The influence of contextual factors on healthcare quality improvement initiatives: what works, for whom and in what setting? Protocol for a realist review

Emma Coles (Lead / Corresponding author), Mary Wells, Margaret Maxwell, Fiona M. Harris, Julie Anderson, Nicola M. Gray, Gill Milner, Stephen MacGillivray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Background: Context shapes the effectiveness of knowledge implementation and influences health improvement. Successful healthcare quality improvement (QI) initiatives frequently fail to transfer to different settings, with local contextual factors often cited as the cause. Understanding and overcoming contextual barriers is therefore crucial to implementing effective improvement; yet context is still poorly understood. There is a paucity of information on the mechanisms underlying how and why QI projects succeed or fail in given settings. A realist review of empirical studies of healthcare QI initiatives will be undertaken to examine the influence and impact of contextual factors on quality improvement in healthcare settings and explore whether QI initiatives can work in all contexts.

Methods: The review will explore which contextual factors are important, and how, why, when and for whom they are important, within varied settings. The dynamic nature of context and change over time will be explored by examining which aspects of context impact at key points in the improvement trajectory. The review will also consider the influence of context on improvement outcomes (provider- and patient-level), spread and sustainability. The review process will follow five iterative steps: (1) clarify scope, (2) search for evidence, (3) appraise primary studies and extract data, (4) synthesise evidence and draw conclusions and (5) disseminate findings. The reviewers will consult with experts and stakeholders in the early stages to focus the review and develop a programme theory consisting of explanatory ‘context–mechanism–outcome’ configurations. Searches for primary evidence will be conducted iteratively. Data will be extracted and tested against the programme theory. A review advisory group will oversee the review process. Review findings will follow RAMESES guidelines and will be disseminated via a report, presentations and peer-reviewed publications.

Discussion: The review will update and consolidate evidence on the contextual conditions for effective improvement and distil new knowledge to inform the design and development of context-sensitive QI initiatives. This review ties in with the study of improvement programmes as vehicles of change and the development of an evidence base around healthcare improvement by addressing whether QI initiatives can work in all contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number168
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalSystematic Reviews
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2017

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Quality Improvement
Delivery of Health Care
Publications
Guidelines
Health

Keywords

  • Realist review
  • Realist synthesis
  • Context
  • Quality improvement
  • Health improvement
  • Implementation
  • Healthcare
  • Knowledge translation
  • Evidence-based practice

Cite this

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title = "The influence of contextual factors on healthcare quality improvement initiatives: what works, for whom and in what setting? Protocol for a realist review",
abstract = "Background: Context shapes the effectiveness of knowledge implementation and influences health improvement. Successful healthcare quality improvement (QI) initiatives frequently fail to transfer to different settings, with local contextual factors often cited as the cause. Understanding and overcoming contextual barriers is therefore crucial to implementing effective improvement; yet context is still poorly understood. There is a paucity of information on the mechanisms underlying how and why QI projects succeed or fail in given settings. A realist review of empirical studies of healthcare QI initiatives will be undertaken to examine the influence and impact of contextual factors on quality improvement in healthcare settings and explore whether QI initiatives can work in all contexts.Methods: The review will explore which contextual factors are important, and how, why, when and for whom they are important, within varied settings. The dynamic nature of context and change over time will be explored by examining which aspects of context impact at key points in the improvement trajectory. The review will also consider the influence of context on improvement outcomes (provider- and patient-level), spread and sustainability. The review process will follow five iterative steps: (1) clarify scope, (2) search for evidence, (3) appraise primary studies and extract data, (4) synthesise evidence and draw conclusions and (5) disseminate findings. The reviewers will consult with experts and stakeholders in the early stages to focus the review and develop a programme theory consisting of explanatory ‘context–mechanism–outcome’ configurations. Searches for primary evidence will be conducted iteratively. Data will be extracted and tested against the programme theory. A review advisory group will oversee the review process. Review findings will follow RAMESES guidelines and will be disseminated via a report, presentations and peer-reviewed publications. Discussion: The review will update and consolidate evidence on the contextual conditions for effective improvement and distil new knowledge to inform the design and development of context-sensitive QI initiatives. This review ties in with the study of improvement programmes as vehicles of change and the development of an evidence base around healthcare improvement by addressing whether QI initiatives can work in all contexts.",
keywords = "Realist review, Realist synthesis, Context, Quality improvement, Health improvement, Implementation, Healthcare, Knowledge translation, Evidence-based practice",
author = "Emma Coles and Mary Wells and Margaret Maxwell and Harris, {Fiona M.} and Julie Anderson and Gray, {Nicola M.} and Gill Milner and Stephen MacGillivray",
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The influence of contextual factors on healthcare quality improvement initiatives : what works, for whom and in what setting? Protocol for a realist review. / Coles, Emma (Lead / Corresponding author); Wells, Mary; Maxwell, Margaret; Harris, Fiona M.; Anderson, Julie; Gray, Nicola M.; Milner, Gill; MacGillivray, Stephen.

