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Rapid advances in precision medicine promise dramatic reductions in morbidity and mortality for a growing array of conditions. To realize the benefits of precision medicine and minimize harm, it is necessary to address real-world challenges encountered in translating this research into practice. Foremost among these is how to choose and use precision medicine modalities in real-world practice by addressing issues related to caring for the sizable proportion of people living with multimorbidity. Precision medicine needs to be delivered in the broader context of precision care to account for factors that influence outcomes for specific therapeutics. Precision care integrates a person-centered approach with precision medicine to inform decision making and care planning by taking multimorbidity, functional status, values, goals, preferences, social and societal context into account. Designing dissemination and implementation of precision medicine around precision care would improve person-centered quality and outcomes of care, target interventions to those most likely to benefit thereby improving access to new therapeutics, minimize the risk of withdrawal from the market from unanticipated harms of therapy, and advance health equity by tailoring interventions and care to meet the needs of diverse individuals and populations. Precision medicine delivered in the context of precision care would foster respectful care aligned with preferences, values, and goals, engendering trust, and providing needed information to make informed decisions. Accelerating adoption requires attention to the full continuum of translational research: developing new approaches, demonstrating their usefulness, disseminating and implementing findings, while engaging patients throughout the process. This encompasses basic science, preclinical and clinical research and implementation into practice, ultimately improving health. This article examines challenges to the adoption of precision medicine in the context of multimorbidity. Although the potential of precision medicine is enormous, proactive efforts are needed to avoid unintended consequences and foster its equitable and effective adoption.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has required healthcare systems to meet new demands for rapid information dissemination, resource allocation, and data reporting. To help address these challenges, our institution leveraged electronic health record (EHR)–integrated clinical pathways (E-ICPs), which are easily understood care algorithms accessible at the point of care.
To describe our institution’s creation of E-ICPs to address the COVID-19 pandemic, and to assess the use and impact of these tools.
Urban academic medical center with adult and pediatric hospitals, emergency departments, and ambulatory practices.
Using the E-ICP processes and infrastructure established at our institution as a foundation, we developed a suite of COVID-19–specific E-ICPs along with a process for frequent reassessment and updating. We examined the development and use of our COVID-19–specific pathways for a 6-month period (March 1–September 1, 2020), and we have described their impact using case studies.
In total, 45 COVID-19–specific pathways were developed, pertaining to triage, diagnosis, and management of COVID-19 in diverse patient settings. Orders available in E-ICPs included those for isolation precautions, testing, treatments, admissions, and transfers. Pathways were accessed 86,400 times, with 99,081 individual orders were placed. Case studies demonstrate the impact of COVID-19 E-ICPs on stewardship of resources, testing optimization, and data reporting.
E-ICPs provide a flexible and unified mechanism to meet the evolving demands of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they continue to be a critical tool leveraged by clinicians and hospital administrators alike for the management of COVID-19. Lessons learned may be generalizable to other urgent and nonurgent clinical conditions.
We surveyed healthcare workers at an urban academic hospital in the United States about their confidence in and knowledge of appropriate personal protective equipment use during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Among 461 respondents, most were confident and knowledgeable about use. Prescribers or nurses and those extremely confident about use were also the most knowledgeable.
The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) program sponsors the development of systematic reviews to inform clinical policy and practice. The EPC program sought to better understand how health systems identify and use this evidence.
Representatives from eleven EPCs, the EPC Scientific Resource Center, and AHRQ developed a semi-structured interview script to query a diverse group of nine Key Informants (KIs) involved in health system quality, safety and process improvement about how they identify and use evidence. Interviews were transcribed and qualitatively summarized into key themes.
All KIs reported that their organizations have either centralized quality, safety, and process improvement functions within their system, or they have partnerships with other organizations to conduct this work. There was variation in how evidence was identified, with larger health systems having medical librarians and central bureaus to gather and disseminate information and smaller systems having local chief medical officers or individual clinicians do this work. KIs generally prefer guidelines, especially those with treatment algorithms, because they are actionable. They like systematic reviews because they efficiently condense study results and reconcile conflicting data. They prefer information from systematic reviews to be presented as short digestible summaries with the full report available on demand. KIs preferred systematic reviews from reputable entities and those without commercial bias. Some of the challenges KIs reported include how to resolve conflicting evidence, the generalizability of evidence to local needs, determining whether the evidence is up-to-date, and the length of time required to generate reviews. The topics of greatest interest included predictive analytics, high-value care, advance care planning, and care coordination. To increase awareness of AHRQ EPC reviews, KIs suggest alerting people at multiple levels in a health-system when new evidence reports are available and making reports easier to find in common search engines.
