Building Effective Quality Improvement Programs for Liver Disease: A Systematic Review of Quality Improvement Initiatives

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016 Sep;14(9):1256-1265.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2016.04.020. Epub 2016 Apr 19.


Background & aims: Quality indicators are the measurable components of clinical standards. Data are limited about the design and impact of interventions to improve quality indicators for patients with chronic liver disease.

Methods: A systematic review of PubMed, Web of Science, and conference proceedings was performed to find reports of quality improvement (QI) interventions. Data regarding the several indicators were collected. The search focused on vaccination against hepatitis A or hepatitis B virus, management of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, screening for varices, management of acute variceal hemorrhage, hepatocellular carcinoma screening, and 30-day readmissions.

Results: Fifteen studies reported on the results of QI interventions. Ten focused on specific quality indicators (1 specific to vaccination, 2 spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, 3 gastrointestinal bleeding, and 4 hepatocellular carcinoma screening); 5 focused on clinical outcomes. Most studies used a pre-post study design. Interventions included checklists, educational conferences, electronic decision supports, nurse coordinators, and systematic changes to facilitate specialist co-management. Successful interventions optimized clinical workflow, closed knowledge gaps among frontline providers, created forced functions in the electronic ordering system, added dedicated staff to manage specific indicators, and provided viable alternatives to hospitalization to reduce readmission. Unsuccessful interventions included case management, phone calls, and home visits to reduce readmissions, checklists, and educational programs.

Conclusions: Past experience with QI provides generalizable rules for successful future interventions aimed at improved quality indicator adherence and patient outcomes.

Keywords: Cirrhosis; Hepatic Encephalopathy; Hepatocellular Carcinoma; Paracentesis; Readmissions; Vaccination.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Management*
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Liver Diseases / therapy*
  • Quality Improvement / organization & administration*