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1.  A cognitive perspective on health systems integration: results of a Canadian Delphi study 
Ongoing challenges to healthcare integration point toward the need to move beyond structural and process issues. While we know what needs to be done to achieve integrated care, there is little that informs us as to how. We need to understand how diverse organizations and professionals develop shared knowledge and beliefs – that is, we need to generate knowledge about normative integration. We present a cognitive perspective on integration, based on shared mental model theory, that may enhance our understanding and ability to measure and influence normative integration. The aim of this paper is to validate and improve the Mental Models of Integrated Care (MMIC) Framework, which outlines important knowledge and beliefs whose convergence or divergence across stakeholder groups may influence inter-professional and inter-organizational relations.
We used a two-stage web-based modified Delphi process to test the MMIC Framework against expert opinion using a random sample of participants from Canada’s National Symposium on Integrated Care. Respondents were asked to rate the framework’s clarity, comprehensiveness, usefulness, and importance using seven-point ordinal scales. Spaces for open comments were provided. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the structured responses, while open comments were coded and categorized using thematic analysis. The Kruskall-Wallis test was used to examine cross-group agreement by level of integration experience, current workplace, and current role.
In the first round, 90 individuals responded (52% response rate), representing a wide range of professional roles and organization types from across the continuum of care. In the second round, 68 individuals responded (75.6% response rate). The quantitative and qualitative feedback from experts was used to revise the framework. The re-named “Integration Mindsets Framework” consists of a Strategy Mental Model and a Relationships Mental Model, comprising a total of nineteen content areas.
The Integration Mindsets Framework draws the attention of researchers and practitioners to how various stakeholders think about and conceptualize integration. A cognitive approach to understanding and measuring normative integration complements dominant cultural approaches and allows for more fine-grained analyses. The framework can be used by managers and leaders to facilitate the interpretation, planning, implementation, management and evaluation of integration initiatives.
PMCID: PMC4066828  PMID: 24885659
Health systems integration; Integrated care; Shared mental models; Group cognition; Organizational culture; Change management
2.  The contribution of case study research to knowledge of how to improve quality of care 
BMJ quality & safety  2011;20(Suppl_1):i30-i35.
Efforts to improve the implementation of effective practice and to speed up improvements in quality and patient safety continue to pose challenges for researchers and policy makers. Organisational research, and, in particular, case studies of quality improvement, offer methods to improve understanding of the role of organisational and microsystem contexts for improving care and the development of theories which might guide improvement strategies.
This paper reviews examples of such research and details the methodological issues in constructing and analysing case studies. Case study research typically collects a wide array of data from interviews, documents and other sources.
Advances in methods for coding and analysing these data are improving the quality of reports from these studies.
PMCID: PMC3066793  PMID: 21450767
Quality improvement; case study; qualitative research; healthcare quality improvement; research
3.  Knowledge Translation and Patient Safety: The Canadian Adverse Events Study 
Healthcare Policy  2006;1(3):45-50.
The Canadian Adverse Events Study was the first national study of adverse events in Canadian hospitals. Learning from the controversy surrounding similar studies in other countries, the team engaged in extensive knowledge translation activities throughout the life of the project. Using meetings, Web-based communication and other tools, the team successfully prepared most Canadian stakeholders for the study’s release, allowing them to develop anticipatory patient safety initiatives. However, upon publication of the study, the policy spotlight quickly shifted to other issues, and the long-term commitment needed to create safer healthcare is still uncertain.
PMCID: PMC2585339  PMID: 19305669
4.  Adverse events among Ontario home care clients associated with emergency room visit or hospitalization: a retrospective cohort study 
Home care (HC) is a critical component of the ongoing restructuring of healthcare in Canada. It impacts three dimensions of healthcare delivery: primary healthcare, chronic disease management, and aging at home strategies. The purpose of our study is to investigate a significant safety dimension of HC, the occurrence of adverse events and their related outcomes. The study reports on the incidence of HC adverse events, the magnitude of the events, the types of events that occur, and the consequences experienced by HC clients in the province of Ontario.
