Long-term care settings provide care to a large proportion of predominantly older, highly disabled adults across the United States and Canada. Managing and improving quality of care is challenging, in part because staffing is highly dependent on relatively non-professional health care aides and resources are limited. Feedback interventions in these settings are relatively rare, and there has been little published information about the process of feedback intervention. Our objectives were to describe the key components of uptake of the feedback reports, as well as other indicators of participant response to the intervention.
We conducted this project in nine long-term care units in four facilities in Edmonton, Canada. We used mixed methods, including observations during a 13-month feedback report intervention with nine post-feedback survey cycles, to conduct a process evaluation of a feedback report intervention in these units. We included all facility-based direct care providers (staff) in the feedback report distribution and survey administration. We conducted descriptive analyses of the data from observations and surveys, presenting this in tabular and graphic form. We constructed a short scale to measure uptake of the feedback reports. Our analysis evaluated feedback report uptake by provider type over the 13 months of the intervention.
We received a total of 1,080 survey responses over the period of the intervention, which varied by type of provider, facility, and survey month. Total number of reports distributed ranged from 103 in cycle 12 to 229 in cycle 3, although the method of delivery varied widely across the period, from 12% to 65% delivered directly to individuals and 15% to 84% left for later distribution. The key elements of feedback uptake, including receiving, reading, understanding, discussing, and reporting a perception that the reports were useful, varied by survey cycle and provider type, as well as by facility. Uptake, as we measured it, was consistently high overall, but varied widely by provider type and time period.
We report detailed process data describing the aspects of uptake of a feedback report during an intensive, longitudinal feedback intervention in long-term care facilities. Uptake is a complex process for which we used multiple measures. We demonstrate the feasibility of conducting a complex longitudinal feedback intervention in relatively resource-poor long-term care facilities to a wider range of provider types than have been included in prior feedback interventions.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13012-015-0208-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Feedback intervention; Long-term care; Quality improvement; Process evaluation
There is considerable evidence about the effectiveness of audit coupled with feedback for provider behavior change, although few feedback interventions have been conducted in long-term care settings. The primary purpose of the Data for Improvement and Clinical Excellence-Long-Term Care (DICE-LTC) project was to assess the effects of a feedback intervention delivered to all direct care providers on resident outcomes. Our objective in this report is to assess the effect of feedback reporting on rates of pain assessment, depression screening, and falls over time.
The intervention consisted of monthly feedback reports delivered to all direct care providers, facility and unit administrators, and support staff, delivered over 13 months in nine LTC units across four facilities. Data for feedback reports came from the Resident Assessment Instrument Minimum Data Set (RAI) version 2.0, a standardized instrument mandated in LTC facilities throughout Alberta. The primary evaluation used an interrupted time series design with a comparison group (units not included in the feedback intervention) and a comparison condition (pressure ulcers). We used segmented regression analysis to assess the effect of the feedback intervention.
The primary outcome of the study, falls, showed little change over the period of the intervention, except for a small increase in the rate of falls during the intervention period. The only outcome that improved during the intervention period was the proportion of residents with high pain scores, which decreased at the beginning of the intervention. The proportion of residents with high depression scores appeared to worsen during the intervention.
Maintaining all nine units in the study for its 13-month duration was a positive outcome. The feedback reports, without any other intervention included, did not achieve the desired reduction in proportion of falls and elevated depression scores. The survey on intention to change pain assessment practice which was conducted shortly after most of the feedback distribution cycles may have acted as a co-intervention supporting a reduction in pain scores. The processing and delivery of feedback reports could be accomplished at relatively low cost because the data are mandated and could be added to other intervention approaches to support implementation of evidence-based practices.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13012-014-0161-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Audit with feedback intervention; Interrupted time series; Long-term care; Quality improvement
Audit with feedback is a moderately effective approach for improving professional practice in other health care settings. Although unregulated caregivers give the majority of direct care in long-term care settings, little is known about how they understand and perceive feedback reports because unregulated providers have not been directly targeted to receive audit with feedback in quality improvement interventions in long-term care. The purpose of this paper is to describe unregulated care providers’ perceptions of usefulness of a feedback report in four Canadian long-term care facilities.
We delivered monthly feedback reports to unregulated care providers for 13 months in 2009–2010. The feedback reports described a unit’s performance in relation to falls, depression, and pain as compared to eight other units in the study. Follow-up surveys captured participant perceptions of the feedback report. We conducted descriptive analyses of the variables related to participant perceptions and multivariable logistic regression to assess the association between perceived usefulness of the feedback report and a set of independent variables.
The vast majority (80%) of unregulated care providers (n = 171) who responded said they understood the reports. Those who discussed the report with others and were interested in other forms of data were more likely to find the feedback report useful for making changes in resident care.
This work suggests that unregulated care providers can understand and feel positively about using audit with feedback reports to make changes to resident care. Further research should explore ways to promote fuller engagement of unregulated care providers in decision-making to improve quality of care in long-term care settings.
Long-term care; Unregulated care provider; Quality of care; Audit and feedback
The Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) was developed to investigate determinants of specific clinical behaviors and inform the design of interventions to change professional behavior. This framework was used to explore the beliefs of chiropractors in an American Provider Network and two Canadian provinces about their adherence to evidence-based recommendations for spine radiography for uncomplicated back pain. The primary objective of the study was to identify chiropractors’ beliefs about managing uncomplicated back pain without x-rays and to explore barriers and facilitators to implementing evidence-based recommendations on lumbar spine x-rays. A secondary objective was to compare chiropractors in the United States and Canada on their beliefs regarding the use of spine x-rays.
Six focus groups exploring beliefs about managing back pain without x-rays were conducted with a purposive sample. The interview guide was based upon the TDF. Focus groups were digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed by two independent assessors using thematic content analysis based on the TDF.
Five domains were identified as likely relevant. Key beliefs within these domains included the following: conflicting comments about the potential consequences of not ordering x-rays (risk of missing a pathology, avoiding adverse treatment effects, risks of litigation, determining the treatment plan, and using x-ray-driven techniques contrasted with perceived benefits of minimizing patient radiation exposure and reducing costs; beliefs about consequences); beliefs regarding professional autonomy, professional credibility, lack of standardization, and agreement with guidelines widely varied ( social/professional role & identity); the influence of formal training, colleagues, and patients also appeared to be important factors ( social influences); conflicting comments regarding levels of confidence and comfort in managing patients without x-rays ( belief about capabilities); and guideline awareness and agreements ( knowledge).
Chiropractors’ use of diagnostic imaging appears to be influenced by a number of factors. Five key domains may be important considering the presence of conflicting beliefs, evidence of strong beliefs likely to impact the behavior of interest, and high frequency of beliefs. The results will inform the development of a theory-based survey to help identify potential targets for behavioral-change strategies.
Theoretical domains framework; Focus groups; Content analysis; Social/professional role and identity; Social influence; Chiropractors; Radiography; X-ray guidelines; Back pain
To compare the rankings for health care utilization performance measures at the facility level in a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) health care delivery network using pharmacy- and diagnosis-based case-mix adjustment measures.
Data Sources/Study Setting
The study included veterans who used inpatient or outpatient services in Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 20 during fiscal year 1998 (October 1997 to September 1998; N=126,076). Utilization and pharmacy data were extracted from VHA national databases and the VISN 20 data warehouse.
We estimated concurrent regression models using pharmacy or diagnosis information in the base year (FY1998) to predict health service utilization in the same year. Utilization measures included bed days of care for inpatient care and provider visits for outpatient care.
Rankings of predicted utilization measures across facilities vary by case-mix adjustment measure. There is greater consistency within the diagnosis-based models than between the diagnosis- and pharmacy-based models. The eight facilities were ranked differently by the diagnosis- and pharmacy-based models.
Choice of case-mix adjustment measure affects rankings of facilities on performance measures, raising concerns about the validity of profiling practices. Differences in rankings may reflect differences in comparability of data capture across facilities between pharmacy and diagnosis data sources, and unstable estimates due to small numbers of patients in a facility.
Case-mix adjustment; pharmacy data; profiling
Although considerable evidence exists about the effectiveness of audit coupled with feedback, very few audit-with-feedback interventions have been done in either home care or supportive living settings to date. With little history of audit and feedback in home care or supportive living there is potential for greater effects, at least initially. This study extends the work of an earlier study designed to assess the effects of an audit-with-feedback intervention. It will be delivered quarterly over a one-year period in seven home care offices and 11 supportive living sites. The research questions are the same as in the first study but in a different environment. They are as follows:
1. What effects do feedback reports have on processes and outcomes over time?
2. How do different provider groups in home care and supportive living sites respond to feedback reports based on quality indicator data?
