Development of a program theory for clinical pathways in hospitals: protocol for a realist review.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Despite the increased utilization of clinical pathways (CPWs) as a strategy to improve patient and system outcomes in hospitals, there remain ongoing challenges with their conceptualization, implementation, and evaluation. Theories that explain how CPWs work in hospitals are lacking, making it difficult to identify important factors for sustaining changes arising from CPWs implemented in hospitals. The objective of this realist review is to develop a program theory for CPWs in hospitals. METHODS:This is a protocol for a realist review. The review will use a six-step iterative process to develop a program theory for CPWs in hospitals: (1) development of a preliminary program theory; (2) search strategy and literature search; (3) study selection and appraisal; (4) data extraction; (5) data analysis and synthesis; and (6) stakeholder engagement. In addition to searching the gray literature and contacting authors, we will search electronic databases such as MEDLINE, NHSEED, CINAHL EBSCO, HMIC, and PsycINFO. Studies will be included based on their ability to provide data that test some aspect of the program theory. Two independent reviewers will select, screen, and extract data related to the program theory from all relevant sources. A realist logic of analysis will be used to identify all context-mechanism-outcome heuristics that explains how CPWs implemented in hospitals translates to better health system outcomes. DISCUSSION:Overall, the review aims to develop a program theory for CPWs in hospitals and to explore how, why, to what extent, and in what contexts does the implementation of CPWs in hospitals contribute to better health system outcomes. As a result, the review will provide a theoretical framework of how CPWs work in hospitals. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION:PROSPERO CRD42018103220.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The patient-oriented research (POR) discourse has been criticized as being fragmented, lacking consistent terminology and having few evaluative studies. Our research team will use rapid realist review methodology to generate broad, process-based program theory regarding how partnering patients with researchers in POR generates an impact within a health care system. METHODS:This protocol for a rapid realist review will involve multiple steps, including research question development; preliminary program theory and search strategy development; study selection and appraisal; data extraction, analysis and synthesis; and program theory refinement. We will be guided by the Realist and Meta-narrative Evidence Syntheses: Evolving Standards (RAMESES) publication standards for realist synthesis. Unlike traditional reviews, a realist review aims to discover and understand causal processes that exist within a complex environment, asking questions regarding what works for whom, under what circumstances, how and why. Our multidisciplinary team consists of patient partners, health care professionals, a health sciences librarian and health services researchers. Patient partners are full research partners, supporting development of our guiding research question and identifying community partners and stakeholder groups to disseminate our findings. Patient partners will be asked to recommend literature sources, to review and vet our set of search terms, and to review, evaluate and reflect on our initial program theory in light of their personal, lived expertise. INTERPRETATION:We will share the results of our rapid realist review with community partners and stakeholder groups. We will also disseminate our program theory by means of publication in a peer-reviewed journal and presentation at scientific conferences.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Mobility, one of the basic daily activities, helps in carrying out routine work, which contributes to people's well-being. A lack of friendly and accessible infrastructure may act as a barrier, which limits older adults' contributions and participation in society. Hence, it is important to have an enabling environment for older adults to carry out their activities independently at ease. There is ample research evidence about effective interventions on urban mobility infrastructures, but there is a lack of evidence regarding what works, for whom, and in what circumstances. Hence, there is a need to identify the contextual factors for different regions to design region-specific interventions. The aim of this realist synthesis is to develop an evidence-informed framework for safe and accessible urban mobility infrastructures for older adults in low- and middle-income countries. METHODS:A realist review will be undertaken using the following process: (1) development of a program theory, (2) search strategy and information sources, (3) study selection and appraisal, (4) data extraction, and (5) data synthesis. In addition to searching grey literature and contacting authors, we will search (since inception) multiple electronic databases such as PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library. Studies will be included based on their ability to provide data that evaluates some aspect of the program theory. Two independent reviewers will screen and extract data from all relevant sources. A realist logic of analysis will be used to identify all context-mechanism-outcome that explains how safe and accessible urban mobility infrastructures for older adults implemented in low- and middle-income countries translate to better health outcomes. The findings will be reported according to Realist and MEta-narrative Evidence Syntheses: Evolving Standards guidelines. DISCUSSION:This realist review will help to develop a framework for safe and accessible urban mobility infrastructures for older adults in low- and middle-income countries. The results of this study will support evidence-based decision-making on urban mobility systems and will be of interest to various stakeholders. Dissemination will be done through conference presentations, policy briefs, media, and peer-reviewed journals. Implications for future research will be discussed. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION:PROSPERO CRD42020168020.
