Does the Complications Screening Program flag cases with process of care problems? Using explicit criteria to judge processes. (1/43)

BACKGROUND: The Complications Screening Program (CSP) aims to identify 28 potentially preventable complications of hospital care using computerized discharge abstracts, including demographic information, diagnosis and procedure codes. OBJECTIVE: To validate the CSP as a quality indicator by using explicit process of care criteria to determine whether hospital discharges flagged by the CSP experienced more process problems than unflagged discharges. METHODS: The (CSP was applied to computerized hospital discharge abstracts from Mledicare beneficiaries > 65 years old admitted in 1994 to hospitals in California and Connecticut for major surgery or medical treatment. ()f 28 CSP complications, 17 occurred sufficient frequently to study. Discharges flagged (cases) and unflagged (controls) by the (CSP were sampled and photocopied medical records were obtained. Physicians specified detailed, objective, explicit criteria, itemizing 'key steps' in processes of care that could potentially have prevented or caused complications. Trained nurses abstracted medical records using these explicit criteria. Process problem rates between cases and controls were compared. RESULTS: The final sample included 740 surgical and 416 medical discharges. Rates of process problems were high, ranging from 24.4 to 82.5% across CSP screens for surgical cases. Problems were lower for medical cases, ranging from 2.0 to 69.1% across CSP screens. Problem rates were 45.7% for surgical and 5.0% for medical controls. Rates of problems did not differ significantly across flagged and unflagged discharges. CONCLUSIONS: The CSP did not flag discharges with significantly higher rates of explicit process problems than unflagged discharges. Various initiatives throughout the USA use techniques similar to the CSP to identify complications of care. Based on these CSP findings, such approaches should be evaluated cautiously.  (+info)

Problematic or practical? Professional body occupational health guidelines. (2/43)

This paper focuses upon conflict between professional and managerial values in an occupational health setting. Findings are presented which suggest that the guidelines issued by UK occupational health professional bodies (describing the duties and responsibilities of occupational health professionals), have been perceived by professionals as being impractical because they tend to focus on the theoretical role of the professional at the expense of the reality of the experienced role. The paper concludes that the problem does not actually lie with the guidelines, but with the perception of the guidelines. It is suggested that this problem can be addressed by empowering occupational health professionals to interpret and tailor the guidelines to suit their particular working environment. In addition, encouraging occupational health professionals to pro-actively market their role, will result in awareness raising amongst the managers for whom they work who often have inappropriate expectations of the occupational health professionals.  (+info)

Impact of quality improvement activities on care for acute myocardial infarction. (3/43)

OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship between quality improvement activities reported to a peer review organization (PRO) and improvements in quality of care for patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI). DESIGN: Time-series, comparative study of changes in care for AMI patients from 1992 to 1995 in hospitals reporting self-measurement or system changes compared to all other hospitals in the state. SETTING: One-hundred and seventeen acute care hospitals in Iowa. STUDY PARTICIPANTS: Patients hospitalized with a principal diagnosis of AMI. INTERVENTIONS: Each hospital was given hospital-specific performance data, statewide aggregate data, and peer comparisons and was asked to provide the PRO with a plan to improve care for AMI patients. MEASUREMENTS: Chart audits were performed before and after the intervention. Quality of care was based on eight explicit process measures of the quality of AMI care (quality indicators). RESULTS: Statewide, quality of care improved on five out of eight quality indicators. Of the 117 hospitals, 44 (38%) reported that they had implemented their own measurement activities or systematic improvements. These 44 hospitals showed significantly greater improvements than the other hospitals in use of aspirin during the hospitalization, recommendations for aspirin at discharge, and prescriptions for beta blockers at discharge. CONCLUSIONS: While quality of care for AMI patients throughout Iowa is improving, the pace of improvement is greatest in hospitals reporting that they are measuring their own performance or implementing systematic changes in care processes. Continued efforts to encourage hospitals to implement these types of improvement activities are warranted.  (+info)

Development of a pollution prevention and energy efficiency clearinghouse for biomedical research facilities. (4/43)

This is the report of the National Association of Physicians for the Environment Committee on Development of a Pollution Prevention and Energy Efficiency Clearinghouse for Biomedical Research Facilities from the Leadership Conference on Biomedical Research and the Environment held at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, on 1--2 November 1999. A major goal of the conference was the establishment of a World Wide Web-based clearinghouse, which would lend tremendous resources to the biomedical research community by providing access to a database of peer-reviewed articles and references dealing with a host of aspects of biomedical research relating to energy efficiency, pollution prevention, and waste reduction. A temporary website has been established with the assistance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regions III and IV, where a pilot site provides access to the EPA's existing databases on these topics. A system of peer review for articles and promising techniques still must be developed, but a glimpse of topics and search engines is available for comment and review on the EPA Region IV-supported website (  (+info)

