Authors: Nigel Field,Jill Murray, Michelle L Wong, Rob Dowdeswel, Ntomboxolo Dudumayo, Lesego Rametsi, Neil Martinson, Marc Lipman, Judith R Glynn And Pam Sonnenberg

Source: BMC Public Health 2011, 11:127 Doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-127


Backgound: Traditional tuberculosis (TB) treatment outcome measures, such as cure rate, do not provide insight into the underlying reasons for missing clinical targets. We evaluated a TB Process-Based Performance Review (TB-PBPR) tool, developed to identify “missed opportunities” for timely and accurate diagnosis of TB. The tool enables performance assessment at the level of process and quality of care.

Methods: The TB-PBPR tool is a single-page structured flow-sheet that identifies 14 clinical actions (grouped into elicited symptoms, clinical examination and investigations). Medical records from selected deceased patients were reviewed at two South African mine hospitals (A = 56 cases; B = 26 cases), a South African teaching hospital (C = 20 cases) and a UK teaching hospital (D = 13 cases).

Results: In hospital A, where autopsy was routine, TB was missed in life in 52% (23/44) of cases and was wrongly attributed as the cause of death in 16% (18/110). Clinical omissions were identified at each hospital and at every stage of clinical management. For example, recording of chest symptoms was omitted in up to 39% of cases, sputum smear examination in up to 85% and chest radiograph in up to 38% of cases respectively.

Conclusion: This study introduces the TB-PBPR tool as a novel method to review and evaluate clinical performance in TB management. We found that simple clinical actions were omitted in many cases. The tool, in conjunction with a manual describing best practice, is adaptable to a range of settings, is educational and enables detailed feedback within a TB programme. The TB-PBPR tool and manual are both freely available for general use.

Full text available online.