A multisite exploration of the association between critical care implementation factors and clinical outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic

Santana Silver, Sarah Redmond, Kayla Christine Jones, Emily George, Sarah Zornes, Amelia Barwise, Aaron Leppin, Yue Dong, Lori A. Harmon, Vishakha K. Kumar, Christina Kordik, Mari Lynn Drainoni, Allan J. Walkey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Little is known about strategies to implement new critical care practices in response to COVID-19. Moreover, the association between differing implementation climates and COVID-19 clinical outcomes has not been examined. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between implementation determinants and COVID-19 mortality rates. Methods: We used mixed methods guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR). Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with critical care leaders and analyzed to rate the influence of CFIR constructs on the implementation of new care practices. Qualitative and quantitative comparisons of CFIR construct ratings were performed between hospital groups with low- versus high-mortality rates. Results: We found associations between various implementation factors and clinical outcomes of critically ill COVID-19 patients. Three CFIR constructs (implementation climate, leadership engagement, and engaging staff) had both qualitative and statistically significant quantitative correlations with mortality outcomes. An implementation climate governed by a trial-and-error approach was correlated with high COVID-19 mortality, while leadership engagement and engaging staff were correlated with low mortality. Another three constructs (needs of patient; organizational incentives and rewards; and engaging implementation leaders) were qualitatively different across mortality outcome groups, but these differences were not statistically significant. Conclusions: Improving clinical outcomes during future public health emergencies will require reducing identified barriers associated with high mortality and harnessing salient facilitators associated with low mortality. Our findings suggest that collaborative and engaged leadership styles that promote the integration of new yet evidence-based critical care practices best support COVID-19 patients and contribute to lower mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA7
JournalJournal of Clinical and Translational Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 17 2023


  • CFIR
  • COVID-19
  • barriers
  • critical care
  • facilitators
  • implementation science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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