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1.  Indicators of safety compromise in gastrointestinal endoscopy 
The growth in the use of endoscopy to diagnose and treat many gastointestinal disorders, and its central role in cancer screening programs, has led to a significant increase in the number of procedures performed. This growth, however, has also led to many variations in, among others, the provision of services, the choice of sedative medications and the training of providers. The recognition of the significance of quality in endoscopy has prompted several countries, including Canada, to initiate efforts to adopt nationwide quality improvement programs. The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology formed a committee to review endoscopy and quality with the aim of stimulating improvement. This article focuses specifically on patient safety indicators that were developed at a consensus conference aimed at generating a broad range of recommendations for selected endoscopic procedures, which if adopted, could lead to significant changes in how endoscopy services are provided.
INTRODUCTION:
The importance of quality indicators has become increasingly recognized in gastrointestinal endoscopy. Patient safety requires the identification and monitoring of occurrences associated with harm or the potential for harm. The identification of relevant indicators of safety compromise is, therefore, a critical element that is key to the effective implementation of endoscopy quality improvement programs.
OBJECTIVE:
To identify key indicators of safety compromise in gastrointestinal endoscopy.
METHODS:
The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology Safety and Quality Indicators in Endoscopy Consensus Group was formed to address issues of quality in endoscopy. A subcommittee was formed to identify key safety indicators. A systematic literature review was undertaken, and articles pertinent to safety in endoscopy were identified and reviewed. All complications and measures used to document safety were recorded. From this, a preliminary list of 16 indicators was compiled and presented to the 35-person consensus group during a three-day meeting. A revised list of 20 items was subsequently put to the consensus group for vote for inclusion on the final list of safety indicators. Items were retained only if the consensus group highly agreed on their importance.
RESULTS:
A total of 19 indicators of safety compromise were retained and grouped into the three following categories: medication-related – the need for CPR, use of reversal agents, hypoxia, hypotension, hypertension, sedation doses in patients older than 70 years of age, allergic reactions and laryngospasm/bronchospasm; procedure-related early – perforation, immediate postpolypectomy bleeding, need for hospital admission or transfer to emergency department from the gastroenterology unit, instrument impaction, severe persistent abdominal pain requiring evaluation proven to not be perforation; and procedure-related delayed – death within 30 days of procedure, 14-day unplanned hospitalization, 14-day unplanned contact with a health provider, gastrointestinal bleeding within 14 days of procedure, infection or symptomatic metabolic complications.
CONCLUSIONS:
The 19 indicators of safety compromise in endoscopy, identified by a rigorous, evidence-based consensus process, provide clear outcomes to be recorded by all facilities as part of their continuing quality improvement programs.
PMCID: PMC3275408  PMID: 22312605
Digestive system; Endoscopy; Health care; Quality assurance; Surgical complications; Safety
2.  Canadian Association of Gastroenterology consensus guidelines on safety and quality indicators in endoscopy 
Several organizations worldwide have developed procedure-based guidelines and/or position statements regarding various aspects of quality and safety indicators, and credentialing for endoscopy. Although important, they do not specifically address patient needs or provide a framework for their adoption in the context of endoscopy services. The consensus guidelines reported in this article, however, aimed to identify processes and indicators relevant to the provision of high-quality endoscopy services that will support ongoing quality improvement across many jurisdictions, specifically in the areas of ethics, facility standards and policies, quality assurance, training and education, reporting standards and patient perceptions.
BACKGROUND:
Increasing use of gastrointestinal endoscopy, particularly for colorectal cancer screening, and increasing emphasis on health care quality, highlight the need for clearly defined, evidence-based processes to support quality improvement in endoscopy.
OBJECTIVE:
To identify processes and indicators of quality and safety relevant to high-quality endoscopy service delivery.
METHODS:
A multidisciplinary group of 35 voting participants developed recommendation statements and performance indicators. Systematic literature searches generated 50 initial statements that were revised iteratively following a modified Delphi approach using a web-based evaluation and voting tool. Statement development and evidence evaluation followed the AGREE (Appraisal of Guidelines, REsearch and Evaluation) and GRADE (Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation) guidelines. At the consensus conference, participants voted anonymously on all statements using a 6-point scale. Subsequent web-based voting evaluated recommendations for specific, individual quality indicators, safety indicators and mandatory endoscopy reporting fields. Consensus was defined a priori as agreement by 80% of participants.
