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1.  A Multifaceted Intervention to Implement Guidelines and Improve Admission Paediatric Care in Kenyan District Hospitals: A Cluster Randomised Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(4):e1001018.
Philip Ayieko and colleagues report the outcomes of a cluster-randomized trial carried out in eight Kenyan district hospitals evaluating the effects of a complex intervention involving improved training and supervision for clinicians. They found a higher performance of hospitals assigned to the complex intervention on a variety of process of care measures, as compared to those receiving the control intervention.
Background
In developing countries referral of severely ill children from primary care to district hospitals is common, but hospital care is often of poor quality. However, strategies to change multiple paediatric care practices in rural hospitals have rarely been evaluated.
Methods and Findings
This cluster randomized trial was conducted in eight rural Kenyan district hospitals, four of which were randomly assigned to a full intervention aimed at improving quality of clinical care (evidence-based guidelines, training, job aides, local facilitation, supervision, and face-to-face feedback; n = 4) and the remaining four to control intervention (guidelines, didactic training, job aides, and written feedback; n = 4). Prespecified structure, process, and outcome indicators were measured at baseline and during three and five 6-monthly surveys in control and intervention hospitals, respectively. Primary outcomes were process of care measures, assessed at 18 months postbaseline.
In both groups performance improved from baseline. Completion of admission assessment tasks was higher in intervention sites at 18 months (mean = 0.94 versus 0.65, adjusted difference 0.54 [95% confidence interval 0.05–0.29]). Uptake of guideline recommended therapeutic practices was also higher within intervention hospitals: adoption of once daily gentamicin (89.2% versus 74.4%; 17.1% [8.04%–26.1%]); loading dose quinine (91.9% versus 66.7%, 26.3% [−3.66% to 56.3%]); and adequate prescriptions of intravenous fluids for severe dehydration (67.2% versus 40.6%; 29.9% [10.9%–48.9%]). The proportion of children receiving inappropriate doses of drugs in intervention hospitals was lower (quinine dose >40 mg/kg/day; 1.0% versus 7.5%; −6.5% [−12.9% to 0.20%]), and inadequate gentamicin dose (2.2% versus 9.0%; −6.8% [−11.9% to −1.6%]).
Conclusions
Specific efforts are needed to improve hospital care in developing countries. A full, multifaceted intervention was associated with greater changes in practice spanning multiple, high mortality conditions in rural Kenyan hospitals than a partial intervention, providing one model for bridging the evidence to practice gap and improving admission care in similar settings.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN42996612
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
In 2008, nearly 10 million children died in early childhood. Nearly all these deaths were in low- and middle-income countries—half were in Africa. In Kenya, for example, 74 out every 1,000 children born died before they reached their fifth birthday. About half of all childhood (pediatric) deaths in developing countries are caused by pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria. Deaths from these common diseases could be prevented if all sick children had access to quality health care in the community (“primary” health care provided by health centers, pharmacists, family doctors, and traditional healers) and in district hospitals (“secondary” health care). Unfortunately, primary health care facilities in developing countries often lack essential diagnostic capabilities and drugs, and pediatric hospital care is frequently inadequate with many deaths occurring soon after admission. Consequently, in 1996, as part of global efforts to reduce childhood illnesses and deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) introduced the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) strategy. This approach to child health focuses on the well-being of the whole child and aims to improve the case management skills of health care staff at all levels, health systems, and family and community health practices.
Why Was This Study Done?
The implementation of IMCI has been evaluated at the primary health care level, but its implementation in district hospitals has not been evaluated. So, for example, interventions designed to encourage the routine use of WHO disease-specific guidelines in rural pediatric hospitals have not been tested. In this cluster randomized trial, the researchers develop and test a multifaceted intervention designed to improve the implementation of treatment guidelines and admission pediatric care in district hospitals in Kenya. In a cluster randomized trial, groups of patients rather than individual patients are randomly assigned to receive alternative interventions and the outcomes in different “clusters” of patients are compared. In this trial, each cluster is a district hospital.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers randomly assigned eight Kenyan district hospitals to the “full” or “control” intervention, interventions that differed in intensity but that both included more strategies to promote implementation of best practice than are usually applied in Kenyan rural hospitals. The full intervention included provision of clinical practice guidelines and training in their use, six-monthly survey-based hospital assessments followed by face-to-face feedback of survey findings, 5.5 days training for health care workers, provision of job aids such as structured pediatric admission records, external supervision, and the identification of a local facilitator to promote guideline use and to provide on-site problem solving. The control intervention included the provision of clinical practice guidelines (without training in their use) and job aids, six-monthly surveys with written feedback, and a 1.5-day lecture-based seminar to explain the guidelines. The researchers compared the implementation of various processes of care (activities of patients and doctors undertaken to ensure delivery of care) in the intervention and control hospitals at baseline and 18 months later. The performance of both groups of hospitals improved during the trial but more markedly in the intervention hospitals than in the control hospitals. At 18 months, the completion of admission assessment tasks and the uptake of guideline-recommended clinical practices were both higher in the intervention hospitals than in the control hospitals. Moreover, a lower proportion of children received inappropriate doses of drugs such as quinine for malaria in the intervention hospitals than in the control hospitals.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that specific efforts are needed to improve pediatric care in rural Kenya and suggest that interventions that include more approaches to changing clinical practice may be more effective than interventions that include fewer approaches. These findings are limited by certain aspects of the trial design, such as the small number of participating hospitals, and may not be generalizable to other hospitals in Kenya or to hospitals in other developing countries. Thus, although these findings seem to suggest that efforts to implement and scale up improved secondary pediatric health care will need to include more than the production and dissemination of printed materials, further research including trials or evaluation of test programs are necessary before widespread adoption of any multifaceted approach (which will need to be tailored to local conditions and available resources) can be contemplated.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001018.
