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Quality in Health Care [journal]
- Effectiveness of laxatives in adults. [Journal Article, Meta-Analysis]
- Qual Health Care 2001 Dec; 10(4):268-73.
- Understanding the organisational context for adverse events in the health services: the role of cultural censorship. [Journal Article]
- Qual Health Care 2001 Dec; 10(4):257-62.
This paper responds to the current emphasis on organisational learning in the NHS as a means of improving healthcare systems and making hospitals safer places for patients. Conspiracies of silence have been identified as obstacles to organisational learning, covering error and hampering communication. In this paper we question the usefulness of the term and suggest that "cultural censorship", a concept developed by the anthropologist Robin Sherriff, provides a much needed insight into cultures of silence within the NHS. Drawing on a number of illustrations, but in particular the Ritchie inquiry into the disgraced gynaecologist Rodney Ledward, we show how the defining characteristics of cultural censorship can help us to understand how adverse events get pushed underground, only to flourish in the underside of organisational life.
- A clinical informaticist to support primary care decision making. [Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- Qual Health Care 2001 Dec; 10(4):245-9.
To develop and evaluate an information service in which a "clinical informaticist" (a GP with training in evidence-based medicine) provided evidence-based answers to questions posed by GPs and nurse practitioners.Descriptive pilot study with systematic recording of the process involved in searching for and critically appraising literature. Evaluation by questionnaire and semi-structured interview.General practice.34 clinicians from two London primary care groups (Fulham and Hammersmith).Number and origin of questions; process and time involved in producing summaries; satisfaction with the service.All 100 clinicians in two primary care groups were approached. Thirty four agreed to participate, of whom 22 asked 60 questions over 10 months. Participants were highly satisfied with the summaries they received. For one third of questions the clinicians stated they would change practice in the index patient, and for 55% the participants stated they would change practice in other patients. Answering questions thoroughly was time consuming (median 130 minutes). The median turnaround time was 9 days; 82% of questions were answered within the timeframe specified by the questioner. Without the informaticist, one third of questions would not have been pursued.The clinical informaticist service increased access to evidence for busy clinicians. Satisfaction was high among users and clinicians stated that changes in practice would occur. However, uptake of the service was lower than expected (22% of those offered the service). Further research is needed into how this method of increasing access to evidence compares with other strategies, and whether it results in improved health outcomes for patients.
- Formal consensus: the development of a national clinical guideline. [Journal Article]
- Qual Health Care 2001 Dec; 10(4):238-44.
There is currently a political enthusiasm for the development and use of clinical guidelines despite, paradoxically, there being relatively few healthcare issues that have a sound research evidence base. As decisions have to be made even where there is an undetermined evidence base and that limiting recommendations to where evidence exists may reduce the scope of guidelines, thus limiting their value to practitioners, guideline developers have to rely on various different sources of evidence and adapt their methods accordingly. This paper outlines a method for guideline development which incorporates a consensus process devised to tackle the challenges of a variable research evidence base for the development of a national clinical guideline on risk assessment and prevention of pressure ulcers.To inform the recommendations of the guideline a formal consensus process based on a nominal group technique was used to incorporate three strands of evidence: research, clinical expertise, and patient experience.The recommendations for this guideline were derived directly from the statements agreed in the formal consensus process and from key evidence-based findings from the systematic reviews. The existing format of the statements that participants had rated allowed a straightforward revision to "active" recommendations, thus reducing further risk of subjectivity entering into the process.The method outlined proved to be a practical and systematic way of integrating a number of different evidence sources. The resultant guideline is a mixture of research based and consensus based recommendations. Given the lack of available guidance on how to mix research with expert opinion and patient experiences, the method used for the development of this guideline has been outlined so that other guideline developers may use, adapt, and test it further.
- Influence of evidence-based guidance on health policy and clinical practice in England. [Evaluation Studies, Journal Article]
- Qual Health Care 2001 Dec; 10(4):229-37.
To examine the influence of evidence-based guidance on health care decisions, a study of the use of seven different sources and types of evidence-based guidance was carried out in senior health professionals in England with responsibilities either for directing and purchasing health care based in the health authorities, or providing clinical care to patients in trust hospitals or in primary care.Postal survey.Three health settings: 46 health authorities, 162 acute and/or community trust hospitals, and 96 primary care groups in England.566 subjects (46 directors of public health, 49 directors of purchasing, 375 clinical directors/consultants in hospitals, and 96 lead general practitioners).Knowledge of selected evidence-based guidance, previous use ever, beliefs in quality, usefulness, and perceived influence on practice.A usable response rate of 73% (407/560) was achieved; 82% (334/407) of respondents had consulted at least one source of evidence-based guidance ever in the past. Professionals in the health authorities were much more likely to be aware of the evidence-based guidance and had consulted more sources (mean number of different guidelines consulted 4.3) than either the hospital consultants (mean 1.9) or GPs in primary care (mean 1.8). There was little variation in the belief that the evidence-based guidance was of "good quality", but respondents from the health authorities (87%) were significantly more likely than either hospital consultants (52%) or GPs (57%) to perceive that any of the specified evidence-based guidance had influenced a change of practice. Across all settings, the least used route to accessing evidence-based guidance was the Internet. For several sources an effect was observed between use ever, the health region where the health professional worked, and the region where the guidance was produced or published. This was evident for some national sources as well as in those initiatives produced locally with predominantly local distribution networks.The evidence-based guidance specified was significantly more likely to be seen to have contributed to the decisions of public health specialists and commissioners than those of consultants in hospitals or of GPs in a primary care setting. Appropriate information support and dissemination systems that increase awareness, access, and use of evidence-based guidance at the clinical interface should be developed.
