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Compared to the general population, individuals with complex congenital heart disease are at increased risk for deficits in cognitive, neurodevelopmental, psychosocial, and physical functioning, resulting in a diminished health-related quality of life. These deficits have been well described over the past 25 years, but significant gaps remain in our understanding of the best practices to improve neurodevelopmental and psychosocial outcomes and health-related quality of life for individuals with paediatric and congenital heart disease. Innovative clinical, quality improvement, and research opportunities with collaboration across multiple disciplines and institutions were needed to address these gaps. The Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative was founded in 2016 with a described mission to determine and implement best practices of neurodevelopmental and psychosocial services for individuals and their families with paediatric and congenital heart disease through clinical, quality improvement, and research initiatives. The vision is to be a multi-centre, multi-national, multi-disciplinary group of healthcare professionals committed to working together and partnering with families to optimise neurodevelopmental outcomes for individuals with paediatric and congenital heart disease through clinical, quality, and research initiatives, intending to maximise quality of life for every individual across the lifespan. This manuscript describes the development and organisation of the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative.
Improving the delivery of existing treatment may often bring much greater benefits than developing new treatments and technologies. To achieve this, clinical teams and organisations need to build capacity for sustained and systematic improvement. Organisations can build improvement capacity and skills by developing permanent multidisciplinary centres to provide sustained inspiration, research, training and practical support for implementation and innovation. In the longer term, organisations need to build an infrastructure for quality improvement that includes an information system to track change and dedicated improvement leads across the organisation.
Pituitary adenomas (PAs) are common and often require complex multidisciplinary care with multiple specialists. This may result in a healthcare system that is challenging for patients to navigate. Audits of care at our institution revealed opportunities for improvement to better align care with patients’ needs.
A quality improvement initiative that incorporated a patient advisory committee of patients who had received treatment for PA at our center and their family members were used to help identify opportunities for improvement. The patient-identified gaps in care included the need to coordinate and minimize appointments and the desire for better communication and education. Based on this information, changes were implemented to the pituitary program, including increasing access to the Multidisciplinary Clinic and developing a standardized and centralized triage process.
A pre- and post-intervention analysis consisting of retrospective chart reviews revealed that these changes had an impact on wait times for first assessment, and a significant shift in the location of this first visit – with a larger proportion of patients being seen in the Multidisciplinary Clinic after an intervention.
We demonstrate that patient involvement, beyond individual patient–physician interactions, can lead to meaningful and observable changes, and can improve the quality of care for PA.
Opioid use disorder is a major public health crisis, and evidence suggests ways of better serving patients who live with opioid use disorder in the emergency department (ED). A multi-disciplinary team developed a quality improvement project to implement this evidence.
The intervention was developed by an expert working group consisting of specialists and stakeholders. The group set goals of increasing prescribing of buprenorphine/naloxone and providing next day walk-in referrals to opioid use disorder treatment clinics. From May to September 2018, three Alberta ED sites and three opioid use disorder treatment clinics worked together to trial the intervention. We used administrative data to track the number of ED visits where patients were given buprenorphine/naloxone. Monthly ED prescribing rates before and after the intervention were considered and compared with eight nonintervention sites. We considered whether patients continued to fill opioid agonist treatment prescriptions at 30, 60, and 90 days after their index ED visit to measure continuity in treatment.
The intervention sites increased their prescribing of buprenorphine/naloxone during the intervention period and prescribed more buprenorphine/naloxone than the controls. Thirty-five of 47 patients (74.4%) discharged from the ED with buprenorphine/naloxone continued to fill opioid agonist treatment prescriptions 30 days and 60 days after their index ED visit. Thirty-four patients (72.3%) filled prescriptions at 90 days.
Emergency clinicians can effectively initiate patients on buprenorphine/naloxone when supports for this standardized evidence-based care are in place within their practice setting and timely follow-up in community is available.
There has been limited evaluation of handover from emergency medical services (EMS) to the trauma team. We sought to characterize these handover practices to identify areas of improvement and determine if handover standardization might be beneficial for trauma team performance.
