Practitioner based quality improvement: a review of the Royal College of Nursing's dynamic standard setting system.
OBJECTIVE: To explore and describe the implementation of the Royal College of Nursing's approach to audit--the dynamic standard setting system--within the current context of health care, in particular to focus on how the system has developed since its inception in the 1980s as a method for uniprofessional and multiprofessional audit. DESIGN: Qualitative design with semistructure interviews and field visits. SETTING: 28 sites throughout the United Kingdom that use the dynamic standard setting system. SUBJECTS: Quality and audit coordinators with a responsibility for implementing the system; clinical staff who practice the system. MAIN MEASURES: Experiences of the dynamic standard setting system, including reasons for selection, methods of implementation, and observed outcomes. RESULTS: Issues relating to four themes emerged from the data: practical experiences of the system as a method for improving patient care; issues of facilitation and training; strategic issues of implementation; and the use of the system as a method for multiprofessional audit. The development of clinical practice was described as a major benefit of the system and evidence of improved patient care was apparent. However, difficulties were experienced in motivating staff and finding time for audit, which in part related to the current format of the system and the level of training and support available for clinical staff. Diverse experiences were reported in the extent to which the system had been integrated at a strategic level of quality improvement and its successful application to multiprofessional clinical audit. CONCLUSIONS: The Royal College of Nursing's dynamic standard setting system can successfully be used as a method for clinical audit at both a uniprofessional and multiprofessional level. However, to capitalise on the strengths of the system, several issues need to be considered further. These include modifications to the system itself, as well as a more strategic focus on resources and support for audit, better integration of quality initiatives in health care, and a continuing focus on ways to achieve true multiprofessional collaboration and involvement of patients in clinical audit. (+info)
A successful tobacco cessation program led by primary care nurses in a managed care setting.
We conducted a descriptive study of a tobacco cessation program sponsored by a health maintenance organization (HMO) and led by primary care nurses. The tobacco cessation program was conducted at 20 primary care clinics in northeastern and central Pennsylvania. We gauged the successfulness of the program by the patients' self-reported quit rates at 1 year. We also examined the association between quit rates and compliance with scheduled counseling visits, the impact of the availability of an HMO pharmacy benefit that supported the costs of nicotine replacement therapy, and the quit rates among patients with HMO insurance versus those with insurance other than managed care. Of 1,695 patients enrolled in the program from July 1993 to March 1996, 1,140 completed 1 year of follow-up. Of these, 348 (30.5%) reported they had quit using tobacco. Among the 810 HMO enrollees who participated in the program, the quit rate was 280 (34.6%); among the 330 non-HMO participants, the quit rate was 69 (20.9%), a statistically significant difference (P < 0.001). For all patients, keeping more than four visits with the program nurse was associated with a significantly higher likelihood of quitting (317/751 [42.2%] versus 32/389 [8.2%]; P < 0.001). Non-HMO patients were less likely than HMO enrollees to keep four or more visits (165 [50%] versus 586 [72.3%]; P < 0.001). We were unable to detect a difference in quit rates among those with and those without a pharmacy benefit (196/577 [34%] versus 84/233 [36.1%]). These data are limited by their descriptive nature and the lack of information about other factors important in determining the quit rate among program participants. Nevertheless, they suggest that HMOs can successfully sponsor nurse-led tobacco cessation programs in multiple primary care settings and achieve 1-year quit rates significantly higher than the 15% quit rate reported in the medical literature. In addition, successfully quitting tobacco use appeared to be associated with use of counseling visits but not with use of a pharmacy benefit to pay for nicotine replacement therapy. Even though tobacco cessation programs have the best chance of benefitting HMO enrollees, patients not enrolled in managed care plans also appear to benefit significantly. This finding has important implications for developing future strategies--including the role of managed care organizations, the need to defray the costs of nicotine replacement therapy, and the best approach to provide counseling to patients--to meet the Healthy People 2000 goal of reducing tobacco smoking. (+info)
Outcome measures for routine use in dementia services: some practical considerations.
OBJECTIVES: To work with specialist community teams to assess the practicality and acceptability of identified outcome measures for routine use in dementia services. SETTING: Seven specialist dementia services: four multidisciplinary teams, a specialist service for carers, a community psychiatric nurse team, and a day hospital. SUBJECTS: 20 members of staff from the specialist dementia services including psychiatry, community psychiatric nursing, social work, occupational therapy, Admiral nursing, ward management, geriatric nursing. MAIN MEASURE: A questionnaire designed to assess staff views on the use of six outcome measures in routine practice in terms of practicality, relevance, acceptability, and use in improving care. RESULTS: Each of the outcome measures took 15 to 30 minutes to administer. All were rated as easy to use and as relevant to dementia services and to carers. Staff commented that the measures could be useful in routine practice for structured assessment and service evaluation, but highlighted the need for sensitive use of measures with carers. CONCLUSIONS: These measures consider the main domains of functioning for people with dementia and their carers. The measures are suitable for use in routine practice in dementia services and are acceptable to staff and carers. The project underlined the need for management support, staff ownership of measures, and training in using outcome measures. Staff concerns about service evaluation need to be acknowledged. (+info)
Health sector reform in central and eastern Europe: the professional dimension.
