.
Our findings indicate that if patients and policymakers are to compare the quality and safety of hospitals across Europe, then further work is urgently needed to agree the way forward. Until then, patients will not be able to make informed choices about where they receive their health care in different countries, and some governments will remain in the dark about the quality and safety of care available to their citizens as compared to that available in neighbouring countries.
measurement of quality; external quality assessment; health-care system
American Society of Clinical Oncology Quality Oncology Practice Initiative has grown to include 973 practices as of 2010. Practices demonstrated rates of end-of-life care and other measures of quality.
The American health care system, including the cancer care system, is under pressure to improve patient outcomes and lower the cost of care. Government payers have articulated an interest in partnering with the private sector to create learning communities to measure quality and improve the value of health care. In 2006, the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) unveiled the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI), which has become a key component of the measurement system to promote quality cancer care. QOPI is a physician-led, voluntary, practice-based, quality-improvement program, using performance measurement and benchmarking among oncology practices across the United States. Since its inception, ASCO's QOPI has grown steadily to include 973 practices as of November 2010. One key area that QOPI has addressed is end-of-life care. During the most recent data collection cycle in the Fall of 2010, those practices completing multiple data collection cycles had better performance on care of pain compared with sites participating for the first time (62.61% v 46.89%). Similarly, repeat QOPI participants demonstrated meaningfully better performance than their peers in the rate of documenting discussions of hospice and palliative care (62.42% v 54.65%) and higher rates of hospice enrollment. QOPI demonstrates how a strong performance measurement program can lead to improved quality and value of care for patients.
African Americans bear an unequal burden of breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer. The Deep South Network for Cancer Control (DSN) is a community–academic partnership operating in Alabama and Mississippi that was funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to address cancer disparities using community-based participatory research approaches.
In addition to reporting on the plans of this work in progress, we describe the participatory process that local residents and the DSN used to identify needs and priorities, and elaborate on lessons learned from applying a participatory approach to the development of a community action plan.
We conducted 24 community discussion groups involving health care professionals, government officials, faith-based leaders, and other stakeholders to identify cancer health disparity needs, community resources/assets, and county priorities to eliminate cancer health disparities. To develop a community action plan, four working groups explored the themes that emerged from the discussion groups, taking into consideration evidence-based strategies and promising community practices.
The DSN formulated a community action plan focusing on (1) increasing physical activity by implementing a campaign for individual-level focused activity; (2) increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables by implementing NCI’s Body and Soul Program in local churches; (3) increasing cancer screening by raising awareness through individual, system, and provider agents of change; and (4) training community partners to become effective advocates.
A community–academic partnership must involve trust, respect, and an appreciation of partners’ strengths and differences. The DSN applied these guiding principles and learned pivotal lessons.
Quality of life is an important concept which is subjective and personal; what is an acceptable quality of life to one may be 'worse than death' to another. The objective of this study was to develop and validate a questionnaire to assess relatives' perceptions and attitudes towards their terminal stage cancer patients' management (information disclosure, treatment choice, hospitalization and support-communication and care) including aspects regarding end-of-life and quality-of-life decisions.
The final study consisted of 146 relatives of advanced terminal stage cancer patients receiving palliation, attending a Pain Relief and Palliative Care Unit. The questionnaire incorporated 6 multi-item and 7 single-item scales, and was developed following a systematic review of measures appropriate for use in palliative care settings.
Following analysis of the 25-item scale, the questionnaire has been validated as a shortened 21-item scale consisting of 5 multi-item and 5 single-item scales. Factor analysis was based upon information disclosure, hospitalization, and support-communication demonstrating Cronbach's alpha coefficients of 0.66, 0.5 and 0.70 respectively. Average item totals and inter-item scale correlations were between 0.62–0.70, with convergent validity correlations between 0.60–0.86. The questionnaire was well accepted by all subjects with an 8–10 minute completion time.
The shortened 21-item self-assessment questionnaire may provide acceptable and valid assessment of caregiver(s)/Greek cancer patients' relatives perceptions on palliative care.
Resource-limited countries increasingly depend on quality indicators to improve outcomes within HIV treatment programs, but indicators of program performance suitable for use at the local program level remain underdeveloped.
