Examples of Improvement Studies

Network Study Pipeline




Studies In Development




Project is under development. Call for interested hospitals to participate in this study will be released in the near future.

Gap Analysis-Reducing Readmissions (GARR)

A- Coordination & Care Transition C-Uptake of EBP

Project is currently in development.

Workforce Stress




Pilot study completed data analysis currently in progress.




Project and study design complete. Starting data collection

“Your Study Here”

A, B, C, or D

You are invited to design a Network Study for launch across our 200+ member network.

Studies Closed to Enrollment



B-Microsystems D-Organization

Pocket Card data collection complete in 23 hospitals. 30,000+ data points gathered and analyzed. The ISRN plans to expand this study due to its clinical relevance and will likely engage additional hospital partners in the near future.

Medication Errors and Cognitive Load


This study is closed for enrollment. Site PIs were named across 9 hospitals.  Protocol has been IRB approved. Data analysis and reporting complete.


Improvement Studies

Because improvement science is new, research studies are unfamiliar to most of us. The “phenomena of interest” that are the target of improvement research studies are unlike traditional research in healthcare. Until recently, health research was focused on topics such as the effect of sheering forces on pressure ulcer formation, the side effects of experimental drugs, or the effectiveness of smoking cessation programs.

With the new focus on improvement strategies, different phenomena of interest are emphasized. These include creating a culture of patient safety in an organization, engaging frontline staff in improvement, and effective ways to employ evidence-based practice across an institution.

For examples of improvement studies, see the research being conducted by the Center for Advancing Clinical Excellence.

Improvement Science Research Network (ISRN) Studies

Study Title: Small Troubles, Adaptive Responses (STAR-2): Frontline Nurse Engagement in Quality Improvement

This study will determine the types and frequency of first order operational failures that nurses self-detect during their work shifts, and will evaluate whether the self-detected failures correlate with failures that are observed by others. Nurses on participating units will use specially-designed (index sized) pocket cards to record -- in real time -- the small operational failures that they encounter. Data will be analyzed to determine a rate of small failures per patient per day.

Study Title: Impact of Cognitive Load, Interruptions and Distractions on Medication Administration Errors

This project will identify the impact of interruptions and distractions on medication administration errors, and will design interventions to assist in diminishing the impact of interruptions and distractions while administering medications. This multisite, two-phase study will begin with a descriptive-correlational phase in which researchers will identify and describe the various types of interruptions and distractions that occur during the medication administration process; the second phase of the study will test interventions to reduce the impact of these interruptions and distractions.

Study Title: Team Performance for Patient Safety

TeamSTEPPS is an evidence-based system aimed at improving patient outcomes via fostering improvements in teamwork and communication skills among members of the health care team. The goal of this study is to understand TeamSTEPPS as an improvement science demonstration model by evaluating how teams work in real-world clinical settings and identifying “gaps” in knowledge and practice with regard to optimal teamwork.

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ISRN Quick Fact

ISRN Wikipedia Entry

AHRQ PBRN Registration

Training Opportunity

TeamSTEPPS® Master Training Workshop
San Antonio, TX

Web Seminar Series:

Wrestling Readmissions to the Mat: Evidence and Efforts
Part 3: November 18, 2015
What Works in Readmissions Reduction: How Hospitals Have Improved Performance
Amanda Brewster, PhD
Research & Education Associate, 
Yale Global Health Leadership Institute
Part 2: August 13, 2015
Discharge Readiness as a Nurse Sensitive Indicator
Kathleen Bobay, PhD, RN, NEA-BC
Marquette University, College of Nursing
Part 1: June 10, 2015
Project C.A.R.E.
Gulsham Sharma, MD
UTMB Galveston

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