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1.  Implementing nursing best practice guidelines: Impact on patient referrals 
BMC Nursing  2007;6:4.
Background
Although referring patients to community services is important for optimum continuity of care, referrals between hospital and community sectors are often problematic. Nurses are well positioned to inform patients about referral resources. The objective of this study is to describe the impact of implementing six nursing best practice guidelines (BPGs) on nurses' familiarity with patient referral resources and referral practices.
Methods
A prospective before and after design was used. For each BPG topic, referral resources were identified. Information about these resources was presented at education sessions for nurses. Pre- and post-questionnaires were completed by a random sample of 257 nurses at 7 hospitals, 2 home visiting nursing services and 1 public health unit. Average response rates for pre- and post-implementation questionnaires were 71% and 54.2%, respectively. Chart audits were completed for three BPGs (n = 421 pre- and 332 post-implementation). Post-hospital discharge patient interviews were conducted for four BPGs (n = 152 pre- and 124 post-implementation).
Results
There were statistically significant increases in nurses' familiarity with resources for all BPGs, and self-reported referrals to specific services for three guidelines. Higher rates of referrals were observed for services that were part of the organization where the nurses worked. There was almost a complete lack of referrals to Internet sources. No significant differences between pre- and post-implementation referrals rates were observed in the chart documentation or in patients' reports of referrals.
Conclusion
Implementing nursing BPGs, which included recommendations on patient referrals produced mixed results. Nurses' familiarity with referral resources does not necessarily change their referral practices. Nurses can play a vital role in initiating and supporting appropriate patient referrals. BPGs should include specific recommendations on effective referral processes and this information should be tailored to the community setting where implementation is taking place.
doi:10.1186/1472-6955-6-4
PMCID: PMC1947981  PMID: 17598917
2.  Implementing Smoking Cessation Guidelines for Hospitalized Veterans: Effects on Nurse Attitudes and Performance 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2013;28(11):1420-1429.
ABSTRACT
BACKGROUND
A minority of hospitalized smokers actually receives assistance in quitting during hospitalization or cessation counseling following discharge. This study aims to determine the impact of a guideline-based intervention on 1) nurses’ delivery of the 5A’s (Ask-Advise-Assess-Assist-Arrange follow-up) in hospitalized smokers, and 2) nurses’ attitudes toward the intervention.
METHODS
We conducted a pre-post guideline implementation trial involving 205 hospitalized smokers on the inpatient medicine units at one US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center. The intervention included: 1) academic detailing of nurses on delivery of brief cessation counseling, 2) modification of the admission form to facilitate 5A’s documentation, and 3) referral of motivated inpatients to receive proactive telephone counseling. Based on subject interviews, we calculated a nursing 5A’s composite score for each patient (ranging from 0 to 9). We used linear regression with generalized estimating equations to compare the 5A’s composite score (and logistic regression to compare individual A’s) across periods. We compared 29 nurses’ ratings of their self-efficacy and decisional balance (“pros” and “cons”) with regard to cessation counseling before and after guideline implementation. Following implementation, we also interviewed a purposeful sample of nurses to assess their attitudes toward the intervention.
RESULTS
Of 193 smokers who completed the pre-discharge interview, the mean nursing 5A’s composite score was higher after guideline implementation (3.9 vs. 3.1, adjusted difference 1.0, 95 % CI 0.5–1.6). More patients were advised to quit (62 vs. 48 %, adjusted OR = 2.1, 95 % CI = 1.2–3.5) and were assisted in quitting (70 vs. 45 %, adjusted OR = 2.9, 95 % CI = 1.6–5.3) by a nurse during the post-implementation period. Nurses’ attitudes toward cessation counseling improved following guideline implementation (35.3 vs. 32.7 on “pros” subscale, p = 0.01), without significant change on the “cons” subscale.
CONCLUSIONS
A multifaceted intervention including academic detailing and adaptation of the nursing admission template is an effective strategy for improving nurses’ delivery of brief cessation counseling in medical inpatients.
doi:10.1007/s11606-013-2464-7
PMCID: PMC3797327  PMID: 23649783
smoking cessation; Veterans; counseling; guideline-based intervention
3.  Clustered randomised trial of an intervention to improve the management of asthma: Greenwich asthma study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1999;318(7193):1251-1255.
Objectives
To evaluate the effectiveness of an asthma resource centre in improving treatment and quality of life for asthmatic patients.
Design
Community based randomised controlled trial.
Setting
41 general practices in Greenwich with a practice nurse.
Subjects
All registered patients aged 15-50 years.
Intervention
Nurse specialists in asthma who educated and supported practice nurses, who in turn educated patients in the management of asthma according to the British Thoracic Society's guidelines.
Main outcome measures
Quality of life of asthmatic patients, attendance at accident and emergency departments, admissions to local hospitals, and steroid prescribing by general practitioners.
Results
Of 24 400 patients randomly selected and surveyed in 1993, 12 238 replied; 1621 were asthmatic of whom 1291 were sent a repeat questionnaire in 1996 and 780 replied. Of 24 400 patients newly surveyed in 1996, 10 783 (1616 asthmatic) replied. No evidence was found for an improvement in asthma related quality of life among newly surveyed patients in intervention practices compared with control practices. Neither was there evidence of an improvement in other measures of the quality of asthma care. Weak evidence was found for an improvement in quality of life in intervention practices among asthmatics registered with study practices in 1993 and followed up in 1996. Neither attendances at accident and emergency departments nor admissions for asthma showed any tendency to diverge in intervention and control practices over the study period. Steroid prescribing rates rose steadily during the study period. The average annual increase in steroid prescribing was 3% per year higher in intervention than control practices (95% confidence interval −1% to 6%, P=0.10).
Conclusions
This model of service delivery is not effective in improving the outcome of asthma in the community. Further development is required if cost effective management of asthma is to be introduced.
Key messagesSmall randomised trials suggest that implementation of management guidelines can improve outcomes for asthmatic patients treated in specialist unitsRandomised trials also suggest that guidelines can improve the process of care in general practiceAn intervention in which specialist nurses trained and supported practice nurses in running asthma clinics on the basis of British Thoracic Society guidelines failed to improve asthma outcomes for patients over a 3 year periodFactors that may have reduced the potential impact of the measures include the large number of asthmatic patients that need to be cared for in primary care, and the high turnover of practice nurses in inner city areasFurther research is required on how best to implement good practice in inner city areas if cost effective interventions are to be devised
PMCID: PMC27864  PMID: 10231256
4.  Implementation of smoking cessation guidelines in the emergency department: a qualitative study of staff perceptions 
Background
The US Public Health Service smoking cessation practice guideline specifically recommends that physicians and nurses strongly advise their patients who use tobacco to quit, but the best approach for attaining this goal in the emergency department (ED) remains unknown. The aim of this study was to characterize emergency physicians’ (EPs) and nurses’ (ENs) perceptions of cessation counseling and to identify barriers and facilitators to implementation of the 5 A’s framework (Ask-Advise-Assess-Assist-Arrange) in the ED.
Methods
We conducted semi-structured, face-to-face interviews of 11 EPs and 19 ENs following a pre-post implementation trial of smoking cessation guidelines in two study EDs. We used purposeful sampling to target EPs and ENs with different attitudes toward cessation counseling, based on their responses to a written survey (Decisional Balance Questionnaire). Conventional content analysis was used to inductively characterize the issues raised by study participants and to construct a coding structure, which was then applied to study transcripts.
Results
The main findings of this study converged upon three overarching domains: 1) reactions to the intervention; 2) perceptions of patients’ receptivity to cessation counseling; and 3) perspectives on ED cessation counseling and preventive care. ED staff expressed ambivalence toward the implementation of smoking cessation guidelines. Both ENs and EPs agreed that the delivery of smoking cessation counseling is important, but that it is not always practical in the ED on account of time constraints, the competing demands of acute care, and resistance from patients. Participants also called attention to the need for improved role clarity and teamwork when implementing the 5 A’s in the ED.
