Quality and Safety in Health Care Journal

Beyond barriers and facilitators: the central role of practical knowledge and informal networks in implementing infection prevention interventions

An enduring challenge for the improvement of healthcare quality is variation in the success of quality improvement (QI) interventions when implemented across settings.1 This is particularly true in the field of healthcare-associated infection (HAI) prevention. Some of the brightest success stories in QI have emerged from large-scale efforts to reduce HAIs such as central venous catheter-related bloodstream infections (CRBSIs)2 or catheter-associated urinary tract infections.3 The light dims, however, when efforts to export these interventions to other settings fail to meaningfully improve outcomes.4 5

To make sense of this phenomenon, attention must be paid to the social, organisational, economic, and cultural factors that may shape the observed associations between interventions and their outcomes.1 6–8 These factors are components of context, which is a key modifier of the impact of QI interventions.

Understanding ethical climate, moral distress, and burnout: a novel tool and a conceptual framework

The pace of technological advancements in the intensive care unit (ICU) challenges clinicians’ ability to manage ethical and decision-making challenges near the end of life. Modern medicine has advanced to the point where we can support multiple organ systems simultaneously and sustain life when the benefits of treatments to overall survival and quality of life are not always clear. Physiological and technological limits no longer always tell us when to stop, and clinicians and families are now forced to take over the role that was once played by nature to make decisions as to whether and when life-sustaining therapies should be withdrawn or withheld.

Unfortunately, we often do not do a very good job of making these tough decisions even when patients can participate in the discussion. To add to that challenge, patients often lack decision-making capacity during their ICU stay. Clinicians and families struggle to balance the inherently imperfect practice...

Implementing infection prevention practices across European hospitals: an in-depth qualitative assessment

Objective

The Prevention of Hospital Infections by Intervention and Training (PROHIBIT) project included a cluster-randomised, stepped wedge, controlled study to evaluate multiple strategies to prevent catheter-related bloodstream infection. We report an in-depth investigation of the main barriers, facilitators and contextual factors relevant to successfully implementing these strategies in European acute care hospitals.

Methods

Qualitative comparative case study in 6 of the 14 European PROHIBIT hospitals. Data were collected through interviews with key stakeholders and ethnographic observations conducted during 2-day site visits, before and 1 year into the PROHIBIT intervention. Qualitative measures of implementation success included intervention fidelity, adaptation to local context and satisfaction with the intervention programme.

Results

Three meta-themes emerged related to implementation success: ‘implementation agendas’, ‘resources’ and ‘boundary-spanning’. Hospitals established unique implementation agendas that, while not always aligned with the project goals, shaped subsequent actions. Successful implementation required having sufficient human and material resources and dedicated change agents who helped make the intervention an institutional priority. The salary provided for a dedicated study nurse was a key facilitator. Personal commitment of influential individuals and boundary spanners helped overcome resource restrictions and intrainstitutional segregation.

Conclusion

This qualitative study revealed patterns across cases that were associated with successful implementation. Consideration of the intervention–context relation was indispensable to understanding the observed outcomes.

Ethical decision-making climate in the ICU: theoretical framework and validation of a self-assessment tool

Background

Literature depicts differences in ethical decision-making (EDM) between countries and intensive care units (ICU).

Objectives

To better conceptualise EDM climate in the ICU and to validate a tool to assess EDM climates.

Methods

Using a modified Delphi method, we built a theoretical framework and a self-assessment instrument consisting of 35 statements. This Ethical Decision-Making Climate Questionnaire (EDMCQ) was developed to capture three EDM domains in healthcare: interdisciplinary collaboration and communication; leadership by physicians; and ethical environment. This instrument was subsequently validated among clinicians working in 68 adult ICUs in 13 European countries and the USA. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis was used to determine the structure of the EDM climate as perceived by clinicians. Measurement invariance was tested to make sure that variables used in the analysis were comparable constructs across different groups.

