Date of Award

Summer 8-9-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Health

First Advisor

Prof. Richard B Rothenberg

Second Advisor

Prof. Ike S Okosun

Third Advisor

Prof. Michael R Frankel


The Georgia Department of Public Health has been engaged in a registry-based quality improvement initiative to monitor and improve the quality of stroke care. It is important to evaluate effectiveness of the quality improvement initiative in order to expand the effort to other sites or disease conditions. The studies, included in this dissertation, addressed whether acute ischemic stroke patients cared for by hospitals participating in the Georgia Coverdell Acute Stroke Registry (GCASR) had a better survival than those treated at other facilities, assessed whether quality of care as measured by nationally accepted ten performance measures is associated with improved patient outcome and evaluated the impact of intravenous alteplase treatment on 1-year mortality.

Three data sources – GCASR, Georgia Discharge Data System and the death data – were used for analyses. These data sources were linked applying both a hierarchical deterministic and a probabilistic linkage methods. Survival after stroke incident was analyzed using the extended Cox proportional hazard model. Generalized estimating equation (glimmix procedure) and conditional logistic regression were applied, respectively, to assess the association of quality of care and intravenous alteplase use with 1-year mortality.

Acute ischemic stroke patients treated at nonparticipating facilities had a hazard ratio for death of 1.14 (95% confidence interval, 1.03–1.26; p-value = .01) after the first week of admission compared with patients cared for by hospitals participating in the registry. Among patients treated in GCASR-participating hospitals, patients who received the lowest and intermediate quality care respectively had a 3.94 (95%CI: 3.27, 4.75; p-value <0.0001) and a 1.38 (95%CI: 1.12, 1.62; p-value=0.002) times higher odds of dying in one year compared to those who got the best quality stroke care. Patients who were eligible but did not receive IV alteplase had a 1.49 (95%CI: 1.09-2.04; p-value=0.01) times higher odds of dying within one year than those who were treated with the thrombolytic agent.

The results strongly suggest that registry-based quality improvement effort has brought significant improvements in ischemic stroke patients’ outcomes. Therefore, it is critical that hospitals adopt a quality improvement strategy to change the process of care delivery for a better patient outcome.