Practice Management Toolbox

Implementation of a population-based cirrhosis identification and management system


Setting and patients

Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) in Houston provides care to more than 111,000 veterans, including more than 3,800 patients with cirrhosis. At the time of P-CIMS implementation, there were three hepatologists and four advanced practice providers (APP) who provided liver-related care at the MEDVAMC.

The primary goal of the initial phase of implementation was to link patients with cirrhosis to regular liver-related care. Thus, the sample was limited to patients who did not have ongoing specialty care (i.e., no liver clinic visits in the last 6 months, including patients who were never seen in liver clinics).

Implementation strategy

We used implementation facilitation (IF), an evidence-based strategy, to implement P-CIMS.10 The IF team included facilitators (F.K., D.S.), local champions (S.M., K.H.), and technical support personnel (e.g., tracker programmers). Core components of IF were leadership engagement, creation of and regular engagement with a local stakeholder group of clinicians, educational outreach to clinicians and support staff, and problem solving. The IF activities took part in two phases: preimplementation and implementation.

Preimplementation phase

We interviewed key stakeholders to identify facilitators and barriers to P-CIMS implementation. One of the implementation facilitators (F.K.) obtained facility and clinical section’s leadership support, engaged key stakeholders, and devised a local implementation plan. Stakeholders included leadership in several disciplines: hepatology, infectious diseases, and primary care. We developed a map of clinical workflow processes to describe optimal integration of P-CIMS into existing workflow (Supplementary Figure 2).

Implementation phase

The facilitators met regularly (biweekly for the first year) with the stakeholder group including local champions and clinical staff. One of the facilitators (D.S.) served as the liaison between the P-CIMS team (F.K., A.M., R.M., T.T.) and the clinic staff to ensure that no patients were getting missed and to follow through on patient referrals to care. The programmers troubleshot technical issues that arose, and both facilitators worked with clinical staff to modify workflow as needed. At the start of IF, the facilitator conducted an initial round of trainings through in-person training or with the use of screen-sharing software. The impact of P-CIMS on patient care was tracked and feedback was provided to clinical staff on a quarterly basis.

Implementation results: Linkage to liver specialty care

P-CIMS was successfully implemented at the MEDVAMC. Patient data were first extracted in October 2015 with five updates through March 2017. In total, four APP, one MD, and the facilitator used the cirrhosis tracker on a regular basis. The clinical team (APP) conducted the initial review, triage, and outreach. It took on average 7 minutes (range, 2–20 minutes) for the initial review and outreach. The APPs entered each follow-up reminder in the tracker. For example, if they negotiated a liver clinic appointment with the patient, then they entered a reminder to follow up with the date by which this step (patient seen in liver clinic) should be completed. The tracker has a built-in alerting function. The implementation team was notified (via the tracker) when these tasks were due to ensure timely receipt of recommended care processes.

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