Academic Appointments


Professional Education


  • Ph.D., Harvard Univeristy, Health Policy/Management (2007)
  • M.B.A., Stanford University Graduate School of Business, M.B.A. with Certificate in Public Management (1993)
  • A.B., Princeton University, English with Certificate in European Cultural Studies (1986)

All Publications


  • Toward a Corporate Culture of Health: Results of a National Survey. The Milbank quarterly Kyle, M. A., Seegars, L., Benson, J. M., Blendon, R. J., Huckman, R. S., Singer, S. J. 2019

    Abstract

    Policy Points The private sector has large potential influence over social determinants of health, but we have limited information about how businesses perceive or engage in actions to promote health and well-being. We conducted a national survey of more than 1,000 businesses of varying sizes and industries to benchmark private sector engagement in employee, environmental, consumer, and community health, which we collectively refer to as a corporate culture of health. Overall, the private sector is taking steps to foster health and well-being but still has substantial opportunity for growth.CONTEXT: The private sector has a large potential role in advancing health and well-being, but attention to corporate practices around health tends to focus on a narrow range of issues and on large businesses. Systematically describing private sector engagement in health and well-being is a necessary step toward understanding the current state of the field and developing an agenda for businesses going forward.METHODS: We conducted a national survey of 1,017 private sector organizations to assess current levels of engagement in what we term a culture of health (CoH). We measured corporate CoH along four dimensions, which assess the extent to which businesses promote employee, environmental, consumer, and community health and well-being. We also explored potential explanations for the number of health-related actions taken in each dimension.FINDINGS: On average, businesses took 38% of health-related actions included in our survey. For each dimension, we found variation among businesses in the number of actions taken (on average, there were almost fourfold differences between the bottom and top quartiles of businesses in terms of actions taken). Mentioning health and well-being in the corporate mission, having a strategic plan for CoH, and perceiving a positive return on CoH investments were all associated with businesses' actions taken. Fewer than half of businesses, however, perceived a positive return on their CoH investments.CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the private sector is taking steps to foster health and well-being. However, there remains substantial variation among businesses and opportunity for growth, even among those currently taking the most action. Strengthening the business case for a corporate CoH may increase private sector investments in health and well-being. Actions taken by individual businesses, business groups, industries, and regulators have the potential to improve corporate engagement and impact.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/1468-0009.12418

    View details for PubMedID 31502327

  • Pediatric complex care and surgery comanagement: Preparation for spinal fusion. Journal of child health care : for professionals working with children in the hospital and community Berry, J. G., Glaspy, T., Eagan, B., Singer, S., Glader, L., Emara, N., Cox, J., Glotzbecker, M., Crofton, C., Ward, E., Leahy, I., Salem, J., Troy, M., O'Neill, M., Johnson, C., Ferrari, L. 2019: 1367493519864741

    Abstract

    The aim of this study is to assess the impact of preoperative comanagement with complex care pediatricians (CCP) on children with neuromuscular scoliosis undergoing spinal fusion. We performed chart review of 79 children aged 5-21 years undergoing spinal fusion 1/2014-6/2016 at a children's hospital, with abstraction of clinical documentation from preoperative health evaluations performed regularly by anesthesiologists and irregularly by a CCP. Preoperative referrals to specialists, labs, tests, and care plans needed last minute for surgical clearance were measured. The mean age at surgery was 14 (SD 3) years; cerebral palsy (64%) was the most common neuromuscular condition. Thirty-nine children (49%) had a preoperative CCP evaluation a median 63 days (interquartile range (IQR) 33-156) before the preanesthesia visit. Children with CCP evaluation had more organ systems affected by coexisting conditions than children without an evaluation (median 11 (IQR 9-12) vs. 8 (IQR 5-11); p < .001). The rate of last-minute care coordination activities required for surgical clearance was lower for children with versus without CCP evaluation (1.8 vs. 3.6). A lower percentage of children with CCP evaluation required last-minute development of new preoperative plans (26% vs. 50%, p = .002). Children with CCP involvement were better prepared for surgery, requiring fewer last-minute care coordination activities for surgical clearance.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/1367493519864741

    View details for PubMedID 31359785

  • Comparing Diagnostic Evaluations for Rectal Bleeding and Breast Lumps in Primary Care: a Retrospective Cohort Study JOURNAL OF GENERAL INTERNAL MEDICINE Pace, L. E., Percac-Lima, S., Nguyen, K. H., Crofton, C. N., Normandin, K. A., Singer, S. J., Rosenthal, M. B., Chien, A. T. 2019; 34 (7): 1146–53
  • Optimizing patient partnership in primary care improvement: A qualitative study. Health care management review Alidina, S., Martelli, P. F., Singer, S. J., Aveling, E. 2019

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND: The need to expand and better engage patients in primary care improvement persists.PURPOSE: Recognizing a continuum of forms of engagement, this study focused on identifying lessons for optimizing patient partnerships, wherein engagement is characterized by shared decision-making and practice improvement codesign.METHODOLOGY: Twenty-three semistructured interviews with providers and patients involved in improvement efforts in seven U.S. primary care practices in the Academic Innovations Collaborative (AIC). The AIC aimed to implement primary care improvement, emphasizing patient engagement in the process. Data were analyzed thematically.RESULTS: Sites varied in their achievement of patient partnerships, encountering material, technical, and sociocultural obstacles. Time was a challenge for all sites, as was engaging a diversity of patients. Technical training on improvement processes and shared learning "on the job" were important. External, organizational, and individual-level resources helped overcome sociocultural challenges: The AIC drove provider buy-in, a team-based improvement approach helped shift relationships from providers and recipients toward teammates, and individual qualities and behaviors that flattened hierarchies and strengthened interpersonal relationships further enhanced "teamness." A key factor influencing progress toward transformative partnerships was a strong shared learning journey, characterized by frequent interactions, proximity to improvement decision-making, and learning together from the "lived experience" of practice improvement. Teams came to value not only patients' knowledge but also changes wrought by working collaboratively over time.CONCLUSION: Establishing practice improvement partnerships remains challenging, but partnering with patients on improvement journeys offers distinctive gains for high-quality patient-centered care.PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Engaging diverse patient partners requires significant disruption to organizational norms and routines, and the trend toward team-based primary care offers a fertile context for patient partnerships. Material, technical, and sociocultural resources should be evaluated not only for whether they overcome specific challenges but also for how they enhance the shared learning journey.This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CCBY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/HMR.0000000000000250

    View details for PubMedID 31135618

  • Organizational Coordination and Patient Experiences of Specialty Care Integration. Journal of general internal medicine Mohr, D. C., Benzer, J. K., Vimalananda, V. G., Singer, S. J., Meterko, M., McIntosh, N., Harvey, K. L., Seibert, M. N., Charns, M. P. 2019

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND: Delivering care to patients with complex healthcare needs benefits from coordination among healthcare providers. Greater levels of care coordination have been associated with more favorable patient experiences, cost management, and lower utilization of services. Organizational approaches consider how systems, practices, and relationships influence coordination and associated outcomes.OBJECTIVE: Examine measures of organizational coordination and their association with patient experiences of care coordination involving specialists.DESIGN: Cross-sectional surveys of patients and primary care providers (PCPs).PARTICIPANTS: Final sample included 3183 patients matched to 233 PCPs from the Veterans Health Administration. All patients had a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes mellitus and one of four other conditions: hypertension; congestive heart failure; depression/anxiety; or severe mental illness/posttraumatic stress disorder.MAIN MEASURES: Patients completed a survey assessing perceptions of coordinated care. We examined ratings on three domains: specialist knowledge management; knowledge integration across settings and time; and knowledge fragmentation across settings and time. We created care coordination measures involving the PCP and three specialty provider types. PCPs provided ratings on relational coordination for specialists, feedback coordination, and team coordination. We aligned patient's specialty services used with corresponding PCP ratings of that specialty.KEY RESULTS: Patient ratings were significantly lower on specialist knowledge management and knowledge integration when either PCPs did not use feedback coordination (b=-.20; b=-.17, respectively) or rated feedback coordination lower (b=-.08 for both). Teamwork was significantly related to specialist knowledge management (b=.06), knowledge integration (b=.04); and knowledge fragmentation (b=-.04). Relational coordination was related to coordination between the primary care provider and (i) diabetes specialist (b=.09) and (ii) mental health provider (b=.12).CONCLUSIONS: Practices to improve provider coordination within and across primary care and specialty care services may improve patient experiences of care coordination. Improvements in these areas may improve care efficiency and effectiveness.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11606-019-04973-0

