Barriers and Facilitators of Using Quality Improvement To Foster Locally Initiated Innovation in Palliative Care Services in India

J Gen Intern Med. 2021 Feb;36(2):366-373. doi: 10.1007/s11606-020-06152-y. Epub 2020 Sep 8.


Background: Quality improvement (QI) methods represent a vehicle for fostering locally initiated innovation cycles. We partnered with palliative care services from seven diverse practice settings in India to foster locally initiated improvement projects.

Objective: To evaluate the implementation experiences of locally initiated palliative care improvement projects at seven diverse sites and understand the barriers and facilitators of using QI to improve palliative care in India.

Participants: We use a quota sampling approach to capture the perspectives of 44 local stakeholders in each of the following three categories (organizational leaders, clinic leaders, and clinical team members) through a semi-structured interview guide informed by the consolidated framework for implementation research (CFIR). We use standard qualitative methods to identify facilitators and barriers to using QI methods in seven diverse palliative care contexts.

Results: Across all sites, respondents emphasized the following factors important in the success of quality improvement initiative: leveraging clinic level data, QI methods training, provider buy-in, engaged mentors, committed leadership, team support, interdepartmental coordination, collaborations with other providers, local champions, and having a structure for accountability. Barriers to using QI methods to improve palliative care services included lack of designated staff, high patient volume, resources, patient population geographic constraints, general awareness and acceptance of palliative care, and culture.

Conclusions: Empowering local leaders and medical personnel to champion, design, and iterate using QI methods represents a promising powerful tool to spread palliative care services in developing countries.

Keywords: India; implementation evaluation; palliative care; qualitative; quality improvement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • India
  • Leadership
  • Palliative Care*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality Improvement*