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1.  Oral cancer screening and dental care use among women from Ohio Appalachia 
Rural and remote health  2012;12:2184.
Residents of Appalachia may benefit from oral cancer screening given the region’s higher oral and pharyngeal cancer mortality rates. The current study examined the oral cancer screening behaviors and recent dental care (since dentists perform most screening examinations) of women from Ohio Appalachia.
Women from Ohio Appalachia were surveyed for the Community Awareness Resources Education (CARE) study, which was completed in 2006. A secondary aim of the CARE baseline survey was to examine oral cancer screening and dental care use among women from this region. Outcomes included whether women (n=477; cooperation rate = 71%) had ever had an oral cancer screening examination and when their most recent dental visit had occurred. Various demographic characteristics, health behaviors and psychosocial factors were examined as potential correlates. Analyses used multivariate logistic regression.
Most women identified tobacco-related products as risk factors for oral cancer, but 43% of women did not know an early sign of oral cancer. Only 15% of women reported ever having had an oral cancer screening examination, with approximately 80% of these women indicating that a dentist had performed their most recent examination. Women were less likely to have reported a previous examination if they were from urban areas (OR=0.33, 95% CI: 0.13–0.85) or perceived a lower locus of health control (OR=0.94, 95% CI: 0.89–0.98). Women were more likely to have reported a previous examination if they had had a dental visit within the last year (OR=2.24, 95% CI: 1.03–4.88). Only 65% of women, however, indicated a dental visit within the last year. Women were more likely to have reported a recent dental visit if they were of a high socioeconomic status (OR=2.83, 95% CI: 1.58–5.06), had private health insurance (OR=2.20, 95% CI: 1.21–3.97) or had consumed alcohol in the last month (OR=2.03, 95% CI: 1.20–3.42).
Oral cancer screening was not common among women from Ohio Appalachia, with many missed opportunities having occurred at dental visits. Education programs targeting dentists and other healthcare providers (given dental providers are lacking in some areas of Ohio Appalachia) about opportunistic oral cancer screening may help to improve screening in Appalachia. These programs should include information about populations at high risk for oral cancer (eg smokers) and how screening may be especially beneficial for them. Future research is needed to examine the acceptability of such education programs to healthcare providers in the Appalachian region and to explore why screening was less common among women living in urban areas of Ohio Appalachia.
PMCID: PMC3838993  PMID: 23240899
Appalachia; oral cancer; screening; USA
2.  Sana: democratizing access to quality healthcare using an open mhealth architecture 
Sana is a cell phone-facilitated clinical information system that connects community health workers and medical specialists, to improve screening and diagnostics in resource-constrained settings.
Aims and objectives
The platform allows the transmission of any type of medical data—text, audio, video or photo—from a rural health worker to a remote medical specialist for real-time decision support, and for incorporation into an electronic medical record in order to facilitate care, quality control and allow statistical analysis. By functioning as a portable medical record, Sana also offers the ability to track patients more easily. The point-of-care platform is open source and customizable, allowing doctors to encode new assessments onto smart-phones for a specific application, or to use existing ones. The Sana team partners with universities, social enterprises, governments, NGOs and health organizations in resource-poor countries to assist with implementations of the Sana platform. There are currently eight deployments of Sana in Brazil, Greece, India, the Philippines, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, covering a range of clinical areas.
One of the most urgent problems in resource-poor areas of the world is a shortage of doctors, and especially medical specialists. The biggest implementation of the Sana platform so far has been for the early detection of oral cancer in rural south India. It enables frontline community health workers to screen for precancerous and cancerous lesions by using Sana’s clinical decision support tools in dental hospitals and primary health clinics. Diagnosing oral cancer lesions at an early stage can reduce morbidity, mortality and cost of treatment. Screening processes also increase awareness of risk factors for oral cancer among the population, such as smoking and betel nut chewing. The solution was first implemented in June 2010 and more local health workers and support staff were brought on board in February 2011. By August 2010, up to 6000 people had been screened for oral cancer in the state of Karnataka. 300 patients were identified as high risk and their clinical data, including a photo of the inside of their mouth, were reviewed by an oral cancer specialist at a large tertiary care centre. The plan over the next year is to scale the project to screen one and a half million people in the province of Karnataka.
The developed world, meanwhile, is facing a crisis of an ageing population and a growing burden of chronic disease. In Greece, Sana has been deployed to treat one of the complications of a chronic disease, diabetes. Diabetes continues to be the most common underlying cause of nontraumatic lower extremity amputations, mainly due to foot ulcerations. Sana has developed a mobile health platform for diabetic foot tele-health and a pilot clinical trial to evaluate it is under development in Central Greece. The patients are offered home telehealth consultations during a visit by a specialized nurse, to substitute some of the visits to the outpatient vascular clinic of the hospital.
Oral cancer screening in India enabled the identification of 15 patients with pre-cancerous lesions among the 300 high-risk patients. Evaluation of the cost effectiveness and clinical impact of the technology is underway in deployments such as the project in Greece.
PMCID: PMC3571126
mHealth; open source; resource constrained areas
3.  Risk Prediction for Breast, Endometrial, and Ovarian Cancer in White Women Aged 50 y or Older: Derivation and Validation from Population-Based Cohort Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(7):e1001492.
Ruth Pfeiffer and colleagues describe models to calculate absolute risks for breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers for white, non-Hispanic women over 50 years old using easily obtainable risk factors.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers share some hormonal and epidemiologic risk factors. While several models predict absolute risk of breast cancer, there are few models for ovarian cancer in the general population, and none for endometrial cancer.
Methods and Findings
Using data on white, non-Hispanic women aged 50+ y from two large population-based cohorts (the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial [PLCO] and the National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study [NIH-AARP]), we estimated relative and attributable risks and combined them with age-specific US-population incidence and competing mortality rates. All models included parity. The breast cancer model additionally included estrogen and progestin menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) use, other MHT use, age at first live birth, menopausal status, age at menopause, family history of breast or ovarian cancer, benign breast disease/biopsies, alcohol consumption, and body mass index (BMI); the endometrial model included menopausal status, age at menopause, BMI, smoking, oral contraceptive use, MHT use, and an interaction term between BMI and MHT use; the ovarian model included oral contraceptive use, MHT use, and family history or breast or ovarian cancer. In independent validation data (Nurses' Health Study cohort) the breast and ovarian cancer models were well calibrated; expected to observed cancer ratios were 1.00 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.96–1.04) for breast cancer and 1.08 (95% CI: 0.97–1.19) for ovarian cancer. The number of endometrial cancers was significantly overestimated, expected/observed = 1.20 (95% CI: 1.11–1.29). The areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUCs; discriminatory power) were 0.58 (95% CI: 0.57–0.59), 0.59 (95% CI: 0.56–0.63), and 0.68 (95% CI: 0.66–0.70) for the breast, ovarian, and endometrial models, respectively.
These models predict absolute risks for breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers from easily obtainable risk factors and may assist in clinical decision-making. Limitations are the modest discriminatory ability of the breast and ovarian models and that these models may not generalize to women of other races.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
In 2008, just three types of cancer accounted for 10% of global cancer-related deaths. That year, about 460,000 women died from breast cancer (the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women and the fifth most common cause of cancer-related death). Another 140,000 women died from ovarian cancer, and 74,000 died from endometrial (womb) cancer (the 14th and 20th most common causes of cancer-related death, respectively). Although these three cancers originate in different tissues, they nevertheless share many risk factors. For example, current age, age at menarche (first period), and parity (the number of children a woman has had) are all strongly associated with breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer risk. Because these cancers share many hormonal and epidemiological risk factors, a woman with a high breast cancer risk is also likely to have an above-average risk of developing ovarian or endometrial cancer.
Why Was This Study Done?
