Missed opportunities in TB diagnosis: A TB Process-Based Performance Review tool to evaluate and improve clinical care

Nigel Field, Jill Murray, Michelle L. Wong, Rob Dowdeswell, Ntomboxolo Dudumayo, Lesego Rametsi, Neil Martinson, Marc Lipman, Judith R. Glynn, Pam Sonnenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: Traditional tuberculosis (TB) treatment outcome measures, such as cure rate, do not provide insight into the underlying reasons for missing clinical targets. We evaluated a TB Process-Based Performance Review (TB-PBPR) tool, developed to identify "missed opportunities" for timely and accurate diagnosis of TB. The tool enables performance assessment at the level of process and quality of care. Methods. The TB-PBPR tool is a single-page structured flow-sheet that identifies 14 clinical actions (grouped into elicited symptoms, clinical examination and investigations). Medical records from selected deceased patients were reviewed at two South African mine hospitals (A = 56 cases; B = 26 cases), a South African teaching hospital (C = 20 cases) and a UK teaching hospital (D = 13 cases). Results: In hospital A, where autopsy was routine, TB was missed in life in 52% (23/44) of cases and was wrongly attributed as the cause of death in 16% (18/110). Clinical omissions were identified at each hospital and at every stage of clinical management. For example, recording of chest symptoms was omitted in up to 39% of cases, sputum smear examination in up to 85% and chest radiograph in up to 38% of cases respectively. Conclusions: This study introduces the TB-PBPR tool as a novel method to review and evaluate clinical performance in TB management. We found that simple clinical actions were omitted in many cases. The tool, in conjunction with a manual describing best practice, is adaptable to a range of settings, is educational and enables detailed feedback within a TB programme. The TB-PBPR tool and manual are both freely available for general use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number127
JournalBMC Public Health
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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