Improving outcomes of hospitalized patients: the Physician Relationships, Improvising, and Sensemaking intervention protocol

Luci K. Leykum, Holly J. Lanham, Shannon M. Provost, Reuben R. McDaniel, Jacqueline Pugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Our goal is to improve the safety and effectiveness of inpatient care. Rather than focus on improving process of care, we focus on the social structure within physician teams. We have developed the Physician Relationships, Improvising, and Sensemaking (PRISm) intervention to improve the way physician teams round, enabling them to better relate, make sense of their patients' conditions, and improvise in uncertain clinical situations. We are currently studying the impact of PRISm on adverse events and complications in hospitalized patients. This manuscript describes the PRISm intervention.

METHODS/DESIGN: PRISm is a structured communication tool consisting of three components: daily briefings before rounds; use of the Situation, Task, Intent, Concern, and Calibrate (STICC) framework during rounds as part of the discussion of individual patients; and debriefings after rounds. We are implementing the PRISm intervention on eight inpatient medical and surgical physician teams in the South Texas Veterans Health Care System. We are assessing PRISm impact on the way team members relate to each other, round, and discuss patients through pre- and post-implementation observations and surveys. We are also assessing PRISm impact on complications and adverse events. Finally, we are interviewing physicians regarding their experience using the intervention.

DISCUSSION: Our results will allow us to begin to understand the potential impact of interventions designed to improve how providers relate to each other, improvise, and make sense of what is happening as a strategy for improving inpatient care. Our in-depth data collection will enable us to assess how relationships, improvising, and sensemaking influence patient outcomes, potentially through creating shared mental models or enhancing distributed cognition during clinical reasoning. Finally, our results will lay the groundwork for larger implementation studies to improve clinical outcomes through improving how providers, and providers, patients, and caregivers, relate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171
Number of pages1
JournalImplementation science : IS
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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