QuEST Latin America

Garcia Elorrio Ezequiel, Arrieta Jafet, Arce Hugo, Delgado Pedro, Malik Ana Maria, Orrego Villagran Carola, Rincon Sofia, Sarabia Odet, Tono Teresa, Hermida Jorge, and Ruelas Barajas Enrique. 2021. “The COVID-19 pandemic: A call to action for health systems in Latin America to strengthen quality of care.” Int J Qual Health Care, 33, 1.Abstract
The Covid-19 and other recent pandemics has highlighted existing weakness in health systems across the Latin-America and the Caribbean (LAC) region to effectively prepare for and respond to Public Health Emergencies. It has been stated that quality of care will be among the most influential factors on Covid 19 mortality rates and low systems performance is the common case in these countries. More comprehensive and system level strategies are required to address the challenges. These must focus on redesigning and strengthening health systems to make them more resilient to the changing needs of populations and based on quality improvement methods that have shown rigorously evaluated positive effects in previous local and regional experiences. A call to action is being made by the Latin American Consortium for Quality, Patient Safety and Innovation (CLICSS) and they provide specific recommendations for decision makers.
Hannah H Leslie, Denisse Laos, Cesar Cárcamo, Ricardo Pérez-Cuevas, and Patricia J García. 2021. “Health care provider time in public primary care facilities in Lima, Peru: a cross-sectional time motion study.” BMC Health Serv Res, 21, 1, Pp. 123.Abstract
BACKGROUND: In Peru, a majority of individuals bypass primary care facilities even for routine services. Efforts to strengthen primary care must be informed by understanding of current practice. We conducted a time motion assessment in primary care facilities in Lima with the goals of assessing the feasibility of this method in an urban health care setting in Latin America and of providing policy makers with empirical evidence on the use of health care provider time in primary care. METHODS: This cross-sectional continuous observation time motion study took place from July - September 2019. We used two-stage sampling to draw a sample of shifts for doctors, nurses, and midwives in primary health facilities and applied the Work Observation Method by Activity Timing tool to capture type and duration of provider activities over a 6-h shift. We summarized time spent on patient care, paper and electronic record-keeping, and non-work (personal and inactive) activities across provider cadres. Observations are weighted by inverse probability of selection. RESULTS: Two hundred seventy-five providers were sampled from 60 facilities; 20% could not be observed due to provider absence (2% schedule error, 8% schedule change, 10% failure to appear). One hundred seventy-four of the 220 identified providers consented (79.1%) and were observed for a total of 898 h of provider time comprising 30,312 unique tasks. Outpatient shifts included substantial time on patient interaction (110, 82, and 130 min for doctors, nurses, and midwives respectively) and on paper records (132, 97, and 141 min) on average. Across all shifts, 1 in 6 h was spent inactive or on personal activities. Two thirds of midwives used computers compared to half of nurses and one third of doctors. CONCLUSIONS: The time motion study is a feasible method to capture primary care operations in Latin American countries and inform health system strengthening. In the case of Lima, absenteeism undermines health worker availability in primary care facilities, and inactive time further erodes health workforce availability. Productive time is divided between patient-facing activities and a substantial burden of paper-based record keeping for clinical and administrative purposes. Electronic health records remain incompletely integrated within routine care, particularly beyond midwifery.
Theodros Getachew, Solomon Mekonnen Abebe, Mezgebu Yitayal, Lars Åke Persson, and Della Berhanu. 2020. “Assessing the quality of care in sick child services at health facilities in Ethiopia.” BMC Health Serv Res, 20, 1, Pp. 574.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Quality of care depends on system, facility, provider, and client-level factors. We aimed at examining structural and process quality of services for sick children and its association with client satisfaction at health facilities in Ethiopia. METHODS: Data from the Ethiopia Service Provision Assessment Plus (SPA+) survey 2014 were used. Measures of quality were assessed based on the Donabedian framework: structure, process, and outcome. A total of 1908 mothers or caretakers were interviewed and their child consultations were observed. Principal component analysis was used to construct quality of care indices including a structural composite score, a process composite score, and a client satisfaction score. Multilevel mixed linear regression was used to analyze the association between structural and process factors with client satisfaction. RESULT: Among children diagnosed with suspected pneumonia, respiratory rate was counted in 56% and temperature was checked in 77% of the cases. A majority of children (92%) diagnosed with fever had their temperature taken. Only 3% of children with fever were either referred or admitted, and 60% received antibiotics. Among children diagnosed with malaria, 51% were assessed for all three Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) main symptoms, and 4% were assessed for all three general danger signs. Providers assessed dehydration in 54% of children with diarrhea with dehydration, 17% of these children were admitted or referred to another facility, and Oral Rehydration Solution was prescribed for 67% while none received intravenous fluids. The number of basic amenities in the facility was negatively associated with the clients' satisfaction. Private facilities, when the providers had got training for care of sick children in the past 2 years, had higher client satisfaction. There was no statistical association between structure, process composite indicators and client satisfaction. CONCLUSION: The assessment of sick children was of low quality, with many missing procedures when comparing with IMCI guidelines. In spite of this, most clients were satisfied with the services they received. Structural and process composite indicators were not associated with client's satisfaction. These findings highlight the need to assess other dimensions of quality of care besides structure and process that may influence client satisfaction.