    View details for PubMedID 31098971

  • Comparing Diagnostic Evaluations for Rectal Bleeding and Breast Lumps in Primary Care: a Retrospective Cohort Study. Journal of general internal medicine Pace, L. E., Percac-Lima, S., Nguyen, K. H., Crofton, C. N., Normandin, K. A., Singer, S. J., Rosenthal, M. B., Chien, A. T. 2019

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND: Inadequate diagnostic evaluations of breast lumps and rectal bleeding in primary care are an important source of medical errors. Delays appear particularly common in evaluation of rectal bleeding. Comparing pursuit and completion of diagnostic testing for these two conditions within the same practice settings could help highlight barriers and inform interventions.OBJECTIVES: To examine processes undertaken for diagnostic evaluations of breast lumps and rectal bleeding within the same practices and to compare them with regard to (a) the likelihood that diagnostic tests are ordered according to guidelines and (b) the timeliness of order placement and completion.DESIGN: A retrospective cohort study using explicit chart abstraction methods.PARTICIPANTS: Three hundred women aged 30-80 presenting with breast lumps and 300 men and women aged 40-80years presenting with rectal bleeding to 15 academically affiliated primary care practices, 2012-2016.MAIN MEASURES: Rates and timing of test ordering and completion and patterns of visits and communications.KEY RESULTS: At initial presentation, physicians ordered recommended imaging or procedures at higher rates for patients with breast lumps compared to those with rectal bleeding (97% vs. 86% of patients recommended to receive imaging or endoscopy; p<0.01). Most (90%) patients with breast lumps completed recommended diagnostic testing within 1month, versus 31% of patients with rectal bleeding (p<0.01). By 1year, 7% of patients with breast lumps had not completed indicated imaging, versus 27% of those with rectal bleeding. Patients with breast lumps had fewer subsequent primary care visits related or unrelated to their symptom and had fewer related communications with specialists.LIMITATIONS: The study relied on documented care, and findings may be most generalizable to academically affiliated institutions.CONCLUSIONS: Diagnostic processes for rectal bleeding were less frequently guideline-concordant and timely than those for breast lumps. The largest discrepancies occurred in initial ordering of indicated tests and the timeliness of test completion.

    View details for PubMedID 31011969

  • Predicting Postoperative Physiologic Decline After Surgery. Pediatrics Berry, J. G., Johnson, C., Crofton, C., Staffa, S. J., DiTillio, M., Leahy, I., Salem, J., Rangel, S. J., Singer, S. J., Ferrari, L. 2019

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND: Projecting postoperative recovery in pediatric surgical patients is challenging. We assessed how the patients' number of complex chronic conditions (CCCs) and chronic medications interacted with active health issues to influence the likelihood of postoperative physiologic decline (PoPD).METHODS: A prospective study of 3295 patients undergoing elective surgery at a freestanding children's hospital. During preoperative clinical evaluation, active health problems, CCCs, and medications were documented. PoPD (compromise of cardiovascular, respiratory, and/or neurologic systems) was measured prospectively every 4 hours by inpatient nurses. PoPD odds were estimated with multivariable logistic regression. Classification and regression tree analysis distinguished children with the highest and lowest likelihood of PoPD.RESULTS: Median age at surgery was 8 years (interquartile range: 2-15); 2336 (70.9%) patients had a CCC; and 241 (7.3%) used ≥11 home medications. During preoperative evaluation, 1556 (47.2%) patients had ≥1 active health problem. After surgery, 882 (26.8%) experienced PoPD. The adjusted odds of PoPD were 1.2 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.0-1.4) for presence versus absence of an active health problem; 1.4 (95% CI: 1.0-1.9) for ≥11 vs 0 home medications; and 2.2 (95% CI: 1.7-2.9) for ≥3 vs 0 CCCs. In classification and regression tree analysis, the lowest rate of PoPD (8.6%) occurred in children without an active health problem at the preoperative evaluation; the highest rate (57.2%) occurred in children with a CCC who used ≥11 home medications.CONCLUSIONS: Greater than 1 in 4 pediatric patients undergoing elective surgery experienced PoPD. Combinations of active health problems at preoperative evaluation, polypharmacy, and multimorbidity distinguished patients with a low versus high risk of PoPD.

    View details for PubMedID 30824493

  • Parent-to-Parent Advice on Considering Spinal Fusion in Children with Neuromuscular Scoliosis. The Journal of pediatrics Garrity, B., Berry, J., Crofton, C., Ward, E., Cox, J., Glader, L., Bastianelli, L., Emans, J., Glotzbecker, M., Emara, N., Salem, J., Jabur, T., Higgins, S., Shapiro, J., Singer, S. 2019

    Abstract

    To convey advice from families whose children recently underwent spinal fusion to families whose children are under consideration for initial spinal fusion for neuromuscular scoliosis and to providers who counsel families on this decision.We interviewed 18 families of children who underwent spinal fusion between August 2017 and January 2019 at a freestanding children's hospital. We conducted phone interviews a median of 65 (IQR 51-77) days after surgery. We audio recorded, transcribed, and coded (line-by-line) interviews using grounded theory by 2 independent reviewers, and discussed among investigators to induce themes associated with surgical decision making and preparation.Six themes emerged about decision making and preparation for spinal fusion: (1) simplify risks and benefits; it is easy to get lost in the details; (2) families prolonging the decision whether or not to pursue spinal fusion surgery may not benefit the child; (3) anticipate anxiety and fear when making a decision about spinal fusion; (4) realize that your child might experience a large amount of pain; (5) anticipate a long recovery and healing process after spinal fusion; and (6) be engaged and advocate for your child throughout the perioperative spinal fusion process.Parents of children who had recently undergone spinal fusion had strong perceptions about what information to convey to families considering surgery, which may improve communication between future parents and physicians. Further investigation is needed to assess how best to incorporate the wisdom and experiences of parent peers into shared decision making and preparation for spinal fusion in children with neuromuscular scoliosis.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpeds.2019.05.055

    View details for PubMedID 31253410

  • Incorporating Theory into Practice: Reconceptualizing Exemplary Care Coordination Initiatives from the US Veterans Health Delivery System. Journal of general internal medicine McDonald, K. M., Singer, S. J., Gorin, S. S., Haggstrom, D. A., Hynes, D. M., Charns, M. P., Yano, E. M., Lucatorto, M. A., Zulman, D. M., Ong, M. K., Axon, R. N., Vogel, D., Upton, M. 2019

    Abstract

    This perspective paper seeks to lay out an efficient approach for health care providers, researchers, and other stakeholders involved in interventions aimed at improving care coordination to partner in locating and using applicable care coordination theory. The objective is to learn from relevant theory-based literature about fit between intervention options and coordination needs, thereby bringing insights from theory to enhance intervention design, implementation, and troubleshooting. To take this idea from an abstract notion to tangible application, our workgroup on models and measures from the Veterans Health Administration (VA) State of the Art (SOTA) conference on care coordination first summarizes our distillation of care coordination theoretical frameworks (models) into three common conceptual domains-context of an intervention, locus in which an intervention is applied, and specific design features of the intervention. Then we apply these three conceptual domains to four cases of care coordination interventions ("use cases") chosen to represent various scopes and stages of interventions to improve care coordination for veterans. Taken together, these examples make theory more accessible and practical by demonstrating how it can be applied to specific cases. Drawing from theory offers one method to anticipate which intervention options match a particular coordination situation.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11606-019-04969-w

    View details for PubMedID 31098965

  • Health Care Coordination Theoretical Frameworks: a Systematic Scoping Review to Increase Their Understanding and Use in Practice. Journal of general internal medicine Peterson, K., Anderson, J., Bourne, D., Charns, M. P., Gorin, S. S., Hynes, D. M., McDonald, K. M., Singer, S. J., Yano, E. M. 2019

    Abstract

    Care coordination is crucial to avoid potential risks of care fragmentation in people with complex care needs. While there are many empirical and conceptual approaches to measuring and improving care coordination, use of theory is limited by its complexity and the wide variability of available frameworks. We systematically identified and categorized existing care coordination theoretical frameworks in new ways to make the theory-to-practice link more accessible.To identify relevant frameworks, we searched MEDLINE®, Cochrane, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and SocINDEX from 2010 to May 2018, and various other nonbibliographic sources. We summarized framework characteristics and organized them using categories from the Sustainable intEgrated chronic care modeLs for multi-morbidity: delivery, FInancing, and performancE (SELFIE) framework. Based on expert input, we then categorized available frameworks on consideration of whether they addressed contextual factors, what locus they addressed, and their design elements. We used predefined criteria for study selection and data abstraction.Among 4389 citations, we identified 37 widely diverse frameworks, including 16 recent frameworks unidentified by previous reviews. Few led to development of measures (39%) or initiatives (6%). We identified 5 that are most relevant to primary care. The 2018 framework by Weaver et al., describing relationships between a wide range of primary care-specific domains, may be the most useful to those investigating the effectiveness of primary care coordination approaches. We also identified 3 frameworks focused on locus and design features of implementation that could prove especially useful to those responsible for implementing care coordination.This review identified the most comprehensive frameworks and their main emphases for several general practice-relevant applications. Greater application of these frameworks in the design and evaluation of coordination approaches may increase their consistent implementation and measurement. Future research should emphasize implementation-focused frameworks that better identify factors and mechanisms through which an initiative achieves impact.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11606-019-04966-z

