Making sense of DialysisConnect: a qualitative analysis of stakeholder viewpoints on a web-based information exchange platform to improve care transitions between dialysis clinics and hospitals

Ann E. Vandenberg, Bernard G. Jaar, Kyle P. James, Janice Lea, Christopher O’Donnell, Tahsin Masud, Rich Mutell, Laura C. Plantinga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: U.S. hospitals and dialysis centers are penalized for 30-day hospital readmissions of dialysis patients, despite little infrastructure to facilitate care transitions between these settings. We are developing a third-party web-based information exchange platform, DialysisConnect, to enable clinicians to view and exchange information about dialysis patients during admission, hospitalization, and discharge. This health information technology solution could serve as a flexible and relatively affordable solution for dialysis facilities and hospitals across the nation who are seeking to serve as true partners in the improved care of dialysis patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the perceived coherence of DialysisConnect to key clinical stakeholders, to prepare messaging for implementation. Methods: As part of a hybrid effectiveness-implementation study guided by Normalization Process Theory, we collected data on stakeholder perceptions of continuity of care for patients receiving maintenance dialysis and a DialysisConnect prototype before completing development and piloting the system. We conducted four focus groups with stakeholders from one academic hospital and associated dialysis centers [hospitalists (n = 5), hospital staff (social workers, nurses, pharmacists; n = 9), nephrologists (n = 7), and dialysis clinic staff (social workers, nurses; n = 10)]. Transcriptions were analyzed thematically within each component of the construct of coherence (differentiation, communal specification, individual specification, and internalization). Results: Participants differentiated DialysisConnect from usual care variously as an information dashboard, a quick-exchange communication channel, and improved discharge information delivery; some could not differentiate it in terms of workflow. The purpose of DialysisConnect (communal specification) was viewed as fully coherent only for communicating outside of the same healthcare system. Current system workarounds were acknowledged as deterrents for practice change. All groups delegated DialysisConnect tasks (individual specification) to personnel besides themselves. Partial internalization of DialysisConnect was achieved only by dialysis clinic staff, based on experience with similar technology. Conclusions: Implementing DialysisConnect for clinical users in both settings will require presenting a composite picture of current communication processes from all stakeholder groups to correct single-group misunderstandings, as well as providing data about care transitions communication beyond the local context to ease resistance to practice change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number47
JournalBMC medical informatics and decision making
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics

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