Conclusions
There are numerous challenges to the implementation of smoking cessation guidelines in the ED. ENs are generally willing to take the lead in offering brief cessation counseling, but their efforts need to be reinforced by EPs. ED systems need to address workflow, teamwork, and practice policies that facilitate prescription of smoking cessation medication, referral for cessation counseling, and follow-up in primary care. The results of this qualitative evaluation can be used to guide the design of future ED intervention studies.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov registration number NCT00756704
doi:10.1186/1940-0640-9-1
PMCID: PMC3902188  PMID: 24460974
Emergency medical services; Smoking cessation; Attitude of health personnel; Qualitative research; Content analysis
5.  A before-after implementation trial of smoking cessation guidelines in hospitalized veterans 
Background
Although most hospitalized smokers receive some form of cessation counseling during hospitalization, few receive outpatient cessation counseling and/or pharmacotherapy following discharge, which are key factors associated with long-term cessation. US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals are challenged to find resources to implement and maintain the kind of high intensity cessation programs that have been shown to be effective in research studies. Few studies have applied the Chronic Care Model (CCM) to improve inpatient smoking cessation.
Specific objectives
The primary objective of this protocol is to determine the effect of a nurse-initiated intervention, which couples low-intensity inpatient counseling with sustained proactive telephone counseling, on smoking abstinence in hospitalized patients. Key secondary aims are to determine the impact of the intervention on staff nurses' attitudes toward providing smoking cessation counseling; to identify barriers and facilitators to implementation of smoking cessation guidelines in VA hospitals; and to determine the short-term cost-effectiveness of implementing the intervention.
Design
Pre-post study design in four VA hospitals
Participants
Hospitalized patients, aged 18 or older, who smoke at least one cigarette per day.
Intervention
The intervention will include: nurse training in delivery of bedside cessation counseling, electronic medical record tools (to streamline nursing assessment and documentation, to facilitate prescription of pharmacotherapy), computerized referral of motivated inpatients for proactive telephone counseling, and use of internal nursing facilitators to provide coaching to staff nurses practicing in non-critical care inpatient units.
Outcomes
The primary endpoint is seven-day point prevalence abstinence at six months following hospital admission and prolonged abstinence after a one-month grace period. To compare abstinence rates during the intervention and baseline periods, we will use random effects logistic regression models, which take the clustered nature of the data within nurses and hospitals into account. We will assess attitudes of staff nurses toward cessation counseling by questionnaire and will identify barriers and facilitators to implementation by using clinician focus groups. To determine the short-term incremental cost per quitter from the perspective of the VA health care system, we will calculate cessation-related costs incurred during the initial hospitalization and six-month follow-up period.
Trial number
NCT00816036
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-4-58
PMCID: PMC2753631  PMID: 19744339
6.  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
7.  Evaluation of Magnet Journey to Nursing Excellence Program in Russia and Armenia 
Objective
To provide an outcomes-evaluation of an intervention to strengthen professional nursing practice in Russian and Armenian hospitals.
Design
The Nursing Quality Improvement Initiative using Forces of Magnetism to develop professional nurse practice was implemented in four hospitals in Russia and Armenia. Cross-sectional survey data were collected at two time points from 840 nurses in wave 1 and 859 nurses in wave 2. Comparisons were undertaken between targeted units in each hospital compared to non-targeted units, and each hospital served as its own control in surveys that took place in year one and three of the demonstration.
Methods
Descriptive information on the nurse samples were derived from survey items. Changes in characteristics of nurse practice environments, nurse-reported patient care quality, and nurse burnout in Russia and Armenia, overall and separately for targeted and non targeted units, were tested using chi-square statistics and difference of means tests.
Findings
Practice environment features, such as nurses’ involvement in hospital affairs, better collegial relationships with physicians, more support for nursing care from administration, and continuity of nursing care improved after the intervention. Resource adequacy indicators did not change over the demonstration period. There were favorable changes in indicators of patient care quality, though differences in changes in targeted and non-targeted units were equivocal.
Conclusions
Changes consistent with evolving professional nursing practice were associated with program implementation. Forces of Magnetism appear to have the same potential for transforming nursing practice in countries with fewer resources as in wealthier Western countries.
Clinical Relevance
Magnet Recognition, an evidence-based best practice for improving the nursing care environment developed in Western countries was feasible to implement in countries with transitioning economies, limited resources, and truncated professional nursing education.
doi:10.1111/j.1547-5069.2009.01268.x
PMCID: PMC2700955  PMID: 19538701
Magnet; Nursing Quality Improvement; Nurse Practice Environment
8.  Multiple Intravenous Infusions Phase 1b 
Background
Minimal research has been conducted into the potential patient safety issues related to administering multiple intravenous (IV) infusions to a single patient. Previous research has highlighted that there are a number of related safety risks. In Phase 1a of this study, an analysis of 2 national incident-reporting databases (Institute for Safe Medical Practices Canada and United States Food and Drug Administration MAUDE) found that a high percentage of incidents associated with the administration of multiple IV infusions resulted in patient harm.
Objectives
The primary objectives of Phase 1b of this study were to identify safety issues with the potential to cause patient harm stemming from the administration of multiple IV infusions; and to identify how nurses are being educated on key principles required to safely administer multiple IV infusions.
Data Sources and Review Methods
A field study was conducted at 12 hospital clinical units (sites) across Ontario, and telephone interviews were conducted with program coordinators or instructors from both the Ontario baccalaureate nursing degree programs and the Ontario postgraduate Critical Care Nursing Certificate programs. Data were analyzed using Rasmussen’s 1997 Risk Management Framework and a Health Care Failure Modes and Effects Analysis.
Results
Twenty-two primary patient safety issues were identified with the potential to directly cause patient harm. Seventeen of these (critical issues) were categorized into 6 themes. A cause-consequence tree was established to outline all possible contributing factors for each critical issue. Clinical recommendations were identified for immediate distribution to, and implementation by, Ontario hospitals. Future investigation efforts were planned for Phase 2 of the study.
Limitations
This exploratory field study identifies the potential for errors, but does not describe the direct observation of such errors, except in a few cases where errors were observed. Not all issues are known in advance, and the frequency of errors is too low to be observed in the time allotted and with the limited sample of observations.
Conclusions
The administration of multiple IV infusions to a single patient is a complex task with many potential associated patient safety risks. Improvements to infusion and infusion-related technology, education standards, clinical best practice guidelines, hospital policies, and unit work practices are required to reduce the risk potential. This report makes several recommendations to Ontario hospitals so that they can develop an awareness of the issues highlighted in this report and minimize some of the risks. Further investigation of mitigating strategies is required and will be undertaken in Phase 2 of this research.
Plain Language Summary
Patients, particularly in critical care environments, often require multiple intravenous (IV) medications via large volumetric or syringe infusion pumps. The infusion of multiple IV medications is not without risk; unintended errors during these complex procedures have resulted in patient harm. However, the range of associated risks and the factors contributing to these risks are not well understood.
Health Quality Ontario’s Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee commissioned the Health Technology Safety Research Team at the University Health Network to conduct a multi-phase study to identify and mitigate the risks associated with multiple IV infusions. Some of the questions addressed by the team were as follows: What is needed to reduce the risk of errors for individuals who are receiving a lot of medications? What strategies work best?
The initial report, Multiple Intravenous Infusions Phase 1a: Situation Scan Summary Report, summarizes the interim findings based on a literature review, an incident database review, and a technology scan.
The Health Technology Safety Research Team worked in close collaboration with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada on an exploratory study to understand the risks associated with multiple IV infusions and the degree to which nurses are educated to help mitigate them. The current report, Multiple Intravenous Infusions Phase 1b: Practice and Training Scan, presents the findings of a field study of 12 hospital clinical units across Ontario, as well as 13 interviews with educators from baccalaureate-level nursing degree programs and postgraduate Critical Care Nursing Certificate programs. It makes 9 recommendations that emphasize best practices for the administration of multiple IV infusions and pertain to secondary infusions, line identification, line set-up and removal, and administering IV bolus medications.