    View details for PubMedID 31098976

  • Business Strategies to Promote Health-Reply. JAMA Koh, H. K., Singer, S. J., Edmondson, A. C. 2019; 321 (21): 2134

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jama.2019.2803

    View details for PubMedID 31162565

  • Understanding Maternity Care Coordination for Women Veterans Using an Integrated Care Model Approach. Journal of general internal medicine Mattocks, K. M., Kroll-Desrosiers, A., Kinney, R., Singer, S. 2019

    Abstract

    An increasing number of women veterans are using VA maternity benefits for their pregnancies. However, because the VA does not offer obstetrical care, women must seek maternity care from non-VA providers. The growing number of women using non-VA care has increased the importance of understanding how this care is integrated with ongoing VA medical and mental health services and how perceptions of care integration impact healthcare utilization. Therefore, we sought to understand these relationships among a sample of postpartum veterans utilizing VA maternity benefits.We fielded a modified version of the Patient Perceptions of Integrated Care survey among a sample of postpartum veterans who had utilized VA maternity benefits for their pregnancies (n = 276). We assessed relationships between perceptions of six domains of patient-reported integrated care, indicating how well-integrated patients perceived the care received from VA and non-VA clinicians, and utilization of mental healthcare following pregnancy.Domain scores were highest for items focused on VA care, including test result communication and VA provider's knowledge of patient's medical conditions. Scores were lower for obstetrician's knowledge of patient's medical history. Women with depressive symptom scores indicative of depression rated test result communication as highly integrated, while women who received mental healthcare following pregnancy had low integrated care ratings for the Support for Medication and Home Health Management domain, indicating a lack of support for mental health conditions following pregnancy.Among a group of postpartum veterans, poor ratings of integrated care across some domains were associated with higher rates of mental healthcare use following pregnancy. Further assessment of integrated care by patients may assist VA providers and policymakers in developing systems to ensure integrated care for veterans who receive care outside the VA.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11606-019-04974-z

    View details for PubMedID 31098973

  • Survey of Patient-Centered Coordination of Care for Diabetes with Cardiovascular and Mental Health Comorbidities in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Journal of general internal medicine Benzer, J. K., Singer, S. J., Mohr, D. C., McIntosh, N., Meterko, M., Vimalananda, V. G., Harvey, K. L., Seibert, M. N., Charns, M. P. 2019

    Abstract

    Multiple comorbidities thought to be associated with poor coordination due to the need for shared treatment plans and active involvement of patients, among other factors. Cardiovascular and mental health comorbidities present potential coordination challenges relative to diabetes.To determine how cardiovascular and mental health comorbidities relate to patient-centered coordinated care in the Department of Veterans Affairs.This observational study used a 2 × 2 factorial design to determine how cardiovascular and mental health comorbidities are associated with patient perceptions of coordinated care among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus as a focal condition.Five thousand eight hundred six patients attributed to 262 primary care providers, from a national sample of 29 medical centers, who had completed an online survey of patient-centered coordinated care in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).Eight dimensions from the Patient Perceptions of Integrated Care (PPIC) survey, a state-of-the-art measure of patients' perspective on coordinated and patient-centered care.Mental health conditions were associated with significantly lower patient experiences of coordinated care. Hypotheses for disease severity were not supported, with associations in the hypothesized direction for only one dimension.Results suggest that VA may be adequately addressing coordination needs related to cardiovascular conditions, but more attention could be placed on coordination for mental health conditions. While specialized programs for more severe conditions (e.g., heart failure and serious mental illness) are important, coordination is also needed for more common, less severe conditions (e.g., hypertension, depression, anxiety). Strengthening coordination for common, less severe conditions is particularly important as VA develops alternative models (e.g., community care) that may negatively impact the degree to which care is coordinated.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11606-019-04979-8

    View details for PubMedID 31098975

  • Consumers' Suggestions for Improving the Mental Healthcare System: Options, Autonomy, and Respect. Community mental health journal Shields, M., Scully, S., Sulman, H., Borba, C., Trinh, N. H., Singer, S. 2019

    Abstract

    While the mental healthcare-consumer voice has gained in legitimacy and perceived value, policy initiatives and system improvements still lack input from consumers. This study explores consumers' suggestions for improving the mental healthcare system. Participants (N = 46) were conveniently recruited and responded to an online survey asking: "What are your suggestions for improving the mental healthcare system?" Eight themes were identified using iterative, inductive and deductive coding. Themes included treatment options, autonomy and empowerment, respect and relationships, medication management, peer support, insurance and access, funding and government support, and treatment environment. Theoretically, there is interdependence among themes where five of the themes are foundational for the three main themes (i.e. treatment options, autonomy and empowerment, respect and relationships). Findings suggest that consumers see the need for improvement in patient-centered care. While access is the focus of much mental healthcare policy discussions, the ultimate goal should be provisioning person-centered mental healthcare.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10597-019-00423-7

    View details for PubMedID 31175515

  • Health as a Way of Doing Business. JAMA Koh, H. K., Singer, S. J., Edmondson, A. C. 2018

    View details for PubMedID 30520939

  • Relationship among team dynamics, care coordination and perception of safety culture in primary care FAMILY PRACTICE Blumenthal, K. J., Chien, A. T., Singer, S. J. 2018; 35 (6): 718–23

    Abstract

    There remains a need to improve patient safety in primary care settings. Studies have demonstrated that creating high-performing teams can improve patient safety and encourage a safety culture within hospital settings, but little is known about this relationship in primary care.To examine how team dynamics relate to perceptions of safety culture in primary care and whether care coordination plays an intermediating role.This is a cross-sectional survey study with 63% response (n = 1082).The study participants were attending clinicians, resident physicians and other staff who interacted with patients from 19 primary care practices affiliated with Harvard Medical School.Three domains corresponding with our main measures: team dynamics, care coordination and safety culture. All items were measured on a 5-point Likert scale. We used linear regression clustered by practice site to assess the relationship between team dynamics and perceptions of safety culture. We also performed a mediation analysis to determine the extent to which care coordination explains the relationship between perceptions of team dynamics and of safety culture.For every 1-point increase in overall team dynamics, there was a 0.76-point increase in perception of safety culture [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.70-0.82, P < 0.001]. Care coordination mediated the relationship between team dynamics and the perception of safety culture.Our findings suggest there is a relationship between team dynamics, care coordination and perceptions of patient safety in a primary care setting. To make patients safer, we may need to pay more attention to how primary care providers work together to coordinate care.

    View details for PubMedID 29788350

  • Association of Team-Based Primary Care With Health Care Utilization and Costs Among Chronically Ill Patients. JAMA internal medicine Meyers, D. J., Chien, A. T., Nguyen, K. H., Li, Z., Singer, S. J., Rosenthal, M. B. 2018