A retrospective cohort design was used, utilizing comprehensive secondary databases available for Ontario HC clients from the years 2008 and 2009. The data were derived from the Canadian Home Care Reporting System, the Hospital Discharge Abstract Database, the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System, the Ontario Mental Health Reporting System, and the Continuing Care Reporting System. Descriptive analysis was used to identify the type and frequency of the adverse events recorded and the consequences of the events. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association between the events and their consequences.
The study found that the incident rate for adverse events for the HC clients included in the cohort was 13%. The most frequent adverse events identified in the databases were injurious falls, injuries from other than a fall, and medication-related incidents. With respect to outcomes, we determined that an injurious fall was associated with a significant increase in the odds of a client requiring long-term-care facility admission and of client death. We further determined that three types of events, delirium, sepsis, and medication-related incidents were associated directly with an increase in the odds of client death.
Our study concludes that 13% of clients in homecare experience an adverse event annually. We also determined that an injurious fall was the most frequent of the adverse events and was associated with increased admission to long-term care or death. We recommend the use of tools that are presently available in Canada, such as the Resident Assessment Instrument and its Clinical Assessment Protocols, for assessing and mitigating the risk of an adverse event occurring.
PMCID: PMC3751652  PMID: 23800280
5.  Adverse events among children in Canadian hospitals: the Canadian Paediatric Adverse Events Study 
Limited data are available on adverse events among children admitted to hospital. The Canadian Paediatric Adverse Events Study was done to describe the epidemiology of adverse events among children in hospital in Canada.
We performed a 2-stage medical record review at 8 academic pediatric centres and 14 community hospitals in Canada. We reviewed charts from patients admitted from April 2008 through March 2009, evenly distributed across 4 age groups (0 to 28 d; 29 to 365 d; > 1 to 5 yr and > 5 to 18 yr). In stage 1, nurses and health records personnel who had received training in the use of the Canadian Paediatric Trigger Tool reviewed medical records to detect triggers for possible adverse events. In stage 2, physicians reviewed the charts identified as having triggers and described the adverse events.
A total of 3669 children were admitted to hospital during the study period. The weighted rate of adverse events was 9.2%. Adverse events were more frequent in academic pediatric centres than in community hospitals (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 2.98, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.65–5.39). The incidence of preventable adverse events was not significantly different between types of hospital, but nonpreventable adverse events were more common in academic pediatric centres (adjusted OR 4.39, 95% CI 2.08–9.27). Surgical events predominated overall and occurred more frequently in academic pediatric centres than in community hospitals (37.2% v. 21.5%, relative risk [RR] 1.7, 95% CI 1.0–3.1), whereas events associated with diagnostic errors were significantly less frequent (11.1% v. 23.1%, RR 0.5, 95% CI 0.2–0.9).
More children have adverse events in academic pediatric centres than in community hospitals; however, adverse events in the former are less likely to be preventable. There are many opportunities to reduce harm affecting children in hospital in Canada, particularly related to surgery, intensive care and diagnostic error.
PMCID: PMC3447037  PMID: 22847964
6.  Description of the development and validation of the Canadian Paediatric Trigger Tool 
BMJ quality & safety  2011;20(5):416-423.
To describe the process of developing and validating the Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres Trigger Tool (CPTT).
Five existing trigger tools were consolidated with duplicate triggers eliminated. After a risk analysis and modified Delphi process, the tool was reduced from 94 to 47 triggers. Feasibility of use was tested, reviewing 40 charts in three hospitals. For validation, charts were randomly selected across four age groups, half medical/half surgical diagnoses, from six paediatric academic health sciences centres. 591 charts were reviewed by six nurses (for triggers and adverse events (AEs)) and three physicians (for AEs only). The incidence of trigger- and AE-positive charts was documented, and the sensitivity and specificity of the tool to identify charts with AEs were determined. Identification of AEs by nurses and physicians was compared. The positive predictive value (PPV) of each trigger was calculated and the ratio of false- to true-positive AE predictors analysed for each trigger.