Physician-reviewers' perceptions and judgments about quality of care. (5/43)

OBJECTIVE: Although Peer Review Organizations (PROs) and researchers rely on physicians to assess quality of care, little is known about what physicians think about when they judge quality. We sought to identify features of individual cases that are associated with physicians' judgments. DESIGN: Using 1994 Medicare data, we selected hospitalizations for 1134 beneficiaries in 42 acute care hospitals in California and Connecticut. The sample was enriched with 17 surgical and six medical complications identified using diagnosis and procedure codes. PRO physicians confirmed quality problems using a structured implicit chart review instrument and provided written open-ended comments about each case. We coded physicians' comments for factors presumed to influence judgments about quality. RESULTS: In crude and adjusted comparisons, reviewers questioned quality more frequently in cases with serious or fatal outcomes, technical mishaps and inadequate documentation. Among surgical (but not medical) patients, they were less likely to record poor quality among patients presenting with an acute illness. CONCLUSION: Factors other than the adequacy of key processes of care are associated with physician-reviewers' judgments about quality.  (+info)

The external review of quality improvement in health care organizations: a qualitative study. (6/43)

OBJECTIVE: To explore the use of external approaches to quality improvement in health care organizations, through a descriptive evaluation of the process and impact of external reviews of clinical governance arrangements at health care provider organizations in the National Health Service (NHS) in England. DESIGN: A qualitative study, involving the use of face-to-face and telephone interviews with senior managers and clinicians in health care provider organizations and with members of a regional clinical governance review team. SETTING: The West Midlands region of England, in which there are 47 NHS trusts (health care provider organizations). STUDY PARTICIPANTS: A total of 151 senior clinicians and managers at NHS trusts in the West Midlands and 12 members of a specially constituted regional clinical governance review team. INTERVENTION: Clinical governance review visits which were undertaken by the regional clinical governance review team to all NHS trusts between April 1999 and February 2000. Interviews with senior managers and clinicians took place before and after the review visits had taken place; interviews with members of the clinical governance review team took place when they had undertaken most of their visits. RESULTS: The prospect of external review produced mixed reactions in health care provider organizations, and preparing for such a review was a substantial and time-consuming task. The review itself was often productive, although differences in attitudes and expectations between health care provider organizations and review team members created tensions, especially when the results of the review were reported back. External reviews rarely generated wholly new knowledge, were more confirmatory than revelatory, and did not usually lead to major changes in policy, strategy or practice. CONCLUSIONS: External review systems are widely used in health care to promote quality improvement in health care provider organizations, but their effectiveness is little researched and the optimal design of systems of external review is not well understood. More attention to the design and impact of external review would help to maximize its benefits and minimize costs and adverse effects.  (+info)

Discrepancies between explicit and implicit review: physician and nurse assessments of complications and quality. (7/43)

OBJECTIVE: To identify and characterize discrepancies between explicit and implicit medical record review of complications and quality of care. SETTING: Forty-two acute-care hospitals in California and Connecticut in 1994. STUDY DESIGN: In a retrospective chart review of 1,025 Medicare beneficiaries age >65, we compared explicit (nurse) and implicit (physician) reviews of complications and quality in individual cases. To understand discrepancies, we calculated the kappa statistic and examined physicians' comments. DATA COLLECTION: With Medicare discharge abstracts, we used the Complications Screening Program to identify and then select a stratified random sample of cases flagged for 1 of 15 surgical complications, 5 medical complications, and unflagged controls. Peer Review Organization nurses and physicians performed chart reviews. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Agreement about complications was fair (kappa = 0.36) among surgical and was moderate (kappa = 0.59) among medical cases. In discordant cases, physicians said that complications were insignificant, attributable to a related diagnosis, or present on admission. Agreement about quality was poor among surgical and medical cases (kappa = 0.00 and 0.13, respectively). In discordant cases, physicians said that quality problems were unavoidable, small lapses in otherwise satisfactory care, present on admission, or resulted in no adverse outcome. CONCLUSIONS: We identified many discrepancies between explicit and implicit review of complications and quality. Physician reviewers may not consider process problems that are ubiquitous in hospitals to represent substandard quality.  (+info)

Empirical designation of health service areas. (8/43)

A method for identifying viable health service areas for a state is described. A computer program was developed that evaluates combinations of contiguous counties using a set of 56 variables strategic to the construction of health planning areas and the spatial context of health care delivery, in keeping with the structural requirements of the National Health Planning and Resources Development Act of 1974. The objective of the evaluation is to minimize differences among planning regions and between planning regions and the state.  (+info)