ISSN: 1472-6963 |
production of goods and services
Published by Biomed Central Ltd.
No Issue Number
- Assessment of drug use pattern using WHO prescribing indicators at Hawassa University teaching and referral hospital, south Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study
Background: To promote rational drug use in developing countries, it is important to assess drug use pattern using the World Health Organization (WHO) drug use indicators. The aim of this study was to assess the drug prescription patterns at the Medical Outpatient Pharmacy of Hawassa University Teaching and Referral Hospital, using some of the WHO core drug use indicators. Methods: A descriptive, quantitative, and cross-sectional survey was conducted to determine the current prescribing practices at Hawassa University Teaching and Referral Hospital. The sample was selected using systematic random sampling. 1290 patient encounters were reviewed retrospectively for a 2-year period from September 2007 to September 2009. Data were collected from prescriptions and Prescription registration books retained in the pharmacy.Result: The average number of drugs prescribed per encounter or mean was 1.9 (SD 0.91) with a range between 1 and 4. The percentage of encounters in which an antibiotic or injection was prescribed was 58.1% (n = 749) and 38.1% (n = 491), respectively. The Percentage of drugs prescribed by generic name and from an essential drug list was 98.7% (n=2419) and 96.6% (n=2367), respectively. The most commonly prescribed forms of antibiotics were amoxicillin (16.4%), ampicillin (15%), gentamicin (14.9%) and chloramphenicol (11.6%). On the other hand, the most commonly prescribed injections were ampicillin (21.4%), cloxacillin (13.4%), crystalline penicillin (12.4%), ceftriaxon (9.8%) gentamicin (9.8%), diclofenac (9.4%), chloramphenicol 41 (8.4%) and furosemide 25(5.1%). Conclusion: On the basis of the finding of this study, the prescribing practices for antibiotic and injection shows deviation from the standard recommended by WHO. These two commonly overused and costly forms of drug therapy need to be regulated closely. Drug use evaluation should be done for some of the antibiotics to check whether they were appropriately prescribed or not. On the other hand, polypharmacy, generic prescribing and prescribing from EDL were not found to be a problem in this study. Teaching hospitals have a special responsibility to society to promote rational prescribing by their staff and, through them, the future generations of doctors.
- Integrating HIV care into nurse-led primary health care services in South Africa: a synthesis of three linked qualitative studies
IntroductionThe integration of HIV care into primary care services is one of the strategies proposed to increase access to treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS in high HIV burden countries. However, how best to do this is poorly understood. This study documents different factors influencing models of integration within clinics. Methods: Using methods based on the meta-ethnographic approach, we synthesised the findings from three qualitative studies of the factors that influenced integration of HIV care into all consultations in primary care. The studies were conducted amongst staff and patients in South Africa during a randomised trial of nurse initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and integration of HIV care into primary care services -- the Streamlining Tasks and Roles to Expand Treatment and Care for HIV (STRETCH) trial. Themes from each study were identified and translated into each other to develop categories and sub-categories and then to inform higher level interpretations of the synthesised data. Results: Clinics varied as to how HIV care was integrated. Existing administration systems, workload and support staff shortages tended to hinder integration. Nurses' wanted to be involved in providing HIV care and yet also expressed preferences for developing expertise in certain areas and for establishing good nurse patient relationships by specialising in certain services. Patients, in turn, were concerned about the stigma of separate HIV services and yet preferred to be seen by nurses with expertise in HIV care. These factors had conflicting effects on efforts to integrate HIV care. Conclusion: Local clinic factors and nurse and patient preferences in relation to care delivery should be taken into account in programmes to integrate HIV care into primary care services. The integration of medical records, monitoring and reporting systems would support clinic based efforts to integrate HIV care into primary care services.
- The effect of activity-based financing on hospital length of stay for elderly patients suffering from heart diseases in Norway
Background: Whether activity-based financing of hospitals creates incentives to treat more patients and to reduce the length of each hospital stay is an empirical question that needs investigation. This paper examines how the level of the activity-based component in the financing system of Norwegian hospitals influences the average length of hospital stays for elderly patients suffering from ischemic heart diseases. During the study period, the activity-based component changed several times due to political decisions at the national level. Methods: The repeated cross-section data were extracted from the Norwegian Patient Register in the period from 2000 to 2007, and included patients with angina pectoris, congestive heart failure, and myocardial infarction. Data were analysed with a log-linear regression model at the individual level. Results: The results show a significant, negative association between the level of activity-based financing and length of hospital stays for elderly patients who were suffering from ischemic heart diseases. The effect is small, but an increase of 10 percentage points in the activity-based component reduced the average length of each hospital stay by 1.28%. Conclusions: In a combined financing system such as the one prevailing in Norway, hospitals appear to respond to economic incentives, but the effect of their responses on inpatient cost is relatively meagre. Our results indicate that hospitals still need to discuss guidelines for reducing hospitalisation costs and for increasing hospital activity in terms of number of patients and efficiency.
- Economic evaluation of agomelatine relative to other antidepressants for treatment of major depressive disorders in Greece
Background: Major depressive disorder (MDD) constitutes an important public health problem, as it is highly prevalent in the industrialized world and it is associated with substantial economic consequences for patients, health care providers, insurance and social security organizations and employers. To conduct an economic evaluation comparing agomelatine with other commonly used alternatives for treating patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) in Greece. Methods: An existing international Markov model designed to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of agomelatine was adapted to the Greek setting. It reflects six different health states, in which patients may move on a monthly basis. The analysis was undertaken from a societal perspective. Transition probabilities, utilities and costs assigned to each health state were extracted from the published literature, government sources and expert opinion. Data reflects the year 2012 and was discounted using a rate of 3.5%. Probabilistic analysis was undertaken to deal with uncertainty. Results: Base case analyses revealed that agomelatine is a dominant therapy for MDD relative to escitalopram, fluoxetine and sertraline, and it appeared to be cost-effective compared to venlafaxine (ICER: [euro sign]547/QALY). Agomelatine remained a dominant treatment against generic sertraline and fluoxetine, and it appeared to be a cost-effective alternative compared to generic venlafaxine and escitalopram (ICER:[euro sign]1,446/QALY and [euro sign]3,303/QALY, respectively). Excluding the indirect cost from the analysis, agomelatine remained a cost-effective alternative over all comparators. In the probabilistic sensitivity analysis agomelatine was dominant in 44.5%, 89.6%, 70.6% and 84.6% of simulated samples against branded venlafaxine, escitalopram, fluoxetine and sertraline, respectively. Conclusion: The present evaluation indicates that agomelatine is either a dominant or a cost-effective alternative relative to branded or generic alternatives, in Greece.
- Why give birth in health facility? Users' and providers' accounts of poor quality of birth care in Tanzania
Background: In Tanzania, half of all pregnant women access a health facility for delivery. The proportion receiving skilled care at birth is even lower. In order to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, the government has set out to increase health facility deliveries by skilled care. The aim of this study was to describe the weaknesses in the provision of acceptable and adequate quality care through the accounts of women who have suffered obstetric fistula, nurse-midwives at both BEmOC and CEmOC health facilities and local community members. Methods: Semi-structured interviews involving 16 women affected by obstetric fistula and five nurse-midwives at maternity wards at both BEmOC and CEmOC health facilities, and Focus Group Discussions with husbands and community members were conducted between October 2008 and February 2010 at Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania and Temeke hospitals in Dar es Salaam, and Mpwapwa district in Dodoma region. Results: Health care users and health providers experienced poor quality caring and working environments in the health facilities. Women in labour lacked support, experienced neglect, as well as physical and verbal abuse. Nurse-midwives lacked supportive supervision, supplies and also seemed to lack motivation. Conclusions: There was a consensus among women who have suffered serious birth injuries and nurse midwives staffing both BEmOC and CEmOC maternity wards that the quality of care offered to women in birth was inadequate. While the birth accounts of women pointed to failure of care, the nurses described a situation of disempowerment. The bad birth care experiences of women undermine the reputation of the health care system, lower community expectations of facility birth, and sustain high rates of home deliveries. The only way to increase the rate of skilled attendance at birth in the current Tanzanian context is to make facility birth a safer alternative than home birth. The findings from this study indicate that there is a long way to go.
- Nurses' workarounds in acute healthcare settings: a scoping review
Background: Workarounds circumvent or temporarily 'fix' perceived workflow hindrances to meet a goal or to achieve it more readily. Behaviours fitting the definition of workarounds often include violations, deviations, problem solving, improvisations, procedural failures and shortcuts. Clinicians implement workarounds in response to the complexity of delivering patient care. One imperative to understand workarounds lies in their influence on patient safety. This paper assesses the peer reviewed empirical evidence available on the use, proliferation, conceptualisation, rationalisation and perceived impact of nurses' use of workarounds in acute care settings. Methods: A literature assessment was undertaken in 2011--2012. Snowballing technique, reference tracking, and a systematic search of twelve academic databases were conducted to identify peer reviewed published studies in acute care settings examining nurses' workarounds. Selection criteria were applied across three phases. 58 studies were included in the final analysis and synthesis. Using an analytic frame, these studies were interrogated for: workarounds implemented in acute care settings by nurses; factors contributing to the development and proliferation of workarounds; the perceived impact of workarounds; and empirical evidence of nurses' conceptualisation and rationalisation of workarounds. Results: The majority of studies examining nurses' workarounds have been published since 2008, predominantly in the United States. Studies conducted across a variety of acute care settings use diverse data collection methods. Nurses' workarounds, primarily perceived negatively, are both individually and collectively enacted. Organisational, work process, patient-related, individual, social and professional factors contribute to the proliferation of workarounds. Group norms, local and organisational culture, 'being competent', and collegiality influence the implementation of workarounds. Conclusion: Workarounds enable, yet potentially compromise, the execution of patient care. In some contexts such improvisations may be deemed necessary to the successful implementation of quality care, in others they are counterproductive. Workarounds have individual and cooperative characteristics. Few studies examine nurses' individual and collective conceptualisation and rationalisation of workarounds or measure their impact. The importance of displaying competency (image management), collegiality and organisational and cultural norms play a role in nurses' use of workarounds.
- Measuring fragmentation of ambulatory care in a tripartite healthcare system
Background: Hong Kong has a tripartite healthcare system, where western medicine provided in both public and private sectors coexist with Chinese medicine practice. The purpose of this study is to measure fragmentation of ambulatory care experienced by the non-institutionalized population aged 15 and over in such a tripartite system, thus shed light on the ongoing primary care reform. Methods: This is a cross-sectional secondary data analysis using the Thematic Household Survey, which was conducted by the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department during November 2009 to February 2010 to collect territory-wide health-related information. Among 18,226 individuals with two or more ambulatory visits during the past 12 months before interview, we grouped each visit into one of the three care segments---public western, private western and Chinese medicine. Two individual-level measures were used to quantify longitudinal fragmentation of care across segments over the one-year period: Most Frequent Provider Continuity Index (MFPC) and Fragmentation of Care Index (FCI). Both are analyzed for distribution and subgroup comparison. A Tobit model was used to further examine the determinants of fragmentation. Results: More than a quarter of individuals sought care in two or all three segments, with an average MFPC of 65% and FCI of 0.528. Being older, female, married, unemployed, uninsured, or born in mainland China, with lower education, lower income, higher number of chronic conditions or poorer health were found to have experienced higher fragmentation of care. We also found that, fragmentation of care increased with the total number of ambulatory care visits and it varied significantly depending on what segment the individual chose to visit most frequently---those chose private western clinics had lower FCI, compared with those chose public western or Chinese medicine as the most frequently visited segment. Conclusions: Even measured at healthcare segment level, people in Hong Kong experienced modest fragmentation of care. Individuals' health beliefs---as a result of the persistent habitual tendency and latitude incentivized by the system---may be behind the fragmented care we saw. Efforts are needed to alter health beliefs, targeting subgroups of vulnerable population, and create environments that promote better coordinated primary care.
- Barriers to alcohol and other drug treatment use among black african and coloured south africans
Background: There are racial disparities in the use of alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment services in South Africa but little is known about the factors contributing to these disparities. This study aimed to redress this gap through identifying differences in barriers to AOD treatment use among Black African and Coloured persons from Cape Town, South Africa. The Behavioral Model of Health Services Utilization was used as an analytic framework. Methods: A case-control design was used to compare 434 individuals with AOD problems who had accessed treatment with 555 controls who had not accessed treatment on a range of variables. Logistic regression procedures were employed to examine the unique profile of variables associated with treatment utilization for Black African and Coloured participants. Results: After controlling for the influence of treatment need and predisposing factors on treatment use, several barriers to treatment were identified. Greater awareness of treatment options and fewer geographic access and affordability barriers were strongly associated with an increased likelihood of AOD treatment use for both race groups. However, Black African persons were more vulnerable to the effects of awareness and geographic access barriers on treatment use. Stigma consciousness was only associated with AOD treatment utilization for Coloured participants. Conclusion: Differences in barriers to AOD treatment use were found among Black African and Coloured South Africans. Targeted interventions that address the unique profile of barriers experienced by each race group are needed to improve AOD treatment use by these underserved groups. Several strategies for improving the likelihood of treatment entry are suggested.
- What primary health care services should residents of rural and remote Australia be able to access? A systematic review of "core" primary health care services
Background: There are significant health status inequalities in Australia between those people living in rural and remote locations and people living in metropolitan centres. Since almost ninety percent of the population use some form of primary health care service annually, a logical initial step in reducing the disparity in health status is to improve access to health care by specifying those primary health care services that should be considered as "core" and therefore readily available to all Australians regardless of where they live. A systematic review was undertaken to define these "core" services.Using the question "What primary health care services should residents of rural and remote Australia be able to access?", the objective of this paper is to delineate those primary health care core services that should be readily available to all regardless of geography.MethodA systematic review of peer-reviewed literature from established databases was undertaken. Relevant websites were also searched for grey literature. Key informants were accessed to identify other relevant reference material. All papers were assessed by at least two assessors according to agreed inclusion criteria. Results: Data were extracted from 19 papers (7 papers from the peer-reviewed database search and 12 from other grey sources) which met the inclusion criteria. The 19 papers demonstrated substantial variability in both the number and nature of core services. Given this variation, the specification or synthesis of a universal set of core services proved to be a complex and arguably contentious task. Nonetheless, the different primary health care dimensions that should be met through the provision of core services were developed. In addition, the process of identifying core services provided important insights about the need to deliver these services in ways that are "fit-for--purpose" in widely differing geographic contexts. Conclusions: Defining a suite of core primary health care services is a difficult process. Such a suite should be fit-for-purpose, relevant to the context, and its development should be methodologically clear, appropriate, and evidence-based. The value of identifying core PHC services to both consumers and providers for service planning and monitoring and consequent health outcomes is paramount.
- Correction: The health services burden of heart failure: an analysis using linked population health data-sets
After publication of this work , we noted that we inadvertently included the wrong version of Table 2. The Charlson scores presented in the table of the published paper did not exclude heart failure (as described in the methods). Therefore all estimates of comorbidity burden are inflated by one point. While this changes the absolute values of the comorbidity burden it does not alter the conclusions of the study or the patterns of comorbidity described.The correct data are shown in a revised Table 2The revised text in the results should read:Comorbidity burdenPatients had a median of 1.0 comorbidity recorded at baseline admission, although the range was wide (0-12, not including heart failure), with some evidence of an increase in comorbidity burden over time (Table 2). Re-calculation of the Charlson Index from hospital separation codes at the index admission and all admissions in the previous two years combined did not change the estimates substantially. Across the cohort this had the effect of increasing the mean number of comorbidities per patient by 0.5, with the median number of recorded comorbidities increasing from 1.0 to 2.0.
- Existence and functionality of emergency obstetric care services at district level in Kenya: theoretical coverage versus reality
Background: The knowledge on emergency obstetric care (EmOC) is limited in Kenya, where only partial data from sub-national studies exist. The EmOC process indicators have also not been integrated into routine health management information systems to monitor progress in safe motherhood interventions both at national and lower levels of the health system. In a country with a high maternal mortality burden, the implication is that decision makers are unaware of the extent of need for life-saving care and, therefore, where to intervene. The objective of the study was to assess the actual existence and functionality of EmOC services at district level. Methods: This was a facility-based cross-sectional study. Data were collected from 40 health facilities offering delivery services in Malindi District, Kenya. Data presented are part of "response to accountable priority setting for trust in health systems" study, in which EmOC was one of the service areas selected to assess fairness and legitimacy of priority setting in health care. The main outcome measures in this study were the number of facilities providing EmOC, their geographical distribution, and caesarean section rates in relation to World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations. Results: Among the 40 facilities assessed, 29 were government owned, seven were private and four were voluntary organisations. The ratio of EmOC facilities to population size was met (6.2/500,000), compared to the recommended 5/500,000 population. However, using the strict WHO definition, none of the facilities met the EmOC requirements, since assisted delivery was not provided in any facility. Rural--urban inequities in geographical distribution of facilities were observed. The facilities were not providing sufficient life-saving care as measured by caesarean section rates, which were below recommended levels (3.7% in 2008 and 4.5% in 2009). The rates were lower in the rural than in urban areas (2.1% vs. 6.8%; p < 0.001 ) in 2008 and (2.7% vs. 7.7%; p < 0.001) in 2009. Conclusions: The gaps in existence and functionality of EmOC services revealed in this study may point to the health system conditions contributing to lack of improvements in maternal survival in Kenya. As such, the findings bear considerable implications for policy and local priority setting.
- Analysis of government investment in primary healthcare institutions to promote equity during the three-year health reform program in China
Background: The World Health Report 2000 stated that increased public financing for healthcare was an integral part of the efforts to achieve equity of access. In 2009, the Chinese government launched a three-year health reform program to achieve equity of access. Through this reform program, the government intended to increase its investment in primary healthcare institutions (PHIs). However, reports about the outcome and the improvement of the equity of access have yet to be presented. Methods: Stratified sampling was employed in this research. The samples used for the study comprised 34 community health service centers (CHSCs) and 92 township hospitals (THs) from six provinces of China. Collected data, which were publicly available, consisted of the total revenue, financial revenue, and the number of people for the periods covering January 2010 to September 2010 and January 2011 to September 2011. Revenue information for 2009 and 2010 was obtained from China's Health Statistics Yearbook.By using indicators such as government investment, government finance proportion and per capita revenue, t-tests for paired and independent samples were used to analyze the changes in government investment. Results: Government invest large amount of money to the primary healthcare institutions. Government finance proportion in 2008 was 18.2%. This percentage increased to 38.84% in 2011, indicating statistical significance (p = 0.000) between 2010 and 2011. The per capita financial input was 20.92 yuan in 2010 and 31.10 yuan in 2011. Compared with the figures from 2008 to 2010, the gap in different health sectors narrowed in 2011, and differences emerged. The government finance proportion in CHSCs revenue was 6.9% higher than that of THs, while the per capita revenue of CHSCs was higher. In 2011, the highest and lowest government finance proportions were 48.80% (Shaanxi) and 19.36% (Shandong), respectively. In that same year, the per capita revenue of Shaanxi (40.69 Yuan) was higher than that of Liaoning (28.79 Yuan). Comparing the 2011 figures with those from 2008 to 2010, the gap in 2011 clearly narrowed. Conclusion: In the three-year health reform program, the Chinese government increased its investment to PHIs gradually and significantly. Thus promote equity to access and universal coverage. However, the increase in government investment stemmed from political desire and from the lack of institutionalization of practice and experience. Hence, a mode of financial allocation must be formulated to promote consistency in government input after the three-year health reform program.
