Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 715–722

The Association of Hospital Characteristics and Quality Improvement Activities in Inpatient Medical Services

  • Joseph D. Restuccia
  • David Mohr
  • Mark Meterko
  • Kelly Stolzmann
  • Peter Kaboli
Original Research



Quality of U.S. health care has been the focus of increasing attention, with deficiencies in patient care well recognized and documented. However, relatively little is known about the extent to which hospitals engage in quality improvement activities (QIAs) or factors influencing extent of QIAs.


To identify 1) the extent of QIAs in Veterans Administration (VA) inpatient medical services; and 2) factors associated with widespread adoption of QIAs, in particular use of hospitalists, non-physician providers, and extent of goal alignment between the inpatient service and senior managers on commitment to quality.


Cross-sectional, descriptive study of QIAs using a survey administered to Chiefs of Medicine (COM) at all 124 VA acute care hospitals. We conducted hierarchical regression, regressing QIA use on facility contextual variables, followed by use of hospitalists, non-physician providers, and goal alignment/quality commitment.


Outcome measures pertained to use of a set of 27 QIAs and to three dimensions—infrastructure, prevention, and information gathering—that were identified by factor analysis among the 27 QIAs overall.


Survey response rate was 90 % (111/124). Goal alignment/quality commitment was associated with more widespread use of all four QIA categories [infrastructure (b = 0.42; p < 0.001); prevention (b = 0.24; p < 0.001); information gathering (b = 0.28; p = <0.001); and overall QIA (b = 0.31; p < 0.001)], as was greater use of hospitalists [infrastructure (b = 0.55; p = 0.03); prevention (b = 0.61; p < 0.001); information gathering (b = 0.75; p = 0.01); and overall QIAs (b = 0.61; p < 0.001)]; higher occupancy rate was associated with greater infrastructure QIAs (b = 1.05, p = 0.02). Non-physician provider use, hospital size, university affiliation, and geographic region were not associated with QIAs.


As hospitals respond to changes in healthcare (e.g., pay for performance, accountable care organizations), this study suggests that practices such as use of hospitalists and leadership focus on goal alignment/quality commitment may lead to greater implementation of QIAs.


quality improvement hospital medicine inpatient medicine veterans 


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph D. Restuccia
    • 1
    • 2
  • David Mohr
    • 1
  • Mark Meterko
    • 1
    • 3
  • Kelly Stolzmann
    • 1
  • Peter Kaboli
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Center for Organizational Leadership and Management Research (COLMR)Boston VA Healthcare SystemBostonUSA
  2. 2.Boston University School of ManagementBostonUSA
  3. 3.Boston University School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  4. 4.The Comprehensive Access and Delivery Research and Evaluation (CADRE) CenterIowa City VA Healthcare SystemIowa CityUSA
  5. 5.Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of Iowa Carver College of MedicineIowa CityUSA

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