    Abstract

    Importance: Empirical study findings to date are mixed on the association between team-based primary care initiatives and health care use and costs for Medicaid and commercially insured patients, especially those with multiple chronic conditions.Objective: To evaluate the association of establishing team-based primary care with patient health care use and costs.Design, Setting, and Participants: We used difference-in-differences to compare preutilization and postutilization rates between intervention and comparison practices with inverse probability weighting to balance observable differences. We fit a linear model using generalized estimating equations to adjust for clustering at 18 academically affiliated primary care practices in the Boston, Massachusetts, area between 2011 and 2015. The study included 83 953 patients accounting for 138 113 patient-years across 18 intervention practices and 238 455 patients accounting for 401 573 patient-years across 76 comparison practices. Data were analyzed between April and August 2018.Exposures: Practices participated in a 4-year learning collaborative that created and supported team-based primary care.Main Outcomes and Measures: Outpatient visits, hospitalizations, emergency department visits, ambulatory care-sensitive hospitalizations, ambulatory care-sensitive emergency department visits, and total costs of care.Results: Of 322 408 participants, 176 259 (54.7%) were female; 64 030 (19.9%) were younger than 18 years and 258 378 (80.1%) were age 19 to 64 years. Intervention practices had fewer participants, with 2 or more chronic conditions (n=51 155 [37.0%] vs n=186 954 [46.6%]), more participants younger than 18 years (n=337 931 [27.5%] vs n=74 691 [18.6%]), higher Medicaid enrollment (n=39 541 [28.6%] vs n=81 417 [20.3%]), and similar sex distributions (75 023 women [54.4%] vs 220 097 women [54.8%]); however, after inverse probability weighting, observable patient characteristics were well balanced. Intervention practices had higher utilization in the preperiod. Patients in intervention practices experienced a 7.4% increase in annual outpatient visits relative to baseline (95% CI, 3.5%-11.3%; P<.001) after adjusting for patient age, sex, comorbidity, zip code level sociodemographic characteristics, clinician characteristics, and plan fixed effects. In a subsample of patients with 2 or more chronic conditions, there was a statistically significant 18.6% reduction in hospitalizations (95% CI, 1.5%-33.0%; P=.03), 25.2% reduction in emergency department visits (95% CI, 6.6%-44.0%; P=.007), and a 36.7% reduction in ambulatory care-sensitive emergency department visits (95% CI, 9.2%-64.0%; P=.009). Among patients with less than 2 comorbidities, there was an increase in outpatient visits (9.2%; 95% CI, 5.10%-13.10%; P<.001), hospitalizations (36.2%; 95% CI, 12.2-566.6; P=.003), and ambulatory care-sensitive hospitalizations (50.6%; 95% CI, 7.1%-329.2%; P=.02).Conclusions and Relevance: While establishing team-based care was not associated with differences in the full patient sample, there were substantial reductions in utilization among a subset of chronically ill patients. Team-based care practice transformation in primary care settings may be a valuable tool in improving the care of sicker patients, thereby reducing avoidable use; however, it may lead to greater use among healthier patients.

    View details for PubMedID 30476951

  • Scaling Safety: The South Carolina Surgical Safety Checklist Experience. Health affairs (Project Hope) Berry, W. R., Edmondson, L., Gibbons, L. R., Childers, A. K., Haynes, A. B., Foster, R., Singer, S. J., Gawande, A. A. 2018; 37 (11): 1779–86

    Abstract

    Proven patient safety solutions such as the World Health Organization's Surgical Safety Checklist are challenging to implement at scale. A voluntary initiative was launched in South Carolina hospitals in 2010 to encourage use of the checklist in all operating rooms. Hospitals that reported completing implementation of the checklist in their operating rooms by 2017 had significantly higher levels of CEO and physician participation and engaged more in higher-touch activities such as in-person meetings and teamwork skills trainings than comparison hospitals did. Based on our experience and the participation data collected, we suggest three considerations for hospital, hospital association, state, and national policy makers: Successful programs must be designed to engage all stakeholders (CEOs, physicians, nurses, surgical technologists, and others); offering a variety of program activities-both lower-touch and higher-touch-over the duration of the program allows more hospital and individual participation; and change takes time and resources.

    View details for PubMedID 30395507

  • WHO Surgical Safety Checklist Modification: DoChanges Emphasize Communication andTeamwork? The Journal of surgical research Solsky, I., Berry, W., Edmondson, L., Lagoo, J., Baugh, J., Blair, A., Singer, S., Haynes, A. B. 2018

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization's (WHO) surgical safety checklist is meant to be customized to facilitate local implementation, encourage full-team participation, and promote a culture of safety. Although it has been globally adopted, little is known about the extent of checklist modification and the type of changes made.METHODS: Nonsubspecialty surgical checklists were obtained through online search and targeted hospital requests. A detailed coding scheme was created to capture modifications to checklist content and formatting. Descriptive statistics were performed.RESULTS: Of 155 checklists analyzed, all were modified. Compared with the WHO checklist, those in our sample contained more lines of text (median: 63 [interquartile range: 50-73] versus 56) and items (36 [interquartile range: 30-43] versus 28). A median of 13 new items were added. Items most frequently added included implants/special equipment (added by 84%), deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis/anticoagulation (added by 75%), and positioning (added by 63%). Checklists removed a median of 5 WHO items. The most frequently removed item was the pulse oximeter check (removed in 75%), followed by 4 items (each removed in 39%-48%) that comprise part of the WHO Checklist's "Anticipated Critical Events" section, which is intended for exchanging critical information. The surgeon was not explicitly mentioned in the checklist in 12%; the anesthesiologist/certified registered nurse anesthetist in 14%, the circulator in 10%, and the surgical tech/scrub in 79%.CONCLUSIONS: Checklists are highly modified but often enlarged with items that may not prompt discussion or teamwork. Of concern is the frequent removal of items from the WHO's "Anticipated Critical Events" section.

    View details for PubMedID 30528925

  • Working around hierarchy: Resident and medical assistant teaming. Health care management review Brooks, J. V., Sheridan, B., Peters, A. S., Chien, A. T., Singer, S. J. 2018

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND: In health care, hierarchy can facilitate getting work done efficiently. It can also hinder performance by suppressing valuable contributions from lower-positioned individuals. Team-based care could mitigate negative effects by creating space for all team members to contribute their unique expertise.PURPOSE: This article sought to understand how resident-medical assistant (MA) dyads interacted before and after primary care clinics transitioned to team-based care. We also studied how they negotiated changes in interpersonal dynamics given the challenge these changes presented to hierarchical norms.METHODOLOGY: We conducted two qualitative interview studies, with 37 residents and 30 MAs at primary care clinics transitioning to team-based care. Interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed together using a thematic networks approach and focused coding.RESULTS: An intervention that promoted teamwork prompted resident-MA dyads to change their interactions to counter traditional hierarchy. Residents increasingly asked MAs questions about patient care, and MAs initiated interactions and volunteered ideas more frequently. We also found that MAs and residents expressed some discomfort with the hierarchical ambiguity that their new interactions produced and used alternate scripts to buffer this discomfort and to collaborate as teammates despite formal hierarchy.CONCLUSION: Among resident-MA dyads, a team-based care intervention changed interpersonal dynamics by blurring hierarchical lines and shifting traditional boundaries in ways that were uncomfortable for both groups. They were able to work around discomfort by using new scripts that downplayed the threat to hierarchy.PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Organizational structures that encourage greater interprofessional collaboration may neutralize barriers that formal hierarchy in medicine can pose for effective teamwork, but this process can also bring social discomfort. Our findings suggest that health care professionals may use microlevel strategies, such as alternative scripts, to overcome formal hierarchies without openly engaging them. Together, new organizational structures and interaction techniques can help professionals work around hierarchy and improve team performance.

    View details for PubMedID 30299383

  • Successfully implementing Safety WalkRounds: secret sauce more than a magic bullet BMJ QUALITY & SAFETY Singer, S. J. 2018; 27 (4): 251–53

    View details for PubMedID 29440482

  • Establishing Teams: How Does It Change Practice Configuration, Size, and Composition? The Journal of ambulatory care management Chien, A. T., Kyle, M. A., Peters, A. S., Nguyen, K. H., Tendulkar, S. A., Ryan, M., Hacker, K., Singer, S. J. 2018; 41 (2): 146–55

    Abstract

    Little is known about how practices reorganize when transitioning from traditional practice organization to team-based care. We compared practice-level (1) configuration as well as practice- and team-level (2) size and (3) composition, before and after establishing teams. We employed a pre-/poststudy using personnel lists of 1571 to 1711 staff (eg, job licenses, titles, and team assignment) and practice manager surveys. All personnel (physician and nonphysician) worked within 18 Massachusetts academic primary care practices participating in a 2-year learning collaborative aimed at establishing team-based care. We found that establishing team-based care can involve changing practice configurations and composition without substantially changing practice size.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/JAC.0000000000000229

    View details for PubMedID 29474254

  • A Comprehensive Theory of Integration. Medical care research and review : MCRR Singer, S. J., Kerrissey, M., Friedberg, M., Phillips, R. 2018: 1077558718767000

    Abstract

    Efforts to transform health care delivery to improve care have increasingly focused on care integration. However, variation in how integration is defined has complicated efforts to design, synthesize, and compare studies of integration in health care. Evaluations of integration initiatives would be enhanced by describing them according to clear definitions of integration and specifying which empirical relationships they seek to test-whether among types of integration or between integration and outcomes of care. Drawing on previous work, we present a comprehensive theoretical model of relationships between types of integration and propose how to measure them.

