Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 12

Quality improvement Related Abstracts

12 On-Line Data-Driven Multivariate Statistical Prediction Approach to Production Monitoring

Authors: Hyun-Woo Cho

Abstract:

Detection of incipient abnormal events in production processes is important to improve safety and reliability of manufacturing operations and reduce losses caused by failures. The construction of calibration models for predicting faulty conditions is quite essential in making decisions on when to perform preventive maintenance. This paper presents a multivariate calibration monitoring approach based on the statistical analysis of process measurement data. The calibration model is used to predict faulty conditions from historical reference data. This approach utilizes variable selection techniques, and the predictive performance of several prediction methods are evaluated using real data. The results shows that the calibration model based on supervised probabilistic model yielded best performance in this work. By adopting a proper variable selection scheme in calibration models, the prediction performance can be improved by excluding non-informative variables from their model building steps.

Keywords: monitoring, Feature selection, Quality improvement, calibration model

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11 A Look into Surgical Site Infections: Impact of Collective Interventions

Authors: Lisa Bennett, Cynthia Walters, Cynthia Argani, Andy Satin, Geeta Sood, Kerri Huber, Lisa Grubb, Woodrow Noble, Melissa Eichelberger, Darlene Zinalabedini, Eric Ausby, Jeffrey Snyder, Kevin Kirchoff

Abstract:

Background: Surgical site infections (SSIs) within the obstetric population pose a variety of complications, creating clinical and personal challenges for the new mother and her neonate during the postpartum period. Our journey to achieve compliance with the SSI core measure for cesarean sections revealed many opportunities to improve these outcomes. Objective: Achieve and sustain core measure compliance keeping surgical site infection rates below the national benchmark pooled mean of 1.8% in post-operative patients, who delivered via cesarean section at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Methods: A root cause analysis was performed and revealed several environmental, pharmacologic, and clinical practice opportunities for improvement. A multidisciplinary approach led by the OB Safety Nurse, OB Medical Director, and Infectious Disease Department resulted in the implementation of fourteen interventions over a twenty-month period. Interventions included: post-operative dressing changes, standardizing operating room attire, broadening pre-operative antibiotics, initiating vaginal preps, improving operating room terminal cleaning, testing air quality, and re-educating scrub technicians on technique. Results: Prior to the implementation of our interventions, the SSI quarterly rate in Obstetrics peaked at 6.10%. Although no single intervention resulted in dramatic improvement, after implementation of all fourteen interventions, the quarterly SSI rate has subsequently ranged from to 0.0% to 2.70%. Significance: Taking an introspective look at current practices can reveal opportunities for improvement which previously were not considered. Collectively the benefit of these interventions has shown a significant decrease in surgical site infection rates. The impact of this quality improvement project highlights the synergy created when members of the multidisciplinary team work in collaboration to improve patient safety, and achieve a high quality of care.

Keywords: Patient Safety, Quality improvement, cesarean section, surgical site infection, collaboration and teamwork

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10 Reducing Waiting Time in Outpatient Services: Six Sigma and Technological Approach

Authors: Omkar More, Isha Saini, Gracy Mathai

Abstract:

To study whether there is any clinical correlation between pterygium and dry eye and to evaluate the status of the tear film in patients with pterygium. Methods: 100 eyes with pterygium were compared with 100 control eyes without pterygium. Patients between 20 – 70 years were included in the study. A detailed history was taken and Schirmer’s test and TBUT were performed on all to evaluate the status of dry eye. Schirmer’s test ˂ 10 mm and TBUT ˂10 seconds was considered abnormal. Results: Maximum number (52) of patients affected by dry eye in both the groups were in the age group 31-40 years which statistically showed age as a significant factor of association for both pterygium and dry eye (P < 0.01).Schirmer’s test was slightly reduced in patients with pterygium(18.73±5.69 mm). TBUT was significantly reduced in the case group (12.26±2.24sec).TBUT decreased maximally in 51-60 yrs age group (13.00±2.77sec) with pterygium showing a tear film instability. On comparison of pterygia and controls with normal and abnormal tear film, Odd’s Ratio was 1.14 showing a risk of dry eye in pterygia patients to be 1.14 times higher than controls. Conclusion: Whether tear dysfunction is a precursor to pterygium growth or pterygium causes tear dysfunction is still not clear. Research and clinical evidence, however, suggest that there is a relationship between the two. This study is, therefore, undertaken to investigate the correlation between pterygium and dry eye. The patients with pterygia were compared with normals to evaluate their status regarding dryness. A close relationship exists between ocular irritation symptoms and functional evidence of tear instability. Schirmer’s test and TBUT should routinely be used in the outpatient department to diagnose dry eye in patients with pterygium and these patients should be promptly treated to prevent any sight-threatening complications.

