eLetters

114 e-Letters

  • Promoting Improvement and Learning through Embedded Research

    Vindrola-Padros and colleagues provide a helpful examination of co-production of quality improvement knowledge by university-based researchers in cooperation with members of service organizations. Another important type of embedded researcher consists of “fully embedded,” researchers, who are academically trained but employed by large care delivery systems. These individuals typically work in research units in the delivery systems. Their work is funded both by the systems themselves and by external, private and public organizations, such as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). These fully embedded researchers contribute actively to national professional forums and journals and sometimes collaborate with embedded researchers in other systems.

    AHRQ leverages relationships with fully embedded researchers because of their deep and nuanced knowledge of internal system data and operations. Health systems-based researchers’ ready access to care sites within which to test new approaches, and to data sources that permit rapid analysis of results of those tests, are of great value to AHRQ as we seek to find solutions to real-world problems in areas of national importance. AHRQ-supported work of this kind demonstrates the value of health delivery organizations becoming “learning health systems”(1) – using their own internal data and resources to drive quality improvement and sharing their findings with other organizations.

    AHRQ’s collaboration w...

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  • Why are the EMRs not named?

    This study uses rigorous analysis to obtain important insights about the realtime information that our patients are handed at discharge. It is puzzling that the EMRs used were not named. One can infer from a look through the MSU website that they have both Cerner and Epic, but why is that necessary? The heart of quality/safety work is one of transparency balanced by humility, i.e. we shouldn't expect our IT systems to be any more perfect than we are, but they won't improve if we don't have more openness. The lack of scientific foundations and published post-marketing surveillance for our EHRs, especially the ascendant ones, was initially surprising. However, as they achieve complete market dominance, with less overt scientific review and public guidance and commentary, the silence is deafening. Is the BMJQS's failure to simply identify the names (or maybe I missed the citations) an oversight, or part of nondisclosure agreements with the vendors at the MSU institutions or at BMJQS?

  • The contributions of pediatric hospitals to highly reliable healthcare
    Richard J. Brilli, MD

    To the Editor:

    In this article, the authors propose that little evidence exists in healthcare to show that application of Highly Reliable Organization (HRO) principles has resulted in significant or sustained improvement in performance. Further, they attribute the problem partially to under- recognizing the role of habit in the process. While we fully agree that forming habitual behavior is essential to creating...

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  • Healthcare Complaints: a valid metric for quality of care?
    Adam M Ali

    I read with interest the paper by Gillespie and Reader presenting the Healthcare Complaints Analysis Tool (HCAT) (1). The authors suggest that the HCAT could be used "as an alternative metric of success in meeting standards" and as a way "to benchmark units or regions". However, this makes the assumption that the volume and strength of complaints received is an accurate reflection of the standard of care being delivered....

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  • Authors response: Role of Computerized Physician Order Entry Systems in Facilitating Medication Errors
    Olivia Ferrandez Quirante

    To the Editor,

    We have read with great interest the article by Schiff G D et al.,1 in which 6.1% of errors reported to the United States Pharmacopeia MEDMARX reporting system were classified as being related to the computerized prescription order entry (CPOE) system, representing the third most frequently reported errors in this notification system.

    Similarly, in a study conducted in our hospital, appro...

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  • Weekend Effect (again) and Erudite Company
    Andrew Stein

    In this paper, Professor Sutton's team attribute higher hospital death rates at the weekend to the patients being sicker. Sutton is joining very erudite company (Prof Hawking, Prof Winston and the BMA). This group is rapidly becoming the 'climate change deniers' of healthcare. Not including this study, there have been 50 very large studies (>100,000 patients) published so far in this area (supplied on request). 44 show...

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  • SPC Versus GAM for hospital adverse events arising in a complex system
    Anthony P Morton

    Statistical process control works well when there is independence and linearity. Complex systems produce data that are often not independent, often nonlinear and display self-organisation and emergent behaviour. To say that statistical process control works when behaviour is emergent may make little sense. Increasingly adverse events like colonisation with antibiotic-resistant organisms arise in a complex system. Although...

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  • Improving safety culture to reduce adverse events
    Girish Swaminathan

    Reynolds et al1 reported the impact of providing prescriber feedback in reducing prescribing errors. The authors have concluded that reducing prescribing errors needs a multifaceted approach and feedback alone is not sufficient. Medication errors are often preventable and inappropriate prescribing is identified as an important contributing factor to medication errors.2 It is interesting to note that despite regular feedb...

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  • The Problem with Root cause analysis
    Siti Hosier

    I read with interest the article by Peerally et al (1) on 'The problem with root cause analysis'. I reflected on the recent cases that happened at Royal North Shore Hospital and Sydney Hospital (2,3,4) which led me to consider which investigative tool is best applied to different incidences and identified risks. The use of appropriate tools and involvement of key stakeholders are crucial elements to a successful investig...

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  • A role for patients and the public in improving healthcare
    Sharon Walsh

    I read with interest the article on what role the patient and public should play in healthcare improvement (1) as this is a question that my organisation has long grappled with and is now required to achieve accreditation against the mandatory National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (2).

    For many years we had a strong Community Advisory Committee and consumers on all key quality and safety committe...

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