The Health Technology Safety Research Team has also produced an associated report for hospitals entitled Mitigating the Risks Associated With Multiple IV Infusions: Recommendations Based on a Field Study of Twelve Ontario Hospitals, which highlights the 9 interim recommendations and provides a brief rationale for each one.
PMCID: PMC3377572  PMID: 23074426
9.  Development and implementation of a performance improvement project in adult intensive care units: overview of the Improving Medicine Through Pathway Assessment of Critical Therapy in Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia (IMPACT-HAP) study 
Critical Care  2011;15(1):R38.
Introduction
In 2005 the American Thoracic Society and Infectious Diseases Society of America (ATS/IDSA) published guidelines for managing hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP), ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), and healthcare-associated pneumonia (HCAP). Although recommendations were evidence based, collective guidelines had not been validated in clinical practice and did not provide specific tools for local implementation. We initiated a performance improvement project designated Improving Medicine Through Pathway Assessment of Critical Therapy in Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia (IMPACT-HAP) at four academic centers in the United States. Our objectives were to develop and implement the project, and to assess compliance with quality indicators in adults admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) with HAP, VAP, or HCAP.
Methods
The project was conducted in three phases over 18 consecutive months beginning 1 February 2006: 1) a three-month planning period for literature review to create the consensus pathway for managing nosocomial pneumonia in these ICUs, a data collection form, quality performance indicators, and internet-based repository; 2) a six-month implementation period for customizing ATS/IDSA guidelines into center-specific guidelines via educational forums; and 3) a nine-month post-implementation period for continuing education and data collection. Data from the first two phases were combined (pre-implementation period) and compared with data from the post-implementation period.
Results
We developed a consensus pathway based on ATS/IDSA guidelines and customized it at the local level to accommodate formulary and microbiologic considerations. We implemented multimodal educational activities to teach ICU staff about the guidelines and continued education throughout post-implementation. We registered 432 patients (pre- vs post-implementation, 274 vs 158). Diagnostic criteria for nosocomial pneumonia were more likely to be met during post-implementation (247/257 (96.1%) vs 150/151 (99.3%); P = 0.06). Similarly, empiric antibiotics were more likely to be compliant with ATS/IDSA guidelines during post-implementation (79/257 (30.7%) vs 66/151 (43.7%); P = 0.01), an effect that was sustained over quarterly intervals (P = 0.0008). Between-period differences in compliance with obtaining cultures and use of de-escalation were not statistically significant.
Conclusions
Developing a multi-center performance improvement project to operationalize ATS/IDSA guidelines for HAP, VAP, and HCAP is feasible with local consensus pathway directives for implementation and with quality indicators for monitoring compliance with guidelines.
doi:10.1186/cc9988
PMCID: PMC3222076  PMID: 21266065
10.  Factors influencing the implementation of a lifestyle counseling program in patients with venous leg ulcers: a multiple case study 
Background
Implementation of lifestyle interventions in patient care is a major challenge. Understanding factors that influence implementation is a first step in programs to enhance uptake of these interventions. A lifestyle-counseling intervention, Lively Legs, delivered by trained nurses, can effectively improve the lifestyle in patients with venous leg ulcers. The aim of this study was to identify factors that hindered or facilitated implementation of this intervention in outpatient dermatology clinics and in home care.
Methods
A mixed-methods multiple case study in five purposefully selected healthcare settings in the Netherlands was conducted. Measurements to identify influencing factors before and after implementation of Lively Legs included interviews, focus groups, questionnaires, and nurses’ registration. Analyses focused on qualitative data as the main data source. All data were compared across multiple cases to draw conclusions from the study as a whole.
Results
A total of 53 patients enrolled in the Lively Legs program, which was delivered by 12 trained nurses. Barriers for implementation were mainly organizational. It was difficult to effectively organize reaching and recruiting patients for the program, especially in home care. Main barriers were a lack of a standardized healthcare delivery process, insufficient nursing time, and a lack of motivated nurses to deliver the program. Facilitating factors were nurse-driven coordination of care and a standardized care process to tie Lively Legs into, as this resulted in better patient recruitment and better program implementation.
Conclusions
This study identified a range of factors influencing the implementation of a lifestyle-counseling program, mainly related to the organization of healthcare. Using a case study method proved valuable in obtaining insight into influencing factors for implementation. This study also shed light on a more general issue, which is that leg ulcer care is often fragmented, indicating that quality improvement is needed.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-7-104
PMCID: PMC3520793  PMID: 23101504
Lifestyle; Varicose ulcer; Venous leg ulcers; Implementation; Case study
11.  International partnerships in telehealth: healthcare, industry and education 
Project background
In 2010 an internationally renowned American healthcare organisation partnered with Irish industry and higher education in Waterford with the goal to expand their telehealth services. Combining the skills and expertise of Nurse Consultants, Nurse Educators, IT Specialists and Healthcare Executives, these collaborative partnerships led to the delivery of telehealth services to North America from an Irish base, and to the development of new European telehealth programmes and telehealth training in Ireland. The telehealth service includes the provision of telephone triage, health information and advice, disease management and hospital discharge programmes to clients in Ireland, the UK and the USA. Telehealth nursing is an evolving specialty that requires the development of competence in key areas of information and communication technologies, assessment, triage and critical thinking in clinical decision-making within an environment where distance separates the nurse from the client.
Aims and objectives
The aim of this paper is to report on the development, implementation and evaluation of the telehealth service with a focus on the telephone triage and advice service and the hospital discharge programmes. Objectives of this paper include describing this telehealth initiative with reference to the changing nature of global healthcare provision; discuss the educational strategy and accredited programme for training competent telehealth nurses; report the results of the evaluation of nurse performance in telephone triage and present the data relating to the impact of hospital discharge programmes on patient satisfaction and readmission rates.
Methods and results
The evaluation of the telehealth training programme was undertaken six months post initial training and service commencement. One hundred triage and health information calls were reviewed, against best practice standards and programme learning outcomes, during a four-month period. Quantitative and qualitative data that demonstrates evidence of learning transfer from training to practice and the development of nurse competence from advanced beginner to levels of proficiency will be presented. The hospital discharge programmes have undergone continuous monitoring and reporting since commencement. This has enabled the collection of evidence that supports this brief telephone intervention as a method of reducing hopsital re-admissions and increasing patient satisfcation. Quantitative results will be presented and analysed in relation to the impact on patient satisfaction and readmission rates for patients discharged from cardiovascular, renal and digestive disease services.
Conclusions
This project has demonstrated the effectiveness of partnerships in healthcare, industry and education in achieving the development, implementation and evaluation of international telehealth services. Initial education, training and ongoing support and development of nurses is essential for quality telehealth provision. Weekly call review, constructive feedback and reflection on practice are effective strategies for performance assurance and improvement. As a growing element of integrated healthcare, telehealth modules should be included in pre and post-registration nursing education curricula. Further collaboration between industry, healthcare and education are necessary in moving the telehealth agenda forward for the benefit of integrating services that impact positively on service users.
PMCID: PMC3571125
telephone triage; hospital discharge programmes; partnerships
12.  Development of a Management Algorithm for Post-operative Pain (MAPP) after total knee and total hip replacement: study rationale and design 
Background
Evidence from clinical practice and the extant literature suggests that post-operative pain assessment and treatment is often suboptimal. Poor pain management is likely to persist until pain management practices become consistent with guidelines developed from the best available scientific evidence. This work will address the priority in healthcare of improving the quality of pain management by standardising evidence-based care processes through the incorporation of an algorithm derived from best evidence into clinical practice. In this paper, the methodology for the creation and implementation of such an algorithm that will focus, in the first instance, on patients who have undergone total hip or knee replacement is described.
