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1.  Implementing change in primary care practices using electronic medical records: a conceptual framework 
Implementing change in primary care is difficult, and little practical guidance is available to assist small primary care practices. Methods to structure care and develop new roles are often needed to implement an evidence-based practice that improves care. This study explored the process of change used to implement clinical guidelines for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease in primary care practices that used a common electronic medical record (EMR).
Multiple conceptual frameworks informed the design of this study designed to explain the complex phenomena of implementing change in primary care practice. Qualitative methods were used to examine the processes of change that practice members used to implement the guidelines. Purposive sampling in eight primary care practices within the Practice Partner Research Network-Translating Researching into Practice (PPRNet-TRIP II) clinical trial yielded 28 staff members and clinicians who were interviewed regarding how change in practice occurred while implementing clinical guidelines for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease and strokes.
A conceptual framework for implementing clinical guidelines into primary care practice was developed through this research. Seven concepts and their relationships were modelled within this framework: leaders setting a vision with clear goals for staff to embrace; involving the team to enable the goals and vision for the practice to be achieved; enhancing communication systems to reinforce goals for patient care; developing the team to enable the staff to contribute toward practice improvement; taking small steps, encouraging practices' tests of small changes in practice; assimilating the electronic medical record to maximize clinical effectiveness, enhancing practices' use of the electronic tool they have invested in for patient care improvement; and providing feedback within a culture of improvement, leading to an iterative cycle of goal setting by leaders.
This conceptual framework provides a mental model which can serve as a guide for practice leaders implementing clinical guidelines in primary care practice using electronic medical records. Using the concepts as implementation and evaluation criteria, program developers and teams can stimulate improvements in their practice settings. Investing in collaborative team development of clinicians and staff may enable the practice environment to be more adaptive to change and improvement.
PMCID: PMC2254645  PMID: 18199330
2.  Using a summary measure for multiple quality indicators in primary care: the Summary QUality InDex (SQUID) 
Assessing the quality of primary care is becoming a priority in national healthcare agendas. Audit and feedback on healthcare quality performance indicators can help improve the quality of care provided. In some instances, fewer numbers of more comprehensive indicators may be preferable. This paper describes the use of the Summary Quality Index (SQUID) in tracking quality of care among patients and primary care practices that use an electronic medical record (EMR). All practices are part of the Practice Partner Research Network, representing over 100 ambulatory care practices throughout the United States.
The SQUID is comprised of 36 process and outcome measures, all of which are obtained from the EMR. This paper describes algorithms for the SQUID calculations, various statistical properties, and use of the SQUID within the context of a multi-practice quality improvement (QI) project.
At any given time point, the patient-level SQUID reflects the proportion of recommended care received, while the practice-level SQUID reflects the average proportion of recommended care received by that practice's patients. Using quarterly reports, practice- and patient-level SQUIDs are provided routinely to practices within the network. The SQUID is responsive, exhibiting highly significant (p < 0.0001) increases during a major QI initiative, and its internal consistency is excellent (Cronbach's alpha = 0.93). Feedback from physicians has been extremely positive, providing a high degree of face validity.
The SQUID algorithm is feasible and straightforward, and provides a useful QI tool. Its statistical properties and clear interpretation make it appealing to providers, health plans, and researchers.
PMCID: PMC1852570  PMID: 17407560
3.  The effect of ethnicity on outcomes in a practice-based trial to improve cardiovascular disease prevention 
Health disparities are a growing concern. Recently, we conducted a practice-based trial to help primary care physicians improve adherence with 21 quality indicators relevant to the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Although the primary concern in that study was whether patients in intervention practices outperformed those in control practices, we were also interested in determining whether minority patients were more, less, or just as likely to benefit from the intervention as non-minorities.
Baseline (fourth quarter 2000) and follow-up (fourth quarter 2002) data were obtained from 3 intervention practices believed to have at least 10% minority representation. Two practices had a black (non-Hispanic) population sufficient for analysis, while the other had a sufficient Hispanic population. Within each practice, changes in the 21 indicators were compared between the minority patient population and the entire patient population. The proportion of measures in which minority patients exhibited greater improvement was calculated for each practice and for all 3 practices combined, and comparisons were made using non-parametric methods.
For all black patients, the observed improvement in 50% of 22 eligible study indicators was better than that observed among all white patients in the same practices. The average changes in the study indicators observed among the black and white patients were not significantly different (p = 0.300) from one another. Likewise for all minority patients in all 3 practices combined, the observed improvement in 14 of 29 (43.3%) eligible study indicators was better than that observed among all white patients. The average changes in the study indicators among all minority patients were not significantly different from the changes observed among the white patients (p = 0.272).
Among 3 intervention practices involved in a quality improvement project, there did not appear to be any significant disparity between minority and non-minority patients in the improvement in study indicators.
PMCID: PMC544361  PMID: 15585057

Results 1-3 (3)