While simple Audit & Feedback (A&F) has shown modest effectiveness in reducing low-value care, there is a knowledge gap on the effectiveness of multifaceted interventions to support de-implementation efforts. Given the need to make rapid decisions in a context of multiple diagnostic and therapeutic options, trauma is a high-risk setting for low-value care. Furthermore, trauma systems are a favorable setting for de-implementation interventions as they have quality improvement teams with medical leadership, routinely collected clinical data, and performance-linked to accreditation. We aim to evaluate the effectiveness of a multifaceted intervention for reducing low-value clinical practices in acute adult trauma care.
We will conduct a pragmatic cluster randomized controlled trial (cRCT) embedded in a Canadian provincial quality assurance program. Level I–III trauma centers (n = 30) will be randomized (1:1) to receive simple A&F (control) or a multifaceted intervention (intervention). The intervention, developed using extensive background work and UK Medical Research Council guidelines, includes an A&F report, educational meetings, and facilitation visits. The primary outcome will be the use of low-value initial diagnostic imaging, assessed at the patient level using routinely collected trauma registry data. Secondary outcomes will be low-value specialist consultation, low-value repeat imaging after a patient transfer, unintended consequences, determinants for successful implementation, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios.
On completion of the cRCT, if the intervention is effective and cost-effective, the multifaceted intervention will be integrated into trauma systems across Canada. Medium and long-term benefits may include a reduction in adverse events for patients and an increase in resource availability. The proposed intervention targets a problem identified by stakeholders, is based on extensive background work, was developed using a partnership approach, is low-cost, and is linked to accreditation. There will be no attrition, identification, or recruitment bias as the intervention is mandatory in line with trauma center designation requirements, and all outcomes will be assessed with routinely collected data. However, investigators cannot be blinded to group allocation and there is a possibility of contamination bias that will be minimized by conducting intervention refinement only with participants in the intervention arm.
This protocol has been registered on ClinicalTrials.gov (February 24, 2023, #NCT05744154).