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On the Front Lines of Patient Safety: Implementation and Evaluation of Team Training in Iraq

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Background: The NHS Health Check Programme presents the opportunity to reduce death and ill health caused by cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Owing to the current restructuring of health care in the UK, financial resources will in future be limited. It is important to develop cost-effective ways of delivering this programme. There are practical alternatives to strategies that advocate using existing data to pre-stratify patients and prioritise those aged between 50 and 74 years.

Method: Data on patients eligible for a health check were retrospectively collected from two early implementer practice teams. The characteristics of attenders and non-attenders, such as demographic factors, consulting behaviour, clinical measures and lifestyle measures, were collected. Costs of two approaches to delivery (drop-in clinic with choice of booked appointment versus booked appointment alone) were compiled.

Results: Nearly half of all patients had accessed their GP or practice nurse with four or more appointments in the 12 months prior to their health check. There remained a margin of error betweenestimated CVD risk (calculated prior to the health check by the practice, using existing information) and actual CVD risk (calculated after a health check had been completed). Drop-in clinics with choice of booked appointment cost half the price of offering patients the option of booked appointments alone.

Discussion: The cost-effectiveness of drop-in clinics was achieved by a reduction in staffing costs through intensively offering health checks; this approach provides a practical solution to maintaining a population-wide approach. Using existing data to pre-stratify patients is dependent on the quality and completeness of data used to estimate CVD risk. Concentrating efforts on 50 to 74 year olds may improve sensitivity to detect CVD but would reduce the chance of engaging with patients about their health at an earlier stage. Offering health checks opportunistically and using existing data no older than 12 months to complete a health check provide the potential for further cost savings.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2011

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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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