A learning health systems approach to improving the quality of care for patients in South Asia.
Beane A., Wagstaff D., Abayadeera A., Wijeyaratne M., Ranasinghe G., Mirando S., Dondorp AM., Walker D., Haniffa R., Haniffa R.
Poor quality of care is a leading cause of excess morbidity and mortality in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs). Improving the quality of healthcare is complex, and requires an interdisciplinary team equipped with the skills to design, implement and analyse setting-relevant improvement interventions. Such capacity is limited in many LMICs. However, training for healthcare workers in quality improvement (QI) methodology without buy-in from multidisciplinary stakeholders and without identifying setting-specific priorities is unlikely to be successful. The Care Quality Improvement Network (CQIN) was established between Network for Improving Critical care Systems and Training (NICST) and University College London Centre for Perioperative Medicine, with the aim of building capacity for research and QI. A two-day international workshop, in collaboration with the College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka, was conducted to address the above deficits. Innovatively, the CQIN adopts a learning health systems (LHS) approach to improving care by leveraging information captured through the NICST electronic multi-centre acute and critical care surveillance platform. Fifty-two delegates from across the CQIN representing clinical, civic and academic healthcare stakeholders from six countries attended the workshop. Mapping of care processes enabled identification of barriers and drivers to the delivery of care and facilitated the selection of feasible QI methods and matrices. Six projects, reflecting key priorities for improving the delivery of acute care in Asia, were collaboratively developed: improving assessment of postoperative pain; optimising sedation in critical care; refining referral of deteriorating patients; reducing surgical site infection after caesarean section; reducing surgical site infection after elective general surgery; and improving provision of timely electrocardiogram recording for patients presenting with signs of acute myocardial infarction. Future project implementation and evaluation will be supported with resources and expertise from the CQIN partners. This LHS approach to building capacity for QI may be of interest to others seeing to improve care in LMICs.