Assessment of the Protocol-Guided Rapid Evaluation of Veterans Experiencing New Transient Neurological Symptoms (PREVENT) Program for Improving Quality of Care for Transient Ischemic Attack: A Nonrandomized Cluster Trial

JAMA Netw Open. 2020 Sep 1;3(9):e2015920. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.15920.


Importance: Patients with transient ischemic attack (TIA) are at high risk of recurrent vascular events. Timely management can reduce that risk by 70%; however, gaps in TIA quality of care exist.

Objective: To assess the performance of the Protocol-Guided Rapid Evaluation of Veterans Experiencing New Transient Neurological Symptoms (PREVENT) intervention to improve TIA quality of care.

Design, setting, and participants: This nonrandomized cluster trial with matched controls evaluated a multicomponent intervention to improve TIA quality of care at 6 diverse medical centers in 6 geographically diverse states in the US and assessed change over time in quality of care among 36 matched control sites (6 control sites matched to each PREVENT site on TIA patient volume, facility complexity, and quality of care). The study period (defined as the data period) started on August 21, 2015, and extended to May 12, 2019, including 1-year baseline and active implementation periods for each site. The intervention targeted clinical teams caring for patients with TIA.

Intervention: The quality improvement (QI) intervention included the following 5 components: clinical programs, data feedback, professional education, electronic health record tools, and QI support.

Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome was the without-fail rate, which was calculated as the proportion of veterans with TIA at a specific facility who received all 7 guideline-recommended processes of care for which they were eligible (ie, anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation, antithrombotic use, brain imaging, carotid artery imaging, high- or moderate-potency statin therapy, hypertension control, and neurological consultation). Generalized mixed-effects models with multilevel hierarchical random effects were constructed to evaluate the intervention associations with the change in the mean without-fail rate from the 1-year baseline period to the 1-year intervention period.

Results: Six facilities implemented the PREVENT QI intervention, and 36 facilities were identified as matched control sites. The mean (SD) age of patients at baseline was 69.85 (11.19) years at PREVENT sites and 71.66 (11.29) years at matched control sites. Most patients were male (95.1% [154 of 162] at PREVENT sites and 94.6% [920 of 973] at matched control sites at baseline). Among the PREVENT sites, the mean without-fail rate improved substantially from 36.7% (58 of 158 patients) at baseline to 54.0% (95 of 176 patients) during a 1-year implementation period (adjusted odds ratio, 2.10; 95% CI, 1.27-3.48; P = .004). Comparing the change in quality at the PREVENT sites with the matched control sites, the improvement in the mean without-fail rate was greater at the PREVENT sites than at the matched control sites (36.7% [58 of 158 patients] to 54.0% [95 of 176 patients] [17.3% absolute improvement] vs 38.6% [345 of 893 patients] to 41.8% [363 of 869 patients] [3.2% absolute improvement], respectively; absolute difference, 14%; P = .008).

Conclusions and relevance: The implementation of this multifaceted program was associated with improved TIA quality of care across the participating sites. The PREVENT QI program is an example of a health care system using QI strategies to improve performance, and may serve as a model for other health systems seeking to provide better care.

Trial registration: Identifier: NCT02769338.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Clinical Protocols / standards*
  • Female
  • Guidelines as Topic / standards
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / diagnosis*
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality Improvement
  • Triage / methods
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs / organization & administration
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs / statistics & numerical data
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data*

Associated data