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Health care outcome boost needs better studies
Date:6/25/2009

Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC (June 25, 2009) Evidence suggests that outcomes in many clinical settings leave a lot to be desired, which means that research into quality improvement (QI) in clinical care has the potential to greatly improve the lot of patients. Now a study in the journal Medical Care Research and Review published by SAGE suggests that both theoretical and practical improvements in QI effectiveness studies could make these into much more powerful tools for positive change.

Evidence suggests that one in four hospital deaths may be preventable, a third of certain clinical procedures expose patients to risk without improving their health, a third of drugs are prescribed erroneously and one third of abnormal laboratory results are not chased up by clinicians in the US. QI focuses on understanding, controlling, and improving work processes, analysing problems' root causes, making work processes predictable, and then continuously improving process performance. Patients and clinicians need QI.

University of Michigan researchers Jeffrey Alexander and Larry Hearld reviewed 185 recent articles from clinical journals on QI's effects. QI effectiveness research is a developing area, and the authors aimed to find out just how useful this research is in providing managers and policy makers with evidence on the real impact of quality improvements.

Nearly 62% of the articles Alexander and Hearld reviewed focused on hospital QI interventions, the majority in university teaching hospitals. Most hospital admissions are actually in community hospitals and not teaching hospitals, raising questions about the extent of research relevance to those settings.

Physician practices and other health care organizations represented around a quarter and one tenth respectively of further studies the authors reviewed. Nursing home research (3.8%) tended to focus on relationships between organisation and qua
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Contact: Mithu Mukherjee
mithu.mukherjee@sagepub.co.uk
44-207-324-2223
SAGE Publications UK
Source:Eurekalert

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