Results

Of 3610 nurses and 1137 physicians providing ICU bedside care, 2275 (63.1%) and 717 (62.9%) participated respectively. Statistical analyses revealed that a shortened 32-item version of the EDMCQ scale provides a factorial valid measurement of seven facets of the extent to which clinicians perceive an EDM climate: self-reflective and empowering leadership by physicians; practice and culture of open interdisciplinary reflection; culture of not avoiding end-of-life decisions; culture of mutual respect within the interdisciplinary team; active involvement of nurses in end-of-life care and decision-making; active decision-making by physicians; and practice and culture of ethical awareness. Measurement invariance of the EDMCQ across occupational groups was shown, reflecting that nurses and physicians interpret the EDMCQ items in a similar manner.

Conclusions

The 32-item version of the EDMCQ might enrich the EDM climate measurement, clinicians’ behaviour and the performance of healthcare organisations. This instrument offers opportunities to develop tailored ICU team interventions.

Paediatric hospital admission processes and outcomes: a qualitative study of parents experiences and priorities

Background

Hospital admission, like hospital discharge, represents a transition of care associated with changes in setting, healthcare providers and clinical management. While considerable efforts have focused on improving the quality and safety of hospital-to-home transitions, there has been little focus on transitions into hospital.

Objectives

Among children hospitalised with ambulatory care sensitive conditions, we aimed to characterise families’ experiences as they transitioned from outpatient to inpatient care, identify hospital admission processes and outcomes most important to families and determine how parental perspectives differed between children admitted directly and through emergency departments (ED).

Methods

We conducted semistructured interviews with parents of hospitalised children at four structurally diverse hospitals. We inquired about preadmission healthcare encounters, how hospital admission decisions were made and parents’ preferences regarding hospital admission processes and outcomes. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using a general inductive approach.

Results

We conducted 48 interviews. Participants were predominantly mothers (74%); 45% had children with chronic illnesses and 52% were admitted directly. Children had a median of two (IQR 1–3) healthcare encounters in the week preceding hospital admission, with 44% seeking care in multiple settings. Patterns of healthcare utilisation were influenced by (1) disease acuity and healthcare access; (2) past experiences; and (3) varied perspectives about primary care and ED roles as hospital gatekeepers. Participants’ hospital admission priorities included: (1) effective clinical care; (2) efficient admission processes; (3) safety and security; (4) timeliness; and (5) patient and family-centred processes of care.

Conclusions

Families received preadmission care in several settings and described varying degrees of care coordination during their admission processes. This research can guide improvements in hospitals’ admission systems, necessary to achieve health system integration and continuity of care.

Pilot randomised controlled trial to improve hand hygiene through mindful moments

Background

To evaluate the effectiveness of a brief mindfulness intervention on hand hygiene performance and mindful attention for inpatient physician teams.

Design

A pilot, pre-test/post-test randomised controlled mixed methods trial.

Setting

One academic medical centre in the USA.

Participants

Four internal medicine physician teams consisting of one attending, one resident, two to three interns and up to four medical students.

Intervention

A facilitated, group-based educational discussion on how mindfulness, as practised through mindful hand hygiene, may improve clinical care and practices in the hospital setting.

Main outcomes and measures

The primary outcome was hand hygiene adherence (percentage) for each patient encounter. Other outcomes were observable mindful moments and mindful attention, measured using the Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale, from baseline to post-intervention, and qualitative evaluation of the intervention.

Results

For attending physicians, hand hygiene adherence increased 14.1% in the intervention group compared with a decrease of 5.7% in the controls (P=0.035). For residents, the comparable figures were 24.7% (intervention) versus 0.2% (control) (P=0.064). For interns, adherence increased 10.0% with the intervention versus 4.2% in the controls (P=0.007). For medical students, adherence improved more in the control group (4.7% intervention vs 7.7% controls; P=0.003). An increase in mindfulness behaviours was observed for the intervention group (3.7%) versus controls (0.9%) (P=0.021). Self-reported mindful attention did not change (P=0.865).

Conclusions

A brief, education-based mindfulness intervention improved hand hygiene in attending physicians and residents, but not in medical students. The intervention was well-received, increased mindfulness practice, and appears to be a feasible way to introduce mindfulness in the clinical setting. Future work instructing clinicians in mindfulness to improve hand hygiene may prove valuable.

Trial registration number

NCT 03165799; Results.

