A comparative analysis of six audit systems for mental health nursing.
PURPOSE: To devise an analytical framework to help identify strengths and weaknesses in the audit process as specified by existing psychiatric nursing audit systems, in order to analyse current audit practice and identify improvements for incorporation in the Newcastle Clinical Audit Toolkit for Mental Health. DATA SOURCES: Published material relating to the following six systems: the Central Nottinghamshire Psychiatric Nursing Audit; Psychiatric Nursing Monitor; Standards of Care and Practice; Achievable Standards of Care; Quartz; and Quest. DATA EXTRACTION: Comparison of the six systems according to an analytical framework derived from detailed empirical study (structures, processes and outcomes) of one of them in use and the educational evaluation literature. Examination of the extent to which guidance is provided for operating the systems and for wider process-related aspects of audit. RESULTS OF DATA SYNTHESIS: Five of the systems failed to specify some important elements of the audit process. Conceptually, the six systems can be divided into two main types: 'instrument-like' systems designed along psychometric lines and which emphasize the distance between the subjects of audit and the operators of the systems, and 'tool-like' systems which exploit opportunities for care setting staff to engage in the audit process. A third type of system is the locally-developed system which is offered to a wider audience but which does not make the same level of claim to universal applicability. CONCLUSION: The analytical framework allows different approaches to audit to be compared and contrasted not only according to the techniques used, but also according to process issues. The analysis of six systems revealed a variety of different techniques and procedures which can facilitate, in a methodologically rigorous manner, practitioner and other stakeholder involvement in audit processes. (+info)
Why and how is soft copy reading possible in clinical practice?
The properties of the human visual system (HVS) relevant to the diagnostic process are described after a brief introduction on the general problems and advantages of using soft copy for primary radiology interpretations. At various spatial and temporal frequencies the contrast sensitivity defines the spatial resolution of the eye-brain system and the sensitivity to flicker. The adaptation to the displayed radiological scene and the ambient illumination determine the dynamic range for the operation of the HVS. Although image display devices are determined mainly by state-of-the-art technology, analysis of the HVS may suggest technical characteristics for electronic displays that will help to optimize the display to the operation of the HVS. These include display size, spatial resolution, contrast resolution, luminance range, and noise, from which further consequences for the technical components of a monitor follow. It is emphasized that routine monitor quality control must be available in clinical practice. These image quality measures must be simple enough to be applied as part of the daily routine. These test instructions might also serve as elements of technical acceptance and constancy tests. (+info)
Image processing strategies in picture archiving and communication systems.
An image processing strategy is presented that assures very similar soft-copy presentation on diagnostic workstations of a picture archiving and communication system (PACS) over the lifetime of an image file and simultaneously provides efficient work-flow. The strategy is based on rigid partitioning of image processing into application- and display-device-specific processing. Application-specific processing is optimized for a reference display system. A description of this system is attached to the file header of the application-specifically processed image which is stored in the PACS. Every diagnostic display system automatically reproduces the image quality for which the application-specific processing was optimized by adjusting its properties by display-system-specific processing so that the system becomes effectively equal to the reference display system. (+info)
A critical appraisal of the quality of the management of infective endocarditis.
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to assess the quality of the management of infective endocarditis. BACKGROUND: Although many guidelines on the management of infective endocarditis exist, the quality of this management has not been evaluated. METHODS: We collected data on all patients (116) hospitalized with infective endocarditis over 1 year in all hospitals in the Rhone-Alpes region (France). RESULTS: Prophylactic antibiotics were not given before infective endocarditis to 8/11 cardiac patients at risk and who underwent an at risk procedure. Among the 55 cardiac patients at risk and with fever and who consulted a physician, blood cultures were not performed before antibiotic therapy was initiated for 32 patients. In-hospital antibiotic therapy was incorrect for 23 patients. The portal of entry was not treated for 16/61 patients with an accessible portal of entry. Among the 19 patients who had severe heart failure or fever persisting more than 2 weeks in spite of antibiotic therapy and who could have undergone early surgery, surgery was delayed for five, and not performed for three. Overall, the average score was 15/20. CONCLUSIONS: More information on the management of infective endocarditis should be widely disseminated to the physicians' and the dentists' communities and to the patients at risk. (+info)
Evaluation of the quality of an injury surveillance system.