Systematic reviews are valued by health system leaders. To be most useful they should be easy to locate and available in different formats targeted to the needs of different audiences.
Misdiagnosis of asymptomatic bacteriuria as catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) leads to unnecessary tests and other low-value care. We used this topic as the prototype to develop a clinical pathways program to promote evidence-based decision making in a multi-hospital system.
We convened a task force including hospital and critical care physicians, nurses, laboratory staff, and informatics specialists. Our Health Technology Asessment (HTA) center completed a rapid systematic review on guidelines and algorithms for diagnosing CAUTI. Additional rapid reviews were completed as necessary to address specific follow-up questions. A draft pathway based on the guidelines was developed, and then the task force edited it in an iterative process.
We used the Dorsata platform (Dorsata Inc., Washington, DC) to create, distribute and maintain the pathway. Dorsata has both desktop and mobile interfaces that guide clinicians through decision algorithms. Individual pathways include links to references and a portal for direct user feedback. Pathway owners have access to a real-time pathway utilization dashboard.
A standardized order set with the pathway was added to our electronic health record system. We also held educational meetings for residents and provided “huddle sheets” to nurse educators at each hospital. Posters and computer screen savers were also used to raise awareness of the new pathway.
We now have a total of 111 pathways on Dorsata, developed following the same model as the CAUTI evaluation pathway. Some topics, like breast cancer, have as many as sixteen pathways, addressing different clinical questions like first- and second-line therapy. Over 600 individuals have registered for the mobile app, including attending and resident physicians, nurses, and medical students. The pathway site had 1,619 views in December 2016, the most recent month for which complete records are available. The pathways are proving to have an effect on clinical decision making. For example, the annualized number of unnecessary urine cultures avoided as a result of the pathway is 4,474; resulting in estimated direct cost savings of USD67,110.
Using pathways to present HTA information at the point of care is feasible and can improve the value of care.
Health Technology Assessment (HTA) methods are usually applied to the evaluation of drugs, devices, and procedures. We have used HTA to promote evidence-based decision-making on topics relating to staffing and career development for healthcare professionals. Interventions to reduce the stress associated with caring for patients who need repeated hospitalization such as patients with sickle cell disease are thought to improve job satisfaction and nurse retention, but is there scientific evidence to support them?
We systematically searched Medline, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Cochrane, and Joanna Briggs Institute databases for published studies evaluating interventions targeting healthcare personnel. Searches combined tems for sickle cell disease with terms for job stress, turnover, and other career-related outcomes. We evaluated the quality of individual studies using standardized checklists and constructed evidence tables.
We found one randomized trial (RCT) of an education program for nurses and physicians, a pre-post analysis of a communication skills and cultural awareness program, and a case study of a nurse support group. The RCT found that an education program significantly improved participants attitude towards patients but did not measure any outcomes relating to caregiver stress or job satisfaction. The pre-post study found that a communication skills program significantly improved nurses confidence in their ability to communicate with patients. The case study reported that nurses found the support group useful and felt their attitudes were improved, but there was no control group to compare their responses to. The education program was graded as moderate-strength evidence and the other programs had low-strength evidence. There was no meta-analysis or other data synthesis of the results because of the differing interventions and outcome measures.
There have been few quantitative scientific evaluations of the effectiveness of interventions to reduce the stress nurses feel when caring for sickle cell disease patient. The studies that have been published have favorable conclusions towards these interventions, but the strength of evidence is not high.
Risk prediction scores have been devised to identify patients at increased risk for Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) in different patient populations and settings. Guideline recommendations for VTE risk assessment vary greatly. We performed a systematic review to synthesize evidence on clinical risk prediction scores for VTE in hospitalized medical and surgical patients.
We systematically searched Medline, EMBASE, Cochrane, National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), National Guidelines Clearinghouse (NGC), and Guidelines International Network (GIN) databases up to March 2016. We included studies validating risk prediction scores for adult hospitalized patients. We excluded studies for any of the following reasons: non-English publication, conducted in non-OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, validation cohorts focused solely on critical care patients, or scores developed for specific surgical or medical sub-specialty populations. We plotted receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves of included studies and performed summary ROC meta-analyses for scores in which >1 external validation studies were combinable. Risk of bias was assessed qualitatively. We assessed the strength of the evidence base using Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE).
We screened 110 primary studies and included 18 of those for analysis. There were seven studies of the Caprini score, three studies of the Padua score, two studies of the IMPROVE score; and one study each of the Arcelus, Geneva, Khorana, RAP, and Kucher scores . Strength of evidence was downgraded for study risk of bias because most studies disproportionately included patients at high risk of VTE. Our summary estimates of the performance of the three combinable scores at clinically-relevant thresholds are: Caprini score at a threshold of three in surgical patients – 96 percent sensitivity, 44 percent specificity; IMPROVE at a threshold of one in medical patients – 96 percent sensitivity, 20 percent specificity; and Padua at a threshold of 4–87 percent sensitivity and 58 percent specificity.