The research team conducting this study includes researchers and decision makers in continuing care in the province of Alberta, Canada. The intervention consists of quarterly feedback reports in 19 home care offices and supportive living sites across Alberta. Data for the feedback reports are based on the Resident Assessment Instrument Home Care tool, a standardized instrument mandated for use in home care and supportive living environments throughout Alberta. The feedback reports consist of one page, printed front and back, presenting both graphic and textual information. Reports are delivered to all employees working in each site. The primary evaluation uses a controlled interrupted time-series design, both adjusted and unadjusted for covariates. The concurrent process evaluation includes observation, focus groups, and self-reports to assess uptake of the feedback reports. The project described in this protocol follows a similar intervention conducted in our previous study, Data for Improvement and Clinical Excellence--Long-Term Care. We will offer dissemination strategies and spread of the feedback report approach in several ways suited to various audiences and stakeholders throughout Alberta.
This study will generate knowledge about the effects of an audit with feedback intervention in home care and supportive living settings. Our dissemination activities will focus on supporting sites to continue to use the Resident Assessment Instrument data in their quality improvement activities.
Globally, healthcare systems are attempting to optimize quality of care. This challenge has resulted in the development of implementation science or knowledge translation (KT) and the resulting need to build capacity in both the science and practice of KT.
We are attempting to meet these challenges through the creation of a national training initiative in KT. We have identified core competencies in this field and have developed a series of educational courses and materials for three training streams. We report the outline for this approach and the progress to date.
We have prepared a strategy to develop, implement, and evaluate a national training initiative to build capacity in the science and practice of KT. Ultimately through this initiative, we hope to meet the capacity demand for KT researchers and practitioners in Canada that will lead to improved care and a strengthened healthcare system.
There is widespread interest in measuring organizational readiness to implement evidence-based practices in clinical care. However, there are a number of challenges to validating organizational measures, including inferential bias arising from the halo effect and method bias - two threats to validity that, while well-documented by organizational scholars, are often ignored in health services research. We describe a protocol to comprehensively assess the psychometric properties of a previously developed survey, the Organizational Readiness to Change Assessment.
Our objective is to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the psychometric properties of the Organizational Readiness to Change Assessment incorporating methods specifically to address threats from halo effect and method bias.
Methods and Design
We will conduct three sets of analyses using longitudinal, secondary data from four partner projects, each testing interventions to improve the implementation of an evidence-based clinical practice. Partner projects field the Organizational Readiness to Change Assessment at baseline (n = 208 respondents; 53 facilities), and prospectively assesses the degree to which the evidence-based practice is implemented. We will conduct predictive and concurrent validities using hierarchical linear modeling and multivariate regression, respectively. For predictive validity, the outcome is the change from baseline to follow-up in the use of the evidence-based practice. We will use intra-class correlations derived from hierarchical linear models to assess inter-rater reliability. Two partner projects will also field measures of job satisfaction for convergent and discriminant validity analyses, and will field Organizational Readiness to Change Assessment measures at follow-up for concurrent validity (n = 158 respondents; 33 facilities). Convergent and discriminant validities will test associations between organizational readiness and different aspects of job satisfaction: satisfaction with leadership, which should be highly correlated with readiness, versus satisfaction with salary, which should be less correlated with readiness. Content validity will be assessed using an expert panel and modified Delphi technique.
We propose a comprehensive protocol for validating a survey instrument for assessing organizational readiness to change that specifically addresses key threats of bias related to halo effect, method bias and questions of construct validity that often go unexplored in research using measures of organizational constructs.
The impact of co-morbid illnesses on adherence to guideline recommendations in chronic illness is of growing concern. We tested a framework [Piette and Kerr, Diabetes Care. 29(3):725–31, 2006] of provider adherence to guidelines in the presence of co-morbid conditions, which suggests that the effect of co-morbid conditions depends on treatment recommendations for the co-morbid conditions and how symptomatic they are.
We conducted an exploratory analysis to assess the framework using chart audit data for 1,240 post-acute myocardial infarction (AMI) Medicare beneficiaries in Alabama. We assessed level of guideline-adherent post-AMI care from chart-based quality indicators and constructed scores reflecting how much care for the co-morbid condition was similar to post-AMI care (concordance) and how symptomatic the co-morbid condition is, based on expert opinion.
Patients had a mean age of 74 years, mean co-morbidities of 2, and 61% were white. Both concordance and symptomatic scores were positively associated with guideline compliance, with correlations of 0.32 and 0.14, respectively (p < 0.001 for each). We found positive correlations between highly concordant co-morbid conditions and post-AMI quality scores and negative correlations between highly symptomatic conditions and post-AMI quality scores; both findings support the framework. However, the framework performed less well for conditions that were not highly concordant or highly symptomatic, and the magnitudes of the associations were not large.