Using the existing literature as a guide, we applied standard quality improvement (QI) concepts to the continuum of HIV care from HIV diagnosis, to enrollment and retention in care, and highlighted critical service delivery process steps to identify opportunities for performance indicator development. We then identified existing indicators to measure program performance, citing examples used by pivotal donor agencies, and assessed their feasibility for use in surveying local program performance. Clinical delivery steps without existing performance measures were identified as opportunities for measure development. Using National Quality Forum (NQF) criteria as a guide, we developed measurement concepts suitable for use at the local program level that address existing gaps in program performance assessment.
This analysis of the HIV continuum of care identified seven critical process steps providing numerous opportunities for performance measurement. Analysis of care delivery process steps and the application of NQF criteria identified 24 new measure concepts that are potentially useful for improving operational performance in HIV care at the local level.
An evidence-based set of program-level quality indicators is critical for the improvement of HIV care in resource-limited settings. These performance indicators should be utilized as treatment programs continue to grow.
HIV/AIDS; Resource-poor; Quality indicator; Quality improvement
Physician job satisfaction is reportedly associated with interpersonal quality of care, such as patient satisfaction, but its association with technical quality of care, as determined by whether patients are offered recommended services, is unknown.
We explored whether the job satisfaction of hospital-employed physicians in Japan is associated with the technical quality of care, with an emphasis on process qualities as measured by quality indicators.
Cross-sectional study linking data from physician surveys with data abstracted from outpatient charts.
A total of 53 physicians working at 13 hospitals in Japan participated. Medical records covering 568 patients were reviewed.
Disease-specific indicators related to the care of patients with hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and asthma, as well as disease-independent measures of the process of care were abstracted. We analyzed the association between the quality of care score for individual physicians, which is defined as the percentage of quality indicators satisfied among the total for which their patients were eligible, and physician job satisfaction, which was measured by a validated scale.
No statistically significant association between physician job satisfaction and quality of care was observed. A 1-standard deviation (SD) increment in the physician job satisfaction scale was associated with an increase of only 0.3% for overall quality (P = 0.85), −3.0% for hypertension (P = 0.22), 2.5% for type 2 diabetes (P = 0.44), 8.0% for asthma (P = 0.21), and −0.4% for cross-cutting care (P = 0.76).
Contrary to the positive association reported between physician job satisfaction and high quality of interpersonal care, no association was seen between physician job satisfaction and the technical quality of care.
physician job satisfaction; technical quality of care; process qualities; quality indicators
A review of national data confirms that while the quality of healthcare in the USA is slowly improving, disparities in diabetes prevalence, processes of care and outcomes for racial/ethnic minorities are not. Many quality measures can be addressed through system level interventions, referred to as quality improvement (QI), and QI collaboratives have been found to effectively improve processes of care for chronic conditions, including diabetes. However, the impact of QI collaboratives on the reduction of health disparities has been mixed. Lessons learned from previous QI collaboratives including the complexity of impacting clinical outcomes, the need for expert support for skills outside of QI methodology, limiting impact of poor data, and the need to develop disparities quality measures, can be used to inform future QI collaborative approaches to reduce diabetes racial/ethnic minority health disparities.
The extent of clinical exposure needed to ensure quality care has not been well determined during internal medicine training. We aimed to determine the association between clinical exposure (number of cases seen), self- reports of clinical competence, and type of institution (predictor variables) and quality of care (outcome variable) as measured by clinical vignettes.
Cross-sectional study using univariate and multivariate linear analyses in 11 teaching hospitals in Japan. Participants were physicians-in-training in internal medicine departments. Main outcome measure was standardized t-scores (quality of care) derived from responses to five clinical vignettes.
Of the 375 eligible participants, 263 (70.1%) completed the vignettes. Most were in their first (57.8%) and second year (28.5%) of training; on average, the participants were 1.8 years (range = 1–8) after graduation. Two thirds of the participants (68.8%) worked in university-affiliated teaching hospitals. The median number of cases seen was 210 (range = 10–11400). Greater exposure to cases (p = 0.0005), higher self-reports of clinical competence (p = 0.0095), and type of institution (p < 0.0001) were significantly associated with higher quality of care, using a multivariate linear model and adjusting for the remaining factors. Quality of care rapidly increased for the first 100 to 200 cases seen and tapered thereafter.
