We aimed to describe the proportion and characteristics of cancer patients who perceived that better care would have greatly improved their well-being in (1) specific and (2) multiple domains of patient-centred care.
Cross-sectional touchscreen computer survey.
Four Australian radiation therapy departments located within major urban public hospitals.
Radiation therapy outpatients were invited to participate in a touchscreen computer survey. Eligible patients were at least 18 years old, diagnosed with cancer and had sufficient English to complete the survey.
Primary outcome measure
Participants were asked whether their well-being could have been greatly improved if better care had been provided across eight domains of patient-centred care. Characteristics of those respondents who identified (1) specific and (2) multiple domains where it was perceived that better care would have greatly improved their well-being were examined.
Of 508 eligible radiation therapy patients, 344 (68%) completed the survey. Patients most frequently perceived that better care in the following domains could have improved their well-being: information and communication about their cancer (22%; 95% CI 18% to 27%); emotional and spiritual support (22%; 95% CI 18% to 27%); management of physical symptoms (21%; 95% CI 17% to 26%) and involvement of friends and family (21%; 95% CI 17% to 26%). Just under one-third of respondents (31%; 95% CI 26% to 36%) indicated that their well-being could have been improved by better care across two or more domains of care. Patients in younger age groups and migrants to Australia had higher odds of endorsing multiple domains where better care would have improved their well-being.
Further investigation of patients’ perceptions of how their perceived quality of care might be improved is warranted, particularly among patients in younger age groups and migrants to Australia.
Patient-Centered Care; Cross-Sectional Studies; Neoplasms; Health Care Quality, Access, and Evaluation
Low back pain effects up to 80% of the population at some time during their active life. Questionnaires are available to help measure pain and disability. The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) is the most commonly used outcome measure for low back pain. The aim of this study was to see if training in completing the ODI forms improved the scoring accuracy.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
The last 100 ODI forms completed in a hospital's spinal clinic were reviewed retrospectively and errors in the scoring were identified. Staff members involved in scoring the questionnaire were made aware of the errors and the correct method of scoring explained. A chart was created with all possible scores to aid the staff with scoring. A prospective audit on 50 questionnaires was subsequently performed.
The retrospective study showed that 33 of the 100 forms had been incorrectly scored. All questionnaires where one or more sections were not completed by the patient were incorrectly scored. A scoring chart was developed and staff training was implemented. This reduced the error rate to 14% in the prospective audit.
Clinicians applying outcome measures should read the appropriate literature to ensure they understand the scoring system. Staff must then be given adequate training in the application of the questionnaires.
Outcome-measure questionnaires; Oswestry Disability Index; Scoring system; Audit
Patient quality of life data can be acquired in a variety of ways, including over the telephone and through computerized questionnaires. However, if the method of collection produces different results, medical decisions regarding appropriate and cost-effective care may be influenced by collection method. We conducted an experiment where subjects had two quality of life measures, the time trade-off and rating scale utilities, assessed both in telephone interivews and via computer touchscreens. The order of telephone and touchscreen was randomized. We found that rating scale utilities were similar whether obtained via the telephone or via touchscreen regardless of which was done first. However, patients who had their time trade-off utilities assessed over the telephone first did not provide as consistent responses as those elicited first via touchscreen (p = 0.01). Caution is suggested when considering eliciting time trade-off over the telephone with subjects who have not had time trade-off elicited previously.
Self-administration of a multimedia health literacy measure in clinic settings is a novel concept. Demonstrated ease of use and acceptability will help predicate the future value of this strategy. We previously demonstrated the acceptability of a “Talking Touchscreen” for health status assessment. For this study, we adapted the touchscreen for self-administration of a new health literacy measure. Primary care patients (n=610) in clinics for underserved populations completed health status and health literacy questions on the Talking Touchscreen and participated in an interview. Participants were 51% female, 10% age 60+, 67% African American, 18% without a high school education, and 14% who had never used a computer. The majority (93%) had no difficulty using the touchscreen, including those who were computer-naïve (87%). Most rated the screen design as very good or excellent (72%), including computer-naïve patients (71%) and older patients (75%). Acceptability of the touchscreen did not differ by health literacy level. The Talking Touchscreen was easy to use and acceptable for self-administration of a new health literacy measure. Self-administration should reduce staff burden and costs, interview bias, and feelings of embarrassment by those with lower literacy. Tools like the Talking Touchscreen may increase exposure of underserved populations to new technologies.