    View details for PubMedID 29606036

  • Factors associated with the use of cognitive aids in operating room crises: a cross-sectional study of US hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers. Implementation science : IS Alidina, S., Goldhaber-Fiebert, S. N., Hannenberg, A. A., Hepner, D. L., Singer, S. J., Neville, B. A., Sachetta, J. R., Lipsitz, S. R., Berry, W. R. 2018; 13 (1): 50

    Abstract

    Operating room (OR) crises are high-acuity events requiring rapid, coordinated management. Medical judgment and decision-making can be compromised in stressful situations, and clinicians may not experience a crisis for many years. A cognitive aid (e.g., checklist) for the most common types of crises in the OR may improve management during unexpected and rare events. While implementation strategies for innovations such as cognitive aids for routine use are becoming better understood, cognitive aids that are rarely used are not yet well understood. We examined organizational context and implementation process factors influencing the use of cognitive aids for OR crises.We conducted a cross-sectional study using a Web-based survey of individuals who had downloaded OR cognitive aids from the websites of Ariadne Labs or Stanford University between January 2013 and January 2016. In this paper, we report on the experience of 368 respondents from US hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers. We analyzed the relationship of more successful implementation (measured as reported regular cognitive aid use during applicable clinical events) with organizational context and with participation in a multi-step implementation process. We used multivariable logistic regression to identify significant predictors of reported, regular OR cognitive aid use during OR crises.In the multivariable logistic regression, small facility size was associated with a fourfold increase in the odds of a facility reporting more successful implementation (p = 0.0092). Completing more implementation steps was also significantly associated with more successful implementation; each implementation step completed was associated with just over 50% higher odds of more successful implementation (p ≤ 0.0001). More successful implementation was associated with leadership support (p < 0.0001) and dedicated time to train staff (p = 0.0189). Less successful implementation was associated with resistance among clinical providers to using cognitive aids (p < 0.0001), absence of an implementation champion (p = 0.0126), and unsatisfactory content or design of the cognitive aid (p = 0.0112).Successful implementation of cognitive aids in ORs was associated with a supportive organizational context and following a multi-step implementation process. Building strong organizational support and following a well-planned multi-step implementation process will likely increase the use of OR cognitive aids during intraoperative crises, which may improve patient outcomes.

    View details for PubMedID 29580243

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5870083

  • Engineering safer care coordination from hospital to home: lessons from the USA. Future healthcare journal Das, P., Benneyan, J., Powers, L., Carmody, M., Kerwin, J., Singer, S. 2018; 5 (3): 164–70

    Abstract

    The safe transition of a patient from hospital into the community requires effective coordination between healthcare professionals across organisational boundaries. Preventing transition-associated failures can be especially challenging when multiple disciplines are involved and the patient has extensive care needs. The field of systems engineering is increasingly recognised as useful to help understand, improve and redesign such complex healthcare processes to improve patient experience and outcomes. To illustrate this approach, we describe how a partnership between healthcare professionals, systems engineers, and health services researchers used a series of engineering methods at a large suburban hospital to analyse and address deficiencies in a hospital-to-home transition process. Using this approach, the team designed a new process to perform more reliably despite inherent system complexity, demonstrating the value of systems engineering approaches and clinician-engineer collaborations.

    View details for DOI 10.7861/futurehosp.5-3-164

    View details for PubMedID 31098560

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6502610

  • Surgical Team Member Assessment of the Safety of Surgery Practice in 38 South Carolina Hospitals MEDICAL CARE RESEARCH AND REVIEW Singer, S. J., Jiang, W., Huang, L. C., Gibbons, L., Kiang, M. V., Edmondson, L., Gawande, A. A., Berry, W. R. 2015; 72 (3): 298-323

    Abstract

    We assessed surgical team member perceptions of multiple dimensions of safe surgical practice in 38 South Carolina hospitals participating in a statewide initiative to implement surgical safety checklists. Primary data were collected using a novel 35-item survey. We calculated the percentage of 1,852 respondents with strongly positive, positive, and neutral/negative responses about the safety of surgical practice, compared results by hospital and professional discipline, and examined how readiness, teamwork, and adherence related to staff perception of care quality. Overall, 78% of responses were positive about surgical safety at respondent's hospitals, but in each survey dimension, from 16% to 40% of responses were neutral/negative, suggesting significant opportunity to improve surgical safety. Respondents not reporting they would feel safe being treated in their operating rooms varied from 0% to 57% among hospitals. Surgeons responded more positively than nonsurgeons. Readiness, teamwork, and practice adherence related directly to staff perceptions of patient safety (p < .001).

    View details for DOI 10.1177/1077558715577479

    View details for Web of Science ID 000354117900004

    View details for PubMedID 25828528

  • The Surgical Safety Checklist and Teamwork Coaching Tools: a study of inter-rater reliability BMJ QUALITY & SAFETY Huang, L. C., Conley, D., Lipsitz, S., Wright, C. C., Diller, T. W., Edmondson, L., Berry, W. R., Singer, S. J. 2014; 23 (8): 639-650

    Abstract

    To assess the inter-rater reliability (IRR) of two novel observation tools for measuring surgical safety checklist performance and teamwork.Data surgical safety checklists can promote adherence to standards of care and improve teamwork in the operating room. Their use has been associated with reductions in mortality and other postoperative complications. However, checklist effectiveness depends on how well they are performed.Authors from the Safe Surgery 2015 initiative developed a pair of novel observation tools through literature review, expert consultation and end-user testing. In one South Carolina hospital participating in the initiative, two observers jointly attended 50 surgical cases and independently rated surgical teams using both tools. We used descriptive statistics to measure checklist performance and teamwork at the hospital. We assessed IRR by measuring percent agreement, Cohen's κ, and weighted κ scores.The overall percent agreement and κ between the two observers was 93% and 0.74 (95% CI 0.66 to 0.79), respectively, for the Checklist Coaching Tool and 86% and 0.84 (95% CI 0.77 to 0.90) for the Surgical Teamwork Tool. Percent agreement for individual sections of both tools was 79% or higher. Additionally, κ scores for six of eight sections on the Checklist Coaching Tool and for two of five domains on the Surgical Teamwork Tool achieved the desired 0.7 threshold. However, teamwork scores were high and variation was limited. There were no significant changes in the percent agreement or κ scores between the first 10 and last 10 cases observed.Both tools demonstrated substantial IRR and required limited training to use. These instruments may be used to observe checklist performance and teamwork in the operating room. However, further refinement and calibration of observer expectations, particularly in rating teamwork, could improve the utility of the tools.

    View details for DOI 10.1136/bmjqs-2013-002446

    View details for Web of Science ID 000339176900006

    View details for PubMedID 24497526

  • Safety in Numbers: The Development of Leapfrog's Composite Patient Safety Score for U.S. Hospitals. Journal of patient safety Austin, J. M., D'Andrea, G., Birkmeyer, J. D., Leape, L. L., Milstein, A., Pronovost, P. J., Romano, P. S., Singer, S. J., Vogus, T. J., Wachter, R. M. 2014; 10 (1): 64-71

    Abstract

    To develop a composite patient safety score that provides patients, health-care providers, and health-care purchasers with a standardized method to evaluate patient safety in general acute care hospitals in the United States.The Leapfrog Group sought guidance from a panel of national patient safety experts to develop the composite score. Candidate patient safety performance measures for inclusion in the score were identified from publicly reported national sources. Hospital performance on each measure was converted into a "z-score" and then aggregated using measure-specific weights. A reference mean score was set at 3, with scores interpreted in terms of standard deviations above or below the mean, with above reflecting better than average performance.Twenty-six measures were included in the score. The mean composite score for 2652 general acute care hospitals in the United States was 2.97 (range by hospital, 0.46-3.94). Safety scores were slightly lower for hospitals that were publicly owned, rural in location, or had a larger percentage of patients with Medicaid as their primary insurance.The Leapfrog patient safety composite provides a standardized method to evaluate patient safety in general acute care hospitals in the United States. While constrained by available data and publicly reported scores on patient safety measures, the composite score reflects the best available evidence regarding a hospital's efforts and outcomes in patient safety. Additional analyses are needed, but the score did not seem to have a strong bias against hospitals with specific characteristics. The composite score will continue to be refined over time as measures of patient safety evolve.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/PTS.0b013e3182952644

    View details for PubMedID 24080719

  • Comparing safety climate in naval aviation and hospitals: Implications for improving patient safety HEALTH CARE MANAGEMENT REVIEW Singer, S. J., Rosen, A., Zhao, S., Ciavarelli, A. P., Gaba, D. M. 2010; 35 (2): 134-146