The framework was related to the association of co-morbid conditions with adherence by providers to guideline-recommended treatment for post-AMI patients. The framework holds promise for evaluating and possibly predicting guideline adherence.
acute myocardial infarction; guideline adherence; co-morbid disease; multi-morbidity; older patients; theory testing
While the demand for continuing care services in Canada grows, the quality of such services has come under increasing scrutiny. Consideration has been given to the use of public reporting of quality data as a mechanism to stimulate quality improvement and promote public accountability for and transparency in service quality. The recent adoption of the Resident Assessment Instrument (RAI) throughout a number of Canadian jurisdictions means that standardized quality data are available for comparisons among facilities across regions, provinces and nationally. In this paper, we explore current knowledge on public reporting in nursing homes in the United States to identify what lessons may inform policy discussion regarding potential use of public reporting in Canada. Based on these findings, we make recommendations regarding how public reporting should be progressed and managed if Canadian jurisdictions were to implement this strategy.
There is considerable evidence about the effectiveness of audit coupled with feedback, although few audit with feedback interventions have been conducted in long-term care (LTC) settings to date. In general, the effects have been found to be modest at best, although in settings where there has been little history of audit and feedback, the effects may be greater, at least initially. The primary purpose of the Data for Improvement and Clinical Excellence (DICE) Long-Term Care project is to assess the effects of an audit with feedback intervention delivered monthly over 13 months in four LTC facilities. The research questions we addressed are:
1. What effects do feedback reports have on processes and outcomes over time?
2. How do different provider groups in LTC and home care respond to feedback reports based on data targeted at improving quality of care?
The research team conducting this study comprises researchers and decision makers in continuing care in the province of Alberta, Canada. The intervention consists of monthly feedback reports in nine LTC units in four facilities in Edmonton, Alberta. Data for the feedback reports comes from the Resident Assessment Instrument Minimum Data Set (RAI) version 2.0, a standardized instrument mandated for use in LTC facilities throughout Alberta. Feedback reports consist of one page, front and back, presenting both graphic and textual information. Reports are delivered to all staff working in the four LTC facilities. The primary evaluation uses a controlled interrupted time series design both adjusted and unadjusted for covariates. The concurrent process evaluation uses observation and self-report to assess uptake of the feedback reports. Following the project phase described in this protocol, a similar intervention will be conducted in home care settings in Alberta. Depending on project findings, if they are judged useful by decision makers participating in this research team, we plan dissemination and spread of the feedback report approach throughout Alberta.
Catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI), a frequent health care–associated infection (HAI), is a costly and common condition resulting in patient discomfort, activity restriction, and hospital discharge delays. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) no longer reimburses hospitals for the extra cost of caring for patients who develop CAUTI. The Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA) Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality has initiated a statewide initiative, MHA Keystone HAI, to help ameliorate the burden of disease associated with indwelling catheterization. In addition, a long-term research project is being conducted to evaluate the current initiative and to identify practical strategies to ensure the effective use of proven infection prevention and patient safety practices.
Overview of the Bladder Bundle Initiative in Michigan:
The bladder bundle as conceived by MHA Keystone HAI focuses on preventing CAUTI by optimizing the use of urinary catheters with a specific emphasis on continual assessment and catheter removal as soon as possible, especially for patients without a clear indication.
Collaboration Between Researchers and State wide Patient Safety Organizations:
A synergistic collaboration between patient safety researchers and a statewide patient safety organization is aimed at identifying effective strategies to move evidence from peer-reviewed literature to the bedside. Practical strategies that facilitate implementation of the bundle will be developed and tested using mixed quantitative and qualitative methods.
Simply disseminating scientific evidence is often ineffective in changing clinical practice. Therefore, learning how to implement these findings is critically important to promoting high-quality care and a safe health care environment.
Social networks are theorized as significant influences in the innovation adoption and behavior change processes. Our understanding of how social networks operate within healthcare settings is limited. As a result, our ability to design optimal interventions that employ social networks as a method of fostering planned behavior change is also limited. Through this proposed project, we expect to contribute new knowledge about factors influencing uptake of knowledge translation interventions.
Our specific aims include: To collect social network data among staff in two long-term care (LTC) facilities; to characterize social networks in these units; and to describe how social networks influence uptake and use of feedback reports.