Several statistical models (for example, the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool) have been developed that estimate a woman's absolute risk (probability) of developing breast cancer over the next few years or over her lifetime. Absolute risk prediction models are useful in the design of cancer prevention trials and can also help women make informed decisions about cancer prevention and treatment options. For example, a woman at high risk of breast cancer might decide to take tamoxifen for breast cancer prevention, but ideally she needs to know her absolute endometrial cancer risk before doing so because tamoxifen increases the risk of this cancer. Similarly, knowledge of her ovarian cancer risk might influence a woman's decision regarding prophylactic removal of her ovaries to reduce her breast cancer risk. There are few absolute risk prediction models for ovarian cancer, and none for endometrial cancer, so here the researchers develop models to predict the risk of these cancers and of breast cancer.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Absolute risk prediction models are constructed by combining estimates for risk factors from cohorts with population-based incidence rates from cancer registries. Models are validated in an independent cohort by testing their ability to identify people with the disease in an independent cohort and their ability to predict the observed numbers of incident cases. The researchers used data on white, non-Hispanic women aged 50 years or older that were collected during two large prospective US cohort studies of cancer screening and of diet and health, and US cancer incidence and mortality rates provided by the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program to build their models. The models all included parity as a risk factor, as well as other factors. The model for endometrial cancer, for example, also included menopausal status, age at menopause, body mass index (an indicator of the amount of body fat), oral contraceptive use, menopausal hormone therapy use, and an interaction term between menopausal hormone therapy use and body mass index. Individual women's risk for endometrial cancer calculated using this model ranged from 1.22% to 17.8% over the next 20 years depending on their exposure to various risk factors. Validation of the models using data from the US Nurses' Health Study indicated that the endometrial cancer model overestimated the risk of endometrial cancer but that the breast and ovarian cancer models were well calibrated—the predicted and observed risks for these cancers in the validation cohort agreed closely. Finally, the discriminatory power of the models (a measure of how well a model separates people who have a disease from people who do not have the disease) was modest for the breast and ovarian cancer models but somewhat better for the endometrial cancer model.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer can all be predicted using information on known risk factors for these cancers that is easily obtainable. Because these models were constructed and validated using data from white, non-Hispanic women aged 50 years or older, they may not accurately predict absolute risk for these cancers for women of other races or ethnicities. Moreover, the modest discriminatory power of the breast and ovarian cancer models means they cannot be used to decide which women should be routinely screened for these cancers. Importantly, however, these well-calibrated models should provide realistic information about an individual's risk of developing breast, ovarian, or endometrial cancer that can be used in clinical decision-making and that may assist in the identification of potential participants for research studies.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Lars Holmberg and Andrew Vickers
The US National Cancer Institute provides comprehensive information about cancer (in English and Spanish), including detailed information about breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer;
Information on the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool, the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program, and on the prospective cohort study of screening and the diet and health study that provided the data used to build the models is also available on the NCI site
Cancer Research UK, a not-for-profit organization, provides information about cancer, including detailed information on breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer
The UK National Health Service Choices website has information and personal stories about breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer; the not-for-profit organization Healthtalkonline also provides personal stories about dealing with breast cancer and ovarian cancer
PMCID: PMC3728034  PMID: 23935463
4.  Keeping Pace With Oral Chemotherapy 
Although the rising number of oral chemotherapy agents offers many patients with cancer a more convenient and less invasive treatment option compared with infusion therapy, multiple risks and challenges have been identified with the oral regimen, including dosing errors, drug interactions, and nonadherence or overadherence. Until recently, cancer care providers had maintained a considerable amount of control, including the certainty that the right drug was being administered in the right dose, via the right route, at the right time, and to the right patient—all of which were meticulously documented in patient records. In contrast, oral chemotherapy takes much of the control out of the clinician's hands and places tremendous responsibility on the patient, raising a number of adherence and control issues. Studies regarding oral hormonal therapy for breast cancer have described adherence rates ramping down from 83% to 77% within the first 2 years of therapy. These figures continue to decrease over time to a range of 50% to 64% within 4 to 5 years. On the basis of these data and a literature review, we developed a program to promote adherence to oral anticancer protocols.
Our team took a proactive, team-focused approach and established protocols at a time when oral chemotherapies were still at a low volume. In addition to infrastructures, policies, and procedures promoting collaborative communications among physicians, nurses, and pharmacists, we developed an in-depth educational component that provides the linchpin for ensuring an effective oral chemotherapy program. Our program focuses on three key pillars: education, communication, and follow-up. Our project team first conducted an inclusive review of available literature, with the objective of designing processes that would help our program directly address existing risks and challenges. Then we introduced concepts for the formalized program to our cancer center physicians, whose support was paramount to successful implementation. The next step was to start the program with a mandatory in-service for all clinical staff, which included a presentation of the research evidence that prompted the creation of this model for oral chemotherapy. To enhance patient understanding, our team provides printed materials, individualized calendars, and in some cases preloaded pillboxes to assist patients. Concurrently, our nurses provide weekly telephone intervention for the second and third months and monthly phone interventions thereafter. Communication is key to the success of the program. This includes the use of a translation service to ensure effective communication with all non–English-speaking patients. We intervene early for those patients with financial barriers and offer a variety of referrals and resources for emotional, nutritional, and patient support services, including transportation issues.
Since the inception of the program, the in-service has been incorporated into our new employee orientation. At the same time, a growing number of cancer center physicians are embracing the program. The program has received the attention of the Oncology Roundtable, which developed a Webinar around the topic, and been described in a feature article in an oncology journal. Finally, our team has been tapped to educate other pharmacists regarding oral agents, toxicity profiles, and safe handling.
By combining safeguards, patient education strategies, intensive follow-up, and a system of effective checks and balances, our center is taking significant steps to maximize patient safety and oral chemotherapy treatment effectiveness, while keeping pace with the rapidly occurring changes in oncology practice.
PMCID: PMC3457830
5.  Nurses’ Knowledge and Education about Oral Care of Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy 
Indian Journal of Palliative Care  2015;21(2):225-230.
Oral health awareness and oral care are crucial aspects of oncology nursing practice. However very few studies concentrate on the oral care of cancer patients undergoing cancer treatment and nursing practice in the Indian subcontinent. Most of the published studies have been conducted in the Western and European countries.
This study aimed to determine the nurses’ knowledge and education about oral care in cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Setting and design:
A cross sectional descriptive survey was conducted among 158 staff nurses working in oncology related areas from 4 different hospitals of Dakshina Kannada district and Udupi district of Karnataka state, India.
Statistical Analysis:
descriptive and inferential statistics was used by using SPSS 16 version.
Majority 81 (51.3%) of the staff nurses had poor knowledge of oral care in cancer patients whereas 87 (55.1%) reported that knowledge acquired through basic education in oral care is not sufficient. Most of the staff nurses 115 (72.8%) did not receive basic education in oral care of cancer patients. There was significant association between knowledge and variables such as designation (.005), years of work experience (.040) and years of experience in cancer wards (.000) at 0.05 levels.
Lack of knowledge suggest the need to develop and implement continuing nursing education programs on oral care specifically for patients receiving cancer treatments, for improving knowledge of staff nurses’ in order to render comprehensive care to the patients. This study also recommends the importance of inclusion of cancer patient specific oral care in the curriculum which can enhance competency of the qualified nurses in cancer wards.
PMCID: PMC4441186  PMID: 26009678
Cancer patients; Chemotherapy; Education; Knowledge; Oral care; Radiation therapy; Staff nurses
6.  Associations between Stroke Mortality and Weekend Working by Stroke Specialist Physicians and Registered Nurses: Prospective Multicentre Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(8):e1001705.
In a multicenter observational study, Benjamin Bray and colleagues evaluate whether weekend rounds by stroke specialist physicians, or the ratio of registered nurses to beds on weekends, is associated with patient mortality after stroke.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Observational studies have reported higher mortality for patients admitted on weekends. It is not known whether this “weekend effect” is modified by clinical staffing levels on weekends. We aimed to test the hypotheses that rounds by stroke specialist physicians 7 d per week and the ratio of registered nurses to beds on weekends are associated with mortality after stroke.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a prospective cohort study of 103 stroke units (SUs) in England. Data of 56,666 patients with stroke admitted between 1 June 2011 and 1 December 2012 were extracted from a national register of stroke care in England. SU characteristics and staffing levels were derived from cross-sectional survey. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) of 30-d post-admission mortality, adjusting for case mix, organisational, staffing, and care quality variables. After adjusting for confounders, there was no significant difference in mortality risk for patients admitted to a stroke service with stroke specialist physician rounds fewer than 7 d per week (adjusted HR [aHR] 1.04, 95% CI 0.91–1.18) compared to patients admitted to a service with rounds 7 d per week. There was a dose–response relationship between weekend nurse/bed ratios and mortality risk, with the highest risk of death observed in stroke services with the lowest nurse/bed ratios. In multivariable analysis, patients admitted on a weekend to a SU with 1.5 nurses/ten beds had an estimated adjusted 30-d mortality risk of 15.2% (aHR 1.18, 95% CI 1.07–1.29) compared to 11.2% for patients admitted to a unit with 3.0 nurses/ten beds (aHR 0.85, 95% CI 0.77–0.93), equivalent to one excess death per 25 admissions. The main limitation is the risk of confounding from unmeasured characteristics of stroke services.
Mortality outcomes after stroke are associated with the intensity of weekend staffing by registered nurses but not 7-d/wk ward rounds by stroke specialist physicians. The findings have implications for quality improvement and resource allocation in stroke care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
In a perfect world, a patient admitted to hospital on a weekend or during the night should have as good an outcome as a patient admitted during regular working hours. But several observational studies (investigations that record patient outcomes without intervening in any way; clinical trials, by contrast, test potential healthcare interventions by comparing the outcomes of patients who are deliberately given different treatments) have reported that admission on weekends is associated with a higher mortality (death) rate than admission on weekdays. This “weekend effect” has led to calls for increased medical and nursing staff to be available in hospitals during the weekend and overnight to ensure that the healthcare provided at these times is of equal quality to that provided during regular working hours. In the UK, for example, “seven-day working” has been identified as a policy and service improvement priority for the National Health Service.
Why Was This Study Done?
Few studies have actually tested the relationship between patient outcomes and weekend physician or nurse staffing levels. It could be that patients who are admitted to hospital on the weekend have poor outcomes because they are generally more ill than those admitted on weekdays. Before any health system introduces potentially expensive increases in weekend staffing levels, better evidence that this intervention will improve patient outcomes is needed. In this prospective cohort study (a study that compares the outcomes of groups of people with different baseline characteristics), the researchers ask whether mortality after stroke is associated with weekend working by stroke specialist physicians and registered nurses. Stroke occurs when the brain's blood supply is interrupted by a blood vessel in the brain bursting (hemorrhagic stroke) or being blocked by a blood clot (ischemic stroke). Swift treatment can limit the damage to the brain caused by stroke, but of the 15 million people who have a stroke every year, about 6 million die within a few hours and another 5 million are left disabled.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers extracted clinical data on 56,666 patients who were admitted to stroke units in England over an 18-month period from a national stroke register. They obtained information on the characteristics and staffing levels of the stroke units from a biennial survey of hospitals admitting patients with stroke, and information on deaths among patients with stroke from the national register of deaths. A quarter of the patients were admitted on a weekend, almost half the stroke units provided stroke specialist physician rounds seven days per week, and the remainder provided rounds five days per week. After adjustment for factors that might have affected outcomes (“confounders”) such as stroke severity and the level of acute stroke care available in each stroke unit, there was no significant difference in mortality risk between patients admitted to a stroke unit with rounds seven days/week and patients admitted to a unit with rounds fewer than seven days/week. However, patients admitted on a weekend to a stroke unit with 1.5 nurses/ten beds had a 30-day mortality risk of 15.2%, whereas patients admitted to a unit with 3.0 nurses/ten beds had a mortality risk of 11.2%, a mortality risk difference equivalent to one excess death per 25 admissions.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that the provision of stroke specialist physician rounds seven days/week in stroke units in England did not influence the (weak) association between weekend admission for stroke and death recorded in this study, but mortality outcomes after stroke were associated with the intensity of weekend staffing by registered nurses. The accuracy of these findings may be affected by the measure used to judge the level of acute care available in each stroke unit and by residual confounding. For example, patients admitted to units with lower nursing levels may have shared other unknown characteristics that increased their risk of dying after stroke. Moreover, this study considered the impact of staffing levels on mortality only and did not consider other relevant outcomes such as long-term disability. Despite these limitations, these findings support the provision of higher weekend ratios of registered nurses to beds in stroke units, but given the high costs of increasing weekend staffing levels, it is important that controlled trials of different models of physician and nursing staffing are undertaken as soon as possible.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Meeta Kerlin
Information about plans to introduce seven-day working into the National Health Service in England is available; the 2013 publication “NHS Services—Open Seven Days a Week: Every Day Counts” provides examples of how hospitals across England are working together to provide routine healthcare services seven days a week; a “Behind the Headlines” article on the UK National Health Service Choices website describes a recent observational study that investigated the association between admission to hospital on the weekend and death, and newspaper coverage of the study's results; the Choices website also provides information about stroke for patients and their families, including personal stories
A US nurses' site includes information on the association of nurse staffing with patient safety
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides information about all aspects of stroke (in English and Spanish); its Know Stroke site provides educational materials about stroke prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation, including personal stories (in English and Spanish); the US National Institute of Health SeniorHealth website has additional information about stroke
The Internet Stroke Center provides detailed information about stroke for patients, families, and health professionals (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC4138029  PMID: 25137386
7.  Optimum Methadone Compliance Testing 
Executive Summary
The objective of this analysis was to determine the diagnostic utility of oral fluid testing collected with the Intercept oral fluid collection device.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Opioids (opiates or narcotics) are a class of drugs derived from the opium poppy plant that typically relieve pain and produce a euphoric feeling. Methadone is a long-acting synthetic opioid used to treat opioid dependence and chronic pain. It prevents symptoms of opioid withdrawal, reduces opioid cravings and blocks the euphoric effects of short-acting opioids such as heroin and morphine. Opioid dependence is associated with harms including an increased risk of exposure to Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Hepatitis C as well as other health, social and psychological crises. The goal of methadone treatment is harm reduction. Treatment with methadone for opioid dependence is often a long-term therapy. The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons estimates that there are currently 250 physicians qualified to prescribe methadone, and 15,500 people in methadone maintenance programs across Ontario.
Drug testing is a clinical tool whose purpose is to provide objective meaningful information, which will reinforce positive behavioral changes in patients and guide further treatment needs. Such information includes knowledge of whether the patient is taking their methadone as prescribed and reducing or abstaining from using opioid and other drugs of abuse use. The results of drug testing can be used with behavior modification techniques (contingency management techniques) where positive reinforcements such as increased methadone take-home privileges, sustained employment or parole are granted for drug screens negative for opioid use, and negative reinforcement including loss of these privileges for drug screens positive for opioid used.
Body fluids including blood, oral fluid, often referred to as saliva, and urine may contain metabolites and the parent drug of both methadone and drugs of abuse and provide a means for drug testing. Compared with blood which has a widow of detection of several hours, urine has a wider window of detection, approximately 1 to 3 days, and is therefore considered more useful than blood for drug testing. Because of this, and the fact that obtaining a urine specimen is relatively easy, urine drug screening is considered the criterion measure (gold standard) for methadone maintenance monitoring. However, 2 main concerns exist with urine specimens: the possibility of sample tampering by the patient and the necessity for observed urine collection. Urine specimens may be tampered with in 3 ways: dilution, adulteration (contamination) with chemicals, and substitution (patient submits another persons urine specimen). To circumvent sample tampering the supervised collection of urine specimens is a common and recommended practice. However, it has been suggested that this practice may have negative effects including humiliation experienced by patient and staff, and may discourage patients from staying in treatment. Supervised urine specimen collection may also present an operational problem as staff must be available to provide same-sex supervision. Oral fluid testing has been proposed as a replacement for urine because it can be collected easily under direct supervision without infringement of privacy and reduces the likelihood of sample tampering. Generally, the results of oral fluid drug testing are similar to urine drug testing but there are some differences, such as lower concentrations of substances in oral fluid than urine, and some drugs remain detectable for longer periods of time in urine than oral fluid.
The Technology Being Reviewed
The Intercept Oral Specimen Collection Device (Ora-Sure Technologies, Bethlehem, PA) consists of an absorbent pad mounted on a plastic stick. The pad is coated with common salts. The absorbent pad is inserted into the mouth and placed between the cheek and gums for 3 minutes on average. The pad absorbs the oral fluid. After 3 minutes (range 2min-5 min) the collection device is removed from the mouth and the absorbent pad is placed in a small vial which contains 0.8mL of pH-balanced preservative, for transportation to a laboratory for analysis. It is recommended that the person undergoing oral fluid drug testing have nothing to eat or drink for a 10- minute period before the oral fluid specimen is collected. This will remove opportunity for adulteration. Likewise, it is recommended that the person be observed for the duration of the collection period to prevent adulteration of the specimen. An average of 0.4 mL of saliva can be collected. The specimen may be stored at 4C to 37C and tested within 21 days of collection (or within 6 weeks if frozen).
The oral fluid specimen must be analyzed in a laboratory setting. There is no point-of-care (POC) oral fluid test kit for drugs of abuse (other than for alcohol). In the laboratory the oral fluid is extracted from the vial after centrifugation and a screening test is completed to eliminate negative specimens. Similar to urinalysis, oral fluid specimens are analyzed first by enzyme immunoassay with positive specimens sent for confirmatory testing. Comparable cut-off values to urinalysis by enzyme immunoassay have been developed for oral fluids
Review Strategy
Research Question
What is the diagnostic utility of the Intercept oral specimen device?
Inclusion criteria:
Studies evaluating paired urine and oral fluid specimens from the same individual with the Intercept oral fluid collection device.
The population studied includes drug users.
Exclusion criteria:
Studies testing for marijuana (THC) only.
Sensitivity and Specificity of oral fluid testing compared to urinalysis for methadone (methadone metabolite), opiates, cocaine, benzodiazepines, and alcohol.
Quality of the Body of Evidence
The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system was used to evaluate the overall quality of the body of evidence (defined as 1 or more studies) supporting the research questions explored in this systematic review. A description of the GRADE system is reported in Appendix 1.
Summary of Findings
A total of 854 potential citations were retrieved. After reviewing titles and abstracts, 2 met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Two other relevant studies were found after corresponding with the author of the 2 studies retrieved from the literature search. Therefore a total of 4 published studies are included in this analysis. All 4 studies carried out by the same investigator meet the definition of Medical Advisory Secretariat level III (not a-randomized controlled trial with contemporaneous controls) study design. In each of the studies, paired urine and oral fluid specimens where obtained from drug users. Urine collection was not observed in the studies however, laboratory tests for pH and creatinine were used to determine the reliability of the specimen. Urine specimens thought to be diluted and unreliable were removed from the evaluation. Urinalysis was used as the criterion measurement for which to determine the sensitivity and specificity of oral fluid testing by the Intercept oral fluid device for opiates, benzodiazepines, cocaine and marijuana. Alcohol was not tested in any of the 4 studies. From these 4 studies, the following conclusions were drawn:
The evidence indicates that oral fluid testing with the Intercept oral fluid device has better specificity than sensitivity for opiates, benzodiazepines, cocaine and marijuana.
The sensitivity of oral fluids testing with the Intercept oral fluid device seems to be from best to worst: cocaine > benzodiazepines >opiates> marijuana.
The sensitivity and specificity for opiates of the Intercept oral fluid device ranges from 75 to 90% and 97- 100% respectively.
The consequences of opiate false-negatives by oral fluid testing with the Intercept oral fluid device need to be weighed against the disadvantages of urine testing, including invasion of privacy issues and adulteration and substitution of the urine specimen.
The window of detection is narrower for oral fluid drug testing than urinalysis and because of this oral fluid testing may best be applied in situations where there is suspected frequent drug use. When drug use is thought to be less frequent or remote, urinalysis may offer a wider (24-48 hours more than oral fluids) window of detection.
The narrow window of detection for oral fluid testing may mean more frequent testing is needed compared to urinalysis. This may increase the expense for drug testing in general.
POC oral fluid testing is not yet available and may limit the practical utility of this drug testing methodology. POC urinalysis by immunoassay is available.
The possible applications of oral fluid testing may include:
Because of its narrow window of detection compared to urinalysis oral fluid testing may best be used during periods of suspected frequent or recent drug use (within 24 hours of drug testing). This is not to say that oral fluid testing is superior to urinalysis during these time periods.
In situations where an observed urine specimen is difficult to obtain. This may include persons with “shy bladder syndrome” or with other urinary conditions limiting their ability to provide an observed urine specimen.
When the health of the patient would make urine testing unreliable (e,g., renal disease)
As an alternative drug testing method when urine specimen tampering practices are suspected to be affecting the reliability of the urinalysis test.
Possible limiting Factors to Diffusion of Oral Fluid Technology
No oral fluid POC test equivalent to onsite urine dips or POC analyzer reducing immediacy of results for patient care.
Currently, physicians get reimbursed directly for POC urinalysis. Oral fluid must be analyzed in a lab setting removing physician reimbursement, which is a source of program funding for many methadone clinics.
Small amount of oral fluid specimen obtained; repeat testing on same sample will be difficult.
Reliability of positive oral fluid methadone (parent drug) results may decrease because of possible contamination of oral cavity after ingestion of dose. Therefore high methadone levels may not be indicative of compliance with treatment. Oral fluid does not as yet test for methadone metabolite.
There currently is no licensed provincial laboratory that analyses oral fluid specimens.
2-ethylidene- 1,5-dimethyl-3,3-diphenylpyrrolidine
enzyme immunoassay
Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA),
Enzyme Multiplied Immunoassay Test (EMIT)
Gas chromatography
gas chromatography/mass spectrometry
High-performance liquid chromatography
Limit of Detection
Mass spectrometry
Methadone Maintenance Treatment
Oral fluid testing
Point of Care Testing
11-nor-delta-9-tetrhydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid
urine drug testing
PMCID: PMC3379523  PMID: 23074492
8.  Injectable and Oral Contraceptive Use and Cancers of the Breast, Cervix, Ovary, and Endometrium in Black South African Women: Case–Control Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(3):e1001182.
A case-control study conducted in South Africa provides new estimates of the risk of specific cancers of the female reproductive system associated with use of injectable and oral contraceptives.
Oral contraceptives are known to influence the risk of cancers of the female reproductive system. Evidence regarding the relationship between injectable contraceptives and these cancers is limited, especially in black South Africans, among whom injectable contraceptives are used more commonly than oral contraceptives.
Methods and Findings
We analysed data from a South African hospital-based case–control study of black females aged 18–79 y, comparing self-reported contraceptive use in patients with breast (n = 1,664), cervical (n = 2,182), ovarian (n = 182), and endometrial (n = 182) cancer, with self-reported contraceptive use in 1,492 control patients diagnosed with cancers with no known relationship to hormonal contraceptive use. We adjusted for potential confounding factors, including age, calendar year of diagnosis, education, smoking, alcohol, parity/age at first birth, and number of sexual partners. Among controls, 26% had used injectable and 20% had used oral contraceptives. For current and more recent users versus never users of oral or injectable contraceptives, the odds ratios (ORs) for breast cancer were significantly increased in users of oral and/or injectable contraceptives (OR 1.66, 95% CI 1.28–2.16, p<0.001) and separately among those exclusively using oral (1.57, 1.03–2.40, p = 0.04) and exclusively using injectable (OR 1.83, 1.31–2.55, p<0.001) contraceptives; corresponding ORs for cervical cancer were 1.38 (1.08–1.77, p = 0.01), 1.01 (0.66–1.56, p = 0.96), and 1.58 (1.16–2.15, p = 0.004). There was no significant increase in breast or cervical cancer risk among women ceasing hormonal contraceptive use ≥10 y previously (p = 0.3 and p = 0.9, respectively). For durations of use ≥5 y versus never use, the ORs of ovarian cancer were 0.60 (0.36–0.99, p = 0.04) for oral and/or injectable contraceptive use and 0.07 (0.01–0.49, p = 0.008) for injectable use exclusively; corresponding ORs for endometrial cancer were 0.44 (0.22–0.86, p = 0.02) and 0.36 (0.11–1.26, p = 0.1).
In this study, use of oral and of injectable hormonal contraceptives was associated with a transiently increased risk of breast and cervical cancer and, for long durations of use, with a reduced risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer. The observed effects of injectable and of oral contraceptives on cancer risk in this study did not appear to differ substantially.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Hormonal contraceptives are among the most commonly used medications. Globally, more than 210 million women currently use either hormonal contraceptive pills or injectable contraceptives. Contraceptive pills usually contain manmade versions of the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone (the combined oral contraceptive, or “pill”); most injectable hormonal contraceptives contain only manmade progesterone preparations. Hormonal contraceptives, which prevent pregnancy by disrupting the cyclical changes in estrogen and progesterone levels that prepare the body for pregnancy, have revolutionized birth control since they first became available in the early 1960s. However, it is now known that taking the pill also influences women's risk of developing cancers of the female reproductive system. Current and recent users have an increased risk of developing breast and cervical cancer (the cervix is the structure that connects the womb to the vagina) compared to never users, although this increased risk quickly disappears when women stop taking the pill. By contrast, women who have used the pill have a reduced risk of developing ovarian cancer and cancer of the womb (endometrial cancer) compared to never users that increases with the duration of pill use and persists for many years after use ceases. These effects on reproductive system cancers are thought to occur because these cancers depend on naturally occurring sex hormones for their development and growth.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although the evidence that the pill influences the risk of developing cancers of the female reproductive system is extensive, much less is known about how injectable hormonal contraceptives affect cancer risk. In this hospital-based case–control study (a study that compares the characteristics of people with and without a specific condition), the researchers investigate the relationship between the use of oral and injectable hormonal contraceptives and cancers of the breast, cervix, ovary, and endometrium among black South African women. Injectable contraceptives have been used for longer in South Africa than elsewhere and are used more commonly than oral contraceptives among black South African women.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
As part of the Johannesburg Cancer Case Control Study, which recruits black patients attending Johannesburg public referral hospitals for cancer treatment, the researchers compared hormonal contraceptive use in women with breast, cervical, ovarian, or endometrial cancer with contraceptive use in women diagnosed with other cancers such as lung, colon, and rectal cancers, which are not known to be influenced by hormonal contraceptives. Among the controls, a quarter had used injectable contraceptives and a fifth had used oral contraceptives. After adjusting for other factors that might influence cancer risk such as age, smoking, and number of sexual partners, the odds ratio (OR) of breast cancer among current and recent users of oral and/or injectable contraceptives compared to never users was 1.66. That is, the risk of developing breast cancer among current and recent users of hormonal contraceptives was 1.66 times that among never users. For women using oral contraceptives exclusively or injectable contraceptives exclusively, the ORs of breast cancer were 1.57 and 1.83, respectively. There were also increases in cervical cancer risk among current and recent users of hormonal contraceptives compared to never users, but no significant increase in breast or cervical cancer risk among women who had ceased hormonal contraceptive use more than ten years previously. Finally, the use of hormonal contraceptives for more than five years reduced the risk of both ovarian and endometrial cancer.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, among black women in South Africa, the use of oral or injectable hormonal contraceptives is associated with a transiently increased risk of breast and cervical cancer, and that extended use of these contraceptives is associated with a reduced risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer. Moreover, they suggest that the effects of oral versus injectable contraceptives on cancer risk do not differ substantially, although for endometrial and ovarian cancer the small number of cases exposed to injectable contraceptives limits the accuracy of the risk estimates. Other limitations of this study include the possibility that the findings may be affected by uncontrolled confounding. That is, women who used hormonal contraceptives may have shared other unidentified characteristics that affected their cancer risk. Nevertheless, these findings provide new information about the effects of oral and injectable hormonal contraceptives on cancer risk that should help women make informed decisions about their choice of contraceptive method.
Additional Information
Please access these web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Cancer Institute provides information on breast cancer (including personal stories from breast cancer survivors), cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer for patients and health professionals, and a fact sheet on oral contraceptives and cancer risk (in English and Spanish)
Cancer Research UK also provides information on breast cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer and information about the birth control pill and cancer risk
Eyes on the Prize, an online support group for women who have had cancers of the female reproductive system, has personal stories; further personal stories about breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer are provided by the charity Healthtalkonline
PMCID: PMC3295825  PMID: 22412354
9.  Study protocol: cost-effectiveness of multidisciplinary nutritional support for undernutrition in older adults in nursing home and home-care: cluster randomized controlled trial 
Nutrition Journal  2014;13:86.
Older adults in nursing home and home-care are a particularly high-risk population for weight loss or poor nutrition. One negative consequence of undernutrition is increased health care costs. Several potentially modifiable nutritional risk factors increase the likelihood of weight loss or poor nutrition. Hence a structured and multidisciplinary approach, focusing on the nutritional risk factors and involving e.g. dieticians, occupational therapists, and physiotherapist, may be necessary to achieve benefits. Up till now a few studies have been done evaluating the cost-effectiveness of nutritional support among undernourished older adults and none of these have used such a multidisciplinary approach.
An 11 week cluster randomized trial to assess the cost-effectiveness of multidisciplinary nutritional support for undernutrition in older adults in nursing home and home-care, identified by screening with the Eating validation Scheme. Before start of the study there will be performed a train-the-trainer intervention involving educated nutrition coordinators.
In addition to the nutrition coordinator, the participants assigned to the intervention group strategy will receive multidisciplinary nutrition support. Focus will be on treatment of the potentially modifiable nutritional risk factors identified by screening, by involving physiotherapist, registered dietician, and occupational therapist, as relevant and independent of the municipality’s ordinary assessment and referral system.
The primary outcome parameter will be change in quality of life (by means of Euroquol-5D-3L). Secondary outcomes will be: physical performance (chair stand), nutritional status (weight, Body Mass Index and hand-grip strength), oral care, fall incidents, hospital admissions, rehabilitation stay, moving to nursing homes (for participants from home-care), use of social services and mortality.
An economic evaluation will be conducted to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the multidisciplinary support.
Furthermore, interviews with nursing home and home-care management, nursing staff and nutrition coordinators in both the control and intervention groups, participants in the intervention group and the involved multidisciplinary team will be performed.
In this study we will evaluate in a randomized controlled trial whether multidisciplinary nutritional support is cost-effective, in undernourished older adults in home-care and nursing home and contribute to important research.
Trial registration 2013 NCT01873456.
