Methods of Capturing Process Outcomes in Quality Improvement Trials: A Systematic Review

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Healthcare quality can be measured by studying structure, processes, and outcomes. This study examines how trialists capture process outcomes in implementation trials to provide guidance for researchers and health professionals. Electronic databases were searched, and two researchers performed the title, abstract, and full-text selection. Only implementation studies involving nonpharmacological approaches were included. Data were extracted by one reviewer and checked for accuracy and completeness by a second reviewer. Study quality was independently assessed by two reviewers. Of the 3,186 articles screened, 24 studies matched our inclusion criteria. Most studies were cluster randomized control trials, followed by interrupted time series studies and stepped wedge studies. The population in the studies was diverse and settings included hospitals, community centers, residential aged care facilities, and primary care. The reporting of process measures across the included studies varied, and there was limited information about the mechanisms of data collection procedures. Nineteen studies extracted information about processes from electronic medical records, patient records, or chart reviews. The remaining five studies used staff surveys. Challenges remain in the practical aspect of data collection for measuring process outcomes, particularly outside of hospital settings or where processes are hard to capture in patient records.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-151
Number of pages21
JournalJournal for Healthcare Quality
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • healthcare
  • implementation trials
  • outcome measurement
  • process measures
  • quality improvement


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