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Jt Comm J Qual Improv. 2001 Oct;27(10):540-54.

A continuous improvement process for health providers of victims of domestic violence.

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Department of Chronic Nursing Care, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio Safe Family Coalition, Mail Code 7950, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900, USA.



Health care providers can play an important role in the prevention of domestic violence through established processes of identification, safety assessment, validation, documentation, and referral. In 1998 the Safe Family Project, funded by University Health System (UHS), affiliated with University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, provided for a clinical review of existing services for victims of domestic violence. A subsequent review of the health system's policy and clinical practice supported the need for resources and training and for an improved care process for victims of domestic violence. THE CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT PROCESS (CIP) MODEL: UHS adapted the Shewhart cycle of activities popularly referred to as PDSA (plan change, do change, study results, act on results), a systematic, process-focused approach to achieving continuous and measurable improvement, as its CIP model, and it formed a process improvement team. This process led to translation of research findings into best practice guidelines for treatment of domestic violence and staff education.


Significant improvements were made in the overall qualitative chart reviews, although the diagnostic coding (using ICD-9 codes and e-codes) did improve. The CIP can be replicated in other settings to improve the care of victims of domestic violence.


The CIP effort is being extended to outpatient facilities, and managers have requested that the training manual be replicated and placed throughout UHS as a resource manual. Other activities are intended to improve prevention of domestic violence and intervention when it occurs.

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