Qualitative approaches can provide a solid basis for introductory explorations of a defined need, performance gap, or issue, add description, explanation, and or validation to raw data, and offer insights for empirical generalizations derived from quantitative approaches.

We have worked with various physician and patient groups to develop and categorize perspectives, identify issues and barriers, and develop the basis for larger quantitative surveys around information gaps and needs. Here are some examples:

Project Title: Improving Care for Acute Ischemic Stroke: Focus on Timely Assessment and Thrombolytic Treatment
Project Aim: Identify (from each audience’s perspective), what makes it difficult to administer tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) to acute ischemic stroke patients. Discussion groups were conducted with four audiences; ED Nurses, ED Physicians, Neuroradiologists, and Neurologists.
Outcomes: Ideas and next steps to assist in addressing the barriers associated with door to needle times.    Ideas generated included procedural improvements as well as educational interventions for each audience based on needs uncovered during nominal groups.

Project Title: Patient-Centered Initiative in RA:  The Role of Registries and Patient-Reported Outcomes
Project Aim: Develop and test an intervention that supports effective dialogue and aligns the different perspectives, understanding, and knowledge of clinicians and patients to focus on their common goal.  A prioritized list of questions was developed that patient participants consider most important to them in understanding their disease, its consequences, and its impact on their day-to-day quality of life. 
Outcomes: Information learned in the nominal groups was be used to create education that will optimize communication between physicians and patients about RA-related topics and further develop patient education content delivered in a patient centered manner.

Project Title: Improving Engagement and Compliance through Physician-Patient Communication: A Demonstration Research Project
Project Aim: Collect and categorize information aimed at improving surgeon-patient communication in the perioperative environment, patient engagement and compliance, and family and patient satisfaction.
Outcomes: Results informed the development of a conceptual framework guiding the design of an intervention intended to improve physician and patient/caregiver communication across all settings. The findings will and can be applied across all areas of medicine where important and often technical information needs to be effectively communicated to multiple stakeholders.

Project Title: Cardiovascular Disease, Prevention, Treatment, and Outcomes
Project Aim: Identify primary care physician attitudes on common statin side effects, reasons for statin discontinuation, and barriers to re-initiating statins among patients who discontinue treatment. 
Outcomes:  Intended to complement information on patient attitudes being evaluated in a separate project, data gathered from these groups aided in the development of effective strategies to increase the appropriate use of statin therapy to reduce cardiovascular disease risk

Project Title: Primary care physicians’ perspectives on barriers to beta-blocker use and up-titration in patients with heart failure
Project Aim: Elicit opinions from primary care physicians’ on perceived barriers to beta-blocker use and up-titration in heart failure patients.
Outcomes: Primary care physicians identified specific barriers to use of beta-blockers in patients with Heart Failure and reduced Ejection Fraction.  Physician-identified barriers to up-titration of beta-blockers in patients with Heart Failure were also examined.

Improving Care for Acute Ischemic Stroke: Focus on Timely Assessment and Thrombolytic Treatment 

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