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1.  Shared decision-making: the perspectives of young adults with type 1 diabetes mellitus 
Background
Shared decision-making (SDM) is at the core of patient-centered care. We examined whether young adults with type 1 diabetes perceived the clinician groups they consulted as practicing SDM.
Methods
In a web-based survey, 150 Australians aged 18–35 years and with type 1 diabetes rated seven aspects of SDM in their interactions with endocrinologists, diabetes educators, dieticians, and general practitioners. Additionally, 33 participants in seven focus groups discussed these aspects of SDM.
Results
Of the 150 respondents, 90% consulted endocrinologists, 60% diabetes educators, 33% dieticians, and 37% general practitioners. The majority of participants rated all professions as oriented toward all aspects of SDM, but there were professional differences. These ranged from 94.4% to 82.2% for “My clinician enquires about how I manage my diabetes”; 93.4% to 82.2% for “My clinician listens to my opinion about my diabetes management”; 89.9% to 74.1% for “My clinician is supportive of my diabetes management”; 93.2% to 66.1% for “My clinician suggests ways in which I can improve my self-management”; 96.6% to 85.7% for “The advice of my clinician can be understood”; 98.9% to 82.2% for “The advice of my clinician can be trusted”; and 86.5% to 67.9% for “The advice of my clinician is consistent with other members of the diabetes team”. Diabetes educators received the highest ratings on all aspects of SDM. The mean weighted average of agreement to SDM for all consultations was 84.3%. Focus group participants reported actively seeking clinicians who practiced SDM. A lack of SDM was frequently cited as a reason for discontinuing consultation. The dominant three themes in focus group discussions were whether clinicians acknowledged patients’ expertise, encouraged patients’ autonomy, and provided advice that patients could utilize to improve self-management.
Conclusion
The majority of clinicians engaged in SDM. Young adults with type 1 diabetes prefer such clinicians. They may fail to take up recommended health services when clinicians do not practice this component of patient-centered care. Such findings have implications for patient safety, improved health outcomes, and enhanced health service delivery.
doi:10.2147/PPA.S57707
PMCID: PMC3979791
shared decision-making; patient perspective; patient-centered care; patient autonomy; type 1 diabetes; young adults; health service delivery; glycemic control
2.  A lasting legacy from Tony Blair? NHS culture change 
doi:10.1258/jrsm.2010.100364
PMCID: PMC3031648  PMID: 21282800
3.  Can the theoretical domains framework account for the implementation of clinical quality interventions? 
Background
The health care quality improvement movement is a complex enterprise. Implementing clinical quality initiatives requires attitude and behaviour change on the part of clinicians, but this has proven to be difficult. In an attempt to solve this kind of behavioural challenge, the theoretical domains framework (TDF) has been developed. The TDF consists of 14 domains from psychological and organisational theory said to influence behaviour change. No systematic research has been conducted into the ways in which clinical quality initiatives map on to the domains of the framework. We therefore conducted a qualitative mapping experiment to determine to what extent, and in what ways, the TDF is relevant to the implementation of clinical quality interventions.
Methods
We conducted a thematic synthesis of the qualitative literature exploring clinicians’ perceptions of various clinical quality interventions. We analysed and synthesised 50 studies in total, in five domains of clinical quality interventions: clinical quality interventions in general, structural interventions, audit-type interventions, interventions aimed at making practice more evidence-based, and risk management interventions. Data were analysed thematically, followed by synthesis of these themes into categories and concepts, which were then mapped to the domains of the TDF.
Results
Our results suggest that the TDF is highly relevant to the implementation of clinical quality interventions. It can be used to map most, if not all, of the attitudinal and behavioural barriers and facilitators of uptake of clinical quality interventions. Each of these 14 domains appeared to be relevant to many different types of clinical quality interventions. One possible additional domain might relate to perceived trustworthiness of those instituting clinical quality interventions.
Conclusions
The TDF can be usefully applied to a wide range of clinical quality interventions. Because all 14 of the domains emerged as relevant, and we did not identify any obvious differences between different kinds of clinical quality interventions, our findings support an initially broad approach to identifying barriers and facilitators, followed by a “drilling down” to what is most contextually salient. In future, it may be possible to establish a model of clinical quality policy implementation using the TDF.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-530
PMCID: PMC3901331  PMID: 24359085
Theoretical domains framework; Clinical quality; Health service management; Behaviour change; Qualitative research; Qualitative synthesis
4.  Leadership in complex networks: the importance of network position and strategic action in a translational cancer research network 
Background
Leadership behaviour in complex networks is under-researched, and little has been written concerning leadership of translational research networks (TRNs) that take discoveries made ‘at the bench’ and translate them into practices used ‘at the bedside.’ Understanding leaders’ opportunities and behaviours within TRNs working to solve this key problem in implementing evidence into clinical practice is therefore important. This study explored the network position of governing body members and perceptions of their role in a new TRN in Sydney, Australia. The paper asks three questions: Firstly, do the formal, mandated leaders of this TRN hold key positions of centrality or brokerage in the informal social network of collaborative ties? Secondly, if so, do they recognise the leadership opportunities that their network positions afford them? Thirdly, what activities associated with these key roles do they believe will maximise the TRN’s success?
Methods
Semi-structured interviews of all 14 governing body members conducted in early 2012 explored perceptions of their roles and sought comments on a list of activities drawn from review of successful transdisciplinary collaboratives combined with central and brokerage roles. An on-line, whole network survey of all 68 TRN members sought to understand and map existing collaborative connections. Leaders’ positions in the network were assessed using UCInet, and graphs were generated in NetDraw.
Results
Social network analysis identified that governing body members had high centrality and high brokerage potential in the informal network of work-related ties. Interviews showed perceived challenges including ‘silos’ and the mismatch between academic and clinical goals of research. Governing body members recognised their central positions, which would facilitate the leadership roles of leading, making decisions, and providing expert advice necessary for the co-ordination of effort and relevant input across domains. Brokerage potential was recognised in their clearly understood role of representing a specialty, campus or research group on the governing body to provide strategic linkages. Facilitation, mentoring and resolving conflicts within more localised project teams were spoken of as something ‘we do all the time anyway,’ as well as something they would do if called upon. These leadership roles are all linked with successful collaborative endeavours in other fields.
