Data for Improvement and Clinical Excellence: Final Research Report

by Dre Kimberly Fraser | Jun 28, 2013

Researcher Lead:
Dr. Kimberly Fraser, Rn, Phd
Assistant Professor, University Of Alberta

Decision Maker Lead:
Corinne Schalm, Msg, Mpa, Fcchl
Director, Access And Innovation,
Continuing Care, Alberta Health

Key Implications for Decision Makers

Audit and feedback as a quality improvement mechanism has been shown to have modest effects. This study supports the evidence in this regard. Translating data into usable knowledge for quality improvement could lead to better client/resident outcomes. However, organizations are not equipped with resources, structures, or processes to do this in a timely or sustainable manner. This finding is not unique to Alberta. Increasing demands and quality requirements such as reporting mechanisms and accreditation processes tax resources available within organizations. However, using actual client-based indicators could help organizations to provide better care. While the data are available with the use of the standardized Resident Assessment Instrument in Long Term Care, Home Care, and Supportive Living, these data are not easily translated into knowledge that organizations can use to improve care. 

Key points:

  1. The Resident Assessment Instrument is a tool that results in standardized data that could be used to assess and improve client safety and quality of care.
  2. The Resident Assessment Instrument is implemented in all three streams of continuing care in Alberta: Long Term Care, Home Care, and Supportive Living.
  3. The Continuing Care Desktop is a virtual desktop accessible to Continuing Care health providers and managers in Alberta that could be a mechanism to share knowledge with every health care provider in Continuing Care in Alberta; however, at this point it is not used effectively.
  4. Leadership at all levels of an organization is crucial to the success of an audit and  feedback intervention.
  5. Champions support the implementation and spread of quality improvement interventions such as audit and feedback by engaging teams and supporting others.
  6. Users (aka health care providers, managers, administrators, decision-makers and other leaders) at all levels of an organization can understand and use audit and feedback reports.
  7. Resources, structures, and processes need to be built into existing systems to translate client-based data into usable knowledge.
  8. Sustainability of quality improvement activities such as audit and feedback is necessary to measure both short term and longer term effects of these kinds of interventions.
  9. Lessons learned about implementing audit and feedback mechanisms need to be shared broadly so others can learn from them as best practices are developed and implemented across organizations and health systems. These lessons may support better resources, structures, and processes to sustain quality improvement activities such as audit and feedback.