The ConCom Safety Management Scale: developing and testing a measurement instrument for control-based and commitment-based safety management approaches in hospitals

Background

Nursing management is considered important for patient safety. Prior research has predominantly focused on charismatic leadership styles, although it is questionable whether these best characterise the role of nurse managers. Managerial control is also relevant. Therefore, we aimed to develop and test a measurement instrument for control-based and commitment-based safety management of nurse managers in clinical hospital departments.

Methods

A cross-sectional survey design was used to test the newly developed questionnaire in a sample of 2378 nurses working in clinical departments. The nurses were asked about their perceptions of the leadership behaviour and management practices of their direct supervisors. Psychometric properties were evaluated using confirmatory factor analysis and reliability estimates.

Results

The final 33-item questionnaire showed acceptable goodness-of-fit indices and internal consistency (Cronbach’s α of the subscales range: 0.59–0.90). The factor structure revealed three subdimensions for control-based safety management: (1) stressing the importance of safety rules and regulations; (2) monitoring compliance; and (3) providing employees with feedback. Commitment-based management consisted of four subdimensions: (1) showing role modelling behaviour; (2) creating safety awareness; (3) showing safety commitment; and (4) encouraging participation. Construct validity of the scale was supported by high factor loadings and provided preliminary evidence that control-based and commitment-based safety management are two distinct yet related constructs. The findings were reconfirmed in a cross-validation procedure.

Conclusion

The results provide initial support for the construct validity and reliability of our ConCom Safety Management Scale. Both management approaches were found to be relevant for managing patient safety in clinical hospital departments. The scale can be used to deepen our understanding of the influence of patient safety management on healthcare professionals’ safety behaviour as well as patient safety outcomes.

Measurement and monitoring of safety: impact and challenges of putting a conceptual framework into practice

Background

The Measurement and Monitoring of Safety Framework provides a conceptual model to guide organisations in assessing safety. The Health Foundation funded a large-scale programme to assess the value and impact of applying the Framework in regional and frontline care settings. We explored the experiences and reflections of key participants in the programme.

Methods

The study was conducted in the nine healthcare organisations in England and Scotland testing the Framework (three regional improvement bodies, six frontline settings). Post hoc interviews with clinical and managerial staff were analysed using template analysis.

Findings

Participants reported that the Framework promoted a substantial shift in their thinking about how safety is actively managed in their environment. It provided a common language, facilitated a more inquisitive approach and encouraged a more holistic view of the components of safety. These changes in conceptual understanding, however, did not always translate into broader changes in practice, with many sites only addressing some aspects of the Framework. One of the three regions did embrace the Framework in its entirety and achieved wider impact with a range of interventions. This region had committed leaders who took time to fully understand the concepts, who maintained a flexible approach to exploring the utility of the Framework and who worked with frontline staff to translate the concepts for local settings.

Conclusions

The Measuring and Monitoring of Safety Framework has the potential to support a broader and richer approach to organisational safety. Such a conceptually based initiative requires both committed leaders who themselves understand the concepts and more time to establish understanding and aims than might be needed in a standard improvement programme.

Speak up-related climate and its association with healthcare workers speaking up and withholding voice behaviours: a cross-sectional survey in Switzerland

Objectives

To determine frequencies of healthcare workers (HCWs) speak up-related behaviours and the association of speak up-related safety climate with speaking up and withholding voice.

Design

Cross-sectional survey of doctors and nurses. Data were analysed using multilevel logistic regression models

Setting

4 hospitals with a total of nine sites from the German, French and Italian speaking part of Switzerland.

Participants

Survey data were collected from 979 nurses and doctors.

Main outcome measures

Frequencies of perceived patient safety concerns, of withholding voice and of speaking up behaviour. Speak up-related climate measures included psychological safety, encouraging environment and resignation.

Results

Perceived patient safety concerns were frequent among doctors and nurses (between 62% and 80% reported at least one safety concern during the last 4 weeks depending on the single items). Withholding voice was reported by 19%–39% of HCWs. Speaking up was reported by more than half of HCWs (55%–76%). The frequency of perceived concerns during the last 4 weeks was positively associated with both speaking up (OR=2.7, p<0.001) and withholding voice (OR=1.6, p<0.001). An encouraging environment was related to higher speaking up frequency (OR=1.3, p=0.005) and lower withholding voice frequency (OR=0.82, p=0.006). Resignation was associated with withholding voice (OR=1.5, p<0.001). The variance in both voicing behaviours attributable to the hospital-site level was marginal.