Della Berhanu, Yemisrach Behailu Okwaraji, Atkure Defar, Abebe Bekele, Ephrem Tekle Lemango, Araya Abrha Medhanyie, Muluemebet Abera Wordofa, Mezgebu Yitayal, Fitsum W/Gebriel, Alem Desta, Fisseha Ashebir Gebregizabher, Dawit Wolde Daka, Alemayehu Hunduma, Habtamu Beyene, Tigist Getahun, Theodros Getachew, Amare Tariku Woldemariam, Desta Wolassa, Lars Åke Persson, and Joanna Schellenberg. 2020. “Does a complex intervention targeting communities, health facilities and district health managers increase the utilisation of community-based child health services? A before and after study in intervention and comparison areas of Ethiopia.” BMJ Open, 10, 9, Pp. e040868.Abstract
INTRODUCTION: Ethiopia successfully reduced mortality in children below 5 years of age during the past few decades, but the utilisation of child health services was still low. Optimising the Health Extension Programme was a 2-year intervention in 26 districts, focusing on community engagement, capacity strengthening of primary care workers and reinforcement of district accountability of child health services. We report the intervention's effectiveness on care utilisation for common childhood illnesses. METHODS: We included a representative sample of 5773 households with 2874 under-five children at baseline (December 2016 to February 2017) and 10 788 households and 5639 under-five children at endline surveys (December 2018 to February 2019) in intervention and comparison areas. Health facilities were also included. We assessed the effect of the intervention using difference-in-differences analyses. RESULTS: There were 31 intervention activities; many were one-off and implemented late. In eight districts, activities were interrupted for 4 months. Care-seeking for any illness in the 2 weeks before the survey for children aged 2-59 months at baseline was 58% (95% CI 47 to 68) in intervention and 49% (95% CI 39 to 60) in comparison areas. At end-line it was 39% (95% CI 32 to 45) in intervention and 34% (95% CI 27 to 41) in comparison areas (difference-in-differences -4 percentage points, adjusted OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.12 to 1.95). The intervention neither had an effect on care-seeking among sick neonates, nor on household participation in community engagement forums, supportive supervision of primary care workers, nor on indicators of district accountability for child health services. CONCLUSION: We found no evidence to suggest that the intervention increased the utilisation of care for sick children. The lack of effect could partly be attributed to the short implementation period of a complex intervention and implementation interruption. Future funding schemes should take into consideration that complex interventions that include behaviour change may need an extended implementation period. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN12040912.