- Is Europe putting theory into practice? A qualitative study of the level of self-management support in chronic care management approaches
Background: Self-management support is a key component of effective chronic care management, yet in practice appears to be the least implemented and most challenging. This study explores whether and how self-management support is integrated into chronic care approaches in 13 European countries. In addition, it investigates the level of and barriers to implementation of support strategies in health care practice. Methods: We conducted a review among the 13 participating countries, based on a common data template informed by the Chronic Care Model. Key informants presented a sample of representative chronic care approaches and related self-management support strategies. The cross-country review was complemented by a Dutch case study of health professionals' views on the implementation of self-management support in practice. Results: Self-management support for chronically ill patients remains relatively underdeveloped in Europe. Similarities between countries exist mostly in involved providers (nurses) and settings (primary care). Differences prevail in mode and format of support, and materials used. Support activities focus primarily on patients' medical and behavioral management, and less on emotional management. According to Dutch providers, self-management support is not (yet) an integral part of daily practice; implementation is hampered by barriers related to, among others, funding, IT and medical culture. Conclusions: Although collaborative care for chronic conditions is becoming more important in European health systems, adequate self-management support for patients with chronic disease is far from accomplished in most countries. There is a need for better understanding of how we can encourage both patients and health care providers to engage in productive interactions in daily chronic care practice, which can improve health and social outcomes.
- Impact of telemonitoring home care patients with heart failure or chronic lung disease from primary care on healthcare resource use (the TELBIL study randomised controlled trial)
Background: There is growing evidence that home telemonitoring can be advantageous in societies with increasing prevalence of chronic diseases.The main objective of this study is to evaluate the effect of a primary care-based telemonitoring intervention on the number and length of hospital admissions. Methods: A randomised controlled trial was carried out across 20 health centres in Bilbao (Basque Country, Spain) to assess the impact of home telemonitoring on in-home chronic patients compared with standard care. The study lasted for one year. Fifty-eight in-home patients, diagnosed with heart failure (HF) and/or chronic lung disease (CLD), aged 14 or above and with two or more hospital admissions in the previous year were recruited. The intervention consisted of daily patient self-measurements of respiratory-rate, heart-rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, weight, body temperature and the completion of a health status questionnaire using PDAs. Alerts were generated when pre-established thresholds were crossed. The control group (CG) received usual care. The primary outcome measure was the number of hospital admissions that occurred at 12 months post-randomisation. The impact of telemonitoring on the length of hospital stay, use of other healthcare resources and mortality was also explored. Results: The intervention group (IG) included 28 patients and the CG 30. Patient baseline characteristics were similar in both groups. Of the 21 intervention patients followed-up for a year, 12 had some admissions (57.1%), compared to 19 of 22 controls (86.4%), being the difference statistically significant (p = 0.033, RR 0.66; 95%CI 0.44 to 0.99). The mean hospital stay was overall 9 days (SD 4.3) in the IG versus 10.7 (SD 11.2) among controls, and for cause-specific admissions 9 (SD 4.5) vs. 11.2 (SD 11.8) days, both without statistical significance (p = 0.891 and 0.927, respectively). Four patients need to be telemonitored for a year to prevent one admission (NNT). There were more telephone contacts in the IG than in the CG (22.6 -SD 16.1- vs. 8.6 -SD 7.2-, p = 0.001), but fewer home nursing visits (15.3 -SD 11.6- vs. 25.4 -SD 26.3-, respectively), though the difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.3603). Conclusions: This study shows that telemonitoring of in-home patients with HF and/or CLD notably increases the percentage of patients with no hospital admissions and indicates a trend to reduce total and cause-specific hospitalisations and hospital stay. Home telemonitoring can constitute a beneficial alternative mode of healthcare provision for medically unstable elderly patients.Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN89041993
- A systematic review of the care coordination measurement landscape
Background: Care coordination has increasingly been recognized as an important aspect of high-quality health care delivery. Robust measures of coordination processes will be essential tools to evaluate, guide and support efforts to understand and improve coordination, yet little agreement exists among stakeholders about how to best measure care coordination. We aimed to review and characterize existing measures of care coordination processes and identify areas of high and low density to guide future measure development. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of measures published in MEDLINE through April 2012 and identified from additional key sources and informants. We characterized included measures with respect to the aspects of coordination measured (domain), measurement perspective (patient/family, health care professional, system representative), applicable settings and patient populations (by age and condition), and data used (survey, chart review, administrative claims). Results: Among the 96 included measure instruments, most relied on survey methods (88%) and measured aspects of communication (93%), in particular the transfer of information (81%). Few measured changing coordination needs (11%). Nearly half (49%) of instruments mapped to the patient/family perspective; 29% to the system representative and 27% to the health care professionals perspective. Few instruments were applicable to settings other than primary care (58%), inpatient facilities (25%), and outpatient specialty care (22%). Conclusions: New measures are needed that evaluate changing coordination needs, coordination as perceived by health care professionals, coordination in the home health setting, and for patients at the end of life.
- How do hospital administrators perceive cardiac rehabilitation in a publicly-funded health care system?
Background: Patient and provider-related factors affecting access to cardiac rehabilitation (CR) have been extensively studied, but health-system administration factors have not. The objectives of this study were to investigate hospital administrators' (HA) awareness and knowledge of cardiac rehabilitation (CR), perceptions regarding resources for and benefit of CR, and attitudes toward and implementation of inpatient transition planning for outpatient CR. Methods: A cross-sectional and observational design was used. A survey was administered to 679 HAs through Canadian and Ontario databases. A descriptive examination was performed, and differences in HAs' perceptions by role, institution type and presence of within-institution CR were compared using t-tests. Results: 195 (28.7%) Canadian HAs completed the survey. Respondents reported good knowledge of what CR entails (mean=3.42+/-1.15/5). Awareness of the closest site was lower among HAs working in community versus academic institutions (3.88+/-1.24 vs. 4.34+/-0.90/5 respectively; p=.01). HAs in non-executive roles (4.77+/-0.46/5) perceived greater CR importance for patients' care than executives (4.52+/-0.57; p=.001). HAs perceived CR programs should be situated in both hospitals and community settings (n=134, 71.7%). Conclusions: HAs value CR as part of patients' care, and are supportive of greater CR provision. Those working in community settings and executives may not be as aware of, or less-likely to value, CR services. CR leaders from academic institutions might consider liaising with community hospitals to raise awareness of CR benefits, and advocate for it with the executives in their home institutions.
- Development of a patient-centred care pathway across healthcare providers: a qualitative study
Background: Different models for care pathways involving both specialist and primary care have been developed to ensure adequate follow-up after discharge. These care pathways have mainly been developed and run by specialist care and have been disease-based. In this study, primary care providers took the initiative to develop a model for integrated care pathways across care levels for older patients in need of home care services after discharge. Initially, the objective was to develop pathways for patients diagnosed with heart failure, COPD and stroke. The aim of this paper is to investigate the process and the experiences of the participants in this developmental work. The participants were drawn from three hospitals, six municipalities and patient organizations in Central Norway. Methods: This qualitative study used focus group interviews, written material and observations. Representatives from the hospitals, municipalities and patient organizations taking part in the development process were chosen as informants. Results: The development process was very challenging because of the differing perspectives on care and different organizational structures in specialist care and primary care. In this study, the disease perspective, being dominant in specialist care, was not found to be suitable for use in primary health care because of the need to cover a broader perspective including the patient's functioning, social situation and his or her preferences. Furthermore, managing several different disease-based care pathways was found to be unsuitable in home care services, as well as unsuitable for a population characterized by a substantial degree of comorbidity. The outcome of the development process was a consensus that outlined a single, common patient-centred care pathway for transition from hospital to follow-up in primary care. The pathway was suitable for most common diseases and included functional and social aspects as well as disease follow-up, thus merging the differing perspectives. The disease-based care pathways were kept for use within the hospitals. Conclusions: Disease-based care pathways for older patients were found to be neither feasible nor sustainable in primary care. A common patient-centred care pathway that could meet the needs of multi- morbid patients was recommended.
- Instruments for assessing the risk of falls in acute hospitalized patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Background: Falls are a serious problem for hospitalized patients, reducing the duration and quality of life. It is estimated that over 84% of all adverse events in hospitalized patients are related to falls. Some fall risk assessment tools have been developed and tested in environments other than those for which they were developed with serious validity discrepancies. The aim of this review is to determine the accuracy of instruments for detecting fall risk and predicting falls in acute hospitalized patients. Methods: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Main databases, related websites and grey literature were searched. Two blinded reviewers evaluated title and abstracts of the selected articles and, if they met inclusion criteria, methodological quality was assessed in a new blinded process. Meta-analyses of diagnostic ORs (DOR) and likelihood (LH) coefficients were performed with the random effects method. Forest plots were calculated for sensitivity and specificity, DOR and LH. Additionally, summary ROC (SROC) curves were calculated for every analysis. Results: Fourteen studies were selected for the review. The meta-analysis was performed with the Morse (MFS), STRATIFY and Hendrich II Fall Risk Model scales. The STRATIFY tool provided greater diagnostic validity, with a DOR value of 7.64 (4.86 - 12.00). A meta-regression was performed to assess the effect of average patient age over 65 years and the performance or otherwise of risk reassessments during the patient's stay. The reassessment showed a significant reduction in the DOR on the MFS (rDOR 0.75, 95%CI: 0.64 - 0.89, p = 0.017). Conclusions: The STRATIFY scale was found to be the best tool for assessing the risk of falls by hospitalized acutely-ill adults. However, the behaviour of these instruments varies considerably depending on the population and the environment, and so their operation should be tested prior to implementation. Further studies are needed to investigate the effect of the reassessment of these instruments with respect to hospitalized adult patients, and to consider the real compliance by healthcare personnel with procedures related to patient safety, and in particular concerning the prevention of falls.
- "One of those areas that people avoid" a qualitative study of implementation in miscarriage management
Background: Miscarriage is common and often managed by specialists in the operating room despite evidence that office-based manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) is safe, effective, and saves time and money. Family Medicine residents are not routinely trained to manage miscarriages using MVA, but have the potential to increase access to this procedure. This process evaluation sought to identify barriers and facilitators to implementation of office-based MVA for miscarriage in Family Medicine residency sites in Washington State. Methods: The Residency Training Initiative in Miscarriage Management (RTI-MM) is a theory-based, multidimensional practice change initiative. We used qualitative methods to identify barriers and facilitators to successful implementation of the RTI-MM. Results: Thirty-six RTI-MM participants completed an interview. We found that the common major barriers to implementation were low volume and a perception of miscarriage as emotional and/or like abortion, while the inclusion of support staff in training and effective champions facilitated successful implementation of MVA services. Conclusion: Perceived characteristics of the innovation that may conflict with cultural fit must be explicitly addressed in dissemination strategies and support staff should be included in practice change initiatives. Questions remain about how to best support champions and influence perceptions of the innovation. Our study findings contribute programmatically (to improve the RTI-MM), and to broader theoretical knowledge about practice change and implementation in health service delivery.
- Economic impact of switching to fixed-dose combination therapy for Japanese hypertensive patients: a retrospective cost analysis
Background: The prescription of fixed-dose combinations (FDC) of antihypertensive drugs has increased rapidly since the relaxation of the prescription-term restriction.In this study, we used the opportunity of this policy change in Japan as an instrument to assess the causal impact of switching to FDC on hypertensive treatment costs. Methods: Claims data from 64 community pharmacies located in Tokyo were used to identify hypertensive patients under continuous treatment with angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs). Patients switching to FDC between December 2010 and April 2011 were compared to patients who did not receive FDC (control group). Changes in annual antihypertensive drug costs were compared using a difference-in-differences approach to adjust for patient characteristics and use of concomitant medication. Subpopulation analyses were also performed, taking into account pre-index treatment patterns and prescribers' characteristics. Results: There were 542 patients who switched to FDC and 9664 patients in the control group. No significant differences were observed between the 2 groups, except for antihypertensive drug use patterns before the policy change and prescribers' characteristics. The switch to FDC was associated with an annual saving of 10,420 yen (US$112.0) in antihypertensive drug costs. Approximately 20% of the FDC patients, however, switched from ARB alone, and their drug costs increased by 2376 yen (US$25.5). Conclusions: For hypertensive patients who required ARB-based combination therapy, switching to FDC drugs had a significant cost-saving effect. However, the policy change of relaxing the prescription-term restriction could encourage aggressive treatment, i.e., switching to a combination therapy from monotherapy, regardless of medical conditions. Further research is required to evaluate the possible negative aspects of FDC drugs.
- Text-messaging versus telephone reminders to reduce missed appointments in an academic primary care clinic: a randomized controlled trial
Background: Telephone or text-message reminders have been shown to significantly reduce the rate of missed appointments in different medical settings. Since text-messaging is less resource-demanding, we tested the hypothesis that text-message reminders would be as effective as telephone reminders in an academic primary care clinic. Methods: A randomized controlled non-inferiority trial was conducted in the academic primary care division of the Geneva University Hospitals between November 2010 and April 2011. Patients registered for an appointment at the clinic, and for whom a cell phone number was available, were randomly selected to receive a text-message or a telephone call reminder 24 hours before the planned appointment. Patients were included each time they had an appointment. The main outcome was the rate of unexplained missed appointments. Appointments were not missed if they were cancelled or re-scheduled before or independently from the intervention. We defined non-inferiority as a difference below 2% in the rate of missed appointments and powered the study accordingly. A satisfaction survey was conducted among a random sample of 900 patients (response rate 41%). Results: 6450 patients were included, 3285 in the text-message group and 3165 in the telephone group. The rate of missed appointments was similar in the text-message group (11.7%, 95% CI: 10.6-12.8) and in the telephone group (10.2%, 95% CI: 9.2-11.3 p = 0.07). However, only text message reminders were cost-effective. No patient reported any disturbance by any type of reminder in the satisfaction survey. Three quarters of surveyed patients recommended its regular implementation in the clinic. Conclusions: Text-message reminders are equivalent to telephone reminders in reducing the proportion of missed appointments in an academic primary care clinic and are more cost-effective. Both types of reminders are well accepted by patients.
- Consumers' intention to use health recommendation systems to receive personalized nutrition advice
Background: Sophisticated recommendation systems are used more and more in the health sector to assist consumers in healthy decision making. In this study we investigate consumers' evaluation of hypothetical health recommendation systems that provide personalized nutrition advice. We examine consumers' intention to use such a health recommendation system as a function of options related to the underlying system (e.g. the type of company that generates the advice) as well as intermediaries (e.g. general practitioner) that might assist in using the system. We further explore if the effect of both the system and intermediaries on intention to use a health recommendation system are mediated by consumers' perceived effort, privacy risk, usefulness and enjoyment. Methods: 204 respondents from a consumer panel in the Netherlands participated. The data were collected by means of a questionnaire. Each respondent evaluated three hypothetical health recommendation systems on validated multi-scale measures of effort, privacy risk, usefulness, enjoyment and intention to use the system. To test the hypothesized relationships we used regression analyses. Results: We find evidence that the options related to the underlying system as well as the intermediaries involved influence consumers' intention to use such a health recommendation system and that these effects are mediated by perceptions of effort, privacy risk, usefulness and enjoyment. Also, we find that consumers value usefulness of a system more and enjoyment less when a general practitioner advices them to use a health recommendation system than if they use it out of their own curiosity. Conclusions: We developed and tested a model of consumers' intention to use a health recommendation system. We found that intermediaries play an important role in how consumers evaluate such a system over and above options of the underlying system that is used to generate the recommendation. Also, health-related information services seem to rely on endorsement by the medical sector. This has considerable implications for the distribution as well as the communication channels of health recommendation systems which may be quite difficult to put into practice outside traditional health service channels.
- A qualitative study of stakeholder views of the effects of provider payment on cooperation, quality of care and cost-containment in integrated stroke care
Background: Stroke services are a form of integrated care which have been established in the Netherlands during the last decade to improve health outcomes and processes of care by connecting the acute, rehabilitative, and chronic phases of stroke care. Limited research exists on the effects of payment systems on the functioning of integrated care services from the perspectives of those involved in providing, planning and contracting the care. This qualitative study identified stakeholder views on i) challenges in integrated stroke care associated with fee-for-service systems; ii) other possible financing models for stroke care, and iii) challenges in the implementation of an integrated financing mechanism for stroke care. Methods: Twenty-four participants were interviewed using face-to-face audio-recorded semi-structured interviews. Respondents were purposively selected from five stakeholder groups; care providers, health care managers, health insurers, policy makers and researchers and the patient organisation. Transcribed data were coded and analysed to generate themes relating to the study aims. Results: Respondents mentioned the following challenges associated with the current fee-for-service system; inappropriate incentives for cooperation, efficiency and improving quality and the inability to exert steering power at the level of the stroke service. In addition, care is not patient-centred and the financing system is inflexible and incoherent.The respondents mentioned several solutions for the challenges, but there was no consensus amongst them. Regarding the implementation of integrated financing, respondents mentioned the following general challenges; i) the general financing system is incompatible with integrated financing of stroke care, ii) co-morbidity and iii) the lack of evidence on the effect of integrated financing. Stroke-specific challenges were; i) the diverse patient population, ii) a non-uniform care trajectory, iii) unclear division of responsibility for the overall care and iv) a varying degree of organisation between stroke services. Conclusions: This study provides new knowledge on stakeholder perception of the effect of payment systems and financial incentives on cooperation processes, quality of care and cost-containment in integrated stroke care. We conclude that fee-for-service does not provide the right incentives for the integration of stroke care. We recommend to perform financial experiments for integrated stroke care.Keywordsintegrated care, stroke, payment system, incentive, fee-for-service, cooperation
- Telephone consultations in place of face to face out-patient consultations for patients discharged from hospital following surgery: a systematic review
Background: Routine follow-up following uncomplicated surgery is being delivered by telephone in some settings. Telephone consultations may be preferable to patients and improve outpatient resource use. We aimed to compare the effectiveness of telephone consultations with face to face follow-up consultations, in patients discharged from hospital following surgery. Methods: Seven electronic databases (including Medline, Embase and PsycINFO) were searched from inception to July 2011. Comparative studies of any design in which routine follow-up via telephone was compared with face to face consultation in patients discharged from hospital after surgery were included. Study selection, data extraction and quality appraisal were performed independently by two reviewers with consensus reached by discussion and involvement of a third reviewer where necessary. Results: Five papers (four studies; 865 adults) met the inclusion criteria. The studies were of low methodological quality and reported dissimilar outcomes precluding any formal synthesis. Conclusions: There has been very little comparative evaluation of different methods of routine follow-up care in patients discharged from hospital following surgery. Further work is needed to establish a role for telephone consultation in this patient group.
- Defining and improving quality management in Dutch diabetes care groups and outpatient clinics: design of the study
Background: Worldwide, the organisation of diabetes care is changing. As a result general practices and diabetes teams in hospitals are becoming part of new organisations in which multidisciplinary care programs are implemented. In the Netherlands, 97 diabetes care groups and 104 outpatient clinics are working with a diabetes care program. Both types of organisations aim to improve the quality of diabetes care. Therefore, it is essential to understand the comprehensive elements needed for optimal quality management at organisational level. This study aims to assess the current level of diabetes quality management in both care groups and outpatient clinics and its improvement after providing feedback on their quality management system and tailored support. Methods: This study is a before-after study with a one-year follow-up comparing the levels of quality management before and after an intervention to improve diabetes quality management. To assess the status of quality management, online questionnaires were developed based on current literature. They consist of six domains: organisation of care, multidisciplinary teamwork, patient centeredness, performance management, quality improvement policy and management strategies. Based on the questionnaires, respondents will receive feedback on their score in a radar diagram and an elucidating table. They will also be granted access to an online toolbox with instruments that proved to be effective in quality of care improvement and with practical examples. If requested, personal support in implementing these tools will be available. After one year quality management will be measured again using the same questionnaire.DiscussionThis study will reveal a nationwide picture of quality management in diabetes care groups and outpatient clinics in the Netherlands and evaluate the effect of offering tailored support. The operationalisation of quality management on organisational level may be of interest for other countries as well.