Methods
In partnership with clinicians, and based on best available evidence, the aim of the Management Algorithm for Post-operative Pain (MAPP) project is to develop, implement, and evaluate an algorithm designed to support pain management decision-making for patients after orthopaedic surgery. The algorithm will provide guidance for the prescription and administration of multimodal analgesics in the post-operative period, and the treatment of breakthrough pain. The MAPP project is a multisite study with one coordinating hospital and two supporting (rollout) hospitals. The design of this project is a pre-implementation-post-implementation evaluation and will be conducted over three phases. The Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (PARiHS) framework will be used to guide implementation. Outcome measurements will be taken 10 weeks post-implementation of the MAPP. The primary outcomes are: proportion of patients prescribed multimodal analgesics in accordance with the MAPP; and proportion of patients with moderate to severe pain intensity at rest. These data will be compared to the pre-implementation analgesic prescribing practices and pain outcome measures. A secondary outcome, the efficacy of the MAPP, will be measured by comparing pain intensity scores of patients where the MAPP guidelines were or were not followed.
Discussion
The outcomes of this study have relevance for nursing and medical professionals as well as informing health service evaluation. In establishing a framework for the sustainable implementation and evaluation of a standardised approach to post-operative pain management, the findings have implications for clinicians and patients within multiple surgical contexts.
doi:10.1186/s13012-014-0110-3
PMCID: PMC4164760  PMID: 25164125
Pain; Pain management; Post-operative pain; Algorithm; Orthopaedic; Evidence-based practice; Clinical decision making; Implementation
13.  Effect of a Community-Based Nursing Intervention on Mortality in Chronically Ill Older Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(7):e1001265.
Kenneth Coburn and colleagues report findings from a randomized trial evaluating the effects of a complex nursing intervention on mortality risk among older individuals diagnosed with chronic health conditions.
Background
Improving the health of chronically ill older adults is a major challenge facing modern health care systems. A community-based nursing intervention developed by Health Quality Partners (HQP) was one of 15 different models of care coordination tested in randomized controlled trials within the Medicare Coordinated Care Demonstration (MCCD), a national US study. Evaluation of the HQP program began in 2002. The study reported here was designed to evaluate the survival impact of the HQP program versus usual care up to five years post-enrollment.
Methods and Findings
HQP enrolled 1,736 adults aged 65 and over, with one or more eligible chronic conditions (coronary artery disease, heart failure, diabetes, asthma, hypertension, or hyperlipidemia) during the first six years of the study. The intervention group (n = 873) was offered a comprehensive, integrated, and tightly managed system of care coordination, disease management, and preventive services provided by community-based nurse care managers working collaboratively with primary care providers. The control group (n = 863) received usual care. Overall, a 25% lower relative risk of death (hazard ratio [HR] 0.75 [95% CI 0.57–1.00], p = 0.047) was observed among intervention participants with 86 (9.9%) deaths in the intervention group and 111 (12.9%) deaths in the control group during a mean follow-up of 4.2 years. When covariates for sex, age group, primary diagnosis, perceived health, number of medications taken, hospital stays in the past 6 months, and tobacco use were included, the adjusted HR was 0.73 (95% CI 0.55–0.98, p = 0.033). Subgroup analyses did not demonstrate statistically significant interaction effects for any subgroup. No suspected program-related adverse events were identified.
Conclusions
The HQP model of community-based nurse care management appeared to reduce all-cause mortality in chronically ill older adults. Limitations of the study are that few low-income and non-white individuals were enrolled and implementation was in a single geographic region of the US. Additional research to confirm these findings and determine the model's scalability and generalizability is warranted.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01071967
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
In almost every country in the world, the proportion of people aged over 60 years is growing faster than any other age group because of increased life expectancy. This demographic change has several implications for public health, especially as older age is a risk factor for many chronic diseases—diseases of long duration and generally slow progression. Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes, are by far the leading cause of death in the world, representing almost two-thirds of all deaths. Therefore in most countries, the challenge of managing increasingly ageing populations who have chronic illnesses demands an urgent response and countries such as the United States are actively researching possible solutions.
Why Was This Study Done?
Some studies suggest that innovations in chronic disease management that are led by nurses may help address the epidemic of chronic diseases by increasing the quality and reducing the cost of care. However, to date, reports of the evaluation of such interventions lack rigor and do not provide evidence of improved long-term health outcomes or reduced health care costs. So in this study, the researchers used the gold standard of research, a randomized controlled trial, to examine the impact of a community-based nurse care management model for older adults with chronic illnesses in the United States as part of a series of studies supported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers recruited eligible patients aged 65 years and over with heart failure, coronary heart disease, asthma, diabetes, hypertension, and/or hyperlipidemia who received traditional Medicare—a fee for service insurance scheme in which beneficiaries can choose to receive their care from any Medicare provider—from participating primary care practices in Pennsylvania. The researchers then categorized patients according to their risk on the basis of several factors including the number of chronic diseases each individual had before randomizing patients to receive usual care or the nurse-led intervention. The intervention included an individualized plan comprising education, symptom monitoring, medication, counseling for adherence, help identifying, arranging, and monitoring community health and social service referrals in addition to group interventions such as weight loss maintenance and exercise classes. The researchers checked whether any participating patients had died by using the online Social Security Death Master File. Then the researchers used a statistical model to calculate the risk of death in both groups.
Of the 1,736 patients the researchers recruited into the trial, 873 were randomized to receive the intervention and 863 were in the control group (usual care). The researchers found that 86 (9.9%) participants in the intervention group and 111 (12.9%) participants in the control group died during the study period, representing a 25% lower relative risk of death among the intervention group. However, when the researchers considered other factors, such as sex, age group, primary diagnosis, perceived health, number of medications taken, hospital stays in the past 6 months, and tobacco use in their statistical model, this risk was slightly altered—0.73 risk of death in the intervention group.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that that community-based nurse care management is associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality among older adults with chronic illnesses who are beneficiaries of the fee for service Medicare scheme in the United States. These findings also support the important role of nurses in improving health outcomes in this group of patients and show the feasibility of implementing this program in collaboration with primary care practices. Future research is needed to test the adaptability, scalability, and generalizability of this model of care.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001265.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Arlene Bierman
Information about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is available
The World Health Organization provides statistics on the prevalence of both chronic illness and ageing
Heath Quality Partners provide information about the study
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001265
PMCID: PMC3398966  PMID: 22815653
14.  Effect of an Educational Toolkit on Quality of Care: A Pragmatic Cluster Randomized Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(2):e1001588.
In a pragmatic cluster-randomized trial, Baiju Shah and colleagues evaluated the effectiveness of printed educational materials for clinician education focusing on cardiovascular disease screening and risk reduction in people with diabetes.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Printed educational materials for clinician education are one of the most commonly used approaches for quality improvement. The objective of this pragmatic cluster randomized trial was to evaluate the effectiveness of an educational toolkit focusing on cardiovascular disease screening and risk reduction in people with diabetes.
Methods and Findings
All 933,789 people aged ≥40 years with diagnosed diabetes in Ontario, Canada were studied using population-level administrative databases, with additional clinical outcome data collected from a random sample of 1,592 high risk patients. Family practices were randomly assigned to receive the educational toolkit in June 2009 (intervention group) or May 2010 (control group). The primary outcome in the administrative data study, death or non-fatal myocardial infarction, occurred in 11,736 (2.5%) patients in the intervention group and 11,536 (2.5%) in the control group (p = 0.77). The primary outcome in the clinical data study, use of a statin, occurred in 700 (88.1%) patients in the intervention group and 725 (90.1%) in the control group (p = 0.26). Pre-specified secondary outcomes, including other clinical events, processes of care, and measures of risk factor control, were also not improved by the intervention. A limitation is the high baseline rate of statin prescribing in this population.