Woldekidan Kifle Amde, David Sanders, Mohsin Sidat, Manasse Nzayirambaho, Damen Haile-Mariam, and Uta Lehmann. 2020. “The politics and practice of initiating a public health postgraduate programme in three universities in sub-Saharan Africa: the challenges of alignment and coherence.” Int J Equity Health, 19, 1, Pp. 52.Abstract
BACKGROUND: In-country postgraduate training programme in low and middle income countries are widely considered to strengthen institutional and national capacity. There exists dearth of research about how new training initiatives in public health training institutions come about. This paper examines a south-south collaborative initiative wherein three universities based in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Mozambique set out to develop a local based postgraduate programme on health workforce development/management through partnership with a university in South Africa. METHODS: We used a qualitative case study design. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 36 key informants, who were purposively recruited based on their association or proximity to the programme, and their involvement in the development, review, approval and implementation of the programme. We gathered supplementary data through document reviews and observation. Thematic analysis was used and themes were generated inductively from the data and deductively from literature on capacity development. RESULTS: University A successfully initiated a postgraduate training programme in health workforce development/management. University B and C faced multiple challenges to embed the programme. It was evident that multiple actors underpin programme introduction across institutions, characterized by contestations over issues of programme feasibility, relevance, or need. A daunting challenge in this regard is establishing coherence between health ministries' expectation to roll out training programmes that meet national health priorities and ensure sustainability, and universities and academics' expectations for investment or financial incentive. Programme champions, located in the universities, can be key actors in building such coherence, if they are committed and received sustained support. The south-south initiative also suffers from lack of long term and adequate support. CONCLUSIONS: Against the background of very limited human capacity and competition for this capacity, initiating the postgraduate programme on health workforce development/management proved to be a political as much as a technical undertaking influenced by multiple actors vying for recognition or benefits, and influence over issues of programme feasibility, relevance or need. Critical in the success of the initiative was alignment and coherence among actors, health ministries and universities in particular, and how well programme champions are able to garner support for and ownership of programme locally. The paper argues that coherence and alignment are crucial to embed programmes, yet hard to achieve when capacity and resources are limited and contested.
Atkure Defar, Theodros Getachew, Girum Taye, Tefera Tadele, Misrak Getnet, Tigist Shumet, Gebeyaw Molla, Geremew Gonfa, Habtamu Teklie, Ambaye Tadesse, and Abebe Bekele. 2020. “Quality antenatal care services delivery at health facilities of Ethiopia, assessment of the structure/input of care setting.” BMC Health Serv Res, 20, 1, Pp. 485.Abstract
BACKGROUND: According to the Donabedian model, the assessment for the quality of care includes three dimensions. These are structure, process, and outcome. Therefore, the present study aimed at assessing the structural quality of Antenatal care (ANC) service provision in Ethiopian health facilities. METHODS: Data were obtained from the 2018 Ethiopian Service Availability and Readiness Assessment (SARA) survey. The SARA was a cross-sectional facility-based assessment conducted to capture health facility service availability and readiness in Ethiopia. A total of 764 health facilities were sampled in the 9 regions and 2 city administrations of the country. The availability of equipment, supplies, medicine, health worker's training and availability of guidelines were assessed. Data were collected from October-December 2017. We run a multiple linear regression model to identify predictors of health facility readiness for Antenatal care service. The level of significance was determined at a p-value < 0.05. RESULT: Among the selected health facilities, 80.5% of them offered Antenatal care service. However, the availability of specific services was very low. The availability of tetanus toxoid vaccination, folic acid, iron supplementation, and monitoring of hypertension disorder was, 67.7, 65.6, 68.6, and 75.1%, respectively. The overall mean availability among the ten tracer items that are necessary to provide quality Antenatal care services was 50%. In the multiple linear regression model, health centers, health posts and clinics scored lower Antenatal care service readiness compared to hospitals. The overall readiness index score was lower for private health facilities (β = - 0.047, 95% CI: (- 0.1, - 0.004). The readiness score had no association with the facility settings (Urban/Rural) (p-value > 0.05). Facilities in six regions except Dire Dawa had (β = 0.067, 95% CI: (0.004, 0.129) lower readiness score than facilities in Tigray region (p-value < 0.015). CONCLUSION: This analysis provides evidence of the gaps in structural readiness of health facilities to provide quality Antenatal care services. Key and essential supplies for quality Antenatal care service provision were missed in many of the health facilities. Guaranteeing properly equipped and staffed facilities shall be a target to improve the quality of Antenatal care services provision.