Conclusions

Our results strengthen the importance of a speak up-supportive safety climate for staff safety-related communication behaviours, specifically withholding voice. This study indicates that a poor climate, in particular high levels of resignation among HCWs, is linked to frequent ‘silence’ of HCWs but not inversely associated with frequent speaking up. Interventions addressing safety-related voicing behaviours should discriminate between withholding voice and speaking up.

Perceptions of rounding checklists in the intensive care unit: a qualitative study

Background

Rounding checklists are an increasingly common quality improvement tool in the intensive care unit (ICU). However, effectiveness studies have shown conflicting results. We sought to understand ICU providers’ perceptions of checklists, as well as barriers and facilitators to effective utilisation of checklists during daily rounds.

Objectives

To understand how ICU providers perceive rounding checklists and develop a framework for more effective rounding checklist implementation.

Methods

We performed a qualitative study in 32 ICUs within 14 hospitals in a large integrated health system in the USA. We used two complementary data collection methods: direct observation of daily rounds and semistructured interviews with ICU clinicians. Observations and interviews were thematically coded and primary themes were identified using a combined inductive and deductive approach.

Results

We conducted 89 interviews and performed 114 hours of observation. Among study ICUs, 12 used checklists and 20 did not. Participants described the purpose of rounding checklists as a daily reminder for evidence-based practices, a tool for increasing shared understanding of patient care across care providers and a way to increase the efficiency of rounds. Checklists were perceived as not helpful when viewed as overstandardising care and when they are not relevant to a particular ICU’s needs. Strategies to improve checklist implementation include attention to the brevity and relevance of the checklist to the particular ICU, consistent use over time, and integration with daily work flow.

Conclusion

Our results provide potential insights about why ICU rounding checklists frequently fail to improve outcomes and offer a framework for effective checklist implementation through greater feedback and accountability.

Hospital-level care coordination strategies associated with better patient experience

Background

Patient experience is a key measure of hospital quality and is increasingly contained in value-based payment programmes. Understanding whether strategies aimed at improving care transitions are associated with better patient experience could help clinical leaders and policymakers seeking to improve care across multiple dimensions.

Objective

To determine the association of specific hospital care coordination and transition strategies with patient experience.

Design

We surveyed leadership at 1600 acute care hospitals and categorised respondents into three groups based on the strategies used: low-strategy (bottom quartile of number of strategies), mid-strategy (quartiles 2 and 3) and high-strategy (highest quartile). We used linear regression models to examine the association between use of these strategies and performance on measures of patient experience from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey.

Results

We achieved a 62% response rate. High-strategy hospitals reported using 7.7 strategies on average usually or always on their patient populations, while mid-strategy and low-strategy hospitals reported using 5.0 and 2.3 strategies, respectively. Compared with low-strategy hospitals, high-strategy hospitals had a higher overall rating (+2.23 percentage points (pp), P<0.001), higher recommendation score (+2.5 pp, P<0.001), and higher satisfaction with discharge process (+1.35 pp, P=0.01) and medication communication (+1.44 pp, P=0.002). Mid-strategy hospitals had higher scores than low-strategy hospitals except for discharge satisfaction. Patient-facing strategies, like sharing discharge summaries with patients prior to discharge, using discharge coordinators and calling patients 48 hours after discharge, were each individually associated with a higher overall hospital rating, and higher satisfaction with discharge process and medication communication.

Conclusions

Hospitals with greater reported use of care coordination and transition strategies have better patient experience than hospitals with fewer reported strategies. Strategies that most directly involve patients have the strongest association with better experience.

