Improving Escalation of Care: Development and Validation of the Quality of Information Transfer Tool

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Abstract

Objective:

To develop and provide validity and feasibility evidence for the QUality of Information Transfer (QUIT) tool.

Background:

Prompt escalation of care in the setting of patient deterioration can prevent further harm. Escalation and information transfer skills are not currently measured in surgery.

Methods:

This study comprised 3 phases: the development (phase 1), validation (phase 2), and feasibility analysis (phase 3) of the QUIT tool. Phase 1 involved identification of core skills needed for successful escalation of care through literature review and 33 semistructured interviews with stakeholders. Phase 2 involved the generation of validity evidence for the tool using a simulated setting. Thirty surgeons assessed a deteriorating postoperative patient in a simulated ward and escalated their care to a senior colleague. The face and content validity were assessed using a survey. Construct and concurrent validity of the tool were determined by comparing performance scores using the QUIT tool with those measured using the Situation-Background-Assessment-Recommendation (SBAR) tool. Phase 3 was conducted using direct observation of escalation scenarios on surgical wards in 2 hospitals.

Results:

A 7-category assessment tool was developed from phase 1 consisting of 24 items. Twenty-one of 24 items had excellent content validity (content validity index >0.8). All 7 categories and 18 of 24 (P < 0.05) items demonstrated construct validity. The correlation between the QUIT and SBAR tools used was strong indicating concurrent validity (r = 0.694, P < 0.001). Real-time scoring of escalation referrals was feasible and indicated that doctors currently have better information transfer skills than nurses when faced with a deteriorating patient.

Conclusions:

A validated tool to assess information transfer for deteriorating surgical patients was developed and tested using simulation and real-time clinical scenarios. It may improve the quality and safety of patient care on the surgical ward.

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