Conclusions
The educational toolkit did not improve quality of care or cardiovascular outcomes in a population with diabetes. Despite being relatively easy and inexpensive to implement, printed educational materials were not effective. The study highlights the need for a rigorous and scientifically based approach to the development, dissemination, and evaluation of quality improvement interventions.
Trial Registration
http://www.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01411865 and NCT01026688
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Clinical practice guidelines help health care providers deliver the best care to patients by combining all the evidence on disease management into specific recommendations for care. However, the implementation of evidence-based guidelines is often far from perfect. Take the example of diabetes. This common chronic disease, which is characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood, impairs the quality of life of patients and shortens life expectancy by increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases (conditions that affect the heart and circulation) and other life-threatening conditions. Patients need complex care to manage the multiple risk factors (high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high levels of fat in the blood) that are associated with the long-term complications of diabetes, and they need to be regularly screened and treated for these complications. Clinical practice guidelines for diabetes provide recommendations on screening and diagnosis, drug treatment, and cardiovascular disease risk reduction, and on helping patients self-manage their disease. Unfortunately, the care delivered to patients with diabetes frequently fails to meet the standards laid down in these guidelines.
Why Was This Study Done?
How can guideline adherence and the quality of care provided to patients be improved? A common approach is to send printed educational materials to clinicians. For example, when the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) updated its clinical practice guidelines in 2008, it mailed educational toolkits that contained brochures and other printed materials targeting key themes from the guidelines to family physicians. In this pragmatic cluster randomized trial, the researchers investigate the effect of the CDA educational toolkit that targeted cardiovascular disease screening and treatment on the quality of care of people with diabetes. A pragmatic trial asks whether an intervention works under real-life conditions and whether it works in terms that matter to the patient; a cluster randomized trial randomly assigns groups of people to receive alternative interventions and compares outcomes in the differently treated “clusters.”
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers randomly assigned family practices in Ontario, Canada to receive the educational toolkit in June 2009 (intervention group) or in May 2010 (control group). They examined outcomes between July 2009 and April 2010 in all patients with diabetes in Ontario aged over 40 years (933,789 people) using population-level administrative data. In Canada, administrative databases record the personal details of people registered with provincial health plans, information on hospital visits and prescriptions, and physician service claims for consultations, assessments, and diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. They also examined clinical outcome data from a random sample of 1,592 patients at high risk of cardiovascular complications. In the administrative data study, death or non-fatal heart attack (the primary outcome) occurred in about 11,500 patients in both the intervention and control group. In the clinical data study, the primary outcome―use of a statin to lower blood fat levels―occurred in about 700 patients in both study groups. Secondary outcomes, including other clinical events, processes of care, and measures of risk factor control were also not improved by the intervention. Indeed, in the administrative data study, some processes of care outcomes related to screening for heart disease were statistically significantly worse in the intervention group than in the control group, and in the clinical data study, fewer patients in the intervention group reached blood pressure targets than in the control group.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the CDA cardiovascular diseases educational toolkit did not improve quality of care or cardiovascular outcomes in a population with diabetes. Indeed, the toolkit may have led to worsening in some secondary outcomes although, because numerous secondary outcomes were examined, this may be a chance finding. Limitations of the study include its length, which may have been too short to see an effect of the intervention on clinical outcomes, and the possibility of a ceiling effect—the control group in the clinical data study generally had good care, which left little room for improvement of the quality of care in the intervention group. Overall, however, these findings suggest that printed educational materials may not be an effective way to improve the quality of care for patients with diabetes and other complex conditions and highlight the need for a rigorous, scientific approach to the development, dissemination, and evaluation of quality improvement interventions.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001588.
The US National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse provides information about diabetes for patients, health care professionals, and the general public (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information (including some personal stories) for patients and carers about type 2 diabetes, the commonest form of diabetes
The Canadian Diabetes Association also provides information about diabetes for patients (including some personal stories about living with diabetes) and health care professionals; its latest clinical practice guidelines are available on its website
The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence provides general information about clinical guidelines and about health care quality standards in the UK
The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality aims to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans (information in English and Spanish); the US National Guideline Clearinghouse is a searchable database of clinical practice guidelines
The International Diabetes Federation provides information about diabetes for patients and health care professionals, along with international statistics on the burden of diabetes
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001588
PMCID: PMC3913553  PMID: 24505216
15.  Effectiveness of organisational infrastructures to promote evidence-based nursing practice 
Background
Nurses and midwives form the bulk of the clinical health workforce and play a central role in all health service delivery. There is potential to improve health care quality if nurses routinely use the best available evidence in their clinical practice. Since many of the factors perceived by nurses as barriers to the implementation of evidence-based practice (EBP) lie at the organisational level, it is of interest to devise and assess the effectiveness of organisational infrastructures designed to promote EBP among nurses.
Objectives
To assess the effectiveness of organisational infrastructures in promoting evidence-based nursing.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) Group Specialised Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, LILACS, BIREME, IBECS, NHS Economic Evaluations Database, Social Science Citation Index, Science Citation Index and Conference Proceedings Citation Indexes up to 9 March 2011.
We developed a new search strategy for this update as the strategy published in 2003 omitted key terms. Additional search methods included: screening reference lists of relevant studies, contacting authors of relevant papers regarding any further published or unpublished work, and searching websites of selected research groups and organisations.
Selection criteria
We considered randomised controlled trials, controlled clinical trials, interrupted times series (ITSs) and controlled before and after studies of an entire or identified component of an organisational infrastructure intervention aimed at promoting EBP in nursing. The participants were all healthcare organisations comprising nurses, midwives and health visitors.
Data collection and analysis
Two authors independently extracted data and assessed risk of bias. For the ITS analysis, we reported the change in the slopes of the regression lines, and the change in the level effect of the outcome at 3, 6, 12 and 24 months follow-up.
Main results
We included one study from the USA (re-analysed as an ITS) involving one hospital and an unknown number of nurses and patients. The study evaluated the effects of a standardised evidence-based nursing procedure on nursing care for patients at risk of developing healthcare-acquired pressure ulcers (HAPUs). If a patient’s admission Braden score was below or equal to 18 (i.e. indicating a high risk of developing pressure ulcers), nurses were authorised to initiate a pressure ulcer prevention bundle (i.e. a set of evidence-based clinical interventions) without waiting for a physician order. Re-analysis of data as a time series showed that against a background trend of decreasing HAPU rates, if that trend was assumed to be real, there was no evidence of an intervention effect at three months (mean rate per quarter 0.7%; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.7 to 3.3; P = 0.457). Given the small percentages post intervention it was not statistically possible to extrapolate effects beyond three months.
Authors’ conclusions
Despite extensive searching of published and unpublished research we identified only one low-quality study; we excluded many studies due to non-eligible study design. If policy-makers and healthcare organisations wish to promote evidence-based nursing successfully at an organisational level, they must ensure the funding and conduct of well-designed studies to generate evidence to guide policy.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD002212.pub2
PMCID: PMC4204172  PMID: 22336783
*Efficiency, Organizational; Evidence-Based Nursing [*methods]; Nursing Care [*standards]; Outcome and Process Assessment (Health Care) [standards]; Pressure Ulcer [prevention & control]; Humans
16.  The design of the SAFE or SORRY? study: a cluster randomised trial on the development and testing of an evidence based inpatient safety program for the prevention of adverse events 
Background
Patients in hospitals and nursing homes are at risk of the development of, often preventable, adverse events (AEs), which threaten patient safety. Guidelines for prevention of many types of AEs are available, however, compliance with these guidelines appears to be lacking. Besides general barriers that inhibit implementation, this non-compliance is associated with the large number of guidelines competing for attention. As implementation of a guideline is time-consuming, it is difficult for organisations to implement all available guidelines. Another problem is lack of feedback about performance using quality indicators of guideline based care and lack of a recognisable, unambiguous system for implementation. A program that allows organisations to implement multiple guidelines simultaneously may facilitate guideline use and thus improve patient safety.