Implementing electronic patient-reported outcomes measurements: challenges and success factors

Determining how to collect and use patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) continues to be an area of discussion, and in some cases frustration.1–5 Gaining a greater depth of knowledge concerning a patient’s initial health status as well as improvement after a medical or surgical intervention, would provide a clearer understanding of needed care paths and outcomes of treatments, oftentimes missing from our current healthcare processes.6 7 While PROMs are not a new idea, the ability to electronically collect, report and use the data has become more relevant in recent years. As such, this work focuses on the challenges and lessons learnt from implementing electronic PROMs (ePROMs) within a destination medical centre which provides team-based comprehensive care for patients.

Implementations in multiple departments and disease specific areas of care throughout the organisation took place between January 2016...

Role of patient and public involvement in implementation research: a consensus study

Background

Patient and public involvement (PPI) is often an essential requirement for research funding. Distinctions can be drawn between clinical research, which generally focuses on patients, and implementation research, which generally focuses on health professional behaviour. There is uncertainty about the role of PPI in this latter field. We explored and defined the roles of PPI in implementation research to inform relevant good practice guidance.

Methods

We used a structured consensus process using a convenience sample panel of nine experienced PPI and two researcher members. We drew on available literature to identify 21 PPI research roles. The panel rated their agreement with roles independently online in relation to both implementation and clinical research. Disagreements were discussed at a face-to-face meeting prior to a second online rating of all roles. Median scores were calculated and a final meeting held to review findings and consider recommendations.

Results

Ten panellists completed the consensus process. For clinical research, there was strong support and consensus for the role of PPI throughout most of the research process. For implementation research, there were eight roles with consensus and strong support, seven roles with consensus but weaker support and six roles with no consensus. There were more disagreements relating to PPI roles in implementation research compared with clinical research. PPI was rated as contributing less to the design and management of implementation research than for clinical research.

Conclusions

The roles of PPI need to be tailored according to the nature of research to ensure authentic and appropriate involvement. We provide a framework to guide the planning, conduct and reporting of PPI in implementation research, and encourage further research to evaluate its use.

What can we learn from patients perspectives on the quality and safety of hospital care?

In 2001, the Institute of Medicine defined high-quality healthcare as care that is safe, effective, patient-centred, timely, efficient and equitable.1 Subsequently, efforts to improve quality have tended to treat the six dimensions as separate rather than interrelated, with improvement in the various dimensions being pursued independently, led by different professions and occupational groups. Investment in research and improvement knowledge across the dimensions has been comparatively uneven, with little shared learning between researchers and professionals working to improve quality in one dimension about the value and efficacy of improvement approaches and methods used in others. Despite policy efforts to define quality in the round as safe, effective and patient-centred,2 3 and despite intermittent calls for patients to be involved in patient safety,4 the dimensions of quality do not have equal status within the improvement community, and patients and families do not play...

What can patients tell us about the quality and safety of hospital care? Findings from a UK multicentre survey study

Background

Patient safety measurement remains a global challenge. Patients are an important but neglected source of learning; however, little is known about what patients can add to our understanding of safety. We sought to understand the incidence and nature of patient-reported safety concerns in hospital.

Methods

Feedback about the experience of safety within hospital was gathered from 2471 inpatients as part of a multicentre, waitlist cluster randomised controlled trial of an intervention, undertaken within 33 wards across three English NHS Trusts, between May 2013 and September 2014. Patient volunteers, supported by researchers, developed a classification framework of patient-reported safety concerns from a random sample of 231 reports. All reports were then classified using the patient-developed categories. Following this, all patient-reported safety concerns underwent a two-stage clinical review process for identification of patient safety incidents.

Results

Of the 2471 inpatients recruited, 579 provided 1155 patient-reported incident reports. 14 categories were developed for classification of reports, with communication the most frequently occurring (22%), followed by staffing issues (13%) and problems with the care environment (12%). 406 of the total 1155 patient incident reports (35%) were classified by clinicians as a patient safety incident according to the standard definition. 1 in 10 patients (264 patients) identified a patient safety incident, with medication errors the most frequently reported incident.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that patients can provide insight about safety that complements existing patient safety measurement, with a frequency of reported patient safety incidents that is similar to those obtained via case note review. However, patients provide a unique perspective about hospital safety which differs from and adds to current definitions of patient safety incidents.

Trial registration number

ISRCTN07689702; pre-results.

