Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice vol:15 issue:2 pages:375-382
RATIONALE, AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: Issues of overuse, underuse and misuse are paramount and lead to avoidable morbidity and mortality. Although evidence-based practice is advocated, the widespread implementation of this kind of practice remains a challenge. This is also the case for evidence-based practice related to the prevention of pressure ulcers, which varies widely in process and outcome in Belgian hospital care. One major obstacle to bridging this knowledge-to-action gap is data availability. We propose using large-scale hospital administrative data combined with the latest evidence-based methods as part of the solution to this problem. METHOD: To test our proposal, we applied this approach to pressure ulcer prevention, using an administrative dataset with regard to 6030 patients in 22 Belgian hospitals as a sample of nationally available data. Methods include a systematic review approach, evidence grading, recommendations formulation, algorithm construction, programming of the rule set and application on the database. RESULTS: We found that Belgian hospitals frequently failed to provide appropriate prevention care. Significant levels of underuse, up to 28.4% in pressure ulcer prevention education and 17.5% in the use of dynamic systems mattresses, were detected. Figures for overuse were mostly not significant. Misuse couldn't be assessed. CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that this approach can indeed be successfully used to bridge the knowledge-to-action gap in medical practice, by implementing an innovative method to assess underuse and overuse in hospital care. The integrative use of administrative data and clinical applications should be replicated in other patient groups, other datasets and other countries.