High-risk population health management--achieving improved patient outcomes and near-term financial results.
OBJECTIVE: A managed care organization sought to achieve efficiencies in care delivery and cost savings by anticipating and better caring for its frail and least stable members. STUDY DESIGN: Time sequence case study of program intervention across an entire managed care population in its first year compared with the prior baseline year. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Key attributes of the intervention included predictive registries of at-risk members based on existing data, relentless focus on the high-risk group, an integrated clinical and psychosocial approach to assessments and are planning, a reengineered care management process, secured Internet applications enabling rapid implementation and broad connectivity, and population-based outcomes metrics derived from widely used measures of resource utilization and functional status. RESULTS: Concentrating on the highest-risk group, which averaged just 1.1% prevalence in the total membership, yielded bottom line results. When the year before program implementation (July 1997 through June 1998) was compared with the subsequent year, the total population's annualized commercial admission rate was reduced 5.3%, and seniors' was reduced 3.0%. A claims-paid analysis exclusively of the highest-risk group revealed that their efficiencies and savings overwhelmingly contributed to the membershipwide effect. This subgroup's costs dropped 35.7% from preprogram levels of $2590 per member per month (excluding pharmaceuticals). During the same time, patient-derived cross-sectional functional status rose 12.5%. CONCLUSIONS: A sharply focused, Internet-deployed case management strategy achieved economic and functional status results on a population basis and produced systemwide savings in its first year of implementation. (+info)
'End-of-life' decision making within intensive care--objective, consistent, defensible?
OBJECTIVE: To determine the objectivity, consistency and professional unanimity in the initiation, continuation and withdrawal of life-prolonging procedures in intensive care--to determine methods, time-scale for withdrawal and communication with both staff and relatives--to explore any professional unease about legality, morality or professional defensibility. DESIGN: A structured questionnaire directed at clinical nurse managers for intensive care. SETTING: All intensive care units in the Yorkshire region. RESULTS: The survey reported a lack of consistency and objectivity in decision making in this area, with accompanying unease amongst staff. CONCLUSIONS: There is a need to work towards more consistent care, both before and during admission, for the protection of the individual patient and to allow rational assessment of intensive care need. Comprehensive audit should lead to objective defensible decisions and facilitate informed choice. More open debate and better communication should minimise this issue as a source of stress amongst staff in intensive care. (+info)
National guidelines for Swedish neonatal nursing care: evaluation of clinical application.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the clinical application of national guidelines for neonatal nursing. DESIGN: Questionnaire survey. SETTING: Thirty-nine neonatal care units in Sweden. STUDY PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-five of 39 nurse managers at all Swedish neonatal care units. INTERVENTION: Thirteen clinical guidelines for neonatal nursing care were presented in 1997. Recommendations on evidence-based nursing care and auditing measures were given. Most neonatal units in Sweden participated in the guideline development. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Extent of guideline application, ways in which the guidelines were used and perceived usefulness. RESULTS: The guidelines were applied to different extents in 30 of the 35 units. Almost all the guidelines were applied, especially those covering general nursing care. In total, 72 Quality Improvement (QI) projects were reported, of which 51 concerned specific topics covered in the guidelines. Twenty units applied the guidelines as a starting point for QI. Four units evaluated nursing practice against the guidelines. Four factors [Dynamic Standard Setting System (DySSSy) as the QI method, > or = 4 years of practice as nurse manager, experience of nursing research, and good staff resources] were closely related to a more extensive application of the guidelines. Units with both a nurse manager and an assistant nurse manager were more likely to have used the guidelines as the basis for changing clinical practice. CONCLUSIONS: The guidelines were successfully disseminated and diffused, but practitioner involvement in guideline development did not guarantee implementation. Downsizing, leadership and facilitation seemed to be crucial factors when getting evidence into practice. Limited occurrence of evaluations of clinical practice against guideline recommendations suggests a need for valid and user-friendly measures. (+info)
Hemodialysis vascular access preferences and outcomes in the Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study (DOPPS).
BACKGROUND: Synthetic grafts have generally been found to exhibit lower survival rates and higher complication rates than native arteriovenous fistulae. We investigated whether survival of grafts relative to fistulae was better in facilities with a preference for grafts, hypothesizing that such facilities may place more grafts because grafts produced superior outcomes. METHODS: The study was based on a national U.S. sample of 133 hemodialysis facilities participating in the Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study (DOPPS), a prospective, observational study of dialysis treatment practices and outcomes. Vascular access preferences were ascertained from medical directors, nurse managers, and actual practice within each facility (% graft use among prevalent patients). Logistic regression was used to model the odds ratio (OR) of graft placement (vs. fistula) and Cox regression was used to model time from access creation to initial failure. RESULTS: Grafts were preferred by 21% of medical directors and 40% of nurse managers. Patients in facilities in which the medical director or nurse manager expressed a preference for grafts were more than twice as likely to have a graft than a fistula (AOR = 2.3, P < 0.01; reference group = facilities that did not prefer grafts), suggesting that facility preferences influence the type of access created. Overall, grafts were more prevalent than fistulae in dialysis facilities, but displayed a higher relative risk of failure (RR 1.33, P < 0.0001). However, the risk of graft versus fistula failure did not vary by expressed preference of the medical director: the relative risk of graft versus fistula failure was 1.39 in facilities in which the medical director preferred grafts and 1.39 in facilities in which the medical director preferred fistulae. Moreover, the relative risk of graft versus fistula failure was 1.57 in facilities that used more than the median percentage of grafts and 1.19 in facilities that used less than the median percentage of grafts. CONCLUSIONS: No evidence was found that graft outcomes are superior in facilities that prefer grafts to fistulae. The observed variation in vascular access practice patterns suggests opportunities for quality improvement if optimal practices can be defined. (+info)
A postal survey to identify and describe nurse led clinics in genitourinary medicine services across England.