Conclusions
This paper links the empirical findings of the social network analysis with the qualitative findings of the interviews to show that the leaders’ perceptions of their roles accord with both the potential inherent in their network positions as well as actual activities known to increase the success of transdisciplinary teams. Understanding this is key to successful TRNs.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-8-122
PMCID: PMC3854121  PMID: 24120075
Network analysis; Leadership; Health sector; Centrality; Brokerage; Key players; Research
5.  The impact of nurse practitioners on care delivery in the emergency department: a multiple perspectives qualitative study 
Background
Despite well-articulated benefits, the introduction of Nurse Practitioners (NPs) in Australia has been slow. Poorly defined nomenclature relating to advanced practice roles in nursing and variations in such roles both across Australia and worldwide have resulted in confusion and uncertainty regarding the functions and roles of NPs. Qualitative studies focussing on the perceived impact on the care settings into which NPs are introduced are scarce, but are valuable in providing a complete contextual account of NPs in care delivery settings. This study aimed to investigate the perceived impact of the NP on the delivery of care in the ED by senior doctors, nurses, and NPs. Results will facilitate adoption and best use of this human resource innovation.
Methods
A cross-sectional qualitative study was undertaken in the Emergency Departments (EDs) of two large Australian metropolitan public teaching hospitals. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with five nurse practitioners, four senior doctors (staff specialists and ED directors) and five senior nurses. Transcribed interviews were analysed using a grounded theory approach to develop themes in relation to the conceptualisation of the impact of the NP role on the ED. Member checking of results was conducted by revisiting the sites to clarify findings with participants and further explore emergent themes.
Results
The impact of the NP role was perceived differently by different groups of participants. Whilst NPs were observed to deliver few quantitative improvements to ED functioning from the perspective of ED directors, NPs believed that they assisted doctors in managing the increasing subacute presentations to the contemporary ED. NPs also believed they embraced a preventative paradigm of care which addressed the long term priorities of chronic disease prevention and cost containment in the broader healthcare environment. The ambiguous position of the NP role, which crosses the gap between nursing and medicine, emerged and resulted in a duality of NP governance.
Conclusions
Interpretation of the NPs’ role occurred through different frames of reference. This has implications for the development of the NP role in the ED. Collaboration and dialogue between various stakeholders, such as ED doctors and senior nursing management is required.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-356
PMCID: PMC3848906  PMID: 24053508
6.  Who are the key players in a new translational research network? 
Background
Professional networks are used increasingly in health care to bring together members from different sites and professions to work collaboratively. Key players within these networks are known to affect network function through their central or brokerage position and are therefore of interest to those who seek to optimise network efficiency. However, their identity may not be apparent. This study using social network analysis to ask: (1) Who are the key players of a new translational research network (TRN)? (2) Do they have characteristics in common? (3) Are they recognisable as powerful, influential or well connected individuals?
Methods
TRN members were asked to complete an on-line, whole network survey which collected demographic information expected to be associated with key player roles, and social network questions about collaboration in current TRN projects. Three questions asked who they perceived as powerful, influential and well connected. Indegree and betweenness centrality values were used to determine key player status in the actual and perceived networks and tested for association with demographic and descriptive variables using chi square analyses.
Results
Response rate for the online survey was 76.4% (52/68). The TRN director and manager were identified as key players along with six other members. Only two of nine variables were associated with actual key player status; none with perceived. The main finding was the mismatch between actual and perceived brokers. Members correctly identified two of the three central actors (the two mandated key roles director and manager) but there were only three correctly identified actual brokers among the 19 perceived brokers. Possible reasons for the mismatch include overlapping structures and weak knowledge of members.
Conclusions
The importance of correctly identifying these key players is discussed in terms of network interventions to improve efficiency.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-338
PMCID: PMC3844428  PMID: 23987790
7.  Beyond patient safety Flatland 
doi:10.1258/jrsm.2010.100032
PMCID: PMC2878833  PMID: 20472637
8.  Nurses’ workarounds in acute healthcare settings: a scoping review 
Background
Workarounds circumvent or temporarily ‘fix’ perceived workflow hindrances to meet a goal or to achieve it more readily. Behaviours fitting the definition of workarounds often include violations, deviations, problem solving, improvisations, procedural failures and shortcuts. Clinicians implement workarounds in response to the complexity of delivering patient care. One imperative to understand workarounds lies in their influence on patient safety. This paper assesses the peer reviewed empirical evidence available on the use, proliferation, conceptualisation, rationalisation and perceived impact of nurses’ use of workarounds in acute care settings.
Methods
A literature assessment was undertaken in 2011–2012. Snowballing technique, reference tracking, and a systematic search of twelve academic databases were conducted to identify peer reviewed published studies in acute care settings examining nurses’ workarounds. Selection criteria were applied across three phases. 58 studies were included in the final analysis and synthesis. Using an analytic frame, these studies were interrogated for: workarounds implemented in acute care settings by nurses; factors contributing to the development and proliferation of workarounds; the perceived impact of workarounds; and empirical evidence of nurses’ conceptualisation and rationalisation of workarounds.
Results
The majority of studies examining nurses’ workarounds have been published since 2008, predominantly in the United States. Studies conducted across a variety of acute care settings use diverse data collection methods. Nurses’ workarounds, primarily perceived negatively, are both individually and collectively enacted. Organisational, work process, patient-related, individual, social and professional factors contribute to the proliferation of workarounds. Group norms, local and organisational culture, ‘being competent’, and collegiality influence the implementation of workarounds.