PMCID: PMC4153908  PMID: 25163483
Undernutrition; Nursing home; Home-care; Quality of life; Multidisciplinary nutritional support
10.  Identifying Factors to Improve Oral Cancer Screening Uptake: A Qualitative Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47410.
To engage with high risk groups to identify knowledge and awareness of oral cancer signs and symptoms and the factors likely to contribute to improved screening uptake.
Focus group discussions were undertaken with 18 males; 40+ years of age; smokers and/or drinkers (15+ cigarettes per day and/or 15+ units of alcohol per week), irregular dental attenders living in economically deprived areas of Teesside.
There was a striking reported lack of knowledge and awareness of oral cancer and its signs and symptoms among the participants. When oral/mouth cancer leaflets produced by Cancer Research UK were presented to the participants, they claimed that they would seek help on noticing such a condition. There was a preference to seek help from their general practitioner rather than their dentist due to perceptions that a dentist is ‘inaccessible’ on a physical and psychological level, costly, a ‘tooth specialist’ not a ‘mouth specialist’, and also not able to prescribe medication and make referrals to specialists. Interestingly, none of the 18 participants who were offered a free oral cancer examination at a dental practice took up this offer.
The uptake of oral cancer screening may be improved by increasing knowledge of the existence and signs and symptoms of oral cancer. Other factors that may increase uptake are increased awareness of the role of dentists in diagnosing oral cancer, promotion of oral cancer screening by health professionals during routine health checks, and the use of a “health” screening setting as opposed to a “dental” setting for such checks.
PMCID: PMC3480360  PMID: 23115644
11.  Oral cancer awareness of undergraduate medical and dental students 
The incidence of oral cancer is increasing in the United Kingdom. Early detection of oral cancers makes them more amenable to treatment and allows the greatest chance of cure. Delay in presentation and/or referral has a significant effect on the associated morbidity and mortality. Lack of general medical practitioner and general dental practitioner oral cancer knowledge has been shown to contribute to delays in referral and treatment. The aim of this study was to investigate the oral cancer awareness of future general medical and general dental practitioners by assessing undergraduate medical and dental students' knowledge of prevention and early detection of oral cancer.
Questionnaires were delivered to undergraduate medical and dental students at the University of Dundee, assessing oral examination habits, delivery of advice on oral cancer risk factors, knowledge of oral cancer risk factors and clinical appearance, preferred point of referral and requests for further information.
Undergraduate medical students were less likely to examine patients' oral mucosa routinely and less likely to advise patients about risk factors for oral cancer. Medical students identified fewer oral cancer risk factors. In particular alcohol use was identified poorly. Medical students also identified fewer oral changes associated with oral cancer. Erythroplakia and erythroleukoplakia were identified poorly. Medical students felt less well informed regarding oral cancer. 86% and 92% of undergraduate medical and dental students respectively requested further information about oral cancer.
This study highlights the need for improved education of undergraduate medical and dental students regarding oral cancer.
PMCID: PMC2213642  PMID: 18005417
12.  Multiple Intravenous Infusions Phase 1b 
Minimal research has been conducted into the potential patient safety issues related to administering multiple intravenous (IV) infusions to a single patient. Previous research has highlighted that there are a number of related safety risks. In Phase 1a of this study, an analysis of 2 national incident-reporting databases (Institute for Safe Medical Practices Canada and United States Food and Drug Administration MAUDE) found that a high percentage of incidents associated with the administration of multiple IV infusions resulted in patient harm.
The primary objectives of Phase 1b of this study were to identify safety issues with the potential to cause patient harm stemming from the administration of multiple IV infusions; and to identify how nurses are being educated on key principles required to safely administer multiple IV infusions.
Data Sources and Review Methods
A field study was conducted at 12 hospital clinical units (sites) across Ontario, and telephone interviews were conducted with program coordinators or instructors from both the Ontario baccalaureate nursing degree programs and the Ontario postgraduate Critical Care Nursing Certificate programs. Data were analyzed using Rasmussen’s 1997 Risk Management Framework and a Health Care Failure Modes and Effects Analysis.
Twenty-two primary patient safety issues were identified with the potential to directly cause patient harm. Seventeen of these (critical issues) were categorized into 6 themes. A cause-consequence tree was established to outline all possible contributing factors for each critical issue. Clinical recommendations were identified for immediate distribution to, and implementation by, Ontario hospitals. Future investigation efforts were planned for Phase 2 of the study.
This exploratory field study identifies the potential for errors, but does not describe the direct observation of such errors, except in a few cases where errors were observed. Not all issues are known in advance, and the frequency of errors is too low to be observed in the time allotted and with the limited sample of observations.
The administration of multiple IV infusions to a single patient is a complex task with many potential associated patient safety risks. Improvements to infusion and infusion-related technology, education standards, clinical best practice guidelines, hospital policies, and unit work practices are required to reduce the risk potential. This report makes several recommendations to Ontario hospitals so that they can develop an awareness of the issues highlighted in this report and minimize some of the risks. Further investigation of mitigating strategies is required and will be undertaken in Phase 2 of this research.
Plain Language Summary
Patients, particularly in critical care environments, often require multiple intravenous (IV) medications via large volumetric or syringe infusion pumps. The infusion of multiple IV medications is not without risk; unintended errors during these complex procedures have resulted in patient harm. However, the range of associated risks and the factors contributing to these risks are not well understood.
Health Quality Ontario’s Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee commissioned the Health Technology Safety Research Team at the University Health Network to conduct a multi-phase study to identify and mitigate the risks associated with multiple IV infusions. Some of the questions addressed by the team were as follows: What is needed to reduce the risk of errors for individuals who are receiving a lot of medications? What strategies work best?
The initial report, Multiple Intravenous Infusions Phase 1a: Situation Scan Summary Report, summarizes the interim findings based on a literature review, an incident database review, and a technology scan.
The Health Technology Safety Research Team worked in close collaboration with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada on an exploratory study to understand the risks associated with multiple IV infusions and the degree to which nurses are educated to help mitigate them. The current report, Multiple Intravenous Infusions Phase 1b: Practice and Training Scan, presents the findings of a field study of 12 hospital clinical units across Ontario, as well as 13 interviews with educators from baccalaureate-level nursing degree programs and postgraduate Critical Care Nursing Certificate programs. It makes 9 recommendations that emphasize best practices for the administration of multiple IV infusions and pertain to secondary infusions, line identification, line set-up and removal, and administering IV bolus medications.
The Health Technology Safety Research Team has also produced an associated report for hospitals entitled Mitigating the Risks Associated With Multiple IV Infusions: Recommendations Based on a Field Study of Twelve Ontario Hospitals, which highlights the 9 interim recommendations and provides a brief rationale for each one.
PMCID: PMC3377572  PMID: 23074426
13.  Packaging Health Services When Resources Are Limited: The Example of a Cervical Cancer Screening Visit 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(11):e434.
Increasing evidence supporting the value of screening women for cervical cancer once in their lifetime, coupled with mounting interest in scaling up successful screening demonstration projects, present challenges to public health decision makers seeking to take full advantage of the single-visit opportunity to provide additional services. We present an analytic framework for packaging multiple interventions during a single point of contact, explicitly taking into account a budget and scarce human resources, constraints acknowledged as significant obstacles for provision of health services in poor countries.
Methods and Findings
We developed a binary integer programming (IP) model capable of identifying an optimal package of health services to be provided during a single visit for a particular target population. Inputs to the IP model are derived using state-transition models, which compute lifetime costs and health benefits associated with each intervention. In a simplified example of a single lifetime cervical cancer screening visit, we identified packages of interventions among six diseases that maximized disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) averted subject to budget and human resource constraints in four resource-poor regions. Data were obtained from regional reports and surveys from the World Health Organization, international databases, the published literature, and expert opinion. With only a budget constraint, interventions for depression and iron deficiency anemia were packaged with cervical cancer screening, while the more costly breast cancer and cardiovascular disease interventions were not. Including personnel constraints resulted in shifting of interventions included in the package, not only across diseases but also between low- and high-intensity intervention options within diseases.
The results of our example suggest several key themes: Packaging other interventions during a one-time visit has the potential to increase health gains; the shortage of personnel represents a real-world constraint that can impact the optimal package of services; and the shortage of different types of personnel may influence the contents of the package of services. Our methods provide a general framework to enhance a decision maker's ability to simultaneously consider costs, benefits, and important nonmonetary constraints. We encourage analysts working on real-world problems to shift from considering costs and benefits of interventions for a single disease to exploring what synergies might be achievable by thinking across disease burdens.
Jane Kim and colleagues analyzed the possible ways that multiple health interventions might be packaged together during a single visit, taking into account scarce financial and human resources.
Editors' Summary
Public health decision makers in developed and developing countries are exploring the idea of providing packages of health checks at specific times during a person's lifetime to detect and/or prevent life-threatening diseases such as diabetes, heart problems, and some cancers. Bundling together tests for different diseases has advantages for both health-care systems and patients. It can save time and money for both parties and, by associating health checks with life events such as childbirth, it can take advantage of a valuable opportunity to check on the overall health of individuals who may otherwise rarely visit a doctor. But money and other resources (for example, nurses to measure blood pressure) are always limited, even in wealthy countries, so decision makers have to assess the likely costs and benefits of packages of interventions before putting them into action.
Why Was This Study Done?