WHO provides information on efforts to reduce global child mortality and on Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI); the WHO pocket book “Hospital care for children contains guidelines for the management of common illnesses with limited resources (available in several languages)
UNICEF also provides information on efforts to reduce child mortality and detailed statistics on child mortality
The iDOC Africa Web site, which is dedicated to improving the delivery of hospital care for children and newborns in Africa, provides links to the clinical guidelines and other resources used in this study
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001018
PMCID: PMC3071366  PMID: 21483712
2.  Performance of Health Workers in the Management of Seriously Sick Children at a Kenyan Tertiary Hospital: Before and after a Training Intervention 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e39964.
Background
Implementation of WHO case management guidelines for serious common childhood illnesses remains a challenge in hospitals in low-income countries. The impact of locally adapted clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) on the quality-of-care of patients in tertiary hospitals has rarely been evaluated.
Methods and Findings
We conducted, in Kenyatta National Hospital, an uncontrolled before and after study with an attempt to explore intervention dose-effect relationships, as CPGs were disseminated and training was progressively implemented. The emergency triage, assessment and treatment plus admission care (ETAT+) training and locally adapted CPGs targeted common, serious childhood illnesses. We compared performance in the pre-intervention (2005) and post-intervention periods (2009) using quality indicators for three diseases: pneumonia, dehydration and severe malnutrition. The indicators spanned four domains in the continuum of care namely assessment, classification, treatment, and follow-up care in the initial 48 hours of admission. In the pre-intervention period patients' care was largely inconsistent with the guidelines, with nine of the 15 key indicators having performance of below 10%. The intervention produced a marked improvement in guideline adherence with an absolute effect size of over 20% observed in seven of the 15 key indicators; three of which had an effect size of over 50%. However, for all the five indicators that required sustained team effort performance continued to be poor, at less than 10%, in the post-intervention period. Data from the five-year period (2005–09) suggest some dose dependency though the adoption rate of the best-practices varied across diseases and over time.
Conclusion
Active dissemination of locally adapted clinical guidelines for common serious childhood illnesses can achieve a significant impact on documented clinical practices, particularly for tasks that rely on competence of individual clinicians. However, more attention must be given to broader implementation strategies that also target institutional and organisational aspects of service delivery to further enhance quality-of-care.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039964
PMCID: PMC3409218  PMID: 22859945
3.  A Multifaceted Intervention to Improve the Quality of Care of Children in District Hospitals in Kenya: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(6):e1001238.
A cost-effective analysis conducted by Edwine Barasa and colleagues estimates that a complex intervention aimed at improving quality of pediatric care would be affordable and cost-effective in Kenya.
Background
To improve care for children in district hospitals in Kenya, a multifaceted approach employing guidelines, training, supervision, feedback, and facilitation was developed, for brevity called the Emergency Triage and Treatment Plus (ETAT+) strategy. We assessed the cost effectiveness of the ETAT+ strategy, in Kenyan hospitals. Further, we estimate the costs of scaling up the intervention to Kenya nationally and potential cost effectiveness at scale.
Methods and Findings
Our cost-effectiveness analysis from the provider's perspective used data from a previously reported cluster randomized trial comparing the full ETAT+ strategy (n = 4 hospitals) with a partial intervention (n = 4 hospitals). Effectiveness was measured using 14 process measures that capture improvements in quality of care; their average was used as a summary measure of quality. Economic costs of the development and implementation of the intervention were determined (2009 US$). Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were defined as the incremental cost per percentage improvement in (average) quality of care. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis was used to assess uncertainty. The cost per child admission was US$50.74 (95% CI 49.26–67.06) in intervention hospitals compared to US$31.1 (95% CI 30.67–47.18) in control hospitals. Each percentage improvement in average quality of care cost an additional US$0.79 (95% CI 0.19–2.31) per admitted child. The estimated annual cost of nationally scaling up the full intervention was US$3.6 million, approximately 0.6% of the annual child health budget in Kenya. A “what-if” analysis assuming conservative reductions in mortality suggests the incremental cost per disability adjusted life year (DALY) averted by scaling up would vary between US$39.8 and US$398.3.
Conclusion
Improving quality of care at scale nationally with the full ETAT+ strategy may be affordable for low income countries such as Kenya. Resultant plausible reductions in hospital mortality suggest the intervention could be cost-effective when compared to incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of other priority child health interventions.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
According to latest global estimates from UNICEF, 7.6 million children currently die every year before they reach five years of age. Half of these deaths occur in children in sub-Saharan Africa and tragically, most of these deaths are due to a few treatable and preventable diseases, such as pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhea, for which effective interventions are already available. In order to meet the target of the 4th Millennium Development Goal—which aims to reduce the under-five child mortality rate by two-thirds from 1990 levels by 2015—delivering these interventions is essential.
In Kenya, the under-five child mortality rate must be reduced by half from its 2008 level in order to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target and so improving the management of serious child illness might help achieve this goal. A study published last year in PLoS Medicine described such an approach and included the development and implementation of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines linked to health worker training, follow-up supervision, performance feedback, and facilitation in eight district hospitals in Kenya.
Why Was This Study Done?
In the study mentioned above, the researchers compared the implementation of various processes of care in intervention and control hospitals at baseline and 18 months later and found that performance improved more in the intervention hospitals than in the control hospitals. However, while this strategy was effective at improving the quality of health care, it is unclear whether scaling up the approach would be a good use of limited resources. So in this study, the same researchers performed a cost-effectiveness analysis (which they conducted alongside the original trial) of their quality improvement intervention and estimated the costs and effects of scaling up this approach to cover the entire population of Kenya.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In order to perform the cost part of the analysis, the researchers collected the relevant information on costs by using clinical and accounting record reviews and interviews with those involved in developing and implementing the intervention. The researchers evaluated the effectiveness part of the analysis by comparing the implementation of their improved quality of care strategy as delivered in the intervention hospitals with the partial intervention as delivered in the control hospitals by calculating the mean percentage improvement in the 14 process of care indicators at 18 months. Finally, the researchers calculated the costs of scaling up the intervention by applying their results to the whole of Kenya—121 hospital facilities with an estimated annual child admission rate of 2,000 per facility.