Conclusion
Workarounds enable, yet potentially compromise, the execution of patient care. In some contexts such improvisations may be deemed necessary to the successful implementation of quality care, in others they are counterproductive. Workarounds have individual and cooperative characteristics. Few studies examine nurses’ individual and collective conceptualisation and rationalisation of workarounds or measure their impact. The importance of displaying competency (image management), collegiality and organisational and cultural norms play a role in nurses’ use of workarounds.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-175
PMCID: PMC3663687  PMID: 23663305
Workaround; Violation; Deviation; Short cut; First order problem solving; Patient safety; Procedural failure
9.  The role of organisational and cultural factors in the implementation of system-wide interventions in acute hospitals to improve patient outcomes: protocol for a systematic literature review 
BMJ Open  2013;3(3):e002268.
Introduction
Little is known about the role of the organisational culture in the success and sustainability of the hospital-wide interventions, and how local culture affects patient outcomes in acute hospitals.
Methods and analysis
A systematic literature review will be conducted to identify organisational factors influencing hospital-wide interventions and patient outcomes. A search of English language articles will be performed in MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, Web of Science, PsychInfo and Global Health databases using Medical Subject Headings and keywords. Randomised controlled trials, quasi-randomised trials, controlled before and after design studies and interrupted time-series analysis studies will be included. ‘Grey literature’ will be excluded, however peer-reviewed journals that are likely to publish relevant studies (JAMA, BMJ, BMJ Quality and Safety, Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine and Implementation Science) will be hand searched for the last 5 years. Two reviewers will independently undertake a title and abstract review using inclusion and exclusion criteria. Studies will be excluded only after discussion between at least two reviewers, who will assess and agree on the inclusion, risk of bias and quality rating of the studies. One author will extract summary descriptive data from these studies; the other author will review this documentation for accuracy and completeness.
Results
It is likely that the studies will be heterogeneous in nature, therefore a narrative synthesis of the findings will be conducted.
Conclusions
We will discuss characteristics of the studies and stratify the results according to the type of hospital-wide interventions, organisational factors associated with them and outcomes measured.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002268
PMCID: PMC3612761  PMID: 23474791
health service research; Performance measures; Healthcare quality improvement
10.  Economic evaluation of Australian acute care accreditation (ACCREDIT-CBA (Acute)): study protocol for a mixed-method research project 
BMJ Open  2013;3(2):e002381.
Introduction
The Accreditation Collaborative for the Conduct of Research, Evaluation and Designated Investigations through Teamwork—Cost–Benefit Analysis (ACCREDIT-CBA (Acute)) study is designed to determine and make explicit the costs and benefits of Australian acute care accreditation and to determine the effectiveness of acute care accreditation in improving patient safety and quality of care. The cost–benefit analysis framework will be provided in the form of an interactive model for industry partners, health regulators and policy makers, accreditation agencies and acute care service providers.
Methods and design
The study will use a mixed-method approach to identify, quantify and monetise the costs and benefits of accreditation. Surveys, expert panels, focus groups, interviews and primary and secondary data analysis will be used in cross-sectional and case study designs.
Ethics and dissemination
The University of New South Wales Human Research Ethics Committee has approved this project (approval number HREC 10274). The results of the study will be reported via peer-reviewed publications, conferences and seminar resentations and will form part of a doctoral thesis.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002381
PMCID: PMC3586127  PMID: 23396564
11.  Net benefits: assessing the effectiveness of clinical networks in Australia through qualitative methods 
Background
In the 21st century, government and industry are supplementing hierarchical, bureaucratic forms of organization with network forms, compatible with principles of devolved governance and decentralization of services. Clinical networks are employed as a key health policy approach to engage clinicians in improving patient care in Australia. With significant investment in such networks in Australia and internationally, it is important to assess their effectiveness and sustainability as implementation mechanisms.
Methods
In two purposively selected, musculoskeletal clinical networks, members and stakeholders were interviewed to ascertain their perceptions regarding key factors relating to network effectiveness and sustainability. We adopted a three-level approach to evaluating network effectiveness: at the community, network, and member levels, across the network lifecycle.
Results
Both networks studied are advisory networks displaying characteristics of the ‘enclave’ type of non-hierarchical network. They are hybrids of the mandated and natural network forms. In the short term, at member level, both networks were striving to create connectivity and collaboration of members. Over the short to medium term, at network level, both networks applied multi-disciplinary engagement in successfully developing models of care as key outputs, and disseminating information to stakeholders. In the long term, at both community and network levels, stakeholders would measure effectiveness by the broader statewide influence of the network in changing and improving practice. At community level, in the long term, stakeholders acknowledged both networks had raised the profile, and provided a ‘voice’ for musculoskeletal conditions, evidencing some progress with implementation of the network mission while pursuing additional implementation strategies.
Conclusions
This research sheds light on stakeholders’ perceptions of assessing clinical network effectiveness at community, network, and member levels during the network’s timeline, and on the role of networks and their contribution. Overall, stakeholders reported positive momentum and useful progress in network growth and development, and saw their networks as providing valuable mechanisms for meeting instrumental goals and pursuing collaborative interests. Network forms can prove their utility in addressing ‘wicked problems,’ and these Australian clinical networks present a practical approach to the difficult issue of clinician engagement in state-level implementation of best practice for improving patient care and outcomes.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-7-108
PMCID: PMC3541150  PMID: 23122000
Clinical networks; Health care; Quality improvement; Health systems; Organization of care
12.  A multimethod research investigation of consumer involvement in Australian health service accreditation programmes: the ACCREDIT-SCI study protocol 
BMJ Open  2012;2(5):e002024.
Introduction
Health service accreditation programmes are a regulatory mechanism adopted to drive improvements inpatient safety and quality. Research investigating the benefits or limitations, of consumer involvement in accreditation programmes is negligible. To develop our knowledge in this area the ACCREDIT collaboration (Accreditation Collaborative for the Conduct of Research, Evaluation and Designated Investigations through Teamwork) has developed a research plan, known as the ACCREDIT-SCI (Standards of Consumer Involvement) study protocol. Two complementary studies have been designed: one, to examine the effectiveness of a standard for consumer participation and two, to explore how patient experiences vary across a range of settings with differing accreditation results.