Recent evidence suggests that women in developing countries would benefit from a once-in-a-lifetime screen for cervical cancer, a leading cause of cancer death for this population. If such a screening strategy for cervical cancer were introduced, it might provide a good opportunity to offer women other health checks, but it is unclear which interventions should be packaged together. In this study, the researchers have developed an analytic framework to identify an optimal package of health services to offer to women attending a clinic for their lifetime cervical cancer screen. Their model takes into account monetary limitations and possible shortages in trained personnel to do the health checks, and balances these constraints against the likely health benefits for the women.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers developed a “mathematical programming” model to identify an optimal package of health services to be provided during a single visit. They then used their model to estimate the average costs and health outcomes per woman of various combinations of health interventions for 35- to 40-year-old women living in four regions of the world with high adult death rates. The researchers chose breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, anemia caused by iron deficiency, and sexually transmitted diseases as health conditions to be checked in addition to cervical cancer during the single visit. They considered two ways—one cheap in terms of money and people; the other more expensive but often more effective—of checking for or dealing with each potential health problem. When they set a realistic budgetary constraint (based on the annual health budget of the poorest countries and a single health check per woman in the two decades following her reproductive years), the optimal health package generated by the model for all four regions included cervical cancer screening done by testing for human papillomavirus (an effective but complex test), treatment for depression, and screening or treatment for anemia. When a 50% shortage in general (for example, nurses) and specialized (for example, doctors) personnel time was also included, the health benefits of the package were maximized by using a simpler test for cervical cancer and by treating anemia but not depression; this freed up resources in some regions to screen for breast cancer or cardiovascular disease.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The model described by the researchers provides a way to explore the potential advantages of delivering a package of health interventions to individuals in a single visit. Like all mathematical models, its conclusions rely heavily on the data used in its construction. Indeed, the researchers stress that, because they did not have full data on the effectiveness of each intervention and made many other assumptions, their results on their own cannot be used to make policy decisions. Nevertheless, their results clearly show that the packaging of multiple health services during a single visit has great potential to maximize health gains, provided the right interventions are chosen. Most importantly, their analysis shows that in the real world the shortage of personnel, which has been ignored in previous analyses even though it is a major problem in many developing countries, will affect which health conditions and specific interventions should be bundled together to provide the greatest impact on public health.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization has information on choosing cost-effective health interventions and on human resources for health
The American Cancer Society offers patient information on cervical cancer
The Alliance for Cervical Cancer Prevention includes information about cervical cancer prevention programs in developing countries
PMCID: PMC1635742  PMID: 17105337
14.  Health professional's perceptions of and potential barriers to smoking cessation care: a survey study at a dental school hospital in Japan 
BMC Research Notes  2010;3:329.
Smoking is currently accepted as a well-established risk factor for many oral diseases such as oral cancer and periodontal disease. Provision of smoking cessation care to patients with oral problems is a responsibility of health care professionals, particularly dentists and dental hygienists. This study examined the smoking-related perceptions and practices of dental school hospital-based health professionals in Japan.
A cross-sectional study design was used. The sample was formed from dentists, dental hygienists, physicians and nurses of a dental school hospital in Tokyo, Japan (n = 93, 72%). Participants were asked to complete an 11-item questionnaire assessing demographic variables and smoking history, provision of smoking cessation advice or care, attitudes about smoking cessation, and perceived barrier(s) to smoking cessation care. Eighteen percent of participants reported being current smokers and 15% reported being ex-smokers, with higher smoking rates reported by dentists compared with other health professionals (p = 0.0199). While recognizing the importance of asking patients about their smoking status, actual provision of smoking cessation advice or care by participants was relatively insufficient. Interventions such as 'assess willingness to make a quit attempt' and 'assist in quit attempt' were implemented for less than one-quarter of their patients who smoke. Non-smokers were more likely to acknowledge the need for increased provision in smoking cessation care by oral health professionals. 'Lack of knowledge and training' was identified as a central barrier to smoking cessation care, followed by 'few patients willing to quit'.
A need for further promotion of smoking cessation activities by the health professionals was identified. The findings also suggest that dentists and dental hygienists, while perceiving a role in smoking care, do require training in the provision of smoking cessation care to hospital patients. In order to overcome the potential barriers, it is necessary to provide staff with appropriate training and create an atmosphere supportive of smoking cessation activities.
PMCID: PMC3016266  PMID: 21138553
15.  Ovarian Cancer and Body Size: Individual Participant Meta-Analysis Including 25,157 Women with Ovarian Cancer from 47 Epidemiological Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(4):e1001200.
A reanalysis of published and unpublished data from epidemiological studies examines the association between height, body mass index, and the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Only about half the studies that have collected information on the relevance of women's height and body mass index to their risk of developing ovarian cancer have published their results, and findings are inconsistent. Here, we bring together the worldwide evidence, published and unpublished, and describe these relationships.
Methods and Findings
Individual data on 25,157 women with ovarian cancer and 81,311 women without ovarian cancer from 47 epidemiological studies were collected, checked, and analysed centrally. Adjusted relative risks of ovarian cancer were calculated, by height and by body mass index.
Ovarian cancer risk increased significantly with height and with body mass index, except in studies using hospital controls. For other study designs, the relative risk of ovarian cancer per 5 cm increase in height was 1.07 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05–1.09; p<0.001); this relationship did not vary significantly by women's age, year of birth, education, age at menarche, parity, menopausal status, smoking, alcohol consumption, having had a hysterectomy, having first degree relatives with ovarian or breast cancer, use of oral contraceptives, or use of menopausal hormone therapy. For body mass index, there was significant heterogeneity (p<0.001) in the findings between ever-users and never-users of menopausal hormone therapy, but not by the 11 other factors listed above. The relative risk for ovarian cancer per 5 kg/m2 increase in body mass index was 1.10 (95% CI, 1.07–1.13; p<0.001) in never-users and 0.95 (95% CI, 0.92–0.99; p = 0.02) in ever-users of hormone therapy.
Ovarian cancer is associated with height and, among never-users of hormone therapy, with body mass index. In high-income countries, both height and body mass index have been increasing in birth cohorts now developing the disease. If all other relevant factors had remained constant, then these increases in height and weight would be associated with a 3% increase in ovarian cancer incidence per decade.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Cancer of the ovaries, usually referred to as ovarian cancer, is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in women, and, unfortunately, symptoms (such as abdominal pain and swelling) usually occur late in the disease process; fewer than one-third of ovarian cancers are detected before they have spread outside of the ovaries. There is no definitive evidence that screening reduces mortality from ovarian cancer, and given the poor prognosis of advanced ovarian cancer, there has been much research over recent years to increase understanding of this serious condition. There are recognized risk factors that increase the chance of developing ovarian cancer, such as increasing age, having fewer children, not having used oral contraceptives, and use of menopausal hormone therapy. Age and oral contraceptive use have by far the biggest impact on ovarian cancer risk.
Why Was This Study Done?
To date, there is no definitive information about the relevance of women's height, weight, and body mass index to their subsequent risk of developing ovarian cancer. There have been roughly 50 epidemiological studies of ovarian cancer, but only about half of these studies have published results on the association between body size and ovarian cancer risk, and so far, these findings have been inconsistent. Therefore, the researchers—an international collaboration of researchers studying ovarian cancer—re-analyzed the available epidemiological evidence to investigate the relationship between ovarian cancer risk and adult height, weight, and body mass index, and to examine the consistency of the findings across study designs.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
After an extensive literature search, the researchers identified 47 eligible studies that collected individual data on women's reproductive history, use of hormonal therapies, height, weight, and/or body mass index, and in which the principal investigators of each study accepted the invitation from the researchers to be involved in the re-analysis. The researchers combined data from the different studies. To ensure that women in one study were only directly compared with controls (similar women without ovarian cancer) in the same study, all analyses were routinely stratified by study, center within study, age, parity, use of oral contraceptives, use of hormonal therapy for menopause, and menopausal status or hysterectomy.
The 47 studies were conducted in 14 countries and comprised a total of 25,157 women with ovarian cancer (mostly from Europe and North America) and 81,311 women without ovarian cancer. The researchers found a significant increase in relative risk (1.07) of ovarian cancer per 5 cm increase in height. Furthermore, this risk did not vary depending on other studied factors—age, year of birth, education, age at menarche, parity, menopausal status, smoking, alcohol consumption, having had a hysterectomy, having first degree relatives with ovarian or breast cancer, use of oral contraceptives, or use of menopausal hormone therapy. However, the researchers found that for body mass index, the risks depended on whether women had ever taken menopausal hormone therapy: the relative risk for ovarian cancer per 5 kg/m2 increase in body mass index was 1.10 in women who had never taken menopausal hormone therapy but was only 0.95 in women who had previously taken menopausal hormone therapy.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that increasing height can be considered as a risk factor for ovarian cancer and that in women who have never taken menopausal hormone therapy, increased body mass index can be considered an additional risk factor. These findings have public health implications, especially in high-income countries, because the average height of women has increased by about 1 cm per decade and average body mass index has increased by about 1 kg/m2 per decade. The findings suggest an associated increase in ovarian cancer incidence of 3% per decade if all other factors relevant for ovarian cancer remain constant.
Additional Information
Please access these web sites via the online version of this summary at
The following organizations give more information on ovarian cancer which may be of use to patients: MedicineNet, the US National Cancer Institute, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, Macmillan Cancer Support
PMCID: PMC3317899  PMID: 22606070
16.  Junior doctor titles following implementation of Modernising Medical Careers in the UK 
JRSM Short Reports  2011;2(3):22.
Recent changes in postgraduate medical training in the UK collectively organized under the auspices of Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) have created new labels for junior doctors in training. It would appear that many nurses and other health workers do not understand the new terminology. We aimed to investigate the knowledge of nursing staff about new junior doctor titles in a district general hospital. As far as we are aware, this is the first survey to determine the views and knowledge of the new terms among staff working in the NHS.
Questionnaire study.
District general hospital, West Midlands, UK.
Fifty-five randomly selected staff nurses working in the surgical directorate.
Main outcome measure
Questions were asked about their views and knowledge of the current nomenclature. To objectively assess knowledge of the new titles respondents were asked to match equivalent positions with those based on the old system.
