Review the evidence regarding methods to prevent wrong site operations and present a framework that healthcare organizations can use to evaluate whether they have reduced the probability of wrong site, wrong procedure, and wrong patient operations.
Operations involving the wrong site, patient, and procedure continue despite national efforts by regulators and professional organizations. Little is known about effective policies to reduce these "never events," and healthcare professional's knowledge or appropriate use of these policies to mitigate events.
A literature review of the evidence was performed using PubMed and Google; key words used were wrong site surgery, wrong side surgery, wrong patient surgery, and wrong procedure surgery. The framework to evaluate safety includes assessing if a behaviorally specific policy or procedure exists, whether staff knows about the policy, and whether the policy is being used appropriately.
Higher-level policies or programs have been implemented by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery, Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, Veteran's Health Administration, Canadian Orthopaedic, and the North American Spine Society Associations to reduce wrong site surgery. No scientific evidence is available to guide hospitals in evaluating whether they have an effective policy, and whether staff know of the policy and appropriately use the policy to prevent "never events."
There is limited evidence of behavioral interventions to reduce wrong site, patient, and surgical procedures. We have outlined a framework of measures that healthcare organizations can use to start evaluating whether they have reduced adverse events in operations.
BACKGROUND: Assessment of disease burden is the key to many aspects of health care management. Patient diagnoses are commonly used for case-mix assessment. However, issues pertaining to diagnostic data availability and reliability make pharmacy-based strategies attractive. Our goal was to provide a reliable and valid pharmacy-based case-mix classification system for chronic diseases found in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) population. OBJECTIVE: To detail the development and category definitions of a VA-adapted version of the RxRisk (formerly the Chronic Disease Score); to describe category prevalence and reliability; to check category criterion validity against ICD-9 diagnoses; and to assess category-specific regression coefficients in concurrent and prospective cost models. RESEARCH DESIGN: Clinical and pharmacological review followed by cohort analysis of diagnostic, pharmacy, and utilization databases. SUBJECTS: 126,075 veteran users of VHA services in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. METHODS: We used Kappa statistics to evaluate RxRisk category reliability and criterion validity, and multivariate regression to estimate concurrent and prospective cost models. RESULTS: The RxRisk-V classified 70.5% of the VHA Northwest Network 1998 users into an average of 2.61 categories. Of the 45 classes, 33 classes had good-excellent 1-year reliability and 25 classes had good-excellent criterion validity against ICD-9 diagnoses. The RxRisk-V accounts for a distinct proportion of the variance in concurrent (R2 = 0.18) and prospective cost (R2 = 0.10) models. CONCLUSIONS: The RxRisk-V provides a reliable and valid method for administrators to describe and understand better chronic disease burden of their treated populations. Tailoring to the VHA permits assessment of disease burden specific to this population.
Major trials evaluating antihypertensive therapy are reviewed, and the current issues surrounding the choice of therapy in mild and isolated systolic hypertension are discussed. Several major trials have shown that patients with mild hypertension benefit from therapy. These results have prompted widespread use of antihypertensive agents; however, there are still no clear guidelines on when drug therapy should be initiated. Only the Hypertension Detection and Follow-up Program has shown significant decreases in coronary heart disease (CHD) related deaths. Thiazide diuretics are recommended as agents of first choice in the stepped-care approach to the management of uncomplicated mild to moderate hypertension. The Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial evaluated the effects of modifying several cardiovascular risk factors in more than 12,000 high-risk men. It failed to document significant differences in CHD-related mortality in patients who received special care as compared with those who received usual care. Concerns have been raised about the contribution of antihypertensive therapy, particularly diuretics, to the lack of differences in therapeutic outcomes. There is renewed interest in lipid alterations secondary to antihypertensive agents and the effect of diuretic-induced hypokalemia. Antihypertensive therapy should be instituted with an individualized assessment of the potential benefits of therapy relative to the short- and long-term risks of treatment.
In order to optimize the delivery of multidisciplinary cancer care to veterans, our institution has developed a regional cancer center with a telemedical outreach program. The objectives of this report are to describe the organization and function of the telemedical cancer center and to report our early clinical results. The Veterans Affairs Health Care System is organized into a series of integrated service networks that serve veterans within different areas throughout the United States. Within Veterans Integrated Service Network 20 (Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Oregon) we have developed a regional cancer center with telemedicine links to four outlying facilities within the service area. The telemedical outreach effort functions through the use of a multidisciplinary telemedicine tumor board. The tumor board serves patients in outlying facilities by providing comprehensive, multidisciplinary consultation for the complete range of malignancies. For individuals who do require referral to the cancer center, the tumor board serves to coordinate the logistical and clinical details of the referral process. This program has been in existence for 1 year. During that time 85 patients have been evaluated in the telemedicine tumor board. Sixty-two percent of the patients were treated at their closest facility; 38% were referred to the cancer center for treatment and/or additional diagnostic studies. The patients' diagnoses included the entire clinical spectrum of malignant disease. Preliminary clinical results demonstrate the program is feasible and it improves access to multidisciplinary cancer care. Potential benefits include improved referral coordination and minimization of patient travel and treatment delays.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is an ideal target for early detection and prevention through screening. Noninvasive screening options are the guaiac fecal occult blood test and the fecal immunochemical test. Organized screening offers the promise of uniformly delivering screening to all members of a population who are eligible and due. Organized screening is defined as an explicit policy with defined age categories, method, and interval for screening in a defined target population with a defined implementation and quality assurance structure, and tracking of cancer in the population. The UK National Health Service; the Ontario, Canada Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care; and the US Veteran's Health Administration have used varied organized approaches to deliver guaiac fecal occult blood test screening to their populations. Kaiser Permanente Northern California began CRC screening in the 1960s, initially using flexible sigmoidoscopy. Implementation of organized fecal immunochemical test outreach was associated with improved Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set CRC screening rates between 2005 and 2010 from 37% to 69% and from 41% to 78% in the commercial and Medicare populations, respectively. Organized fecal immunochemical test screening has been associated with an increase in annually detected CRCs, almost entirely because of increased detection of localized-stage cancers.