The aim of this study is to develop and test such an integral patient safety program that addresses several AEs simultaneously in hospitals and nursing homes. This paper reports the design of this study.
Methods and design
The patient safety program addresses three AEs: pressure ulcers, falls and urinary tract infections. It consists of bundles and outcome and process indicators based on the existing evidence based guidelines. In addition it includes a multifaceted tailored implementation strategy: education, patient involvement, and a computerized registration and feedback system. The patient safety program was tested in a cluster randomised trial on ten hospital wards and ten nursing home wards. The baseline period was three months followed by the implementation of the patient safety program for fourteen months. Subsequently the follow-up period was nine months. Primary outcome measure was the incidence of AEs on every ward. Secondary outcome measures were the utilization of preventive interventions and the knowledge of nurses regarding the three topics. Randomisation took place on ward level. The results will be analysed separately for hospitals and nursing homes.
Discussion
Major challenges were the development of the patient safety program including a digital registration and feedback system and the implementation of the patient safety program.
Trial registration
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov ID [NCT00365430]
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-58
PMCID: PMC2675519  PMID: 19338655
17.  Knowledge of thromboprophylaxis guidelines pre- and post-didactic lectures during a venous thromboembolism awareness day at a tertiary-care hospital 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2013;8(3):165-169.
BACKGROUND:
Didactic lectures are frequently used to improve compliance with practice guidelines. This study assessed the knowledge of health-care providers (HCPs) at a tertiary-care hospital of its evidence-based thromboprophylaxis guidelines and the impact of didactic lectures on their knowledge.
METHODS:
The hospital launched a multifaceted approach to improve thromboprophylaxis practices, which included posters, a pocket-size guidelines summary and didactic lectures during the annual thromboprophylaxis awareness days. A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to HCPs before and after lectures on thromboprophylaxis guidelines (June 2010). The questionnaire, formulated and validated by two physicians, two nurses and a clinical pharmacist, covered various subjects such as risk stratification, anticoagulant dosing and the choice of anticoagulants in specific clinical situations.
RESULTS:
Seventy-two and 63 HCPs submitted the pre- and post-test, respectively (62% physicians, 28% nurses, from different clinical disciplines). The mean scores were 7.8 ± 2.1 (median = 8.0, range = 2-12, maximum possible score = 15) for the pre-test and 8.4 ± 1.8 for the post-test, P = 0.053. There was no significant difference in the pre-test scores of nurses and physicians (7.9 ± 1.7 and 8.2 ± 2.4, respectively, P = 0.67). For the 35 HCPs who completed the pre- and post-tests, their scores were 7.7 ± 1.7 and 8.8 ± 1.6, respectively, P = 0.003. Knowledge of appropriate anticoagulant administration in specific clinical situations was frequently inadequate, with approximately two-thirds of participants failing to adjust low-molecular-weight heparin doses in patients with renal failure.
CONCLUSIONS:
Education via didactic lectures resulted in a modest improvement of HCPs′ knowledge of thromboprophylaxis guidelines. This supports the need for a multifaceted approach to improve the awareness and implementation of thromboprophylaxis guidelines.
doi:10.4103/1817-1737.114298
PMCID: PMC3731859  PMID: 23922612
Clinical practice guidelines; continuing medical education; health knowledge; practice guidelines; questionnaires; venous thromboembolism
18.  Tobacco cessation Clinical Practice Guideline use by rural and urban hospital nurses: a pre-implementation needs assessment 
BMC Nursing  2012;11:6.
Background
This study was a pre-program evaluation of hospital-based nurses' tobacco intervention beliefs, confidence, training, practice, and perceived intervention barriers and facilitators. It was designed to identify relevant information prior to implementing tobacco cessation guidelines across a large northern rural region, home to 1 urban and 12 rural hospitals.
Methods
This cross-sectional survey was distributed by nurse managers to nurses in the 13 hospitals and returned by nurses (N = 269) via mail to the researchers.
Results
Nurses were somewhat confident providing cessation interventions, agreed they should educate patients about tobacco, and 94% perceived tobacco counselling as part of their role. Although only 11% had received cessation training, the majority reported intervening, even if seldom--91% asked about tobacco-use, 96% advised quitting, 89% assessed readiness to quit, 88% assisted with quitting, and 61% arranged post-discharge follow-up. Few performed any of these steps frequently, and among those who intervened, the majority spent < 10 minutes. The most frequently performed activities tended to take the least amount of time, while the more complex activities (e.g., teaching coping skills and pharmacotherapy education) were seldom performed. Patient-related factors (quitting benefits and motivation) encouraged nurses to intervene and work-related factors discouraged them (time and workloads). There were significant rural-urban differences--more rural nurses perceived intervening as part of their role, reported having more systems in place to support cessation, reported higher confidence for intervening, and more frequently assisted patients with quitting and arranged follow-up.
Conclusions
The findings showed nurses' willingness to engage in tobacco interventions. What the majority were doing maps onto the recommended minimum of 1-3 minutes but intervention frequency and follow-up were suboptimal. The rural-urban differences suggest a need for more research to explore the strengths of rural practice which could potentially inform approaches to smoking cessation in urban hospitals.
doi:10.1186/1472-6955-11-6
PMCID: PMC3384473  PMID: 22545579
19.  Accuracy of diagnostic registers and management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: the Devon primary care audit 
Respiratory Research  2008;9(1):62.
Background
Guidelines on COPD diagnosis and management encourage primary care physicians to detect the disease at an early stage and to treat patients according to their condition and needs. Problems in guideline implementation include difficulties in diagnosis, using spirometry and the disputed role of reversibility testing. These lead to inaccurate diagnostic registers and inadequacy of administered treatments. This study represents an audit of COPD diagnosis and management in primary care practices in Devon.
Methods
Six hundred and thirty two patients on COPD registers in primary care practices were seen by a visiting Respiratory Specialist Nurse. Diagnoses were made according to the NICE guidelines. Reversibility testing was carried out either routinely or based on clinical indication in two sub-samples. Dyspnoea was assessed. Data were entered into a novel IT-based software which computed guideline-based treatment recommendations. Current and recommended treatments were compared.
Results
Five hundred and eighty patients had spirometry. Diagnoses of COPD were confirmed in 422 patients (73%). Thirty nine patients were identified as asthma only, 94 had normal spirometry, 23 were restrictive and 2 had a cardiac disorder. Reversibility testing changed diagnosis of 11% of patients with airflow obstruction, and severity grading in 18%. Three quarters of patients with COPD had been offered practical help with smoking cessation. Short and long-acting anticholinergics and long acting beta-2 agonists had been under-prescribed; in 15–18% of patients they were indicated but not received. Inhaled steroids had been over-prescribed (recommended in 17%; taken by 60%), whereas only 4% of patients with a chronic productive cough were receiving mucolytics. Pulmonary rehabilitation was not available in some areas and was under-used in other areas.
Conclusion
Diagnostic registers of COPD in primary care contain mistakes leading to inaccurate prevalence estimates and inappropriate treatment decisions. Use of pre-bronchodilator readings for diagnosis overestimates the prevalence and severity in a significant minority, thus post bronchodilator readings should be used. Management of stable COPD does often not correspond to guidelines. The IT system used in this study has the potential to improve diagnosis and management of COPD in primary care.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-9-62
PMCID: PMC2531184  PMID: 18710575
20.  Nurse Task Shifting for Antiretroviral Treatment Services in Namibia: Implementation Research to Move Evidence into Action 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92014.
Background
Evidence from several sub-Saharan countries support nurse-initiated antiretroviral treatment as a feasible alternative to doctor-led models characteristic of early responses to the HIV epidemic. However, service delivery models shown to be effective in one country may not be readily adopted in another. This study used an implementation research approach to assist policy makers and other stakeholders to assess the acceptability and feasibility of task shifting in the Namibian context.