The researchers found that the quality of care (as measured by the process of care indicators) was 25% higher in intervention hospitals than in control hospitals, while the cost per child admission was US$50.74 in intervention hospitals compared to US$31.1 in control hospitals. The researchers calculated that each percentage improvement in the average quality of care was achieved at an additional cost of US$0.79 per admitted child. Extrapolating these results to all of Kenya, the estimated annual cost of scaling up the intervention nationally was US$3.6 million, about 0.6% of the annual child health budget in Kenya.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The findings of this cost-effectiveness analysis suggests that a comprehensive quality improvement intervention is effective at improving standards of care but at an additional cost, which may be relatively cost effective compared with basic care if the improvements observed are associated with decreases in child inpatient mortality. The absolute costs for scaling up are comparable to, or even lower than, costs of other, major child health interventions. As the international community is giving an increasing focus to strengthening health systems, these findings provide a strong case for scaling up this intervention, which improves quality of care and service provision for the major causes of child mortality, in rural hospitals throughout Kenya and other district hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001238.
The researchers' original article appeared in PLoS Medicine in 2011: Ayieko P, Ntoburi S, Wagai J, Opondo C, Opiyo N, et al. (2011) A Multifaceted Intervention to Implement Guidelines and Improve Admission Paediatric Care in Kenyan District Hospitals: A Cluster Randomised Trial. PLoS Med 8(4): e1001018. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001018
The IDOC Africa provides further information on the ETAT+ strategy
The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information on MDG 4, including strategies to reduce global child mortality) and the WHO pocket-book “Hospital care for children” includes guidelines for the management of common but serious childhood illnesses in resource-limited settings
UNICEF www.unicef.org also publishes information on global child mortality rates and the Countdown to 2015 website tracks coverage levels for health interventions proven to reduce child mortality
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001238
PMCID: PMC3373608  PMID: 22719233
4.  Explaining the effects of a multifaceted intervention to improve inpatient care in rural Kenyan hospitals -- interpretation based on retrospective examination of data from participant observation, quantitative and qualitative studies 
Background
We have reported the results of a cluster randomized trial of rural Kenyan hospitals evaluating the effects of an intervention to introduce care based on best-practice guidelines. In parallel work we described the context of the study, explored the process and perceptions of the intervention, and undertook a discrete study on health worker motivation because this was felt likely to be an important contributor to poor performance in Kenyan public sector hospitals. Here, we use data from these multiple studies and insights gained from being participants in and observers of the intervention process to provide our explanation of how intervention effects were achieved as part of an effort to better understand implementation in low-income hospital settings.
Methods
Initial hypotheses were generated to explain the variation in intervention effects across place, time, and effect measure (indicator) based on our understanding of theory and informed by our implementation experience and participant observations. All data sources available for hospitals considered as cases for study were then examined to determine if hypotheses were supported, rejected, or required modification. Data included transcriptions of interviews and group discussions, field notes and that from the detailed longitudinal quantitative investigation. Potentially useful explanatory themes were identified, discussed by the implementing and research team, revised, and merged as part of an iterative process aimed at building more generic explanatory theory. At the end of this process, findings were mapped against a recently reported comprehensive framework for implementation research.
Results
A normative re-educative intervention approach evolved that sought to reset norms and values concerning good practice and promote 'grass-roots' participation to improve delivery of correct care. Maximal effects were achieved when this strategy and external support supervision helped create a soft-contract with senior managers clarifying roles and expectations around desired performance. This, combined with the support of facilitators acting as an expert resource and 'shop-floor' change agent, led to improvements in leadership, accountability, and resource allocation that enhanced workers' commitment and capacity and improved clinical microsystems. Provision of correct care was then particularly likely if tasks were simple and a good fit to existing professional routines. Our findings were in broad agreement with those defined as part of recent work articulating a comprehensive framework for implementation research.
Conclusions
Using data from multiple studies can provide valuable insight into how an intervention is working and what factors may explain variability in effects. Findings clearly suggest that major intervention strategies aimed at improving child and newborn survival in low-income settings should go well beyond the fixed inputs (training, guidelines, and job aides) that are typical of many major programmes. Strategies required to deliver good care in low-income settings should recognize that this will need to be co-produced through engagement often over prolonged periods and as part of a directive but adaptive, participatory, information-rich, and reflective process.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-6-124
PMCID: PMC3248845  PMID: 22132875
5.  Factors influencing performance of health workers in the management of seriously sick children at a Kenyan tertiary hospital - participatory action research 
Background
Implementation of World Health Organization case management guidelines for serious childhood illnesses remains a challenge in hospitals in low-income countries. Facilitators of and barriers to implementation of locally adapted clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) have not been explored.
Methods
This ethnographic study based on the theory of participatory action research (PAR) was conducted in Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya’s largest teaching hospital. The primary intervention consisted of dissemination of locally adapted CPGs. The PRECEDE-PROCEED health education model was used as the conceptual framework to guide and examine further reinforcement activities to improve the uptake of the CPGs. Activities focussed on introduction of routine clinical audits and tailored educational sessions. Data were collected by a participant observer who also facilitated the PAR over an eighteen-month period. Naturalistic inquiry was utilized to obtain information from all hospital staff encountered while theoretical sampling allowed in-depth exploration of emerging issues. Data were analysed using interpretive description.
