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      Characteristics of healthcare organisations struggling to improve quality: results from a systematic review of qualitative studies

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          Abstract

          Background

          Identifying characteristics associated with struggling healthcare organisations may help inform improvement. Thus, we systematically reviewed the literature to: (1) Identify organisational factors associated with struggling healthcare organisations and (2) Summarise these factors into actionable domains.

          Methods

          Systematic review of qualitative studies that evaluated organisational characteristics of healthcare organisations that were struggling as defined by below-average patient outcomes (eg, mortality) or quality of care metrics (eg, Patient Safety Indicators). Searches were conducted in MEDLINE (via Ovid), EMBASE, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, and Web of Science from database inception through February 8 2018. Qualitative data were analysed using framework-based synthesis and summarised into key domains. Study quality was evaluated using the Critical Appraisal Skills Program tool.

          Results

          Thirty studies (33 articles) from multiple countries and settings (eg, acute care, outpatient) with a diverse range of interviewees (eg, nurses, leadership, staff) were included in the final analysis. Five domains characterised struggling healthcare organisations: poor organisational culture (limited ownership, not collaborative, hierarchical, with disconnected leadership), inadequate infrastructure (limited quality improvement, staffing, information technology or resources), lack of a cohesive mission (mission conflicts with other missions, is externally motivated, poorly defined or promotes mediocrity), system shocks (ie, events such as leadership turnover, new electronic health record system or organisational scandals that detract from daily operations), and dysfunctional external relations with other hospitals, stakeholders, or governing bodies.

          Conclusions

          Struggling healthcare organisations share characteristics that may affect their ability to provide optimal care. Understanding and identifying these characteristics may provide a first step to helping low performers address organisational challenges to improvement.

          Systematic review registration

          PROSPERO: CRD42017067367.

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          Most cited references 79

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          Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA statement.

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            Fostering implementation of health services research findings into practice: a consolidated framework for advancing implementation science

            Background Many interventions found to be effective in health services research studies fail to translate into meaningful patient care outcomes across multiple contexts. Health services researchers recognize the need to evaluate not only summative outcomes but also formative outcomes to assess the extent to which implementation is effective in a specific setting, prolongs sustainability, and promotes dissemination into other settings. Many implementation theories have been published to help promote effective implementation. However, they overlap considerably in the constructs included in individual theories, and a comparison of theories reveals that each is missing important constructs included in other theories. In addition, terminology and definitions are not consistent across theories. We describe the Consolidated Framework For Implementation Research (CFIR) that offers an overarching typology to promote implementation theory development and verification about what works where and why across multiple contexts. Methods We used a snowball sampling approach to identify published theories that were evaluated to identify constructs based on strength of conceptual or empirical support for influence on implementation, consistency in definitions, alignment with our own findings, and potential for measurement. We combined constructs across published theories that had different labels but were redundant or overlapping in definition, and we parsed apart constructs that conflated underlying concepts. Results The CFIR is composed of five major domains: intervention characteristics, outer setting, inner setting, characteristics of the individuals involved, and the process of implementation. Eight constructs were identified related to the intervention (e.g., evidence strength and quality), four constructs were identified related to outer setting (e.g., patient needs and resources), 12 constructs were identified related to inner setting (e.g., culture, leadership engagement), five constructs were identified related to individual characteristics, and eight constructs were identified related to process (e.g., plan, evaluate, and reflect). We present explicit definitions for each construct. Conclusion The CFIR provides a pragmatic structure for approaching complex, interacting, multi-level, and transient states of constructs in the real world by embracing, consolidating, and unifying key constructs from published implementation theories. It can be used to guide formative evaluations and build the implementation knowledge base across multiple studies and settings.
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              Methods for the thematic synthesis of qualitative research in systematic reviews

              Background There is a growing recognition of the value of synthesising qualitative research in the evidence base in order to facilitate effective and appropriate health care. In response to this, methods for undertaking these syntheses are currently being developed. Thematic analysis is a method that is often used to analyse data in primary qualitative research. This paper reports on the use of this type of analysis in systematic reviews to bring together and integrate the findings of multiple qualitative studies. Methods We describe thematic synthesis, outline several steps for its conduct and illustrate the process and outcome of this approach using a completed review of health promotion research. Thematic synthesis has three stages: the coding of text 'line-by-line'; the development of 'descriptive themes'; and the generation of 'analytical themes'. While the development of descriptive themes remains 'close' to the primary studies, the analytical themes represent a stage of interpretation whereby the reviewers 'go beyond' the primary studies and generate new interpretive constructs, explanations or hypotheses. The use of computer software can facilitate this method of synthesis; detailed guidance is given on how this can be achieved. Results We used thematic synthesis to combine the studies of children's views and identified key themes to explore in the intervention studies. Most interventions were based in school and often combined learning about health benefits with 'hands-on' experience. The studies of children's views suggested that fruit and vegetables should be treated in different ways, and that messages should not focus on health warnings. Interventions that were in line with these suggestions tended to be more effective. Thematic synthesis enabled us to stay 'close' to the results of the primary studies, synthesising them in a transparent way, and facilitating the explicit production of new concepts and hypotheses. Conclusion We compare thematic synthesis to other methods for the synthesis of qualitative research, discussing issues of context and rigour. Thematic synthesis is presented as a tried and tested method that preserves an explicit and transparent link between conclusions and the text of primary studies; as such it preserves principles that have traditionally been important to systematic reviewing.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                BMJ Qual Saf
                BMJ Qual Saf
                qhc
                bmjqs
                BMJ Quality & Safety
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                2044-5415
                2044-5423
                January 2019
                25 July 2018
                : 28
                : 1
                : 74-84
                Affiliations
                [1 ] departmentDepartment of Internal Medicine , University of Michigan Medical School , Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
                [2 ] departmentCenter for Clinical Management Research , Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System , Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
                [3 ] departmentPatient Safety Enhancement Program , Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Medical Center/University of Michigan , Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
                [4 ] departmentDepartmentof Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases , University of Michigan Medical School , Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
                [5 ] departmentTaubman Health Sciences Library , University of Michigan , Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Dr Valerie M Vaughn, Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA; valmv@ 123456umich.edu
                Article
                bmjqs-2017-007573
                10.1136/bmjqs-2017-007573
                6373545
                30045864
                © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

                This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

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                Funding
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100000030, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
                Categories
                Systematic Review
                1506
                Custom metadata
                unlocked

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