Methods
The Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services implemented a Task Shifting Demonstration Project (TSDP) at 9 sites at different levels of the health system. Six months after implementation, a mixed methods evaluation was conducted. Seventy semi-structured interviews were conducted with patients, managers, doctors and nurses directly involved with the TSDP. Physician-evaluators observed and compared health service provision between doctors and nurses for 40 patients (80 observations), documenting performance in agreement with the national guidelines on 13 clinical care indicators.
Results
Doctors, nurses, and patients interviewed believed task shifting would improve access to and quality of HIV services. Doctors and nurses both reported an increase in nurses’ skills as a result of the project. Observation data showed doctors and nurses were in considerable agreement (>80%) with each other on all dimensions of HIV care and ≥90% on eight dimensions. To ensure success of national scale-up of the task shifting model, challenges involving infrastructure, on-going mentoring, and nursing scope of practice should be anticipated and addressed.
Conclusion
In combination with findings from other studies in the region, data from the TSDP provided critical and timely information to the Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services, thus helping to move evidence into action. Small-scale implementation research projects enable stakeholders to learn by doing, and provide an opportunity to test and modify the intervention before expansion.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092014
PMCID: PMC3958436  PMID: 24642894
21.  Implementing nurse-initiated and managed antiretroviral treatment (NIMART) in South Africa: a qualitative process evaluation of the STRETCH trial 
Background
Task-shifting is promoted widely as a mechanism for expanding antiretroviral treatment (ART) access. However, the evidence for nurse-initiated and managed ART (NIMART) in Africa is limited, and little is known about the key barriers and enablers to implementing NIMART programmes on a large scale. The STRETCH (Streamlining Tasks and Roles to Expand Treatment and Care for HIV) programme was a complex educational and organisational intervention implemented in the Free State Province of South Africa to enable nurses providing primary HIV/AIDS care to expand their roles and include aspects of care and treatment usually provided by physicians. STRETCH used a phased implementation approach and ART treatment guidelines tailored specifically to nurses. The effects of STRETCH on pre-ART mortality, ART provision, and the quality of HIV/ART care were evaluated through a randomised controlled trial. This study was conducted alongside the trial to develop a contextualised understanding of factors affecting the implementation of the programme.
Methods
This study was a qualitative process evaluation using in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with patients, health workers, health managers, and other key informants as well as observation in clinics. Research questions focused on perceptions of STRETCH, changes in health provider roles, attitudes and patient relationships, and impact of the implementation context on trial outcomes. Data were analysed collaboratively by the research team using thematic analysis.
Results
NIMART appears to be highly acceptable among nurses, patients, and physicians. Managers and nurses expressed confidence in their ability to deliver ART successfully. This confidence developed slowly and unevenly, through a phased and well-supported approach that guided nurses through training, re-prescription, and initiation. The research also shows that NIMART changes the working and referral relationships between health staff, demands significant training and support, and faces workload and capacity constraints, and logistical and infrastructural challenges.
Conclusions
Large-scale NIMART appears to be feasible and acceptable in the primary level public sector health services in South Africa. Successful implementation requires a comprehensive approach with: an incremental and well supported approach to implementation; clinical guidelines tailored to nurses; and significant health services reorganisation to accommodate the knock-on effects of shifts in practice.
Trial registration
ISRCTN46836853
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-7-66
PMCID: PMC3464669  PMID: 22800379
Antiretroviral treatment; NIMART; South Africa; Primary healthcare; Nurse training; Process evaluation; PALSA PLUS
22.  Barriers to the implementation of practice guidelines in managing patients with nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding: A qualitative approach 
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE:
Guidelines for the management of patients with nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding (NVUGIB) are inconsistently applied by health care providers, potentially resulting in suboptimal care and patient outcomes. A needs assessment was performed to assess health care providers’ barriers to the implementation of these guidelines in Canada.
METHODS:
Semistructured telephone interviews were conducted by trained research personnel with 22 selectively sampled health care professionals actively treating and managing NVUGIB patients, including emergency room physicians (ER), intensivists (ICU), gastroenterologists (GI), gastroenterology nurses and hospital administrators. Participants were chosen from a representative sample of six Canadian community- and academic-based hospitals that participated in a national Canadian audit on the management of NVUGIB.
RESULTS:
Participants reported substantive gaps in the implementation of NVUGIB guidelines that included the following: lack of knowledge of the specifics of the NVUGIB guidelines (ER, ICU, nurses); limited belief in the value of guidelines, especially in areas where evidence is lacking (ER, ICU); limited belief in the value of available tools to support implementation of guidelines (GI); lack of knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of health care professions and disciplines, and lack of effective collaboration skills (ER, ICU and GI); variability of knowledge and skills of health care professionals within professions (eg, variability of nurses’ knowledge and skills in endoscopic procedures); and perceived overuse of intravenous proton pump inhibitor treatment, with limited concern regarding cost or side effect implications (all participants).
CONCLUSIONS:
In the present study population, ER, ICU and nurses did not adhere to NVUGIB guidelines because they were neither aware of nor familiar with them, whereas the GI lack of adherence to NVUGIB guidelines was influenced more by attitudinal and contextual barriers. These findings can guide the design of multifaceted educational and behavioural interventions when attempting to effectively disseminate existing guidelines, and for guideline implementation into practice.
PMCID: PMC2886569  PMID: 20485702
Acid suppressive therapy; Drug therapy; Endoscopy; Gastric; Peptic; Proton pump inhibitors; Stomach
23.  Exploring the potential for advanced nursing practice role development in Kenya: a qualitative study 
BMC Nursing  2014;13(1):33.
Background
Definitions of advanced nursing practice abound, yet little has been published concerning the context for advanced nursing in sub-Saharan Africa. This study set out to explore the existence of, and potential for, advanced nursing practice in Kenya.
Methods
Ten nurses were invited to participate in semi-structured qualitative interviews. Participants were purposively selected to provide insight into the practice of experienced nurses in urban, rural, community, hospital, public and private health care settings. Interview narratives were recorded, transcribed and subsequently analysed using a thematic approach.
Results
All participants reported that they were engaged in the delivery of expert, evidence-based care. The majority also undertook administrative activities, teaching in the practice area and policy and practice advocacy. However, only the two private practice nurses interviewed during the study were working with the level of autonomy that might be expected of advanced nurse practitioners.
Conclusions
While participants were undertaking many of the activities associated with advanced nursing roles, advanced nursing practice as widely understood in the (largely western derived) international literature was not identified. The nurses practicing with the greatest autonomy were generally those with the lowest educational qualifications rather than the highest. Highly qualified nurses and midwives tend to move into management and education, and see little opportunity for advancement while remaining in clinical practice. It is notable that, although a growing number of universities offer master’s level education, no African countries have yet regulated an advanced level of practice. The existence of the physician substitute ‘clinical officer’ cadre in Kenya, as in other Sub-Saharan African countries, suggests that the development of the advanced nurse practitioner role is unlikely at present. However, there is a pressing need for advanced nurses and midwives who can implement evidence-based practice and exercise clinical leadership in the drive to attain the Millennium Development Goals and their post-2015 successors.
doi:10.1186/s12912-014-0033-y
PMCID: PMC4236483  PMID: 25411562
Advanced nursing practice; Sub-Saharan Africa; Task-shifting; Nursing workforce; Qualitative research
24.  WHO Essential Medicines Policies and Use in Developing and Transitional Countries: An Analysis of Reported Policy Implementation and Medicines Use Surveys 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(9):e1001724.
Kathleen Holloway and David Henry evaluate whether countries that report having implemented WHO essential medicines policies have higher quality use of medicines.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Suboptimal medicine use is a global public health problem. For 35 years the World Health Organization (WHO) has promoted essential medicines policies to improve quality use of medicines (QUM), but evidence of their effectiveness is lacking, and uptake by countries remains low. Our objective was to determine whether WHO essential medicines policies are associated with better QUM.