Computer Literacy; Health Literacy; User-Computer Interface; Multimedia; Vulnerable Populations
The aim of the study was to confirm the validity of using touchscreen computers for screening for clinically significant levels of distress among cancer patients in routine oncology practice. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), EORTC Quality of Life questionnaire (QLQ-C30), Mental Health Inventory-MHI5 and a Concerns Checklist were administered via touchscreen computer to 172 chemotherapy out-patients, twice, 2–4 weeks apart. A standard psychiatric interview (Present State Examination – PSE) was conducted within a week of the second assessment. On interview, 23% of patients were identified as ‘cases’. Using the available data (questionnaires, sociodemographic details, self-reported past psychiatric history), the best screening strategy combined scores from MHI-5 and HADS from a single time-point with the following rules: if MHI-5 < 11 = non-case; if MHI-5 ≥ 11 then use HADS; then, if HADS ≥ 9 = ‘case’ (sensitivity 85%; specificity 71%; misclassification rate 26%; positive predictive value 47%). The computerized screening system enabled data to be collected, scored, collated and reported in real time to identify patients who warrant further clinical assessment. It offers the potential for improving ‘case’ detection in routine oncology practice while reducing the burden of questions put to ‘non-cases’. Further work is needed to develop optimal choice of screening questions for this purpose. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign http://www.bjcancer.com
screening; psychological distress; computer touchscreens; routine practice; oncology
It is increasingly important for surgeons to monitor the outcome of their practice for the purpose of audit. The main difficulty has been the lack of appropriate methods of assessing outcome. Outcome has traditionally been assessed by clinical means which can be inaccurate, irreproducible and subject to surgeon bias. In addition, the perspective of the patient and surgeon may differ with respect to outcome and interest has grown in patient-based scoring systems. The Oxford Shoulder Score (OSS) is one such patient-based scoring system. The main aim of this study was to assess whether a patient-based questionnaire, in this case the OSS, could be effectively used to audit outcome from shoulder surgery. A secondary aim was to assess the value of gathering outcome information by post.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
A total of 24 patients (14 male; median age 59 years; age range, 43–73 years) who had completed a pre-operative OSS questionnaire and had undergone rotator cuff repair were included in the study. Participants were assessed postoperatively at regular intervals using the OSS at hospital visits and by postal questionnaire.
The completion level for the OSS was 97% and the response rate to the postal questionnaire was 96%. At 3 months' post-surgery, 21 of 24 patients had improved; at final review (16–37 months), 23 patients had improved following surgery. The OSS was observed to be a robust tool for the quantitative assessment and tracking of patient outcomes after surgery.
This study shows the value of using a postal questionnaire to follow-up patients after surgery and demonstrates the successful use of a patient-based questionnaire to audit the outcome from shoulder surgery.
Oxford Shoulder Score; Outcome assessment (healthcare); Shoulder; Surgery
Background and Purpose:
The Stanmore Percentage of Normal Shoulder Assessment (SPONSA) is a patient-reported outcome measure (PROM). The score assesses pain, range of movement, strength, stability and function of the shoulder. The aim of this work was to formally validate the SPONSA.
Materials and Methods:
Validation of this score was carried out by measuring reproducibility, construct validity and sensitivity to change. Time to completion was also recorded. The Oxford Shoulder Score (OSS) and Constant Score (CS) were used for comparison. These assessments were performed with 61 individuals undergoing shoulder interventions.
There was excellent preoperative reproducibility in both intra- and inter-observer groups. The SPONSA had a 0.79 correlation with the OSS and 0.78 with the CS. The overall effect size of the SPONSA was 0.72, which was comparable to OSS (0.65) and greater than CS (0.34), implying equal or better sensitivity to change.
The SPONSA is practical and quick to perform and also a reproducible and a sensitive instrument. This simple PROM is a commendable addition to the existing validated scoring methods for the shoulder.
Level of Evidence:
I; testing of previously developed diagnostic criteria on consecutive patients (with universally applied reference “gold” standard).