Results
Relevance of the CPGs to routine work and emergence of a champion of change facilitated uptake of best-practices. Mobilization of basic resources was relatively easily undertaken while activities that required real intellectual and professional engagement of the senior staff were a challenge. Accomplishments of the PAR were largely with the passive rather than active involvement of the hospital management. Barriers to implementation of best-practices included i) mismatch between the hospital’s vision and reality, ii) poor communication, iii) lack of objective mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating quality of clinical care, iv) limited capacity for planning strategic change, v) limited management skills to introduce and manage change, vi) hierarchical relationships, and vii) inadequate adaptation of the interventions to the local context.
Conclusions
Educational interventions, often regarded as ‘quick-fixes’ to improve care in low-income countries, may be necessary but are unlikely to be sufficient to deliver improved services. We propose that an understanding of organizational issues that influence the behaviour of individual health professionals should guide and inform the implementation of best-practices.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-59
PMCID: PMC3942276  PMID: 24507629
Clinical audits; Clinical practice guidelines; Continuous medical educational sessions; ETAT+; Ethnographic study; Implementation of best-practices; Interpretive description; Participatory action research; Participant observer; Performance of health workers
6.  Maternal perceptions of factors contributing to severe under-nutrition among children in a rural African setting 
Rural and remote health  2011;11(1):1423.
Introduction
In developing countries, severe undernutrition in early childhood is associated with increased mortality and morbidity, and 10–40% of hospital admissions. The current study aimed to elicit maternal perceptions of factors that contribute to severe undernutrition among children in a rural Kenyan community in order to identify appropriate and acceptable targeted interventions.
Methods
The study consisted of 10 focus group discussions (FGDs) of between eight and ten mothers each, in a rural coastal community in Kenya. A grounded theory approach was used to analyse the FGD data.
Results
In all FGDs ‘financial constraints’ was the main reason given for severe undernutrition of children. The mothers reported the additional factors of inadequate food intake, ill health, inadequate care of children, heavy workload for mothers, inadequate control of family resources by women and a lack of resources for generating income for the family. The mothers also reported their local cultural belief that severe malnutrition was due to witchcraft and the violation of sexual taboos.
Conclusions
The mothers in the study community recognised multiple aetiologies for severe undernutrition. A multidisciplinary approach is needed address the range of issues raised and so combat severe undernutrition. Suggested interventions include poverty alleviation, medical education and psychosocial strategies. The content and approach of any program must address the need for variability, determined by individual and local needs, concerns, attitudes and beliefs.
PMCID: PMC3651965  PMID: 21323398
Africa; aetiology; perceptions; undernutrition
7.  Mental health first aid for Indigenous Australians: using Delphi consensus studies to develop guidelines for culturally appropriate responses to mental health problems 
BMC Psychiatry  2009;9:47.
Background
Ethnic minority groups are under-represented in mental health care services because of barriers such as poor mental health literacy. In 2007, the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program implemented a cultural adaptation of its first aid course to improve the capacity of Indigenous Australians to recognise and respond to mental health issues within their own communities. It became apparent that the content of this training would be improved by the development of best practice guidelines. This research aimed to develop culturally appropriate guidelines for providing first aid to an Australian Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person who is experiencing a mental health crisis or developing a mental illness.
Methods
A panel of Australian Aboriginal people who are experts in Aboriginal mental health, participated in six independent Delphi studies investigating depression, psychosis, suicidal thoughts and behaviours, deliberate self-injury, trauma and loss, and cultural considerations. The panel varied in size across the studies, from 20-24 participants. Panellists were presented with statements about possible first aid actions via online questionnaires and were encouraged to suggest additional actions not covered by the survey content. Statements were accepted for inclusion in a guideline if they were endorsed by ≥ 90% of panellists as essential or important. Each study developed one guideline from the outcomes of three Delphi questionnaire rounds. At the end of the six Delphi studies, participants were asked to give feedback on the value of the project and their participation experience.
Results
From a total of 1,016 statements shown to the panel of experts, 536 statements were endorsed (94 for depression, 151 for psychosis, 52 for suicidal thoughts and behaviours, 53 for deliberate self-injury, 155 for trauma and loss, and 31 for cultural considerations). The methodology and the guidelines themselves were found to be useful and appropriate by the panellists.
Conclusion
Aboriginal mental health experts were able to reach consensus about culturally appropriate first aid for mental illness. The Delphi consensus method could be useful more generally for consulting Indigenous peoples about culturally appropriate best practice in mental health services.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-9-47
PMCID: PMC2729076  PMID: 19646284
8.  Pastoralist health care in Kenya 
Abstract
Health care for the Kenyan pastoralist people has serious shortcomings and it must be delivered under difficult circumstances. Often, the most basic requirements cannot be met, due to the limited accessibility of health care provisions to pastoralists. This adds major problems to the daily struggle for life, caused by bad climatic circumstances, illiteracy and poverty.
We argue that strong, integrated and community based primary health care could provide an alternative for these inadequacies in the health system. The question then is how primary health care, which integrates a diversity of basic care provisions, such as pharmaceutical provision, child delivery assistance, mother and childcare and prevention activities, can be implemented. In our view, an appropriate mix of decentralisation forms, warranting better conditions on the one hand and relying on the current community and power structures and culture on the other hand, would be the best solution for the time being.
PMCID: PMC1532930  PMID: 16896413
Africa; pastoralists; decentralisation; community care; integration of services
9.  An initiative to improve adherence to evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of URIs, sinusitis, and pharyngitis 
Background
Upper respiratory infections, acute sinus infections, and sore throats are common symptoms that cause patients to seek medical care. Despite well-established treatment guidelines, studies indicate that antibiotics are prescribed far more frequently than appropriate, raising a multitude of clinical issues.
