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J Palliat Med. 2014 Mar;17(3):266-73. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2013.0288. Epub 2014 Feb 18.

Developing an informatics tool to advance supportive care: the Veterans Health Care Administration Palliative Care National Clinical Template.

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1
1 School of Nursing, California State University Long Beach , Long Beach, California.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Increasing emphasis in performance-based payment, public reporting, and quality improvement (QI) has led to widespread interest in measuring and improving the quality of care. By 2014, hospice programs will be required to report quality data to the federal government or incur financial penalties. With this increased interest in quality reporting comes an opportunity to develop informatics tools to capture data that reflect the complex practices involved in palliative care (PC). Therefore, there is a need to disseminate information on developing tools that facilitate capturing data and fostering improved performance. The Veterans Health Care Administration, a national leader in health information technology (HIT) and PC, established the Quality Improvement Resource Center (QuIRC) to develop innovative HIT tools to standardize and improve PC practices throughout the 153 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers nationwide.

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of the paper is to describe the development of the Palliative Care-National Clinical Template (PC-NCT) for documenting initial PC consults.

RESULTS:

Domains of quality of life provided the foundation for this template. Principles of user-centered informatics design guided development activities. A national consensus panel of PC experts prioritized quality indicators as targets for QI. An interdisciplinary team of PC providers identified desired aspects of template functionality. QuIRC balanced PC providers' desired aspects of functionality against the feasibility within the VA HIT system. Formal pilot and usability testing contributed to numerous iterations of the PC-NCT currently piloted in five geographically distributed sites.

CONCLUSION:

This paper presents a robust approach to developing an informatics tool for PC practice. Data collected via the PC-NCT will bring variations in current practice into view and assist in directing resources at "important targets" for QI. Although the development of HIT tools to quantify PC practice is complex, there is enormous potential to improve the quality of care for patients and families facing serious illnesses.

PMID:
24548178
DOI:
10.1089/jpm.2013.0288
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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