The association between patient experience factors and likelihood of 30-day readmission: a prospective cohort study

Objective

Hospital care comprises nearly a third of US healthcare expenditures. Fifteen to 20 per cent of this spending is considered to be potentially preventable. Risk prediction models have suboptimal accuracy and typically exclude patient experience data. No studies have explored patient perceptions of the likelihood of readmission during index admission. Our objective was to examine associations between patient perceptions of care during index hospital admission and 30-day readmission.

Design

Prospective cohort study.

Setting

Two inpatient adult medicine units at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

Participants

Eight hundred and forty-six patients admitted to study units between January 2012 and January 2016 who met eligibility criteria and consented to enrolment.

Main outcome

Odds of 30-day readmission.

Results

Of 1754 eligible participants, 846 (48%) were enrolled and 201 (23.8%) were readmitted within 30 days. Readmitted participants were less likely to have a high school diploma/GED (44.3% not readmitted vs 53.5% readmitted, P=0.02). In multivariable models adjusting for baseline differences, respondents who reported being ‘very satisfied’ with the care received during the index hospitalisation were less likely to be readmitted (adjusted OR 0.61, 95% CI 0.43 to 0.88, P=0.007). Participants reporting doctors ‘always listened to them carefully’ were less likely to be readmitted (adjusted OR 0.68, 95% CI 0.48 to 0.97, P=0.03). Participants reporting they were ‘very likely’ to be readmitted were not more likely to be readmitted (adjusted OR 1.35, 95% CI 0.83 to 2.19, P=0.22).

Conclusion

Participants reporting high satisfaction and good provider communication were less likely to be readmitted. Rates of readmission were increased among participants stating they were very likely to be readmitted though this association was not statistically significant. Incorporating patient-reported measures during index hospitalisations may improve readmission prediction.

Next-generation audit and feedback for inpatient quality improvement using electronic health record data: a cluster randomised controlled trial

Background

Audit and feedback improves clinical care by highlighting the gap between current and ideal practice. We combined best practices of audit and feedback with continuously generated electronic health record data to improve performance on quality metrics in an inpatient setting.

Methods

We conducted a cluster randomised control trial comparing intensive audit and feedback with usual audit and feedback from February 2016 to June 2016. The study subjects were internal medicine teams on the teaching service at an urban tertiary care hospital. Teams in the intensive feedback arm received access to a daily-updated team-based data dashboard as well as weekly inperson review of performance data (‘STAT rounds’). The usual feedback arm received ongoing twice-monthly emails with graphical depictions of team performance on selected quality metrics. The primary outcome was performance on a composite discharge metric (Discharge Mix Index, ‘DMI’). A washout period occurred at the end of the trial (from May through June 2016) during which STAT rounds were removed from the intensive feedback arm.

Results

A total of 40 medicine teams participated in the trial. During the intervention period, the primary outcome of completion of the DMI was achieved on 79.3% (426/537) of patients in the intervention group compared with 63.2% (326/516) in the control group (P<0.0001). During the washout period, there was no significant difference in performance between the intensive and usual feedback groups.

Conclusion

Intensive audit and feedback using timely data and STAT rounds significantly increased performance on a composite discharge metric compared with usual feedback. With the cessation of STAT rounds, performance between the intensive and usual feedback groups did not differ significantly, highlighting the importance of feedback delivery on effecting change.

Clinical Trial

The trial was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02593253).

Interprofessional Teamwork Innovation Model (ITIM) to promote communication and patient-centred, coordinated care

Background

Despite recommendations and the need to accelerate redesign of delivery models to be team-based and patient-centred, professional silos and cultural and structural barriers that inhibit working together and communicating effectively still predominate in the hospital setting. Aiming to improve team-based rounding, we developed, implemented and evaluated the Interprofessional Teamwork Innovation Model (ITIM).

Methods

This quality improvement (QI) study was conducted at an academic medical centre. We followed the system’s QI framework, FOCUS-PDSA, with Lean as guiding principles. Primary outcomes included 30-day all-cause same-hospital readmissions and 30-day emergency department (ED) visits. The intervention group consisted of patients receiving care on two hospitalist ITIM teams, and patients receiving care from other hospitalist teams were matched with a control group. Outcomes were assessed using difference-in-difference analysis.