Methods and design
In this prospective study, we will collect data on social networks in nursing units in two LTC facilities, and use social network analysis techniques to characterize and describe the networks. These data will be combined with data from a funded project to explore the impact of social networks on uptake and use of feedback reports. In this parent study, feedback reports using standardized resident assessment data are distributed on a monthly basis. Surveys are administered to assess report uptake. In the proposed project, we will collect data on social networks, analyzing the data using graphical and quantitative techniques. We will combine the social network data with survey data to assess the influence of social networks on uptake of feedback reports.
This study will contribute to understanding mechanisms for knowledge sharing among staff on units to permit more efficient and effective intervention design. A growing number of studies in the social network literature suggest that social networks can be studied not only as influences on knowledge translation, but also as possible mechanisms for fostering knowledge translation. This study will contribute to building theory to design such interventions.
Mortality from acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is declining worldwide. We sought to determine if mortality in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has also been declining.
We calculated 30-day mortality rates between 2004 and 2006 using data from the VHA External Peer Review Program (EPRP), which entails detailed abstraction of records of all patients with AMI. To compare trends within VHA with other systems of care, we estimated relative mortality rates between 2000 and 2005 for all males 65 years and older with a primary diagnosis of AMI using administrative data from the VHA Patient Treatment File and the Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) files.
Using EPRP data on 11,609 patients, we observed a statistically significant decline in adjusted 30-day mortality following AMI in VHA from 16.3% in 2004 to 13.9% in 2006, a relative decrease of 15% and a decrease in the odds of dying of 10% per year (p = .011). Similar declines were found for in-hospital and 90-day mortality.
Based on administrative data on 27,494 VHA patients age 65 years and older and 789,400 Medicare patients, 30-day mortality following AMI declined from 16.0% during 2000-2001 to 15.7% during 2004-June 2005 in VHA and from 16.7% to 15.5% in private sector hospitals. After adjusting for patient characteristics and hospital effects, the overall relative odds of death were similar for VHA and Medicare (odds ratio 1.02, 95% C.I. 0.96-1.08).
Mortality following AMI within VHA has declined significantly since 2003 at a rate that parallels that in Medicare-funded hospitals.
Identify and describe interventions to reduce time to reperfusion for patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).
Key word searches of five research databases: MEDLINE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), EMBASE, Web of Science, and Cochrane Clinical Trials Registry.
We included controlled and uncontrolled studies of interventions to reduce time to reperfusion. One researcher reviewed abstracts and 2 reviewed full text articles. Articles were subsequently abstracted into structured data tables, which included study design, setting, intervention, and outcome variables. We inductively developed intervention categories from the articles. A second researcher reviewed data abstraction for accuracy.
Measurements and Main Results
We identified 666 articles, 42 of which met inclusion criteria. We identified 11 intervention categories and classified them as either process specific (e.g., emergency department administration of thrombolytic therapy, activation of the catheterization laboratory by emergency department personnel) or system level (e.g., continuous quality improvement, critical pathways). A majority of studies (59%) were single-site pre/post design, and nearly half (47%) had sample sizes less than 100 patients. Thirty-two studies (76%) reported significantly lower door to reperfusion times associated with an intervention, 12 (29%) of which met or exceeded guideline recommended times. Relative decreases in times to reperfusion ranged from 15 to 82% for door to needle and 13–64% for door to balloon.
We identified an array of process and system-based quality improvement interventions associated with significant improvements in door to reperfusion time. However, weak study designs and inadequate information about implementation limit the usefulness of this literature.
Electronic supplementary materials
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-008-0563-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
cardiac reperfusion; myocardial infarction; systematic review; quality improvement
The Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services, or PARIHS, framework is a theoretical framework widely promoted as a guide to implement evidence-based clinical practices. However, it has as yet no pool of validated measurement instruments that operationalize the constructs defined in the framework. The present article introduces an Organizational Readiness to Change Assessment instrument (ORCA), organized according to the core elements and sub-elements of the PARIHS framework, and reports on initial validation.
We conducted scale reliability and factor analyses on cross-sectional, secondary data from three quality improvement projects (n = 80) conducted in the Veterans Health Administration. In each project, identical 77-item ORCA instruments were administered to one or more staff from each facility involved in quality improvement projects. Items were organized into 19 subscales and three primary scales corresponding to the core elements of the PARIHS framework: (1) Strength and extent of evidence for the clinical practice changes represented by the QI program, assessed with four subscales, (2) Quality of the organizational context for the QI program, assessed with six subscales, and (3) Capacity for internal facilitation of the QI program, assessed with nine subscales.