Project description:Medication-related adverse events have been estimated to be responsible for 5700 deaths and cost the UK £750 million annually. This burden falls disproportionately on older people. Outcomes from interventions to optimise medication management are caused by multiple context-sensitive mechanisms. The MEdication Management in Older people: REalist Approaches BAsed on Literature and Evaluation (MEMORABLE) project uses realist synthesis to understand how, why, for whom and in what context interventions, to improve medication management in older people on complex medication regimes residing in the community, work.This realist synthesis uses secondary data and primary data from interviews to develop the programme theory. A realist logic of analysis will synthesise data both within and across the two data sources to inform the design of a complex intervention(s) to help improve medication management in older people. 1. Literature review The review (using realist synthesis) contains five stages to develop an initial programme theory to understand why processes are more or less successful and under which situations: focussing of the research question; developing the initial programme theory; developing the search strategy; selection and appraisal based on relevance and rigour; and data analysis/synthesis to develop and refine the programme theory and context, intervention and mechanism configurations. 2. Realist interviews Realist interviews will explore and refine our understanding of the programme theory developed from the realist synthesis. Up to 30 older people and their informal carers (15 older people with multi-morbidity, 10 informal carers and 5 older people with dementia), and 20 care staff will be interviewed. 3. Developing framework for the intervention(s) Data from the realist synthesis and interviews will be used to refine the programme theory for the intervention(s) to identify: the mechanisms that need to be 'triggered', and the contexts related to these mechanisms. Intervention strategies that change the contexts so the mechanisms are triggered to produce desired outcomes will be developed. Feedback on these strategies will be obtained.This realist synthesis aims to develop a framework (underpinned by our programme theory) for a novel multi-disciplinary, multi-agency intervention(s), to improve medication management in community-dwelling older people on complex medication regimens.PROSPERO CRD42016043506.
Project description:BACKGROUND:While 80% of critically ill patients treated in an intensive care unit (ICU) will survive, survivors often suffer a constellation of new or worsening physical, cognitive, and psychiatric complications, termed post-intensive care syndrome. Emerging evidence paints a challenging picture of complex, long-term complications that are often untreated and culminate in substantial dependence on acute care services. Clinicians and decision-makers in the Fraser Health Authority of British Columbia are working to develop evidence-based community healthcare solutions that will be successful in the context of existing healthcare services. The objective of the proposed review is to provide the theoretical scaffolding to transform the care of survivors of critical illness by a synthesis of relevant clinical and healthcare service programs. METHODS:Realist review will be used to develop and refine a theoretical understanding of why, how, for whom, and in what circumstances post-ICU program impact ICU survivors' outcomes. This review will follow the recommended five steps of realist review which include (1) clarifying the scope of the review and articulating a preliminary program theory, (2) searching for evidence, (3) appraising primary studies and extracting data, (4) synthesizing evidence and sharing conclusions, and (5) disseminating and implementing recommendations. DISCUSSION:This realist review will provide a program theory, encompassing the contexts, mechanisms, and outcomes, to explain how clinical and health service interventions to improve ICU survivor outcomes operate in different contexts for different survivors, and with what effect. This review will be an evidentiary pillar for health service development and implementation by our knowledge user team members as well as advance scholarly knowledge relevant nationally and internationally. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION:PROSPERO CRD42018087795.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Scaling-up is essential to ensure universal access of effective health interventions. Scaling-up is a complex process, which occurs across diverse systems and contexts with no one-size-fits-all approach. To date, little attention has been paid to the process of scaling-up in how to make adaptations for local fit. The aim of this research is to develop theory on what actions can be used to make adaptations to health interventions for local fit when scaling-up across diverse contexts that will have practical application for implementers involved in scaling-up. METHODS AND ANALYSIS:Given the complexity of this subject, a realist review methodology was selected. Specifically, realist review emphasises an iterative, non-linear process, whereby the review is refined as it progresses. The identification of how the context may activate mechanisms to achieve outcomes is used to generate theories on what works for whom in what circumstances. This protocol will describe the first completed stage of development of an initial programme theory framework, which identified potential actions, contexts, mechanisms and outcomes that could be used to make adaptations when scaling-up. It will then outline the methods for future stages of the review which will focus on identifying case examples of scale-up and adaptation in practice. This realist review consists of six stages: (i) clarifying scope and development of a theoretical framework, (ii) developing a search strategy, (iii) selection and appraisal, (iv) data extraction, (v) data synthesis and analysis and (vi) further theory refinement with stakeholders. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:This review will develop theory on how adaptations can be made when scaling-up. Findings will be disseminated in a peer-reviewed journal and through stakeholder engagement as part of the research process. Ethical approval has been received through Health Policy and Management/Centre for Global Health Research Ethics Committee of Trinity College Dublin.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Patient-reported outcomes and experience measures (jointly referred to here as PROs) are internationally recognized as a means for patients to provide information about their quality of life, symptoms, and experiences with care. Although increasingly recognized as key to improving the quality of healthcare at individual (e.g., patients, caregivers, and providers) and aggregate (e.g., government, policy/system-wide decision-making) levels, there are important knowledge gaps in our understanding of how PROs are, and can be, used across different settings, particularly in nephrology to enhance person-centered care. This knowledge is needed for developing strategies to guide optimal use of PROs in nephrology care. Currently, no strategies exist. The purpose of this review is to address this knowledge gap by answering the following realist question: How can PROs be used to enhance person-centered nephrology care, both at individual and aggregate levels? METHODOLOGY:Realist synthesis is an explanatory approach to data synthesis that aims to explain how context and mechanisms influence the outcome of an intervention. An initial program theory will be developed through the systematic search of the published literature in bibliographic databases (Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, EBSCOhost CINAHL, Web of Science, and Scopus) on existing theories explaining how PROs are used in healthcare settings. This initial program theory will then be tested and refined through the process of realist synthesis, using context-mechanism-outcome configurations. A kidney-specific program theory will then be created to address the utilization of PROs in nephrology across individual and aggregate levels to augment person-centered care. Searching will be iterative and refined as data is extracted and analyzed using a pilot-tested context + mechanism = outcome heuristic. Throughout, we will consult methodological experts, research team practitioners, and the Patient Advisory Committee to help refine the theories. Last, we will develop and disseminate knowledge translation products widely to knowledge user groups. DISCUSSION:The utilization of PROs remains a challenge in nephrology. The findings from this synthesis will provide a framework to guide both policy makers and practitioners on how to enhance person-centered care through successful utilization of PROs across individual and aggregate levels in nephrology. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION:PROSPERO CRD42017056063.
Project description:Background. Improving performance of primary care systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) may be a necessary condition for achievement of universal health coverage in the age of Sustainable Development Goals. The Salud Mesoamerica Initiative (SMI), a large-scale, multi-country program that uses supply-side financial incentives directed at the central-level of governments, and continuous, external evaluation of public, health sector performance to induce improvements in primary care performance in eight LMICs. This study protocol seeks to explain whether and how these interventions generate program effects in El Salvador and Honduras. Methods. This study presents the protocol for a study that uses a realist evaluation approach to develop a preliminary program theory that hypothesizes the interactions between context, interventions and the mechanisms that trigger outcomes. The program theory was completed through a scoping review of relevant empirical, peer-reviewed and grey literature; a sense-making workshop with program stakeholders; and content analysis of key SMI documents. The study will use a multiple case-study design with embedded units with contrasting cases. We define as a case the two primary care systems of Honduras and El Salvador, each with different context characteristics. Data will be collected through in-depth interviews with program actors and stakeholders, documentary review, and non-participatory observation. Data analysis will use inductive and deductive approaches to identify causal patterns organized as 'context, mechanism, outcome' configurations. The findings will be triangulated with existing secondary, qualitative and quantitative data sources, and contrasted against relevant theoretical literature. The study will end with a refined program theory. Findings will be published following the guidelines generated by the Realist and Meta-narrative Evidence Syntheses study (RAMESES II). This study will be performed contemporaneously with SMI's mid-term stage of implementation. Of the methods described, the preliminary program theory has been completed. Data collection, analysis and synthesis remain to be completed.