RESULTS:
Consensus was reached on 23 recommendation statements addressing the following: ethics (statement 1: agreement 100%), facility standards and policies (statements 2 to 9: 90% to 100%), quality assurance (statements 10 to 13: 94% to 100%), training, education, competency and privileges (statements 14 to 19: 97% to 100%), endoscopy reporting standards (statements 20 and 21: 97% to 100%) and patient perceptions (statements 22 and 23: 100%). Additionally, 18 quality indicators (agreement 83% to 100%), 20 safety indicators (agreement 77% to 100%) and 23 recommended endoscopy-reporting elements (agreement 91% to 100%) were identified.
DISCUSSION:
The consensus process identified a clear need for high-quality clinical and outcomes research to support quality improvement in the delivery of endoscopy services.
CONCLUSIONS:
The guidelines support quality improvement in endoscopy by providing explicit recommendations on systematic monitoring, assessment and modification of endoscopy service delivery to yield benefits for all patients affected by the practice of gastrointestinal endoscopy.
PMCID: PMC3275402  PMID: 22308578
Digestive system; Endoscopy; Guideline; Health care; Quality assurance
3.  Point-of-care, peer-comparator colonoscopy practice audit: The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology Quality Program – Endoscopy 
BACKGROUND
Point-of-care practice audits allow documentation of procedural outcomes to support quality improvement in endoscopic practice.
OBJECTIVE
To evaluate a colonoscopists’ practice audit tool that provides point-of-care data collection and peer-comparator feedback.
METHODS
A prospective, observational colonoscopy practice audit was conducted in academic and community endoscopy units for unselected patients undergoing colonoscopy. Anonymized colonoscopist, patient and practice data were collected using touchscreen smart-phones with automated data upload for data analysis and review by participants. The main outcome measures were the following colonoscopy quality indicators: colonoscope insertion and withdrawal times, bowel preparation quality, sedation, immediate complications and polypectomy, and biopsy rates.
RESULTS
Over a span of 16 months, 62 endoscopists reported on 1279 colonoscopy procedures. The mean cecal intubation rate was 94.9% (10th centile 84.2%). The mean withdrawal time was 8.8 min and, for nonpolypectomy colonoscopies, 41.9% of colonoscopists reported a mean withdrawal time of less than 6 min. Polypectomy was performed in 37% of colonoscopies. Independent predictors of polypectomy included the following: endoscopy unit type, patient age, interval since previous colonoscopy, bowel preparation quality, stable inflammatory bowel disease, previous colon polyps and withdrawal time. Withdrawal times of less than 6 min were associated with lower polyp removal rates (mean difference −11.3% [95% CI −2.8% to −19.9%]; P=0.01).
DISCUSSION
Cecal intubation rates exceeded 90% and polypectomy rates exceeded 30%, but withdrawal times were frequently shorter than recommended. There are marked practice variations consistent with previous observations.
CONCLUSION
Real-time, point-of-care practice audits with prompt, confidential access to outcome data provide a basis for targeted educational programs to improve quality in colonoscopy practice.
PMCID: PMC3027329  PMID: 21258663
Colonoscopy; Health care; Practice audit; Quality assurance; Quality indicators
4.  Access to specialist gastroenterology care in Canada: Comparison of wait times and consensus targets 
BACKGROUND:
Monitoring wait times and defining targets for care have been advocated to improve health care delivery related to cancer, heart, diagnostic imaging, joint replacements and sight restoration. There are few data on access to care for digestive diseases, although they pose a greater economic burden than cancer or heart disease in Canada. The present study compared wait times for specialist gastroenterology care with recent, evidence-based, consensus-defined benchmark wait times for a range of digestive diseases.
METHODS:
Total wait times from primary care referral to investigation were measured for seven digestive disease indications by using the Practice Audit in Gastroenterology program, and were benchmarked against consensus recommendations.
RESULTS:
Total wait times for 1903 patients who were undergoing investigation exceeded targets for those with probable cancer (median 26 days [25th to 75th percentiles eight to 56 days] versus target of two weeks); probable inflammatory bowel disease (101 days [35 to 209 days] versus two weeks); documented iron deficiency anemia (71 days [19 to 142 days] versus two months); positive fecal occult blood test (73 days [36 to 148 days] versus two months); dyspepsia with alarm symptoms (60 days [23 to 140 days] versus two months); refractory dyspepsia without alarm symptoms (126 days [42 to 225 days] versus two months); and chronic constipation and diarrhea (141 days [68 to 264 days] versus two months). A minority of patients were seen within target times: probable cancer (33% [95% CI 20% to 47%]); probable inflammatory bowel disease (12% [95% CI 1% to 23%]); iron deficiency anemia (46% [95% CI 37% to 55%]); positive occult blood test (41% [95% CI 28% to 54%]); dyspepsia with alarm symptoms (51% [95% CI 41% to 60%]); refractory dyspepsia without alarm symptoms (33% [95% CI 19% to 47%]); and chronic constipation and diarrhea (21% [95% CI 14% to 29%]).