- The variety of primary healthcare organisations in Australia: a taxonomy
Background: Healthcare policy appears to treat healthcare organisations as being homogenous, despite evidence that they vary considerably. This study develops a taxonomy of primary health care practices using characteristics associated with the job satisfaction of general medical practitioners (GPs) and the practices. Methods: The study used data from 3,662 survey respondents who were GPs in the 2009 wave of the MABEL survey. Cluster analyses were used to determine natural groups of medical practices based on multidimensional characteristics. Results: Seven configurations of primary health care practices emerged from multivariate cluster analyses: optimised team, independent craft, reactive, winding down, classic, practitioner flexible, and scale efficiency. Conclusions: This taxonomy of configurations moves beyond simplistic categorisations such as geographic location and highlights the complexity of primary health care organisations in Australia. Health policy, workforce and procedure interventions informed by taxonomies can engage the diversity of primary health care practices.
- Resource utilization, costs and treatment patterns of switching and discontinuing treatment of MS patients with high relapse activity
Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that affects mainly adults in the prime of their lives. However, few studies report the impact of high annual relapse rates on outcomes. The purpose of this study was to identify high relapse activity (HRA) in patients with MS, comparing differences in outcomes between patients with and without HRA. Methods: A retrospective longitudinal study was conducted using the MarketScan(R) Commercial Claims and Encounters and Medicare Supplemental Database. Patients had to have at least one ICD-9 for MS (340.XX) in 2009 and one in 2008, be older than 18 years, and have continuous enrolment in the years 2009--2010. HRA was defined as having >=2 relapses in 2009. Multivariate analyses compared all-cause and MS-specific emergency room (ER) visits, hospitalizations, and all-cause costs, excluding disease modifying therapy (DMT) costs, in 2010 between patients with and without HRA, controlling for baseline characteristics. A subgroup analysis using treatment exposure was also performed. Results: 19,219 patients were included: 5.3% (n=1,017) had >=2 relapses in 2009. Patients with HRA were more likely to have all-cause and MS-specific resource utilization than patients without HRA. Mean total all-cause non DMT costs were $12,057 higher for the HRA group. In the subgroup analysis, HRA treatment-naive patients were more likely to start treatment, and HRA treatment-experienced patients were more likely to discontinue or switch index DMT (P<0.01) Conclusions: Patients with >=2 relapses annually have higher resource utilization and costs. The difference in cost was over twice as large in treatment-naive patients versus treatment-experienced patients. HRA was also associated with an increased likelihood of starting DMT treatment (treatment-naive patients), and switching or discontinuing DMT therapy (treatment-experienced patients).
- Evaluating the integration of chronic disease prevention and management services into primary health care
Background: The increasing number of patients with chronic diseases represents a challenge for health care systems. The Chronic Care Model suggests a multi-component remodelling of chronic disease services to improve patient outcomes. To meet the complex and ongoing needs of patients, chronic disease prevention and management (CDPM) has been advocated as a key feature of primary care producing better outcomes, greater effectiveness and improved access to services compared to other sectors. The objective of this study is to evaluate the adaptation and implementation of an intervention involving the integration of chronic disease prevention and management (CDPM) services into primary health care. Methods: The implementation of the intervention will be evaluated using descriptive qualitative methods to collect data from various stakeholders (decision-makers, primary care professionals, CDPM professionals and patients) before, during and after the implementation. The evaluation of the effects will be based on a combination of experimental designs: a randomized trial using a delayed intervention arm (n = 326), a before-and-after design with repeated measures (n = 163), and a quasi-experimental design using a comparative cohort (n = 326). This evaluation will utilize self-report questionnaires measuring self-efficacy, empowerment, comorbidity, health behaviour, functional health status, quality of life, psychological well-being, patient characteristics and co-interventions. The study will take place in eight primary care practices of the Saguenay region of Quebec (Canada). To be included, patients will have to be referred by their primary care provider and present at least one of the following conditions (or their risk factors): diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma. Patients presenting serious cognitive problems will be excluded.DiscussionIn the short-term, improved patient self-efficacy and empowerment are expected. In the mid-term, we expect to observe an improvement in health behaviour, functional health status, quality of life and psychological well-being. At the organizational level, the project should lead to coordinated service delivery, improved patient follow-up mechanisms and enhanced interprofessional collaboration. Integration of CDPM services at the point of care in primary care practices is a promising innovation in care delivery that needs to be thoroughly evaluated.Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01319656
- Negotiating policy in practice: Child and Family Health Nurses' approach to the process of postnatal psychosocial assessment
Background: There is growing recognition internationally of the need to identify women with risk factors for poor perinatal mental health in pregnancy and following birth. In the state of New South Wales, Australia the Supporting Families Early policy provides a framework of assessment and support for women and families and includes routine psychosocial assessment and depression screening. This study investigated the approach taken by Child and Family Health Nurses (CFHNs) following birth to assessment and screening as recommended by state policy. Methods: This was a qualitative ethnographic study that included 83 CFHN and 20 women. Observations occurred with thirteen nurses; with 20 women, in the home or the clinic environment. An additional 70 nurses participated in discussion groups. An observational tool (4D&4R) and field notes were used to record observations and analysed descriptively using frequencies. Field notes, interview data and discussion group transcripts were analysed thematically. Results: CFHNs demonstrated a range of approaches to assessment and screening. Psychosocial assessment was conducted in 50% (10 out of the 20) of the interactions observed; however, all the women were screened using the Edinburgh Depression Scale. Four major themes that represent the approach taken to the assessment process were identified: 'Engagement: getting that first bit right', 'Doing some paperwork', 'Creating comfort' and 'Psychosocial assessment: doing it another way'. Nurses utilised other skills such as observing the women interacting with their baby, taking note of non verbal communication and using intuition to develop a clinical decision. Conclusion: Overall, nurses' took a sensitive and caring approach to assessment and screening, however, there were differences in interpretations of the policy recommendations across the two sites. Nurses adopt a flexible, relationship-based approach to the assessment process; however, they experience tension when required to incorporate structured psychosocial assessment processes. To undertake assessment and screening effectively, CFHNs require ongoing support, training and supervision to maintain this sensitive and emotionally challenging work.
- Lessons learned in Liberia: preliminary examination of the psychometric properties of trust and teamwork among maternal healthcare workers
Background: Post-conflict Liberia has one of the fastest growing populations on the continent and one of the highest maternal mortality rates among the world. However, in the rural regions, less than half of all births are attended by a skilled birth attendant. There is a need to evaluate the relationship between trained traditional healthcare providers and skilled birth attendants to improve maternal health outcomes. This evaluation must also take into consideration the needs and desires of the patients. The purpose of this pilot study was to establish the validity and reliability of a survey tool to evaluate trust and teamwork in the working relationships between trained traditional midwives and certified midwives in a post-conflict country. Methods: A previously established scale, the Trust and Teamwork Scale, was used with non- and low-literate trained traditional midwives (n=48) in rural Liberia to evaluate trust and teamwork with certified midwives in their communities. Initial results indicated that the scale and response keys were culturally inadequate for this population. A revised version of the scale, the Trust and Teamwork Scale -- Liberia, was created and administered to an additional group of non- and low-literate, trained traditional midwives (n=42). Exploratory factor analysis using Mplus for dichotomous variables was used to determine the psychometric properties of the revised scale and was then confirmed with the full sample (n=90). Additional analyses included contrast validity, convergent validity, and Kuder-Richardson reliability. Results: Exploratory factor analysis revealed two factors in the revised Trust and Teamwork Scale -- Liberia. These two factors, labeled trust and teamwork, included eleven of the original eighteen items used in the Trust and Teamwork Scale and demonstrated contrast and convergent validity and adequate reliability. Conclusions: The revised scale is suitable for use with non- and low-literate, trained traditional midwives in rural Liberia. Continued cross-cultural validation of tools is essential to ensure scale adequacy across populations. Future work should continue to evaluate the use of the Trust and Teamwork Scale -- Liberia across cultures and additional work is needed to confirm the factor structure.
- Implementation evaluation of the Dutch national heat plan among long-term care institutions in Amsterdam: a cross-sectional study
Background: In 2007, a national heat plan was introduced in the Netherlands to effectively protect vulnerable populations (such as institutionalised elderly people) against heatwaves. The aim of this study was to assess the extent to which the measures recommended in this heat plan had been implemented, and could be implemented, in long-term care institutions in Amsterdam three years on. Methods: Questionnaires were sent to the care managers of all 54 eligible long-term care institutions in Amsterdam. This included questions on the presence of a heat protocol and cooling facilities in the building. Furthermore, the care managers were asked to judge the importance of 23 of the cooling measures recommended by the National Heat Plan in the event of a heatwave, and to report on practical problems that may affect the implementation of these cooling measures. Results: Of the 54 questionnaires sent, 27 were returned. Most institutions had a heat protocol, virtually all of which had been developed in the three years preceding the survey. Outdoor sunshades were used most often to protect residents against heat (93% of all institutions). Prevalence of cooling facilities such as air conditioning and rooftop cooling had increased, but remained low (41%). Care managers confirmed the importance of most of the 23 cooling measures recommended by the National Heat Plan, with some exceptions. Only 41% regarded consulting physicians on medication use to be 'very important'. Most care managers did not foresee large problems with the implementation of the recommended cooling measures. Barriers mentioned related to shortage of and expertise among personnel, and residents' independence. Conclusion: The results suggest that a national heat plan could be implemented in long-term care institutions with few problems. Possible areas of improvement include cooling of buildings and staff training.
- Staff retention after the privatization of township-village health centers: a case study from the Haimen City of East China
Background: Township-village health centers in rural areas play an important role in health service system in China. In East China's Jiangsu Province, the City of Haimen privatized all 25 township-village health centers in 2002. This study assesses the effect of privatization on staff retention among these health centers. Methods: This is a retrospective study based on 10-year administrative data from Haimen City. Three waves of administrative data were collected in 2000 (2 years before privatization), 2005 (3 years after privatization) and 2009 (7 years after privatization) for all health care providers in Haimen City, including 3 county hospitals, 6 central township health centers (CTHC) and 25 township-village health centers (TVHC). The effect of privatization on TVHCs' staff retention was evaluated in comparison with the other two types of health care providers. We conducted focus groups with people from Haimen Bureau of Health and various health care providers to help understand the context of these administrative statistics. Results: Each township-village health centers had an average of 40 staff members before the privatization, and the majority of those staff members were their permanent staff. In 2005, three years after the privatization, a substantial amount of staff decrease (from 39.7 staff members per TVHC to 27.5 per TVHC) occurred in these township-village health centers. From 2000 to 2009, the total payroll in TVHCs decreased by almost 29%, while the number of their permanent staff members and nurses decreased by more than 40%. Among the two types of health care providers that did not go through a privatization, those central township health centers had no significant change on their payroll size during this period whereas the county hospitals' average payroll size actually increased by 20%, especially for the number of doctors. In addition, the average salary and caseload in TVHC showed similar decreasing trends from 2000 to 2009, while no such trends can be observed among the other two types of providers that did not undergo privatization. Conclusion: The privatization of township-village health center could have adverse effects on their staff retention, a phenomenon that occurs with a decrease in salary and caseload in these centers. To ensure that these health institutions keep providing health care for rural communities, a stronger social safety net and stronger financing of rural health insurance might be helpful in their staff retention.
- Development of a case-mix funding system for adults with combined vision and hearing loss
Background: Adults with vision and hearing loss, or dual sensory loss (DSL), present with a wide range of needs and abilities. This creates many challenges when attempting to set the most appropriate and equitable funding levels. Case-mix (CM) funding models represent one method for understanding client characteristics that correlate with resource intensity. Methods: A CM model was developed based on a derivation sample (n = 182) and tested with a replication sample (n = 135) of adults aged 18+ with known DSL who were living in the community. All items within the CM model came from a standardized, multidimensional assessment, the interRAI Community Health Assessment and the Deafblind Supplement. The main outcome was a summary of formal and informal service costs which included intervenor and interpreter support, in-home nursing, personal support and rehabilitation services. Informal costs were estimated based on a wage rate of half that for a professional service provider ($10/hour). Decision-tree analysis was used to create groups with homogeneous resource utilization. Results: The resulting CM model had 9 terminal nodes. The CM index (CMI) showed a 35-fold range for total costs. In both the derivation and replication sample, 4 groups (out of a total of 18 or 22.2%) had a coefficient of variation value that exceeded the overall level of variation. Explained variance in the derivation sample was 67.7% for total costs versus 28.2% in the replication sample. A strong correlation was observed between the CMI values in the two samples (r = 0.82; p = 0.006). Conclusions: The derived CM funding model for adults with DSL differentiates resource intensity across 9 main groups and in both datasets there is evidence that these CM groups appropriately identify clients based on need for formal and informal support.
- The calculation of quality indicators for long term care facilities in 8 countries (SHELTER project)
Background: Performance indicators in the long term care sector are important to evaluate the efficiency and quality of care delivery. We are, however, still far from being able to refer to a common set of indicators at the European level.We therefore demonstrate the calculation of Long Term Care Facility Quality Indicators (LTCFQIs) from data of the European Services and Health for Elderly in Long TERm Care (SHELTER) project. We explain how risk factors are taken into account and show how LTC facilities at facility and country level can be compared on quality of care using thresholds and a Quality Indicator sum measure. Methods: The indicators of Long Term Care Facility quality of care are calculated based on methods that have been developed in the US. The values of these Quality Indicators (QIs) are risk adjusted on the basis of covariates resulting from logistic regression analysis on each of the QIs. To enhance the comparison of QIs between facilities and countries we have used the method of percentile thresholds and developed a QI sum measure based on percentile outcomes. Results: In SHELTER data have been collected with the interRAI Long Term Care Facility instrument (interRAI-LTCF). The data came from LTC facilities in 7 European countries and Israel. The unadjusted values of the LTCF Quality Indicators differ considerably between facilities in the 8 countries. After risk adjustment the differences are less, but still considerable. Our QI sum measure facilitates the overall comparison of quality of care between facilities and countries. Conclusions: With quality indicators based on assessments with the interRAI LTCF instrument quality of care between LTC facilities in and across nations can be adequately compared.
- Empirical evidence of the continuing improvement in cost efficiency of an endoscopic surveillance programme for gastric cancer in Singapore from 2004 to 2010
Background: Endoscopic surveillance has been proven effective in prolonging the survival of gastric cancer (GC) patients. However, there is limited evidence on the cost efficiency of delivering this intervention, especially on a national level in spite of cost efficiency being a major determinant of the actual cost-effectiveness of a cancer prevention programme. The Singapore Gastric Cancer Epidemiology Clinical and Genetic Programme (GCEP) is a demonstration project offering scheduled endoscopy to the Chinese population 50 years or older in Singapore. By assessing the cost efficiency of the GCEP, this study aimed to provide empirical evidence on the cost structure and mechanisms underlying cost generation in conducting GC surveillance, thus informing resource allocation and programme budgeting for the Singapore government. Methods: From a societal perspective, we reported on the direct cost (resource consumption) of conducting endoscopic surveillance through the GCEP network. We retrospectively collected individual-level data of 216 subjects recruited at the National University Hospital, Singapore from 01/04/2004 to 31/10/2010. The Overall Cost, Clinical Cost, GCEP Cost and Personal Cost incurred in serving one subject was computed and discounted as 2004 US dollar (US$) per capita for every year. The Generalized Estimation Equation (GEE) was used to model the data. Results: All cost indices continuously declined over the 6.5-year costing period. For the total sample, Overall Cost, Clinical Cost, GCEP Cost and Personal Cost declined by 42.3%, 54.1%, 30% and 25.7% respectively. This downward trend existed for age and gender subgroups and the high risk group only with cost reductions varying between 3.5% and 58.4%. The GEE models confirmed statistical significance of the downward trend and of its association with risk profile, where the moderate risk group had cost indices at most 77% of the high risk group. Conclusions: Our study offered empirical evidence of improved cost efficiency of a surveillance programme for GC in the early phase of programme implementation. Mechanisms such as economies of scale and self-learning were found to be involved in the cost reduction. Our findings highlighted the importance of assessing the cost efficiency and offered valuable insights for future programme budgeting and policy making.
- Emergency and critical care services in Tanzania: a survey of ten hospitals
Background: While there is a need for good quality care for patients with serious reversible disease in all countries in the world, Emergency and Critical Care tends to be one of the weakest parts of health systems in low-income countries. We assessed the structure and availability of resources for Emergency and Critical Care in Tanzania in order to identify the priorities for improving care in this neglected specialty. Methods: Ten hospitals in four regions of Tanzania were assessed using a structured data collection tool. Quality was evaluated with standards developed from the literature and expert opinion. Results: Important deficits were identified in infrastructure, routines and training. Only 30% of the hospitals had an emergency room for adult and paediatric patients. None of the seven district and regional hospitals had a triage area or intensive care unit for adults. Only 40% of the hospitals had formal systems for adult triage and in less than one third were critically ill patients seen by clinicians more than once daily. In 80% of the hospitals there were no staff trained in adult triage or critical care. In contrast, a majority of equipment and drugs necessary for emergency and critical care were available in the hospitals (median 90% and 100% respectively. The referral/private hospitals tended to have a greater overall availability of resources (median 89.7%) than district/regional hospitals (median 70.6). Conclusions: Many of the structures necessary for Emergency and Critical Care are lacking in hospitals in Tanzania. Particular weaknesses are infrastructure, routines and training, whereas the availability of drugs and equipment is generally good. Policies to improve hospital systems for the care of emergency and critically ill patients should be prioritised.
- Targeted versus tailored multimedia patient engagement to enhance depression recognition and treatment in primary care: randomized controlled trial protocol for the AMEP2 study
Background: Depression in primary care is common, yet this costly and disabling condition remains underdiagnosed and undertreated. Persisting gaps in the primary care of depression are due in part to patients' reluctance to bring depressive symptoms to the attention of their primary care clinician and, when depression is diagnosed, to accept initial treatment for the condition. Both targeted and tailored communication strategies offer promise for fomenting discussion and reducing barriers to appropriate initial treatment of depression. Methods: The Activating Messages to Enhance Primary Care Practice (AMEP2) Study is a stratified randomized controlled trial comparing two computerized multimedia patient interventions --- one targeted (to patient gender and income level) and one tailored (to level of depressive symptoms, visit agenda, treatment preferences, depression causal attributions, communication self-efficacy and stigma)--- and an attention control. AMEP2 consists of two linked sub-studies, one focusing on patients with significant depressive symptoms (Patient Health Questionnaire-9 [PHQ-9] scores >= 5), the other on patients with few or no depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 < 5). The first sub-study examined effectiveness of the interventions; key outcomes included delivery of components of initial depression care (antidepressant prescription or mental health referral). The second sub-study tracked potential hazards (clinical distraction and overtreatment). A telephone interview screening procedure assessed patients for eligibility and oversampled patients with significant depressive symptoms. Sampled, consenting patients used computers to answer survey questions, be randomized, and view assigned interventions just before scheduled primary care office visits. Patient surveys were also collected immediately post-visit and 12-weeks later. Physicians completed brief reporting forms after each patient's index visit. Additional data were obtained from medical record abstraction and visit audio-recordings. Of 6,191 patients assessed, 867 were randomized and included in analysis, with 559 in the first sub-study and 308 in the second.DiscussionBased on formative research, we developed two novel multimedia programs for encouraging patients to discuss depressive symptoms with their primary care clinicians. Our computer-based enrollment and randomization procedures ensured that randomization was fully concealed and data missingness minimized. Analyses will focus on the interventions' potential benefits among depressed persons, and the potential hazards among the non-depressed.Trial registration: ClinicialTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01144104
- Patients' experience and satisfaction with GP led walk-in centres in the UK; a cross sectional study
Background: GP led walk-in centres were established in the UK in 2009. Around 150 such clinics were initially planned to open. Their purpose is to provide a primary health care service to complement the urgent care services provided by Emergency Departments (ED), to reduce unnecessary patient attendance at ED, and to increase accessibility of health care services. The objectives of this study were to determine patient satisfaction and experiences with GP led walk-in centres in the UK. Methods: A survey was conducted in two GP led walk-in centres in the North of England over three weeks during September and October 2011. A self reported, validated questionnaire was used to survey patients presenting at these centres. A short post visit questionnaire was also sent to those who agreed. Ethical approval for the study was obtained from an NHS ethical review committee. Results: Based on a sample of 1030 survey participants (Centre A = 501; Centre B = 529), we found that 93% of patients were either highly or fairly satisfied with the service at centre A and 86% at centre B. The difference between centres was due to the longer reported waiting times which were seen in centre B. There was no difference in satisfaction between first time users and repeat users (P value = 0.8). Roughly 50% (n = 507) of patients reported that their reason for using the walk-in centre was having GP access without an appointment, and 9% (n = 87) reported that their GP surgery was closed. A further 20% of patients (n = 205) reported that they were not able to see their own GP because of their working hours.In the post visit survey (n = 258), nearly all patients reported complying with the advice given (around 90% at both study centres), and most of the patients (86%) reported their problem had resolved a few days later. In addition, 56% of patients at centre B and 58% at centre A reported that they had also visited another NHS service for the same problem, mostly their own GP (66%). Conclusions: The GP led walk-in centres increased access to GP care and most of the patients were satisfied with the service.