Data were prospectively collected over a nine-week period by a trained observer at a Canadian level one trauma centre. A randomized scheduled was used to capture a representative breadth of handovers. Data collected included outcome measures such as duration of handover, structure of the handover, and information shared, process measures such as questions and interruptions from the trauma team, and perceptions of the handover from nurses, trauma team leaders and EMS according to a bidirectional Likert scale.
79 formal verbal handovers were observed. Information was often missing regarding airway (present 22%), breathing (54%), medications (59%), and allergies (54%). Handover structure lacked consistency beyond the order of identification and mechanism of injury. Of all questions asked, 35% were questioning previously given information. The majority of handovers (61%) involved parallel conversations between team members while EMS was speaking. There was a statistically significant disparity between the self-evaluation of EMS handovers and the perceived quality determined by nurses and trauma team leaders.
We have identified the need to standardize handover due to poor information content, a lack of structure and active listening, information repetition, and discordant expectations between team members. These data will guide the development of a co-constructed framework integrating the perspectives of all team members.
Measuring outcomes is becoming an increasingly standard (and highly complex) part of what mental health services are expected to do. Practising psychiatrists will need to have a good understanding of approaches to outcome measurement: used well, they have the potential to amplify the patient voice, promote good-quality services and facilitate research. We discuss what constitutes an outcome measure, the different ways that such measures can be obtained and the mechanisms for assessing the quality and appropriateness of an outcome measure. We outline the rapidly evolving research and policy context regarding outcome measurement, with particular reference to the UK's National Health Service. We also consider the potential pitfalls to outcome measurement, such as added clinical burden, inappropriate incentivisation of behaviour and incorrect interpretation of results. We discuss ways that such difficulties can be avoided or their effects mitigated.
In value-based healthcare (VBHC) value is defined as outcomes that matter to patients divided by the cost of achieving these outcomes. Value is measured for discrete medical conditions across the whole cycle of care. Data on the value achieved by different providers is openly shared. Providers increase value using quality improvement (QI) techniques to improve outcomes, reduce costs or both. Patients or commissioners choose the provider achieving the greatest value. Units should compete regionally or nationally. There are challenges to implementing such ideas in the mental health services in the UK. However, measuring outcomes, understanding costs and using QI to drive up value may be possible without adopting the complete model that has developed in the context of a North American and acute hospital healthcare system.
Changes to the general practice (GP) contract in England (April 2019) introduced a new quality improvement (QI) domain. The clinical microsystems programme is an approach to QI with limited evidence in primary care.
To explore experiences of GP staff participating in a clinical microsystems programme.
Design and setting:
GPs within one clinical commissioning group (CCG) in South East England. Normalisation process theory informed qualitative approach.
Review of all CCG clinical microsystems projects using pre-existing data. The Diffusion of Innovation Cycle was used to inform the sampling frame and GPs were invited to participate in interviews or focus groups. Ten practices participated; 11 coaches and 16 staff were interviewed.
The majority of projects were process-driven activities related to administrative systems. Projects directly related to health outputs were fewer and related to externally imposed targets. Four key elements facilitated practices to engage: feeling in control; receiving enhanced service payment; having a senior staff member championing the approach; and good practice–coach relationship. There appeared to be three key benefits in addition to project-specific ones: improved working relationships between CCG and practice; more cohesive practice team; and time to reflect.
Small projects with clear parameters were more successful than larger ones or those spanning organisations. However, there was little evidence suggesting the key benefits were unique attributes of the microsystems approach and sustainability was problematic. Future research should focus on cross-organisational approaches to QI and identify what, if any, added value the approach provides.
This paper gives a narrative account of how the Oxford Healthcare Improvement Centre has embedded continuous quality improvement (CQI) across both mental health and community services in Oxford, UK. The aim of the centre is to develop capability across healthcare services, with frontline staff leading CQI independently. The paper discusses the various methods employed to achieve this aim, including the provision of training, mentoring and support to those undertaking improvement work, alongside developing the required governance for CQI.