Cronbach's alpha for scale reliability were 0.74, 0.85 and 0.95 for the evidence, context and facilitation scales, respectively. The evidence scale and its three constituent subscales failed to meet the conventional threshold of 0.80 for reliability, and three individual items were eliminated from evidence subscales following reliability testing. In exploratory factor analysis, three factors were retained. Seven of the nine facilitation subscales loaded onto the first factor; five of the six context subscales loaded onto the second factor; and the three evidence subscales loaded on the third factor. Two subscales failed to load significantly on any factor. One measured resources in general (from the context scale), and one clinical champion role (from the facilitation scale).
We find general support for the reliability and factor structure of the ORCA. However, there was poor reliability among measures of evidence, and factor analysis results for measures of general resources and clinical champion role did not conform to the PARIHS framework. Additional validation is needed, including criterion validation.
The Competing Values Framework (CVF) has been widely used in health services research to assess organizational culture as a predictor of quality improvement implementation, employee and patient satisfaction, and team functioning, among other outcomes. CVF instruments generally are presented as well-validated with reliable aggregated subscales. However, only one study in the health sector has been conducted for the express purpose of validation, and that study population was limited to hospital managers from a single geographic locale.
We used exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses to examine the underlying structure of data from a CVF instrument. We analyzed cross-sectional data from a work environment survey conducted in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The study population comprised all staff in non-supervisory positions. The survey included 14 items adapted from a popular CVF instrument, which measures organizational culture according to four subscales: hierarchical, entrepreneurial, team, and rational.
Data from 71,776 non-supervisory employees (approximate response rate 51%) from 168 VHA facilities were used in this analysis. Internal consistency of the subscales was moderate to strong (α = 0.68 to 0.85). However, the entrepreneurial, team, and rational subscales had higher correlations across subscales than within, indicating poor divergent properties. Exploratory factor analysis revealed two factors, comprising the ten items from the entrepreneurial, team, and rational subscales loading on the first factor, and two items from the hierarchical subscale loading on the second factor, along with one item from the rational subscale that cross-loaded on both factors. Results from confirmatory factor analysis suggested that the two-subscale solution provides a more parsimonious fit to the data as compared to the original four-subscale model.
This study suggests that there may be problems applying conventional CVF subscales to non-supervisors, and underscores the importance of assessing psychometric properties of instruments in each new context and population to which they are applied. It also further highlights the challenges management scholars face in assessing organizational culture in a reliable and comparable way. More research is needed to determine if the emergent two-subscale solution is a valid or meaningful alternative and whether these findings generalize beyond VHA.
The mission of the Veterans Health Administration's (VHA) quality enhancement research initiative (QUERI) is to enhance the quality of VHA health care by implementing clinical research findings into routine care. This paper presents lessons that QUERI investigators have learned through their initial attempts to pursue the QUERI mission. The lessons in this paper represent those that were common across multiple QUERI projects and were mutually agreed on as having substantial impact on the success of implementation. While the lessons are consistent with commonly recognized ingredients of successful implementation efforts, the examples highlight the fact that, even with a thorough knowledge of the literature and thoughtful planning, unexpected circumstances arise during implementation efforts that require flexibility and adaptability. The findings stress the importance of utilizing formative evaluation techniques to identify barriers to successful implementation and strategies to address these barriers.
implementation research; quality improvement; evidence-based medicine; guidelines
It is uncertain whether black white differences in the use of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) persist in the era of drug eluting stents. The purpose of this study is to determine if black veterans with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) are less likely to receive PCI than their white counterparts.
This study included 680 black and 3529 white veterans who were admitted to Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical centers between July 2003 and August 2004. Information for this study was collected as part of the VHA External Peer Review Program for quality monitoring and improvement for a variety of medical conditions and procedures, including AMI. In addition, Department of Veterans Affairs workload files were used to determine PCI utilization after hospital discharge. Standard statistical methods including the Chi-square, 2 sample t-test, and logistic regression with a cluster correction for medical center were used to assess the association between race and the use of PCI ≤ 30 days from admission.
Black patients were younger, more often had diabetes mellitus, renal disease, or dementia and less often had lipid disorders, previous coronary artery bypass surgery, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than their white counterparts. Equal proportions of blacks and whites underwent cardiac catheterization ≤ 30 days after admission, but the former were less likely to undergo PCI (32% vs. 40%, p < 0.0001). This difference persisted after multivariate adjustment, although measures of the extent of coronary artery disease were not available.