    Abstract

    Evidence of variation in safety climate suggests the need for improvement among at least some hospitals. However, comparisons only among hospitals may underestimate the improvement required. Comparison of hospitals with analogous industries may provide a broader perspective on the safety status of our nation's hospitals.The purpose of this study was to compare safety climate among hospital workers with personnel from naval aviation, an organization that operates with high reliability despite intrinsically hazardous conditions.We surveyed a random sample of health care workers in 67 U.S. hospitals and, for generalizability, 30 veterans affairs hospitals using questions comparable with those posed at approximately the same time (2007) to a census of personnel from 35 squadrons of U.S. naval aviators. We received 13,841 (41%) completed surveys in U.S. hospitals, 5,511 (50%) in veterans affairs hospitals, and 14,854 (82%) among naval aviators. We examined differences in respondents' perceptions of safety climate at their institution overall and for 16 individual items.Safety climate was three times better on average among naval aviators than among hospital personnel. Naval aviators perceived a safer climate (up to seven times safer) than hospital personnel with respect to each of the 16 survey items. Compared with hospital managers, naval commanders perceived climate more like frontline personnel did. When contrasting naval aviators with hospital personnel working in comparably hazardous areas, safety climate discrepancies increased rather than decreased. One individual hospital performed as well as naval aviation on average, and at least one hospital outperformed the Navy benchmark for all but three individual survey items.Results suggest that hospitals have not sufficiently created a uniform priority of safety. However, if each hospital performed as well as the top-performing hospital in each area measured, hospitals could achieve safety climate levels comparable with naval aviation. Major interventions to bolster hospital safety climate continue to be required to improve patient safety.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/HMR.0b013e3181c8b20c

    View details for Web of Science ID 000276557800005

    View details for PubMedID 20234220

  • Identifying organizational cultures that promote patient safety HEALTH CARE MANAGEMENT REVIEW Singer, S. J., Falwell, A., Gaba, D. M., Meterko, M., Rosen, A., Hartmann, C. W., Baker, L. 2009; 34 (4): 300-311

    Abstract

    Safety climate refers to shared perceptions of what an organization is like with regard to safety, whereas safety culture refers to employees' fundamental ideology and orientation and explains why safety is pursued in the manner exhibited within a particular organization. Although research has sought to identify opportunities for improving safety outcomes by studying patterns of variation in safety climate, few empirical studies have examined the impact of organizational characteristics such as culture on hospital safety climate.This study explored how aspects of general organizational culture relate to hospital patient safety climate.In a stratified sample of 92 U.S. hospitals, we sampled 100% of senior managers and physicians and 10% of other hospital workers. The Patient Safety Climate in Healthcare Organizations and the Zammuto and Krakower organizational culture surveys measured safety climate and group, entrepreneurial, hierarchical, and production orientation of hospitals' culture, respectively. We administered safety climate surveys to 18,361 personnel and organizational culture surveys to a 5,894 random subsample between March 2004 and May 2005. Secondary data came from the 2004 American Hospital Association Annual Hospital Survey and Dun & Bradstreet. Hierarchical linear regressions assessed relationships between organizational culture and safety climate measures.Aspects of general organizational culture were strongly related to safety climate. A higher level of group culture correlated with a higher level of safety climate, but more hierarchical culture was associated with lower safety climate. Aspects of organizational culture accounted for more than threefold improvement in measures of model fit compared with models with controls alone. A mix of culture types, emphasizing group culture, seemed optimal for safety climate.Safety climate and organizational culture are positively related. Results support strategies that promote group orientation and reduced hierarchy, including use of multidisciplinary team training, continuous quality improvement tools, and human resource practices and policies.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000270852700002

    View details for PubMedID 19858915

  • Comparing Safety Climate between Two Populations of Hospitals in the United States HEALTH SERVICES RESEARCH Singer, S. J., Hartmann, C. W., Hanchate, A., Zhao, S., Meterko, M., Shokeen, P., Lin, S., Gaba, D. M., Rosen, A. K. 2009; 44 (5): 1563-1584

    Abstract

    To compare safety climate between diverse U.S. hospitals and Veterans Health Administration (VA) hospitals, and to explore the factors influencing climate in each setting.Primary data from surveys of hospital personnel; secondary data from the American Hospital Association's 2004 Annual Survey of Hospitals.Cross-sectional study of 69 U.S. and 30 VA hospitals.For each sample, hierarchical linear models used safety-climate scores as the dependent variable and respondent and facility characteristics as independent variables. Regression-based Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition examined differences in effects of model characteristics on safety climate between the U.S. and VA samples.The range in safety climate among U.S. and VA hospitals overlapped substantially. Characteristics of individuals influenced safety climate consistently across settings. Working in southern and urban facilities corresponded with worse safety climate among VA employees and better safety climate in the U.S. sample. Decomposition results predicted 1.4 percentage points better safety climate in U.S. than in VA hospitals: -0.77 attributable to sample-characteristic differences and 2.2 due to differential effects of sample characteristics.Results suggest that safety climate is linked more to efforts of individual hospitals than to participation in a nationally integrated system or measured characteristics of workers and facilities.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2009.00994.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000269494600008

    View details for PubMedID 19619250

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2754548

  • Relationship of Hospital Organizational Culture to Patient Safety Climate in the Veterans Health Administration MEDICAL CARE RESEARCH AND REVIEW Hartmann, C. W., Meterko, M., Rosen, A. K., Zhao, S., Shokeen, P., Singer, S., Gaba, D. M. 2009; 66 (3): 320-338

    Abstract

    Improving safety climate could enhance patient safety, yet little evidence exists regarding the relationship between hospital characteristics and safety climate. This study assessed the relationship between hospitals' organizational culture and safety climate in Veterans Health Administration (VA) hospitals nationally. Data were collected from a sample of employees in a stratified random sample of 30 VA hospitals over a 6-month period (response rate = 50%; n = 4,625). The Patient Safety Climate in Healthcare Organizations (PSCHO) and the Zammuto and Krakower surveys were used to measure safety climate and organizational culture, respectively. Higher levels of safety climate were significantly associated with higher levels of group and entrepreneurial cultures, while lower levels of safety climate were associated with higher levels of hierarchical culture. Hospitals could use these results to design specific interventions aimed at improving safety climate.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/1077558709331812

    View details for Web of Science ID 000265690500004

    View details for PubMedID 19244094

  • Relationship of Safety Climate and Safety Performance in Hospitals HEALTH SERVICES RESEARCH Singer, S., Lin, S., Falwell, A., Gaba, D., Baker, L. 2009; 44 (2): 399-421

    Abstract

    To examine the relationship between measures of hospital safety climate and hospital performance on selected Patient Safety Indicators (PSIs).Primary data from a 2004 survey of hospital personnel. Secondary data from the 2005 Medicare Provider Analysis and Review File and 2004 American Hospital Association's Annual Survey of Hospitals.A cross-sectional study of 91 hospitals.Negative binomial regressions used an unweighted, risk-adjusted PSI composite as dependent variable and safety climate scores and controls as independent variables. Some specifications included interpersonal, work unit, and organizational safety climate dimensions. Others included separate measures for senior managers and frontline personnel's safety climate perceptions.Hospitals with better safety climate overall had lower relative incidence of PSIs, as did hospitals with better scores on safety climate dimensions measuring interpersonal beliefs regarding shame and blame. Frontline personnel's perceptions of better safety climate predicted lower risk of experiencing PSIs, but senior manager perceptions did not.The results link hospital safety climate to indicators of potential safety events. Some aspects of safety climate are more closely related to safety events than others. Perceptions about safety climate among some groups, such as frontline staff, are more closely related than perceptions in other groups.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2008.00918.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000264164400006

    View details for PubMedID 19178583

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2677046

  • Patient Safety Climate in 92 US Hospitals Differences by Work Area and Discipline MEDICAL CARE Singer, S. J., Gaba, D. M., Falwell, A., Lin, S., Hayes, J., Baker, L. 2009; 47 (1): 23-31

    Abstract

    Concern about patient safety has promoted efforts to improve safety climate. A better understanding of how patient safety climate differs among distinct work areas and disciplines in hospitals would facilitate the design and implementation of interventions.To understand workers' perceptions of safety climate and ways in which climate varies among hospitals and by work area and discipline.We administered the Patient Safety Climate in Healthcare Organizations survey in 2004-2005 to personnel in a stratified random sample of 92 US hospitals.We sampled 100% of senior managers and physicians and 10% of all other workers. We received 18,361 completed surveys (52% response).The survey measured safety climate perceptions and worker and job characteristics of hospital personnel. We calculated and compared the percent of responses inconsistent with a climate of safety among hospitals, work areas, and disciplines.Overall, 17% of responses were inconsistent with a safety climate. Patient safety climate differed by hospital and among and within work areas and disciplines. Emergency department personnel perceived worse safety climate and personnel in nonclinical areas perceived better safety climate than workers in other areas. Nurses were more negative than physicians regarding their work unit's support and recognition of safety efforts, and physicians showed marginally more fear of shame than nurses. For other dimensions of safety climate, physician-nurse differences depended on their work area.Differences among and within hospitals suggest that strategies for improving safety climate and patient safety should be tailored for work areas and disciplines.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000262186500004

