Incorporating Evidence Review Into Quality Improvement

Meeting the Needs of Innovators

Published In: BMJ Quality & Safety, v. 22, no. 11, Nov. 2013, p. 931-939

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2013

by Marjorie S Danz, Susanne Hempel, Yee-Wei Lim, Roberta M. Shanman, Aneesa Motala, Susan Stockdale, Paul G. Shekelle, Lisa V. Rubenstein

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BACKGROUND: Achieving quality improvement (QI) aims often requires local innovation. Without objective evidence review, innovators may miss previously tested approaches, rely on biased information, or use personal preferences in designing and implementing local QI programmes. AIM: To develop a practical, responsive approach to evidence review for QI innovations aimed at both achieving the goals of the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and developing an evidence-based QI culture. DESIGN: Descriptive organisational case report. METHODS: As part of a QI initiative to develop and spread innovations for achieving the Veterans Affairs (VA) PCMH (termed Patient Aligned Care Team, or PACT), we involved a professional evidence review team (consisting of review experts, an experienced librarian, and administrative support) in responding to the evidence needs of front-line primary care innovators. The review team developed a systematic approach to responsive innovation evidence review (RIER) that focused on innovator needs in terms of time frame, type of evidence and method of communicating results. To assess uptake and usefulness of the RIERs, and to learn how the content and process could be improved, we surveyed innovation leaders. RESULTS: In the first 16 months of the QI initiative, we produced 13 RIERs on a variety of topics. These were presented as 6–15-page summaries and as slides at a QI collaborative. The RIERs focused on innovator needs (eg, topic overviews, how innovations are carried out, or contextual factors relevant to implementation). All 17 innovators who responded to the survey had read at least one RIER; 50% rated the reviews as very useful and 31%, as probably useful. CONCLUSIONS: These responsive evidence reviews appear to be a promising approach to integrating evidence review into QI processes.

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