From Theory to Implementation: Adaptations to a Quality Improvement Initiative According to Implementation Context

As countries continue to invest in quality improvement (QI) initiatives in health facilities, it is important to acknowledge the role of context in implementation. We conducted a qualitative study between February 2019 and January 2020 to explore how a QI initiative was adapted to enable implementation in three facility types: primary health centres, public hospitals and private facilities in Lagos State, Nigeria.

Despite a common theory of change, implementation of the initiative needed to be adapted to accommodate the local needs, priorities and organisational culture of each facility type. Across facility types, inadequate human and capital resources constrained implementation and necessitated an extension of the initiative’s duration. In public facilities, the local governance structure was adapted to facilitate coordination, but similar adaptations to governance were not possible for private facilities. Our findings highlight the importance of anticipating and planning for the local adaptation of QI initiatives according to implementation environment

Views from Multidisciplinary Oncology Clinicians on Strengthening Cancer Care Delivery Systems in Tanzania

In response to the increasing burden of cancer in Tanzania, the Ministry of Health Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children launched National Cancer Treatment Guidelines (TNCTG) in February 2020. The guidelines aimed to improve and standardize oncology care in the country. At Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI), we developed a theory-informed implementation strategy to promote guideline-concordant care. As part of the situation analysis for implementation strategy development, we conducted focus group discussions to evaluate clinical systems and contextual factors that influence guideline-based practice prior to launching of TNCTG.

In June 2019, three focus group discussions were conducted with a total of 21 oncology clinicians at ORCI, stratified by profession. A discussion guide was used to stimulate dialogue about facilitators and barriers to delivery of guideline concordant care. Discussions were audio recorded, transcribed, translated, and analyzed using thematic framework analysis.

Participants identified factors both within the inner context of ORCI clinical systems and outside of ORCI. Themes within the clinical systems included: capacity and infrastructure, information technology, communication, efficiency and quality of services provided. Contextual factors external to ORCI included: inter-institutional coordination, oncology capacity in peripheral hospitals, public awareness and beliefs, and financial barriers. Participants provided pragmatic suggestions for strengthening cancer care delivery in Tanzania.

Our results highlight several barriers and facilitators within and outside of the clinical systems at ORCI that may affect uptake of the TNCTG. Our findings were used to inform a broader guideline implementation strategy, in effort to improve uptake of the TNCTGs at ORCI.

Quality improvement training for burn care in low-and middle-income countries: A pilot course for nurses

There is an urgent need to empower practitioners to undertake quality improvement (QI) projects in burn services in low-middle income countries (LMICs). We piloted a course aimed to equip nurses working in these environments with the knowledge and skills to undertake such projects.

Eight nurses from five burns services across Malawi and Ethiopia took part in this pilot course, which was evaluated using a range of methods, including interviews and focus group discussions.

Course evaluations reported that interactive activities were successful in supporting participants to devise QI projects. Appropriate online platforms were integral to creating a community of practice and maintaining engagement. Facilitators to a successful QI project were active individuals, supportive leadership, collaboration, effective knowledge sharing and demonstrable advantages of any proposed change. Barriers included: staff attitudes, poor leadership, negative culture towards training, resource limitations, staff rotation and poor access to information to guide practice.

The course demonstrated that by bringing nurses together, through interactive teaching and online forums, a supportive community of practice can be created. Future work will include investigating ways to scale up access to the course so staff can be supported to initiate and lead quality improvement in LMIC burn services.

Considerations for service delivery for emergency care in low resource settings

In a shift from the more traditional disease focused model of global health interventions, increasing attention is now being placed on the importance of strengthening healthcare systems as a key component for achieving improved health outcomes. As emergency care systems continue to develop and strengthen around the world, the concept of service delivery provides one way to assess how well these systems are functioning. By focusing on service delivery, a system can be evaluated based on its ability to provide patients with access to the high-quality emergency care that they deserve. While the concept of service delivery is commonly used to evaluate the effectiveness of care in high-resource settings, its use in low resource settings has previously been limited due to challenges in operationalizing the concept in a context appropriate way. This article will begin by discussing the concept of service delivery as it specifically applies to emergency care systems and then discuss some of the challenges in defining and assessing this concept in low resource settings. The article will then discuss several new tools that have been developed to specifically address ways to evaluate emergency care service delivery in low-resource settings that can be used to inform future systems strengthening activities.

An International Collaborative Study on Surgical Education for Quality Improvement (ASSURED): A Project by the 2017 International Society of Surgery (ISS/SIC) Travel Scholars International Working Group

Background: There is a huge difference in the standard of surgical training in different countries around the world. The disparity is more obvious in the various models of surgical training in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) compared to high-income countries. Although the global training model of surgeons is evolving from an apprenticeship model to a competency-based model with additional training using simulation, the training of surgeons in LMICs still lacks a standard pathway of training.

Methods: This is a qualitative, descriptive, and collaborative study conducted in six LMICs across Asia, Africa, and South America. The data were collected on the status of surgical education in these countries as per the guidelines designed for the ASSURED project along with plans for quality improvement in surgical education in these countries.

Results: The training model in these selected LMICs appears to be a hybrid of the standard models of surgical training. The training models were tailored to the country’s need, but many fail to meet international standards. There are many areas identified that can be addressed in order to improve the quality of surgical education in these countries.

Conclusions: Many areas need to be improved for a better quality of surgical training in LMICs. There is a need of financial, technical, and research support for the improvement in these models of surgical education in LMICs.