Methods and Findings
We compared results from independently conducted medicines use surveys in countries that did versus did not report implementation of WHO essential medicines policies. We extracted survey data on ten validated QUM indicators and 36 self-reported policy implementation variables from WHO databases for 2002–2008. We calculated the average difference (as percent) for the QUM indicators between countries reporting versus not reporting implementation of specific policies. Policies associated with positive effects were included in a regression of a composite QUM score on total numbers of implemented policies. Data were available for 56 countries. Twenty-seven policies were associated with better use of at least two percentage points. Eighteen policies were associated with significantly better use (unadjusted p<0.05), of which four were associated with positive differences of 10% or more: undergraduate training of doctors in standard treatment guidelines, undergraduate training of nurses in standard treatment guidelines, the ministry of health having a unit promoting rational use of medicines, and provision of essential medicines free at point of care to all patients. In regression analyses national wealth was positively associated with the composite QUM score and the number of policies reported as being implemented in that country. There was a positive correlation between the number of policies (out of the 27 policies with an effect size of 2% or more) that countries reported implementing and the composite QUM score (r = 0.39, 95% CI 0.14 to 0.59, p = 0.003). This correlation weakened but remained significant after inclusion of national wealth in multiple linear regression analyses. Multiple policies were more strongly associated with the QUM score in the 28 countries with gross national income per capita below the median value (US$2,333) (r = 0.43, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.69, p = 0.023) than in the 28 countries with values above the median (r = 0.22, 95% CI −0.15 to 0.56, p = 0.261). The main limitations of the study are the reliance on self-report of policy implementation and measures of medicine use from small surveys. While the data can be used to explore the association of essential medicines policies with medicine use, they cannot be used to compare or benchmark individual country performance.
Conclusions
WHO essential medicines policies are associated with improved QUM, particularly in low-income countries.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
The widespread availability of effective medicines, particularly those used to treat infectious diseases, has been largely responsible for a doubling in the average global life expectancy over the past century. However, the suboptimal use (overuse and underuse) of medicines is an ongoing global public health problem. The unnecessary use of medicines (for example, the use of antibiotics for sore throats caused by viruses) needlessly consumes scarce resources and has undesirable effects such as encouraging the emergence of antibiotic resistance. Conversely, underuse deprives people of the undisputed benefits of many medicines. Since 1977, to help optimize medicine use, the World Health Organization (WHO) has advocated the concept of “essential medicines” and has developed policies to promote the quality use of medicines (QUM). Essential medicines are drugs that satisfy the priority needs of the human population and that should always be available to communities in adequate amounts of assured quality, in the appropriate dosage forms, and at an affordable price. Policies designed to promote QUM include recommendations that medicines should be free at the point of care and that all health care professionals should be educated about the WHO list of essential medicines (which is revised every two years) throughout their careers.
Why Was This Study Done?
Surveys of WHO member countries undertaken in 2003 and 2007 suggest that the implementation of WHO policies designed to promote QUM is patchy. Moreover, little is known about whether these policies are effective, particularly in middle- and low-income countries. For most of these countries, it is not known whether any of the policies affect validated QUM indicators such as the percentage of patients prescribed antibiotics (a lower percentage indicates better use of medicines) or the percentage of patients treated in compliance with national treatment guidelines (a higher percentage indicates better use of medicines). Here, the researchers analyze data from policy implementation questionnaires and medicine use surveys to determine whether implementation of WHO essential medicines policies is associated with improved QUM in low- and middle-income countries.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers extracted data on ten validated QUM indicators and on implementation of 36 policy variables from WHO databases for 2002–2008 and compared the average differences for the QUM indicators between low- and middle-income countries that did versus did not report implementation of specific WHO policies for QUM. Among 56 countries for which data were available, 27 policies were associated with improved QUM. Four policies were particularly effective, namely, doctors' undergraduate training in standard treatment guidelines, nurses' undergraduate training in standard treatment guidelines, the existence of a ministry of health department promoting the rational use of medicines, and the provision of essential medicines free to all patients at point of care. The researchers also analyzed correlations between how many of the 27 effective policies were implemented in a country and a composite QUM score. As national wealth increased, both the composite QUM score of a country and the reported number of policies implemented by the country increased. There was also a positive correlation between the numbers of policies that countries reported implementing and their composite QUM score. Finally, the implementation of multiple policies was more strongly associated with the composite QUM score in countries with a gross national income per capita below the average for the study countries than in countries with a gross national income above the average.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that between 2002 and 2008, the reported implementation of WHO essential medicines policies was associated with better QUM across low- and middle-income countries. These findings also reveal a positive correlation between the number of policies that countries report implementing and their QUM. Notably, this correlation was strongest in the countries with the lowest per capita national wealth levels, which underscores the importance of essential medicines policies in low-income countries. Because of the nature of the data available to the researchers, these findings do not show that the implementation of WHO policies actually causes improvements in QUM. Moreover, the age of the data, the reliance on self-report of policy implementation, and the small sample sizes of the medicine use surveys may all have introduced some inaccuracies into these findings. Nevertheless, overall, these findings suggest that WHO should continue to develop its medicine policies and to collect data on medicine use as part of its core functions.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001724.
The World Health Organization provides information about essential medicines; its latest lists of essential medicines are available on the Internet; information about WHO policies to improve the quality use of medicines is also available (in several languages)
The International Network for the Rational Use of Drugs designs, tests, and disseminates effective strategies to improve the way drugs are prescribed, dispensed, and used, particularly in resource-poor countries
The essentialdrugs.org website helps health care professionals, researchers, and policy makers obtain and discuss current information on essential drugs, policy, program activities, education, and training (available in several languages); the website is run by Satellife, which aims to use technology to connect health workers in resource-limited countries to each other and to up-to-date clinical and public health content
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001724
PMCID: PMC4165598  PMID: 25226527
25.  Nurse-led motivational interviewing to change the lifestyle of patients with type 2 diabetes (MILD-project): protocol for a cluster, randomized, controlled trial on implementing lifestyle recommendations 
Background
The diabetes of many patients is managed in general practice; healthcare providers aim to promote healthful behaviors, such as healthful diet, adequate physical activity, and smoking cessation. These measures may decrease insulin resistance, improve glycemic control, lipid abnormalities, and hypertension. They may also prevent cardiovascular disease and complications of diabetes. However, professionals do not adhere optimally to guidelines for lifestyle counseling. Motivational interviewing to change the lifestyle of patients with type 2 diabetes is intended to improve diabetes care in accordance with the national guidelines for lifestyle counseling. Primary care nurses will be trained in motivational interviewing embedded in structured care in general practice. The aim of this paper is to describe the design and methods of a study evaluating the effects of the nurses' training on patient outcomes.
Methods/Design
A cluster, randomized, controlled trial involving 70 general practices (35 practices in the intervention arm and 35 in the control arm) starting in March 2007. A total of 700 patients with type 2 diabetes will be recruited. The patients in the intervention arm will receive care from the primary care nurse, who will receive training in an implementation strategy with motivational interviewing as the core component. Other components of this strategy will be adaptation of the diabetes protocol to local circumstances, introduction of a social map for lifestyle support, and educational and supportive tools for sustaining motivational interviewing. The control arm will be encouraged to maintain usual care. The effect measures will be the care process, metabolic parameters (glycosylated hemoglobin, blood pressure and lipids), lifestyle (diet, physical activity, smoking, and alcohol), health-related quality of life, and patients' willingness to change behaviors. The measurements will take place at baseline and after 14 months.
Discussion
Applying motivational interviewing for patients with diabetes in primary care has been studied, but to our knowledge, no other study has yet evaluated the implementation and sustainability of motivating and involving patients in day-to-day diabetes care in general practice. If this intervention proves to be effective and cost-effective, large-scale implementation of this nurse-oriented intervention will be considered and anticipated.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN68707773.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-19
PMCID: PMC2646713  PMID: 19183462

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