Quality Collaboratives: Lessons From Research

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Quality and Safety in Health Care (Impact Factor: 2.16). 01/2003; 11(4):345-51. DOI: 10.1136/qhc.11.4.345
Source: PubMed


Quality improvement collaboratives are increasingly being used in many countries to achieve rapid improvements in health care. However, there is little independent evidence that they are more cost effective than other methods, and little knowledge about how they could be made more effective. A number of systematic evaluations are being performed by researchers in North America, the UK, and Sweden. This paper presents the shared ideas from two meetings of these researchers. The evidence to date is that some collaboratives have stimulated improvements in patient care and organisational performance, but there are significant differences between collaboratives and teams. The researchers agreed on the possible reasons why some were less successful than others, and identified 10 challenges which organisers and teams need to address to achieve improvement. In the absence of more conclusive evidence, these guidelines are likely to be useful for collaborative organisers, teams and their managers and may also contribute to further research into collaboratives and the spread of innovations in health care.

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    • "As well as mastering quality improvement techniques and applying them in their own organizations, teams participating in QICs are encouraged to create a sense of common purpose and commitment, to generate enthusiasm, mutual support, and shared learning [11]. Several variants of QIC models exist, with the Institute of Healthcare Improvement’s BTS design among the most widely used [1]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Stroke can result in death and long-term disability. Fast and high-quality care can reduce the impact of stroke, but UK national audit data has demonstrated variability in compliance with recommended processes of care. Though quality improvement collaboratives (QICs) are widely used, whether a QIC could improve reliability of stroke care was unknown. Twenty-four NHS hospitals in the Northwest of England were randomly allocated to participate either in Stroke 90:10, a QIC based on the Breakthrough Series (BTS) model, or to a control group giving normal care. The QIC focused on nine processes of quality care for stroke already used in the national stroke audit. The nine processes were grouped into two distinct care bundles: one relating to early hours care and one relating to rehabilitation following stroke. Using an interrupted time series design and difference-in-difference analysis, we aimed to determine whether hospitals participating in the QIC improved more than the control group on bundle compliance. Data were available from nine interventions (3,533 patients) and nine control hospitals (3,059 patients). Hospitals in the QIC showed a modest improvement from baseline in the odds of average compliance equivalent to a relative improvement of 10.9% (95% CI 1.3%, 20.6%) in the Early Hours Bundle and 11.2% (95% CI 1.4%, 21.5%) in the Rehabilitation Bundle. Secondary analysis suggested that some specific processes were more sensitive to an intervention effect. Some aspects of stroke care improved during the QIC, but the effects of the QIC were modest and further improvement is needed. The extent to which a BTS QIC can improve quality of stroke care remains uncertain. Some aspects of care may respond better to collaboratives than others.Trial registration: ISRCTN13893902.
    Implementation Science 04/2014; 9(1):40. DOI:10.1186/1748-5908-9-40 · 4.12 Impact Factor
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    • "Preventing prolonged hospital stays was a shared goal in accordance with national health policy [1]. This is also in line with literature that refers to defining roles and having a shared purpose [55, 56] as essential to achieving successful collaboration. These findings are in contrast to a study describing different commitments, goals and tasks as major obstacles for collaboration between an intermediate unit and the cooperative partners [39]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction Intermediate care is an organisational approach to improve the coordination of health care services between health care levels. In Central Norway an intermediate care hospital was established in a municipality to improve discharge from a general hospital to primary health care. The aim of this study was to investigate how health professionals experienced hospital discharge of elderly patients to primary health care with and without an intermediate care hospital. Methods A qualitative study with data collected through semi-structured focus groups and individual interviews. Results Discharge via the intermediate care hospital was contrasted favourably compared to discharge directly from hospital to primary health care. Although increased capacity to receive patients from hospital and prepare them for discharge to primary health care was viewed as a benefit, professionals still requested better communication with the preceding care level concerning further treatment and care for the elderly patients. Conclusions The intermediate care hospital reduced the coordination challenges during discharge of elderly patients from hospital to primary health care. Nevertheless, the intermediate care was experienced more like an extension of hospital than an included part of primary health care and did not meet the need for communication across care levels.
    International journal of integrated care 04/2014; 14:e011. · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    • "Despite their popularity, evidence for the effectiveness of QICs remains equivocal [3] amid ongoing methodological debates about how they can best be evaluated [4-6]. Though examples of collaboratives that have demonstrated success have been reported [1,7], a systematic review suggests their impact is typically variable and often limited, with only modest evidence of effectiveness [8]. Some work has suggested that only 30% of organizations involved in collaboratives may achieve ‘significant improvements,’ another 30% may drop out, and the remainder may make relatively little progress [1]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Quality improvement collaboratives (QICs) continue to be widely used, yet evidence for their effectiveness is equivocal. We sought to explain what happened in Stroke 90:10, a QIC designed to improve stroke care in 24 hospitals in the North West of England. Our study drew in part on the literature on collective action and inter-organizational collaboration. This literature has been relatively neglected in evaluations of QICs, even though they are founded on principles of co-operation and sharing. We interviewed 32 professionals in hospitals that participated in Stroke 90:10, conducted a focus group with the QIC faculty team, and reviewed purposively sampled documents including reports and newsletters. Analysis was based on a modified form of Framework Analysis, combining sensitizing constructs derived from the literature and new, empirically derived thematic categories. Improvements in stroke care were attributed to QIC participation by many professionals. They described how the QIC fostered a sense of community and increased attention to stroke care within their organizations. However, participants' experiences of the QIC varied. Starting positions were different; some organizations were achieving higher levels of performance than others before the QIC began, and some had more pre-existing experience of quality improvement methods. Some participants had more to learn, others more to teach. Some evidence of free-riding was found. Benchmarking improvement was variously experienced as friendly rivalry or as time-consuming and stressful. Participants' competitive desire to demonstrate success sometimes conflicted with collaborative aims; some experienced competing organizational pressures or saw the QIC as duplication of effort. Experiences of inter-organizational collaboration were influenced by variations in intra-organizational support. Collaboration is not the only mode of behavior likely to occur within a QIC. Our study revealed a mixed picture of collaboration, free-riding and competition. QICs should learn from work on the challenges of collective action; set realistic goals; account for context; ensure sufficient time and resources are made available; and carefully manage the collaborative to mitigate the risks of collaborative inertia and unhelpful competitive or anti-cooperative behaviors. Individual organizations should assess the costs and benefits of collaboration as a means of attaining quality improvement.
    Implementation Science 03/2014; 9(1):32. DOI:10.1186/1748-5908-9-32 · 4.12 Impact Factor
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