Methods
The primary goal of this study was to increase guideline adherence rates for acute sinusitis, pharyngitis, and upper respiratory tract infections (URIs). This study was the first Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle in a quality improvement program at an internal medicine resident faculty practice at a university-affiliated community hospital internal medicine residency program. To improve guideline adherence for respiratory infections, a package of small-scale interventions was implemented aimed at improving patient and provider education regarding viral and bacterial infections and the necessity for antibiotics. The data from this study was compared with a previously published study in this practice, which evaluated the adherence rates for the treatment guidelines before the changes, to determine effectiveness of the modifications. After the first PDSA cycle, providers were surveyed to determine barriers to adherence to antibiotic prescribing guidelines.
Results
After the interventions, antibiotic guideline adherence for URI improved from a rate of 79.28 to 88.58% with a p-value of 0.004. The increase of adherence rates for sinusitis and pharyngitis were 41.7–57.58% (p=0.086) and 24.0–25.0% (p=0.918), respectively. The overall change in guideline adherence for the three conditions increased from 57.2 to 78.6% with the implementations (p<0.001). In planning for future PDSA cycles, a fishbone diagram was constructed in order to identify all perceived facets of the problem of non-adherence to the treatment guidelines for URIs, sinusitis, and pharyngitis. From the fishbone diagram and the provider survey, several potential directions for future work are discussed.
Conclusions
Passive interventions can result in small changes in antibiotic guideline adherence, but further PDSA cycles using more active methodologies are needed.
doi:10.3402/jchimp.v4.22958
PMCID: PMC3937558  PMID: 24596644
antibiotic; guideline; adherence
10.  Public preferences and priorities for end-of-life care in Kenya: a population-based street survey 
BMC Palliative Care  2014;13:4.
Background
End-of-life care needs are great in Africa due to the burden of disease. This study aimed to explore public preferences and priorities for end-of-life care in Nairobi, Kenya.
Methods
Population-based street survey of Kenyans aged ≥18; researchers approached every 10th person, alternating men and women. Structured interviews investigated quality vs. quantity of life, care priorities, preferences for information, decision-making, place of death (most and least favourite) and focus of care in a hypothetical scenario of serious illness with <1 year to live. Descriptive analysis examined variations.
Results
201 individuals were interviewed (100 women) representing 17 tribes (n = 90 44.8%, Kikuyu). 56.7% (n = 114) said they would always like to be told if they had limited time left. The majority (n = 121, 61.4%) preferred quality of life over quantity i.e. extending life (n = 47, 23.9%). Keeping a positive attitude and ensuring relatives/friends were not worried were prioritised above having pain/discomfort relieved. The three most concerning problems were pain (45.8%), family burden (34.8%) and personal psychological distress (29.8%). Home was both the most (51.1% n = 98) and least (23.7% n = 44) preferred place of death.
Conclusion
This first population-based survey on preferences and priorities for end-of-life care in Africa revealed that psycho-social domains were of greatest importance to the public, but also identified variations that require further exploration. If citizens’ preferences and priorities are to be met, the development of end-of-life care services to deliver preferences in Kenya should ensure an holistic model of palliative care responsive to individual preferences across care settings including at home.
doi:10.1186/1472-684X-13-4
PMCID: PMC3936799  PMID: 24529217
Public health; Hospices; Palliative care; Attitude to death; Public opinion; Africa
11.  Post-myocardial infarction quality of care among disabled Medicaid beneficiaries with and without serious mental illness 
General hospital psychiatry  2012;34(5):493-499.
Objective
To examine the association between serious mental illness and quality of care for myocardial infarction among disabled Maryland Medicaid beneficiaries.
Methods
We conducted a retrospective cohort study disabled Maryland Medicaid beneficiaries with myocardial infarction from 1994 to 2004. Cardiac procedures and guideline-based medication use were compared for persons with and without serious mental illness.
Results
Of the 633 cohort members with myocardial infarction, 137 had serious mental illness. Serious mental illness was not associated with differences in receipt of cardiac procedures or guideline-based medications. Overall use of guideline-based medications was low; 30 days after the index hospitalization for myocardial infarction, 19%, 35%, and 11% of cohort members with serious mental illness and 22%, 37%, and 13% of cohort members without serious mental illness had any use of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers, beta-blockers and statins, respectively. Study participants with and without serious mental illness had similar rates of mortality. Overall, use of beta-blockers (hazard ratio 0.93, 95% CI 0.90-0.97) and statins (hazard ratio 0.93, 95% CI 0.89-0.98) were associated with reduced risk of mortality.
Conclusions
Quality improvement programs should consider how to increase adherence to medications of known benefit among disabled Medicaid beneficiaries with and without serious mental illness.
doi:10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2012.05.004
PMCID: PMC3428513  PMID: 22763001
quality of care; myocardial infarction; mental illness
12.  Advice to a Moscow children's hospital. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1993;306(6882):914-916.
At the request of the largest children's hospital in Moscow, McKenzie and colleagues made recommendations for improving the service. Restrictions on visiting and fears of contracting illness from non-disposable needles have discouraged the local population from using the hospital. Consequently the hospital is underused and overstaffed. Serious shortages of drugs and surgical supplies compromise care. Fundamental changes are needed in nursing and postgraduate education. The authors encouraged their Russian colleagues to address the health care needs of their local population and to develop family centred care, and they offered training in London.
Images
PMCID: PMC1677375  PMID: 8490422
13.  Implementation of a structured paediatric admission record for district hospitals in Kenya – results of a pilot study 
Background
The structured admission form is an apparently simple measure to improve data quality. Poor motivation, lack of supervision, lack of resources and other factors are conceivably major barriers to their successful use in a Kenyan public hospital setting. Here we have examined the feasibility and acceptability of a structured paediatric admission record (PAR) for district hospitals as a means of improving documentation of illness.