Only 22% (n = 12) of respondents felt that they fully understand current terms in usage. Seventy-six percent (n = 42) felt that it was ‘very important’ that titles accurately convey role and seniority of the doctor. The most common titles correctly matched were FY1 and House Officer (n = 45, 81%) and FY2 and First Year Senior House Officer (n = 35, 64%). Only 9% (n = 5) of staff nurses correctly matched ST3 to Junior Registrar and 13% (n = 7) correctly matched ST7 to Senior Registrar. Ward-based staff nurses demonstrated greater familiarity with titles when compared to nurses who work mainly in the outpatient clinic and theatre setting (p = 0.017). We did not identify a statistically significant association with demographic characteristics (age, gender, experience) and knowledge of the new terms (p > 0.05). Approximately 98% (n = 54) of the staff surveyed felt that terms are confusing to nurses and need to be simplified.
Our survey revealed that nursing staff lacked knowledge of the current terminology to describe doctors in training. This may have implications for staff expectations regarding specific role of junior doctor in terms of clinical decision-making, working relationships and communication between team members, and ultimately patient care.
PMCID: PMC3086326  PMID: 21541090
17.  Nurse staffing and education and hospital mortality in nine European countries: a retrospective observational study 
Lancet  2014;383(9931):1824-1830.
Austerity measures and health-system redesign to minimise hospital expenditures risk adversely affecting patient outcomes. The RN4CAST study was designed to inform decision making about nursing, one of the largest components of hospital operating expenses. We aimed to assess whether differences in patient to nurse ratios and nurses’ educational qualifications in nine of the 12 RN4CAST countries with similar patient discharge data were associated with variation in hospital mortality after common surgical procedures.
For this observational study, we obtained discharge data for 422 730 patients aged 50 years or older who underwent common surgeries in 300 hospitals in nine European countries. Administrative data were coded with a standard protocol (variants of the ninth or tenth versions of the International Classification of Diseases) to estimate 30 day in-hospital mortality by use of risk adjustment measures including age, sex, admission type, 43 dummy variables suggesting surgery type, and 17 dummy variables suggesting comorbidities present at admission. Surveys of 26 516 nurses practising in study hospitals were used to measure nurse staffing and nurse education. We used generalised estimating equations to assess the effects of nursing factors on the likelihood of surgical patients dying within 30 days of admission, before and after adjusting for other hospital and patient characteristics.
An increase in a nurses’ workload by one patient increased the likelihood of an inpatient dying within 30 days of admission by 7% (odds ratio 1·068, 95% CI 1·031–1·106), and every 10% increase in bachelor’s degree nurses was associated with a decrease in this likelihood by 7% (0·929, 0·886–0·973). These associations imply that patients in hospitals in which 60% of nurses had bachelor’s degrees and nurses cared for an average of six patients would have almost 30% lower mortality than patients in hospitals in which only 30% of nurses had bachelor’s degrees and nurses cared for an average of eight patients.
Nurse staffing cuts to save money might adversely affect patient outcomes. An increased emphasis on bachelor’s education for nurses could reduce preventable hospital deaths.
European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme, National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institutes of Health, the Norwegian Nurses Organisation and the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services, Swedish Association of Health Professionals, the regional agreement on medical training and clinical research between Stockholm County Council and Karolinska Institutet, Committee for Health and Caring Sciences and Strategic Research Program in Care Sciences at Karolinska Institutet, Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.
PMCID: PMC4035380  PMID: 24581683
18.  Knowledge, attitudes and practice toward cervical cancer screening among Sikkimese nursing staff in India 
To assess baseline knowledge of cancer cervix, screening and practice of Pap smear screening among Sikkimese staff nurses in India.
Materials and Methods:
Between April 2012 and February 2013, a predesigned, pretested, self -administered multiple responses questionnaire survey was conducted among staff nurses’ working in various hospitals of Sikkim. Questionnaire contained information about their demographics, knowledge of cervical cancer, its risk factors, screening methods, attitudes toward cervical cancer screening and practice of Pap smear amongst themselves.
Overall, 90.4% nurses responded that they were aware of cancer cervix. Three quarter of the staff nurses were not aware of commonest site being cancer cervix in women. Of the 320 participants, who had heard of cancer cervix, 253 (79.1%) were aware of cancer cervix screening. Pap smear screening should start at 21 years or 3 years after sexual debut was known to only one-third of the nursing staff. Age was found to be a significant predictor of awareness of Pap smear screening among nursing staff. Awareness was significantly more prevalent among older staff (P < 0.007). Married nursing staffs were significantly more likely to be aware of screening methods, and nursing staff of Christian and Buddhist religion were 1.25 times and 2.03 times more likely to aware of screening methods than Hindu religion respectively. Only 16.6% nurses, who were aware of a Pap smear (11.9% of the total sample), had ever undergone a Pap smear test. Most common reason offered for not undergoing Pap smear test were, they felt they were not at risk (41%), uncomfortable pelvic examination (25%) and fear of a bad result (16.6%).
Knowledge of cancer cervix, screening and practice of Pap smear was low among Sikkimese nursing staff in India. There is an urgent need for re-orientation course for working nurses and integration of cervical cancer prevention issues in the nurses’ existing curriculum in India and other developing countries.
PMCID: PMC4477372  PMID: 26157287
Cervical cancer; knowledge; nursing staff; Pap smear; screening
19.  Exploring the characteristics of nursing agencies in South Africa 
Global Health Action  2015;8:10.3402/gha.v8.27878.
Nursing agencies are temporary employment service providers or labour brokers that supply nurses to health establishments.
This study was conducted to determine the characteristics of nursing agencies and their relationship with clients in the health sector.
During 2011, a cross-sectional national survey of 106 nursing agencies was conducted. After obtaining informed consent, telephone interviews were conducted with a representative of the selected nursing agency using a pretested structured questionnaire. Questions focused on the following: ownership, date of establishment, province of operation, distribution of clients across private and public health facilities; existence of a code of conduct; nature of the contractual relationship between nursing agencies and their clients, and numbers and cadres of nurses contracted. The survey data were analysed using STATA® 12.
Fifty-two nursing agencies participated in the survey, representing a 49% response rate. The study found that 32 nursing agencies (62%) served private-sector clients only, which included private hospitals, homes for elderly people, patients in private homes, and private industry/company clinics, and only four (8%) of the agencies served the public sector only. Twenty-seven percent of nursing agencies provided services to homes for elderly individuals. Nursing agencies were more likely to have contracts with private-sector clients (84%) than with public-sector clients (16%) (p = 0.04). Although 98% of nursing agencies reported that they had a code of conduct, the proportion was higher for private-sector clients (73%) compared to public-sector clients (27%). In terms of quality checks and monitoring, 81% of agencies agreed with a statement that they checked the nursing council registration of nurses, 82% agreed with a statement that they requested certified copies of a nurse's qualifications. Only 21% indicated that they conducted reference checks of nurses with their past employers.
Nursing agencies should enhance their quality assurance mechanisms when engaging contracted staff. Overall, the study findings suggest the need for improved governance and management of nursing agencies in South Africa.
PMCID: PMC4430690  PMID: 25971401
nursing agency; nurses; labour broker; health workforce; South Africa
20.  Oral Cancer Awareness and Knowledge in the City of Valongo, Portugal 
We conducted a questionnaire survey among 602 subjects in order to analyze the awareness and knowledge on oral cancer among residents of the city of Valongo in Portugal. The cancer that most subjects were aware of was breast cancer (99%). Oral cancer was the least mentioned cancer (68.6%). There was awareness of the relationship between oral cancer and smoking among 89.5% subjects, but less of the association with alcohol misuse (63.3%). Nonhealing mouth ulcers were identified as a sign or symptom of oral cancer by 90.0% and red or white patch by only 52.8% subjects. Whereas 94.5% agreed that early detection could improve the treatment outcome, a disheartening 28.1% believed that whether a person developed an oral cancer or not is a matter of luck and therefore is unavoidable. Surprisingly only 1.7% were ever submitted to or had knowledge of receiving a consultation regarding oral cancer. In conclusion, this survey demonstrates a general lack of awareness and knowledge on oral cancer in a population of Valongo. An oral health promotion strategy should involve elements of basic education on oral cancer for this population, and regular oral cancer screenings should be implemented in Valongo.
PMCID: PMC3420131  PMID: 22919388
21.  Dental practitioner’s knowledge, opinions and methods of management of oral premalignancy and malignancy 
The Saudi Dental Journal  2010;23(1):29-36.
The present study outlines the results of a pilot study to determine the knowledge and awareness of a cohort of dentists in United Arab Emirates (UAE) regarding aetiology, clinical features and appropriate early management of oral premalignant and malignant lesions.
Materials and methods
A self-administered questionnaire was constructed and posted to 300 UAE Dental Practitoners (DPs), selected randomly from the register of Emirates Dental Association. The present report details the responses of this cohort.
182 questionnaires were completed and returned (response rate 60.6%). One hundred and twenty-seven (69.8%) of the responding dentists were male and the median age of the DPs was 40 years (range 24–75 years). The majority (84%) practised or had practised in or around Dubai and Sharjah, 75% had graduated from a dental school after 1980. Eighty-two respondents (45.0%) had attended specific courses on premalignant or malignant oral lesions. During their undergraduate training 70% of DPs had witnessed more than 10 patients with oral SCC. Only 60.4% of respondents indicated that the tobacco and alcohol use were the principle causes of oral SCC while 19.7% suggested that HIV disease was a risk factor for oral SCC. 29% of DPs routinely recorded the tobacco or alcohol use of their patients and only 3.8% offered advice to patients regarding modification of these habits. Eight-three percent of the respondents suggested that clinical screening was an effective means of reducing the frequency of premalignant and malignant oral lesions.
