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Combining qualitative and quantitative operational research methods to inform quality improvement in pathways that span multiple settings

Knowles, RL; Crowe, S; Brown, K; Tregay, J; Wray, J; Ridout, D; Utley, M; (2017) Combining qualitative and quantitative operational research methods to inform quality improvement in pathways that span multiple settings. BMJ Quality and Safety 10.1136/bmjqs-2016-005636. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Improving integration and continuity of care across sectors within resource constraints is a priority in many health systems. Qualitative operational research methods of problem structuring have been used to address quality improvement in services involving multiple sectors but not in combination with quantitative operational research methods that enable targeting of interventions according to patient risk. We aimed to combine these methods to augment and inform an improvement initiative concerning infants with congenital heart disease (CHD) whose complex care pathway spans multiple sectors. METHODS: Soft systems methodology was used to consider systematically changes to services from the perspectives of community, primary, secondary and tertiary care professionals and a patient group, incorporating relevant evidence. Classification and regression tree (CART) analysis of national audit datasets was conducted along with data visualisation designed to inform service improvement within the context of limited resources. RESULTS: A 'Rich Picture' was developed capturing the main features of services for infants with CHD pertinent to service improvement. This was used, along with a graphical summary of the CART analysis, to guide discussions about targeting interventions at specific patient risk groups. Agreement was reached across representatives of relevant health professions and patients on a coherent set of targeted recommendations for quality improvement. These fed into national decisions about service provision and commissioning. CONCLUSIONS: When tackling complex problems in service provision across multiple settings, it is important to acknowledge and work with multiple perspectives systematically and to consider targeting service improvements in response to confined resources. Our research demonstrates that applying a combination of qualitative and quantitative operational research methods is one approach to doing so that warrants further consideration.

Type: Article
Title: Combining qualitative and quantitative operational research methods to inform quality improvement in pathways that span multiple settings
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/bmjqs-2016-005636
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1136/bmjqs-2016-005636
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Healthcare quality improvement, Implementation sciences, Quality improvement methodologies
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Mathematics
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Mathematics > Clinical Operational Research Unit
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1535230
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