Jeffrey Braithwaite, Charles Vincent, Ezequiel Garcia-Elorrio, Yuichi Imanaka, Wendy Nicklin, Sodzi Sodzi-Tettey, and David W Bates. 2020. “Transformational improvement in quality care and health systems: the next decade.” BMC Med, 18, 1, Pp. 340.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Healthcare is amongst the most complex of human systems. Coordinating activities and integrating newer with older ways of treating patients while delivering high-quality, safe care, is challenging. Three landmark reports in 2018 led by (1) the Lancet Global Health Commission, (2) a coalition of the World Health Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Bank, and (3) the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine of the United States propose that health systems need to tackle care quality, create less harm and provide universal health coverage in all nations, but especially low- and middle-income countries. The objective of this study is to review these reports with the aim of advancing the discussion beyond a conceptual diagnosis of quality gaps into identification of practical opportunities for transforming health systems by 2030. MAIN BODY: We analysed the reports via text-mining techniques and content analyses to derive their key themes and concepts. Initiatives to make progress include better measurement, using the capacities of information and communications technologies, taking a systems view of change, supporting systems to be constantly improving, creating learning health systems and undergirding progress with effective research and evaluation. Our analysis suggests that the world needs to move from 2018, the year of reports, to the 2020s, the decade of action. We propose three initiatives to support this move: first, developing a blueprint for change, modifiable to each country's circumstances, to give effect to the reports' recommendations; second, to make tangible steps to reduce inequities within and across health systems, including redistributing resources to areas of greatest need; and third, learning from what goes right to complement current efforts focused on reducing things going wrong. We provide examples of targeted funding which would have major benefits, reduce inequalities, promote universality and be better at learning from successes as well as failures. CONCLUSION: The reports contain many recommendations, but lack an integrated, implementable, 10-year action plan for the next decade to give effect to their aims to improve care to the most vulnerable, save lives by providing high-quality healthcare and shift to measuring and ensuring better systems- and patient-level outcomes. This article signals what needs to be done to achieve these aims.
Teketo Kassaw Tegegne, Catherine Chojenta, Theodros Getachew, Roger Smith, and Deborah Loxton. 2019. “Antenatal care use in Ethiopia: a spatial and multilevel analysis.” BMC Pregnancy Childbirth, 19, 1, Pp. 399.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Accessibility and utilization of antenatal care (ANC) service varies depending on different geographical locations, sociodemographic characteristics, political and other factors. A geographically linked data analysis using population and health facility data is valuable to map ANC use, and identify inequalities in service access and provision. Thus, this study aimed to assess the spatial patterns of ANC use, and to identify associated factors among pregnant women in Ethiopia. METHOD: A secondary data analysis of the 2016 Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey linked with the 2014 Ethiopian Service Provision Assessment was conducted. A multilevel analysis was carried out using the SAS GLIMMIX procedure. Furthermore, hot spot analysis and spatial regressions were carried out to identify the hot spot areas of and factors associated with the spatial variations in ANC use using ArcGIS and R softwares. RESULTS: A one-unit increase in the mean score of ANC service availability in a typical region was associated with a five-fold increase in the odds of having more ANC visits. Moreover, every one-kilometre increase in distance to the nearest ANC facility in a typical region was negatively associated with having at least four ANC visits. Twenty-five percent of the variability in having at least four ANC visits was accounted for by region of living. The spatial analysis found that the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples region had high clusters of at least four ANC visits. Furthermore, the coefficients of having the first ANC visit during the first trimester were estimated to have spatial variations in the use of at least four ANC visits. CONCLUSION: There were significant variations in the use of ANC services across the different regions of Ethiopia. Region of living and distance were key drivers of ANC use underscoring the need for increased ANC availability, particularly in the cold spot regions.
Christopher W Belter, Patricia J Garcia, Alicia A Livinski, Fabiola Leon-Velarde, Kristen H Weymouth, and Roger I Glass. 2019. “The catalytic role of a research university and international partnerships in building research capacity in Peru: A bibliometric analysis.” PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 13, 7, Pp. e0007483.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: In Peru, the past three decades have witnessed impressive growth in biomedical research catalyzed from a single research university and its investigators who secured international partnerships and funding. We conducted a bibliometric analysis of publications by Peruvian authors to understand the roots of this growth and the spread of research networks within the country. METHODS: For 1997-2016, publications from Web of Science with at least one author affiliated with a Peruvian institution were examined by year, author affiliations, funding agencies, co-authorship linkages, and research topics. RESULTS: From 1997-2016, the annual number of publications from Peru increased 9-fold from 75 to 672 totaling 6032. Of these, 56% of the articles had co-authors from the US, 13% from the UK, 12% from Brazil, and 10% from Spain. Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH) was clearly the lead research institution noted on one-third of publications. Of the 20 most published authors, 15 were Peruvians, 14 trained at some point at UPCH, and 13 received advanced training abroad. Plotting co-authorships documented the growth of institutional collaborations, the robust links between investigators and some lineages of mentorship. CONCLUSIONS: This analysis suggests that international training of Peruvian physician-scientists who built and sustained longstanding international partnerships with funding accelerated quality research on diseases of local importance. The role of a single research university, UPCH, was critical to advance a culture of biomedical research. Increased funding from the Peruvian Government and its Council for Science, Technology and Innovation will be needed to sustain this growth in the future. Middle-income countries might consider the Peruvian experience where long-term research and training partnerships yielded impressive advances to address key health priorities of the country.
