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Using Lean-Facilitation to Improve Quality of Hepatitis C Testing in Primary Care.

Yakovchenko V, DeSotto K, Drainoni ML, Lukesh W, Miller DR, Park A, Shao Q, Thornton DJ, Gifford AL. Using Lean-Facilitation to Improve Quality of Hepatitis C Testing in Primary Care. Journal of general internal medicine. 2021 Feb 1; 36(2):349-357.

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BACKGROUND: Lean management has been successfully employed in healthcare to improve outcomes and efficiencies. Facilitation is increasingly being used to support evidence-based practice uptake in healthcare. However, while both Lean and Facilitation are used in healthcare quality improvement, limited research has explored their integration and the sustainability of their combined effects. OBJECTIVE: To improve hepatitis C virus (HCV) screening rates among persons born between 1945 and 1965 through the design and evaluation of a multi-modal Lean-Facilitation intervention (LFI) for Department of Veterans Affairs primary care community clinics. DESIGN: We conducted a mixed methods quasi-experimental evaluation in eight clinics, guided by the integrated Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services framework. PARTICIPANTS: We engaged regional and local leadership (N? = 9), implemented our LFI with clinicians and staff (N? = 68), and conducted summative interviews with participants (N? = 13). INTERVENTION: The LFI included six implementation strategies: (1) external facilitation, (2) stakeholder engagement, (3) champion activation, (4) rapid process improvement sessions, (5) Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles, and (6) audit-feedback. MEASURES: The primary outcome was rate of new HCV screening among previously untested patients with a primary care visit. Using interrupted time series, we analyzed intervention and time effects on HCV testing rates, and administered organizational readiness surveys, conducted summative qualitative interviews, and tracked facilitation events. RESULTS: The LFI was associated with significant, immediate, and sustained increases in HCV testing. No change was detected at matched comparison clinics. Staff accepted the LFI and the philosophy of "bottom-up" solution development yet had mixed feedback on its appropriateness and feasibility. Enablers of implementation and early sustainment included lower satisfaction with baseline HCV testing processes and staff culture, while later sustainment was related to implementation climate support, measurement, and evaluation. CONCLUSIONS: High-reach and relatively low effort, but persistent intervention led to significant improvement in guideline-concordant HCV testing rates which were sustained. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Identifier: NCT02936648.

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