• Hidden labour: The skilful work of clinical audit data collection and its implications for secondary use of data via integrated health IT

      McVey, Lynn; Alvarado, Natasha; Greenhalgh, J.; Elshehaly, Mai; Gale, C.P.; Lake, J.; Ruddle, R.A.; Dowding, D.; Mamas, M.; Feltbower, R.; et al. (Springer/Biomed Central, 2021-07-16)
      Background: Secondary use of data via integrated health information technology is fundamental to many healthcare policies and processes worldwide. However, repurposing data can be problematic and little research has been undertaken into the everyday practicalities of inter-system data sharing that helps explain why this is so, especially within (as opposed to between) organisations. In response, this article reports one of the most detailed empirical examinations undertaken to date of the work involved in repurposing healthcare data for National Clinical Audits. Methods: Fifty-four semi-structured, qualitative interviews were carried out with staff in five English National Health Service hospitals about their audit work, including 20 staff involved substantively with audit data collection. In addition, ethnographic observations took place on wards, in ‘back offices’ and meetings (102 hours). Findings were analysed thematically and synthesised in narratives. Results: Although data were available within hospital applications for secondary use in some audit fields, which could, in theory, have been auto-populated, in practice staff regularly negotiated multiple, unintegrated systems to generate audit records. This work was complex and skilful, and involved cross-checking and double data entry, often using paper forms, to assure data quality and inform quality improvements. Conclusions: If technology is to facilitate the secondary use of healthcare data, the skilled but largely hidden labour of those who collect and recontextualise those data must be recognised. Their detailed understandings of what it takes to produce high quality data in specific contexts should inform the further development of integrated systems within organisations.
    • How, in what contexts, and why do quality dashboards lead to improvements in care quality in acute hospitals? Protocol for a realist feasibility evaluation

      Randell, Rebecca; Alvarado, Natasha; McVey, Lynn; Greenhalgh, J.; West, R.M.; Farrin, A.; Gale, C.; Parslow, R.; Keen, J.; Elshehaly, Mai; et al. (2020-02-25)
      National audits are used to monitor care quality and safety and are anticipated to reduce unexplained variations in quality by stimulating quality improvement (QI). However, variation within and between providers in the extent of engagement with national audits means that the potential for national audit data to inform QI is not being realised. This study will undertake a feasibility evaluation of QualDash, a quality dashboard designed to support clinical teams and managers to explore data from two national audits, the Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project (MINAP) and the Paediatric Intensive Care Audit Network (PICANet). Realist evaluation, which involves building, testing and refining theories of how an intervention works, provides an overall framework for this feasibility study. Realist hypotheses that describe how, in what contexts, and why QualDash is expected to provide benefit will be tested across five hospitals. A controlled interrupted time series analysis, using key MINAP and PICANet measures, will provide preliminary evidence of the impact of QualDash, while ethnographic observations and interviews over 12 months will provide initial insight into contexts and mechanisms that lead to those impacts. Feasibility outcomes include the extent to which MINAP and PICANet data are used, data completeness in the audits, and the extent to which participants perceive QualDash to be useful and express the intention to continue using it after the study period. The study has been approved by the University of Leeds School of Healthcare Research Ethics Committee. Study results will provide an initial understanding of how, in what contexts, and why quality dashboards lead to improvements in care quality. These will be disseminated to academic audiences, study participants, hospital IT departments and national audits. If the results show a trial is feasible, we will disseminate the QualDash software through a stepped wedge cluster randomised trial.