The amount of clinical exposure and levels of self-reports of clinical competence, not years after graduation, were positively associated with quality of care, adjusting for the remaining factors. The learning curve tapered after about 200 cases.
Measurement of outcomes is increasingly employed as an indicator of the quality of clinical care. The most commonly measured outcome in many clinical studies, especially in oncology, still remains the overall survival rate. Sultan Qaboos University Hospital (SQUH), Oman, is striving for excellence through quality management. In seeking continual improvement, quality measurement exercises have been initiated throughout the Hospital. We present the overall survival rate of four of the ten most common cancers diagnosed in Oman.
The cancers included non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL), breast cancer, and stomach cancer. The studies were all retrospective and had been conducted previously. For present purposes, only the overall survival was compared with studies both from the region, and with bench-mark studies.
For NHL, with a median follow-up of 8 months, the 2-year overall survival rate was 64%; 90% for low risk, 55% for intermediate risk, and 15% for high risk groups. For HL, the 5-year overall survival rate was 64%; 76% for low risk and 42% for high risk. For breast cancer, the 5-year survival rate was 67%; percentages were 88%, 75% and 59% for Groups I, II, and III respectively. For gastric cancer, the 5-year survival rate was 16.5 %; 24% for the non-metastatic group.
The outcome of patients with early stages and fewer adverse prognostic factors is comparable to what has been reported in the international literature; however, the outcome is inferior for patients presenting with advanced stage disease and several adverse prognostic factors.
Oncology; Outcome assessment; Quality indicators; Lymphoma; Hodgkin’s; Lymphoma; Non-Hodgkin; Cancer, breast; Cancer, gastric; Oman
Given recent developments in integrated care, it is becoming increasingly important for the Dutch Health Care Inspectorate to direct its supervision in a way that may help speed up the implementation of integrated care.
Description of care practice
Since the implementation of integrated care for chronic patients is facing obstacles, alternative methods are required to ensure that the implementation process does not run into any delays. By applying a risk-based approach to integrated care providers, the Inspectorate can analyse the care providers' performance by means of quality indicators and rank them. In order to be effective, appropriated supervision arrangements will be applied to the care providers of integrated care.
With a ranking model transparency will be improved and this may encourage integrated care providers to strive for greater quality due to the competition inherent in the system. Supervision based on advice and encouragement might be helpful in the implementation of integrated care.
Integrated care also requires integrated supervision, which means the Inspectorate may have to reconsider its working methods and the composition of its inspection teams.
inspectorate; external supervision; integrated care
The scope and scale of problems in the quality of health service provision have been increasingly recognised in recent years. Policy and planning for financing are usually concerned with how funding is made available and allocated, rather than with what is being achieved, including the quality of health services delivered. A fundamental challenge is how to improve the delivery of health services to achieve improved patient outcomes and to optimize financial outcomes. To accomplish this it is essential that the debates on quality of care and financing are aligned. Approaches to improving the quality of care are drawn from Australia, the US, and the UK. Financing arrangments for care at a national level have a bearing on how payment incentives can be used to promote or impede quality. The level of overall expenditure is obviously important, as are the mechanisms for payment. Long term programs to build knowledge, standardise processes, provide credible performance data and foster accountability are required to ensure that further investments lead to improvement in care.
Continuing medical education (CME) is important for professional development, to improve doctors’ clinical performance that ultimately influences the quality of the health outcomes. In the presence of an increasing number of family physicians serve in the primary health care system upon graduation in Oman make us to consider the meta-cognition of the leaner and engaged them in learning process. The purpose of this paper is to examine ways of improving the continuing education methods for the physicians.
To assess the preferred method of continuing education for primary health care physicians.
We conducted a program evaluation among a group of general physicians who were involved in some of the activities in continuing education at end of their program in the Muscat region health centres in Oman. The main outcome measure was to study the preferred method for CME.
The majority of the participants believe that continuing medical education improves their practice. In addition, the finding suggests that small group learning and combination of methods are the preferred methods of continuing education for primary health care physicians.
Interactive small group learning is shown to be more effective to achieve the learning objectives and ultimately improve practice. Practice-based small group learning is the method we recommended.
