Quality of Care for Veterans With Transient Ischemic Attack and Minor Stroke

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Abstract

Importance

The timely delivery of guideline-concordant care may reduce the risk of recurrent vascular events for patients with transient ischemic attack (TIA) and minor stroke. Although many health care organizations measure stroke care quality, few evaluate performance for patients with TIA or minor stroke, and most include only a limited subset of guideline-recommended processes.

Objective

To assess the quality of guideline-recommended TIA and minor stroke care across the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) system nationwide.

Design, Setting, and Participants

This cohort study included 8201 patients with TIA or minor stroke cared for in any VHA emergency department (ED) or inpatient setting during federal fiscal year 2014 (October 1, 2013, through September 31, 2014). Patients with length of stay longer than 6 days, ventilator use, feeding tube use, coma, intensive care unit stay, inpatient rehabilitation stay before discharge, or receipt of thrombolysis were excluded. Outlier facilities for each process of care were identified by constructing 95% CIs around the facility pass rate and national pass rate sites when the 95% CIs did not overlap. Data analysis occurred from January 16, 2016, through June 30, 2017.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Ten elements of care were assessed using validated electronic quality measures.

Results

In the 8201 patients included in the study (mean [SD] age, 68.8 [11.4] years; 7877 [96.0%] male; 4856 [59.2%] white), performance varied across elements of care: brain imaging by day 2 (6720/7563 [88.9%]; 95% CI, 88.2%-89.6%), antithrombotic use by day 2 (6265/7477 [83.8%]; 95% CI, 83.0%-84.6%), hemoglobin A1c measurement by discharge or within the preceding 120 days (2859/3464 [82.5%]; 95% CI, 81.2%-83.8%), anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation by day 7 after discharge (1003/1222 [82.1%]; 95% CI, 80.0%-84.2%), deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis by day 2 (3253/4346 [74.9%]; 95% CI, 73.6%-76.2%), hypertension control by day 90 after discharge (4292/5979 [71.8%]; 95% CI, 70.7%-72.9%), neurology consultation by day 1 (5521/7823 [70.6%]; 95% CI, 69.6%-71.6%), electrocardiography by day 2 or within 1 day prior (5073/7570 [67.0%]; 95% CI, 65.9%-68.1%), carotid artery imaging by day 2 or within 6 months prior (4923/7685 [64.1%]; 95% CI, 63.0%-65.2%), and moderate- to high-potency statin prescription by day 7 after discharge (3329/7054 [47.2%]; 95% CI, 46.0%-48.4%). Performance varied substantially across facilities (eg, neurology consultation had a facility outlier rate of 53.0%). Performance was higher for admitted patients than for patients cared for only in EDs with the greatest disparity for carotid artery imaging (4478/5927 [75.6%] vs 445/1758 [25.3%]; P < .001).

Conclusions and Relevance

This national study of VHA system quality of care for patients with TIA or minor stroke identified opportunities to improve care quality, particularly for patients who were discharged from the ED. Health care systems should engage in ongoing TIA care performance assessment to complement existing stroke performance measurement.

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