Neonates undergoing surgery for congenital heart disease are vulnerable to adverse events. Conventional quality improvement processes centring on mortality and significant morbidity leave a gap in the identification of systematic processes that, though not directly linked to an error, may still contribute to adverse outcomes. Implementation of a multidisciplinary “flight path” process for surgical patients may be used to identify modifiable threats and errors and generate action items, which may lead to quality improvement.
A retrospective review of our neonatal “flight path” initiative was performed. Within 72 hours of a cardiac surgery, a meeting of the multidisciplinary patient care team occurs. A “flight path” is generated, graphically illustrating the patient’s hospital course. Threats, errors, or unintended consequences are identified. Action items are generated, and a working group is formed to address the items. A patient’s flight path is updated weekly until discharge. The errors and action items are logged into a database, which is analysed quarterly to identify trends.
Thirty one patients underwent flight path review over a 1-year period; 22.5% (N = 7) of patients had an error-free “flight.” Eleven action items were generated – four from identified errors and seven from identified threats. Nine action items were completed.
Flight path reviews of congenital cardiac patients can be generated with few resources and aid in the detection of quality improvement opportunities. The regular multidisciplinary meetings that occur as a part of the flight path review process can promote inter-professional teamwork.
To identify modifiers of emergency medical services (EMS) oversight quality, including facilitators and barriers, and inform best practices and policy related to EMS oversight and system performance.
We used a qualitative design, including 4 focus groups and 10 in-depth, 1-on-1 interviews. Primary data were collected from EMS stakeholders in Michigan from June to July 2016. Qualitative data were analyzed using the rapid assessment technique.
Emergent themes included organizational structure, oversight and stakeholder leadership, interorganizational communication and relationships, competition or collaboration among MCA stakeholders, quality improvement practices, resources, and needs specific to rural communities.
EMS is a critical component of disaster response. This study revealed salient themes and modifiers, including facilitators and barriers, of EMS oversight quality. These findings were evaluated in the context of current evidence and informed state policy to improve the quality of EMS oversight and prehospital care for both routine and disaster settings. Some were particular to geographic regions and communities, whereas others were generalizable.
Audit and feedback is widely used to improve physician performance. Many data metrics are being provided to physicians, yet most of these are driven by the regulatory environment. We sought to conduct a needs assessment of audit and feedback metrics that were most useful to clinicians within our health care region.
We conducted a Web-based survey of five clinical practice sites in our region and asked that physicians rank 49 clinical practice metrics. In addition, we assessed their readiness for audit and feedback and their preferences for data confidentiality. We collected data on duration of training, gender, and site of practice (academic v. community) allowing for comparison between groups.
A total of 104 emergency medicine physicians participated in the survey (52.3% response rate). There was a significant readiness for participation in audit and feedback activities. Top ranked metrics were emergency department return rates and colleague's assessment of collegiality and quality of care, which were common across all sites. Small yet significant differences were noted between genders and academic v. community practitioners.
This study represents the first regional analysis of physician preferences for audit and feedback activities and implementation. It demonstrates that physicians are interested in audit and feedback activities and provides a roadmap for the development of a regional audit and feedback structure. It will also be used as a guiding document for regional change management.
The Bulgarian Ministry of Health invited the European Psychiatric Association (EPA) to evaluate Bulgarian mental health care service provision in 2018. Bulgarian mental health services face very significant challenges including a legacy of historic underfunding, internal conflicts, poor planning, and the emigration of very high numbers of younger skilled staff that had followed accession to the European Union. There were significant disputes between stakeholders regarding the way forward and had been at least two unsuccessful previous external agency interventions that had attempted to find solutions.
This EPA position paper describes in detail the EPA mission to Bulgaria including methodology, findings, recommendations, and finally the positive actions and changes that are now underway as a result of the EPA report and intervention aimed at contributing towards improving Bulgarian mental health services.
After meetings with multiple stakeholders in the Bulgarian mental health system and analysis of data on service delivery, workforce, funding and configuration the EPA Panel agreed a list of twenty recommendations for change.
The EPA mission, with the collaboration of multiple stakeholders in Bulgaria, was successful in stimulating high level government action to improve mental health services. Despite longstanding differences, it was possible to involve the stakeholders in constructive dialogue. The importance of “speaking with one voice” was a key lesson learned.