In: Systematic Reviews, Vol. 6, 168, 23.08.2017, p. 1-10.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - The influence of contextual factors on healthcare quality improvement initiatives

T2 - what works, for whom and in what setting? Protocol for a realist review

AU - Coles, Emma

AU - Wells, Mary

AU - Maxwell, Margaret

AU - Harris, Fiona M.

AU - Anderson, Julie

AU - Gray, Nicola M.

AU - Milner, Gill

AU - MacGillivray, Stephen

N1 - The review for which this protocol has been developed is affiliated to the Scottish Improvement Science Collaborating Centre (SISCC), which is funded by the Scottish Funding Council, the Chief Scientist’s Office, NHS Education for Scotland and the Health Foundation.

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Y1 - 2017/8/23

N2 - Background: Context shapes the effectiveness of knowledge implementation and influences health improvement. Successful healthcare quality improvement (QI) initiatives frequently fail to transfer to different settings, with local contextual factors often cited as the cause. Understanding and overcoming contextual barriers is therefore crucial to implementing effective improvement; yet context is still poorly understood. There is a paucity of information on the mechanisms underlying how and why QI projects succeed or fail in given settings. A realist review of empirical studies of healthcare QI initiatives will be undertaken to examine the influence and impact of contextual factors on quality improvement in healthcare settings and explore whether QI initiatives can work in all contexts.Methods: The review will explore which contextual factors are important, and how, why, when and for whom they are important, within varied settings. The dynamic nature of context and change over time will be explored by examining which aspects of context impact at key points in the improvement trajectory. The review will also consider the influence of context on improvement outcomes (provider- and patient-level), spread and sustainability. The review process will follow five iterative steps: (1) clarify scope, (2) search for evidence, (3) appraise primary studies and extract data, (4) synthesise evidence and draw conclusions and (5) disseminate findings. The reviewers will consult with experts and stakeholders in the early stages to focus the review and develop a programme theory consisting of explanatory ‘context–mechanism–outcome’ configurations. Searches for primary evidence will be conducted iteratively. Data will be extracted and tested against the programme theory. A review advisory group will oversee the review process. Review findings will follow RAMESES guidelines and will be disseminated via a report, presentations and peer-reviewed publications. Discussion: The review will update and consolidate evidence on the contextual conditions for effective improvement and distil new knowledge to inform the design and development of context-sensitive QI initiatives. This review ties in with the study of improvement programmes as vehicles of change and the development of an evidence base around healthcare improvement by addressing whether QI initiatives can work in all contexts.

AB - Background: Context shapes the effectiveness of knowledge implementation and influences health improvement. Successful healthcare quality improvement (QI) initiatives frequently fail to transfer to different settings, with local contextual factors often cited as the cause. Understanding and overcoming contextual barriers is therefore crucial to implementing effective improvement; yet context is still poorly understood. There is a paucity of information on the mechanisms underlying how and why QI projects succeed or fail in given settings. A realist review of empirical studies of healthcare QI initiatives will be undertaken to examine the influence and impact of contextual factors on quality improvement in healthcare settings and explore whether QI initiatives can work in all contexts.Methods: The review will explore which contextual factors are important, and how, why, when and for whom they are important, within varied settings. The dynamic nature of context and change over time will be explored by examining which aspects of context impact at key points in the improvement trajectory. The review will also consider the influence of context on improvement outcomes (provider- and patient-level), spread and sustainability. The review process will follow five iterative steps: (1) clarify scope, (2) search for evidence, (3) appraise primary studies and extract data, (4) synthesise evidence and draw conclusions and (5) disseminate findings. The reviewers will consult with experts and stakeholders in the early stages to focus the review and develop a programme theory consisting of explanatory ‘context–mechanism–outcome’ configurations. Searches for primary evidence will be conducted iteratively. Data will be extracted and tested against the programme theory. A review advisory group will oversee the review process. Review findings will follow RAMESES guidelines and will be disseminated via a report, presentations and peer-reviewed publications. Discussion: The review will update and consolidate evidence on the contextual conditions for effective improvement and distil new knowledge to inform the design and development of context-sensitive QI initiatives. This review ties in with the study of improvement programmes as vehicles of change and the development of an evidence base around healthcare improvement by addressing whether QI initiatives can work in all contexts.

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KW - Realist synthesis

KW - Context

KW - Quality improvement

KW - Health improvement

KW - Implementation

KW - Healthcare

KW - Knowledge translation

KW - Evidence-based practice

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