Nurses rated the CPTT easy to use and identified triggers in 61.1% (361/591; 95% CI 57.2 to 65.0) of patient charts; physicians identified AEs in 15.1% (89/ 591, 95% CI 0.23 to 0.43). Over a third of patients with AEs were neonates. The sensitivity and specificity were 0.88 and 0.44, respectively. Nurse and physician AE assessments correlated poorly. The PPV for each trigger ranged from 0 to 88.3%. Triggers with a false/true-positive ratio of >0.7 were eliminated, resulting in the final 35-trigger CPTT.
The CPTT is the first validated, comprehensive trigger tool available to detect AEs in children hospitalised in acute care facilities.
PMCID: PMC3088437  PMID: 21242527
Trigger; adverse event; harm; patient safety; research
7.  Consumers of natural health products: natural-born pharmacovigilantes? 
Natural health products (NHPs), such as herbal medicines and vitamins, are widely available over-the-counter and are often purchased by consumers without advice from a healthcare provider. This study examined how consumers respond when they believe they have experienced NHP-related adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in order to determine how to improve current safety monitoring strategies.
Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with twelve consumers who had experienced a self-identified NHP-related ADR. Key emergent themes were identified and coded using content analysis techniques.
Consumers were generally not comfortable enough with their conventional health care providers to discuss their NHP-related ADRs. Consumers reported being more comfortable discussing NHP-related ADRs with personnel from health food stores, friends or family with whom they had developed trusted relationships. No one reported their suspected ADR to Health Canada and most did not know this was possible.
Consumers generally did not report their suspected NHP-related ADRs to healthcare providers or to Health Canada. Passive reporting systems for collecting information on NHP-related ADRs cannot be effective if consumers who experience NHP-related ADRs do not report their experiences. Healthcare providers, health food store personnel, manufacturers and other stakeholders also need to take responsibility for reporting ADRs in order to improve current pharmacovigilance of NHPs.
PMCID: PMC2847952  PMID: 20184759
8.  Preserving professional credibility: grounded theory study of medical trainees’ requests for clinical support 
Objective To develop a conceptual framework of the influences on medical trainees’ decisions regarding requests for clinical support from a supervisor.
Design Phase 1: members of teaching teams in internal and emergency medicine were observed during regular clinical activities (216 hours) and subsequently completed brief interviews. Phase 2: 36 in depth interviews were conducted using videotaped vignettes to probe tacit influences on decisions to request support. Data collection and analysis used grounded theory methods.
Setting Three teaching hospitals in an urban setting in Canada.
Participants 124 members of teaching teams on general internal medicine wards and in the emergency department, comprising 31 attending physicians, 57 junior and senior residents, 28 medical students, and eight nurses. Purposeful sampling to saturation was conducted.
Results Trainees’ decisions about whether or not to seek clinical support were influenced by three issues: the clinical question (clinical importance, scope of practice), supervisor factors (availability, approachability), and trainee factors (skill, desire for independence, evaluation). Trainees perceived that requesting frequent/inappropriate support threatened their credibility and used rhetorical strategies to preserve credibility. These strategies included building a case for the importance of requests, saving requests for opportune moments, making a plan before requesting support, and targeting requests to specific team members.
Conclusions Trainees consider not only clinical implications but also professional credibility when requesting support from clinical supervisors. Exposing the complexity of this process provides the opportunity to make changes to training programmes to promote timely supervision and provides a framework for further exploration of the impact of clinical training on quality of care of patients.
PMCID: PMC2640114  PMID: 19204035
9.  Emergency Planning in Ontario's Acute Care Hospitals: A Survey of Board Chairs 
Healthcare Policy  2008;3(3):64-74.
Effective hospital governance depends on proactive board leadership to minimize risk.
Study Aim:
To survey hospital board chairs about governance practices, particularly with respect to approval processes for oversight of management preparedness for unforeseen emergencies.
A 2004 survey of hospital managers initially suggested greater board leadership in risk management as a desired strategic priority for Ontario's acute care hospitals. Our literature review and panel process defined 34 best practices in board governance, including two practices explicitly addressing the board's role in preparing for risk.
