Health Care Innovation and Quality Assurance

Collection of articles on Health Care Innovation and Quality Assurance is available here.

Interventions to optimise nutrition in older people in hospitals and long-term care: Umbrella review
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Brunner S, Mayer H, Qin H, Breidert M, Dietrich M, Müller Staub M.
Scand J Caring Sci 2021 Jul 1.
BACKGROUND: Inpatients have a high need for protein-energy intake because of increased physical stress metabolism due to illnesses. Protein-energy undernutrition in older patients increases the risk of complications such as falls, pressure ulcers and even death. An overview of effective interventions addressing this complex issue of malnutrition in older people is missing. AIMS: To give an overview of effective interventions to optimise nutrition in older people in hospitals and long-term care. DESIGN: An umbrella review, according to the Joanna Briggs Institute and PRISMA statement, was conducted in April 2020. METHODS: A systematic search of publications from 2010 until 2020 was conducted in CINAHL, PubMed and Cochrane Database. Included were studies reporting nutrition interventions that involved nurses or the interprofessional team in optimising older hospitalised people’s nutrition. Excluded were studies investigating the effects of parenteral nutrition, certain food supplements or tube feeding and research from intensive, community or palliative care. Components of interventions were classified according to the intervention Nutrition management: Patients’ assistance, patients’ instruction, foodservice, environment for meals and nutrient-dense snacks. FINDINGS: Included were 13 reviews from 19 countries of the continents Asia, Australia, Europe and North America from hospitals and long-term care settings. An interprofessional food promoting culture, including staff training as part of a multi-component measure, has shown to be a successful element in implementing activities of Nutrition Management. CONCLUSION: Several studies synthesised that optimising nutrition in older people in hospitals and long-term care is achievable. Interventions were effective if-on a meta-level-staff training was addressed as part of a multi-component measure to reach an interprofessional food promoting culture. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Interventions to optimise older people’s nutrition have to consider an interprofessional food promoting culture, including staff training about the importance of nutrition, patients’ assistance and an appropriate environment for meals.

The Institute for Health care Quality, Safety, and Efficiency: A Comprehensive Approach to Improving Organization-Level Quality Performance
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Glasheen JJ, Cumbler E, Hyman D, Kneeland P, Armstrong G, Caffrey S, et al.
Am J Med Qual 2021 Jul 1.
Despite decades of effort to drive quality improvement, many health care organizations still struggle to optimize their performance on quality metrics. The advent of publicly reported quality rankings and ratings allows for greater visibility of overall organizational performance, but has not provided a roadmap for sustained improvement in these assessments. Most quality training programs have focused on developing knowledge and skills in pursuit of individual and project-level improvements. To date, no training program has been associated with improvements in overall organization-level, publicly reported measures. In 2012, the Institute for Health care Quality, Safety, and Efficiency was launched, which is an integrated set of quality and safety training programs, with a focus on leadership development and support of performance improvement through data analytics and intensive coaching. This effort has trained nearly 2000 individuals and has been associated with significant improvement in organization-level quality rankings and ratings, offering a framework for organizations seeking systematic, long-term improvement.

Process evaluation of a tailored intervention to Reduce Inappropriate psychotropic Drug use in nursing home residents with dementia
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Groot Kormelinck CM, van Teunenbroek CF, Zuidema SU, Smalbrugge M, Gerritsen DL.
BMC Geriatr 2021 Jul 3;21(1):414-021-02357-w.
BACKGROUND: Research suggests that collaborative and tailored approaches with external expertise are important to process implementations. We therefore performed a process evaluation of an intervention using participatory action research, tailored information provision, and external coaching to reduce inappropriate psychotropic drug use among nursing home residents with dementia. The process evaluation was conducted alongside a randomized controlled trial assessing the utility of this approach. METHODS: We used Leontjevas’ model of process evaluation to guide data collection and analysis, focusing on the relevance and feasibility, extent of performance, and barriers and facilitators to implementation. Data on the relevance and feasibility and on the extent of performance were collected using a questionnaire targeting internal project leaders at nursing homes and our external coaches. Implementation barriers and facilitators were identified by individual semi-structured interviews. The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research was used to structure and describe the identified barriers and facilitators. RESULTS: The intervention was viewed positively, but it was also considered time consuming due to the involvement of many people and designing a tailored action and implementation plan was viewed as complex. The extent of performance differed between nursing homes. Delays in implementation and suboptimal execution of actions may have reduced effectiveness of the RID intervention in some nursing homes. Barriers to implementation were reorganizations, staff turnover, communication issues, unclear expectations, and perceived time pressures. Implementation also depended on the involvement and skills of key stakeholders, and organizations’ readiness to change. Although external coaches stimulated implementation, their additional value was rated variably across organizations. CONCLUSIONS: Barriers to implementation occurred on several levels and some barriers appear to be inherent to the nursing home environment and could be points of leverage of future implementation trajectories. This underlines the importance of assessing and supporting organizations in their readiness to change. Sensitivity analyses, taking into account the week in which nursing homes started with implementation and the degree to which actions were implemented as intended, will be appropriate in the effect analyses of the trial.

Systematic review of clinician-directed nudges in healthcare contexts
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Last BS, Buttenheim AM, Timon CE, Mitra N, Beidas RS.
BMJ Open 2021 Jul 12;11(7):e048801-2021-048801.
OBJECTIVE: Nudges are interventions that alter the way options are presented, enabling individuals to more easily select the best option. Health systems and researchers have tested nudges to shape clinician decision-making with the aim of improving healthcare service delivery. We aimed to systematically study the use and effectiveness of nudges designed to improve clinicians’ decisions in healthcare settings. DESIGN: A systematic review was conducted to collect and consolidate results from studies testing nudges and to determine whether nudges directed at improving clinical decisions in healthcare settings across clinician types were effective. We systematically searched seven databases (EBSCO MegaFILE, EconLit, Embase, PsycINFO, PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science) and used a snowball sampling technique to identify peer-reviewed published studies available between 1 January 1984 and 22 April 2020. Eligible studies were critically appraised and narratively synthesised. We categorised nudges according to a taxonomy derived from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. Included studies were appraised using the Cochrane Risk of Bias Assessment Tool. RESULTS: We screened 3608 studies and 39 studies met our criteria. The majority of the studies (90%) were conducted in the USA and 36% were randomised controlled trials. The most commonly studied nudge intervention (46%) framed information for clinicians, often through peer comparison feedback. Nudges that guided clinical decisions through default options or by enabling choice were also frequently studied (31%). Information framing, default and enabling choice nudges showed promise, whereas the effectiveness of other nudge types was mixed. Given the inclusion of non-experimental designs, only a small portion of studies were at minimal risk of bias (33%) across all Cochrane criteria. CONCLUSIONS: Nudges that frame information, change default options or enable choice are frequently studied and show promise in improving clinical decision-making. Future work should examine how nudges compare to non-nudge interventions (eg, policy interventions) in improving healthcare.

Clinical ethics committees in nursing homes: what good can they do? Analysis of a single case consultation
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Magelssen M, Karlsen H.
Nurs Ethics 2021 Jul 13:9697330211003269.
BACKGROUND: Ought nursing homes to establish clinical ethics committees (CECs)? An answer to this question must begin with an understanding of how a clinical ethics committee might be beneficial in a nursing home context – to patients, next of kin, professionals, managers, and the institution. With the present article, we aim to contribute to such an understanding. AIM: We ask, in which ways can clinical ethics committees be helpful to stakeholders in a nursing home context? We describe in depth a clinical ethics committee case consultation deemed successful by stakeholders, then reflect on how it was helpful. RESEARCH DESIGN: Case study using the clinical ethics committee’s written case report and self-evaluation form, and two research interviews, as data. PARTICIPANTS AND RESEARCH CONTEXT: The nursing home’s ward manager and the patient’s son participated in research interviews. ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS: Data were collected as part of an implementation study. Clinical ethics committee members and interviewed stakeholders consented to study participation, and also gave specific approval for the publication of the present article. FINDINGS/RESULTS: Six different roles played by the clinical ethics committee in the case consultation are described: analyst, advisor, support, moderator, builder of consensus and trust, and disseminator. DISCUSSION: The case study indicates that clinical ethics committees might sometimes be of help to stakeholders in moral challenges in nursing homes. CONCLUSIONS: Demanding moral challenges arise in the nursing home setting. More research is needed to examine whether clinical ethics committees might be suitable as ethics support structures in nursing homes and community care.

Understanding adaptations in the Veteran Health Administration’s Transitions Nurse Program: refining methodology and pragmatic implications for scale-up
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McCarthy MS, Ujano-De Motta LL, Nunnery MA, Gilmartin H, Kelley L, Wills A, et al.
Implement Sci 2021 Jul 13;16(1):71-021-01126-y.
BACKGROUND: When complex health services interventions are implemented in real-world settings, adaptations are inevitable. Adaptations are changes made to an intervention, implementation strategy, or context prior to, during, and after implementation to improve uptake and fit. There is a growing interest in systematically documenting and understanding adaptations including what is changed, why, when, by whom, and with what impact. The rural Transitions Nurse Program (TNP) is a program in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), designed to safely transition a rural veteran from a tertiary hospital back home. TNP has been implemented in multiple cohorts across 11 sites nationwide over 4 years. In this paper, we describe adaptations in five TNP sites from the first cohort of sites and implications for the scale-up of TNP and discuss lessons learned for the systematic documentation and analysis of adaptations. METHODS: We used the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance (RE-AIM) expanded version of the original Stirman framework to guide the rapid qualitative matrix analysis of adaptations. Adaptations were documented using multiple approaches: real-time database, semi-structured midpoint and exit interviews with implementors, and member checking with the implementation team. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. To combine multiple sources of adaptations, we used key domains from our framework and organized adaptations by time when the adaptation occurred (pre-, early, mid-, late implementation; sustainment) and categorized them as proactive or reactive. RESULTS: Forty-one unique adaptations were reported during the study period. The most common type of adaptation was changes in target populations (patient enrollment criteria) followed by personnel changes (staff turnover). Most adaptations occurred during the mid-implementation time period and varied in number and type of adaptation. The reasons for this are discussed, and suggestions for future adaptation protocols are included. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates the feasibility of systematically documenting adaptations using multiple methods across time points. Implementors were able to track adaptations in real time across the course of an intervention, which provided timely and actionable feedback to the implementation team overseeing the national roll-out of the program. Longitudinal semi-structured interviews can complement the real-time database and elicit reflective adaptations.