The success or failure of health sector reform in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe depends, to a large extent, on their health care staff. Commentators have focused on the structures to be put in place, such as mechanisms of financing or changes in ownership of facilities, but less attention has been paid to the role and status of the different groups working in health care services. This paper draws on a study of trends in staffing and working conditions throughout the region. It identifies several key issues including the traditionally lower status and pay of health sector workers compared to the West, the credibility crisis of trade unions, and the under-developed roles of professional associations. In order to implement health sector reforms and to address the deteriorating health status of the population, the health sector workforce has to be restructured and training programmes reoriented towards primary care. Finally, the paper identifies emerging issues such as the erosion of 'workplace welfare' and its adverse effects upon a predominantly female health care workforce. (+info)
Staff and patient feedback in mental health services for older people.
OBJECTIVES: To compare the views of patients and staff on the quality of care provided on a psychogeriatric assessment ward over a five year period. To describe the quality improvements which were made as a result of their respective comments. DESIGN: Structured interviews were conducted with both patients and staff to obtain qualitative feedback and suggestions for improvement. An analysis of the percentage of positive and negative comments made by both patients and staff was used to compare the levels of satisfaction on a variety of aspects of the service provided. SETTING: Psychogeriatric inpatient assessment ward. SUBJECTS: 75 patients and 85 staff interviews were conducted. MAIN MEASURES: Structured interviews covering various aspects of service quality. RESULTS: Staff and patients picked up on different aspects of service quality as important. Quality improvements which arose from the interviews were clearly different. Generally patients were more positive about the physical environment and standards of professional care than staff, but less positive about issues of privacy, social interaction, and empowerment. CONCLUSIONS: The perspectives of patients and staff in this area are not interchangeable. Both series of interviews led to several positive changes in the quality of care. Interviews with staff seem to have been valuable in a low morale situation. A structured interview format provided patients with an opportunity to feedback openly and led to changes in service quality which would not otherwise have occurred. (+info)
Occupational stress in human computer interaction.
There have been a variety of research approaches that have examined the stress issues related to human computer interaction including laboratory studies, cross-sectional surveys, longitudinal case studies and intervention studies. A critical review of these studies indicates that there are important physiological, biochemical, somatic and psychological indicators of stress that are related to work activities where human computer interaction occurs. Many of the stressors of human computer interaction at work are similar to those stressors that have historically been observed in other automated jobs. These include high workload, high work pressure, diminished job control, inadequate employee training to use new technology, monotonous tasks, por supervisory relations, and fear for job security. New stressors have emerged that can be tied primarily to human computer interaction. These include technology breakdowns, technology slowdowns, and electronic performance monitoring. The effects of the stress of human computer interaction in the workplace are increased physiological arousal; somatic complaints, especially of the musculoskeletal system; mood disturbances, particularly anxiety, fear and anger; and diminished quality of working life, such as reduced job satisfaction. Interventions to reduce the stress of computer technology have included improved technology implementation approaches and increased employee participation in implementation. Recommendations for ways to reduce the stress of human computer interaction at work are presented. These include proper ergonomic conditions, increased organizational support, improved job content, proper workload to decrease work pressure, and enhanced opportunities for social support. A model approach to the design of human computer interaction at work that focuses on the system "balance" is proposed. (+info)
Ergonomic strategies for improving working conditions in some developing countries in Asia.
Ergonomic action is growing in Asia in response to increasing local needs. Recent studies in some developing countries in Asia commonly developed and applied widely-applicable measures for assessing local needs in field conditions including small enterprises and agriculture. For this purpose, carefully examining the actual workplace conditions of the local people was essential. Consequently, a number of field studies could contributed to improving the working conditions of the local people in materials handling, workstation design, work organization and work environment by using available local resources. Building on local capacity and practice, action-oriented ergonomics training has also been developing and spreading into many workplaces. Various non-expert human resources including local government units, trade unions, industrial associations and the agricultural sectors have been mobilized to act as participatory trainers in the action-oriented ergonomic training programmes. Training tools such as action checklists, good local examples and group work dynamics have been developed and applied to such training activities. Learning from local achievements and focusing on locally available resources, ergonomists have facilitated these local action processes by developing action-oriented training tools and training local trainers. It was confirmed that a number of ergonomic improvements could be formulated by the self-help initiative of the local people when participatory action tools and training were provided. Developing flexible and dynamic ergonomic research and training methods to meet the diversifying needs of the local people will continuously be important. Ergonomists' efforts to cover the wider population and workplaces need to be strengthened and accelerated. (+info)
What do general practice receptionists think and feel about their work?
BACKGROUND: Although there is some published work acknowledging that the general practice receptionist's role is both important and difficult, receptionists' own views have rarely been sought. AIM: To explore general practice receptionists' ideas and feelings about their work. METHOD: A questionnaire was distributed to all 150 receptionists in a representative sample of 26 practices in the area covered by Leeds family health services authority. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a representative group of 20 receptionists selected from the questionnaire sample. RESULTS: All responders were women, 60% were over 40 years old, and about half had been in the post for more than five years; four-fifths worked part-time. They had chosen the job because it dovetailed with the rest of their lives. Responders derived satisfaction from helping patients, meeting people, having good relationships with colleagues, and doing varied work. Sources of stress included difficult patients, work pressure, problems finding appointments for patients, and feeling caught between doctors' and patients' demands. Responders' experiences and views of training were diverse. Practice managers were important in making them feel consulted and supported. All had a sense of teamwork with colleagues, but many did not perceive the whole practice as a team. Many felt doctors failed to appreciate the pressure and complexity of their work. CONCLUSIONS: Receptionists' work is complex, demanding and intense, involving a high level of commitment to patients, colleagues, and the practice. Recommendations include improved appointment systems, a positive role for practice managers in relation to reception staff, and individual planning of receptionists' training. Effective teamwork among receptionists should be recognized and developed. General practitioners (GPs) are recommended to develop a greater understanding of receptionists' work. (+info)