Our findings revealed that some boards may not be actively engaged in ensuring that adequate processes are in place to protect against risk. More than one-quarter (n=28, 26.9%) of board chairs reported that they had not approved a management plan to address emergencies. Thirty respondents (28.8%) said they had not approved a process to identify, manage and minimize risks to the hospital's sustainability. Forty-seven respondents (45.2%) said they had not approved both of these two processes. A significant association emerged between boards that had approved both risk preparation strategies and boards that had implemented six key governance practices relating to accountability for leadership and stakeholder communication.
PMCID: PMC2645143  PMID: 19305769
10.  Clinical Oversight: Conceptualizing the Relationship Between Supervision and Safety 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2007;22(8):1080-1085.
Concern about the link between clinical supervision and safe, quality health care has led to widespread increases in the supervision of medical trainees. The effects of increased supervision on patient care and trainee education are not known, primarily because the current multifacted and poorly operationalized concept of clinical supervision limits the potential for evaluation.
To develop a conceptual model of clinical supervision to inform and guide policy and research.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Observational fieldwork and interviews were conducted in the Emergency Department and General Internal Medicine in-patient teaching wards of two academic health sciences centers associated with an urban Canadian medical school. Members of 12 Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine teaching teams (n = 88) were observed during regular clinical activities (216 hours). Sixty-five participants (12 physicians, 28 residents, 17 medical students, 8 nurses) also completed interviews about supervision. Field notes and interview transcripts were analyzed for emergent themes using grounded theory methodology.
The term “clinical oversight” was developed to describe patient care activities performed by supervisors to ensure quality of care. “Routine oversight” (preplanned monitoring of trainees’ clinical work) can expose supervisors to concerns that trigger “responsive oversight” (a double-check or elaboration of trainees’ clinical work). Supervisors sometimes engage in “backstage oversight” (oversight of which the trainee is not directly aware). When supervisors encounter a situation that exceeds a trainee’s competence, they move beyond clinical oversight to “direct patient care”.
This study elaborates a typology of clinical oversight activities including routine, responsive, and backstage oversight. This new typology provides a framework for clinical supervision policy and for research to evaluate the relationship between supervision and safety.
PMCID: PMC2305735  PMID: 17557190
qualitative research; grounded theory methodology; medical education; professionalism; patient safety
12.  The Canadian Adverse Events Study: the incidence of adverse events among hospital patients in Canada 
Research into adverse events (AEs) has highlighted the need to improve patient safety. AEs are unintended injuries or complications resulting in death, disability or prolonged hospital stay that arise from health care management. We estimated the incidence of AEs among patients in Canadian acute care hospitals.
We randomly selected 1 teaching, 1 large community and 2 small community hospitals in each of 5 provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia) and reviewed a random sample of charts for nonpsychiatric, nonobstetric adult patients in each hospital for the fiscal year 2000. Trained reviewers screened all eligible charts, and physicians reviewed the positively screened charts to identify AEs and determine their preventability.
At least 1 screening criterion was identified in 1527 (40.8%) of 3745 charts. The physician reviewers identified AEs in 255 of the charts. After adjustment for the sampling strategy, the AE rate was 7.5 per 100 hospital admissions (95% confidence interval [CI] 5.7– 9.3). Among the patients with AEs, events judged to be preventable occurred in 36.9% (95% CI 32.0%–41.8%) and death in 20.8% (95% CI 7.8%–33.8%). Physician reviewers estimated that 1521 additional hospital days were associated with AEs. Although men and women experienced equal rates of AEs, patients who had AEs were significantly older than those who did not (mean age [and standard deviation] 64.9 [16.7] v. 62.0 [18.4] years; p = 0.016).
The overall incidence rate of AEs of 7.5% in our study suggests that, of the almost 2.5 million annual hospital admissions in Canada similar to the type studied, about 185 000 are associated with an AE and close to 70 000 of these are potentially preventable.
PMCID: PMC408508  PMID: 15159366
14.  Silence, power and communication in the operating room 
Journal of Advanced Nursing  2009;65(7):1390-1399.
Title. Silence, power and communication in the operating room
This paper is a report of a study conducted to explore whether a 1- to 3-minute preoperative interprofessional team briefing with a structured checklist was an effective way to support communication in the operating room.