Methods and design
The research setting is the Australian healthcare system, and the two studies focus on three accreditation programmes in the primary, acute and aged care domains. The studies will use multimethods: document analysis; interviews and surveys. Participants will be stakeholders across the three domains including: policy officers; frontline healthcare professionals; accreditation agency personnel, including surveyors and healthcare consumers. Drawing on previous experience, the research team has developed purpose-designed tools. Data will be analysed using thematic, narrative and statistical (descriptive and inferential) procedures.
Ethics and dissemination
The University of New South Wales Human Research Ethics Committee has approved the two studies (HREC 10274). Findings will be disseminated through seminars, conference presentations, academic publications and research partner websites. The findings will be formulated to facilitate uptake by policy and accreditation agency professionals, researchers and academics, and consumers, nationally and internationally.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002024
PMCID: PMC3488739  PMID: 23059848
13.  The standard of healthcare accreditation standards: a review of empirical research underpinning their development and impact 
Background
Healthcare accreditation standards are advocated as an important means of improving clinical practice and organisational performance. Standard development agencies have documented methodologies to promote open, transparent, inclusive development processes where standards are developed by members. They assert that their methodologies are effective and efficient at producing standards appropriate for the health industry. However, the evidence to support these claims requires scrutiny. The study’s purpose was to examine the empirical research that grounds the development methods and application of healthcare accreditation standards.
Methods
A multi-method strategy was employed over the period March 2010 to August 2011. Five academic health research databases (Medline, Psych INFO, Embase, Social work abstracts, and CINAHL) were interrogated, the websites of 36 agencies associated with the study topic were investigated, and a snowball search was undertaken. Search criteria included accreditation research studies, in English, addressing standards and their impact. Searching in stage 1 initially selected 9386 abstracts. In stage 2, this selection was refined against the inclusion criteria; empirical studies (n = 2111) were identified and refined to a selection of 140 papers with the exclusion of clinical or biomedical and commentary pieces. These were independently reviewed by two researchers and reduced to 13 articles that met the study criteria.
Results
The 13 articles were analysed according to four categories: overall findings; standards development; implementation issues; and impact of standards. Studies have only occurred in the acute care setting, predominately in 2003 (n = 5) and 2009 (n = 4), and in the United States (n = 8). A multidisciplinary focus (n = 9) and mixed method approach (n = 11) are common characteristics. Three interventional studies were identified, with the remaining 10 studies having research designs to investigate clinical or organisational impacts. No study directly examined standards development or other issues associated with their progression. Only one study noted implementation issues, identifying several enablers and barriers. Standards were reported to improve organisational efficiency and staff circumstances. However, the impact on clinical quality was mixed, with both improvements and a lack of measurable effects recorded.
Conclusion
Standards are ubiquitous within healthcare and are generally considered to be an important means by which to improve clinical practice and organisational performance. However, there is a lack of robust empirical evidence examining the development, writing, implementation and impacts of healthcare accreditation standards.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-329
PMCID: PMC3520756  PMID: 22995152
Healthcare; Accreditation; Standards; Evidence for use; Narrative literature review
14.  Nation-scale adoption of new medicines by doctors: an application of the Bass diffusion model 
Background
The adoption of new medicines is influenced by a complex set of social processes that have been widely examined in terms of individual prescribers’ information-seeking and decision-making behaviour. However, quantitative, population-wide analyses of how long it takes for new healthcare practices to become part of mainstream practice are rare.
Methods
We applied a Bass diffusion model to monthly prescription volumes of 103 often-prescribed drugs in Australia (monthly time series data totalling 803 million prescriptions between 1992 and 2010), to determine the distribution of adoption rates. Our aim was to test the utility of applying the Bass diffusion model to national-scale prescribing volumes.
Results
The Bass diffusion model was fitted to the adoption of a broad cross-section of drugs using national monthly prescription volumes from Australia (median R2 = 0.97, interquartile range 0.95 to 0.99). The median time to adoption was 8.2 years (IQR 4.9 to 12.1). The model distinguished two classes of prescribing patterns – those where adoption appeared to be driven mostly by external forces (19 drugs) and those driven mostly by social contagion (84 drugs). Those driven more prominently by internal forces were found to have shorter adoption times (p = 0.02 in a non-parametric analysis of variance by ranks).
Conclusion
The Bass diffusion model may be used to retrospectively represent the patterns of adoption exhibited in prescription volumes in Australia, and distinguishes between adoption driven primarily by external forces such as regulation, or internal forces such as social contagion. The eight-year delay between the introduction of a new medicine and the adoption of the prescribing practice suggests the presence of system inertia in Australian prescribing practices.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-248
PMCID: PMC3441328  PMID: 22876867
Adoption; Diffusion of innovation; Decision-making; Prescribing behaviour; Australia; Evidence-based practice
15.  Evaluation of current Australian health service accreditation processes (ACCREDIT-CAP): protocol for a mixed-method research project 
BMJ Open  2012;2(4):e001726.
Introduction
Accreditation programmes aim to improve the quality and safety of health services, and have been widely implemented. However, there is conflicting evidence regarding the outcomes of existing programmes. The Accreditation Collaborative for the Conduct of Research, Evaluation and Designated Investigations through Teamwork-Current Accreditation Processes (ACCREDIT-CAP) project is designed to address key gaps in the literature by evaluating the current processes of three accreditation programmes used across Australian acute, primary and aged care services.
Methods and design
The project comprises three mixed-method studies involving documentary analyses, surveys, focus groups and individual interviews. Study samples will comprise stakeholders from across the Australian healthcare system: accreditation agencies; federal and state government departments; consumer advocates; professional colleges and associations; and staff of acute, primary and aged care services. Sample sizes have been determined to ensure results allow robust conclusions. Qualitative information will be thematically analysed, supported by the use of textual grouping software. Quantitative data will be subjected to a variety of analytical procedures, including descriptive and comparative statistics. The results are designed to inform health system policy and planning decisions in Australia and internationally.