Results

Team members reported enhanced communication and overall time savings. In multivariate modelling, patients discharged from hospitalist teams using the ITIM approach were associated with reduced 30-day same-hospital readmissions with an estimated point OR of 0.56 (95% CI 0.34 to 0.92), but there was no impact on 30-day same-hospital ED visits. Difference-in-difference analysis showed that ITIM was not associated with changes in average total direct costs nor average cost per patient day, after adjusting for all other covariates in the models, despite the addition of staff resources in the ITIM model.

Conclusion

The ITIM approach facilitates a collaborative environment in which patients and their family caregivers, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, case managers and others work and share in the process of care.

Making soft intelligence hard: a multi-site qualitative study of challenges relating to voice about safety concerns

Background

Healthcare organisations often fail to harvest and make use of the ‘soft intelligence’ about safety and quality concerns held by their own personnel. We aimed to examine the role of formal channels in encouraging or inhibiting employee voice about concerns.

Methods

Qualitative study involving personnel from three academic hospitals in two countries. Interviews were conducted with 165 participants from a wide range of occupational and professional backgrounds, including senior leaders and those from the sharp end of care. Data analysis was based on the constant comparative method.

Results

Leaders reported that they valued employee voice; they identified formal organisational channels as a key route for the expression of concerns by employees. Formal channels and processes were designed to ensure fairness, account for all available evidence and achieve appropriate resolution. When processed through these formal systems, concerns were destined to become evidenced, formal and tractable to organisational intervention. But the way these systems operated meant that some concerns were never voiced. Participants were anxious about having to process their suspicions and concerns into hard evidentiary facts, and they feared being drawn into official procedures designed to allocate consequence. Anxiety about evidence and process was particularly relevant when the intelligence was especially ‘soft’—feelings or intuitions that were difficult to resolve into a coherent, compelling reconstruction of an incident or concern. Efforts to make soft intelligence hard thus risked creating ‘forbidden knowledge’: dangerous to know or share.

Conclusions

The legal and bureaucratic considerations that govern formal channels for the voicing of concerns may, perversely, inhibit staff from speaking up. Leaders responsible for quality and safety should consider complementing formal mechanisms with alternative, informal opportunities for listening to concerns.

Prospective evaluation of medication-related clinical decision support over-rides in the intensive care unit

Background

Clinical decision support (CDS) displayed in electronic health records has been found to reduce the incidence of medication errors and adverse drug events (ADE). Recent data suggested that medication-related CDS alerts were frequently over-ridden, often inappropriately. Patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) are at an increased risk of ADEs; however, limited data exist on the benefits of CDS in the ICU. This study aims to evaluate potential harm associated with medication-related CDS over-rides in the ICU.

Methods

This was a prospective observational study of adults admitted to any of six ICUs between July 2016 and April 2017 at our institution. Patients with provider-overridden CDS for dose (orders for scheduled frequency and not pro re nata), drug allergy, drug–drug interaction, geriatric and renal alerts (contraindicated medications for renal function or renal dosing) were included. The primary outcome was the appropriateness of over-rides, which were evaluated by two independent reviewers. Secondary outcomes included incidence of ADEs following alert over-ride and risk of ADEs based on over-ride appropriateness.

Results

A total of 2448 over-ridden alerts from 712 unique patient encounters met inclusion criteria. The overall appropriateness rate for over-rides was 81.6% and varied by alert type. More ADEs (potential and definite) were identified following inappropriate over-rides compared with appropriate over-rides (16.5 vs 2.74 per 100 over-ridden alerts, Fisher’s exact test P<0.001). An adjusted logistic regression model showed that inappropriate over-rides were associated with an increased risk of ADEs (OR 6.14, 95% CI 4.63 to 7.71, P<0.001).

Conclusions

Approximately four of five identified CDS over-rides were appropriately over-ridden, with the rate varying by alert type. However, inappropriate over-rides were six times as likely to be associated with potential and definite ADEs, compared with appropriate over-rides. Further efforts should be targeted at improving the positive predictive value of CDS such as by suppressing alerts that are appropriately over-ridden.

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