- Health transitions in recently widowed older women: a mixed methods study
Background: Older recently widowed women are faced with increased health risks and chronic conditions associated not only with bereavement, but also, older age. Loss and grief, adjusting to living alone, decreased income, and managing multiple chronic conditions can impact on older women's ability to transition following recent spousal bereavement. Providing appropriate, timely, and effective services to foster this life transition is of critical importance, yet few services directed towards these women exist in Australia, and there is little data describing the experiences of women and their support needs at this time. Methods: We conducted a longitudinal mixed method study using in-depth semi-structured interviews and questionnaires that were administered three times over a twelve month period to understand the experiences and needs of older women in the period following their husbands' deaths. Descriptive statistics and Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis were used to analyse quantitative and qualitative data, respectively, prior to data integration. Results: Participants were twenty-one community-dwelling recently widowed older women who were an average age of 71 (SD 6.13) years. The majority of participants scored within normal ranges of depression, anxiety, and stress, yet a subset of participants had elevated levels of each of these constructs (37%, 27%, and 19%, respectively) throughout the study period. Positive self-reports of general health predominated, yet 86% of participants were living with one or more chronic condition and taking an average of 4 medications per day. The majority (76%) experienced exacerbations of existing conditions or were diagnosed with a new illness in the early bereavement period, leading to planned and unplanned hospitalisations and other health service use. Qualitative data provided insight into these experiences, the meanings women ascribed to them, and their reasons for enacting certain health risk behaviours. Conclusions: The combination of co-morbidities, polypharmacy, and risk behaviors impacted on medication management and appeared associated with health events. The feminization of ageing and an increasing number of older women living alone with multiple chronic conditions represent significant challenges to health services and societal support systems. Older women's transition to widowhood signals concomitant health transitions and multidimensional support needs.
- Factors influencing research engagement: research interest, confidence and experience in an Australian speech-language pathology workforce
Background: Recent initiatives within an Australia public healthcare service have seen a focus on increasing the research capacity of their workforce. One of the key initiatives involves encouraging clinicians to be research generators rather than solely research consumers. As a result, baseline data of current research capacity are essential to determine whether initiatives encouraging clinicians to undertake research have been effective. Speech pathologists have previously been shown to be interested in conducting research within their clinical role; therefore they are well positioned to benefit from such initiatives. The present study examined the current research interest, confidence and experience of speech language pathologists (SLPs) in a public healthcare workforce, as well as factors that predicted clinician research engagement. Methods: Data were collected via an online survey emailed to an estimated 330 SLPs working within Queensland, Australia. The survey consisted of 30 questions relating to current levels of interest, confidence and experience performing specific research tasks, as well as how frequently SLPs had performed these tasks in the last 5 years. Results: Although 158 SLPs responded to the survey, complete data were available for only 137. Respondents were more confident and experienced with basic research tasks (e.g., finding literature) and less confident and experienced with complex research tasks (e.g., analysing and interpreting results, publishing results). For most tasks, SLPs displayed higher levels of interest in the task than confidence and experience. Research engagement was predicted by highest qualification obtained, current job classification level and overall interest in research. Conclusions: Respondents generally reported levels of interest in research higher than their confidence and experience, with many respondents reporting limited experience in most research tasks. Therefore SLPs have potential to benefit from research capacity building activities to increase their research skills in order to meet organisational research engagement objectives. However, these findings must be interpreted with the caveats that a relatively low response rate occurred and participants were recruited from a single state-wide health service, and therefore may not be representative of the wider SLP workforce.
- Constructing a questionnaire for assessment of awareness and acceptance of diversity in healthcare institutions
Background: To develop a healthcare environment that is congruent with diversity among care providers and care recipients and to eliminate ethnic discrimination, it's important to map out and assess caregivers' awareness and acceptance of diversity. Because of a lack of standardized questionnaires in the Swedish context, this study designed and standardized a questionnaire: the Assessment of Awareness and Acceptance of Diversity in Healthcare Institutions (AAAD, for short).MethodThe questionnaire was developed in four phases: a comprehensive literature review, face and content validity, construct validity by factor analysis, and a reliability test by internal consistency and stability assessments. Results: Results of different validity and reliability analyses suggest high face, content, and construct validity as well as good reliability in internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha: 0.68 to 0.8) and stability (test-retest: Spearman rank correlation coefficient: 0.60 to 0.76). The result of the factor analysis identified six dimensions in the questionnaire: 1) Attitude toward discrimination, 2) Interaction between staff, 3) Stereotypic attitude toward working with a person with a Swedish background, 4) Attitude toward working with a patient with a different background, 5) Attitude toward communication with persons with different backgrounds, 6) Attitude toward interaction between patients and staff. Conclusion: This study introduces a newly developed questionnaire with good reliability and validity values that can assess healthcare workers' awareness and acceptance of diversity in the healthcare environment and healthcare delivery.
- Access granted! barriers endure: determinants of difficulties accessing specialist care when required in Ontario, Canada
Background: In the Canadian context, health care services are governed by the Canada Health Act, which ensures that primary care doctors, specialists, hospitals and dental surgeries are covered through provincial health insurance plans. This ensures access to medically necessary health care services for all Canadians regardless of ability to pay. Despite this important piece of legislation, research has shown persistent inequalities in access between and within socio-demographic groups, and geographic areas. To date, most research has focused on access to primary care, with much less attention paid to specialist care as an important component of the health care continuum. Thus, the objectives of this research are to address this gap in knowledge by examining the factors associated with difficulty accessing specialist services, and the reasons why particular subpopulation groups report experiencing difficulties. Methods: This research uses multivariate logistic regression to analyze data from the Canadian Community Health Surveys' optional content from the province of Ontario (n=21,526) related to accessing specialist health care services. The multivariate logistic regression model identifies several subpopulation groups that are more likely to report difficulty accessing specialist care when required. Cross-tabulations are subsequently used to establish the main reasons why difficulties are faced. Results: Over 26% of respondents required a specialist visit in the 12 months preceding administration of the survey. Of these, 22% reported difficulty accessing specialist care. Those with difficulties were more likely to be immigrants, post-secondary educated, and have one or more chronic conditions. People living in urban health regions were also more likely to report difficulties accessing care. Primarily wait times were cited as reasons for these difficulties, followed by a perceived lack of availability. Conclusions: There are difficulties faced by the general population as a whole (e.g., wait times) as well as particular difficulties experienced more frequently by certain groups (e.g., transportation, language, and cost barriers for newcomers). These issues are important, as they may discourage individuals from using necessary health care services, and may contribute to feelings of dissatisfaction with the health care system.
- High referral rates to secondary care by general practitioners in Norway are associated with GPs' gender and specialist qualifications in family medicine, a study of 4350 consultations
Background: Referral rates of general practitioners (GPs) are an important determinant of secondary care utilization. The variation in these rates across GPs is considerable, and cannot be explained by patient morbidity alone. The main objective of this study was to assess the GPs' referral rate to secondary care in Norway, any associations between the referral decision and patient, GP, health care characteristics and who initiated the referring issue in the consultation. Methods: The probabilities of referral to secondary care and/or radiological examination were examined in 100 consecutive consultations of 44 randomly chosen Norwegian GPs. The GPs recorded whether the issue of referral was introduced, who introduced it and if the patient was referred. Multilevel and naive multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to explore associations between the probability of referral and patient, GP and health care characteristics. Results: Of the 4350 consultations included, 13.7% (GP range 4.0%-28.0%) of patients were referred to secondary somatic and psychiatric care. Female GPs referred significantly more frequently than male GPs (16.0% versus 12.6%, adjusted odds ratio, AOR, 1.25), specialists in family medicine less frequently than their counterparts (12.5% versus 14.9%, AOR 0.76) and salaried GPs more frequently than private practitioners (16.2% versus 12.1%, AOR 1.36).In 4.2% (GP range 0%-12.9%) of the consultations, patients were referred to radiological examination. Specialists in family medicine, salaried GPs and GPs with a Norwegian medical degree referred significantly more frequently to radiological examination than their counterparts (AOR 1.93, 2.00 and 1.73, respectively).The issue of referral was introduced in 23% of the consultations, and in 70.6% of these cases by the GP. The high referrers introduced the referral issue significantly more frequently and also referred a significantly larger proportion when the issue was introduced. Conclusions: The main finding of the present study was a high overall referral rate, and a striking range among the GPs. Male GPs and specialists in family medicine referred significantly less frequently to secondary care, but the latter referred more frequently to radiological examination. Our findings indicate that intervention on high referrers is a potential area for quality improvement, and there is a need to explore the referral decision process itself.
- Ten-year results of quality assurance in radiotherapy chart round
Background: The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) initiated a unique instrument to audit the quality of patient notes and radiotherapy prescriptions. We present our experience collected over ten years from the use of the RANZCR audit instrument. Methods: In this study, the results of data collected prospectively from January 1999 to June 2009 through the audit instrument were assessed. Radiotherapy chart rounds were held weekly in the uro-oncology tumour stream and real time feedback was provided. Electronic medical records were retrospectively assessed in September 2009 to see if any omissions were subsequently corrected. Results: In total 2597 patients were audited. One hundred and thirty seven (5%) patients had one hundred and ninety nine omissions in documentation or radiotherapy prescription. In 79% of chart rounds no omissions were found at all, in 12% of chart rounds one omission was found and in 9% of chart rounds two or more omissions were found. Out of 199 omissions, 95% were of record keeping and 2% were omissions in the treatment prescription. Of omissions, 152 (76%) were unfiled investigation results of which 77 (51%) were subsequently corrected. Conclusions: Real-time audit with feedback is an effective tool in assessing the standards of radiotherapy documentation in our department, and also probably contributed to the high level of attentiveness. A large proportion of omissions were investigation results, which highlights the need for an improved system of retrieval of investigation results in the radiation oncology department.
- Motivation and incentives of rural maternal and neonatal health care providers: a comparison of qualitative findings from Burkina Faso, Ghana and Tanzania
Background: In Burkina Faso, Ghana and Tanzania strong efforts are being made to improve the quality of maternal and neonatal health (MNH) care. However, progress is impeded by challenges, especially in the area of human resources. All three countries are striving not only to scale up the number of available health staff, but also to improve performance by raising skill levels and enhancing provider motivation. Methods: In-depth interviews were used to explore MNH provider views about motivation and incentives at primary care level in rural Burkina Faso, Ghana and Tanzania. Interviews were held with 25 MNH providers, 8 facility and district managers, and 2 policy-makers in each country. Results: Across the three countries some differences were found in the reasons why people became health workers. Commitment to remaining a health worker was generally high. The readiness to remain at a rural facility was far less, although in all settings there were some providers that were willing to stay. In Burkina Faso it appeared to be particularly difficult to recruit female MNH providers to rural areas. There were indications that MNH providers in all the settings sometimes failed to treat their patients well. This was shown to be interlinked with differences in how the term 'motivation' was understood, and in the views held about remuneration and the status of rural health work. Job satisfaction was shown to be quite high, and was particularly linked to community appreciation. With some important exceptions, there was a strong level of agreement regarding the financial and non-financial incentives that were suggested by these providers, but there were clear country preferences as to whether incentives should be for individuals or teams. Conclusions: Understandings of the terms and concepts pertaining to motivation differed between the three countries. The findings from Burkina Faso underline the importance of gender-sensitive health workforce planning. The training that all levels of MNH providers receive in professional ethics, and the way this is reinforced in practice require closer attention. The differences in the findings across the three settings underscore the importance of in-depth country-level research to tailor the development of incentives schemes.
- Innovation in health economic modelling of service improvements for longer-term depression: demonstration in a local health community
Background: The purpose of the analysis was to develop a health economic model to estimate the costs and health benefits of alternative National Health Service (NHS) service configurations for people with longer-term depression.MethodModelling methods were used to develop a conceptual and health economic model of the current configuration of services in Sheffield, England for people with longer-term depression. Data and assumptions were synthesised to estimate cost per Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs). Results: Three service changes were developed and resulted in increased QALYs at increased cost. Versus current care, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) for a self-referral service was [pound sign]11,378 per QALY. The ICER was [pound sign]2,227 per QALY for the dropout reduction service and [pound sign]223 per QALY for an increase in non-therapy services. These results were robust when compared to current cost-effectiveness thresholds and accounting for uncertainty. Conclusions: Cost-effective service improvements for longer-term depression have been identified. Also identified were limitations of the current evidence for the long term impact of services.
- Variations in risk perceptions: a qualitative study of why unnecessary urinary catheter use continues to be problematic
Background: Catheter associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) is one of the most commonly acquired health care associated infections within the United States. We examined the implementation of an initiative to prevent CAUTI, to better understand how health care providers' perceptions of risk influenced their use of prevention practices and the potential impact these risk perceptions have on patient care decisions. Understanding such perceptions are critical for developing more effective approaches to ensure the successful uptake of key patient safety practices and thus safer care for hospitalized patients. Methods: We conducted semi-structured phone and in-person interviews with staff from 12 hospitals. A total of 42 interviews were analyzed using open coding and a constant comparative approach. This analysis identified "risk" as a central theme and a "risk explanatory framework" was identified for its sensitizing constructs to organize and explain our findings. Results: We found that multiple perceptions of risk, some non-evidence based, were used by healthcare providers to determine if use of the indwelling urethral catheter was necessary. These risks included normative work where staff deal with competing priorities and must decide which ones to attend too; loosely coupled errors where negative outcomes and the use of the urinary catheters were not clearly linked; process weaknesses where risk seemed to be related to both the existing organizational processes and the new initiative being implemented and; workarounds that consisted of health care workers developing workarounds in order to bypass some of the organizational processes created to dissuade catheter use. Conclusions: Hospitals that are implementing patient safety initiatives aimed at reducing indwelling urethral catheters should be aware that the risk to the patient is not the only risk of perceived importance; implementation plans should be formulated accordingly.
- Comparisons of medical utilizations and categorical diagnoses of emergency visits between the elderly with catastrophic illness certificates and those without
Background: In Taiwan, the policy of catastrophic illness certificates has benefited some populations with specific diseases, but its effect on the use of medical services and the sequence of public health has not been examined. As a pilot of a series of studies, focused on emergency department (ED) visits, the present study aimed to compare medical utilization and various diagnostic categories at EDs between the elderly with an identified catastrophic illness and the elderly without. Methods: A cross-sectional study, based on a large-sample nationwide database (one million of the population, randomly sampled from Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD)), was performed in Taiwan. The 2008 insurance records of ambulatory medical services for subjects aged 65 years or more among the above one million of the population were further selected and analyzed. Taiwan's registered catastrophic illness dataset for 2008 was linked in order to identify the target subgroup. Results: The prevalence of certificated catastrophic illness in Taiwan's elderly utilizing ambulatory medical services was 10.16%. On average, 61.62 emergency department (ED) visits/1,000 persons (95% CI: 59.22--64.01) per month was estimated for the elderly Taiwanese with catastrophic illness, which was significantly greater than that for the elderly without a catastrophic illness (mean 33.53, 95% CI: 32.34--34.71). A significantly greater total medical expenditure for emergency care was observed in the catastrophic illness subgroup (US$145.6 +/- 193.5) as compared with the non-catastrophic illness group (US$108.7 +/- 338.0) (p < 0.001). The three most common medical problems diagnosed when visiting EDs were injury/poisoning (14.22%), genitourinary disorders (11.26%) and neoplasm-related morbidity (10.77%) for the elderly population with a catastrophic illness, which differed from those for the elderly without a catastrophic illness. Conclusions: In Taiwan, the elderly with any certificated catastrophic illness had significantly more ED visits and a higher ED medical cost due to untypical medical complaints.
- Design of a randomized controlled trial to assess the comparative effectiveness of a multifaceted intervention to improve adherence to colorectal cancer screening among patients cared for in a community health center
Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is common and leads to significant morbidity and mortality. Although screening with fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) or endoscopy has been shown to decrease CRC mortality, screening rates remain suboptimal. Screening rates are particularly low for people with low incomes and members of underrepresented minority groups. FOBT should be done annually to detect CRC early and to reduce CRC mortality, but this often does not occur. This paper describes the design of a multifaceted intervention to increase long-term adherence to FOBT among poor, predominantly Latino patients, and the design of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to test the efficacy of this intervention compared to usual care. Methods: In this RCT, patients who are due for repeat FOBT are identified in the electronic health record (EHR) and randomized to receive either usual care or a multifaceted intervention. The usual care group includes multiple point-of-care interventions (e.g., standing orders, EHR reminders), performance measurement, and financial incentives to improve CRC screening rates. The intervention augments usual care through mailed CRC screening test kits, low literacy patient education materials, automated phone and text message reminders, in-person follow up calls from a CRC Screening Coordinator, and communication of results to patients along with a reminder card highlighting when the patient is next due for screening. The primary outcome is completion of FOBT within 6 months of becoming due.DiscussionThe main goal of the study is to determine the comparative effectiveness of the intervention compared to usual care. Additionally, we want to assess whether or not it is possible to achieve high rates of adherence to CRC screening with annual FOBT, which is necessary for reducing CRC mortality. The intervention relies on technology that is increasingly widespread and declining in cost, including EHR systems, automated phone and text messaging, and FOBTs for CRC screening. We took this approach to ensure generalizability and allow us to rapidly disseminate the intervention through networks of community health centers (CHCs) if the RCT shows the intervention to be superior to usual care.Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01453894
- Facilitating the action of community representatives in a health service: the role of a community participation coordinator
Background: Commitments to community participation are common in health policy, yet ways to maximise the input and impact of community representatives in health service delivery and care remain elusive, lack empirical evidence and are under-theorised. Methods: The role of Community Participation (CP) Coordinator involved in an Australian health service were examined in a triangulated multi-method, multi-site ethnographically informed three year study. Formal fieldwork involved observation of just over 42 hours of meetings together with informal interactions in the field with staff and community members and in-depth interviews and discussions with 10 Community Representatives, 19 staff and the seven CP Coordinators employed during the study period. Results: Four key roles that Community Participation Coordinators undertake to support and facilitate the action of community representatives operating within a health service were identified in our analysis: 1) Building skills and confidence; 2) Engaging them in agendas for action: 3) Helping them navigate and understand the health system; and 4) Advocating to staff. A fifth role of advocating externally to outside groups and building coalitions is suggested as important, but was not strongly represented in our data. Conclusions: This study offers a new model synthesising the key roles of coordinating and facilitating community participation in health services which may be transferable to other health service settings. Our findings call attention to the need for health services to employ a facilitator who can support, engage, navigate and advocate for community representative's participation and influence in health service policy and practice.
