• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

In the current atmosphere of closer scrutiny of healthcare practices and procedures, front-line managers and health care providers must investigate potential problems in their work environment, whether at the behest of upper management, in order to meet Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO) standards, or through their own sense that “weÆre doing something wrong.” For the investigator with limited previous experience in evaluation or research, the prospect of undertaking this kind of investigation can appear daunting, to say the least. Quality Improvement Projects in Health Care was written just for this individual. Author Eleanor Gilpatrick, a seasoned investigator and professor of health services administration, provides a review of the basic terminology and guidelines for carrying out “nuts-and-bolts” quality improvement research. She then demonstrates how such a research project can be implemented through 14 case studies involving actual health care situations. Altogether, the cases speak to a broad array of issues and potential pitfalls for the unwary investigatorŭand they show that progress can be made in even the most difficult circumstances. Quality Improvement Projects in Health Care will be of interest to students and professionals in health sciences administration, nursing, allied health, and public health.

Use of Data on Unusual Occurrences in an Emergency Medical Service1
Case 14: Use of data on unusual occurrences in an emergency medical service

This case is an example of continuous quality improvement. The internal consultant investigated an opportunity to improve service by using data already being collected, and all involved were committed to the idea.

Proving the Problem
The Problem and Client

Nick, the internal consultant, was in charge of staff in the operations office of a large emergency medical service (EMS). He knew that the department accumulated reports, called Unusual Occurrence Reports (UORs), about nonroutine problems in the service, but he had never seen any use made of them to identify trends or patterns of problems or to plan preventive measures. He asked whether he could use ...

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