Methods
The PAR was primarily based on symptoms and signs included in the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) diagnostic algorithms. It was introduced with a three-hour training session, repeated subsequently for those absent, aiming for complete coverage of admitting clinical staff. Data from consecutive records before (n = 163) and from a 60% random sample of dates after intervention (n = 705) were then collected to evaluate record quality. The post-intervention period was further divided into four 2-month blocks by open, feedback meetings for hospital staff on the uptake and completeness of the PAR.
Results
The frequency of use of the PAR increased from 50% in the first 2 months to 84% in the final 2 months, although there was significant variation in use among clinicians. The quality of documentation also improved considerably over time. For example documentation of skin turgor in cases of diarrhoea improved from 2% pre-intervention to 83% in the final 2 months of observation. Even in the area of preventive care documentation of immunization status improved from 1% of children before intervention to 21% in the final 2 months.
Conclusion
The PAR was well accepted by most clinicians and greatly improved documentation of features recommended by IMCI for identifying and classifying severity of common diseases. The PAR could provide a useful platform for implementing standard referral care treatment guidelines.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-6-9
PMCID: PMC1555611  PMID: 16857044
14.  Health systems research in a low income country - easier said than done 
Archives of disease in childhood  2008;93(6):540-544.
Summary
Small hospitals sit at the apex of the pyramid of primary care in many low-income country health systems. If the Millennium Development Goal for child survival is to be achieved hospital care for severely ill, referred children will need to be improved considerably in parallel with primary care in many countries. Yet we know little about how to achieve this. We describe the evolution and final design of an intervention study attempting to improve hospital care for children in Kenyan district hospitals. We believe our experience illustrates many of the difficulties involved in reconciling epidemiological rigour and feasibility in studies at a health system rather than an individual level and the importance of the depth and breadth of analysis when trying to provide a plausible answer to the question - does it work? While there are increasing calls for more health systems research in low-income countries the importance of strong, broadly-based local partnerships and long term commitment even to initiate projects are not always appreciated.
doi:10.1136/adc.2007.126466
PMCID: PMC2654065  PMID: 18495913
15.  Developing and Introducing Evidence Based Clinical Practice Guidelines for Serious Illness in Kenya 
Archives of disease in childhood  2008;93(9):799-804.
The under-5 mortality rate in most developing countries remains high yet many deaths could be averted if available knowledge was put into practice. For seriously ill children in hospital investigations in low-income countries commonly demonstrate incorrect diagnosis and treatment and frequent prescribing errors. To help improve hospital management of the major causes of inpatient childhood mortality we developed simple clinical guidelines for use in Kenya, a low-income setting. The participatory process we used to adapt existing WHO materials and further develop and build support for such guidelines is discussed. To facilitate use of the guidelines we also developed job-aides and a 5.5 days training programme for their dissemination and implementation. We attempted to base our training on modern theories around adult learning and deliberately attempted to train a ‘critical mass’ of health workers within each institution at low cost. Our experience suggests that with sustained effort it is possible to develop locally owned, appropriate clinical practice guidelines for emergency and initial hospital care for seriously ill children with involvement of pertinent stake holders throughout. Early experience suggests that the training developed to support the guidelines, despite the fact that it challenges many established practices, is well received, appropriate to the needs of front line health workers in Kenya and feasible. To our knowledge the process described in Kenya is among a handful of attempts globally to implement inpatient or referral care components of WHO / UNICEF’s Integrated Management of Childhood Illness approach. However, whether guideline dissemination and implementation result in improved quality of care in our environment remains to be seen.
doi:10.1136/adc.2007.126508
PMCID: PMC2654066  PMID: 18719161
16.  A study of the perceived risks, benefits and barriers to the use of SDD in adult critical care units (The SuDDICU study) 
Trials  2010;11:117.
Background-
Hospital acquired infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality and markedly increased health care costs. Critically ill patients who require management in an Intensive Care Unit are particularly susceptible to these infections which are associated with a very high mortality. Selective decontamination of the digestive tract (SDD) may reduce these infections and improve mortality but it has not been widely adopted into practice. We aim to 1. Clarify reasons why clinicians have avoided implementing SDD into clinical practice despite the current best-evidence 2. Describe barriers to SDD implementation and 3. Identify what further evidence is required before full scale clinical implementation would be considered appropriate and feasible.
Methods-
We have developed an international 'multi-lens' approach to investigate SDD from several perspectives. In case studies we will identify accounts of implementation of SDD in practice, in terms of the behaviours performed by the full range of individual clinicians, accounts of how SDD was first introduced into the Unit and specific content that may be used to populate the content of behaviour change techniques to be used in an implementation intervention and procedures to consider in order to deliver an implementation trial. In a 4 round Delphi study we will identify the range of stakeholders' beliefs, views and perceived barriers relating to the use of SDD. We will generate hypotheses about key beliefs about SDD and will inform the feasibility of any future randomised controlled trial. In large-scale nationwide postal questionnaire surveys of the state of current practice we will identify the factors predicting acceptability of an effectiveness or implementation trial using, and informed by, the theoretical domains structure. In semi-structured interviews with active international clinical trialists we will assess the feasibility of a randomised controlled trial and identify challenges and barriers to undertaking research in the field of SDD research.
Discussion
We believe these methods will allow us to determine whether clinical implementation trials or further large effectiveness trials are required before full scale implementation into clinical practice.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-11-117
PMCID: PMC3017022  PMID: 21129208
17.  Improving surveillance for Barrett's oesophagus 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2006;332(7553):1320-1323.
Problem A retrospective audit of surveillance for Barrett's oesophagus 1996-2001 identified the need to improve adherence to guidelines for the endoscopic surveillance of patients with Barrett's oesophagus.
Design Prospective audit of the effect of disseminating guidelines in 2002. Prospective audit of the effect of introducing local guidelines and Barrett's oesophagus surveillance officers, 2003-2005.