- Group medical visits can deliver on patient-centred care objectives: results from a qualitative study
Background: Patient-centred care emerged in the late 1960s as a framework to guide providers and decision-makers towards the provision of more effective health care and better outcomes. An important body of literature has since emerged, reporting mixed results in terms of outcomes. To date, assessments of the effectiveness of patient-centred approaches have focused one-on-one consultations. The purpose of this article is to explore dimensions identified as key in the patient-centred literature in the context of primary health care services delivered in a group setting. Group Medical Visits (GMVs) offer a novel format for the delivery of patient-centred primary health care services, especially for patients living with complex morbidities. Methods: Drawing on a large study of GMVs, we report on key format and process-oriented elements identified in GMVs, and on their link to improved outcomes. For the purpose of this study, we interviewed 34 providers and 29 patients who have been engaged in GMVs, delivered in rural, northern and First Nation communities in British Columbia, Canada. Results: Our analysis shows that the delivery of PHC in a group format results in a shift in the role of the provider, from that of an adjudicator involved in imparting norms of self-care, to that of a facilitator who assists the group in defining norms of self-care that are based on medical knowledge but also on the broader context of patients' lived experience and on their pragmatic experience. In a group process, peer-patients take on the role of promoting these norms to other patients. This results in a significant shift in the role of the provider, increased trust, increased knowledge for the providers and the patients and better patient self-management. Our results also show increase satisfaction for patients and providers. Conclusions: GMVs offer an alternative format for the provision of PHC that brings together the benefit of a group process and of a clinical encounter. This format can successfully deliver on the promises of patient-centred care.
- Patient neglect in healthcare institutions: A systematic review and conceptual model
Background: Patient neglect is an issue of increasing public concern in Europe and North America, yet remains poorly understood. This is the first systematic review on the nature, frequency and causes of patient neglect as distinct from patient safety topics such as medical error.MethodThe Pubmed, Science Direct, and Medline databases were searched in order to identify research studies investigating patient neglect. Ten articles and four government reports met the inclusion criteria of reporting primary data on the occurrence or causes of patient neglect. Qualitative and quantitative data extraction investigated (1) the definition of patient neglect, (2) the forms of behaviour associated with neglect, (3) the reported frequency of neglect, and (4) the causes of neglect. Results: Patient neglect is found to have two aspects. First, procedure neglect, which refers to failures of healthcare staff to achieve objective standards of care. Second, caring neglect, which refers to behaviours that lead patients and observers to believe that staff have uncaring attitudes. The perceived frequency of neglectful behaviour varies by observer. Patients and their family members are more likely to report neglect than healthcare staff, and nurses are more likely to report on the neglectful behaviours of other nurses than on their own behaviour. The causes of patient neglect frequently relate to organisational factors (e.g. high workloads that constrain the behaviours of healthcare staff, burnout, and the relationship between carers and patients). Conclusion: A social psychology-based conceptual model is developed to explain the occurrence and nature of patient neglect. This model will facilitate investigations of i) differences between patients and healthcare staff in how they perceive neglect, ii) the association with patient neglect and health outcomes, iii) the relative importance of system and organisational factors in causing neglect, and iv) the design of interventions and health policy to reduce patient neglect.
- Factors associated with reported service use for mental health problems by residents of rural and remote communities: cross-sectional findings from a baseline survey
Background: The patterns of health service use by rural and remote residents are poorly understood and under-represented in national surveys. This paper examines professional and non-professional service use for mental health problems in rural and remote communities in Australia. Methods: A stratified random sample of adults was drawn from non-metropolitan regions of New South Wales, Australia as part of a longitudinal population-based cohort. One-quarter (27.7%) of the respondents were from remote or very remote regions. The socio-demographic, health status and service utilization (professional and non-professional) characteristics of 2150 community dwelling residents are described. Hierarchical logistic regressions were used to identify cross-sectional associations between socio-demographic, health status and professional and non-professional health service utilization variables. Results: The overall rate of professional contacts for mental health problems during the previous 12 months (17%) in this rural population exceeded the national rate (11.9%). Rates for psychologists and psychiatrists were similar but rates for GPs were higher (12% vs. 8.1%). Non-professional contact rates were 12%. Higher levels of help seeking were associated with the absence of a partner, poorer finances, severity of mental health problems, and higher levels of adversity. Remoteness was associated with lower utilization of non-professional support. A Provisional Service Need Index was devised, and it demonstrated a broad dose--response relationship between severity of mental health problems and the likelihood of seeking any professional or non-professional help. Nevertheless, 47% of those with estimated high service need had no contact with professional services. Conclusions: An examination of self-reported patterns of professional and non-professional service use for mental health problems in a rural community cohort revealed relatively higher rates of general practitioner attendance for such problems compared with data from metropolitan centres. Using a measure of Provisional Service Need those with greater needs were more likely to access specialist services, even in remote regions, although a substantial proportion of those with the highest service need sought no professional help. Geographic and financial barriers to service use were identified and perception of service adequacy was relatively low, especially among those with the highest levels of distress and greatest adversity.
- Bridges, brokers and boundary spanners in collaborative networks: a systematic review
Background: Bridges, brokers and boundary spanners facilitate transactions and the flow of information between people or groups who either have no physical or cognitive access to one another, or alternatively, who have no basis on which to trust each other. The health care sector is a context that is rich in isolated clusters, such as silos and professional "tribes," in need of connectivity. It is a key challenge in health service management to understand, analyse and exploit the role of key agents who have the capacity to connect disparate groupings in larger systems. Methods: The empirical, peer reviewed, network theory literature on brokerage roles was reviewed for the years 1994 to 2011 following PRISMA guidelines. Results: The 24 articles that made up the final literature set were from a wide range of settings and contexts not just healthcare. Methods of data collection, analysis, and the ways in which brokers were identified varied greatly. We found four main themes addressed in the literature: identifying brokers and brokerage opportunities, generation and integration of innovation, knowledge brokerage, and trust. The benefits as well as the costs of brokerage roles were examined. Conclusions: Collaborative networks by definition, seek to bring disparate groups together so that they can work effectively and synergistically together. Brokers can support the controlled transfer of specialised knowledge between groups, increase cooperation by liaising with people from both sides of the gap, and improve efficiency by introducing "good ideas" from one isolated setting into another.There are significant costs to brokerage. Densely linked networks are more efficient at diffusing information to all their members when compared to sparsely linked groups. This means that while a bridge across a structural hole allows information to reach actors that were previously isolated, it is not the most efficient way to transfer information. Brokers who become the holders of, or the gatekeepers to, specialised knowledge or resources can become overwhelmed by the role and so need support in order to function optimally.
- Developing a questionnaire to identify perceived barriers for implementing the Dutch physical therapy COPD clinical practice guideline
Background: Clinical practice guidelines have been developed to assist healthcare practitioners in clinical decision making. Publication of clinical practice guidelines does not automatically lead to their uptake and barrier identification has been recognized as an important step in implementation planning. This study aimed at developing a questionnaire to identify perceived barriers for implementing the Dutch COPD guideline for physical therapists and its recommended measurement instruments. Methods: An overall questionnaire, based on two existing questionnaires, was constructed to identify barriers and facilitators for implementing the COPD guideline. The construct of the questionnaire was assessed in a cross-sectional study among 246 chest physical therapists. Factor analysis was conducted to explore underlying dimensions. Psychometric properties were analyzed using Cronbach's alpha. Barriers and facilitators were assessed using descriptive statistics. Results: Some 139 physical therapists (57%) responded. Factor analysis revealed 4-factor and 5-factor solutions with an explained variance of 36% and 39% respectively. Cronbach's alpha of the overall questionnaire was 0.90, and varied from 0.66 to 0.92 for the different factors. Underlying domains of the 5-factor solution were characterized as: attitude towards using measurement instruments, knowledge and skills of the physical therapist, applicability of the COPD guideline, required investment of time & money, and patient characteristics. Physical therapists showed a positive attitude toward using the COPD guideline. Main barriers for implementation were required time investment and financial constraints. Conclusions: The construct of the questionnaire revealed relevant underlying domains for the identification of barriers and facilitators for implementing the COPD guideline. The questionnaire allowed for tailoring to the target group and may be used across health care professionals as basis for in-depth analysis of barriers to specific recommendations in guidelines. The results of the questionnaire alone do not provide sufficient information to inform the development of an implementation strategy. The infrastructure for developing the guideline can be used for addressing key barriers by the guideline development group, using the questionnaire as well as in-depth analysis such as focus group interviews. Further development of methods for prospective identification of barriers and consequent tailoring of implementation interventions is required.
- A population-based cross-sectional study of health service deficits among U.S. adults with depressive symptoms
Background: Depression is a psychiatric condition that affects approximately one in five U.S. adults in their lifetime. No study that we know of has examined depressive symptoms and health service deficits in rural compared with non-rural populations. Four factors constitute the variable health service deficits: did not have health insurance, did not have a healthcare provider, deferred medical care because of cost and did not have a routine medical exam, all within the last 12 months. The aim of this study was to ascertain the prevalence of health service deficits in rural versus non-rural adults with depressive symptoms. Examining depressive symptoms by health service deficits is important because it allows us to approximate those with the condition who might not be receiving care for it. By analyzing national, population-based data, this study sought to fill in some important epidemiological gaps regarding depressive symptoms and health service deficits. Methods: For this analysis the population of interest was U.S. adults identified as currently having depressive symptoms using the PHQ-8 criteria. Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Survey 2006 data were used in this analysis. Health service deficits was the primary dependent variable. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to examine health service deficits experienced by adults with depression controlling for socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity and geographic locale (rural or non-rural). Results: Logistic regression analysis yielded that U.S. adults currently having depressive symptoms who were of low socioeconomic status, Hispanic ethnicity, or living in a rural locale were more likely to have at least one health service deficit. Conclusion: Analyzing data collected by a large surveillance system such as BRFSS, allows for an analysis incorporating an array of covariates not available from clinically-based data such as electronic health records. By identifying clinically depressed U.S. adults who also have at least one health service deficit, we were able to ascertain those most likely not receiving care for this debilitating condition. We believe community pharmacists are well suited to assist in connecting depressed, vulnerable populations with appropriate and needed care. This care would be best provided by an inter-professional team led by a primary care provider.
- The communication of a secondary care diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis to primary care practitioners: a population-based study
Background: Autoimmune Hepatitis is a chronic liver disease which affects young people and can result in liver failure leading to death or transplantation yet there is a lack of information on the incidence and prevalence of this disease and its natural history in the UK. A means of obtaining this information is via the use of clinical databases formed of electronic primary care records. How reliably the diagnosis is coded in such records is however unknown. The aim of this study therefore was to assess the proportion of consultant hepatologist diagnoses of Autoimmune Hepatitis which were accurately recorded in General Practice computerised records. Methods: Our study population were patients with Autoimmune Hepatitis diagnosed by consultant hepatologists in the Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham University Hospitals (UK) between 2004 and 2009. We wrote to the general practitioners of these patients to obtain the percentage of patients who had a valid READ code specific for Autoimmune Hepatitis. Results: We examined the electronic records of 51 patients who had biopsy evidence and a possible diagnosis of Autoimmune Hepatitis. Forty two of these patients had a confirmed clinical diagnosis of Autoimmune Hepatitis by a consultant hepatologist: we contacted the General Practitioners of these patients obtaining a response rate of 90.5% (39/42 GPs). 37/39 of these GPs responded with coding information and 89% of these patients (33/37) used Read code J638.00 (Autoimmune Hepatitis) to record a diagnosis. Conclusions: The diagnosis of Autoimmune Hepatitis made by a Consultant Hepatologist is accurately communicated to and electronically recorded by primary care in the UK. As a large proportion of cases of Autoimmune Hepatitis are recorded in primary care, this minimises the risk of introducing selection bias and therefore selecting cases using these data will be a valid method of conducting population based studies on Autoimmune Hepatitis
- Hospital laboratory reporting may be a barrier to detection of 'microsize' myocardial infarction in the US: an observational study
Background: International guidelines recommend that the decision threshold for troponin should be the 99th percentile of a normal population, or, if the laboratory assay is not sufficiently precise at this low level, the level at which the assay achieves a 10% or better coefficient of variation (CV). Our objectives were to examine US hospital laboratory troponin reports to determine whether either the 99th percentile or the 10% CV level were clearly indicated, and whether nonconcordance with these guidelines was a potential barrier to detecting clinically important microscopic or 'microsize' myocardial infarctions (MIs). To confirm past reports of the clinical importance of microsize MIs, we also contrasted in-hospital, 28-day and 1-year mortality among those with microsize and nonmicrosize MI. Methods: In the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke national prospective cohort study (n=30,239), 1029 participants were hospitalized for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) between 2003--2009. For each case, we recorded all thresholds of abnormal troponin on the laboratory report and whether the 99th percentile or 10% CV value were clearly identified. All cases were expert adjudicated for presence of MI. Peak troponin values were used to classify MIs as microsize MI (< five times the lowest listed upper limit of normal) and nonmicrosize MI. Results: Participants were hospitalized at 649 acute care US hospitals, only 2% of whose lab reports clearly identified the 99th percentile or the 10% CV level; 52% of reports indicated an indeterminate range, a practice that is no longer recommended. There were 183 microsize MIs and 353 nonmicrosize MIs. In-hospital mortality tended to be lower in the microsize than in the nonmicrosize MI group (1.1 vs. 3.6%, p = 0.09), but 28-day and 1-year mortality were similar (2.5% vs. 2.7% [p = 0.93] and 5.2% vs. 4.3% [p = 0.64], respectively). Conclusions: Current practices in many US hospitals created barriers to the clinical recognition of microsize MI, which was common and clinically important in our study. Improved hospital troponin reporting is warranted.
- The availability, spatial accessibility, service utilisation and retrieval cost of paediatric intensive care services for children in rural, regional and remote Queensland: study protocol
Background: Specialist health services are often organised on a regionalised basis whereby clinical resources and expertise are concentrated in areas of high population. Through a high volume caseload, regionalised facilities may provide improved clinical outcomes for patients. In some cases, regionalisation may be the only economically viable way to organise specialist care. While regionalisation may have benefits, it may also disadvantage some population groups, particularly in circumstances where distance and time are impediments to access.Queensland is a large Australian state with a distributed population. Providing equitable access to specialist healthcare services to the population is challenging. Specialist care for critically ill or injured children is provided by the Queensland Paediatric Intensive Care Service which comprises two tertiary paediatric intensive care units. The two units are located 6 km (3.7 miles) apart by road in the state capital of Brisbane and provide state-wide telephone advice and specialist retrieval services. Services also extend into the northern area of the adjacent state of New South Wales. In some cases children may be managed locally in adult intensive care units in regional hospitals.The aim of this study is to describe the effect of geography and service organisation for children who need intensive care services but who present outside of metropolitan centres in Queensland. Methods: Using health services and population data, the availability and spatial accessibility to paediatric intensive care services will be analysed. Retrieval utilisation and the associated costs to the health service will be analysed to provide an indication of service utilisation by non-metropolitan patients.DiscussionWhile the regionalisation or centralisation of specialist services is recognised as an economical way to provide specialist health services, the extent to which these models serve critically ill children who live some distance from tertiary care has not been described. This study will provide new information on the effect of the regionalisation of specialist healthcare for critically ill children in Queensland and will have relevance to other regionalised health services. This study, which is focussed on describing the organisation, supply and demands on the health service, will provide the foundation for future work to explore clinical outcomes for non-metropolitan children who require intensive care.
- Implementation and effectiveness of 'care navigation', coordinated management for people with complex chronic illness: rationale and methods of a randomised controlled
Background: Chronic illness is a significant driver of the global burden of disease and associated health care costs. People living with severe chronic illness are heavy users of acute hospital services; better coordination of their care could potentially improve health outcomes while reducing hospital use. The Care Navigation trial will evaluate an in-hospital coordinated care intervention on health service use and quality of life in chronically ill patients. Methods: A randomised controlled trial in 500 chronically ill patients presenting to the emergency department of a hospital in Western Sydney, Australia. Participants have three or more hospital admissions within a previous 12 month period and either aged >=70 years; or aged >=45 years and of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent; or aged >= 16 with a diagnosis of a respiratory or cardiology related illness. Patients are randomised to either the coordinated care program (Care Navigation), or to usual care. The Care Navigation program consists of dedicated nurses who conduct patient risk assessments, oversee patient nursing while in hospital, and guide development of a care plan for the management of chronic illness after being discharged from hospital. These nurses also book community appointments and liaise with general practitioners. The main outcome variables are the number of emergency department re-presentations and hospital readmissions, and quality of life during a 24 month follow-up. Secondary outcomes are length of hospital stay, mortality, time to first hospital re-admission, time to first emergency department re-presentation, patient satisfaction, adherence to prescribed medications, amount and type of in-hospital referrals made for consultations and diagnostic testing, and the number and type of community health referrals. A process evaluation and economic analysis will be conducted alongside the randomised trial.DiscussionA trial of in-hospital care coordination may support recent evidence that engaging primary health services in care plans linked to multidisciplinary team support improves patient outcomes and reduces costs to the health system. This will inform local, national and international health policy.Trial registration: Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12609000554268
- Factors associated with evidence-based practice among registered nurses in Sweden: a national cross-sectional study
Background: Evidence-based practice (EBP) is emphasized to increase the quality of care and patient safety. EBP is often described as a process consisting of distinct activities including, formulating questions, searching for information, compiling the appraised information, implementing evidence, and evaluating the resulting practice. To increase registered nurses' (RNs') practice of EBP, variables associated with such activities need to be explored. The aim of the study was to examine individual and organizational factors associated with EBP activities among RNs 2 years post graduation. Methods: A cross-sectional design based on a national sample of RNs was used. Data were collected in 2007 from a cohort of RNs, included in the Swedish Longitudinal Analyses of Nursing Education/Employment study. The sample consisted of 1256 RNs (response rate 76%). Of these 987 RNs worked in healthcare at the time of the data collection. Data was self-reported and collected through annual postal surveys. EBP activities were measured using six single items along with instruments measuring individual and work-related variables. Data were analyzed using logistic regression models. Results: Associated factors were identified for all six EBP activities. Capability beliefs regarding EBP was a significant factor for all six activities (OR = 2.6 - 7.3). Working in the care of older people was associated with a high extent of practicing four activities (OR = 1.7 - 2.2). Supportive leadership and high collective efficacy were associated with practicing three activities (OR = 1.4 - 2.0). Conclusions: To be successful in enhancing EBP among newly graduated RNs, strategies need to incorporate both individually and organizationally directed factors.
- Antenatal and obstetric care in Afghanistan -- a qualitative study among health care receivers and health care providers
Background: Despite attempts from the government to improve ante- and perinatal care, Afghanistan has once again been labeled "the worst country in which to be a mom" in Save the Children's World's Mothers' Report. This study investigated how pregnant women and health care providers experience the existing antenatal and obstetric health care situation in Afghanistan. Methods: Data were obtained through one-to-one semi-structured interviews of 27 individuals, including 12 women who were pregnant or had recently given birth, seven doctors, five midwives, and three traditional birth attendants. The interviews were carried out in Kabul and the village of Ramak in Ghazni Province. Interviews were taped, transcribed, and analyzed according to the principles of Giorgi's phenomenological analysis. Results: Antenatal care was reported to be underused, even when available. Several obstacles were identified, including a lack of knowledge regarding the importance of antenatal care among the women and their families, financial difficulties, and transportation problems. The women also reported significant dissatisfaction with the attitudes and behavior of health personnel, which included instances of verbal and physical abuse. According to the health professionals, poor working conditions, low salaries, and high stress levels contributed to this matter. Personal contacts inside the hospital were considered necessary for receiving high quality care, and bribery was customary. Despite these serious concerns, the women expressed gratitude for having even limited access to health care, especially treatment provided by a female doctor. Health professionals were proud of their work and enjoyed the opportunity to help their community. Conclusion: This study identified several obstacles which must be addressed to improve reproductive health in Afghanistan. There was limited understanding of the importance of antenatal care and a lack of family support. Financial and transportation problems led to underuse of available care, especially by poorly educated rural women. Patients frequently complained of being treated disrespectfully, and health care providers correspondingly complained about poor working conditions leading to exhaustion and a lack of compassion. Widespread corruption, including the necessity of personal contacts inside hospitals, was also emphasized as an obstacle to equitable antenatal and obstetric health care.