Introduction: CAEP recently developed the acute atrial fibrillation (AF) and flutter (AFL) [AAFF] Best Practices Checklist to promote optimal care and guidance on cardioversion and rapid discharge of patients with AAFF. We sought to assess the impact of implementing the Checklist into large Canadian EDs. Methods: We conducted a pragmatic stepped-wedge cluster randomized trial in 11 large Canadian ED sites in five provinces, over 14 months. All hospitals started in the control period (usual care), and then crossed over to the intervention period in random sequence, one hospital per month. We enrolled consecutive, stable patients presenting with AAFF, where symptoms required ED management. Our intervention was informed by qualitative stakeholder interviews to identify perceived barriers and enablers for rapid discharge of AAFF patients. The many interventions included local champions, presentation of the Checklist to physicians in group sessions, an online training module, a smartphone app, and targeted audit and feedback. The primary outcome was length of stay in ED in minutes from time of arrival to time of disposition, and this was analyzed at the individual patient-level using linear mixed effects regression accounting for the stepped-wedge design. We estimated a sample size of 800 patients. Results: We enrolled 844 patients with none lost to follow-up. Those in the control (N = 316) and intervention periods (N = 528) were similar for all characteristics including mean age (61.2 vs 64.2 yrs), duration of AAFF (8.1 vs 7.7 hrs), AF (88.6% vs 82.9%), AFL (11.4% vs 17.1%), and mean initial heart rate (119.6 vs 119.9 bpm). Median lengths of stay for the control and intervention periods respectively were 413.0 vs. 354.0 minutes (P < 0.001). Comparing control to intervention, there was an increase in: use of antiarrhythmic drugs (37.4% vs 47.4%; P < 0.01), electrical cardioversion (45.1% vs 56.8%; P < 0.01), and discharge in sinus rhythm (75.3% vs. 86.7%; P < 0.001). There was a decrease in ED consultations to cardiology and medicine (49.7% vs 41.1%; P < 0.01), but a small but insignificant increase in anticoagulant prescriptions (39.6% vs 46.5%; P = 0.21). Conclusion: This multicenter implementation of the CAEP Best Practices Checklist led to a significant decrease in ED length of stay along with more ED cardioversions, fewer ED consultations, and more discharges in sinus rhythm. Widespread and rigorous adoption of the CAEP Checklist should lead to improved care of AAFF patients in all Canadian EDs.
Introduction: Positive deviance recognizes that there are individuals and teams within our community of practice that succeed in spite of system constraints. Amazing and awesome rounds has been proposed as a forum to identify behaviours and processes that lead to exceptional results. The objective of this study was to determine the feasibility and acceptability of a structured amazing and awesome rounds model through an innovative educational intervention. Methods: The authors engaged a broad range of professional designations(physicians, surgeons, nurses, respiratory therapists, administrative staff) at a tertiary care institution. A&A rounds were open to all allied health professionals and administrative staff. The Northern A&A rounds model was developed, implemented, and then evaluated as a four-part intervention. This consisted of: 1) Allied health professional training on case selection and analysis, 2) Engaging inter professional members, 3) disseminating lessons learned, and 4) creating an administrative pathway for acting on issues identified through the A&A rounds. The measures of intervention feasibility included the proportion of sessions adherent to the new model and A&A rounds attendance. Post intervention surveys of presenters and attendees were used to determine intervention acceptability. A&A presentation content was reviewed to determine the most frequently adopted components of the model. Results: Nine out of 9(100%) of presented cases were adherent to the three components of the Northern A&A Model. A&A rounds were highest attended of all hospital wide grand rounds(N = 75 SD 2.4 P < 0.001). Nine case presentations were analyzed and 7 action items were identified for amplification across the hospital. Including 3 case reports published of a novel approach to a patient case,a rapid referral for trauma patients at risk for PTSD, AED placement in all community clinics and routine debrief after resuscitations. Presenters included a broad representation of hospital staff including surgeons, emergency physicians, radiologists, nurses, and administrators. Conclusion: The Northern A&A Model was a feasible intervention that was perceived to be effective by both presenters and attendees. The authors believe that this could be readily applied to any hospital seeking to enhance quality of care and patient safety.