Shailendra Prasad, Elizabeth Sopdie, David Meya, Anna Kalbarczyk, and Patricia J Garcia. 2019. “Conceptual Framework of Mentoring in Low- and Middle-Income Countries to Advance Global Health.” Am J Trop Med Hyg, 100, 1_Suppl, Pp. 9-14.Abstract
Although mentoring is not a common practice in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), there is a strong need for it. Conceptual frameworks provide the structure to design, study, and problem-solve complex phenomena. Following four workshops in South America, Asia, and Africa, and borrowing on theoretical models from higher education, this article proposes two conceptual frameworks of mentoring in LMICs. In the first model, we propose to focus the mentor-mentee relationship and interactions, and in the second, we look at mentoring activities from a mentees' perspective. Our models emphasize the importance of an ongoing dynamic between the mentor and mentee that is mutually beneficial. It also emphasizes the need for institutions to create enabling environments that encourage mentorship. We expect that these frameworks will help LMIC institutions to design new mentoring programs, clarify expectations, and analyze problems with existing mentoring programs. Our models, while being framed in the context of global health, have the potential for wider application geographically and across disciplines.
Ezequiel Garcia-Elorrio, Samantha Y Rowe, Maria E Teijeiro, Agustín Ciapponi, and Alexander K Rowe. 2019. “The effectiveness of the quality improvement collaborative strategy in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” PLoS One, 14, 10, Pp. e0221919.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Quality improvement collaboratives (QICs) have been used to improve health care for decades. Evidence on QIC effectiveness has been reported, but systematic reviews to date have little information from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). OBJECTIVE: To assess the effectiveness of QICs in LMICs. METHODS: We conducted a systematic review following Cochrane methods, the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach for quality of evidence grading, and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) statement for reporting. We searched published and unpublished studies between 1969 and March 2019 from LMICs. We included papers that compared usual practice with QICs alone or combined with other interventions. Pairs of reviewers independently selected and assessed the risk of bias and extracted data of included studies. To estimate strategy effectiveness from a single study comparison, we used the median effect size (MES) in the comparison for outcomes in the same outcome group. The primary analysis evaluated each strategy group with a weighted median and interquartile range (IQR) of MES values. In secondary analyses, standard random-effects meta-analysis was used to estimate the weighted mean MES and 95% confidence interval (CI) of the mean MES of each strategy group. This review is registered with PROSPERO (International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews): CRD42017078108. RESULTS: Twenty-nine studies were included; most (21/29, 72.4%) were interrupted time series studies. Evidence quality was generally low to very low. Among studies involving health facility-based health care providers (HCPs), for "QIC only", effectiveness varied widely across outcome groups and tended to have little effect for patient health outcomes (median MES less than 2 percentage points for percentage and continuous outcomes). For "QIC plus training", effectiveness might be very high for patient health outcomes (for continuous outcomes, median MES 111.6 percentage points, range: 96.0 to 127.1) and HCP practice outcomes (median MES 52.4 to 63.4 percentage points for continuous and percentage outcomes, respectively). The only study of lay HCPs, which used "QIC plus training", showed no effect on patient care-seeking behaviors (MES -0.9 percentage points), moderate effects on non-care-seeking patient behaviors (MES 18.7 percentage points), and very large effects on HCP practice outcomes (MES 50.4 percentage points). CONCLUSIONS: The effectiveness of QICs varied considerably in LMICs. QICs combined with other invention components, such as training, tended to be more effective than QICs alone. The low evidence quality and large effect sizes for QIC plus training justify additional high-quality studies assessing this approach in LMICs.