Ethics and dissemination
The project has been approved by the University of New South Wales Human Research Ethics Committee (approval number HREC 10274). Results will be reported to partner organisations, healthcare consumers and other stakeholders via peer-reviewed publications, conference and seminar presentations, and a publicly accessible website.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001726
PMCID: PMC3449274  PMID: 22864419
Quality in health care; Protocols & guidelines; Clinical governance; Organisation of health services; Accreditation
16.  An empirically-derived approach for investigating Health Information Technology: the Elementally Entangled Organisational Communication (EEOC) framework 
Background
The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the Elementally Entangled Organisational Communication (EEOC) framework by drawing on a set of three case studies which assessed the impact of new Health Information Technology (HIT) on a pathology service. The EEOC framework was empirically developed as a tool to tackle organisational communication challenges in the implementation and evaluation of health information systems.
Methods
The framework was synthesised from multiple research studies undertaken across a major metropolitan hospital pathology service during the period 2005 to 2008. These studies evaluated the impact of new HIT systems in pathology departments (Laboratory Information System) and an Emergency Department (Computerised Provider Order Entry) located in Sydney, Australia.
Results
Key dimensions of EEOC are illustrated by the following case studies: 1) the communication infrastructure between the Blood Bank and the ward for the coordination and distribution of blood products; 2) the organisational environment in the Clinical Chemistry and Haematology departments and their attempts to organise, plan and control the processing of laboratory specimens; and 3) the temporal make up of the organisation as revealed in changes to the way the Central Specimen Reception allocated, sequenced and synchronised work tasks.
Conclusions
The case studies not only highlight the pre-existing communication architecture within the organisation but also the constitutive role communication plays in the way organisations go about addressing their requirements. HIT implementation involves a mutual transformation of the organisation and the technology. This is a vital consideration because of the dangers associated with poor organisational planning and implementation of HIT, and the potential for unintended adverse consequences, workarounds and risks to the quality and safety of patient care. The EEOC framework aims to account for the complex range of contextual factors and triggers that play a role in the success or otherwise of new HITs, and in the realisation of their innovation potential.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-12-68
PMCID: PMC3407796  PMID: 22788698
17.  Network structure and the role of key players in a translational cancer research network: a study protocol 
BMJ Open  2012;2(3):e001434.
Introduction
Translational research networks are a deliberate strategy to bridge the gulf between biomedical research and clinical practice through interdisciplinary collaboration, supportive funding and infrastructure. The social network approach examines how the structure of the network and players who hold important positions within it constrain or enable function. This information can be used to guide network management and optimise its operations. The aim of this study was to describe the structure of a translational cancer research network (TCRN) in Australia over its first year, identify the key players within the network and explore these players' opportunities and constraints in maximising important network collaborations.
Methods and analysis
This study deploys a mixed-method longitudinal design using social network analysis augmented by interviews and review of TCRN documents. The study will use network documents and interviews with governing body members to explore the broader context into which the network is embedded as well as the perceptions and expectations of members. Of particular interest are the attitudes and perceptions of clinicians compared with those of researchers. A co-authorship network will be constructed of TCRN members using journal and citation databases to assess the success of past pre-network collaborations. Two whole network social network surveys will be administered 12 months apart and parameters such as density, clustering, centrality and betweenness centrality computed and compared using UCINET and Netdraw. Key players will be identified and interviewed to understand the specific activities, barriers and enablers they face in that role.
Ethics and dissemination
Ethics approvals were obtained from the University of New South Wales, South Eastern Sydney Northern Sector Local Health Network and Calvary Health Care Sydney. Results will be discussed with members of the TCRN, submitted to relevant journals and presented as oral presentations to clinicians, researchers and policymakers.
Article summary
Article focus
Translational research networks are a deliberate strategy to transform biomedical research ‘at the bench’ into clinical practice ‘at the bedside’ through interdisciplinary collaboration, supportive infrastructure, staff and funding.
What features of network structure hinder or promote successful translational research endeavours?
What is the role of key players in a collaborative, interdisciplinary network?
Key messages
A protocol for a mixed method, longitudinal study of a new translational research network using a social network approach.
A social network approach can inform management of the network and suggest ways in which to optimise its function.
Strengths and limitations of this study
Mixed methods give quantitative data enriched with qualitative data.
Data was collected from the whole network, rather than from a sample of members.
Longitudinal design gives comparative data rather than a snapshot.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001434
PMCID: PMC3383981  PMID: 22734122
18.  A four-year, systems-wide intervention promoting interprofessional collaboration 
Background
A four-year action research study was conducted across the Australian Capital Territory health system to strengthen interprofessional collaboration (IPC) though multiple intervention activities.
Methods
We developed 272 substantial IPC intervention activities involving 2,407 face-to-face encounters with health system personnel. Staff attitudes toward IPC were surveyed yearly using Heinemann et al's Attitudes toward Health Care Teams and Parsell and Bligh's Readiness for Interprofessional Learning scales (RIPLS). At study's end staff assessed whether project goals were achieved.
Results
Of the improvement projects, 76 exhibited progress, and 57 made considerable gains in IPC. Educational workshops and feedback sessions were well received and stimulated interprofessional activities. Over time staff scores on Heinemann's Quality of Interprofessional Care subscale did not change significantly and scores on the Doctor Centrality subscale increased, contrary to predictions. Scores on the RIPLS subscales of Teamwork & Collaboration and Professional Identity did not alter. On average for the assessment items 33% of staff agreed that goals had been achieved, 10% disagreed, and 57% checked neutral. There was most agreement that the study had resulted in increased sharing of knowledge between professions and improved quality of patient care, and least agreement that between-professional rivalries had lessened and communication and trust between professions improved.
Conclusions
Our longitudinal interventional study of IPC involving multiple activities supporting increased IPC achieved many project-specific goals. However, improvements in attitudes over time were not demonstrated and neutral assessments predominated, highlighting the difficulties faced by studies targeting change at the systems level and over extended periods.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-99
PMCID: PMC3359212  PMID: 22520869
Systems research; Action research; Intervention; Change; Interprofessionalism; Survey; Longitudinal research; Attitudinal improvement; Collaboration; Socio-ecological theory
19.  Effects of Two Commercial Electronic Prescribing Systems on Prescribing Error Rates in Hospital In-Patients: A Before and After Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(1):e1001164.
