Objectives: Enhancing care coordination and reducing hospital readmissions have been a focus of multiple quality improvement (QI) initiatives. Project BOOST (Better Outcomes by Optimizing Safe Transitions) aims to enhance the discharge transition from hospital to home. Previous research indicates that QI initiatives originating externally often face difficulties gaining momentum or effecting lasting change in a hospital. We performed a qualitative evaluation of Project BOOST implementation by examining the successes and failures experienced by six pilot sites. We also evaluated the unique physician mentoring component of this program. Finally, we examined the impact of intensification of the physician mentoring model on adoption of BOOST interventions in two later Illinois cohorts (27 hospitals).
Methods: Qualitative analysis of six pilot hospitals used a process of methodological triangulation and analysis of the BOOST enrollment applications, the listserv, and content from telephone interviews. Evaluation of BOOST implementation at Illinois hospitals occurred via mid-year and year-end surveys.
Results: The identified common barriers included inadequate understanding of the current discharge process, insufficient administrative support, lack of protected time or dedicated resources, and lack of frontline staff buy-in. Facilitators of implementation included the mentor, a small beginning, teamwork, and proactive engagement of the patient. Notably, hospitals viewed their mentors as essential facilitators of change. Sites consistently commented that the individualized mentoring was extremely helpful and provided significant accountability and stimulated creativity. In the Illinois cohorts, the improved mentoring model showed more complete implementation of BOOST interventions.
Conclusions: The implementation of Project BOOST was well received by hospitals, although sites faced substantial barriers consistent with other QI research reports. The unique mentorship element of Project BOOST proved extremely valuable in helping sites overcome their distinctive challenges and identify facilitators for success. The findings from this qualitative study should contribute to future BOOST implementation success and others' efforts to optimize hospital discharge transitions.