- Feedback of patients' evaluations of general practice care: a randomised trial. [Clinical Trial, Journal Article, Randomized Controlled Trial, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- Qual Health Care 2001 Dec; 10(4):224-8.
To assess the effects of feedback of patients' evaluations of care to general practitioners.Randomised trial.General practice in the Netherlands.55 GPs and samples of 3691 and 3595 adult patients before and after the intervention, respectively.GPs in the intervention group were given an individualised structured feedback report concerning evaluations of care provided by their own patients. Reference figures referring to other GPs were added as well as suggestions for interpretation of this feedback, an evidence-based overview of factors determining patients' evaluations of care, and methods to discuss and plan improvements.Patients' evaluations of nine dimensions of general practice measured with the CEP, a previously validated questionnaire consisting of 64 questions, using a six point answering scale (1= poor, 6 = very good).Mean scores per CEP dimension varied from 3.88 to 4.77. Multilevel regression analysis showed that, after correction for baseline scores, patients' evaluations of continuity and medical care were less positive after the intervention in the intervention group (4.60 v 4.77, p < 0.05 and 4.68 v 4.71, p < 0.05, respectively). No differences were found in the remaining seven CEP dimensions.Providing feedback on patients' evaluations of care to GPs did not result in changes in their evaluation of the care received. This conclusion challenges the relevance of feedback on patients' evaluations of care for quality improvement.
- Burden of delayed admission to psychogeriatric nursing homes on patients and their informal caregivers. [Journal Article]
- Qual Health Care 2001 Dec; 10(4):218-23.
To assess the deleterious effects of waiting for admission to a nursing home on the state of health of patients and their informal caregivers, and on the burden of caring.Prospective longitudinal study consisting of interviews with informal caregivers during the period on the waiting list and after admission of the patient to a nursing home. Analysis of patients' files on diagnosis, date of registration on the waiting list, and date of admission to nursing home.Ninety three patients registered on waiting lists for admission to a psychogeriatric nursing home in two regions of Amsterdam.Seventy eight of the 93 patients were admitted to a nursing home. The burden on the caregivers declined after admission of the patient but depressive symptoms did not. After 6 months a subgroup of 19 caregivers whose relatives were still waiting to be admitted were interviewed. The health of these patients remained stable during this waiting period and only problems in activities of daily living increased. The burden on these 19 informal caregivers and their state of health remained stable during the waiting period.A decline in the state of health and a rise in the burden on caregivers during the waiting period did not occur. However, a decrease in the burden and an improvement in mental health could have started earlier if patients had been admitted earlier.
- The effectiveness of quality systems in nursing homes: a review. [Journal Article, Review]
- Qual Health Care 2001 Dec; 10(4):211-7.
The need for quality improvement and increasing concern about the costs and appropriateness of health care has led to the implementation of quality systems in healthcare organisations. In addition, nursing homes have made significant investments in their development. The effects of the implementation of quality systems on health related outcomes are not yet clear.To examine evidence in the literature on whether quality systems have an impact on the care process and the satisfaction and health outcomes of long term care residents.Review of the literature.The 21 empirical studies identified concerned quality system activities such as the implementation of guidelines; providing feedback on outcomes; assessment of the needs of residents by means of care planning, internal audits and tuition; and an ombudsman for residents. Only four articles described controlled studies. The selected articles were grouped according to five focal areas of quality. The opinion of residents was seldom used to evaluate the effectiveness of quality systems. The effects on care processes and the health outcomes of long term care residents were inconsistent, but there was some evidence from the controlled studies that specific training and guidelines can influence the outcomes at the patient level.The design of most of the studies meant that it was not possible to attribute the results entirely to the newly implemented quality system. As it is difficult in practice to design a randomised controlled study, future research into the effectiveness of quality systems should not only focus on selected correlates of quality, but should also include a qualitative and quantitative (multivariate and multilevel) approach. The methods used to measure quality need to be improved.
- Introducing quality improvement to pre-qualification nursing students: evaluation of an experiential programme. [Comparative Study, Journal Article]
- Qual Health Care 2001 Dec; 10(4):204-10.
To evaluate a programme introducing quality improvement (QI) in nursing education.Betanien College of Nursing and clinical practices at hospitals in Bergen.52 nursing students from a second year class working in 16 groups undertaking hospital based practical studies.Second year nursing students were assigned to follow a patient during a day's work and to record the processes of care from the patient's perspective. Data collected included waiting times, patient information, people in contact with the patient, investigations, and procedures performed. Students also identified aspects of practice that could be improved. They then attended a 2 day theoretical introductory course in QI and each group produced flow charts, cause/effect diagrams, and outlines of quality goals using structure, process, and results criteria to describe potential improvements. Each group produced a report of their findings. Main measures-A two-part questionnaire completed by the students before and after the intervention was used to assess the development of their understanding of QI. Evidence that students could apply a range of QI tools and techniques in the specific setting of a hospital ward was assessed from the final reports of their clinical attachments.The students had a significantly better knowledge of QI after the introductory course and group work than before it, and most students indicated that they considered the topic highly relevant for their later career. They reported that it was quite useful to observe one patient throughout one shift and, to some extent, they learned something new. Students found the introductory course and working in groups useful, and most thought the programme should be included in the curriculum for other nursing students. They considered it important for nurses in general to have knowledge about QI, indicating a high perceived relevance of the course. All 16 groups delivered reports of their group work which were approved by the tutors. Through the reports, all the groups demonstrated knowledge and ability to apply tools and techniques in their practical studies in a hospital setting.The introduction of a short experience-based programme into the practical studies of second year nursing students enabled them to learn about the concepts, tools, and techniques of continuous QI in a way that should provide them with the skills to undertake it as part of routine practice.