Setting Two general hospitals in Australia, 2002-5. All adult patients diagnosed with Barrett's oesophagus were included.
Key measures for improvement Proportions of patients in a Barrett's oesophagus surveillance programme who had appropriate time intervals between follow-up endoscopies and who had appropriate numbers of biopsies collected at endoscopy.
Strategies for change Local guidelines were laid down. Surveillance coordinators for Barrett's oesophagus were introduced to manage the process according to a clinical protocol designed for each patient.
Effects of change Disseminating guidelines had little effect on practice. Six months after surveillance coordinators were introduced, adherence to the planned surveillance interval increased from 17% to 92% and the number of endoscopies at which sufficient biopsies were collected increased from 45% to 83%. These changes have been maintained.
Lessons learnt Disseminating guidelines and results of an audit on endoscopic surveillance in Barrett's oesophagus had no effect on practice. Introducing coordinators who proactively managed the process greatly improved adherence to guidelines.
PMCID: PMC1473087  PMID: 16740562
18.  A Model for Humanization in Critical Care 
The Permanente Journal  2012;16(4):75-77.
We present a case in which narrative medicine was used to assist a patient with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis who was dependent on mechanical ventilation and prolonged hospitalization. Implementing narrative medicine led to the development of more effective communication that strengthened the therapeutic relationship, enhanced humane care practices, and resulted in greater physical and psychological comfort for the patient. Narrative medicine is a discipline that has been progressively incorporated into medical training to restore a humane and individual physician-patient relationship. The patient is viewed, not merely as a case to diagnose, but as a person with a story that evokes emotions in those who assist him or her. In fact, narrative medicine can be understood as a model of medical practice based on narrative competence, ie, the ability to acknowledge, to absorb, to interpret, and to respond to a person's story. It strengthens empathy, rescues patient individuality, and facilitates solutions to conflicts in complex settings, such as critical care units, where clinicians are constantly exposed to existential issues, both moral and ethical.
PMCID: PMC3523941  PMID: 23251123
19.  A Policy Analysis of the implementation of a Reproductive Health Vouchers Program in Kenya 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:540.
Background
Innovative financing strategies such as those that integrate supply and demand elements like the output-based approach (OBA) have been implemented to reduce financial barriers to maternal health services. The Kenyan government with support from the German Development Bank (KfW) implemented an OBA voucher program to subsidize priority reproductive health services. Little evidence exists on the experience of implementing such programs in different settings. We describe the implementation process of the Kenyan OBA program and draw implications for scale up.
Methods
Policy analysis using document review and qualitative data from 10 in-depth interviews with facility in-charges and 18 with service providers from the contracted facilities, local administration, health and field managers in Kitui, Kiambu and Kisumu districts as well as Korogocho and Viwandani slums in Nairobi.
Results
The OBA implementation process was designed in phases providing an opportunity for learning and adapting the lessons to local settings; the design consisted of five components: a defined benefit package, contracting and quality assurance; marketing and distribution of vouchers and claims processing and reimbursement. Key implementation challenges included limited feedback to providers on the outcomes of quality assurance and accreditation and budgetary constraints that limited effective marketing leading to inadequate information to clients on the benefit package. Claims processing and reimbursement was sophisticated but required adherence to time consuming procedures and in some cases private providers complained of low reimbursement rates for services provided.
Conclusions
OBA voucher schemes can be implemented successfully in similar settings. For effective scale up, strong partnership will be required between the public and private entities. The government’s role is key and should include provision of adequate funding, stewardship and looking for opportunities to utilize existing platforms to scale up such strategies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-540
PMCID: PMC3490771  PMID: 22823923
Output-based approach; Reproductive health; Vouchers; Maternal health; Safe motherhood; Family planning; Policy analysis
20.  Introducing Narrative Practices in a Locked, Inpatient Psychiatric Unit 
The Permanente Journal  2007;11(4):12-20.
Introduction: Narrative approaches to psychotherapy are becoming more prevalent throughout the world. We wondered if a narrative-oriented psychotherapy group on a locked, inpatient unit, where most of the patients were present involuntarily, could be useful. The goal would be to help involuntary patients develop a coherent story about how they got to the hospital and what happened that led to their being admitted and link that to a story about what they would do after discharge that would prevent their returning to hospital in the next year.
Methods: A daily, one-hour narrative group was implemented on one of three locked adult units in a psychiatric hospital. Quality-improvement procedures were already in place for assessing outcomes by unit using the BASIS-32 (32-item Behavior and Symptom Identification Scale). Unit outcomes were compared for the four quarters before the group was started and then four months after the group had been ongoing.
Results: The unit on which the narrative group was implemented had a mean overall improvement in BASIS-32 scores of 2.8 units, compared with 1.0 unit for the other locked units combined. The results were statistically significant at the p < 0.0001 level. No differences were found between units for the four quarters prior to implementation of the intervention, and no other changes occurred during the quarter in which the group was conducted. Qualitative descriptions of the leaders' experiences are included in this report.
Conclusions: A daily, one-hour narrative group can make a difference in a locked inpatient unit, presumably by creating cognitive structure for patients in how to understand what has happened to them. Further research is indicated in a randomized, controlled-trial format.
PMCID: PMC3048434  PMID: 21412477
21.  Integrating sepsis management recommendations into clinical care guidelines for district hospitals in resource-limited settings: the necessity to augment new guidelines with future research 
BMC Medicine  2013;11:107.