There is moderate strength evidence for use of the Caprini score to predict VTE in surgical patients and for the Padua and IMPROVE scores in medical patients. Lower thresholds may be warranted to achieve sufficient sensitivity to identify low risk populations who may not require routine VTE prophylaxis. Studies making direct comparisons of risk prediction scores in similar patient populations are lacking and are necessary to ascertain which score is most effective.
To evaluate the effectiveness of a computerized clinical decision support intervention aimed at reducing inappropriate Clostridium difficile testing
Retrospective cohort study
University of Pennsylvania Health System, comprised of 3 large tertiary-care hospitals
All adult patients admitted over a 2-year period
Providers were required to use an order set integrated into a commercial electronic health record to order C. difficile toxin testing. The order set identified patients who had received laxatives within the previous 36 hours and displayed a message asking providers to consider stopping laxatives and reassessing in 24 hours prior to ordering C. difficile testing. Providers had the option to continue or discontinue laxatives and to proceed with or forgo testing. The primary endpoint was the change in inappropriate C. difficile testing, as measured by the number of patients who had C. difficile testing ordered while receiving laxatives.
Compared to the 1-year baseline period, the intervention resulted in a decrease in the proportion of inappropriate C. difficile testing (29.6% vs 27.3%; P=.02). The intervention was associated with an increase in the number of patients who had laxatives discontinued and did not undergo C. difficile testing (5.8% vs 46.4%; P<.01) and who had their laxatives discontinued and underwent testing (5.4% vs 35.2%; P<.01). We observed a nonsignificant increase in the proportion of patients with C. difficile related complications (5.0% vs 8.9%; P=.11).
A C. difficile order set was successful in decreasing inappropriate C. difficile testing and improving the timely discontinuation of laxatives.
To evaluate the usability and effectiveness of a computerized clinical decision support (CDS) intervention aimed at reducing the duration of urinary tract catheterizations.
Retrospective cohort study.
Academic healthcare system.
All adult patients admitted from March 2009 through May 2012.
A CDS intervention was integrated into a commercial electronic health record. Providers were prompted at order entry to specify the indication for urinary catheter insertion. On the basis of the indication chosen, providers were alerted to reassess the need for the urinary catheter if it was not removed within the recommended time. Three time periods were examined: baseline, after implementation of the first intervention (stock reminder), and after a second iteration (homegrown reminder). The primary endpoint was the usability of the intervention as measured by the proportion of reminders through which providers submitted a remove urinary catheter order. Secondary endpoints were the urinary catheter utilization ratio and the rate of hospital-acquired catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs).
The first intervention displayed limited usability, with 2% of reminders resulting in a remove order. Usability improved to 15% with the revised reminder. The catheter utilization ratio declined over the 3 time periods (0.22, 0.20, and 0.19, respectively; P < .001), as did CAUTIs per 1,000 patient-days (0.84, 0.70, and 0.51, respectively; P < .001).
A urinary catheter removal reminder system was successfully integrated within a healthcare system’s electronic health record. The usability of the reminder was highly dependent on its user interface, with a homegrown version of the reminder resulting in higher impact than a stock reminder.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2014;35(9):1147-1155
Objectives: Health systems frequently make decisions regarding acquisition and use of new technologies. It is desirable to base these decisions on clinical evidence, but often these technologies are used for multiple indications and evidence of effectiveness for one indication does not prove effectiveness for all. Here, we describe two examples of evidence inventory reports that were performed for the purposes of identifying how much and what type of published clinical evidence was available for a given technology, and the contexts in which those technologies were studied.
Methods: The evidence inventory reports included literature searches for systematic reviews and health technology assessment (HTA) reports, and systematic searches of the primary literature intended to count and categorize published clinical studies. The reports did not include analysis of the primary literature.
Results: The inventory reports were completed in 3 to 4 days each and were approximately ten pages in length, including references. Reports included tables listing the number of reported studies by specific indication for use, and whether or not there were randomized trials. Reports also summarized findings of existing systematic reviews and HTA reports, when available. Committees used the inventory reports to decide for which indications they wanted a full HTA report.
Conclusions: Evidence inventory reports are a form of rapid HTA that can give decision makers a timely understanding of the available evidence upon which they can base a decision. They can help HTA providers focus subsequent reports on topics that will have the most influence on healthcare decision making.