BACKGROUND: Although most widely used risk adjustment systems use diagnosis data to classify patients, there is growing interest in risk adjustment based on computerized pharmacy data. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is an ideal environment in which to test the efficacy of a pharmacy-based approach. OBJECTIVE: To examine the ability of RxRisk-V to predict concurrent and prospective costs of care in VHA and compare the performance of RxRisk-V to a simple age/gender model, the original RxRisk, and two leading diagnosis-based risk adjustment approaches: Adjusted Clinical Groups and Diagnostic Cost Groups/Hierarchical Condition Categories. METHODS: The study population consisted of 161,202 users of VHA services in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska during fiscal years (FY) 1996 to 1998. We examined both concurrent and predictive model fit for two sequential 12-month periods (FY 98 and FY 99) with the patient-year as the unit of analysis, using split-half validation. RESULTS: Our results show that the Diagnostic Cost Group /Hierarchical Condition Categories model performs best (R2 = 0.45) among concurrent cost models, followed by ADG (0.31), RxRisk-V (0.20), and age/sex model (0.01). However, prospective cost models other than age/sex showed comparable R2: Diagnostic Cost Group /Hierarchical Condition Categories R2 = 0.15, followed by ADG (0.12), RxRisk-V (0.12), and age/sex (0.01). CONCLUSIONS: RxRisk-V is a clinically relevant, open source risk adjustment system that is easily tailored to fit specific questions, populations, or needs. Although it does not perform better than diagnosis-based measures available on the market, it may provide a reasonable alternative to proprietary systems where accurate computerized pharmacy data are available.
The authors are with the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Rural Health, Veterans Rural Health Resource Center-Western Region, Native Domain, and the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health, School of Public Health, University of Colorado, Denver.
We conducted an exploratory study to determine what organizational characteristics predict the provision of culturally competent services for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) veterans in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health facilities.
In 2011 to 2012, we adapted the Organizational Readiness to Change Assessment (ORCA) for a survey of 27 VA facilities in the Western Region to assess organizational readiness and capacity to adopt and implement native-specific services and to profile the availability of AI/AN veteran programs and interest in and resources for such programs.
Several ORCA subscales (Program Needs, Leader's Practices, and Communication) statistically significantly predicted whether VA staff perceived that their facilities were meeting the needs of AI/AN veterans. However, none predicted greater implementation of native-specific services.
Our findings may aid in developing strategies for adopting and implementing promising native-specific programs and services for AI/AN veterans, and may be generalizable for other veteran groups.
Cites: Med Care. 2000 Jun;38(6 Suppl 1):I49-5910843270
BACKGROUND: Racial/ethnic differences in influenza vaccination exist among elderly adults despite nearly universal Medicare health insurance coverage. Overall influenza vaccination prevalence in the Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System is higher than in the general population; however, it is not known whether racial/ethnic differences exist among older adults receiving VA healthcare. Racial/ethnic differences in influenza vaccination in VA were assessed, and barriers to and facilitators of influenza vaccination were examined among veteran outpatients aged 50 years and older. METHODS: A random sample of 121,738 veterans receiving care at VA outpatient clinics during the 2003-2004 influenza season completed the mailed Survey of Health Experiences of Patients (77% response rate). Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine associations among race/ethnicity and influenza vaccination prevalence, barriers, and facilitators. Analyses were conducted during 2005 and 2006. RESULTS: Based on unadjusted prevalences, non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, and American Indian/Alaskan Natives were significantly less likely to be vaccinated for influenza compared to non-Hispanic whites (71%, 79%, and 74%, respectively, vs 82%). After adjustment for age, gender, marital status, education level, employment, having a primary care provider, confidence and/trust in provider, and health status, only non-Hispanic blacks remained significantly less likely to be vaccinated compared to non-Hispanic whites (75% vs 81%). Influenza vaccination barriers and facilitators varied by race/ethnic group. CONCLUSIONS: Compared to non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks were less likely to receive influenza vaccination in the VA healthcare system during the 2003-2004 influenza season. Although these differences were small, results suggest the need for further study and culturally informed interventions.