Checklist to aid young physicians managing obstetric emergencies in rural India: a quality improvement initiative.
Puntambekar V., Sharma AK., Yadav K., Kumar R.
The decision to admit or refer a patient presenting with an obstetric emergency is extremely crucial. In rural India, such decisions are usually made by young physicians who are less experienced and often miss relevant data points required for appropriate decision making. In our setting, before the quality improvement (QI) initiative, this information was recorded on loose blank sheets (first information sheets (FIS)) where an initial clinical history, physical examination and investigations were recorded. The mean FIS completeness, at baseline, was 73.95% (1-5 January 2020) with none of the FIS being fully complete. Our objective was to increase the FIS completeness to >90% and to increase the number of FIS that were fully complete over a 9-month period. With the help of a prioritisation matrix, the QI team decided to tackle the problem of incomplete FIS. The team then used fishbone analysis and identified that the main causes of incomplete FIS were that the interns did not know what to document and would often forget some data points. Change ideas to improve FIS completeness were implemented using Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles, and ultimately, a checklist (referred to as antenatal care (ANC) checklist) was implemented. The study was divided into six phases, and after every phase, a few FIS were conveniently sampled for completeness. FIS completeness improved to 86.34% (p<0.001) in the post implementation phase (1 Feb to 31 August 2020), and in this phase, 69.72% of the FIS were documented using the ANC checklist. The data points that saw the maximum improvement were relating to the physical examination. The use of ANC checklist increased FIS completeness. Interns with no prior clinical and QI experience can effectively lead and participate in QI initiatives. The ANC checklist is a scalable concept across similar healthcare settings in rural India.