Given the equivalent use of cardiac catheterization, it is possible that less extensive or minimal coronary artery disease in black patients could account for the observed difference.
Previous studies have shown racial and ethnic differences in diabetes complication rates and diabetes control. The objective of this study was to examine racial and ethnic differences in diabetes care and health care use and costs for adults with diabetes using a nationally representative sample of the U.S. noninstitutionalized civilian population.
We performed a cross-sectional analysis of the 2000 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) and its related Diabetes Care Survey. The respondents were adults (aged 18 years and older) with diabetes, including non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic African Americans, and Hispanics. Racial and ethnic differences were examined in diabetes process of care and health care use and costs using logistic regression, negative binomial regression, and ordinary least squares regression with log cost.
Most of the outcomes in diabetes care management, treatment, and complications were not significantly different among race groups. After adjusting for socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, Hispanics were more likely to have eye problems than whites (odds ratio, 1.56; 95% confidence interval, 1.03–2.56). African Americans and Hispanics had lower total health care costs, lower ambulatory care costs, and lower prescription drug costs than whites (P < .01 for all).
We found differences in ambulatory care and prescription drug fills among white, African American, and Hispanic adults with diabetes. However, most of the diabetes care measures were not significantly different among the three racial and ethnic groups. Understanding the reason outcomes do not differ when health care use and costs differ significantly should be a focus of future studies.
Hyperlipidemia and hypertension are well-established risk factors for recurrent cardiovascular events among patients with ischemic heart disease (IHD). Despite national recommendations, concordance with guidelines for LDL cholesterol and blood pressure remains inadequate. The objectives of this study were to 1) determine concordance rates with LDL cholesterol and BP recommendations; and 2) identify patient factors, processes and structures of care associated with guideline concordance among VA IHD patients.
This was a cross sectional study of veterans with IHD from 8 VA hospitals. Outcomes were concordance with LDL guideline recommendations (LDL<100 mg/dl), and BP recommendations (<140/90 mm Hg). Cumulative logit and hierarchical logistic regression analyses were performed to identify patient factors, processes, and structures of care independently associated with guideline concordance.
Of 14,114 veterans with IHD, 55.7% had hypertension, 71.5% had hyperlipidemia, and 41.6% had both conditions. Guideline concordance for LDL and BP were 38.9% and 53.4%, respectively. However, only 21.9% of the patients achieved both LDL <100 mg/dl and BP <140/90 mm Hg. In multivariable analyses, patient factors including older age and the presence of vascular disease were associated with worse guideline concordance. In contrast, diabetes was associated with better guideline concordance. Several process of care variables, including higher number of outpatient visits, higher number of prescribed medications, and a recent cardiac hospitalization were associated with better guideline concordance. Among structures of care, having on-site cardiology was associated with a trend towards better guideline concordance.
Guideline concordance with secondary prevention measures among IHD patients remains suboptimal. It is hoped that the findings of this study can serve as an impetus for quality improvement efforts to improve upon secondary prevention measures and reduce the morbidity and mortality of patients with known IHD.
Following national recommendations for physical activity, diet, and nonsmoking can reduce both incident and recurrent coronary heart disease. Prevalence data about combinations of behaviors are lacking. This study describes the prevalence of full adherence to national recommendations for physical activity, fruit and vegetable consumption, and nonsmoking among individuals with and without coronary heart disease and examines characteristics associated with full adherence.
We performed a cross-sectional analysis of data from the 2000 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a national population-based survey. We included respondents to the cardiovascular disease module and excluded individuals with poor physical health or activity limitations.
Subjects were most adherent to smoking recommendations (approximately 80%) and less adherent to fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity (approximately 20% for both). Only 5% of those without coronary heart disease and 7% of those with coronary heart disease were adherent to all three behaviors (P < .01). Among those without a history of coronary heart disease, female sex (odds ratio [OR] 1.47; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.23–1.76), highest age quintile (OR 1.67; 95% CI, 1.28–2.19), more education (OR 2.48; 95% CI, 1.69–3.64), and more income (OR 1.19; 95% CI, 1.04–1.36) were associated with full adherence. Among those with coronary heart disease, mid-age quintile (OR 3.79; 95% CI, 1.35–10.68), good general health (OR 2.05; 95% CI, 1.07–3.94), and more income (OR 1.51; 95% CI, 1.06–2.16) were associated with full adherence.
