A pinboard by
Bernadette Kleczka

Doctoral student, University of Heidelberg


Designing innovative tools for data collection, audit and feedback to improve quality of health care

My team and I are designing tools that support non-physician clinicians (like nurses and clinical officers) in low- and middle-income countries – currently Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania – to adhere to clinical practice guidelines. The aim is to improve care for commonly encountered outpatient conditions. The project centers around Rubber-stamp templates that are printed onto paper-based patient encounter forms. We are using optic mark recognition and mobile phone cameras to digitize these templates after the information is filled by the clinician. Our team has developed a mobile application to extract these data automatically. Once analysed, we give feedback to the providers and help them improve by conducting monthly trainings at their facilities. Central health issues that we are currently addressing are: The overuse of antibiotics, how to manage patients with chronic disease and the documentation of risk factors (i.e. indoor pollution for chronic respiratory diseases).


Evaluation of hospital outcomes: the relation between length-of-stay, readmission, and mortality in a large international administrative database

Abstract: Hospital mortality, readmission and length of stay (LOS) are commonly used measures for quality of care. We aimed to disentangle the correlations between these interrelated measures and propose a new way of combining them to evaluate the quality of hospital care.We analyzed administrative data from the Global Comparators Project from 26 hospitals on patients discharged between 2007 and 2012. We correlated standardized and risk-adjusted hospital outcomes on mortality, readmission and long LOS. We constructed a composite measure with 5 levels, based on literature review and expert advice, from survival without readmission and normal LOS (best) to mortality (worst outcome). This composite measure was analyzed using ordinal regression, to obtain a standardized outcome measure to compare hospitals.Overall, we observed a 3.1% mortality rate, 7.8% readmission rate (in survivors) and 20.8% long LOS rate among 4,327,105 admissions. Mortality and LOS were correlated at the patient and the hospital level. A patient in the upper quartile LOS had higher odds of mortality (odds ratio = 1.45, 95% confidence interval 1.43–1.47) than those in the lowest quartile. Hospitals with a high standardized mortality had higher proportions of long LOS (r = 0.79, p < 0.01). Readmission rates did not correlate with either mortality or long LOS rates. The interquartile range of the standardized ordinal composite outcome was 74–117. The composite outcome had similar or better reliability in ranking hospitals than individual outcomes.Correlations between different outcome measures are complex and differ between hospital- and patient-level. The proposed composite measure combines three outcomes in an ordinal fashion for a more comprehensive and reliable view of hospital performance than its component indicators.

Pub.: 14 Feb '18, Pinned: 15 Feb '18

The gendered experience with respect to health-seeking behaviour in an urban slum of Kolkata, India

Abstract: Empirical evidence shows that the relationship between health-seeking behaviour and diverse gender elements, such as gendered social status, social control, ideology, gender process, marital status and procreative status, changes across settings. Given the high relevance of social settings, this paper intends to explore how gender elements interact with health-seeking practices among men and women residing in an Indian urban slum, in consideration of the unique socio-cultural context that characterises India’s slums.The study was conducted in Sahid Smriti Colony, a peri-urban slum of Kolkata, India. The referral technique was used for selecting participants, as people in the study area were not very comfortable in discussing their health issues and health-seeking behaviours. The final sample included 66 participants, 34 men and 32 women. Data was collected through individual face-to-face in-depth interviews with a semi-structured questionnaire.The data analysis shows six categories of reasons underlying women’s preferences for informal healers, which are presented in the form of the following themes: cultural competency of care, easy communication, gender-induced affordability, avoidance of social stigma and labelling, living with the burden of cultural expectations and geographical and cognitive distance of formal health care. In case of men ease of access, quality of treatment and expected outcome of therapies are the three themes that emerged as the reasons behind their preferences for formal care.Our results suggest that both men and women utilise formal and informal care, but with different motives and expectations, leading to contrasting health-seeking outcomes. These gender-induced contrasts relate to a preference for socio-cultural (women) versus technological (men) therapies and long (women) versus fast (men) treatment, and are linked to their different societal and familial roles. The role of women in following and maintaining socio-cultural norms leads them to focus on care that involves long discussions mixed with socio-cultural traits that help avoid economic and social sanctions, while the role of men as bread earners requires them to look for care that ensures a fast and complete recovery so as to avoid financial pressures.

Pub.: 14 Feb '18, Pinned: 15 Feb '18

Influencing Pathways to Quality of Life and HbA1c in Patients With Diabetes: A Longitudinal Study That Inform Evidence-Based Practice

Abstract: Determining possible associated factors and the influencing pathways to hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) levels and quality of life (QoL) will facilitate the development of effective interventions to improve the physical and psychosocial health of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).To test a hypothesized model that addressed the pathways among personal characteristics, social support, diabetes distress, and self-care behaviors to HbA1C and QoL.A total of 382 adults with T2DM were recruited. Self-reported questionnaires and medical records were used to collect data regarding personal characteristics, diabetes distress, and social support at baseline. The self-care behaviors characters were collected 6 months later, as well as QoL and HbA1C levels 1 year later.The 12-month QoL directly affected 12-month HbA1C levels. The 6-month self-care behaviors directly affected 12-month QoL, and indirectly affected 12-month HbA1C levels through 12-month QoL. Baseline diabetes distress directly affected 12-month QoL. Moreover, baseline diabetes distress indirectly affected 12-month HbA1C levels through 12-month QoL. Baseline social support directly affected baseline diabetes distress and 6-month self-care behaviors. In addition, baseline social support indirectly affected 12-month QoL through baseline diabetes distress. Baseline social support also indirectly affected 12-month QoL through 6-month self-care behaviors.Enhancing QoL is important to improve HbA1C levels. Enhancing self-care behaviors is essential to improve subsequent HbA1C control and QoL. Reducing diabetes distress is crucial to improve subsequent QoL. Improving social support is suggested a favorable strategy to reduce diabetes distress and enhance subsequent self-care behaviors in patients with T2DM.

Pub.: 14 Feb '18, Pinned: 15 Feb '18