Context: A rigorous evaluation of continuous quality improvement (CQI) in medical practice has not been carried out on a national scale. Objective: To test whether low-intensity CQI interventions can be used to speed the national adoption of 2 coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery process-of-care measures: preoperative β-blockade therapy and internal mammary artery (IMA) grafting in patients 75 years or older. Design, Setting, and Participants: Three hundred fifty-nine academic and non-academic hospitals (treating 267 917 patients using CABG surgery) participating in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons National Cardiac Database between January 2000 and July 2002 were randomized to a control arm or to 1 of 2 groups that used CQI interventions designed to increase use of the process-of-care measures. Intervention: Each intervention group received measure-specific information, including a call to action to a physician leader; educational products; and periodic longitudinal, nationally benchmarked, site-specific feedback. Main Outcome Measure: Differential incorporation of the targeted care processes into practice at the intervention sites vs the control sites, assessed by measuring preintervention (January-December 2000)/postintervention (January 2001-July 2002) site differences and by using a hierarchical patient-level analysis. Results: From January 2000 to July 2002, use of both process measures increased nationally β-blockade, 60.0%-65.6%; IMA grafting, 76.2%-82.8%). Use of β-blockade increased significantly more at β-blockade intervention sites (7.3% [SD, 12.8%]) vs control sites (3.6% [SD, 11.5%]) in the preintervention/ postintervention (P=.04) and hierarchical analyses (P<.001). Use of IMA grafting also tended to increase at IMA intervention sites (8.7% [SD, 17.5%]) vs control sites (5.4% [SD,15.8%]) (P=.20 and P=.11 for preintervention/postintervention and hierarchical analyses, respectively). Both interventions tended to have more impact at lower-volume CABG sites (for interaction: P=.04 for β-blockade; P=.02 for IMA grafting). Conclusions: A multifaceted, physician-led, low-intensity CQI effort can improve the adoption of care processes into national practice within the context of a medical specialty society infrastructure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas