Scaling Up Quality Improvement for Surgical Teams (QIST) - avoiding surgical site infection and anaemia at the time of surgery: a cluster randomised controlled trial of the effectiveness of quality improvement collaboratives to introduce change in the NHS

Ashley Scrimshire, Alison Booth, Caroline Marie Fairhurst, Elizabeth Coleman, Ajay Malviya, Alwyn Kotze, Chris Tiplady, David Tate, Annie Laverty, Gillian Davis, Win Tadd, Belén Corbacho Martín, David John Torgerson, Catriona Maria McDaid, Mike Reed

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The aim of this trial was to assess the effectiveness of quality improvement collaboratives to implement large-scale change in the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom, specifically for improving outcomes in patients undergoing primary, elective total hip or knee replacement.

We undertook a two arm, cluster randomised controlled trial comparing the roll-out of two preoperative pathways: Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus Aureus (MSSA) decolonisation (infection arm); and anaemia screening and treatment (anaemia arm). NHS Trusts are public sector organisations that provide healthcare within a geographical area. NHS Trusts (n=41) in England providing primary, elective total hip and knee replacements, but that did not have a preoperative anaemia screening or MSSA decolonisation pathway in place, were randomised to one of the two parallel collaboratives. Collaboratives took place from May 2018 to November 2019. Twenty-seven Trusts completed the trial (11 anaemia, 16 infection). Outcome data were collected for procedures performed between November 2018 and November 2019.

Co-primary outcomes were perioperative blood transfusion (within 7 days of surgery) and deep surgical site infection (SSI) caused by MSSA (within 90 days post-surgery) for the anaemia and infection trial arms respectively. Secondary outcomes were deep and superficial SSIs (any organism), length of hospital stay, critical care admissions, and unplanned readmissions. Process measures included the proportion of eligible patients receiving each preoperative initiative.

There were 19,254 procedures from 27 NHS Trusts included in the results (6,324 from 11 Trusts in the anaemia arm, 12,930 from 16 Trusts in the infection arm). There were no improvements observed for blood transfusion (anaemia arm 183 (2.9%); infection arm 302 (2.3%) transfusions; adjusted odds ratio 1.20, 95% CI 0.52-2.75, p=0.67) or MSSA deep SSI (anaemia arm 8 (0.13%); infection arm 18 (0.14%); adjusted odds ratio 1.01, 95% CI 0.42-2.46, p=0.98). There were no significant improvements in any secondary outcome. This is despite process measures showing the preoperative pathways were implemented for 73.7% and 61.1% of eligible procedures in the infection and anaemia arms respectively.

Quality improvement collaboratives did not result in improved patient outcomes in this trial; however, there was some evidence they may support successful implementation of new preoperative pathways in the NHS.
Original languageEnglish
Article number22
Number of pages16
JournalImplementation science
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2022

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