Several factors contribute to the high mortality attributed to severe infections in resource-limited settings. While improvements in survival and processes of care have been made in high-income settings among patients with severe conditions, such as sepsis, guidelines necessary for achieving these improvements may lack applicability or have not been tested in resource-limited settings. The World Health Organization’s recent publication of the Integrated Management of Adolescent and Adult Illness District Clinician Manual provides details on how to optimize management of severely ill, hospitalized patients in such settings, including specific guidance on the management of patients with septic shock and respiratory failure without shock. This manuscript provides the context, process and underpinnings of these sepsis guidelines. In light of the current deficits in care and the limitations associated with these guidelines, the authors propose implementing these standardized best practice guidelines while using them as a foundation for sepsis research undertaken in, and directly relevant to, resource-limited settings.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-107
PMCID: PMC3635910  PMID: 23597160
Sepsis; Resource-limited setting; Severe illness; Guidelines
22.  Current Status of Palliative Care, Education, and Research 
Palliative and end-of-life care is changing in the United States. This dynamic field is improving the care for patients with serious and life-threatening cancer through creation of national guidelines for quality care, multidisciplinary educational offerings, research endeavors, and resources made available to clinicians. Barriers to implementing quality palliative care across cancer populations include a rapidly expanding population of older adults who will need cancer care and a decrease in the workforce available to give care. Ways to integrate current palliative care knowledge into care of patients include multidisciplinary national education and research endeavors, and clinician resources. Acceptance of palliative care as a recognized medical specialty provides a valuable resource for improvement of care. While the evidence base for palliative care is only beginning, national research support has assisted in providing support to build the knowledge foundation for appropriate palliative care. Opportunities are available for clinicians to understand and apply appropriate palliative and end-of-life care to patients with serious and life-threatening cancers.
doi:10.3322/caac.20032
PMCID: PMC2929964  PMID: 19729681
Palliative Care; Advanced Cancer; Palliative Education; Hospice
23.  Development of paediatric quality of inpatient care indicators for low-income countries - A Delphi study 
BMC Pediatrics  2010;10:90.
Background
Indicators of quality of care for children in hospitals in low-income countries have been proposed, but information on their perceived validity and acceptability is lacking.
Methods
Potential indicators representing structural and process aspects of care for six common conditions were selected from existing, largely qualitative WHO assessment tools and guidelines. We employed the Delphi technique, which combines expert opinion and existing scientific information, to assess their perceived validity and acceptability. Panels of experts, one representing an international panel and one a national (Kenyan) panel, were asked to rate the indicators over 3 rounds and 2 rounds respectively according to a variety of attributes.
Results
Based on a pre-specified consensus criteria most of the indicators presented to the experts were accepted: 112/137(82%) and 94/133(71%) for the international and local panels respectively. For the other indicators there was no consensus; none were rejected. Most indicators were rated highly on link to outcomes, reliability, relevance, actionability and priority but rated more poorly on feasibility of data collection under routine conditions. There was moderate to substantial agreement between the two panels of experts.
Conclusions
This Delphi study provided evidence for the perceived usefulness of most of a set of measures of quality of hospital care for children proposed for use in low-income countries. However, both international and local experts expressed concerns that data for many process-based indicators may not currently be available. The feasibility of widespread quality assessment and responsiveness of indicators to intervention should be examined as part of continued efforts to improve approaches to informative hospital quality assessment.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-10-90
PMCID: PMC3022793  PMID: 21144065
24.  Development and technical basis of simplified guidelines for emergency triage assessment and treatment in developing countries 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1999;81(6):473-477.
Simplified guidelines for the emergency care of children have been developed to improve the triage and rapid initiation of appropriate emergency treatments for children presenting to hospitals in developing countries. The guidelines are part of the effort to improve referral level paediatric care within the World Health Organisation/Unicef strategy integrated management of childhood illness (IMCI), based on evidence of significant deficiencies in triage and emergency care. Existing emergency guidelines have been modified according to resource limitations and significant differences in the epidemiology of severe paediatric illness and preventable death in developing countries with raised infant and child mortality rates. In these settings, it is important to address the emergency management of diarrhoea with severe dehydration, severe malaria, severe malnutrition, and severe bacterial pneumonia, and to focus attention on sick infants younger than 2 months of age. The triage assessment relies on a few clinical signs, which can be readily taught so that it can be used by health workers with limited clinical background. The assessment has been designed so that it can be carried out quickly if negative, making it functional for triaging children in queues.


PMCID: PMC1718149  PMID: 10569960
25.  Evaluation of a local ICU sedation guideline on goal-directed administration of sedatives and analgesics 
Journal of Pain Research  2011;4:127-134.
Purpose:
Sedatives and analgesics are commonly used in mechanically ventilated patients in the intensive care unit. Sedation guidelines have been shown to improve sedation management as well as various patient outcomes. The main objective was to evaluate adherence to a sedation guideline with both sedative prescribing and documentation of Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale (RASS) scores.
Methods:
In a retrospective chart review, data was collected on 111 medical intensive care unit patients mechanically ventilated via endotracheal tube for 12 hours or greater at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Fifty-seven patients were evaluated pre-guideline implementation and 54 patients were evaluated post-guideline.
Results:
Significant increases were seen in the post-guideline group in goal-directed sedation with a patient-specific RASS goal in the sedation order: 21.3 vs 85.4% (P < 0.001), and mean number of sedation assessments per 24 hours using the RASS: 4.7 vs 11.4 (P < 0.001). Similarly, this group experienced a higher percentage of RASS scores at their sedation goal: 31.4 vs 44.1% (P < 0.001). No difference was seen in other clinical endpoints.
Conclusion:
Implementation and routine application of a hospital pain and sedation guideline was associated with significantly improved sedation metrics, such as goal-directed sedation, as well as frequency of sedation level assessment and documentation. An increase was observed in the time that post-guideline patients spent at or near their RASS goal.
doi:10.2147/JPR.S18161
PMCID: PMC3100227  PMID: 21647216
sedation; agitation; guideline; RASS; mechanically ventilated; intensive care unit

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