Continuing medical education; interactive learning; small group; professional education; problem-based learning
Information systems are increasingly important for measuring and improving health care quality. A number of integrated health care delivery systems use advanced information systems and integrated decision support to carry out quality assurance activities, but none as large as the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The VHA's Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) is a large-scale, multidisciplinary quality improvement initiative designed to ensure excellence in all areas where VHA provides health care services, including inpatient, outpatient, and long-term care settings. In this paper, we describe the role of information systems in the VHA QUERI process, highlight the major information systems critical to this quality improvement process, and discuss issues associated with the use of these systems.
With newer information indicating more favorable outcomes of intensive care therapy for lung cancer patients, intensivists increasingly are willing to initiate an aggressive trial of this therapy. Concerns remain, however, that the experience of the intensive care unit for patients with lung cancer and their families often may be distressing. Regardless of prognosis, all patients with critical illness should receive high-quality palliative care, including symptom control, communication about appropriate care goals, and support for both patient and family throughout the illness trajectory. In this article, we suggest strategies for integrating palliative care with intensive care for critically ill lung cancer patients. We address assessment and management of symptoms, knowledge and skill needed for effective communication, and interdisciplinary collaboration for patient and family support. We review the role of expert consultants in providing palliative care in the intensive care unit, while highlighting the responsibility of all critical care clinicians to address basic palliative care needs of patients and their families.
Since 2001, UCLA has operated IMPACT: Improving Access, Counseling and Treatment for Californians with prostate cancer. Funded by the California Department of Public Health, with a cumulative budget of over $80 million, the program provides comprehensive care for low-income, uninsured Californian men with biopsy-proven prostate cancer. Health services research conducted with program enrollees, through the UCLA Men’s Health Study, yields an opportunity to perform qualitative and quantitative assessments of patient-reported outcomes in these men, all members of historically underserved, primarily minority populations. This review summarizes data from several studies in which validated instruments were administered longitudinally in 727 participants, prospectively measuring health-related quality of life (HRQOL), self-efficacy in interactions with physician interactions, social and emotional health, symptom distress, satisfaction with care, and other patient-reported outcomes.
Quality indicators are increasingly emphasized in the performance of colonoscopy. This study aimed to determine the standard of care rendered by surgeon-endoscopists in a Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center by evaluating the indications for colonoscopy and outcome performance measures according to established quality indicators for colonoscopy.
A prospective standardized computer endoscopic reporting database (ProVation MD) was retrospectively reviewed. All colonoscopies performed by attending surgeons at the San Diego VA medical center between 1 January 2004 and 31 July 2007 were included in the study. Patients with charts that had incomplete reporting were excluded. The quality indicators used included the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) criteria for colorectal cancer screening, the American Cancer Society (ACS) guidelines for postcancer resection surveillance, and the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopists (ASGE) quality indicators for colonoscopy.
The data for 558 patients (96% men) were analyzed. The average patient age was 63 years (range, 25–93 years). Almost all the colonoscopies (99%) were performed in accordance with established criteria. The most common indications for colonoscopy were screening (n = 143, 26%), non-acute gastrointestinal bleeding (n = 127, 23%), polyp surveillance (n = 100, 18%), postcancer resection surveillance (n = 91, 17%), abdominal pain (n = 19, 4%), and anemia (n = 14, 3%). Postcancer resection surveillance colonoscopies were performed according to recommended criteria in 98% of the cases. The cecal intubation rate was 97%, and the overall adenoma detection rate was 26%. Two patients (<1%) experienced complications requiring intervention.
The study data indicate that surgeon-performed colonoscopies meet standard quality criteria for indications and performance measures. The authors therefore conclude that surgeon-endoscopists demonstrate proficiency in the standard of care for colonoscopy examinations.
Adenoma detection rate; Colonoscopy; Performance measures; Quality; Surgeon-endoscopist
Consumer perceptions are important measures of the quality of cancer care. This article describes the validation of new measures of the quality of cancer care at the time of diagnosis and treatment for advanced cancer with life-limiting prognosis.
Focus groups, review of guidelines, and an expert panel were used to construct two surveys of the quality of cancer care. A prospective cohort study examined the reliability and validity of three problem scores (ie, counts of the opportunities to improve the quality of care) that examine care at the time of diagnosis and initial treatment.