DISCUSSION:
Total wait times for the seven indications exceeded the consensus targets; 51% to 88% of patients were not seen within the target wait time. Multiple interventions, including adoption of evidence-based management guidelines and provision of economic and human resources, are needed to ensure appropriate access to digestive health care in Canada. Outcomes can be evaluated by the ‘point-of-care’, practice audit methodology used for the present study.
PMCID: PMC2659137  PMID: 18299735
Access; Benchmark; Digestive disease; Health care; Recommendation; Target; Wait time
5.  Access to specialist gastroenterology care in Canada: The Practice Audit in Gastroenterology (PAGE) Wait Times Program 
BACKGROUND:
Canadian wait time data are available for the treatment of cancer and heart disease, as well as for joint replacement, cataract surgery and diagnostic imaging procedures. Wait times for gastroenterology consultation and procedures have not been studied, although digestive diseases pose a greater economic burden in Canada than cancer or heart disease.
METHODS:
Specialist physicians completed the practice audit if they provided digestive health care, accepted new patients and recorded referral dates. For patients seen for consultation or investigation over a one-week period, preprogrammed personal digital assistants were used to collect data including the main reason for referral, initial referral and consultation dates, procedure dates (if performed), personal and family history, and patient symptoms, signs and test results. Patient triaging, appropriateness of the referral and timeliness of care were noted.
RESULTS:
Over 10 months, 199 physicians recorded details of 5559 referrals, including 1903 visits for procedures. The distribution of total wait times (from referral to procedure) nationally was highly skewed at 91/203 days (median/75th percentile), with substantial interprovincial variation: British Columbia, 66/185 days; Alberta, 134/284 days; Ontario, 110/208 days; Quebec, 71/149 days; New Brunswick, 104/234 days; and Nova Scotia, 42/84 days. The percentage of physicians by province offering average-risk screening colonoscopy varied from 29% to 100%.
DISCUSSION:
Access to specialist gastroenterology care in Canada is limited by long wait times, which exceed clinically reasonable waits for specialist treatment. Although exhibiting some methodological limitations, this large practice audit sampling offers broadly generalized results, as well as a means to identify barriers to health care delivery and evaluate strategies to address these barriers, with the goals of expediting appropriate care for patients with digestive health disorders and ameliorating the personal and societal burdens imposed by digestive diseases.
PMCID: PMC2659136  PMID: 18299734
Access; Digestive diseases; Health care; Practice audit; Wait time
8.  Practice Audit in Gastroenterology (PAGE) program: A novel approach to continuing professional development 
BACKGROUND:
Practice audit is an important component of continuing professional development that may more readily be undertaken if it were less complex. This qualitative study assessed the use of personal digital assistants to facilitate data collection and review.
METHODS:
Personal digital assistants programmed with standard questionnaires related to upper gastrointestinal endoscopies (Practice Audit in Gastroenterology-Endoscopy [‘PAGE-Endo’]) and colonoscopies (PAGE-Colonoscopy [‘PAGE-Colo’]) were provided to Canadian gastroenterologists, surgeons and internists. Over a three-week audit period, participants recorded indications, and the expected (E) and reported (R) findings for each procedure. Thereafter, participants recorded compliance with reporting, the ease of use and value of the PAGE program, and their willingness to perform another audit.
RESULTS:
Over 15 to 18 months, 173 participants completed PAGE-Endo (6168 procedures) and 111 completed PAGE-Colo (4776 procedures). Most respondents noted that PAGE was easy to use (99%), beneficial (88% to 95%), and that they were willing undertake another audit (92% to 95%). In PAGE-Endo, alarm features were prevalent (55%), but major reported findings were less common than expected: esophagitis (E 29.9%, R 14.8%), esophageal stricture (E 8.3%, R 3.6%), gastric ulcer (E 17.0%, R 4.7%), gastric cancer (E 4.3%, R 1.0%) and duodenal ulcer (E 11.5%, R 5.7%). In PAGE-Colo, more colonoscopies were performed for symptom investigation (55%) than for screening (25%) or surveillance (20%). There were marked interprovincial variations with respect to sedation, biopsies and technical aspects of colonoscopy.
CONCLUSION:
Secure, real-time data entry with review of aggregate and individual data in the PAGE program provided an acceptable, straightforward methodology for accredited practice audit activities. PAGE has considerable potential for continuing professional development in gastroenterology and other specialties.
PMCID: PMC2659923  PMID: 16779458
Colonoscopy; Continuing medical education; Continuing professional development; Endoscopy; Gastroenterology; Maintenance of certification; Personal digital assistant; Practice audit

Results 1-8 (8)