Blacktown Hospital joins study into processes and patients

Brett Gardiner; Blacktown; Mount Druitt; acting medical director
Director of Medical Services at Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals Dr Brett Gardiner

Blacktown Hospital is taking part in an Australian-first, wide-reaching study into how management systems and processes affect hospital patients.

Director of Medical Services at Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals Dr Brett Gardiner predicts the research will result in better outcomes for patients.

“I think everyone will benefit from the study because it will give some understanding in this country as to the things we are doing from a management level to get better patient outcomes,” Dr Gardiner says.

Deepening our Understanding of Quality in Australia (DUQuA) is an extension of similar research recently conducted in Europe, and is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

More than 30 hospitals are participating nationally in the project which is investigating relationships between quality management systems, clinical processes and patient outcomes.

Jeffrey Braithwaite, professor of Health Systems Research at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation (AIHI) at Macquarie University is heading the research, supported by AIHI research fellow and lead researcher Dr Robyn Clay-Williams. Prof Braithwaite says the investigation is important because of a growing interest in what and how quality improvement activities contribute to better care for hospital patients.

“Quality management systems are seen as integral to the way modern organisations, including hospitals, are run,” he says. “But do these hospital
quality management systems benefit patients?”

The study focuses on treatment in three areas: stroke, hip fracture, and heart attack.

“Many patients suffer from these conditions, and hospitals have developed stringent guidelines for their management,” Prof Braithwaite says.

Doctors and nurses are being interviewed about the quality management practices in their hospitals, and on their wards, as well completing surveys on
the leadership and culture in their workplaces.

Patients are being asked how they have felt, and what they have observed, during their hospital stays.

Dr Gardiner says: “The researchers are coming at it from all different angles.

“They are trying to identify patterns where management processes and patient outcomes intersect in order to ascertain what is being done at a management level that results in better quality of care for our patients.”

Presentation of findings is expected to begin later this year.

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