Keywords: Six Sigma, Nursing Assessment, Quality improvement, footfall

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9 A Retrospective Analysis of the Impact of the Choosing Wisely Canada Campaign on Emergency Department Imaging Utilization for Head Injuries

Authors: Sameer Masood, Lucas Chartier

Abstract:

Head injuries are a commonly encountered presentation in emergency departments (ED) and the Choosing Wisely Canada (CWC) campaign was released in June 2015 in an attempt to decrease imaging utilization for patients with minor head injuries. The impact of the CWC campaign on imaging utilization for head injuries has not been explored in the ED setting. In our study, we describe the characteristics of patients with head injuries presenting to a tertiary care academic ED and the impact of the CWC campaign on CT head utilization. This retrospective cohort study used linked databases from the province of Ontario, Canada to assess emergency department visits with a primary diagnosis of head injury made between June 1, 2014 and Aug 31, 2016 at the University Health Network in Toronto, Canada. We examined the number of visits during the study period, the proportion of patients that had a CT head performed before and after the release of the CWC campaign, as well as mode of arrival, and disposition. There were 4,322 qualifying visits at our site during the study period. The median presenting age was 44.12 years (IQR 27.83,67.45), the median GCS was 15 (IQR 15,15) and the majority of patients presenting had intermediate acuity (CTAS 3). Overall, 43.17% of patients arrived via ambulance, 49.24 % of patients received a CT head and 10.46% of patients were admitted. Compared to patients presenting before the CWC campaign release, there was no significant difference in the rate of CT heads after the CWC (50.41% vs 47.68%, P = 0.07). There were also no significant differences between the two groups in mode of arrival (ambulance vs ambulatory) (42.94% vs 43.48%, P = 0.72) or admission rates (9.85% vs 11.26%, P = 0.15). However, more patients belonged to the high acuity groups (CTAS 1 or 2) in the post CWC campaign release group (12.98% vs 8.11% P <0.001). Visits for head injuries make up a significant proportion of total ED visits and approximately half of these patients receive CT imaging in the ED. The CWC campaign did not seem to impact imaging utilization for head injuries in the 14 months following its launch. Further efforts, including local quality improvement initiatives, are likely needed to increase adherence to its recommendation and reduce imaging utilization for head injuries.

Keywords: Emergency Department, Head injury, Quality improvement, choosing wisely

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8 Implementing Quality Improvement Projects to Enhance Contraception and Abortion Care Service Provision and Pre-Service Training of Health Care Providers

Authors: Munir Kassa, Mengistu Hailemariam, Meghan Obermeyer, Kefelegn Baruda, Yonas Getachew, Asnakech Dessie

Abstract:

Improving the quality of sexual and reproductive health services that women receive is expected to have an impact on women’s satisfaction with the services, on their continued use and, ultimately, on their ability to achieve their fertility goals or reproductive intentions. Surprisingly, however, there is little empirical evidence of either whether this expectation is correct, or how best to improve service quality within sexual and reproductive health programs so that these impacts can be achieved. The Recent focus on quality has prompted more physicians to do quality improvement work, but often without the needed skill sets, which results in poorly conceived and ultimately unsuccessful improvement initiatives. As this renders the work unpublishable, it further impedes progress in the field of health care improvement and widens the quality chasm. Moreover, since 2014, the Center for International Reproductive Health Training (CIRHT) has worked diligently with 11 teaching hospitals across Ethiopia to increase access to contraception and abortion care services. This work has included improving pre-service training through education and curriculum development, expanding hands-on training to better learn critical techniques and counseling skills, and fostering a “team science” approach to research by encouraging scientific exploration. This is the first time this systematic approach has been applied and documented to improve access to high-quality services in Ethiopia. The purpose of this article is to report initiatives undertaken, and findings concluded by the clinical service team at CIRHT in an effort to provide a pragmatic approach to quality improvement projects. An audit containing nearly 300 questions about several aspects of patient care, including structure, process, and outcome indicators was completed by each teaching hospital’s quality improvement team. This baseline audit assisted in identifying major gaps and barriers, and each team was responsible for determining specific quality improvement aims and tasks to support change interventions using Shewart’s Cycle for Learning and Improvement (the Plan-Do-Study-Act model). To measure progress over time, quality improvement teams met biweekly and compiled monthly data for review. Also, site visits to each hospital were completed by the clinical service team to ensure monitoring and support. The results indicate that applying an evidence-based, participatory approach to quality improvement has the potential to increase the accessibility and quality of services in a short amount of time. In addition, continued ownership and on-site support are vital in promoting sustainability. This approach could be adapted and applied in similar contexts, particularly in other African countries.

Keywords: abortion, Contraception, Service Provision, Quality improvement

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7 Management of Myofascial Temporomandibular Disorder in Secondary Care: A Quality Improvement Project

Authors: Rishana Bilimoria, Selina Tang, Sajni Shah, Marianne Henien, Christopher Sproat

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Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) may affect up to a third of the general population, and there is evidence demonstrating the majority of Myofascial TMD cases improve after education and conservative measures. In 2015 our department implemented a modified care pathway for myofascial TMD patients in an attempt to improve the patient journey. This involved the use of an interactive group therapy approach to deliver education, reinforce conservative measures and promote self-management. Patient reported experience measures from the new group clinic revealed 71% patient satisfaction. This service is efficient in improving aspects of health status while reducing health-care costs and redistributing clinical time. Since its’ establishment, 52 hours of clinical time, resources and funding have been redirected effectively. This Quality Improvement Project was initiated because it was felt that this new service was being underutilised by our surgical teams. The ‘Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle’ (PDSA) framework was employed to analyse utilisation of the service: The ‘plan’ stage involved outlining our aims: to raise awareness amongst clinicians of the unified care pathway and to increase referral to this clinic. The ‘do’ stage involved collecting data from a sample of 96 patients over 4 month period to ascertain the proportion of Myofascial TMD patients who were correctly referred to the designated clinic. ‘Suitable’ patients who weren’t referred were identified. The ‘Study’ phase involved analysis of results, which revealed that 77% of suitable patients weren’t referred to the designated clinic. They were reviewed on other clinics, which are often overbooked, or managed by junior staff members. This correlated with our original prediction. Barriers to referral included: lack of awareness of the clinic, individual consultant treatment preferences and patient, reluctance to be referred to a ‘group’ clinic. The ‘Act’ stage involved presenting our findings to the team at a clinical governance meeting. This included demonstration of the clinical effectiveness of the care-pathway and explaining the referral route and criteria. In light of the evaluation results, it was decided to keep the group clinic and maximize utilisation. The second cycle of data collection following these changes revealed that of 66 Myofascial TMD patients over a 4 month period, only 9% of suitable patients were not seen via the designated pathway; therefore this QIP was successful in meeting the set objectives. Overall, employing the PDSA cycle in this QIP resulted in appropriate utilisation of the modified care pathway for patients with myofascial TMD in Guy’s Oral Surgery Department. In turn, this leads to high patient satisfaction with the service and effectively redirected 52 hours of clinical time. It permitted adoption of a collaborative working style with oral surgery colleagues to investigate problems, identify solutions, and collectively raise standards of clinical care to ensure we adopt a unified care pathway in secondary care management of Myofascial TMD patients.