In a before-and-after study, Johanna Westbrook and colleagues evaluate the change in prescribing error rates after the introduction of two commercial electronic prescribing systems in two Australian hospitals.
Background
Considerable investments are being made in commercial electronic prescribing systems (e-prescribing) in many countries. Few studies have measured or evaluated their effectiveness at reducing prescribing error rates, and interactions between system design and errors are not well understood, despite increasing concerns regarding new errors associated with system use. This study evaluated the effectiveness of two commercial e-prescribing systems in reducing prescribing error rates and their propensities for introducing new types of error.
Methods and Results
We conducted a before and after study involving medication chart audit of 3,291 admissions (1,923 at baseline and 1,368 post e-prescribing system) at two Australian teaching hospitals. In Hospital A, the Cerner Millennium e-prescribing system was implemented on one ward, and three wards, which did not receive the e-prescribing system, acted as controls. In Hospital B, the iSoft MedChart system was implemented on two wards and we compared before and after error rates. Procedural (e.g., unclear and incomplete prescribing orders) and clinical (e.g., wrong dose, wrong drug) errors were identified. Prescribing error rates per admission and per 100 patient days; rates of serious errors (5-point severity scale, those ≥3 were categorised as serious) by hospital and study period; and rates and categories of postintervention “system-related” errors (where system functionality or design contributed to the error) were calculated. Use of an e-prescribing system was associated with a statistically significant reduction in error rates in all three intervention wards (respectively reductions of 66.1% [95% CI 53.9%–78.3%]; 57.5% [33.8%–81.2%]; and 60.5% [48.5%–72.4%]). The use of the system resulted in a decline in errors at Hospital A from 6.25 per admission (95% CI 5.23–7.28) to 2.12 (95% CI 1.71–2.54; p<0.0001) and at Hospital B from 3.62 (95% CI 3.30–3.93) to 1.46 (95% CI 1.20–1.73; p<0.0001). This decrease was driven by a large reduction in unclear, illegal, and incomplete orders. The Hospital A control wards experienced no significant change (respectively −12.8% [95% CI −41.1% to 15.5%]; −11.3% [−40.1% to 17.5%]; −20.1% [−52.2% to 12.4%]). There was limited change in clinical error rates, but serious errors decreased by 44% (0.25 per admission to 0.14; p = 0.0002) across the intervention wards compared to the control wards (17% reduction; 0.30–0.25; p = 0.40). Both hospitals experienced system-related errors (0.73 and 0.51 per admission), which accounted for 35% of postsystem errors in the intervention wards; each system was associated with different types of system-related errors.
Conclusions
Implementation of these commercial e-prescribing systems resulted in statistically significant reductions in prescribing error rates. Reductions in clinical errors were limited in the absence of substantial decision support, but a statistically significant decline in serious errors was observed. System-related errors require close attention as they are frequent, but are potentially remediable by system redesign and user training. Limitations included a lack of control wards at Hospital B and an inability to randomize wards to the intervention.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Medication errors—for example, prescribing the wrong drug or giving a drug by the wrong route—frequently occur in health care settings and are responsible for thousands of deaths every year. Until recently, medicines were prescribed and dispensed using systems based on hand-written scripts. In hospitals, for example, physicians wrote orders for medications directly onto a medication chart, which was then used by the nursing staff to give drugs to their patients. However, drugs are now increasingly being prescribed using electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) systems. With these systems, prescribers use a computer and order medications for their patients with the help of a drug information database and menu items, free text boxes, and prewritten orders for specific conditions (so-called passive decision support). The system reviews the patient's medication and known allergy list and alerts the physician to any potential problems, including drug interactions (active decision support). Then after the physician has responded to these alerts, the order is transmitted electronically to the pharmacy and/or the nursing staff who administer the prescription.
Why Was This Study Done?
By avoiding the need for physicians to write out prescriptions and by providing active and passive decision support, e-prescribing has the potential to reduce medication errors. But, even though many countries are investing in expensive commercial e-prescribing systems, few studies have evaluated the effects of these systems on prescribing error rates. Moreover, little is known about the interactions between system design and errors despite fears that e-prescribing might introduce new errors. In this study, the researchers analyze prescribing error rates in hospital in-patients before and after the implementation of two commercial e-prescribing systems.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers examined medication charts for procedural errors (unclear, incomplete, or illegal orders) and for clinical errors (for example, wrong drug or dose) at two Australian hospitals before and after the introduction of commercial e-prescribing systems. At Hospital A, the Cerner Millennium e-prescribing system was introduced on one ward; three other wards acted as controls. At Hospital B, the researchers compared the error rates on two wards before and after the introduction of the iSoft MedChart e-prescribing system. The introduction of an e-prescribing system was associated with a substantial reduction in error rates in the three intervention wards; error rates on the control wards did not change significantly during the study. At Hospital A, medication errors declined from 6.25 to 2.12 per admission after the introduction of e-prescribing whereas at Hospital B, they declined from 3.62 to 1.46 per admission. This reduction in error rates was mainly driven by a reduction in procedural error rates and there was only a limited change in overall clinical error rates. Notably, however, the rate of serious errors decreased across the intervention wards from 0.25 to 0.14 per admission (a 44% reduction), whereas the serious error rate only decreased by 17% in the control wards during the study. Finally, system-related errors (for example, selection of an inappropriate drug located on a drop-down menu next to a likely drug selection) accounted for 35% of errors in the intervention wards after the implementation of e-prescribing.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that the implementation of these two e-prescribing systems markedly reduced hospital in-patient prescribing error rates, mainly by reducing the number of incomplete, illegal, or unclear medication orders. The limited decision support built into both the e-prescribing systems used here may explain the limited reduction in clinical error rates but, importantly, both e-prescribing systems reduced serious medication errors. Finally, the high rate of system-related errors recorded in this study is worrying but is potentially remediable by system redesign and user training. Because this was a “real-world” study, it was not possible to choose the intervention wards randomly. Moreover, there was no control ward at Hospital B, and the wards included in the study had very different specialties. These and other aspects of the study design may limit the generalizability of these findings, which need to be confirmed and extended in additional studies. Even so, these findings provide persuasive evidence of the current and potential ability of commercial e-prescribing systems to reduce prescribing errors in hospital in-patients provided these systems are continually monitored and refined to improve their performance.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001164.