    View details for PubMedID 19106727

  • Patient Safety Climate in US Hospitals Variation by Management Level MEDICAL CARE Singer, S. J., Falwell, A., Gaba, D. M., Baker, L. C. 2008; 46 (11): 1149-1156

    Abstract

    Strengthening hospital safety culture offers promise for reducing adverse events, but efforts to improve culture may not succeed if hospital managers perceive safety differently from frontline workers.To determine whether frontline workers and supervisors perceive a more negative patient safety climate (ie, surface features, reflective of the underlying safety culture) than senior managers in their institutions. To ascertain patterns of variation within management levels by professional discipline.A safety climate survey was administered from March 2004 to May 2005 in 92 US hospitals. Individual-level cross sectional comparisons related safety climate to management level. Hierarchical and hospital-fixed effects modeling tested differences in perceptions.Random sample of hospital personnel (18,361 respondents).Frequency of responses indicating absence of safety climate (percent problematic response) overall and for 8 survey dimensions.Frontline workers' safety climate perceptions were 4.8 percentage points (1.4 times) more problematic than were senior managers', and supervisors' perceptions were 3.1 percentage points (1.25 times) more problematic than were senior managers'. Differences were consistent among 7 safety climate dimensions. Differences by management level depended on discipline: senior manager versus frontline worker discrepancies were less pronounced for physicians and more pronounced for nurses, than they were for other disciplines.Senior managers perceived patient safety climate more positively than nonsenior managers overall and across 7 discrete safety climate domains. Patterns of variation by management level differed by professional discipline. Continuing efforts to improve patient safety should address perceptual differences, both among and within groups by management level.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000260745900004

    View details for PubMedID 18953225

  • Front-line staff perspectives on opportunities for improving the safety and efficiency of hospital work systems HEALTH SERVICES RESEARCH Tucker, A. L., Singer, S. J., Hayes, J. E., Falwell, A. 2008; 43 (5): 1807-1829

    Abstract

    To contrast the safety-related concerns raised by front-line staff about hospital work systems (operational failures) with national patient safety initiatives.Primary data included 1,732 staff-identified operational failures at 20 U.S. hospitals from 2004 to 2006.Senior managers observed front-line staff and facilitated open discussion meetings with employees about their patient safety concerns.Hospitals submitted data on the operational failures identified through managers' interactions with front-line workers. Data were analyzed for type of failure and frequency of occurrence. Recommendations from staff were compared with recommendations from national initiatives.The two most frequent categories of operational failures, equipment/supplies and facility issues, posed safety risks and diminished staff efficiency, but have not been priorities in national initiatives.Our study suggests an underutilized strategy for improving patient safety and staff efficiency: leveraging front-line staff experiences with work systems to identify and address operational failures. In contrast to the perceived tradeoff between safety and efficiency, fixing operational failures can yield benefits for both. Thus, prioritizing improvement of work systems in general, rather than focusing more narrowly on specific clinical conditions, can increase safety and efficiency of hospitals.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2008.00868.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000259344300003

    View details for PubMedID 18522667

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2654160

  • An overview of patient safety climate in the VA HEALTH SERVICES RESEARCH Hartmann, C. W., Rosen, A. K., Meterko, M., Shokeen, P., Zhao, S., Singer, S., Falwell, A., Gaba, D. M. 2008; 43 (4): 1263-1284

    Abstract

    To assess variation in safety climate across VA hospitals nationally.Data were collected from employees at 30 VA hospitals over a 6-month period using the Patient Safety Climate in Healthcare Organizations survey.We sampled 100 percent of senior managers and physicians and a random 10 percent of other employees. At 10 randomly selected hospitals, we sampled an additional 100 percent of employees working in units with intrinsically higher hazards (high-hazard units [HHUs]).Data were collected using an anonymous survey design.We received 4,547 responses (49 percent response rate). The percent problematic response--lower percent reflecting higher levels of patient safety climate--ranged from 12.0-23.7 percent across hospitals (mean=17.5 percent). Differences in safety climate emerged by management level, clinician status, and workgroup. Supervisors and front-line staff reported lower levels of safety climate than senior managers; clinician responses reflected lower levels of safety climate than those of nonclinicians; and responses of employees in HHUs reflected lower levels of safety climate than those of workers in other areas.This is the first systematic study of patient safety climate in VA hospitals. Findings indicate an overall positive safety climate across the VA, but there is room for improvement.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2008.00839.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000257756000009

    View details for PubMedID 18355257

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2517282

  • Workforce perceptions of hospital safety culture: Development and validation of the patient safety climate in healthcare organizations survey HEALTH SERVICES RESEARCH Singer, S., Meterko, M., Baker, L., Gaba, D., Falwell, A., Rosen, A. 2007; 42 (5): 1999-2021

    Abstract

    To describe the development of an instrument for assessing workforce perceptions of hospital safety culture and to assess its reliability and validity.Primary data collected between March 2004 and May 2005. Personnel from 105 U.S. hospitals completed a 38-item paper and pencil survey. We received 21,496 completed questionnaires, representing a 51 percent response rate.Based on review of existing safety climate surveys, we developed a list of key topics pertinent to maintaining a culture of safety in high-reliability organizations. We developed a draft questionnaire to address these topics and pilot tested it in four preliminary studies of hospital personnel. We modified the questionnaire based on experience and respondent feedback, and distributed the revised version to 42,249 hospital workers.We randomly divided respondents into derivation and validation samples. We applied exploratory factor analysis to responses in the derivation sample. We used those results to create scales in the validation sample, which we subjected to multitrait analysis (MTA).We identified nine constructs, three organizational factors, two unit factors, three individual factors, and one additional factor. Constructs demonstrated substantial convergent and discriminant validity in the MTA. Cronbach's alpha coefficients ranged from 0.50 to 0.89.It is possible to measure key salient features of hospital safety climate using a valid and reliable 38-item survey and appropriate hospital sample sizes. This instrument may be used in further studies to better understand the impact of safety climate on patient safety outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2007.00706.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000249429000012

    View details for PubMedID 17850530

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2254575

  • Who searches the internet for health information? 4th World Conference of the International-Health-Economics-Association (iHEA) Bundorf, M. K., Wagner, T. H., Singer, S. J., Baker, L. C. WILEY-BLACKWELL PUBLISHING, INC. 2006: 819–36

    Abstract

    To determine what types of consumers use the Internet as a source of health information.A survey of consumer use of the Internet for health information conducted during December 2001 and January 2002.We estimated multivariate regression models to test hypotheses regarding the characteristics of consumers that affect information seeking behavior.Respondents were randomly sampled from an Internet-enabled panel of over 60,000 households. Our survey was sent to 12,878 panel members, and 69.4 percent of surveyed panel members responded. We collected information about respondents' use of the Internet to search for health information and to communicate about health care with others using the Internet or e-mail within the last year.Individuals with reported chronic conditions were more likely than those without to search for health information on the Internet. The uninsured, particularly those with a reported chronic condition, were more likely than the privately insured to search. Individuals with longer travel times for their usual source of care were more likely to use the Internet for health-related communication than those with shorter travel times.Populations with serious health needs and those facing significant barriers in accessing health care in traditional settings turn to the Internet for health information.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2006.00510.x

    View details for PubMedID 16704514

  • Health plans' coverage determinations for technology-based interventions: The case of electrical bone growth stimulation AMERICAN JOURNAL OF MANAGED CARE Huang, A. J., Gemperli, M. P., Bergthold, L., Singer, S. S., Garber, A. 2004; 10 (12): 957-962

    Abstract

    To determine (1) whether commercial health plans' coverage criteria for a costly technology-based medical intervention are consistent with recent clinical effectiveness evidence, (2) whether medical directors adhere to planwide coverage criteria when making coverage determinations for individual patients, and (3) if any organizational characteristics are associated with having more stringent coverage criteria or making more frequent coverage denials.Case-based survey of medical directors of US commercial health plans.A close-ended survey was mailed to 346 medical directors meeting eligibility criteria, asking about the criteria specified in their plans' coverage policies for electrical bone growth stimulation (EBGS) and whether they would cover this intervention for a hypothetical patient with abnormal union of long-bone fracture.Responses from 228 (66%) of the 346 directors indicated that approximately 72% of plans have a formal coverage policy for EBGS for long-bone fractures. More than 30% of plans specify that longer than 4 months must elapse before EBGS is attempted, although clinical studies do not support absolute waiting times. Directors of approximately 61% of plans with policies requiring extended waiting periods would nevertheless authorize EBGS for patients who did not meet this criterion.Health plans apply varied criteria in coverage policies for technology-based treatments such as EBGS, but do not always adhere to stated criteria when determining coverage for individual patients. For-profit status, accreditation status, geographic location, and size of plan are not associated with being more or less likely to authorize EBGS.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000225627700007