Keywords: Quality improvement, TMD, myofascial, PDSA

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6 Quality Improvement of the Sand Moulding Process in Foundries Using Six Sigma Technique

Authors: Cindy Sithole, Didier Nyembwe, Peter Olubambi

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The sand casting process involves pattern making, mould making, metal pouring and shake out. Every step in the sand moulding process is very critical for production of good quality castings. However, waste generated during the sand moulding operation and lack of quality are matters that influences performance inefficiencies and lack of competitiveness in South African foundries. Defects produced from the sand moulding process are only visible in the final product (casting) which results in increased number of scrap, reduced sales and increases cost in the foundry. The purpose of this Research is to propose six sigma technique (DMAIC, Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) intervention in sand moulding foundries and to reduce variation caused by deficiencies in the sand moulding process in South African foundries. Its objective is to create sustainability and enhance productivity in the South African foundry industry. Six sigma is a data driven method to process improvement that aims to eliminate variation in business processes using statistical control methods .Six sigma focuses on business performance improvement through quality initiative using the seven basic tools of quality by Ishikawa. The objectives of six sigma are to eliminate features that affects productivity, profit and meeting customers’ demands. Six sigma has become one of the most important tools/techniques for attaining competitive advantage. Competitive advantage for sand casting foundries in South Africa means improved plant maintenance processes, improved product quality and proper utilization of resources especially scarce resources. Defects such as sand inclusion, Flashes and sand burn on were some of the defects that were identified as resulting from the sand moulding process inefficiencies using six sigma technique. The courses were we found to be wrong design of the mould due to the pattern used and poor ramming of the moulding sand in a foundry. Six sigma tools such as the voice of customer, the Fishbone, the voice of the process and process mapping were used to define the problem in the foundry and to outline the critical to quality elements. The SIPOC (Supplier Input Process Output Customer) Diagram was also employed to ensure that the material and process parameters were achieved to ensure quality improvement in a foundry. The process capability of the sand moulding process was measured to understand the current performance to enable improvement. The Expected results of this research are; reduced sand moulding process variation, increased productivity and competitive advantage.

Keywords: Defects, Quality improvement, foundries, sand moulding, six sigma (DMAIC)

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5 Development of a Bi-National Thyroid Cancer Clinical Quality Registry

Authors: Liane J. Ioannou, Jonathan Serpell, Joanne Dean, Cino Bendinelli, Jenny Gough, Dean Lisewski, Julie Miller, Win Meyer-Rochow, Stan Sidhu, Duncan Topliss, David Walters, John Zalcberg, Susannah Ahern

Abstract:

Background: The occurrence of thyroid cancer is increasing throughout the developed world, including Australia and New Zealand, and since the 1990s has become the fastest increasing malignancy. Following the success of a number of institutional databases that monitor outcomes after thyroid surgery, the Australian and New Zealand Endocrine Surgeons (ANZES) agreed to auspice the development of a bi-national thyroid cancer registry. Objectives: To establish a bi-national population-based clinical quality registry with the aim of monitoring and improving the quality of care provided to patients diagnosed with thyroid cancer in Australia and New Zealand. Patients and Methods: The Australian and New Zealand Thyroid Cancer Registry (ANZTCR) captures clinical data for all patients, over the age of 18 years, diagnosed with thyroid cancer, confirmed by histopathology report, that have been diagnosed, assessed or treated at a contributing hospital. Data is collected by endocrine surgeons using a web-based interface, REDCap, primarily via direct data entry. Results: A multi-disciplinary Steering Committee was formed, and with operational support from Monash University the ANZTCR was established in early 2017. The pilot phase of the registry is currently operating in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia, with over 30 sites expected to come on board across Australia and New Zealand in 2018. A modified-Delphi process was undertaken to determine the key quality indicators to be reported by the registry, and a minimum dataset was developed comprising information regarding thyroid cancer diagnosis, pathology, surgery, and 30-day follow up. Conclusion: There are very few established thyroid cancer registries internationally, yet clinical quality registries have shown valuable outcomes and patient benefits in other cancers. The establishment of the ANZTCR provides the opportunity for Australia and New Zealand to further understand the current practice in the treatment of thyroid cancer and reasons for variation in outcomes. The engagement of endocrine surgeons in supporting this initiative is crucial. While the pilot registry has a focus on early clinical outcomes, it is anticipated that future collection of longer-term outcome data particularly for patients with the poor prognostic disease will add significant further value to the registry.