These data demonstrate the lack of a heart-healthy lifestyle among a sample of U.S. adults with and without coronary heart disease. Full adherence to combined behaviors is far below adherence to any of the individual behaviors.
Few studies report on the effect of organizational factors facilitating transfer between primary and tertiary care hospitals either within an integrated health care system or outside it. In this paper, we report on the relationship between degree of clinical integration of cardiology services and transfer rates of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients from primary to tertiary hospitals within and outside the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) system.
Prospective cohort study. Transfer rates were obtained for all patients with ACS diagnoses admitted to 12 primary VHA hospitals between 1998 and 1999. Binary variables measuring clinical integration were constructed for each primary VHA hospital reflecting: presence of on-site VHA cardiologist; referral coordinator at the associated tertiary VHA hospital; and/or referral coordinator at the primary VHA hospital. We assessed the association between the integration variables and overall transfer from primary to tertiary hospitals, using random effects logistic regression, controlling for clustering at two levels and adjusting for patient characteristics.
Three of twelve hospitals had a VHA cardiologist on site, six had a referral coordinator at the tertiary VHA hospital, and four had a referral coordinator at the primary hospital. Presence of a VHA staff cardiologist on site and a referral coordinator at the tertiary VHA hospital decreased the likelihood of any transfer (OR 0.45, 95% CI 0.27–0.77, and 0.46, p = 0.002, CI 0.27–0.78). Conversely, having a referral coordinator at the primary VHA hospital increased the likelihood of transfer (OR 6.28, CI 2.92–13.48).
Elements of clinical integration are associated with transfer, an important process in the care of ACS patients. In promoting optimal patient care, clinical integration factors should be considered in addition to patient characteristics.
The objective of this study was to demonstrate the use of the Heckman two-step method to assess and correct for bias due to missing health related quality of life (HRQL) surveys in a clinical study of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients.
We analyzed data from 2,733 veterans with a confirmed diagnosis of acute coronary syndromes (ACS), including either acute myocardial infarction or unstable angina. HRQL outcomes were assessed by the Short-Form 36 (SF-36) health status survey which was mailed to all patients who were alive 7 months following ACS discharge. We created multivariable models of 7-month post-ACS physical and mental health status using data only from the 1,660 survey respondents. Then, using the Heckman method, we modeled survey non-response and incorporated this into our initial models to assess and correct for potential bias. We used logistic and ordinary least squares regression to estimate the multivariable selection models.
We found that our model of 7-month mental health status was biased due to survey non-response, while the model for physical health status was not. A history of alcohol or substance abuse was no longer significantly associated with mental health status after controlling for bias due to non-response. Furthermore, the magnitude of the parameter estimates for several of the other predictor variables in the MCS model changed after accounting for bias due to survey non-response.
Recognition and correction of bias due to survey non-response changed the factors that we concluded were associated with HRQL seven months following hospital admission for ACS as well as the magnitude of some associations. We conclude that the Heckman two-step method may be a valuable tool in the assessment and correction of selection bias in clinical studies of HRQL.
Selection bias; cardiovascular disease; health-related quality of life
There have been dramatic increases in the number of coronary artery bypass surgeries (CABS) and percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) performed during the last decade. Whether this finding is true for revascularization procedures performed in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers is the subject of this paper.
This study compared the number of revascularization procedures and rates of use in the VA, the National Hospital Discharge Survey, and the Nationwide Inpatient Sample. Included were men who underwent isolated CABS and/or PCI, including stenting, between 1991 and 1999, although data for the Nationwide Inpatient Sample were available only between 1993 and 1997. Age adjusted use rates were calculated with the direct method of standardization.
The percent of users of VA healthcare 75 years and older increased from 10% in 1991 to 20% in 1999. In the VA, the number of isolated CABS declined from 6227 in 1991 to 6147 in 1999, whereas age adjusted rates declined from 167.6 per 100,000 in 1991 to 107.9 per 100,000 in 1999. In the 2 national surveys, both the estimated numbers of procedures and use rates increased over time. In all 3 settings, there were increases in both numbers and rate of PCI from 1993, although in the VA, use rates decreased from 191.2 per 100,000 in 1996 to 139.7 per 100,000 in 1999. VA use rates for both CABS and PCI were lower than those in the 2 national surveys.
Age adjusted rates of CABS and PCI were lower in the VA than in 2 national surveys. Since 1996, there has been a decrease in the rate of use of revascularization procedures in the VA.