The sensitivity, positive predictive value, and representativeness of the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP) were assessed. Sensitivity was estimated at four centers in June through August 1992, by matching independently identified injuries with those in the CHIRPP database. The positive predictive value was determined by reviewing all "injuries" in the database (at Montreal Children's Hospital) that could not be matched. Representativeness was assessed by comparing missed with captured injuries (at Montreal Children's Hospital) on demographic, social, and clinical factors. Sensitivity ranged from 30% to 91%, and the positive predictive value was 99.9% (i.e., the frequency of false-positive capture was negligible). The representativeness study compared 277 missed injuries with 2,746 captured injuries. The groups were similar on age, sex, socioeconomic status, delay before presentation, month, and day of presentation. Injuries resulting in admissions, poisonings, and those presenting overnight were, however, more likely to be missed. The adjusted odds ratio of being missed by CHIRPP for admitted injuries (compared with those treated and released) was 13.07 (95% confidence interval 7.82-21.82); for poisonings (compared with all other injuries), it was 9.91 (95% confidence interval 5.39-18.20); and for injuries presenting overnight (compared with those presenting during the day or evening), it was 4.11 (95% confidence interval 3.11-5.44). These injuries were probably missed because of inadequate education of participants in the system. The authors conclude that CHIRPP data are of relatively high quality and may be used, with caution, for research and public health policy. (+info)
Lot quality assurance sampling for monitoring immunization programmes: cost-efficient or quick and dirty?
In recent years Lot quality assurance sampling (LQAS), a method derived from production-line industry, has been advocated as an efficient means to evaluate the coverage rates achieved by child immunization programmes. This paper examines the assumptions on which LQAS is based and the effect that these assumptions have on its utility as a management tool. It shows that the attractively low sample sizes used in LQAS are achieved at the expense of specificity unless unrealistic assumptions are made about the distribution of coverage rates amongst the immunization programmes to which the method is applied. Although it is a very sensitive test and its negative predictive value is probably high in most settings, its specificity and positive predictive value are likely to be low. The implications of these strengths and weaknesses with regard to management decision-making are discussed. (+info)
The potential of health sector non-governmental organizations: policy options.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have increasingly been promoted as alternative health care providers to the state, furthering the same goals but less hampered by government inefficiencies and resource constraints. However, the reality of NGO health care provision is more complex. Not only is the distinction between government and NGO providers sometimes difficult to determine because of their operational integration, but NGOs may also suffer from resource constraionts and management inefficiencies similar to those of government providers. Some registered NGOs operate as for-profit providers in practice. Policy development must reflect the strengths and weaknesses of NGOs in particular settings and should be built on NGO advantages over government in terms of resource mobilization, efficiency and/or quality. Policy development will always require a strong government presence in co-ordinating and regulating health care provision, and an NGO sector responsive to the policy goals of government. (+info)
Comparative hospital databases: value for management and quality.
OBJECTIVES: To establish an accurate and reliable comparative database of discharge abstracts and to appraise its value for assessments of quality of care. DESIGN: Retrospective review of case notes by trained research abstractors and comparison with matched information as routinely collected by the hospitals' own information systems. SETTING: Three district general hospitals and two major London teaching hospitals. PATIENTS: The database included 3905 medical and surgical cases and 2082 obstetric cases from 1990 and 1991. MAIN MEASURES: Accessibility of case notes; measures of reliability between reviewers and of validity of case note content; application of high level quality indicators. RESULTS: The existing hospital systems extracted insufficient detail from case notes to conduct clinical comparative analyses for medical and surgical cases. The research abstractors at least doubled the diagnostic codes extracted. Interabstractor agreement of about 70% was obtained for primary diagnosis and assignment to diagnosis related group. These data were sufficient to create a comparative database and apply high level quality indicators designed to flag topics for further study. For obstetric-specific indicators the rates were comparable for abstractors and the hospital information systems, which in each case was a departmentally based system (SMMIS) producing more detailed and accessible data. CONCLUSIONS: Current methods of extracting and coding diagnostic and procedural data from case notes in this sample of hospitals is unsatisfactory: notes were difficult to access and recording is unacceptably incomplete. IMPLICATIONS: Improvements as piloted in this project, are readily available should the NHS, hospital managers, and clinicians see the value of these data in their clinical and managerial activities. (+info)