Keywords: Population Health, Thyroid Cancer, Quality improvement, clinical registry

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4 Making the Right Call for Falls: Evaluating the Efficacy of a Multi-Faceted Trust Wide Approach to Improving Patient Safety Post Falls

Authors: Jawaad Saleem, Hannah Wright, Peter Sommerville, Adrian Hopper

Abstract:

Introduction: Inpatient falls are the most commonly reported patient safety incidents, and carry a significant burden on resources, morbidity, and mortality. Ensuring adequate post falls management of patients by staff is therefore paramount to maintaining patient safety especially in out of hours and resource stretched settings. Aims: This quality improvement project aims to improve the current practice of falls management at Guys St Thomas Hospital, London as compared to our 2016 Quality Improvement Project findings. Furthermore, it looks to increase current junior doctors confidence in managing falls and their use of new guidance protocols. Methods: Multifaceted Interventions implemented included: the development of new trust wide guidelines detailing management pathways for patients post falls, available for intranet access. Furthermore, the production of 2000 lanyard cards distributed amongst junior doctors and staff which summarised these guidelines. Additionally, a ‘safety signal’ email was sent from the Trust chief medical officer to all staff raising awareness of falls and the guidelines. Formal falls teaching was also implemented for new doctors at induction. Using an established incident database, 189 consecutive falls in 2017were retrospectively analysed electronically to assess and compared to the variables measured in 2016 post interventions. A separate serious incident database was used to analyse 50 falls from May 2015 to March 2018 to ascertain the statistical significance of the impact of our interventions on serious incidents. A similar questionnaire for the 2017 cohort of foundation year one (FY1) doctors was performed and compared to 2016 results. Results: Questionnaire data demonstrated improved awareness and utility of guidelines and increased confidence as well as an increase in training. 97% of FY1 trainees felt that the interventions had increased their awareness of the impact of falls on patients in the trust. Data from the incident database demonstrated the time to review patients post fall had decreased from an average of 130 to 86 minutes. Improvement was also demonstrated in the reduced time to order and schedule X-ray and CT imaging, 3 and 5 hours respectively. Data from the serious incident database show that ‘the time from fall until harm was detected’ was statistically significantly lower (P = 0.044) post intervention. We also showed the incidence of significant delays in detecting harm ( > 10 hours) reduced post intervention. Conclusions: Our interventions have helped to significantly reduce the average time to assess, order and schedule appropriate imaging post falls. Delays of over ten hours to detect serious injuries after falls were commonplace; since the intervention, their frequency has markedly reduced. We suggest this will lead to identifying patient harm sooner, reduced clinical incidents relating to falls and thus improve overall patient safety. Our interventions have also helped increase clinical staff confidence, management, and awareness of falls in the trust. Next steps include expanding teaching sessions, improving multidisciplinary team involvement to aid this improvement.