Norovirus is highly infectious and can spread rapidly in healthcare settings, consuming resources and resulting in longer hospital stays. Although the economic impact of specific past outbreaks has been reported (eg, a 2007 outbreak of norovirus infection at Johns Hopkins Hospital cost an estimated $650,000), these costs may not be generalizable. We developed an economic computer simulation model to assist policy makers, hospital administrators, infection control professionals, and other healthcare workers in determining how much to invest in norovirus prevention and control interventions above and beyond existing infection control measures.
To estimate the proportion of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in US hospitals that are “reasonably preventable,” along with their related mortality and costs.
To estimate preventability of catheter-associated bloodstream infections (CABSIs), catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), surgical site infections (SSIs), and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), we used a federally sponsored systematic review of interventions to reduce HAIs. Ranges of preventability included the lowest and highest risk reductions reported by US studies of “moderate” to “good” quality published in the last 10 years. We used the most recently published national data to determine the annual incidence of HAIs and associated mortality. To estimate incremental cost of HAIs, we performed a systematic review, which included costs from studies in general US patient populations. To calculate ranges for the annual number of preventable infections and deaths and annual costs, we multiplied our infection, mortality, and cost figures with our ranges of preventability for each HAI.
AS many as 65%–70% of cases of CABSI and CAUTI and 55% of cases of VAP and SSI may be preventable with current evidence-based strategies. CAUTI may be the most preventable HAI. CABSI has the highest number of preventable deaths, followed by VAP. CABSI also has the highest cost impact; costs due to preventable cases of VAP, CAUTI, and SSI are likely less.
Our findings suggest that 100% prevention of HAIs may not be attainable with current evidence-based prevention strategies; however, comprehensive implementation of such strategies could prevent hundreds of thousands of HAIs and save tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars.
To compare use of chlorhexidine with use of iodine for preoperative skin antisepsis with respect to effectiveness in preventing surgical site infections (SSIs) and cost.
We searched the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website, the Cochrane Library, Medline, and EMBASE up to January 2010 for eligible studies. Included studies were systematic reviews, meta-analyses, or randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing preoperative skin antisepsis with chlorhexidine and with iodine and assessing for the outcomes of SSI or positive skin culture result after application. One reviewer extracted data and assessed individual study quality, quality of evidence for each outcome, and publication bias. Meta-analyses were performed using a fixed-effects model. Using results from the meta-analysis and cost data from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, we developed a decision analytic cost-benefit model to compare the economic value, from the hospital perspective, of antisepsis with iodine versus antisepsis with 2 preparations of chlorhexidine (ie, 4% chlorhexidine bottle and single-use applicators of a 2% chlorhexidine gluconate [CHG] and 70% isopropyl alcohol [IPA] solution), and also performed sensitivity analyses.
Nine RCTs with a total of 3,614 patients were included in the meta-analysis. Meta-analysis revealed that chlorhexidine antisepsis was associated with significantly fewer SSIs (adjusted risk ratio, 0.64 [95% confidence interval, [0.51–0.80]) and positive skin culture results (adjusted risk ratio, 0.44 [95% confidence interval, 0.35–0.56]) than was iodine antisepsis. In the cost-benefit model baseline scenario, switching from iodine to chlorhexidine resulted in a net cost savings of $16-$26 per surgical case and $349,904–$568,594 per year for the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Sensitivity analyses showed that net cost savings persisted under most circumstances.
Preoperative skin antisepsis with chlorhexidine is more effective than preoperative skin antisepsis with iodine for preventing SSI and results in cost savings.
Objectives: Health technology assessment (HTA) programs influence practice on a broad scale through reimbursement decisions or national guidelines. Hospital-based HTA programs inform clinical decisions at the local level. Typically, they do this by adapting general HTA to their local setting, or by creating new HTA. However, unlike payer-based HTA organizations, hospital-based HTA organizations can also integrate local data into their reports.
Methods: We describe two examples of local data integrated into hospital-based HTA. In the first, qualitative data were used to select a new cardiac catheterization lab. In the second, quantitative data was used to inform a decision on whether to continue telemedicine services to critical care units. Local evidence sources included equipment service records, and interviews with physicians, technicians, and administrative staff in the first example, and the hospital's administrative and claims databases in the second example.
Results: In each case, there was little evidence from the peer-reviewed literature that could be applied to the decision. In the first example, staffing patterns and local preferences had considerable bearing on technology choices. In the second example, local outcomes data from administrative records were decisive.
Conclusions: Hospital-based HTA using local data can fill gaps in the published evidence, and also improve the generalizability of evidence to the local setting. To take advantage of local evidence, health systems should encourage the development of hospital-based HTA centers, seek out local preference data, and maintain databases of patient outcomes and utilization of services.