Expanding Our Methodological Toolbox to Improve Quality: The Role of Mixed-Methods Evaluations

Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2023 May;16(5):e009629. doi: 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.122.009629. Epub 2023 May 5.


The care delivered to patients with cardiovascular disease involves coordination among a multitude of clinical team members spanning diverse inpatient and outpatient settings. The majority of quality improvement interventions in cardiovascular care have been developed based on quantitative evidence, which neither fully accounts for multilevel determinants (eg, patient, clinician, and institution) nor contextualization from key informants. The rigor and effectiveness of these interventions would be enhanced by mixed-methods studies whose strengths include (1) the use of qualitative research methodologies (eg, eliciting patient or clinician perspectives on barriers and facilitators of best practices) and (2) integrating qualitative and quantitative data and analyses to understand more fully effective strategies for achieving optimal care and outcomes for these patients across diverse settings. This article illustrates the application of a complex mixed-methods design to advance an evidence-based, customizable infection prevention toolkit for durable left ventricular assist device therapy. The study (1) uses quantitative clinical data merged with Medicare claims to evaluate interhospital variability in the incidence of infection; (2) uses qualitative methods to understand local practice patterns across low- and high-performing centers; and (3) integrates both data sources to gain a comprehensive understanding of the overall findings.

Keywords: cardiovascular diseases; durable left ventricular assist device therapy; healthcare associated infections; humans; inpatients; mixed methods; outpatients; quality improvement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / therapy
  • Delivery of Health Care* / standards
  • Humans
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • United States