In view of the gradual rise in oral malignancy worldwide there is an increased need for DPs to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of oral malignancy and premalignancy, provide appropriate preventive advice and be aware of the appropriate early management of patients with such oral lesions.
PMCID: PMC3723265  PMID: 23960499
Dental practitioners; Knowledge; Malignancy; Premalignancy
22.  Effect of a Community-Based Nursing Intervention on Mortality in Chronically Ill Older Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(7):e1001265.
Kenneth Coburn and colleagues report findings from a randomized trial evaluating the effects of a complex nursing intervention on mortality risk among older individuals diagnosed with chronic health conditions.
Improving the health of chronically ill older adults is a major challenge facing modern health care systems. A community-based nursing intervention developed by Health Quality Partners (HQP) was one of 15 different models of care coordination tested in randomized controlled trials within the Medicare Coordinated Care Demonstration (MCCD), a national US study. Evaluation of the HQP program began in 2002. The study reported here was designed to evaluate the survival impact of the HQP program versus usual care up to five years post-enrollment.
Methods and Findings
HQP enrolled 1,736 adults aged 65 and over, with one or more eligible chronic conditions (coronary artery disease, heart failure, diabetes, asthma, hypertension, or hyperlipidemia) during the first six years of the study. The intervention group (n = 873) was offered a comprehensive, integrated, and tightly managed system of care coordination, disease management, and preventive services provided by community-based nurse care managers working collaboratively with primary care providers. The control group (n = 863) received usual care. Overall, a 25% lower relative risk of death (hazard ratio [HR] 0.75 [95% CI 0.57–1.00], p = 0.047) was observed among intervention participants with 86 (9.9%) deaths in the intervention group and 111 (12.9%) deaths in the control group during a mean follow-up of 4.2 years. When covariates for sex, age group, primary diagnosis, perceived health, number of medications taken, hospital stays in the past 6 months, and tobacco use were included, the adjusted HR was 0.73 (95% CI 0.55–0.98, p = 0.033). Subgroup analyses did not demonstrate statistically significant interaction effects for any subgroup. No suspected program-related adverse events were identified.
The HQP model of community-based nurse care management appeared to reduce all-cause mortality in chronically ill older adults. Limitations of the study are that few low-income and non-white individuals were enrolled and implementation was in a single geographic region of the US. Additional research to confirm these findings and determine the model's scalability and generalizability is warranted.
Trial Registration NCT01071967
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
In almost every country in the world, the proportion of people aged over 60 years is growing faster than any other age group because of increased life expectancy. This demographic change has several implications for public health, especially as older age is a risk factor for many chronic diseases—diseases of long duration and generally slow progression. Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes, are by far the leading cause of death in the world, representing almost two-thirds of all deaths. Therefore in most countries, the challenge of managing increasingly ageing populations who have chronic illnesses demands an urgent response and countries such as the United States are actively researching possible solutions.
Why Was This Study Done?
Some studies suggest that innovations in chronic disease management that are led by nurses may help address the epidemic of chronic diseases by increasing the quality and reducing the cost of care. However, to date, reports of the evaluation of such interventions lack rigor and do not provide evidence of improved long-term health outcomes or reduced health care costs. So in this study, the researchers used the gold standard of research, a randomized controlled trial, to examine the impact of a community-based nurse care management model for older adults with chronic illnesses in the United States as part of a series of studies supported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers recruited eligible patients aged 65 years and over with heart failure, coronary heart disease, asthma, diabetes, hypertension, and/or hyperlipidemia who received traditional Medicare—a fee for service insurance scheme in which beneficiaries can choose to receive their care from any Medicare provider—from participating primary care practices in Pennsylvania. The researchers then categorized patients according to their risk on the basis of several factors including the number of chronic diseases each individual had before randomizing patients to receive usual care or the nurse-led intervention. The intervention included an individualized plan comprising education, symptom monitoring, medication, counseling for adherence, help identifying, arranging, and monitoring community health and social service referrals in addition to group interventions such as weight loss maintenance and exercise classes. The researchers checked whether any participating patients had died by using the online Social Security Death Master File. Then the researchers used a statistical model to calculate the risk of death in both groups.
Of the 1,736 patients the researchers recruited into the trial, 873 were randomized to receive the intervention and 863 were in the control group (usual care). The researchers found that 86 (9.9%) participants in the intervention group and 111 (12.9%) participants in the control group died during the study period, representing a 25% lower relative risk of death among the intervention group. However, when the researchers considered other factors, such as sex, age group, primary diagnosis, perceived health, number of medications taken, hospital stays in the past 6 months, and tobacco use in their statistical model, this risk was slightly altered—0.73 risk of death in the intervention group.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that that community-based nurse care management is associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality among older adults with chronic illnesses who are beneficiaries of the fee for service Medicare scheme in the United States. These findings also support the important role of nurses in improving health outcomes in this group of patients and show the feasibility of implementing this program in collaboration with primary care practices. Future research is needed to test the adaptability, scalability, and generalizability of this model of care.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Arlene Bierman
Information about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is available
The World Health Organization provides statistics on the prevalence of both chronic illness and ageing
Heath Quality Partners provide information about the study
PMCID: PMC3398966  PMID: 22815653
23.  Survey of hospital doctors' attitudes and knowledge of oral conditions in older patients 
Postgraduate Medical Journal  2001;77(908):392-394.
The study was designed to assess the views and knowledge of hospital doctors in general and geriatric medicine on oral health in older people. Eighty two doctors in general and geriatric medicine at two hospitals were shown 12 colour slides of oral mucosal conditions and asked to give a diagnosis for each slide and complete a questionnaire. Completed questionnaires with the answers to the coloured slides were returned completed by 70 doctors.
The majority of doctors (84%) felt it was important to examine older patients' mouths, however only 19% (χ2 p=0.0001) routinely do so. If asked to prescribe nystatin by the nursing staff, 30% said they would do so without examining the mouth itself. Only 9% of doctors knew that wearing dentures was a specific risk factor for oral candidiasis (χ2 p=0.001). Altogether 56% of doctors did not feel confident in examining the oral cavity and most (77%) did not think they had had sufficient training in this examination. Only two doctors correctly diagnosed all of the slides. An early squamous carcinoma was misdiagnosed by 80% of the doctors (χ2 p=0.0001).
Hospital doctors do not routinely inspect older patients' mouths. Even if shown slides of typical oral mucosal lesions many hospital doctors are unable to diagnose them. Issues on training need to be addressed. From the patients' point of view a public health campaign is required to educate older people on the need for a regular dental review and be aware that doctors may not be able to diagnose serious oral conditions.

PMCID: PMC1742067  PMID: 11375454
24.  Patients’ perceptions of oral cancer screening in dental practice: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Oral Health  2012;12:55.
Oral cancer is increasing in incidence in the UK and indeed worldwide. Delay in diagnosis is common; up to half of patients are diagnosed with advanced lesions. Thus it is essential to develop methods to aid early detection. This study aimed to assess dental patients’ experiences and awareness of oral cancer and screening within general dental practice.
A cross-sectional questionnaire survey of 184 English-speaking adults, with no previous history of oral cancer was conducted. The questionnaire collected data on participant’s knowledge of oral cancer, experience of ‘screening’, attitudes and feelings towards having a screening, anticipated help-seeking behaviours, health-related behaviours (particularly risk factors) and sociodemographics.
Twenty percent of respondents had never heard of oral cancer; 77% knew little or nothing about it and 72% did not know that their Dentist routinely screens for oral cancer. Overall, attitudes to screening were positive. Ninety two percent of respondents would like their Dentist to tell them if they were being screened for signs of oral cancer and 97% would like help from their Dentists to reduce their risk.
Patients seem generally unaware of oral cancer screening by their dentist but are happy to take part in screening, would like to be informed, and welcome the support of their Dentist to reduce their risk of developing oral cancer.
PMCID: PMC3540027  PMID: 23249393
Oral Cancer; Early Detection of Cancer; Screening; Awareness; Public Health
25.  A survey of oral surgeons’ tobacco-use-related knowledge and intervention behaviors 
Objectives: To evaluate whether oral surgeons are aware of tobacco’s role in oral health. Moreover, we wanted to know professionals’ attitudes towards smoker patients and physicians’ involvement in detecting and eradicating this habit in patients. Study Design: We conducted a survey to determine the awareness of the members of the Spanish Society of Oral Surgery about tobacco’s damage on oral health and the role of dentists in the prevention and elimination of the smoking habit. Results: 450 surveys were distributed during the Seventh National Congress of the Spanish Society of Oral Surgery, of which 224 (49.8%) were answered. Seventy-six point eight percent of oral surgeons said that they have a good knowledge of the effects of snuff on oral health. However, only 42.9% admitted they had received specific training regarding how to deal with patients who want to give up smoking. Sixty-three point four percent had explained to smoker patients the risk of this habit for the oral and general health. However, 17% admitted they do not advise their patients to give up smoking for fear of upsetting them, while 15.2% expressed lack of time, and 3.6% think it is not their competence. As to the relationship between oral cancer and smoking, 83% of oral surgeons recognize a direct relationship. In addition, 85.7% of professionals believe that dentists have a primary role in oral cancer prevention. Conclusions: These results indicate that most oral surgeons are concerned about the smoking habit of their patients. However, it is necessary to increase the specific training of dentists by providing tobacco treatment programs as part of their professional responsibility. Oral surgeons recognize the direct relationship between the smoking habit and oral cancer and regard as very important the role of dentists in the prevention of this disease.
Key words:Smoking habit, oral surgery, oral cancer.
PMCID: PMC3476020  PMID: 22322505

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