    View details for PubMedID 15617371

  • Consumers' use of the Internet for health insurance AMERICAN JOURNAL OF MANAGED CARE Bundorf, M. K., Singer, S. J., Wagner, T. H., Baker, L. 2004; 10 (9): 609-616

    Abstract

    We examined consumers' search for information about health insurance choices and their use of the Internet for that search and to manage health benefits.We surveyed a random sample of more than 4500 individuals aged 21 years and older who were members of a survey research panel during December 2001 and January 2002.The survey included questions about searching for health insurance information in 3 health insurance markets: Medicare, individual or nongroup, and employer-sponsored group. We also asked questions about use of the Internet to manage health benefits. We tabulated means of responses to each question by market and tested for independence across demographic groups using the Pearson chi-square test.We identified important differences across and within markets in the extent to which people look for information about health insurance alternatives and the role of the Internet in their search. Although many individuals were unaware of whether their employer or health plan provided a website to manage health benefits, those who used the sites generally evaluated them favorably.Our results suggest that the Internet is an important source of health insurance information, particularly for individuals purchasing coverage individually in the nongroup and Medicare markets relative to those obtaining coverage from an employer. In the case of Medicare coverage, studies focusing on beneficiaries' use of Internet resources may underestimate the Internet's importance by neglecting caregivers who use the Internet. Many individuals may be unaware of the valuable resources available through employers or health plans.

    View details for PubMedID 15515993

  • Use of the Internet and e-mail for health care information - Results from a national survey JAMA-JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION Baker, L., Wagner, T. H., Singer, S., Bundorf, M. K. 2003; 289 (18): 2400-2406

    Abstract

    The Internet has attracted considerable attention as a means to improve health and health care delivery, but it is not clear how prevalent Internet use for health care really is or what impact it has on health care utilization. Available estimates of use and impact vary widely. Without accurate estimates of use and effects, it is difficult to focus policy discussions or design appropriate policy activities.To measure the extent of Internet use for health care among a representative sample of the US population, to examine the prevalence of e-mail use for health care, and to examine the effects that Internet and e-mail use has on users' knowledge about health care matters and their use of the health care system.Survey conducted in December 2001 and January 2002 among a sample drawn from a research panel of more than 60 000 US households developed and maintained by Knowledge Networks. Responses were analyzed from 4764 individuals aged 21 years or older who were self-reported Internet users.Self-reported rates in the past year of Internet and e-mail use to obtain information related to health, contact health care professionals, and obtain prescriptions; perceived effects of Internet and e-mail use on health care use.Approximately 40% of respondents with Internet access reported using the Internet to look for advice or information about health or health care in 2001. Six percent reported using e-mail to contact a physician or other health care professional. About one third of those using the Internet for health reported that using the Internet affected a decision about health or their health care, but very few reported impacts on measurable health care utilization; 94% said that Internet use had no effect on the number of physician visits they had and 93% said it had no effect on the number of telephone contacts. Five percent or less reported use of the Internet to obtain prescriptions or purchase pharmaceutical products.Although many people use the Internet for health information, use is not as common as is sometimes reported. Effects on actual health care utilization are also less substantial than some have claimed. Discussions of the role of the Internet in health care and the development of policies that might influence this role should not presume that use of the Internet for health information is universal or that the Internet strongly influences health care utilization.

    View details for PubMedID 12746364

  • Prospects for improved decision making about medical necessity HEALTH AFFAIRS Singer, S. J., Bergthold, L. A. 2001; 20 (1): 200-206

    View details for Web of Science ID 000166603000022

    View details for PubMedID 11194842

  • In loco parentis? The purchaser role in managed care CALIFORNIA MANAGEMENT REVIEW Bergthold, L., Koebler, S. O., Singer, S. 2000; 43 (1): 34-?
  • Structural problems of managed care in California and some options for ameliorating them CALIFORNIA MANAGEMENT REVIEW Singer, S. J., Enthoven, A. C. 2000; 43 (1): 50-?
  • What's not to like about HMOs HEALTH AFFAIRS Singer, S. J. 2000; 19 (4): 206-209

    View details for Web of Science ID 000088242700023

    View details for PubMedID 10916976

  • Unrealistic expectations born of defective institutions JOURNAL OF HEALTH POLITICS POLICY AND LAW Enthoven, A. C., Singer, S. J. 1999; 24 (5): 931-939

    View details for Web of Science ID 000083736300006

    View details for PubMedID 10615602

  • The managed care backlash and the task force in California HEALTH AFFAIRS Enthoven, A. C., Singer, S. J. 1998; 17 (4): 95-110

    Abstract

    Signs of a managed care backlash in California are increasing. This paper reports and interprets the recently completed work of the California Managed Health Care Improvement Task Force, focusing on the managed care backlash and the state's regulatory response. Although cost containment was a contributing factor, the causes of and solutions to the backlash differ among consumers, physicians, health care workers, politicians, and health plans. The recommendations of the task force could improve the market for health insurance. However, lasting solutions to the profound problems causing the backlash will require fundamental cultural and systemic change.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000074933100013

    View details for PubMedID 9691553

  • Economists' perspectives on health care delivery in California as of 1995 WESTERN JOURNAL OF MEDICINE Singer, S. J. 1998; 168 (5): 360-370

    Abstract

    The health care delivery system is made up of providers--hospitals and doctors--increasingly organized into medical groups. Medical groups interact with payors, primarily health maintenance organizations, that increasingly pass through both risk and prices from increasingly demanding purchasers. This article summarizes the present and future prospects for each of these groups.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000073747700010

    View details for PubMedID 9614794

  • Paying more twice: When employers subsidize higher-cost health plans HEALTH AFFAIRS Hunt, K. A., Singer, S. J., Gabel, J., Liston, D., Enthoven, A. C. 1997; 16 (6): 150-156

    View details for Web of Science ID A1997YH06000021

    View details for PubMedID 9444822

  • Markets and collective action in regulating managed care HEALTH AFFAIRS Enthoven, A. C., Singer, S. J. 1997; 16 (6): 26-32

    View details for Web of Science ID A1997YH06000004

    View details for PubMedID 9444805

  • Managed competition and California's health care economy HEALTH AFFAIRS Enthoven, A. C., Singer, S. J. 1996; 15 (1): 39-57

    Abstract

    There is evidence in California of a broad decline in health care costs to employment groups adopting managed care and managed competition--premium reductions up to 10 percent. National comparisons and utilization data generally confirm the beginning of lower costs. Large California medical groups and health systems have responded to pressure by finding ways to reduce costs and improve quality. While examples are encouraging, there is room for improvement. Two levels of competition have emerged and continue to evolve: carrier competition and delivery system competition. Each model has strengths and limitations, but the existing mix is driving down costs.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1996VB83800005

    View details for PubMedID 8920568

  • Market-based reform: What to regulate and by whom? Conference on the Problem that Will Not Go Away - Reforming US Health Care Financing Enthoven, A. C., Singer, S. J. BROOKINGS INST. 1996: 185–206
  • Increasing cost-consciousness for managed care: reforming the tax treatment of health insurance expenditures. Health care management (Philadelphia, Pa.) Enthoven, A. C., Singer, S. J. 1995; 2 (1): 109-114

    Abstract

    The current Internal Revenue Code encourages employees who receive health insurance as part of their benefits package to choose more costly coverage than they would buy with their own money. The authors propose an approach that corrects this problem as well as the inequities experienced by self-employed and unemployed people.

    View details for PubMedID 10165625

  • Incentives for a better health care system. Journal of health care benefits Enthoven, A. C., Singer, S. J. 1994; 3 (6): 4-7

    View details for PubMedID 10135309

  • A SINGLE-PAYER SYSTEM IN JACKSON HOLE CLOTHING HEALTH AFFAIRS Enthoven, A. C., Singer, S. J. 1994; 13 (1): 81-95

    Abstract

    President Clinton's Health Security Act relies on government regulation, not market forces, to control costs. The act creates an entitlement to comprehensive benefits and places the federal budget at risk for total health care costs in order to achieve universal coverage; it creates a system of new state purchasing monopsonies; and it attempts to control costs with price controls on health plan premiums, set and administered by a National Health Board that would be part of the executive branch, not insulated from political considerations. We believe there is a better way.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1994MX78800011

    View details for PubMedID 8188160

  • PROBLEMS IN GAINING ACCESS TO HOSPITAL INFORMATION HEALTH AFFAIRS Singer, S. J. 1991; 10 (2): 148-151

    View details for Web of Science ID A1991FV30100013

    View details for PubMedID 1885132