At the first interview, 58% of 206 cancer patients (54.9% females; 27.5% with lung cancer; 5.4% with pancreatic cancer; 30.4% with colorectal cancer; 18.6% with breast cancer; mean age, 66.6 years) identified one or more concerns with communication about being diagnosed with advanced cancer. At the second interview, 57.0% of the respondents voiced one or more concerns about treatment communication, and 30.2% expressed one or more concerns about the experience of treatment. Each of the problem scores demonstrated both internal consistency with Cronbach's α > .75 and short-term stability of responses in a subsample that had the survey administered twice in 72 hours. Factor analysis largely confirmed the proposed scale structure. All three measures demonstrated moderate correlations suggesting evidence of construct validity.
The three proposed problem scores demonstrate evidence of reliability and validity that warrants further testing to examine their responsiveness and discriminate validity in larger, more generalizable samples.
In many occasions, routine mental health care does not correspond to the standards that the medical profession itself puts forward. Hope exists to improve the outcome of severe mental illness by improving the quality of mental health care and by implementing evidence-based consensus guidelines. Adherence to guideline recommendations should reduce costly complications and unnecessary procedures. To measure the quality of mental health care and disease outcome reliably and validly, quality indicators have to be available. These indicators of process and outcome quality should be easily measurable with routine data, should have a strong evidence base, and should be able to describe quality aspects across all sectors over the whole disease course. Measurement-based quality improvement will not be successful when it results in overwhelming documentation reducing the time for clinicians for active treatment interventions. To overcome difficulties in the implementation guidelines and to reduce guideline non-adherence, guideline implementation and quality assurance should be embedded in a complex programme consisting of multifaceted interventions using specific psychological methods for implementation, consultation by experts, and reimbursement of documentation efforts. There are a number of challenges to select appropriate quality indicators in order to allow a fair comparison across different approaches of care. Carefully used, the use of quality indicators and improved guideline adherence can address suboptimal clinical outcomes, reduce practice variations, and narrow the gap between optimal and routine care.
Quality assurance; Treatment guidelines; Quality management; Provider performance; Patient outcome
Primary care clinicians initiate and oversee colorectal screening for their patients, but colonoscopy, a central component of screening programs, is usually performed by consultants. The accuracy and safety of colonoscopy varies among endoscopists, even those with mainstream training and certification. Therefore, it is a primary care responsibility to choose the best available colonoscopy services. A working group of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable identified a set of indicators that primary care clinicians can use to assess the quality of colonoscopy services. Quality measures are of actual performance, not training, specialty, or experience alone. The main elements of quality are a complete report, technical competence, and a safe setting for the procedure. We provide explicit criteria that primary care physicians can use when choosing a colonoscopist. Information on quality indicators will be increasingly available with quality improvement efforts within the colonoscopy community and growth in the use of electronic medical records.
primary care clinicians; colorectal screening; endoscopist; colonoscopist
Objectives—Little is known about the quality of clinical care provided outside the hospital sector, despite the increasingly important role of clinical generalists working in primary care. In this study we aimed to summarise published evaluations of the quality of clinical care provided in general practice in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
Design—A systematic review of published studies assessing the quality of clinical care in general practice for the period 1995–9.
Setting—General practice based care in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
Main outcome measures—Study design, sampling strategy and size, clinical conditions studied, quality of care attained for each condition (compared with explicit or implicit standards for the process of care), and country of origin for each study.
Results—Ninety papers fulfilled the entry criteria for the review, 80 from the UK, six from Australia, and four from New Zealand. Two thirds of the studies assessed care in self-selected practices and 20% of the studies were based in single practices. The majority (85.5%) examined the quality of care provided for chronic conditions including cardiovascular disease (22%), hypertension (14%), diabetes (14%), and asthma (13%). A further 12% and 2% examined preventive care and acute conditions, respectively. In almost all studies the processes of care did not attain the standards set out in national guidelines or those set by the researchers themselves. For example, in the highest achieving practices 49% of diabetic patients had had their fundii examined in the previous year and 47% of eligible patients had been prescribed beta blockers after an acute myocardial infarction.