- The delivery of preventive care to clients of community health services
Background: Smoking, poor nutrition, risky alcohol use, and physical inactivity are the primary behavioral risks for common causes of mortality and morbidity. Evidence and guidelines support routine clinician delivery of preventive care. Limited evidence describes the level delivered in community health settings. The objective was to determine the: prevalence of preventive care provided by community health clinicians; association between client and service characteristics and receipt of care; and acceptability of care. This will assist in informing interventions that facilitate adoption of opportunistic preventive care delivery to all clients. Methods: In 2009 and 2010 a telephone survey was undertaken of 1284 clients across a network of 56 public community health facilities in one health district in New South Wales, Australia. The survey assessed receipt of preventive care (assessment, brief advice, and referral/follow-up) regarding smoking, inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption, alcohol overconsumption, and physical inactivity; and acceptability of care. Results: Care was most frequently reported for smoking (assessment: 59.9%, brief advice: 61.7%, and offer of referral to a telephone service: 4.5%) and least frequently for inadequate fruit or vegetable consumption (27.0%, 20.0% and 0.9% respectively). Sixteen percent reported assessment for all risks, 16.2% received brief advice for all risks, and 0.6% were offered a specific referral for all risks. The following were associated with increased care: diabetes services, number of appointments, being male, Aboriginal, unemployed, and socio-economically disadvantaged. Acceptability of preventive care was high (76.0%-95.3%). Conclusions: Despite strong client support, preventive care was not provided opportunistically to all, and was preferentially provided to select groups. This suggests a need for practice change strategies to enhance preventive care provision to achieve adherence to clinical guidelines.
- A systematic approach to the planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of integrated health services
Background: Because of the current emphasis and enthusiasm focused on integration of health systems, there is a risk of piling resources into integrated strategies without the necessary systems in place to monitor their progress adequately or to measure impact, and to learn from these efforts. The rush to intervene without adequate monitoring and evaluation will continue to result in a weak evidence base for decision making and resource allocation. Program planning and implementation are inextricability linked to monitoring and evaluation. Country level guidance is needed to identify country-specific integrated strategies, thereby increasing country ownership.DiscussionThis paper focuses on integrated health services but takes into account how health services are influenced by the health system, managed by programs, and made up of interventions. We apply the principles in existing comprehensive monitoring and evaluation (M&E) frameworks in order to outline a systematic approach to the M&E of integration for the country level. The approach is grounded by first defining the country-specific health challenges that integration is intended to affect. Priority points of contact for care can directly influence health, and essential packages of integration for all major client presentations need to be defined. Logic models are necessary to outline the plausible causal pathways and define the inputs, roles and responsibilities, indicators, and data sources across the health system. Finally, we recommend improvements to the health information system and in data use to ensure that data are available to inform decisions, because changes in the M&E function to make it more integrated will also facilitate integration in the service delivery, planning, and governance components.SummaryThis approach described in the paper is the ideal, but its application at the country level can help reveal gaps and guide decisions related to what health services to prioritize for integration, help plan for how to strengthen systems to support health services, and ultimately establish an evidence base to inform investments in health care. More experience is needed to understand if the approach is feasible; similarly, more emphasis is needed on documenting the process of designing and implemented integrated interventions at the national level.
- Data coverage of a cancer registry in southern Iran before and after implementation of a population-based reporting system: a 10-year trend study
Background: Cancer registries help to decrease the burden of cancers by collecting accurate and complete data. We aimed to measure the completeness of coverage of information recorded between 2000 and 2009 in a cancer registry program in Fars province, southern Iran. Methods: The cancer registry program run by Shiraz University of Medical Sciences was investigated in two periods: pathology-based data from 2000 to 2007 and population-based data from 2007 to 2009. Completeness of yearly coverage was measured as the number of reported cases of cancer in each year divided by estimated cases based on 107.3 new cases per 100 000 individuals. The percentage of complete data registration (patient’s name, age, gender, address, phone number and father’s name) and correct cancer encoding was calculated for each year and compared to the maximum acceptable error rate for each item. Results: A total of 29 277 non-duplicate cancer records were studied. Completeness of coverage varied from 22.68% in 2000 to 118.7% in 2008. Deficiencies in patients’ demographic data were highest for name in 2002 (0.09%), age in 2006 (2.36%), gender in 2001 (0.06%) and father’s name in 2001 (52.5%). Incomplete address (99.7%) and missing phone number (100%) were most frequent in 2000, and deficiencies in encoding information were highest in 2008 (6.36%). Conclusions: The cancer registry program in Fars province (southern Iran) was considered satisfactory in terms of completeness of coverage and information about age. However, it was deficient in recording patients’ phone number and address, and father’s name. The error level for cancer encoding was unacceptably high. Enhancing hardware and software resources, education and motivation in all public and private sectors involved in the cancer registry program, and greater attention to epidemiological research are needed to increase the quality of the cancer registry program, including its completeness.
- Reviewer acknowledgement 2012
Contributing reviewersThe editors of BMC Health Services Research would like to thank all our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in 2012.
VOL 11 NUMBER 2011
- The quality of care for adults with epilepsy: an initial glimpse using the QUIET measure
Purpose: We examined the quality of adult epilepsy care using the Quality Indicators in Epilepsy Treatment (QUIET) measure, and variations in quality based on the source of epilepsy care. Methods: We identified 311 individuals with epilepsy diagnosis between 2004 and 2007 in a tertiary medical center in New England. We abstracted medical charts to identify the extent to which participants received quality indicator (QI) concordant care for individual QIs and the proportion of recommended care processes completed for different aspects of epilepsy care over a two year period. Finally, we compared the proportion of recommended care processes completed for those receiving care only in primary care, neurology clinics, or care shared between primary care and neurology providers. Results: The mean proportion of concordant care by indicator was 55.6 (standard deviation=31.5). Of the 1985 possible care processes, 877 (44.2%) were performed; care specific to women had the lowest concordance (37% vs. 42% [first seizure evaluation], 44% [initial epilepsy treatment], 45% [chronic care]). Individuals receiving shared care had more aspects of QI concordant care performed than did those receiving neurology care for initial treatment (53% vs. 43%; =9.0; p= 0.01) and chronic epilepsy care (55% vs. 42%; =30.2; p< 0.001). Conclusions: Similar to most other chronic diseases, less than half of recommended care processes were performed. Further investigation is needed to understand whether a shared-care model enhances quality of care, and if so, how it leads to improvements in quality.
- Negative health care experiences of immigrant patients: a qualitative study
Background: Negative events are abusive, potentially dangerous or life-threatening health care events, as perceived by the patient. Patients' perceptions of negative events are regarded as a potentially important source of information about the quality of health care. We explored negative events in hospital care as perceived by immigrant patients. Methods: Semi-structured individual and group interviews were conducted with respondents about negative experiences of health care. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using a framework method. A total of 22 respondents representing 7 non-Dutch ethnic origins were interviewed; each respondent reported a negative event in hospital care or treatment. Results: Respondents reported negative events in relation to: 1) inadequate information exchange with care providers; 2) different expectations between respondents and care providers about medical procedures; 3) experienced prejudicial behavior on the part of care providers. Conclusions: We identified three key situations in which negative events were experienced by immigrant patients. Exploring negative events from the immigrant patient perspective offers important information to help improve health care. Our results indicate that care providers need to be trained in adequately exchanging information with the immigrant patient and finding out specific patient needs and perspectives on illness and treatment.
- Professional conceptualisation and accomplishment of patient safety in mental health care: an ethnographic approach
Background: This study seeks to broaden current understandings of what patient safety means in mental health care and how it is accomplished. We propose a qualitative observational study of how safety is produced or not produced in the complex context of everyday professional mental health practice. Such an approach intentionally contrasts with much patient safety research which assumes that safety is achieved and improved through top-down policy directives. We seek instead to understand and articulate the connections and dynamic interactions between people, materials, and organisational, legal, moral, professional and historical safety imperatives as they come together at particular times and places to perform safe or unsafe practice. As such we advocate an understanding of patient safety 'from the ground up'. Methods: The proposed project employs a six-phase data collection framework in two mental health settings: an inpatient unit and a community team. The first four phases comprise multiple modes of focussed, unobtrusive observation of professionals at work, to enable us to trace the conceptualisation and enactment of safety as revealed in dialogue and narrative, use of artefacts and space, bodily activity and patterns of movement, and in the accomplishment of specific work tasks. An interview phase and a social network analysis phase will subsequently be conducted to offer comparative perspectives on the observational data. This multi-modal and holistic approach to studying patient safety will complement existing research, which is dominated by instrumentalist approaches to discovering factors contributing to, or intervening to prevent or manage, adverse events.DiscussionThis ethnographic research framework, informed by the principles of practice theories and in particular actor-network ideas, provides a tool to aid our understanding of patient safety in mental health care. The approach is novel in that it seeks to articulate an 'anatomy of patient safety' as it actually occurs, in terms of the networks of elements coalescing to enable the conceptual and material performance of safety in mental health settings. By looking at how patient safety happens or does not happen, this study will enable us to better understand how we might in future productively tackle its improvement.
- Cost-minimization analysis of the direct costs of TPE and IVIg in the treatment of Guillain-Barre syndrome
Background: Controlled trials have found therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) infusion therapy to be equally efficacious in treating Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). Due to increases in the price of IVIg compared to human serum albumin (HSA), used as a replacement fluid in TPE, we examined direct hospital-level expenditures for TPE and IVIg for meaningful cost-differences between these treatments. Methods: Using financial data from our two institutions, hospital cost profiles for IVIg and 5% albumin were established. Reimbursement amounts were obtained from publicly available Medicare data resources to determine payment rates for TPE, non-tunneled central catheter line placement, and drug infusion therapy. A model was developed which allows hospitals to input cost and reimbursement amounts for both IVIg and TPE with HSA that results in real-time valuations of these interventions. Results: The direct cost of five IVIg infusion sessions totaling 2.0 grams per kilogram (g/kg) body weight was $10,329.85 compared to a series of five TPE procedures, which had direct costs of $4,638.16. Conclusions: In GBS patients, direct costs of IVIg therapy are more than twice that of TPE. Given equivalent efficacy and similar severity and frequencies of adverse events, TPE appears to be a less expensive first-line therapy option for treatment of patients with GBS.
- What do primary care physicians and researchers consider the most important patient safety improvement strategies'
Background: Although it has been increasingly recognised that patient safety in primary care is important, little is known about the feasibility and effectiveness of different strategies to improve patient safety in primary care. In this study, we aimed to identify the most important strategies by consulting an international panel of primary care physicians and researchers. Methods: A web-based survey was undertaken in an international panel of 58 individuals from eight countries with a strong primary care system. The questionnaire consisted of 38 strategies to improve patient safety. We asked the respondents whether these strategies were currently used in their own country, and whether they felt them to be important. Results: Most of the 38 presented strategies were seen as important by a majority of the participants, but the use of strategies in daily practice varied widely. Strategies that yielded the highest scores (>70%) regarding importance included a good medical record system (82% felt this was very important, while 83% said it was implemented in more than half of the practices), good telephone access (71% importance, 83% implementation), standards for record keeping (75% importance, 62% implementation), learning culture (74% importance, 10% implementation), vocational training on patient safety for GPs (81% importance, 24% implementation) and the presence of a patient safety guideline (81% importance, 15% implementation). Conclusion: An international panel of primary care physicians and researchers felt that many different strategies to improve patient safety were important. Highly important strategies with poor implementation included a culture that is positive for patient safety, education on patient safety for physicians, and the presence of a patient safety guideline.
- Predictors of the highest long-term care expenditures in Japan
Background: In Japan, as the number of elderly covered by the Long-term Care Insurance (LTCI) system has increased, demand for long-term care services has increased substantially and consequently growing expenditures are threatening the sustainability of the system. Understanding the predictive factors associated with long-term care expenditures among the elderly would be useful in developing future strategies to ensure the sustainability of the system. We report a set of predictors of the highest long-term care expenditures in a cohort of elderly persons who received consecutive long-term care services during a year in a Japanese city. Methods: Data were obtained from databases of the LTC insurer of City A in Japan. Binary logistic regression was used to examine the predictors of the highest long-term care expenditures. We used a simplified model that focused on the effects of disability status and type of services used, while controlling for several relevant factors. Goodness of fit, a multicollinearity test, and logistic regression diagnostics were carried out for the final model. Results: The study cohort consisted of 862 current users of LTCI system in city A. After controlling for gender and income, age, increased utilization rate of benefits, decline in functional status, higher care needs level and institutional care were found to be associated with the highest LTCI expenditures. An increased utilization rate of benefits (OR=24.2) was a strong main effect predictors of the high LTC expenditures. However, a significant interaction between institutional care and high care need level was found, providing evidence of the combined effect of the two covariates. Conclusions: Beyond to confirm that disability status of elderly persons is the main factor driving the demand of LTC services and consequently the expenditures, we showed that changes in utilization rate of benefits -a specific insurance factor- and the use of institutional care conditional on the high care level, were strongest predictors of the highest LTC expenditures. These findings could become crucial for tracking policies aimed at ensuring financial sustainability of LTCI from a public insurer perspective in Japan.
- Facilitating job retention for chronically ill employees: perspectives of line managers and human resource managers
Background: Chronic diseases are a leading contributor to work disability and job loss in Europe. Recent EU policies aim to improve job retention among chronically ill employees. Disability and occupational health researchers argue that this requires a coordinated and pro-active approach at the workplace by occupational health professionals, line managers (LMs) and human resource managers (HRM). Little is known about the perspectives of LMs and HRM on what is needed to facilitate job retention among chronically ill employees. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore and compare the perspectives of Dutch LMs and HRM on this issue. Methods: Concept mapping methodology was used to elicit and map statements (ideas) from 10 LMs and 17 HRM about what is needed to ensure continued employment for chronically ill employees. Study participants were recruited through a higher education and an occupational health services organization. Results: Participants generated 35 statements. Each group (LMs and HRM) sorted these statements into six thematic clusters. LMs and HRM identified four similar clusters: LMs and HRM must be knowledgeable about the impact of chronic disease on the employee; employees must accept responsibility for work retention; work adaptations must be implemented; and clear company policy. Thematic clusters identified only by LMs were: good manager/employee cooperation and knowledge transfer within the company. Unique clusters identified by HRM were: company culture and organizational support. Conclusion: There were both similarities and differences between the views of LMs and HRM on what may facilitate job retention for chronically ill employees. LMs perceived manager/employee cooperation as the most important mechanism for enabling continued employment for these employees. HRM perceived organizational policy and culture as the most important mechanism. The findings provide information about topics that occupational health researchers and planners should address in developing job retention programs for chronically ill workers.
- A comparison of comorbidities obtained from hospital administrative data and medical charts in older patients with pneumonia
Background: The use of comorbidities in risk adjustment for health outcomes research is frequently necessary to explain some of the observed variations. Medical charts reviews to obtain information on comorbidities is laborious. Increasingly, electronic health care databases have provided an alternative for health services researchers to obtain comorbidity information. However, the rates obtained from databases may be either over- or under-reported. This study aims to (a) quantify the agreement between administrative data and medical charts review across a set of comorbidities; and (b) examine the factors associated with under- or over-reporting of comorbidities by administrative data. Methods: This is a retrospective cross-sectional study of patients aged 55 years and above, hospitalized for pneumonia at 3 acute care hospitals. Information on comorbidities were obtained from an electronic administrative database and compared with information from medical charts review. Logistic regression was performed to identify factors that were associated with under- or over-reporting of comorbidities by administrative data. Results: The prevalence of almost all comorbidities obtained from administrative data was lower than that obtained from medical charts review. Agreement between comorbidities obtained from medical charts and administrative data ranged from poor to very strong (kappa 0.01 to 0.78). Factors associated with over-reporting of comorbidities were increased length of hospital stay, disease severity, and death in hospital. In contrast, those associated with under-reporting were number of comorbidities, age, and hospital admission in the previous 90 days. Conclusions: The validity of using secondary diagnoses from administrative data as an alternative to medical charts for identification of comorbidities varies with the specific condition in question, and is influenced by factors such as age, number of comorbidities, hospital admission in the previous 90 days, severity of illness, length of hospitalization, and whether inhospital death occurred. These factors need to be taken into account when relying on administrative data for comorbidity information.
- Concordance and robustness of quality indicator sets for hospitals: an analysis of routine data
Background: Hospitals are increasingly being evaluated with respect to the quality of provided care. In this setting, several indicator sets compete with one another for the assessment of effectiveness and safety. However, there have been few comparative investigations covering different sets. The objective of this study was to answer three questions: How concordant are different indicator sets on a hospital level? What is the effect of applying different reference values? How stable are the positions of a hospital ranking? Methods: Routine data were made available to three companies offering the Patient Safety Indicators, an indicator set from the HELIOS Hospital Group, and measurements based on Disease Staging. Ten hospitals from North Rhine-Westphalia, comprising a total of 151,960 inpatients in 2006, volunteered to participate in this study. The companies provided standard quality reports for the ten hospitals. Composite measures were defined for strengths and weaknesses. In addition to the different indicator sets, different reference values for one set allowed the construction of several comparison groups. Concordance and robustness were analyzed using the non-parametric correlation coefficient and Kendall's W. Results: Indicator sets differing only in the reference values of the indicators showed significant correlations in most of the pairs with respect to weaknesses (maximum r=0.927, CI 0.714-0.983, p <0.001). There were also significant correlations between different sets (maximum r=0.829, CI 0.417-0.958, p=0.003) having different indicators or when different methods for performance assessment were applied. The results were weaker measuring hospital strengths (maximum r=0.669, CI 0.068-0.914, p=0.034). In a hospital ranking, only two hospitals belonged consistently either to the superior or to the inferior half of the group. Even altering reference values or the supplier for the same indicator set changed the rank for nine out of ten hospitals. Conclusions: Our results reveal an unsettling lack of concordance in estimates of hospital performance when different quality indicator sets are used. These findings underline the lack of consensus regarding optimal validated measures for judging hospital quality. The indicator sets shared a common definition of quality, independent of their focus on patient safety, mortality, or length of stay. However, for most of the hospitals, changing the indicator set or the reference value resulted in a shift from the superior to the inferior half of the group or vice versa. Thus, while taken together the indicator sets offer the hospitals complementary pictures of their quality, on an individual basis they do not establish a reliable ranking.
- Validation of the Conceptual Research Utilization Scale: An Application of the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing in Healthcare
Background: There is a lack of acceptable, reliable, and valid survey instruments to measure conceptual research utilization (CRU). In this study, we investigated the psychometric properties of a newly developed scale (the CRU Scale). Methods: We used the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing as a validation framework to assess four sources of validity evidence: content, response processes, internal structure, and relations to other variables. A panel of nine international research utilization experts performed a formal content validity assessment. To determine response processes validity evidence, we conducted a series of one-on-one scale administration sessions with 10 healthcare aides. Internal structure and relations to other variables validity evidence were examined using CRU Scale response data from a sample of 707 healthcare aides working in 30 urban Canadian nursing homes. Principal components analysis and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted to determine internal structure. Relations to other variables were examined using: (1) bivariate correlations; (2) change in mean values of CRU with increasing levels of other kinds of research utilization; and (3) multivariate linear regression. Results: Content validity index scores for the five items ranged from 0.55 to 1.00. The principal components analysis predicted a 5-item 1-factor model. This was inconsistent with the findings from the confirmatory factor analysis, which showed best fit for a 4-item 1-factor model. Bivariate associations between CRU and other kinds of research utilization were statistically significant (p<0.01) for the latent CRU scale score and all five CRU items. The CRU scale score was also shown to be significant predictor of overall research utilization in multivariate linear regression. Conclusions: The CRU scale showed acceptable initial psychometric properties with respect to responses from healthcare aides in nursing homes. Based on our validity, reliability, and acceptability analyses, we recommend using a reduced (four-item) version of the CRU scale to yield sound assessments of CRU by healthcare aides. Refinement to the wording of one item is also needed. Planned future research will include: latent scale scoring, identification of variables that predict and are outcomes to conceptual research use, and longitudinal work to determine CRU Scale sensitivity to change.
