In response to increasing concerns about quality, many countries are carrying out large scale programmes which include national quality strategies, hospital programmes, and quality accreditation, assessment and review processes. Increasing amounts of resources are being devoted to these interventions, but do they ensure or improve quality of care? There is little research evidence as to their effectiveness or the conditions for maximum effectiveness. Reasons for the lack of evaluation research include the methodological challenges of measuring outcomes and attributing causality to these complex, changing, long term social interventions to organisations or health systems, which themselves are complex and changing. However, methods are available which can be used to evaluate these programmes and which can provide decision makers with research based guidance on how to plan and implement them. This paper describes the research challenges, the methods which can be used, and gives examples and guidance for future research. It emphasises the important contribution which such research can make to improving the effectiveness of these programmes and to developing the science of quality improvement.
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In order to improve cooperation and collaboration between units, clinics and departments, many health care organizations (HCOs) have introduced process orientation. Several studies indicate problems in realizing these ambitions. The purpose of this paper is to explain and understand the success and failure of process orientation in HCOs.
The authors conducted three case studies and applied Actor-Network Theory as an analytic lens.
The realization of process orientation is hindered by neglect or resistance from physicians, who find the process targets to be of low medical priority. However, the authors also see that medical priorities are no stable entities but are susceptible to negotiations. Over time, process organization, process mapping, process measurement activities and the acting of enroled actors may have impact on medical priorities.
Contrary to previous research, the findings indicate that New Public Management may not be the main obstacle against processes, that accounting figures may not be hard to disregard and that the role of leadership is not paramount.
Mandatory and voluntary reporting of adverse events is common in health care organizations but a more accurate understanding of the extent of patient injury may be obtained if additional sources are used. Patients in Sweden may file a claim for economic compensation from the national insurance system if they believe they have sustained an injury. The extent and pattern of reporting of serious adverse events in a mandatory national reporting system was compared with the reporting of adverse events on the basis of patient claims.
Regional sentinel event reports were compared with malpractice claims data between 1996 and 2003. A sample consisting of 113 patients with deaths or serious injuries was selected from the malpractice claims data source. The medical records of these patients were reviewed by three chief medical officers.
Of the deaths or injuries associated with the 113 patients-25 deaths, 37 with more than 30% disability, and 51 with 16/o-30% disability-23 (20%) had been reported by chief medical officers to the National Board of Health and Welfare as sentinel events. Most adverse events were found in orthopedic surgery, and orthopedic injuries had more serious consequences. None of the patient injuries caused by infections were reported as sentinel events. Individual errors were more frequent in cases reported as sentinel events.
Adverse events causing severe harm are underreported to a great extent in Sweden despite the existence of a mandatory reporting system; physicians often consider them to be complications. Health care organizations should consider using a portfolio of tools-including incident reporting, medical record review, and analysis of patient claims-to gain a comprehensive picture of adverse events.
Comment In: Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2011 Nov;37(11):49422132660