ClinfoWiki has pages on medication errors and on electronic prescribing (note: the Clinical Informatics Wiki is a free online resource that anyone can add to or edit)
Electronic prescribing in hospitals challenges and lessons learned describes the implementation of e-prescribing in UK hospitals; more information about e-prescribing in the UK is available on the NHS Connecting for Health Website
The Clinicians Guide to e-Prescribing provides up-to-date information about e-prescribing in the USA
Information about e-prescribing in Australia is also available
Information about electronic health records in Australia
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001164
PMCID: PMC3269428  PMID: 22303286
20.  CareTrack Australia: assessing the appropriateness of adult healthcare: protocol for a retrospective medical record review 
BMJ Open  2012;2(1):e000665.
Introduction
In recent years in keeping with international best practice, clinical guidelines for common conditions have been developed, endorsed and disseminated by peak national and professional bodies. Yet evidence suggests that there remain considerable gaps between the care that is regarded as appropriate by such guidelines and the care received by patients. With an ageing population and increasing treatment options and expectations, healthcare is likely to become unaffordable unless more appropriate care is provided. This paper describes a study protocol that seeks to determine the percentage of healthcare encounters in which patients receive appropriate care for 22 common clinical conditions and the reasons why variations exist from the perspectives of both patients and providers.
Methods/design
A random stratified sample of at least 1000 eligible participants will be recruited from a representative cross section of the adult Australian population. Participants' medical records from the years 2009 and 2010 will be audited to assess the appropriateness of the care received for 22 common clinical conditions by determining the percentage of healthcare encounters at which the care provided was concordant with a set of 522 indicators of care, developed for these conditions by a panel of 43 disease experts. The knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of participants and healthcare providers will be examined through interviews and questionnaires to understand the factors influencing variations in care.
Ethics and dissemination
Primary ethics approvals were sought and obtained from the Hunter New England Local Health Network. The authors will submit the results of the study to a relevant journal as well as undertaking oral presentations to researchers, clinicians and policymakers.
Article summary
Article focus
What is the percentage of healthcare encounters at which Australians receive appropriate care?
What influences variations in care from the perspectives of patients and healthcare providers?
Key messages
A protocol for a population-based study of appropriate care of 1000 patients using medical record review.
Strengths and limitations of this study
Obtaining a snapshot and using a consistent method for 522 indicators across 22 common conditions power diagnostic indicators because they only present once for each patient.
The potential attrition rate of healthcare providers and telephone recruitment of participants may introduce selection biases.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000665
PMCID: PMC3263440  PMID: 22262806
21.  Health professional networks as a vector for improving healthcare quality and safety: a systematic review 
BMJ quality & safety  2011;21(3):239-249.
Background
While there is a considerable corpus of theoretical and empirical literature on networks within and outside of the health sector, multiple research questions are yet to be answered.
Objective
To conduct a systematic review of studies of professionals' network structures, identifying factors associated with network effectiveness and sustainability, particularly in relation to quality of care and patient safety.
Methods
The authors searched MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, Web of Science and Business Source Premier from January 1995 to December 2009.
Results
A majority of the 26 unique studies identified used social network analysis to examine structural relationships in networks: structural relationships within and between networks, health professionals and their social context, health collaboratives and partnerships, and knowledge sharing networks. Key aspects of networks explored were administrative and clinical exchanges, network performance, integration, stability and influences on the quality of healthcare. More recent studies show that cohesive and collaborative health professional networks can facilitate the coordination of care and contribute to improving quality and safety of care. Structural network vulnerabilities include cliques, professional and gender homophily, and over-reliance on central agencies or individuals.
Conclusions
Effective professional networks employ natural structural network features (eg, bridges, brokers, density, centrality, degrees of separation, social capital, trust) in producing collaboratively oriented healthcare. This requires efficient transmission of information and social and professional interaction within and across networks. For those using networks to improve care, recurring success factors are understanding your network's characteristics, attending to its functioning and investing time in facilitating its improvement. Despite this, there is no guarantee that time spent on networks will necessarily improve patient care.
doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2011-000187
PMCID: PMC3285140  PMID: 22129933
Social networks; health professionals; review; quality improvement; organisational structure; health services research; organisational theory; healthcare quality improvement; evaluation methodology; information technology; nursing homes; medication error; quality of care; interruptions; patient safety; leadership; governance
22.  How and why are communities of practice established in the healthcare sector? A systematic review of the literature 
Background
Communities of Practice (CoPs) are promoted in the healthcare sector as a means of generating and sharing knowledge and improving organisational performance. However CoPs vary considerably in the way they are structured and operate in the sector. If CoPs are to be cultivated to benefit healthcare organisations, there is a need to examine and understand their application to date. To this end, a systematic review of the literature on CoPs was conducted, to examine how and why CoPs have been established and whether they have been shown to improve healthcare practice.
Methods
Peer-reviewed empirical research papers on CoPs in the healthcare sector were identified by searching electronic health-databases. Information on the purpose of establishing CoPs, their composition, methods by which members communicate and share information or knowledge, and research methods used to examine effectiveness was extracted and reviewed. Also examined was evidence of whether or not CoPs led to a change in healthcare practice.
Results
Thirty-one primary research papers and two systematic reviews were identified and reviewed in detail. There was a trend from descriptive to evaluative research. The focus of CoPs in earlier publications was on learning and exchanging information and knowledge, whereas in more recently published research, CoPs were used more as a tool to improve clinical practice and to facilitate the implementation of evidence-based practice. Means by which members communicated with each other varied, but in none of the primary research studies was the method of communication examined in terms of the CoP achieving its objectives. Researchers are increasing their efforts to assess the effectiveness of CoPs in healthcare, however the interventions have been complex and multifaceted, making it difficult to directly attribute the change to the CoP.