Andres G Lescano, Craig R Cohen, Tony Raj, Laetitia Rispel, Patricia J Garcia, Joseph R Zunt, Davidson H Hamer, Douglas C Heimburger, Benjamin H Chi, Albert I Ko, and Elizabeth A Bukusi. 2019. “Strengthening Mentoring in Low- and Middle-Income Countries to Advance Global Health Research: An Overview.” Am J Trop Med Hyg, 100, 1_Suppl, Pp. 3-8.Abstract
Mentoring is a proven path to scientific progress, but it is not a common practice in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Existing mentoring approaches and guidelines are geared toward high-income country settings, without considering in detail the differences in resources, culture, and structure of research systems of LMICs. To address this gap, we conducted five Mentoring-the-Mentor workshops in Africa, South America, and Asia, which aimed at strengthening the capacity for evidence-based, LMIC-specific institutional mentoring programs globally. The outcomes of the workshops and two follow-up working meetings are presented in this special edition of the . Seven articles offer recommendations on how to tailor mentoring to the context and culture of LMICs, and provide guidance on how to implement mentoring programs. This introductory article provides both a prelude and executive summary to the seven articles, describing the motivation, cultural context and relevant background, and presenting key findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
Cheryl A Moyer, Nauzley C Abedini, Jessica Youngblood, Zohray Talib, Tanvi Jayaraman, Mehr Manzoor, Heidi J Larson, Patricia J Garcia, Agnes Binagwaho, Katherine S Burke, and Michele Barry. 2018. “Advancing Women Leaders in Global Health: Getting to Solutions.” Ann Glob Health, 84, 4, Pp. 743-752.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Women comprise 75% of the health workforce in many countries and the majority of students in academic global health tracks but are underrepresented in global health leadership. This study aimed to elucidate prevailing attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs of women and men regarding opportunities and barriers for women's career advancement, as well as what can be done to address barriers going forward. METHODS: This was a convergent mixed-methods, cross-sectional, anonymous, online study of participants, applicants, and those who expressed an interest in the Women Leaders in Global Health Conference at Stanford University October 11-12, 2017. Respondents completed a 26-question survey regarding beliefs about barriers and solutions to addressing advancement for women in global health. FINDINGS: 405 participants responded: 96.7% were female, 61.6% were aged 40 or under, 64.0% were originally from high-income countries. Regardless of age or country of origin, leading barriers were: lack of mentorship, challenges of balancing work and home, gender bias, and lack of assertiveness/confidence. Proposed solutions were categorized as individual or meta-level solutions and included senior women seeking junior women for mentorship and sponsorship, junior women pro-actively making their desire for leadership known, and institutions incentivizing mentorship and implementing targeted recruitment to improve diversity of leadership. INTERPRETATION: This study is the first of its kind to attempt to quantify both the barriers to advancement for women leaders in global health as well as the potential solutions. While there is no shortage of barriers, we believe there is room for optimism. A new leadership paradigm that values diversity of thought and diversity of experience will benefit not only the marginalized groups that need to gain representation at the table, but ultimately the broader population who may benefit from new ways of approaching long-standing, intractable problems.
Nana Mensah Abrampah, Shamsuzzoha Babar Syed, Lisa R Hirschhorn, Bejoy Nambiar, Usman Iqbal, Ezequiel Garcia-Elorrio, Vijay Kumar Chattu, Mahesh Devnani, and Edward Kelley. 2018. “Quality improvement and emerging global health priorities.” Int J Qual Health Care, 30, suppl_1, Pp. 5-9.Abstract
Quality improvement approaches can strengthen action on a range of global health priorities. Quality improvement efforts are uniquely placed to reorient care delivery systems towards integrated people-centred health services and strengthen health systems to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). This article makes the case for addressing shortfalls of previous agendas by articulating the critical role of quality improvement in the Sustainable Development Goal era. Quality improvement can stimulate convergence between health security and health systems; address global health security priorities through participatory quality improvement approaches; and improve health outcomes at all levels of the health system. Entry points for action include the linkage with antimicrobial resistance and the contentious issue of the health of migrants. The work required includes focussed attention on the continuum of national quality policy formulation, implementation and learning; alongside strengthening the measurement-improvement linkage. Quality improvement plays a key role in strengthening health systems to achieve UHC.