BACKGROUND: Nurses in genitourinary medicine (GUM) services are progressively extending their roles to conduct "comprehensive care" nurse led clinics. In such roles the nurse coordinates the first line, comprehensive care of patients presenting with sexual health conditions and issues. OBJECTIVES: To identify and describe comprehensive care nurse led clinics in GUM services across England. METHODS: A postal questionnaire consisting of 17 closed response questions was sent to 209 GUM services across England. A second questionnaire was sent to non-responders to increase the response rate. Data were single entered and analysed using SPSS. RESULTS: Of the 190 GUM clinic respondents (91% response rate), 44 (23%) reported providing some form of comprehensive care nurse led clinic, 90% of which were initiated since 1995. Key results show staff development featured as the main reason for initiating such services and there was general consistency in the aspects of care undertaken by these nurses. There was evidence of guideline development specific to nurse led care and some patient group direction use for supplying medication. The level of support from medical staff while nurse led clinics were being conducted varied between services. Few services have conducted any audit or research to monitor/evaluate nurse led care. There was little consistency in the clinical experience and educational prerequisites to undertake comprehensive care nurse led clinics. Continuing professional development opportunities also varied between services. CONCLUSIONS: The steady growth of comprehensive care nurse led clinics indicates that the skills of GUM nurses are being recognised. Nurses working in advanced practice roles now require courses and study days reflecting these changes in practice. Locally agreed practice guidelines can define nursing practice boundaries and ensure accountability, as will the development of patient group directions to supply medication. Monitoring and evaluation of nurse led clinics also require attention. (+info)
Does training increase the use of more emotionally laden words by nurses when talking with cancer patients? A randomised study.
The emotional content of health care professionals-cancer patient communication is often considered as poor and has to be improved by an enhancement of health care professionals empathy. One hundred and fifteen oncology nurses participating in a communication skills training workshop were assessed at three different periods. Nurses randomly allocated to a control group arm (waiting list) were assessed a first time and then 3 and 6 months later. Nurses allocated to the training group were assessed before training workshop, just after and 3 months later. Each nurse completed a 20-min clinical and simulated interview. Each interview was analysed by three content analysis systems: two computer-supported content analysis of emotional words, the Harvard Third Psychosocial Dictionary and the Martindale Regressive Imagery Dictionary and an observer rating system of utterances emotional depth level, the Cancer Research Campaign Workshop Evaluation Manual. The results show that in clinical interviews there is an increased use of emotional words by health care professionals right after having been trained (P=0.056): training group subjects use 4.3 (std: 3.7) emotional words per 1000 used before training workshop, and 7.0 (std: 5.8) right after training workshop and 5.9 (std: 4.3) 3 months later compared to control group subjects which use 4.5 (std: 4.8) emotional words at the first assessment point, 4.3 (std: 4.1) at the second and 4.4 (std: 3.3) at the third. The same trend is noticeable for emotional words used by health care professionals in simulated interviews (P=0.000). The emotional words registry used by health care professionals however remains stable over time in clinical interviews (P=0.141) and is enlarged in simulated interviews (P=0.041). This increased use of emotional words by trained health care professionals facilitates cancer patient emotion words expressions compared to untrained health care professionals especially 3 months after training (P=0.005). This study shows that health care professionals empathy may be improved by communication skills training workshop and that this improvement facilitates cancer patients emotions expression. (+info)
Nursing homes as complex adaptive systems: relationship between management practice and resident outcomes.
BACKGROUND: Despite numerous clinical and regulatory efforts, problems of poor quality of care in nursing homes continue, suggesting a need for effective management practices. OBJECTIVE: To test complexity hypotheses about the relationship between management practices (communication openness, decision making, relationship-oriented leadership, and formalization) and resident outcomes (aggressive behavior, restraint use, immobility of complications, and fractures), while controlling for case mix, size, ownership, and director's tenure and experience. METHOD: A cross-sectional correlational field study design was used. Primary data were obtained from directors of nursing and registered nurses employed in 164 Texas nursing homes. Investigators administered self-report surveys onsite. Secondary data were obtained from 1995 Medicaid Cost Reports and the Texas nursing home Minimum Data Set (MDS) and were linked to primary data using a unique identifier. RESULTS: Hypotheses were supported in that each management practice explained one or more of the resident outcomes. Larger size and longer director of nursing tenure and experience also explained better resident outcomes. Predictors explained 11% n 21% of the variance. DISCUSSION: Complexity science was used to explain the results. The findings open the door to rethinking nursing home management practice. Practices that increase communication and interaction among people are needed for better resident outcomes. (+info)
Information literacy: instrument development to measure competencies and knowledge among nursing educators, nursing administrators, and nursing clinicians: a pilot study.
This poster describes a pilot study conducted to establish validity and reliability of an instrument that will be used in a nationwide needs assessment, implemented to identify gaps in Information Literacy skills, competencies, and knowledge among key nursing groups nationally. Data and information gathered using the tool will guide the profession in developing appropriate education and continuing education programs to close identified gaps and enhance nurses' readiness for Evidence-Based Practice (EBP). (+info)