Introduction: Despite studies highlighting the inaccuracies of self-assessment, practicing physicians continue to rely on self-perception to maintain clinical competence. Many approaches have been proposed to augment physician performance. In the realm of Quality Improvement (QI), Audit and Feedback (A&F) has a modest effect. Educators have proposed coaching interventions and academic constructs have invoked training for early-career clinicians. Very few of these are driven by the perceptions and the needs of the end-user - the physicians. We currently lack a model to understand physicians’ perceptions of their own practice data and an understanding of the factors which would enable practice change. In this study, we sought to develop a model for data feedback which may best help physicians change practice. Methods: In a previous study, we conducted a needs analysis of 105 physicians in the Hamilton-Niagara area in order to understand which data metrics were most valuable to physicians. Using the survey results, we designed an interview guide that was used as a qualitative study of physicians’ perspectives on A&F. By intentional sampling, we recruited 15 physicians amongst gender groups, types of practice (academic vs community) and durations of practice. We conducted this interview with all 15 participants which were then transcribed. We then performed thematic analysis and extraction of all interviews using a realist framework. These were then translated into broader themes and, by using a grounded theory framework, created a model to understand how physicians relate practice data to their own sense of self. Interviews were anonymized and no identifying data was shared as part of the interview. All interviewees consented to participation at the outset and could withdraw at any time. Results: Via stakeholder interviews from 15 key informants, we developed a model for the understanding of how a physician's sense of self and the nature of the data (quantity and quality) may be combined to understand the likelihood of practice change and the adoption of the change strategy. Using this model, it is possible to understand the conditions under which A&F would provide the greatest opportunity for practice change. Conclusion: Physician identity intersects with A&F data to shed insights on practice improvement. Understanding the core identity constructs of different physician groups may allow for increased uptake in A&F processes.
Introduction: An important challenge physicians face when treating acute heart failure (AHF) patients in the emergency department (ED) is deciding whether to admit or discharge, with or without early follow-up. The overall goal of our project was to improve care for AHF patients seen in the ED while avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions. The specific goal was to introduce hospital rapid referral clinics to ensure AHF patients were seen within 7 days of ED discharge. Methods: This prospective before-after study was conducted at two campuses of a large tertiary care hospital, including the EDs and specialty outpatient clinics. We enrolled AHF patients ≥50 years who presented to the ED with shortness of breath (<7 days). The 12-month before (control) period was separated from the 12-month after (intervention) period by a 3-month implementation period. Implementation included creation of rapid access AHF clinics staffed by cardiology and internal medicine, and development of referral procedures. There was extensive in-servicing of all ED staff. The primary outcome measure was hospital admission at the index visit or within 30 days. Secondary outcomes included mortality and actual access to rapid follow-up. We used segmented autoregression analysis of the monthly proportions to determine whether there was a change in admissions coinciding with the introduction of the intervention and estimated a sample size of 700 patients. Results: The patients in the before period (N = 355) and the after period (N = 374) were similar for age (77.8 vs. 78.1 years), arrival by ambulance (48.7% vs 51.1%), comorbidities, current medications, and need for non-invasive ventilation (10.4% vs. 6.7%). Comparing the before to the after periods, we observed a decrease in hospital admissions on index visit (from 57.7% to 42.0%; P <0.01), as well as all admissions within 30 days (from 65.1% to 53.5% (P < 0.01). The autoregression analysis, however, demonstrated a pre-existing trend to fewer admissions and could not attribute this to the intervention (P = 0.91). Attendance at a specialty clinic, amongst those discharged increased from 17.8% to 42.1% (P < 0.01) and the median days to clinic decreased from 13 to 6 days (P < 0.01). 30-day mortality did not change (4.5% vs. 4.0%; P = 0.76). Conclusion: Implementation of rapid-access dedicated AHF clinics led to considerably increased access to specialist care, much reduced follow-up times, and possible reduction in hospital admissions. Widespread use of this approach can improve AHF care in Canada.