BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of a quality improvement program for improving stroke care and the determinants of success at the team and hospital levels. METHOD: For 16 months, 23 multidisciplinary stroke service teams participated in a quality improvement collaborative designed to set up stroke services and reduce the length of hospital stay (LOHS). We monitored the LOHS and the discharge delay during the project and measured indicators of well organized stroke services at baseline and after the intervention. A multiple and multilevel regression model was used to relate the outcome variables to the team and hospital characteristics. National LOHS figures served as reference data. RESULTS: Data regarding 4549 stroke patients were included in the analyses. The LOHS decreased significantly from 18.3 to 13.3 days. The mean LOHS varied substantially (9.2 to 20.9 days) after the intervention. Teams with higher team functioning scores showed lower LOHS scores and higher scores for the indicators of well organized stroke services. Team characteristics explain almost 40% of the variance in LOHS and 53% in the indicators of well organized stroke care. CONCLUSION: Participation in a national quality improvement collaborative effected a significant decrease of the LOHS and a significant increase in the presence of key features of stroke services. Variation in ability to reduce the LOHS and increase key features of stroke services were related to team functioning. The data suggest that the composite of team functioning is pivotal in quality-of-care improvement and may need specific attention in any quality improvement program.

, , ,,
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Schouten, L.M.T, Hulscher, M.E.J.L, Akkermans, R.P, van Everdingen, J.J.E, Grol, R.P.T.M, & Huijsman, R. (2008). Factors that influence the stroke care team's effectiveness in reducing the length of hospital stay. Stroke, 39(9), 2515–2521. doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.107.510537