Keywords: Patient Safety, Falls, Clinical care, Quality improvement, serious incidents

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3 Reducing the Risk of Alcohol Relapse after Liver-Transplantation

Authors: Rebeca V. Tholen, Elaine Bundy

Abstract:

Background: Liver transplantation (LT) is considered the only curative treatment for end-stage liver disease Background: Liver transplantation (LT) is considered the only curative treatment for end-stage liver disease (ESLD). The effects of alcoholism can cause irreversible liver damage, cirrhosis and subsequent liver failure. Alcohol relapse after transplant occurs in 20-50% of patients and increases the risk for recurrent cirrhosis, organ rejection, and graft failure. Alcohol relapse after transplant has been identified as a problem among liver transplant recipients at a large urban academic transplant center in the United States. Transplantation will reverse the complications of ESLD, but it does not treat underlying alcoholism or reduce the risk of relapse after transplant. The purpose of this quality improvement project is to implement and evaluate the effectiveness of a High-Risk Alcoholism Relapse (HRAR) Scale to screen and identify patients at high-risk for alcohol relapse after receiving an LT. Methods: The HRAR Scale is a predictive tool designed to determine the severity of alcoholism and risk of relapse after transplant. The scale consists of three variables identified as having the highest predictive power for early relapse including, daily number of drinks, history of previous inpatient treatment for alcoholism, and the number of years of heavy drinking. All adult liver transplant recipients at a large urban transplant center were screened with the HRAR Scale prior to hospital discharge. A zero to two ordinal score is ranked for each variable, and the total score ranges from zero to six. High-risk scores are between three to six. Results: Descriptive statistics revealed 25 patients were newly transplanted and discharged from the hospital during an 8-week period. 40% of patients (n=10) were identified as being high-risk for relapse and 60% low-risk (n=15). The daily number of drinks were determined by alcohol content (1 drink = 15g of ethanol) and number of drinks per day. 60% of patients reported drinking 9-17 drinks per day, and 40% reported ≤ 9 drinks. 50% of high-risk patients reported drinking ≥ 25 years, 40% for 11-25 years, and 10% ≤ 11 years. For number of inpatient treatments for alcoholism, 50% received inpatient treatment one time, 20% ≥ 1, and 30% reported never receiving inpatient treatment. Findings reveal the importance and value of a validated screening tool as a more efficient method than other screening methods alone. Integration of a structured clinical tool will help guide the drinking history portion of the psychosocial assessment. Targeted interventions can be implemented for all high-risk patients. Conclusions: Our findings validate the effectiveness of utilizing the HRAR scale to screen and identify patients who are a high-risk for alcohol relapse post-LT. Recommendations to help maintain post-transplant sobriety include starting a transplant support group within the organization for all high-risk patients. (ESLD). The effects of alcoholism can cause irreversible liver damage, cirrhosis and subsequent liver failure. Alcohol relapse after transplant occurs in 20-50% of patients, and increases the risk for recurrent cirrhosis, organ rejection, and graft failure. Alcohol relapse after transplant has been identified as a problem among liver transplant recipients at a large urban academic transplant center in the United States. Transplantation will reverse the complications of ESLD, but it does not treat underlying alcoholism or reduce the risk of relapse after transplant. The purpose of this quality improvement project is to implement and evaluate the effectiveness of a High-Risk Alcoholism Relapse (HRAR) Scale to screen and identify patients at high-risk for alcohol relapse after receiving a LT. Methods: The HRAR Scale is a predictive tool designed to determine severity of alcoholism and risk of relapse after transplant. The scale consists of three variables identified as having the highest predictive power for early relapse including, daily number of drinks, history of previous inpatient treatment for alcoholism, and the number of years of heavy drinking. All adult liver transplant recipients at a large urban transplant center were screened with the HRAR Scale prior to hospital discharge. A zero to two ordinal score is ranked for each variable, and the total score ranges from zero to six. High-risk scores are between three to six. Results: Descriptive statistics revealed 25 patients were newly transplanted and discharged from the hospital during an 8-week period. 40% of patients (n=10) were identified as being high-risk for relapse and 60% low-risk (n=15). The daily number of drinks were determined by alcohol content (1 drink = 15g of ethanol) and number of drinks per day. 60% of patients reported drinking 9-17 drinks per day, and 40% reported ≤ 9 drinks. 50% of high-risk patients reported drinking ≥ 25 years, 40% for 11-25 years, and 10% ≤ 11 years. For number of inpatient treatments for alcoholism, 50% received inpatient treatment one time, 20% ≥ 1, and 30% reported never receiving inpatient treatment. Findings reveal the importance and value of a validated screening tool as a more efficient method than other screening methods alone. Integration of a structured clinical tool will help guide the drinking history portion of the psychosocial assessment. Targeted interventions can be implemented for all high-risk patients. Conclusions: Our findings validate the effectiveness of utilizing the HRAR scale to screen and identify patients who are a high-risk for alcohol relapse post-LT. Recommendations to help maintain post-transplant sobriety include starting a transplant support group within the organization for all high-risk patients.