Previous research suggests that nurses often feel constrained in their ability to communicate with physicians. Previous research on silence and power suggests that silence is not only a reflection of powerlessness or passivity, and that silence and speech are not opposites, but closely interrelated.
We conducted a retrospective study of silences observed in communication between nurses and surgeons in a multi-site observational study of interprofessional communication in the operating room. Over 700 surgical procedures were observed from 2005–2007. Instances of communication characterized by unresolved or unarticulated issues were identified in field notes and analysed from a critical ethnography perspective.
We identified three forms of recurring ‘silences’: absence of communication; not responding to queries or requests; and speaking quietly. These silences may be defensive or strategic, and they may be influenced by larger institutional and structural power dynamics as well as by the immediate situational context.
There is no single answer to the question of why ‘nobody said anything’. Exploring silences in relation to power suggests that there are multiple and complex ways that constrained communication is produced in the operating room, which are essential to understand in order to improve interprofessional communication and collaboration.
PMCID: PMC3001035
communicating; ethnography; nurse–physician relationships; operating room; power; silence; theatre nursing
15.  Assessing adverse events among home care clients in three Canadian provinces using chart review 
BMJ Quality & Safety  2013;22(12):989-997.
The objectives of this study were to document the incidence rate and types of adverse events (AEs) among home care (HC) clients in Canada; identify factors contributing to these AEs; and determine to what extent evidence of completion of incident reports were documented in charts where AEs were found.
This was a retrospective cohort study based on expert chart review of a random sample of 1200 charts of clients discharged in fiscal year 2009–2010 from publicly funded HC programmes in Manitoba, Quebec and Nova Scotia, Canada.
The results show that 4.2% (95% CI 3.0% to 5.4%) of HC patients discharged in a 12-month period experienced an AE. Adjusting to account for clients with lengths of stay in HC of less than 1 year, the AE incidence rate per client-year was 10.1% (95% CI 8.4% to 11.8%); 56% of AEs were judged preventable. The most frequent AEs were injuries from falls, wound infections, psychosocial, behavioural or mental health problems and adverse outcomes from medication errors. More comorbid conditions (OR 1.15; 95% CI 1.05 to 1.26) and a lower instrumental activities of daily living score (OR 1.54; 95% CI 1.16 to 2.04) were associated with a higher risk of experiencing an AE. Clients’ decisions or actions contributed to 48.4% of AEs, informal caregivers 20.4% of AEs, and healthcare personnel 46.2% of AEs. Only 17.3% of charts with an AE contained documentation that indicated an incident report was completed, while 4.8% of charts without an AE had such documentation.
Client safety is an important issue in HC, as it is in institutionalised care. HC includes the planned delivery of self-care by clients and care provision by family, friends and other individuals often described as ‘informal’ caregivers. As clients and these caregivers can contribute to the occurrence of AEs, their involvement in the delivery of healthcare interventions at home must be considered when planning strategies to improve HC safety.
PMCID: PMC3888609  PMID: 23828878
Adverse events, epidemiology and detection; Patient safety; Chart review methodologies
16.  Adverse Event Reporting for Herbal Medicines: A Result of Market Forces 
Healthcare Policy  2009;4(4):77-90.
Herbal products are readily available over the counter in health food stores and are often perceived to be without risk. The current Canadian adverse event reporting system suffers from severe underreporting, resulting in a scarcity of safety data on herbal products. Twelve health food store personnel in the Greater Toronto Area were interviewed about their responses to herbal product–related adverse reactions. They generally fostered customer loyalty by offering generous return policies, which included collecting contact information to be sent to the manufacturers with the returned product. Thus, despite the public's lack of knowledge about the formal reporting system, adverse reaction information was directed to manufacturers whenever it resulted in a product return. The relationship between health food stores, industry and Health Canada provides a new opportunity to facilitate adverse event reporting. Additional information could be collected during the return process, and educational initiatives could be implemented to augment current post-market surveillance procedures for herbal products.
PMCID: PMC2700706  PMID: 20436811

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