Conclusions—This study adopts an overview of the magnitude and the nature of clinical quality problems in general practice in three countries. Most of the studies in the systematic review come from the UK and the small number of papers from Australia and New Zealand make it more difficult to draw conclusions about the quality of care in these two countries. The review helps to identify deficiencies in the research, clinical and policy agendas in a part of the health care system where quality of care has been largely ignored to date. Further work is required to evaluate the quality of clinical care in a representative sample of the population, to identify the reasons for substandard care, and to test strategies to improve the clinical care provided in general practice.
Key Words: quality of care; clinical effectiveness; technical effectiveness; general practice; systematic review
Although performance measurement for assessing care quality is an emerging area, a system for measuring the quality of cancer care at the hospital level has not been well developed. The purpose of this study was to develop organization-based core measures for colorectal cancer patient care and apply these measures to compare hospital performance.
The development of core measures for colorectal cancer has undergone three stages including a modified Delphi method. The study sample originated from 2004 data in the Taiwan Cancer Database, a national cancer data registry. Eighteen hospitals and 5585 newly diagnosed colorectal cancer patients were enrolled in this study. We used indicator-based and case-based approaches to examine adherences simultaneously.
The final core measure set included seventeen indicators (1 pre-treatment, 11 treatment-related and 5 monitoring-related). There were data available for ten indicators. Indicator-based adherence possesses more meaningful application than case-based adherence for hospital comparisons. Mean adherence was 85.8% (79.8% to 91%) for indicator-based and 82.8% (77.6% to 88.9%) for case-based approaches. Hospitals performed well (>90%) for five out of eleven indicators. Still, the performance across hospitals varied for many indicators. The best and poorest system performance was reflected in indicators T5-negative surgical margin (99.3%, 97.2% - 100.0%) and T7-lymph nodes harvest more than twelve(62.7%, 27.6% - 92.2%), both of which related to surgical specimens.
In this nationwide study, quality of colorectal cancer care still shows room for improvement. These preliminary results indicate that core measures for cancer can be developed systematically and applied for internal quality improvement.
In diabetes care, knowledge about what is achievable in primary and secondary care is important. There is a need for an objective method to assess the quality of care in different settings. A quality-of-care summary score has been developed based on process and outcome measures. An adapted version of this score was used to evaluate diabetes management in different settings.
To evaluate the quality of diabetes management in primary and secondary care in a defined geographic region in the Netherlands, using a quality score.
Design of study
Thirty general practices in the Netherlands.
A study of 2042 patients with type 2 diabetes (1640 primary care and 402 secondary care) was conducted. Quality of diabetes management was assessed by a score of process and outcome indicators (range 0–40). Clustering at practice level and differences in patient characteristics (case mix) were taken into account.
At the outpatient clinic, patients were younger (mean age 64.1 years, standard deviation (SD) = 12.5 years, versus mean age 67.1 years, SD = 11.7, P<0.001), had more diabetes-related complications (macrovascular: 39.7% versus 24.3%, P<0.001; and microvascular: 25.9% versus 7.3%, P<0.001), and lower quality-of-life scores (EuroQol-5D: mean = 0.60, SD = 0.29, versus mean = 0.80, SD = 0.21, P<0.001). After adjusting for case mix and clustering, there was a weak association between the setting of treatment and haemoglobin A1c (primary care: mean 7.1%, SD = 1.1, versus secondary care: mean 7.6%, SD = 1.2, P<0.016), and between setting and systolic blood pressure (primary: mean 145.7 mmHg, SD = 19.2, versus secondary care: 147.77 mmHg, SD 21.0, P<0.035). Quality-of-care summary scores in primary and secondary care differed significantly, with a higher score in primary care (mean 19.6, SD = 8.5 versus, mean 18.1, SD = 8.7, P<0.01). However, after adjusting for case mix and clustering, this difference lost significance.
GPs and internists are treating different categories of patients with type 2 diabetes. However, overall quality of diabetes management in primary and secondary care is equal. There is much room for improvement. Future guidelines may differentiate between different categories of patients.
case mix; hospital; medical staff, primary health care; quality of health care; type 2 diabetes mellitus
A significant minority of patients do not receive all the evidence-based care recommended for their conditions. Health care quality may be improved by reducing this observed variation. Composite measures offer a different patient-centred perspective on quality and are utilized in acute hospitals via the ‘care bundle’ concept as indicators of the reliability of specific (evidence-based) care delivery tasks and improved outcomes. A care bundle consists of a number of time-specific interventions that should be delivered to every patient every time. We aimed to apply the care bundle concept to selected QOF data to measure the quality of evidence-based care provision.