Keywords: Substance abuse, Alcoholism, Quality improvement, liver transplant

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2 Quality and Quality Assurance in Education: Examining the Possible Relationship

Authors: Rodoula Stavroula Gkarnara, Nikolaos Andreadakis

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The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between quality and quality assurance in education. It constitutes a critical review of the bibliography regarding quality and its delimitation in the field of education, as well as the quality assurance in education and the approaches identified for its extensive study. The two prevailing and opposite views on the correlation of the two concepts are that on the one hand there is an inherent distance between these concepts as they are two separate terms and on the other hand they are interrelated and interdependent concepts that contribute to the improvement of quality in education. Finally, the last part of the paper, adopting the second view, refers to the contribution of quality assurance to quality, where it is pointed out that the first concept leads to the improvement of the latter by quality assurance being the means of feedback for the quality achieved.

Keywords: Education, Quality, Quality assurance, Quality improvement

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1 Clinicians' and Nurses' Documentation Practices in Palliative and Hospice Care: A Mixed Methods Study Providing Evidence for Quality Improvement at Mobile Hospice Mbarara, Uganda

Authors: G. Natuhwera, M. Rabwoni, P. Ellis, A. Merriman

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Aims: Health workers are likely to document patients’ care inaccurately, especially when using new and revised case tools, and this could negatively impact patient care. This study set out to; (1) assess nurses’ and clinicians’ documentation practices when using a new patients’ continuation case sheet (PCCS) and (2) explore nurses’ and clinicians’ experiences regarding documentation of patients’ information in the new PCCS. The purpose of introducing the PCCS was to improve continuity of care for patients attending clinics at which they were unlikely to see the same clinician or nurse consistently. Methods: This was a mixed methods study. The cross-sectional inquiry retrospectively reviewed 100 case notes of active patients on hospice and palliative care program. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire with constructs formulated from the new PCCS under study. The qualitative element was face-to-face audio-recorded, open-ended interviews with a purposive sample of one palliative care clinician, and four palliative care nurse specialists. Thematic analysis was used. Results: Missing patients’ biogeographic information was prevalent at 5-10%. Spiritual and psychosocial issues were not documented in 42.6%, and vital signs in 49.2%. Poorest documentation practices were observed in past medical history part of the PCCS at 40-63%. Four themes emerged from interviews with clinicians and nurses-; (1) what remains unclear and challenges, (2) comparing the past with the present, (3) experiential thoughts, and (4) transition and adapting to change. Conclusions: The PCCS seems to be a comprehensive and simple tool to be used to document patients’ information at subsequent visits. The comprehensiveness and utility of the PCCS does paper to be limited by the failure to train staff in its use prior to introducing. The authors find the PCCS comprehensive and suitable to capture patients’ information and recommend it can be adopted and used in other palliative and hospice care settings, if suitable introductory training accompanies its introduction. Otherwise, the reliability and validity of patients’ information collected by this PCCS can be significantly reduced if some sections therein are unclear to the clinicians/nurses. The study identified clinicians- and nurses-related pitfalls in documentation of patients’ care. Clinicians and nurses need to prioritize accurate and complete documentation of patient care in the PCCS for quality care provision. This study should be extended to other sites using similar tools to ensure representative and generalizable findings.

Keywords: palliative care, documentation, Quality improvement, information case sheet

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