Conclusions
In keeping with Wenger and colleagues' description, CoPs in the healthcare sector vary in form and purpose. While researchers are increasing their efforts to examine the impact of CoPs in healthcare, cultivating CoPs to improve healthcare performance requires a greater understanding of how to establish and support CoPs to maximise their potential to improve healthcare.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-273
PMCID: PMC3219728  PMID: 21999305
23.  Strengthening organizational performance through accreditation research-a framework for twelve interrelated studies: the ACCREDIT project study protocol 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:390.
Background
Service accreditation is a structured process of recognising and promoting performance and adherence to standards. Typically, accreditation agencies either receive standards from an authorized body or develop new and upgrade existing standards through research and expert views. They then apply standards, criteria and performance indicators, testing their effects, and monitoring compliance with them. The accreditation process has been widely adopted. The international investments in accreditation are considerable. However, reliable evidence of its efficiency or effectiveness in achieving organizational improvements is sparse and the value of accreditation in cost-benefit terms has yet to be demonstrated. Although some evidence suggests that accreditation promotes the improvement and standardization of care, there have been calls to strengthen its research base.
In response, the ACCREDIT (Accreditation Collaborative for the Conduct of Research, Evaluation and Designated Investigations through Teamwork) project has been established to evaluate the effectiveness of Australian accreditation in achieving its goals. ACCREDIT is a partnership of key researchers, policymakers and agencies.
Findings
We present the framework for our studies in accreditation. Four specific aims of the ACCREDIT project, which will direct our findings, are to: (i) evaluate current accreditation processes; (ii) analyse the costs and benefits of accreditation; (iii) improve future accreditation via evidence; and (iv) develop and apply new standards of consumer involvement in accreditation. These will be addressed through 12 interrelated studies designed to examine specific issues identified as a high priority. Novel techniques, a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods, and randomized designs relevant for health-care research have been developed. These methods allow us to circumvent the fragmented and incommensurate findings that can be generated in small-scale, project-based studies. The overall approach for our research is a multi-level, multi-study design.
Discussion
The ACCREDIT project will examine the utility, reliability, relevance and cost effectiveness of differing forms of accreditation, focused on general practice, aged care and acute care settings in Australia. Empirically, there are potential research gains to be made by understanding accreditation and extending existing knowledge; theoretically, this design will facilitate a systems view of accreditation of benefit to the partnership, international research communities, and future accreditation designers.
"Accreditation of health-care organisations is a multimillion dollar industry which shapes care in many countries. Recent reviews of research show little evidence that accreditation increases safety or improves quality. It's time we knew about the cost and value of accreditation and about its future direction." [Professor John Øvretveit, Karolinska Institute, Sweden, 7 October 2009]
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-390
PMCID: PMC3199265  PMID: 21981910
24.  A realist evaluation of the role of communities of practice in changing healthcare practice 
Background
Healthcare organisations seeking to manage knowledge and improve organisational performance are increasingly investing in communities of practice (CoPs). Such investments are being made in the absence of empirical evidence demonstrating the impact of CoPs in improving the delivery of healthcare. A realist evaluation is proposed to address this knowledge gap. Underpinned by the principle that outcomes are determined by the context in which an intervention is implemented, a realist evaluation is well suited to understand the role of CoPs in improving healthcare practice. By applying a realist approach, this study will explore the following questions: What outcomes do CoPs achieve in healthcare? Do these outcomes translate into improved practice in healthcare? What are the contexts and mechanisms by which CoPs improve healthcare?
Methods
The realist evaluation will be conducted by developing, testing, and refining theories on how, why, and when CoPs improve healthcare practice. When collecting data, context will be defined as the setting in which the CoP operates; mechanisms will be the factors and resources that the community offers to influence a change in behaviour or action; and outcomes will be defined as a change in behaviour or work practice that occurs as a result of accessing resources provided by the CoP.
Discussion
Realist evaluation is being used increasingly to study social interventions where context plays an important role in determining outcomes. This study further enhances the value of realist evaluations by incorporating a social network analysis component to quantify the structural context associated with CoPs. By identifying key mechanisms and contexts that optimise the effectiveness of CoPs, this study will contribute to creating a framework that will guide future establishment and evaluation of CoPs in healthcare.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-6-49
PMCID: PMC3120719  PMID: 21600057
25.  Professional conceptualisation and accomplishment of patient safety in mental healthcare: an ethnographic approach 
Background
This study seeks to broaden current understandings of what patient safety means in mental healthcare and how it is accomplished. We propose a qualitative observational study of how safety is produced or not produced in the complex context of everyday professional mental health practice. Such an approach intentionally contrasts with much patient safety research which assumes that safety is achieved and improved through top-down policy directives. We seek instead to understand and articulate the connections and dynamic interactions between people, materials, and organisational, legal, moral, professional and historical safety imperatives as they come together at particular times and places to perform safe or unsafe practice. As such we advocate an understanding of patient safety 'from the ground up'.
Methods/Design
The proposed project employs a six-phase data collection framework in two mental health settings: an inpatient unit and a community team. The first four phases comprise multiple modes of focussed, unobtrusive observation of professionals at work, to enable us to trace the conceptualisation and enactment of safety as revealed in dialogue and narrative, use of artefacts and space, bodily activity and patterns of movement, and in the accomplishment of specific work tasks. An interview phase and a social network analysis phase will subsequently be conducted to offer comparative perspectives on the observational data. This multi-modal and holistic approach to studying patient safety will complement existing research, which is dominated by instrumentalist approaches to discovering factors contributing to error, or developing interventions to prevent or manage adverse events.
Discussion
This ethnographic research framework, informed by the principles of practice theories and in particular actor-network ideas, provides a tool to aid the understanding of patient safety in mental healthcare. The approach is novel in that it seeks to articulate an 'anatomy of patient safety' as it actually occurs, in terms of the networks of elements coalescing to enable the conceptual and material performance of safety in mental health settings. By looking at how patient safety happens or does not happen, this study will enable us to better understand how we might in future productively tackle its improvement.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-100
PMCID: PMC3123546  PMID: 21569572

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