Purpose: Previously published findings based on field tests indicated that emergency department patient transfer communication measures are feasible and worthwhile to implement in rural hospitals. This study aims to expand those findings by focusing on the wide-scale implementation of these measures in the 79 Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in Minnesota from 2011 to 2013. Methods: Information was obtained from interviews with key informants involved in implementing the emergency department patient transfer communication measures in Minnesota as part of required statewide quality reporting. The first set of interviews targeted state-level organizations regarding their experiences working with providers. A second set of interviews targeted quality and administrative staff from CAHs regarding their experiences implementing measures. Findings: Implementing the measures in Minnesota CAHs proved to be successful in a number of respects, but informants also faced new challenges. Our recommendations, addressed to those seeking to successfully implement these measures in other states, take these challenges into account. Conclusions: Field-testing new quality measure implementations with volunteers may not be indicative of a full-scale implementation that requires facilities to participate. The implementation team's composition, communication efforts, prior relationships with facilities and providers, and experience with data collection and abstraction tools are critical factors in successfully implementing required reporting of quality measures on a wide scale.
- Critical access hospitals
- Emergency department quality measurement
- Patient transfer communication measures
- Rural hospital quality