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Nursing care quality varies between hospitals, and even between departments within the same institution. Suboptimal care can have deleterious consequences for patients such as lengthened hospital stay, nosocomial infection, pressure ulcers or death. Experts recommend the implementation of nursing performance improvement systems to assess team performance and monitor patient outcomes and efficiency savings. In practice, these systems are expected to include feedback processes directed towards nursing teams and interprofessional staff in order to facilitate adjustments and improve their performance. Unfortunately, feedback appears somewhat haphazard and, at times, overlooked. This could be explained by an ongoing absence of clear recommendations. As a result, feedback effects are inconclusive: some teams improve their practice, others do not. Although feedback has been conceptualised and studied from different theoretical perspectives, ongoing empirical inconsistencies remain unexplained. The goal of this rapid realist review protocol is to develop a theory that explains how feedback shared with interprofessional health care teams shape nursing performance improvement systems. METHOD:This study follows standard guidelines established for realist reviews. Mechanisms at work will be analysed using Actor-Network Theory. All scientific documents are selected from five databases, are published in both English and French between 2010 and 2018, and include empirical research, reviews and grey literature. First, selection of documents will proceed on the basis of titles and abstracts; followed by a second selection by reading the remaining full texts. Inclusion criteria and a data extraction form will be pilot tested with 40 articles prior to completion by two reviewers. Data will be summarised in the form of [context, mechanism, outcome] equations to theorise operational feedback. DISCUSSION:The innovative combination of Actor-Network Theory with a realist methodology holds promise for the identification of explanatory equations in complex systems and theory development. A rapid realist review is relevant to address an enduring knowledge gap which requires theory development. This preliminary study lays the groundwork for a pioneering theory on feedback in nursing performance improvement systems that will subsequently inform a multiple case study. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION:Prospero CRD42018110128.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Underperformance by doctors poses a risk to patient safety. Remediation is an intervention designed to remedy underperformance and return a doctor to safe practice. Remediation is widely used across healthcare systems globally, and has clear implications for both patient safety and doctor retention. Yet, there is a poor evidence base to inform remediation programmes. In particular, there is a lack of understanding as to why and how a remedial intervention may work to change a doctor's practice. The aim of this research is to identify why, how, in what contexts, for whom and to what extent remediation programmes for practising doctors work to support patient safety. METHODS AND ANALYSIS:Realist review is an approach to evidence synthesis that seeks to develop programme theories about how an intervention works to produce its effects. The initial search strategy will involve: database and grey literature searching, citation searching and contacting authors. The evidence search will be extended as the review progresses and becomes more focused on the development of specific aspects of the programme theory. The development of the programme theory will involve input from a stakeholder group consisting of professional experts in the remediation process and patient representatives. Evidence synthesis will use a realist logic of analysis to interrogate data in order to develop and refine the initial programme theory into a more definitive realist programme theory of how remediation works. The study will follow and be reported according to Realist And Meta-narrative Evidence Syntheses-Evolving Standards (RAMESES). ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:Ethical approval is not required. Our dissemination strategy will include input from our stakeholder group. Customised outputs will be developed using the knowledge-to-action cycle framework, and will be targeted to: policy-makers; education providers and regulators, the National Health Service, doctors and academics. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER:CRD42018088779.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Many types of audits are commonly used in hospital care to promote quality improvements. However, the evidence on the effectiveness of audits is mixed. The objectives of this proposed realist review are (1) to understand how and why audits might, or might not, work in terms of delivering the intended outcome of improved quality of hospital care and (2) to examine under what circumstances audits could potentially be effective. This protocol will provide the rationale for using a realist review approach and outline the method. METHODS AND ANALYSIS:This review will be conducted using an iterative four-stage approach. The first and second steps have already been executed. The first step was to develop an initial programme theory based on the literature that explains how audits are supposed to work. Second, a systematic literature search was conducted using relevant databases. Third, data will be extracted and coded for concepts relating to context, outcomes and their interrelatedness. Finally, the data will be synthesised in a five-step process: (1) organising the extracted data into evidence tables, (2) theming, (3) formulating chains of inference from the identified themes, (4) linking the chains of inference and formulating CMO configurations and (5) refining the initial programme theory. The reporting of the review will follow the 'Realist and Meta-Review Evidence Synthesis: Evolving Standards' (RAMESES) publication standards. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:This review does not require formal ethical approval. A better understanding of how and why these audits work, and how context impacts their effectiveness, will inform stakeholders in deciding how to tailor and implement audits within their local context. We will use a range of dissemination strategies to ensure that findings from this realist review are broadly disseminated to academic and non-academic audiences. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER:CRD42016039882.