Integrating Quality Improvement Collaboration and Research

March 22, 2018 Sam Bozzette

As a result of the rapidly changing healthcare environment, coupled with the need to address escalating costs and improvements in health outcomes, healthcare leaders are increasingly seeking evidence on unmet medical needs using real-world outcomes and meaningful insights.

Analyzing outcomes data is one way to understand how care delivery practices are impacting patients, but real-time, real-world research is even more valuable in gaining the information necessary to implement interventions that bring effective change quickly. To do this, the key is to implement value studies collaboratively, in real time, and at the point of care – a crucial paradigm shift in how research is conducted.

Collaborating to Address Unmet Medical Needs

Combining data and analytics with objective clinical outcomes analyses through partnerships with health systems, life sciences companies and other stakeholders, such as academic institutions and professional societies, create a unique alliance in shifting how we develop, teach, test and research care delivery practices and real-world interventions for healthcare improvement.

For example, in spite of numerous effective and safe treatment options that are aligned with national guidelines, today, approximately half of patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AF) who are at risk for stroke are not receiving an oral therapy which helps prevent it. The lack of adherence to guideline-directed care is associated with $6 billion in excess healthcare costs annually, as well as higher rates of emergency department visits, readmissions and mortalities related to stroke (the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.). To address this unmet medical need, Premier and Janssen Pharmaceuticals launched a first of its kind hospital quality improvement (QI) program named QUANTUM AF. The program, conducted as a clinical trial, will evaluate the impact of targeted real-world interventions which aim to improve the utilization of evidence-based practices for AF patients who are at risk for stroke. The study will involve about 60 hospitals, half of whom are implementing a focused QI program and testing local interventions aimed at driving down the risk of strokes and leveraging multiple stakeholders to understand and to identify the best strategies to increase the number of AF patients assessed for risk of stroke and treated with oral anticoagulants.

Below are three critical steps to consider when looking to design effective, informed research aimed at bolstering best practices and boosted patient outcomes.

Three Steps to Implementing a Successful Evidence-Based QI Research Program

  1. Develop a diverse stakeholder steering committee with expertise in research design and quality improvement methodologies.
  2. Identify research site champions who will drive the QI program while ensuring necessary data is collected to support the research.
  3. Leverage existing data sources that either have a common data model or can be extracted to support a common data model across the research institutions.

This work helps sets the stage for effective testing and implementation of evidence-based, data-driven interventions to address the costly and dangerous unmet medical needs facing our country. Quantum-AF is still recruiting Premier member hospitals to participate; those interested can contact Quantum-AF staff via www.quantum-af.com. For more information on Premier Applied Sciences, contact Samuel Bozzette.

Author information

Sam Bozzette

Sam Bozzette

Vice President and Chief Scientist at Premier Inc.

I am a researcher and physician executive who leads Premier Applied Sciences research efforts to improve the overall quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of care.

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