- Development of a Modelling and Simulation Method Comparison and Selection Framework for Health Services Management
Background: There is increasing recognition that modelling and simulation can assist the process of designing health care policies, strategies and operations. However, current use is limited and the questions of what methods to use and when remain underdeveloped. Methods: This paper proposes a modelling and simulation method comparison and selection framework developed from a comprehensive literature review, the research team's extensive expertise and inputs from potential users. Results: Twenty eight different methods were identified, characterised by their relevance to different application areas, project life cycle stages, types of output and levels of insight, and four input resources required (time, money, knowledge and data). The characterisation is presented in matrix forms to allow quick comparison and selection. This paper also highlights significant knowledge gaps in the existing literature when assessing the applicability of particular approaches to health services management, where modelling and simulation skills are scarce let alone money and time. Conclusions: A modelling and simulation method comparison and selection framework is developed to assist with the selection of methods appropriate to supporting specific decision making processes. In particular it addresses the issue of which method is most appropriate to which specific health services management problem, what the auser might expect to be obtained from the method, and what is required to use the method. In summary, we believe the framework adds value to the scarce existing literature on methods comparison and selection.
- Psychosocial stress at work and perceived quality of care among clinicians in surgery
Background: Little is known about the association between job stress and job performance among surgeons, although physicians' well-being could be regarded as an important quality indicator. This paper examines associations between psychosocial job stress and perceived health care quality among German clinicians in surgery. Methods: Survey data of 1,311 surgeons from 489 hospitals were analysed. Psychosocial stress at work was measured by the effort-reward imbalance model (ERI) and the demand-control model (job strain). The quality of health care was evaluated by physicians' self-assessed performance, service quality and error frequency. Data were collected in a nationwide standardised mail survey. 53% of the contacted hospitals sent back the questionnaire; the response rate of the clinicians in the participating hospitals was about 65%. To estimate the association between job stress and quality of care multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted. Results: Clinicians exposed to job stress have an increased risk of reporting suboptimal quality of care. Magnitude of the association varies depending on the respective job stress model and the indicator of health care quality used. Odds ratios, adjusted for gender, occupational position and job experience vary between 1.04 (CI 0.70-1.57) and 3.21 (CI 2.23-4.61). Conclusion: Findings indicate that theoretical models of psychosocial stress at work can enrich the analysis of effects of working conditions on health care quality. Moreover, results suggest interventions for job related health promotion measures to improve the clinicians' working conditions, their quality of care and their patients' health.
- Is computer aided detection (CAD) cost effective in screening mammography' A model based on the CADET II study
Background: Single reading with computer aided detection (CAD) is an alternative to double reading for detecting cancer in screening mammograms. The aim of this study is to investigate whether the use of a single reader with CAD is more cost-effective than double reading. Methods: Based on data from the CADET II study, the cost-effectiveness of single reading with CAD versus double reading was measured in terms of cost per cancer detected. Cost (Pound (GBP), year 2007/08) of single reading with CAD versus double reading was estimated assuming a health and social service perspective and a 7 year time horizon. As the equipment cost varies according to the unit size a separate analysis was conducted for high, average and low volume screening units. One-way sensitivity analyses were performed by varying the reading time, equipment and assessment cost, recall rate and reader qualification. Results: CAD is cost increasing for all sizes of screening unit. The introduction of CAD is cost-increasing compared to double reading because the cost of CAD equipment, staff training and the higher assessment cost associated with CAD are greater than the saving in reading costs. The introduction of single reading with CAD, in place of double reading, would produce an additional cost of GBP 227 and GBP 253 per 1,000 women screened in high and average volume units respectively. In low volume screening units, the high cost of purchasing the equipment will results in an additional cost of GBP 590 per 1,000 women screened.One-way sensitivity analysis showed that the factors having the greatest effect on the cost-effectiveness of CAD with single reading compared with double reading were the reading time and the reader's professional qualification (radiologist versus advanced practitioner). Conclusions: Without improvements in CAD effectiveness (e.g. a decrease in the recall rate) CAD is unlikely to be a cost effective alternative to double reading for mammography screening in UK. This study provides updated estimates of CAD costs in a full-field digital system and assessment cost for women who are re-called after initial screening. However, the model is highly sensitive to various parameters e.g. reading time, reader qualification, and equipment cost.
- Tuberculosis patients' reasons for, and suggestions to address non-uptake of HIV testing: a cross-sectional study in the Free State Province, South Africa
Background: South Africa endorses the global policy shift from primarily client-initiated voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) to routine/provider-initiated testing and counselling (PITC). The reason for this policy shift has been to facilitate uptake of HIV testing amongst at-risk populations in high-prevalence settings. Despite ostensible implementation of routine/PITC, uptake amongst tuberculosis (TB) patients in this country remains a challenge. This study presents the reasons that non-tested TB patients offered for their refusal of HIV testing and reflects on all TB patients' suggestions as to how this situation may be alleviated. Methods: In February-March 2008, a cross-sectional survey was conducted amongst 600 TB patients across 61 primary health care facilities in four sub-districts in the Free State. Patient selection was done proportionally to the numbers registered at each facility in 2007. Data were subjected to bivariate tests and content analysis of open-ended questions. Results: Almost one-third (32.5%) of the respondents reported that they had not undertaken HIV testing, with the most often offered explanation being that they were 'undecided' (37.0%). Other self-reported reasons for non-uptake included: fear (e.g. of testing HIV-positive, 19.0%); perception of being at low risk of HIV infection (13.4%); desire to first deal with TB 'on its own' (12.5%); and because HIV testing had not been offered to them (12.0%). Many patients expressed the need for support and motivation not only from health care workers (33.3%), but also from their significant others (56.6%). Patients further expressed a need for (increased) dissemination of TB-HIV information by health care workers (46.1%). Conclusions: Patients did not undergo HIV testing for various patient/individual-related reasons. Non-uptake of HIV testing was also due to health system limitations such as the non-offer of HIV testing. Other measures may be necessary to supplement routine/provider-initiation of HIV testing. From the TB patient's perspective, there is a need for (improved) dissemination of information on the TB-HIV link. Patients also require (repeated) motivation and support to undergo HIV testing, the onus for which rests not only on the public health authority and health care workers, but also on other people in the patients' social support networks.
- What causes treatment failure - the patient, primary care, secondary care or inadequate interaction in the health services'
Background: Optimal treatment gives complete relief of symptoms of many disorders. But even if such treatment is available, some patients have persisting complaints. One disorder, from which the patients should achieve complete relief of symptoms with medical or surgical treatment, is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Despite the fact that such treatment is cheap, safe and easily available; some patients have persistent complaints after contact with the health services. This study evaluates the causes of treatment failure. Methods: Twelve patients with GERD and persistent complaints had a semi-structured interview which focused on the patients' evaluation of treatment failure. The interviews were taped, transcribed and evaluated by 18 physicians, (six general practitioners, six gastroenterologists and six gastrointestinal surgeons) who completed a questionnaire for each patient. The questionnaires were scored, and the relative responsibility for the failure was attributed to the patient, primary care, secondary care and interaction in the health services. Results: Failing interaction in the health services was the most important cause of treatment failure, followed by failure in primary care, secondary care and the patient himself; the relative responsibilities were 35%, 28%, 27% and 10% respectively. There was satisfactory agreement about the causes between doctors with different specialities, but significant inter-individual differences between the doctors. The causes of the failures differed between the patients. Conclusions: Treatment failure is a complex problem. Inadequate interaction in the health services seems to be important. Improved communication between parts of the health services and with the patients are areas of improvement.
- The evolution of health status and chronic conditions in Catalonia, 1994-2006: the paradox of health revisited using the Blinder - Oaxaca decomposition
Background: The paradox of health refers to the improvement in objective measures of health and the increase in the reported prevalence of chronic conditions. The objective of this paper is to test the paradox of health in Catalonia from 1994 to 2006. Methods: Longitudinal cross-sectional study using the Catalonia Health Interview Survey of 1994 and 2006. The approach used was the three-fold Blinder - Oaxaca decomposition, separating the part of the differential in mean VAS due to group differences in the predictors, due to differences in the coefficients, and an interaction term. Variables included were VAS value, education level, labour status, marital status, all common chronic conditions over the two cross-sections, and a variable for non-common chronic conditions and other conditions. Sample weights have been applied. Results: Results show that there is an increase in mean VAS for men aged 15-44, and a decrease in mean VAS for women aged 65-74 and 75 and more. The increase in mean VAS for men aged 15-44 could be explained by a decrease in the severity effect, which offsets the increase in the prevalence effect. The decrease in mean VAS for women aged 65-74 and 75 and more could be explained by an increase in the prevalence effect, which does not offset the decrease in the severity effect. Conclusions: The results of the present analysis corroborate the paradox of health hypothesis for the population of Catalonia, and highlight the need to be careful when measuring population health over time, as well as their usefulness to detect population's perceptions.
- Health information management and perceptions of the quality of care for children with tracheotomy: A qualitative study
Background: Children with tracheotomy receive health care from an array of providers within various hospital and community health system sectors. Previous studies have highlighted substandard health information exchange between families and these sectors. The aim of this study was to investigate the perceptions and experiences of parents and providers with regard to health information management, care plan development and coordination for children with tracheotomy, and strategies to improve health information management for these children. Methods: Individual and group interviews were performed with eight parents and fifteen healthcare (primary and specialty care, nursing, therapist, equipment) providers of children with tracheotomy. The primary tracheotomy-associated diagnoses for the children were neuromuscular impairment (n = 3), airway anomaly (n = 2) and chronic lung disease (n = 3). Two independent reviewers conducted deep reading and line-by-line coding of all transcribed interviews to discover themes associated with the objectives. Results: Children with tracheotomy in this study had healthcare providers with poorly defined roles and responsibilities who did not actively communicate with one another. Providers were often unsure where to find documentation relating to a child's tracheotomy equipment settings and home nursing orders, and perceived that these situations contributed to medical errors and delayed equipment needs. Parents created a home record that was shared with multiple providers to track the care that their children received but many considered this a burden better suited to providers. Providers benefited from the parent records, but questioned their accuracy regarding critical tracheotomy care plan information such as ventilator settings. Parents and providers endorsed potential improvement in this environment such as a comprehensive internet-based health record that could be shared among parents and providers, and between various clinical sites. Conclusions: Participants described disorganized tracheotomy care and health information mismanagement that could help guide future investigations into the impact of improved health information systems for children with tracheotomy. Strategies with the potential to improve tracheotomy care delivery could include defined roles and responsibilities for tracheotomy providers, and improved organization and parent support for maintenance of home-based tracheotomy records with web-based software applications, personal health record platforms and health record data authentication techniques.
- Integrating intesified case finding of tuberculosis into HIV care: an evaluation from rural Swaziland
Background: Swaziland has the highest HIV prevalence in the world and the highest estimated tuberculosis incidence rate in the world. An estimated 80% of TB patients are also infected with HIV. TB detection through intensified case finding (ICF) has yet to become a routine aspect of integrated tuberculosis and HIV care. The purpose of this study was to evaluate implementation of ICF for TB into routine integrated tuberculosis and HIV care at 16 community clinics and one district hospital in Swaziland. Methods: Nurses and lay counsellors conducted ICF using a TB screening tool and patient pathway at all HIV service entry points in clinics and the hospital. The patient pathway had three-stages; screening, sputum smear diagnosis and TB treatment initiation. Outcomes and losses to follow up were monitored at each stage. Patient demographics, access, and service feasibility and effectiveness were compared at hospital and clinic sites. Results: 1467 HIV patients at clinics and the hospital were screened over a 3 month period. Large losses to follow up occurred prior to the sputum diagnosis stage; only 47% (n= 172) of TB suspects provided a specimen. 28 cases of smear positive TB were diagnosed and 24 commenced treatment. People screened at clinics were significantly more likely to be female, older, and from rural or geographically remote areas (p < 0.001). There was no significant difference between the hospital and clinics sites in the proportion of all participants screened who were smear positive (x2 = 1.909; p = 0.16). The number needed to screen to detect one sputum positive TB case was 34 at clinics and 63 at the district hospital. Conclusions: ICF was operationally feasible and became established as a routine aspect of tuberculosis and HIV integrated care. ICF in community clinics was potentially more accessible to an underserved, rural population and was as effective as the hospital service in detecting smear positive TB.
- Formative Evaluation of the Telecare Fall Prevention Project for Older Veterans
Background: Fall prevention interventions for community-dwelling older adults have been found to reduce falls in some research studies. However, wider implementation of fall prevention activities in routine care has yielded mixed results. We implemented a theory-driven program to improve care for falls at our Veterans Affairs healthcare facility. The first project arising from this program used a nurse advice telephone line to identify patients' risk factors for falls and to triage patients to appropriate services. Here we report the formative evaluation of this project. Methods: To evaluate the intervention we: 1) interviewed patient and employee stakeholders, 2) reviewed participating patients' electronic health record data and 3) abstracted information from meeting minutes. We describe the implementation process, including whether the project was implemented according to plan; identify barriers and facilitators to implementation; and assess the incremental benefit to the quality of health care for fall prevention received by patients in the project. We also estimate the cost of developing the pilot project. Results: The project underwent multiple changes over its life span, including the addition of an option to mail patients educational materials about falls. During the project's lifespan, 113 patients were considered for inclusion and 35 participated. Patient and employee interviews suggested support for the project, but revealed that transportation to medical care was a major barrier in following up on fall risks identified by nurse telephone triage. Medical record review showed that the project enhanced usual medical care with respect to home safety counseling. We discontinued the program after 18 months due to staffing limitations and competing priorities. We estimated a cost of 9194 dollars in time for meetings to develop the project. Conclusions: The project appeared feasible at its outset but could not be sustained past the first cycle of evaluation due to insufficient resources and a waning of local facility leadership support due to competing national priorities. Future projects will need both front-level staff commitment and prolonged high-level leadership involvement to thrive.
- Monitoring Community Pharmacist's Quality of Care: A feasibility study of using pharmacy claims data to assess performance
Background: Public pressure has increasingly emphasized the need to ensure the continuing quality of care provided by health professionals over their careers. Health profession's regulatory authorities, mandated to be publicly accountable for safe and effective care, are revising their quality assurance programs to focus on regular evaluations of practitioner performance. New methods for routine screening of performance are required and the use of administrative data for measuring performance on quality of care indicators has been suggested as one attractive option. Preliminary studies have shown that community pharmacy claims databases contain the information required to operationalize quality of care indicators. The purpose of this project was to determine the feasibility of routine use of information from these databases by regulatory authorities to screen the quality of care provided at community pharmacies. Methods: Information from the Canadian province of Quebec's medication insurance program provided data on prescriptions dispensed in 2002 by more than 5000 pharmacists in 1799 community pharmacies. Pharmacy-specific performance rates were calculated on four quality of care indicators: two safety indicators (dispensing of contra-indicated benzodiazepines to seniors and dispensing of nonselective beta-blockers to patients with respiratory disease) and two effectiveness indicators (dispensing asthma or hypertension medications to non-compliant patients). Descriptive statistics were used to summarize performance. Results: Reliable estimates of performance could be obtained for more than 90% of pharmacies. The average rate of dispensing was 4.3% (range 0 - 42.5%) for contra-indicated benzodiazepines, 15.2% (range 0 - 100%) for nonselective beta-blockers to respiratory patients, 10.7% (range 0 - 70%) for hypertension medications to noncompliant patients, and 43.3% (0 - 91.6%) for short-acting beta-agonists in over-use situations. There were modest correlations in performance across the four indicators. Nine pharmacies (0.5 %) performed in the lowest quartile in all four of the indicators, and 5.3% (n=95) performed in the lowest quartile on three of four indicators. Conclusions: Routinely collected pharmacy claims data can be used to monitor indicators of the quality of care provided in community pharmacies, and may be useful in future to identify underperforming pharmacists, measure the impact of policy changes and determine predictors of best practices.
- Urban - rural disparities in antenatal care utilization: a study of two cohorts of pregnant women in Vietnam
Background: The use of antenatal care (ANC) varies between countries and in different settings within each country. Most previous studies of ANC in Vietnam have been cross-sectional, and conducted in rural areas before the year 2000. This study aims to compare the pattern and the adequacy of ANC used in rural and urban Vietnam following two cohorts of pregnant women. Methods: A comparative study with two cohorts comprising totally 2132 pregnant women were followed in two health and demographic surveillance sites, one rural and one urban in Hanoi province, Vietnam. The women were quarterly interviewed using a structured questionnaire until delivery. The primary information obtained was the number and the content of ANC visits. Results: Almost all women reported some use of ANC. The average number of visits was much lower in the rural setting (4.4) than in the urban (7.7). In the rural area, 77.2% of women had at least three visits and 69.1% attended ANC during the first trimester. The corresponding percentages for the urban women were 97.2% and 97.2%. Only 20.3% of the rural women compared to 81.1% of the urban women received all core ANC services. As a result, the adequate use of ANC was 5.2 times in the urban than in the rural setting (78.3% compared to 15.2%). Nearly all women received ultrasound examination during pregnancy with a mean value of 6.0 scans per woman in the urban area and 3.5 in the rural. Most rural women used ANC at commune health centres and private clinics while urban women mainly visited public hospitals. Expenditure related to ANC utilization for the urban women was 7.1 times that for the urban women. Conclusion: The women in the rural area attended ANC later, had fewer visits and received much fewer services than urban women. The large disparity in ANC adequacy between the two settings suggests special attention for the ANC programme in rural areas focusing on its content. Revision and enforcement of the national guidelines to improve the behaviour and practice of both users and providers are necessary.Key words: Antenatal care, adequacy, disparities, urban - rural comparison, Vietnam.
- Patient self-management and pharmacist-led patient self-management in Hong Kong: a focus group study from different healthcare professionals' perspectives
Background: Patient self-management is a key approach to manage non-communicable diseases. A pharmacist-led approach in patient self-management means collaborative care between pharmacists and patients. However, the development of both patient self-management and role of pharmacists is limited in Hong Kong. The objectives of this study are to understand the perspectives of physicians, pharmacists, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners, and dispensers on self-management of patients with chronic conditions, in addition to exploring the possibilities of developing pharmacist-led patient self-management in Hong Kong. Methods: Participants were invited through the University as well as professional networks. Fifty-one participants comprised of physicians, pharmacists, TCM practitioners and dispensers participated in homogenous focus group discussions. Perspectives in patient self-management and pharmacist-led patient self-management were discussed. The discussions were audio recorded, transcribed and analysed accordingly. Results: The majority of the participants were in support of patients with stable chronic diseases engaging in self-management. Medication compliance, monitoring of disease parameters and complications, lifestyle modification and identifying situations to seek help from health professionals were generally agreed to be covered in patient self-management. All pharmacists believed that they had extended roles in addition to drug management but the other three professionals believed that pharmacists were drug experts only and could only play an assisting role. Physicians, TCM practitioners, and dispensers were concerned that pharmacist-led patient self-management could be hindered, due to unfamiliarity with the pharmacy profession, the perception of insufficient training in disease management, and lack of trust of patients. Conclusions: An effective chronic disease management model should involve patients in stable condition to participate in self-management in order to prevent health deterioration and to save healthcare costs. The role of pharmacists should not be limited to drugs and should be extended in the primary healthcare system. Pharmacist-led patient self-management could be developed gradually with the support of government by enhancing pharmacists' responsibilities in health services and developing public-private partnership with community pharmacists. Developing facilitating measures to enhance the implementation of the pharmacist-led approach should also be considered, such as allowing pharmacists to access electronic health records, as well as deregulation of more prescription-only medicines to pharmacy-only medicines.
