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Evaluating the Impact of Partnerships to Improve Clinical Quality

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Background: Translating research into practice and policy is a complex process that links the research enter- prise and health care delivery system of the United States. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Partnerships for Quality (PFQ) initiative expanded the scope of research translation beyond clinical practice, highlighting the role of strategic partners. A work group of AHRQ grantees developed a framework for sys- tematic evaluation of the impact of strategic partnerships on research translation.

Methods:The evaluation framework posits a hierarchy of impacts that cumulatively lead to observable patient outcomes. The evaluation framework captures (1) health care outcomes improvement, (2) clinical practice changes, (3) policies, procedures, and protocols, and (4) research and knowledge. After the framework and tool were sub- jected to face-validity critique among PFQ investigators, the concept of synergy was added. PFQ investigators pilot- tested the evaluation framework, and the PFQ tool was refined further.

Results:Early feedback from PFQ grantees suggested that the framework is generalizable and potentially useful to guide investigators in capturing impacts of their work that might otherwise go unrecognized or trivialized.

Discussion:The PFQ Evaluation Tool, a pragmatic approach for evaluating the impact of partnership-driven translation projects, provides a comprehensive evaluation of impacts, including synergistic outcomes.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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