Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0245650
Title: Challenges and opportunities in pragmatic implementation of a holistic hospital care model in Singapore: A mixed-method case study
Authors: Lai, Yi Feng 
Lee, Sophia Yi-Fei
Xiong, Jun
Leow, Si Yun
Lim, Cher Wee
Ong, Biauw Chi
Issue Date: 20-Jan-2021
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Citation: Lai, Yi Feng, Lee, Sophia Yi-Fei, Xiong, Jun, Leow, Si Yun, Lim, Cher Wee, Ong, Biauw Chi (2021-01-20). Challenges and opportunities in pragmatic implementation of a holistic hospital care model in Singapore: A mixed-method case study. PLoS ONE 16 (1-Jan) : e0245650. ScholarBank@NUS Repository. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0245650
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
Abstract: Introduction Hospital-based practices today remain predominantly disease-oriented, focusing on individual clinical specialties with less visibility on a comprehensive picture of each patient’s health needs. To tackle the challenge of growing multimorbidity worldwide, practices without disease-specific focus have shown better integration of services. However, as we move away from the familiar disease-specific approaches of care delivery, many of us are still learning how to implement generalist care in a cost-effective manner. Methods This mixed-method case study, which centred on a specialist-led General Medicine model implemented at an acute hospital in Singapore, aimed to (1) quantitatively summarise its clinical outcomes, and (2) qualitatively describe the challenges and lessons gathered from the pragmatic implementation of the care model. Quantitative hospital data were extracted from databases and summarised. Qualitative staff-reported experiences and insights were gathered through semi-structured interviews and analysed using thematic analysis. Results Quantitative findings revealed that the generalist care model was implemented with high fidelity, where more than 75% of patients admitted were placed under General Medicine’s or General Surgery’s care. The mean length of stay was 2.6 days, and the 30-day post-discharge readmission rate was 15%. Inpatient mortality rate was found to be 2.8%, and the average gross hospitalisation bill amounted to SGD3,085.30. For qualitative findings, themes concerning feasibility and operational aspects of the implementation were grouped into categories- (1) Feasibility of ‘One Care Team’ approach, (2) Enablers required for meaningful generalist care, (3) Challenges surrounding information sharing, (4) Lack of integration with the community to facilitate care transition, and (5) Evolving roles of self-management. The findings were rich, with some being identified as barriers that could benefit from system-level de-constraining. Discussion This case study was an illustration of our pursuit for an integrated solution to rising prevalence of multimorbidity. While quantitative findings indicated that a pivot towards General Medicine might be possible, data also revealed gaps in clinical outcomes, especially in readmission rates. These findings corroborated with much of the lessons and challenges gathered from qualitative interviews, specifically surrounding the lack of receptacles in the community to facilitate care transition, training, and competency of generalists in holistic management of complex multimorbid cases, as well as inadequate infrastructure to allow information sharing between providers. Thus, a multi-pronged approach might be required to develop a new and sustainable care model for patients with multimorbidity in the long run. In the short to medium transitional period, nonetheless, the specialist-led General Medicine care model demonstrated might be a viable interim approach, especially in circumstances where trained medical generalists remained limited. Copyright: © 2021 Lai et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Source Title: PLoS ONE
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/232555
ISSN: 1932-6203
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0245650
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
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