Care bundles and components were selected from QOF indicators according to defined criteria. Five clinical conditions were suitable for care bundles: Secondary Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), Stroke & Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA), Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Diabetes Mellitus (DM). Each bundle has 3-8 components. A retrospective audit was undertaken in a convenience sample of nine general medical practices in the West of Scotland. Collected data included delivery (or not) of individual bundle components to all patients included on specific disease registers. Practice level and overall compliance with bundles and components were calculated in SPSS and expressed as a percentage.
Nine practices (64.3%) with a combined patient population of 56,948 were able to provide data in the format requested. Overall compliance with developed QOF-based care bundles (composite measures) was as follows: CHD 64.0%, range 35.0-71.9%; Stroke/TIA 74.1%, range 51.6-82.8%; CKD 69.0%, range 64.0-81.4%; and COPD 82.0%, range 47.9-95.8%; and DM 58.4%, range 50.3-65.2%.
In this small study compliance with individual QOF-based care bundle components was high, but overall (‘all or nothing’) compliance was substantially lower. Care bundles may provide a more informed measure of care quality than existing methods. However, the acceptability, feasibility and potential impact on clinical outcomes are unknown.
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a common chronic disease associated with multiple clinical complications. Management guidelines have been established which recommend a risk-stratified approach to managing these patients in primary care. This study aims to evaluate the quality of care (QOC) and effectiveness of a multi-disciplinary risk assessment and management programme (RAMP) for type 2 diabetic patients attending government-funded primary care clinics in Hong Kong. The evaluation will be conducted using a structured and comprehensive evidence-based evaluation framework.
For evaluation of the quality of care, a longitudinal study will be conducted using the Action Learning and Audit Spiral methodologies to measure whether the pre-set target standards for criteria related to the structure and process of care are achieved. Each participating clinic will be invited to complete a Structure of Care Questionnaire evaluating pre-defined indicators which reflect the setting in which care is delivered, while process of care will be evaluated against the pre-defined indicators in the evaluation framework.
Effectiveness of the programme will be evaluated in terms of clinical outcomes, service utilization outcomes, and patient-reported outcomes. A cohort study will be conducted on all eligible diabetic patients who have enrolled into RAMP for more than one year to compare their clinical and public service utilization outcomes of RAMP participants and non-participants. Clinical outcome measures will include HbA1c, blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic), lipids (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) and future cardiovascular diseases risk prediction; and public health service utilization rate will include general and specialist outpatient, emergency department attendances, and hospital admissions annually within 5 years. For patient-reported outcomes, a total of 550 participants and another 550 non-participants will be followed by telephone to monitor quality of life, patient enablement, global rating of change in health and private health service utilization at baseline, 6, 12, 36 and 60 months.
The quality of care and effectiveness of the RAMP in enhancing the health for patients with type 2 diabetes will be determined. Possible areas for quality enhancement will be identified and standards of good practice can be established. The information will be useful in guiding service planning and policy decision making.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Quality of life; Primary care; Prevention; Primary health care; Management programme; Risk prediction; Risk stratification
Recent research indicates a definite positive impact on treatment outcomes when an integrative approach that focuses on symptom control and quality of life is provided along with the standard therapeutic regimens. However implementation or practice of this approach is not seen widely due to the culture of medical training and practice. This article presents the initial development of a program for incorporating integrative care principles into an ongoing comprehensive cancer care program at a tertiary centre. The key purpose of the program being to develop, facilitate, and establish comprehensive and holistic processes including palliative care principles, that would positively enhance the quantity and quality of life of the person with disease, as well as create an environment that reflects and sustains this approach. The vision, objectives, goals, strategies, activities and results within the 7 months of implementation are documented. The new learnings gained during the process have also been noted in the hope that the model described may be used to conceptualize similar care giving facilities in other centres.
Integrative oncology; Multi-disciplinary team; Palliative; Quality of life