- NGOs and government partnership for health systems strengthening: A qualitative study presenting viewpoints of government, NGOs and donors in Pakistan.
Background: Health systems are expected to serve the population needs in an effective, efficient and equitable manner. Therefore, the importance of strengthening of public, private and community health systems has been emphasized time and again. In most of the developing countries, certain weaknesses and gaps in the government health systems have been hampering the achievement of improved health outcomes. Public sector in Pakistan has been deficient in the capacity to deliver equitable and quality health services and thus has been grossly underutilized. Methods: A qualitative study comprising in-depth interviews was conducted capturing the perceptions of the government functionaries, NGO representatives and donor community about the role and position of NGOs in health systems strengthening in Pakistan's context. Analysis of the data was done manually to generate nodes, sub-nodes and themes. Results: Since many years, international and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have endeavored to fill the gaps in health service delivery, research and advocacy. NGOs have relatively performed better and achieved the results because of the flexible planning and the ability to design population based projects on health education, health promotion, social marketing, community development and advocacy. This paper captures the need and the opportunity of public private partnership in Pakistan and presents a framework for a meaningful engagement of the government and the private and nonprofit NGOs. Conclusion: Involving NGOs for health system strengthening may eventually contribute to create a healthcare system reflecting increased efficiency, more equity and good governance in the wake of the Millennium Development Goals. Nevertheless, few questions need to be answered and pre-requisites have to be fulfilled before moving on.
- The Effect of Using Assessment Instruments on Substance-abuse Outpatients' Adherence to Treatment: a Multi-centre Randomised Controlled Trial.
Drop-out is an important problem in the treatment of substance use disorder. The focus of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of within treatment assessment with feedback directly to patients with multiple substance use disorder on outpatient individual treatment adherence. Feedback consisted of personal resources' and readiness to change status and progress that facilitate or hinder change, thereby using graphical representation. Methods: Informed consent was obtained from both the control and experimental groups to be involved in research and follow-up. Following Zelen's single consent design, baseline participants (n=280) were randomised (sample-size-estimation:80%power,p=.05,2-sided) and treatment consent was obtained from those allocated to the experiment (n=142). In both groups, equal numbers of patients did not attend sessions after allocation. So, 227 persons were analyzed according to intention-to-treat analysis (ITT:experiment n=116;control n=111). Excluding refusals 211 participants remained for per-protocol analysis (PP:experiment n=100;control n=111).The study was conducted in five outpatient treatment-centres of a large network (De Sleutel) in Belgium. Participants were people with multiple substance use disorder -abuse and dependence- who had asked for treatment and who had been advised to start individual treatment after a standardised admission assessment with the European Addiction Severity Index.The experimental condition consisted of informing the patient about the intervention and of subsequent assessments plus feedback following a protocol within the first seven sessions. Assessments were made with the Readiness to Change Questionnaire and the Personal Resources Diagnostic System. The control group received the usual treatment without within treatment assessment with feedback. The most important outcome measure in this analysis of the study was the level of adherence to treatment at and beyond eight sessions. Results: Individual treatment that included assessment with feedback increased adherence to treatment at and beyond eight sessions (RR=1.6,95%CI:1.2-2.2). Benefit was also found at and beyond twelve sessions, which was the number of sessions required to complete 90% of the assessments with feedback in practice (RR=1.6,95%CI:1.2-2.5). Conclusions: Assessment with feedback in routine practice improved adherence to treatment. More research is needed to evaluate progress in social functioning and motivation to change in outpatient treatment of substance use disorder, thereby using objective measures.Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN65456186
- The effect of an active on-ward participation of hospital pharmacists in Internal Medicine teams on preventable Adverse Drug Events in elderly inpatients: protocol of the WINGS study (Ward-oriented pharmacy In Newly admitted Geriatric Seniors).
Background: The potential of clinical interventions, aiming at reduction of preventable Adverse Drug Events (preventable ADEs) during hospital stay, have been studied extensively. Clinical Pharmacy is a well-established and effective service, usually consisting of full-time on-ward participation of clinical pharmacists in medical teams. Within the current Hospital Pharmacy organisation in the Netherlands, such on-ward service is less feasible and therefore not yet established. However, given the substantial incidence of preventable ADEs in Dutch hospitals found in recent studies, appears warranted. Therefore, Ward-Oriented Pharmacy, an on-ward service tailored to the Dutch hospital setting, will be developed. This service will consist of multifaceted interventions implemented in the Internal Medicine wards by hospital pharmacists. The effect of this service on preventable ADEs in elderly inpatients will be measured. Elderly patients are at high risk for ADEs due to multi-morbidity, concomitant disabilities and polypharmacy. Most studies on the incidence and preventability of ADEs in elderly patients have been conducted in the outpatient setting or on admission to a hospital, and fewer in the inpatient setting. Moreover, recognition of ADEs by the treating physicians is challenging in elderly patients because their disease presentation is often atypical and complex. Detailed information about the performance of the treating physicians in ADE recognition is scarce. Methods: The design is a multi-centre, interrupted time series study. Patients of 65 years or older, consecutively admitted to Internal Medicine wards will be included. After a pre-measurement, a Ward-Oriented Pharmacy service will be introduced and the effect of this service will be assessed during a post-measurement. The primary outcome measures are the ADE prevalence on admission and ADE incidence during hospital stay. These outcomes will be assessed using structured retrospective chart review by an independent expert panel. This assessment will include determination of causality, severity and preventability of ADEs. In addition, the extent to which ADEs are recognised and managed by the treating physicians will be considered.DiscussionThe primary goal of the WINGS study is to assess whether a significant reduction in preventable ADEs in elderly inpatients can be achieved by a Ward-Oriented Pharmacy service offered. A comprehensive ADE detection method will be used based on expert opinion and retrospective, trigger-tool enhanced, chart review.Trial registrationISRCTN64974377
- Medicaid expenditures for children living with smokers
Background: Children's exposure to secondhand smoke is associated with increased morbidity. We estimated Medicaid expenditures for children living with smokers compared to those living with no smokers in the United States. Methods: Data were overall and service-specific (i.e., inpatient, ambulatory, emergency department, prescription drug, and dental) annual Medicaid expenditures for children 0-11 years old from the 2000-2007 Medical Expenditures Panel Surveys. Smokers' presence in households was determined by adult respondents' self reports. There were 25,835 person-years of observation. We used multivariate analyses to adjust for child, parent, and geographic characteristics. Results: Children with Medicaid expenditures were nearly twice as likely to live with a smoker as other children in the U.S. population. Adjusted analyses revealed no detectable differences in children's overall Medicaid expenditures by presence of smokers in the household. Medicaid children who lived with smokers on average had $10 (95% CI $3, $18) higher emergency department expenditures per year than those living with no smokers. Conclusions: Living with at least one smoker (a proxy for secondhand smoke exposure) is unrelated to children's overall short-term Medicaid expenditures, but has a modest impact on emergency department expenditures. Additional research is necessary to understand the relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and long-term health and economic outcomes.
- Acute hospital admissions among nursing home residents: a population-based observational study
Background Nursing home residents are prone to acute illness due to their high age, underlying illnesses and immobility. We examined the incidence of acute hospital admissions among nursing home residents versus the age-matched community dwelling population in a geographically defined area during a two years period. The hospital stays of the nursing home population are described according to diagnosis, length of stay and mortality. Similar studies have previously not been reported in Scandinavia.Methods The acute hospitalisations of the nursing home residents were identified through ambulance records. These were linked to hospital patient records for inclusion of demographics, diagnosis at discharge, length of stay and mortality. Incidence of hospitalisation was calculated based on patient-time at risk.Results The annual hospital admission incidence was 0.62 admissions per person-year among the nursing home residents and 0.26 among the community dwellers. In the nursing home population we found that dominant diagnoses were respiratory diseases, falls-related and circulatory diseases, accounting for 55% of the cases. The median length of stay was 3 days (interquartile range = 4). The in-hospital mortality rate was 16% and 30 day mortality after discharge 30%.Conclusion Acute hospital admission rate among nursing home residents was high in this Scandinavian setting. The pattern of diagnoses causing the admissions appears to be consistent with previous research. The in-hospital and 30 day mortality rates are high.
- Nurse prescribing of medicines in Western European and Anglo-Saxon countries: a systematic review of the literature
Background: A growing number of countries are introducing some form of nurse prescribing. However, international reviews concerning nurse prescribing are scarce and lack a systematic and theoretical approach. The aim of this review was twofold: firstly, to gain insight into the scientific and professional literature describing the extent to and the ways in which nurse prescribing has been realised or is being introduced in Western European and Anglo-Saxon countries; secondly, to identify possible mechanisms underlying the introduction and organisation of nurse prescribing on the basis of Abbott's theory on the division of professional labor. Methods: A comprehensive search of six literature databases and seven websites was performed without any limitation as to date of publication, language or country. Additionally, experts in the field of nurse prescribing were consulted. A three stage inclusion process, consisting of initial sifting, more detailed selection and checking full-text publications, was performed independently by pairs of reviewers. Data were synthesized using narrative and tabular methods. Results: One hundred and twenty-four publications met the inclusion criteria. So far, seven Western European and Anglo-Saxon countries have implemented nurse prescribing of medicines, viz., Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, the UK and the USA. The Netherlands and Spain are in the process of introducing nurse prescribing. A diversity of external and internal forces has led to the introduction of nurse prescribing internationally. The legal, educational and organizational conditions under which nurses prescribe medicines vary considerably between countries; from situations where nurses prescribe independently to situations in which prescribing by nurses is only allowed under strict conditions and supervision of physicians. Conclusions: Differences between countries are reflected in the jurisdictional settlements between the nursing and medical professions concerning prescribing. In some countries, nurses share (full) jurisdiction with the medical profession, whereas in other countries nurses prescribe in a subordinate position. In most countries the jurisdiction over prescribing remains predominantly with the medical profession. There seems to be a mechanism linking the jurisdictional settlements between professions with the forces that led to the introduction of nurse prescribing. Forces focussing on efficiency appear to lead to more extensive prescribing rights.
- Basing Care Reforms on Evidence: The Kenya Health Sector Costing Model
Background: The Government of the Republic of Kenya is in the process of implementing health care reforms. However, poor knowledge about costs of health care services is perceived as a major obstacle towards evidence-based, effective and efficient health care reforms. Against this background, the Ministry of Health of Kenya in cooperation with its development partners conducted a comprehensive costing exercise and subsequently developed the Kenya Health Sector Costing Model in order to fill this data gap. Methods: Based on standard methodology of costing of health care services in developing countries, standard questionnaires and analyses were employed in 207 health care facilities representing different trustees (e.g. Government, Faith Based / Nongovernmental, private-for-profit organisations), levels of care and regions (urban, rural). In addition, a total of 1369 patients were randomly selected and asked about their demand-sided costs. A standard step-down costing methodology was applied to calculate the costs per service unit and per diagnosis of the financial year 2006/2007. Results: The total costs of essential health care services in Kenya were calculated as 690 million Euros or 18.65 Euro per capita. 54% were incurred by public sector facilities, 17% by Faith Based and other Nongovernmental facilities and 23% in the private sector. Some 6% of the total cost is due to the overall administration provided directly by the Ministry and its decentralised organs. Around 37% of this cost is absorbed by salaries and 22% by drugs and medical supplies. Generally, costs of lower levels of care are lower than of higher levels, but health centres are an exemption. They have higher costs per service unit than district hospitals. Conclusions: The results of this study signify that the costs of health care services are quite high compared with the Kenyan domestic product, but a major share are fixed costs so that an increasing coverage does not necessarily increase the health care costs proportionally. Instead, productivity will rise in particular in under-utilized private health care institutions. The results of this study also show that private-for-profit health care facilities are not only the luxurious providers catering exclusively for the rich but also play an important role in the service provision for the poorer population. The study findings also demonstrated a high degree of cost variability across private providers, suggesting differences in quality and efficiencies.
- Patients as healthcare consumers in the public and private sectors: A qualitative study of acupuncture in the UK
Background: The aim of this study was to compare patients' experiences of public and private sector healthcare, using acupuncture as an example. In the UK, acupuncture is popular with patients, is recommended in official guidelines for low back pain, and is available in both the private sector and the public sector (NHS). Consumerism was used as a theoretical framework to explore patients' experiences. Methods: Semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted in 2007-8 with a purposive sample of 27 patients who had recently used acupuncture for painful conditions in the private sector and/or in the NHS. Inductive thematic analysis was used to develop themes that summarised the bulk of the data and provided insights into consumerism in NHS- and private practice-based acupuncture. Results: Five main themes were identified: value for money and willingness to pay; free and fair access; individualised holistic care: feeling cared for; consequences of choice: empowerment and vulnerability; and "just added extras": physical environment. Patients who had received acupuncture in the private sector constructed detailed accounts of the benefits of private care. Patients who had not received acupuncture in the private sector expected minimal differences from NHS care, and those differences were seen as not integral to treatment. The private sector facilitated consumerist behaviour to a greater extent than did the NHS, but private consumers appeared to base their decisions on unreliable and incomplete information. Conclusions: Patients used and experienced acupuncture differently in the NHS compared to the private sector. Eight different faces of consumerist behaviour were identified, but six were dominant: consumer as chooser, consumer as pragmatist, consumer as patient, consumer as earnest explorer, consumer as victim, and consumer as citizen. The decision to use acupuncture in either the private sector or the NHS was rarely well-informed: NHS and private patients both had misconceptions about acupuncture in the other sector. Future research should evaluate whether the differences we identified in patients' experiences across private and public healthcare are common, whether they translate into significant differences in clinical outcomes, and whether similar faces of consumerism characterise patients' experiences of other interventions in the private and public sectors.
- The effectiveness of the Liverpool Care Pathway in improving end of life care for dying cancer patients in hospital. A cluster randomised trial.
Background: Most cancer patients still die in hospital, mainly in medical wards. Many studies in different countries have shown the poor quality of end-of-life care delivery in hospitals. The Program "Liverpool Care Pathway for the dying patient" (LCP), developed in the UK to transfer the hospice model of care into hospitals and other care settings, is a complex intervention to improve the quality of end-of-life care. The results from qualitative and quantitative studies suggest that the LCP Program can improve significantly the quality of end-of-life care delivery in hospitals, but no randomised trial has been conducted till now.Methods and designThis is a randomized cluster trial, stratified by regions and matched for assessment period. Pairs of eligible medical wards from different hospitals will be randomized to receive the LCP-I Program or no intervention until the end of the trial. The LCP-I Program will be implemented by a Palliative Care Unit.The assessment of the end-points will be performed for all cancer deaths occurred in the six months after the end of the LCP-I implementation in the experimental wards and, in the same period of time, in the matched control wards. The primary end-point is the overall quality of end-of-life care provided on the ward to dying cancer patients and their families, assessed using the Global Scale of the Italian version of the Toolkit "After-death Bereaved Family Member Interview".DiscussionThis study can be interpreted as a Phase III trial according to the Medical Research Council Framework. In this study, the effectiveness of a fully defined intervention is assessed by comparing the distribution of the endpoints in the experimental and in the control arm.Research ID: RFPS-2006-6-341619ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01081899
- Patient involvement in patient safety: Protocol for developing an intervention using patient reports of organisational safety and patient incident reporting.
Background: Patients have the potential to provide a rich source of information on both organisational aspects of safety and patient safety incidents. This project aims to develop two patient safety interventions to promote organisational learning about safety - a patient measure of organisational safety (PMOS), and a patient incident reporting tool (PIRT) - to help the NHS prevent patient safety incidents by learning more about when and why they occur. Methods: To develop the PMOS 1) literature will be reviewed to identify similar measures and key contributory factors to error; 2) four patient focus groups will ascertain practicality and feasibility; 3) 25 patient interviews will elicit approximately 60 items across 10 domains; 4) 10 patient and clinician interviews will test acceptability and understanding. Qualitative data will be analysed using thematic content analysis.To develop the PIRT 1) individual and then combined patient and clinician focus groups will provide guidance for the development of three potential reporting tools; 2) nine wards across three hospital directorates will pilot each of the tools for three months. The best performing tool will be identified from the frequency, volume and quality of reports.The validity of both measures will be tested. 300 patients will be asked to complete the PMOS and PIRT during their stay in hospital. A sub-sample (N=50) will complete the PMOS again one week later. Health professionals in participating wards will also be asked to complete the AHRQ safety culture questionnaire. Case notes for all patients will be reviewed. The psychometric properties of the PMOS will be assessed and a final valid and reliable version developed. Concurrent validity for the PIRT will be assessed by comparing reported incidents with those identified from case note review and the existing staff reporting scheme. In a subsequent study these tools will be used to provide information to wards/units about their priorities for patient safety. A patient panel will provide steering to the research.DiscussionThe PMOS and PIRT aim to provide a reliable means of eliciting patient views about patient safety. Both interventions are likely to have relevance and practical utility for all NHS hospital trusts.
- Integrating telecare for chronic disease management in the community: What needs to be done'
Background: Telecare could greatly facilitate chronic disease management in the community, but despite government promotion and positive demonstrations its implementation has been limited. This study aimed to identify factors inhibiting the implementation and integration of telecare systems for chronic disease management in the community. Methods: Large scale comparative study employing qualitative data collection techniques: semi-structured interviews with key informants, task-groups, and workshops; framework analysis of qualitative data informed by Normalization Process Theory. Drawn from telecare services in community and domestic settings inEngland and Scotland, 221 participants were included, consisting of health professionals and managers; patients and carers; social care professionals and managers; and service suppliers and manufacturers. Results: Key barriers to telecare integration were uncertainties about coherent and sustainable service and business models; lack of coordination across social and primary care boundaries, lack of financial or other incentives to include telecare within primary care services; a lack of a sense of continuity with previous service provision and self-care work undertaken by patients; and general uncertainty about the adequacy of telecare systems. These problems led to poor integration of policyand practice. Conclusion: Telecare services may offer a cost effective and safe form of care for some people living with chronic illness. Slow and uneven implementation and integration do not stem from problems of adoption. They result from incomplete understanding of the role of telecare systems and subsequent adaption andembeddedness to context, and uncertainties about the best way to develop, coordinate, and sustain services that assist with chronic disease management. Interventions are therefore needed that (i) reduce uncertainty about the ownership of implementationprocesses and that lock together health and social care agencies; and (ii) ensure user centred rather than biomedical/service-centred models of care.
- Psychiatry out-of-hours: a focus group study of GPs' experiences in Norwegian casualty clinics.
Background: For Norwegian general practitioners (GPs), acute treatment of mental illness and substance abuse are among the most commonly experienced emergency situations in out-of-hours primary healthcare. The largest share of acute referrals to emergency psychiatric wards occurs out-of-hours, and out-of-hours services are responsible for a disproportionately high share of compulsory referrals. Concerns exist regarding the quality of mental healthcare provided in the out-of-hours setting. The aim of this study was to explore which challenges GPs experience when providing emergency care out-of-hours to patients presenting problems related to mental illness or substance abuse. Methods: We conducted a qualitative study based on two individual interviews and six focus groups with purposively sampled GPs (totally 45 participants). The interviews were analysed successively in an editing style, using a thematic approach based on methodological descriptions by Charmaz and Malterud. Results: Safety and uncertainty were the dominating themes in the discussions. The threat to personal safety due to unpredictable patient behaviour was a central concern, and present security precautions in the out-of-hours services were questioned. The GPs expressed high levels of uncertainty in their work with patients presenting problems related to mental illness or substance abuse. The complexity of the problems presented, shortage of time, limited access to reliable information and limited range of interventions available during out-of-hours contributed to this uncertainty. Perceived access to second opinion seemed to have a major impact on subjectively experienced work stress. Conclusions: The GPs experienced out-of-hours psychiatry as a field with high levels of uncertainty and limited support to help them meet the experienced challenges. This might influence the quality of care provided. If the current organisation of emergency mental healthcare is to be kept, we need to provide GPs with a better support framework out-of-hours.