Lisa R Hirschhorn, Rohit Ramaswamy, Mahesh Devnani, Abraham Wandersman, Lisa A Simpson, and Ezequiel Garcia-Elorrio. 2018. “Research versus practice in quality improvement? Understanding how we can bridge the gap.” Int J Qual Health Care, 30, suppl_1, Pp. 24-28.Abstract
The gap between implementers and researchers of quality improvement (QI) has hampered the degree and speed of change needed to reduce avoidable suffering and harm in health care. Underlying causes of this gap include differences in goals and incentives, preferred methodologies, level and types of evidence prioritized and targeted audiences. The Salzburg Global Seminar on 'Better Health Care: How do we learn about improvement?' brought together researchers, policy makers, funders, implementers, evaluators from low-, middle- and high-income countries to explore how to increase the impact of QI. In this paper, we describe some of the reasons for this gap and offer suggestions to better bridge the chasm between researchers and implementers. Effectively bridging this gap can increase the generalizability of QI interventions, accelerate the spread of effective approaches while also strengthening the local work of implementers. Increasing the effectiveness of research and work in the field will support the knowledge translation needed to achieve quality Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Rohit Ramaswamy, Julie Reed, Nigel Livesley, Victor Boguslavsky, Ezequiel Garcia-Elorrio, Sylvia Sax, Diarra Houleymata, Leighann Kimble, and Gareth Parry. 2018. “Unpacking the black box of improvement.” Int J Qual Health Care, 30, suppl_1, Pp. 15-19.Abstract
During the Salzburg Global Seminar Session 565-'Better Health Care: How do we learn about improvement?', participants discussed the need to unpack the 'black box' of improvement. The 'black box' refers to the fact that when quality improvement interventions are described or evaluated, there is a tendency to assume a simple, linear path between the intervention and the outcomes it yields. It is also assumed that it is enough to evaluate the results without understanding the process of by which the improvement took place. However, quality improvement interventions are complex, nonlinear and evolve in response to local settings. To accurately assess the effectiveness of quality improvement and disseminate the learning, there must be a greater understanding of the complexity of quality improvement work. To remain consistent with the language used in Salzburg, we refer to this as 'unpacking the black box' of improvement. To illustrate the complexity of improvement, this article introduces four quality improvement case studies. In unpacking the black box, we present and demonstrate how Cynefin framework from complexity theory can be used to categorize and evaluate quality improvement interventions. Many quality improvement projects are implemented in complex contexts, necessitating an approach defined as 'probe-sense-respond'. In this approach, teams experiment, learn and adapt their changes to their local setting. Quality improvement professionals intuitively use the probe-sense-respond approach in their work but document and evaluate their projects using language for 'simple' or 'complicated' contexts, rather than the 'complex' contexts in which they work. As a result, evaluations tend to ask 'How can we attribute outcomes to the intervention?', rather than 'What were the adaptations that took place?'. By unpacking the black box of improvement, improvers can more accurately document and describe their interventions, allowing evaluators to ask the right questions and more adequately evaluate quality improvement interventions.
Tsion Assefa, Damen Haile Mariam, Wubegzier Mekonnen, and Miliard Derbew. 2017. “Health system's response for physician workforce shortages and the upcoming crisis in Ethiopia: a grounded theory research.” Hum Resour Health, 15, 1, Pp. 86.Abstract
BACKGROUND: A rapid transition from severe physician workforce shortage to massive production to ensure the physician workforce demand puts the Ethiopian health care system in a variety of challenges. Therefore, this study discovered how the health system response for physician workforce shortage using the so-called flooding strategy was viewed by different stakeholders. METHODS: The study adopted the grounded theory research approach to explore the causes, contexts, and consequences (at the present, in the short and long term) of massive medical student admission to the medical schools on patient care, medical education workforce, and medical students. Forty-three purposively selected individuals were involved in a semi-structured interview from different settings: academics, government health care system, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Data coding, classification, and categorization were assisted using ATLAs.ti qualitative data analysis scientific software. RESULTS: In relation to the health system response, eight main categories were emerged: (1) reasons for rapid medical education expansion; (2) preparation for medical education expansion; (3) the consequences of rapid medical education expansion; (4) massive production/flooding as human resources for health (HRH) development strategy; (5) cooperation on HRH development; (6) HRH strategies and planning; (7) capacity of system for HRH development; and (8) institutional continuity for HRH development. The demand for physician workforce and gaining political acceptance were cited as main reasons which motivated the government to scale up the medical education rapidly. However, the rapid expansion was beyond the capacity of medical schools' human resources, patient flow, and size of teaching hospitals. As a result, there were potential adverse consequences in clinical service delivery, and teaching learning process at the present: "the number should consider the available resources such as number of classrooms, patient flows, medical teachers, library…". In the future, it was anticipated to end in surplus in physician workforce, unemployment, inefficiency, and pressure on the system: "…flooding may seem a good strategy superficially but it is a dangerous strategy. It may put the country into crisis, even if good physicians are being produced; they may not get a place where to go…". CONCLUSION: Massive physician workforce production which is not closely aligned with the training capacity of the medical schools and the absorption of graduates in to the health system will end up in unanticipated adverse consequences.