Assessment; outcome; score; shoulder; validation
AIM: To examine cancer patients' use, and satisfaction with touchscreen information systems. By examining the experience of subgroups, to address issues of equality of access. PATIENTS: 345 patients starting radiotherapy at the Beatson Oncology Centre (BOC), Glasgow. METHODS: Patients were invited to use a touchscreen computer at the start of treatment. They were sent a printout of what they saw on screen. Patients had open access to the system. Data were collected at recruitment, intervention, 3 weeks and 3 months. Predictor variables included: patients' demographics, information preferences, technology use, and psychological state. Outcome variables included: use and views of the computer and printout. RESULTS: Younger, broadsheet readers with previous computer use were more likely to find the system easy to use. Older, tabloid readers were more likely to find the content new and relevant. DISCUSSION: We need to make systems adapt to users' different needs. More effort should be made to provide affordable information for older, generally less literate and technologically less literate groups in suitable locations.
Transplantation has the potential to produce profound effects on survival and health-related quality of life (HRQL). The inclusion of the patient’s perspective may play an important role in the assessment of the effectiveness of lung transplantation. Patient perspectives are assessed by patient-reported outcome measures, including HRQL measures. We describe how patients’ HRQL among different diagnosis groups can be used by clinicians to monitor and evaluate the outcomes associated with transplantation.
Consecutive lung transplant recipients attending the lung transplant outpatient clinic in a tertiary institution completed the 15-item Health Utilities Index (HUI) questionnaire on a touchscreen computer. The results were available to clinicians at every patient visit. The HUI3 covers a range of severity and comorbidities in eight dimensions of health status. Overall HUI3 scores are on a scale in which dead = 0.00 and perfect health = 1.00; disability categories range from no disability = 1 to severe disability <0.70. Single-attribute and overall HUI3 scores were used to compare patients’ HRQL among different diagnosis groups. Random-effect models with time since transplant as a random variable and age, gender, underlying diagnoses, infections, and broncholitis obliterans syndrome as fixed variables were built to identify determinants of health status at 2-years posttransplantation.
Two hundred and fourteen lung transplant recipients of whom 61% were male with a mean age of 52 (19–75) years were included in the study. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis patients displayed moderate disability, while pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary arterial hypertension patients displayed severe disability. Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease had the worst pain level, whereas patients with pulmonary fibrosis had the worst emotion and cognition levels. A random-effect model confirmed that development of broncholitis obliterans syndrome was the most important determinant of health status (P = 0.03) compared to other variables, such as cytomegalovirus infections and underlying diagnoses.
Descriptions of patients’ HRQL among different diagnosis groups could be used by clinicians to assist individualized patient care.
patient-reported outcomes; health-related quality of life measures; underlying diagnoses in lung transplant recipients; health utilities index
Point-of-care practice audits allow documentation of procedural outcomes to support quality improvement in endoscopic practice.
To evaluate a colonoscopists’ practice audit tool that provides point-of-care data collection and peer-comparator feedback.
A prospective, observational colonoscopy practice audit was conducted in academic and community endoscopy units for unselected patients undergoing colonoscopy. Anonymized colonoscopist, patient and practice data were collected using touchscreen smart-phones with automated data upload for data analysis and review by participants. The main outcome measures were the following colonoscopy quality indicators: colonoscope insertion and withdrawal times, bowel preparation quality, sedation, immediate complications and polypectomy, and biopsy rates.
Over a span of 16 months, 62 endoscopists reported on 1279 colonoscopy procedures. The mean cecal intubation rate was 94.9% (10th centile 84.2%). The mean withdrawal time was 8.8 min and, for nonpolypectomy colonoscopies, 41.9% of colonoscopists reported a mean withdrawal time of less than 6 min. Polypectomy was performed in 37% of colonoscopies. Independent predictors of polypectomy included the following: endoscopy unit type, patient age, interval since previous colonoscopy, bowel preparation quality, stable inflammatory bowel disease, previous colon polyps and withdrawal time. Withdrawal times of less than 6 min were associated with lower polyp removal rates (mean difference −11.3% [95% CI −2.8% to −19.9%]; P=0.01).
Cecal intubation rates exceeded 90% and polypectomy rates exceeded 30%, but withdrawal times were frequently shorter than recommended. There are marked practice variations consistent with previous observations.
Real-time, point-of-care practice audits with prompt, confidential access to outcome data provide a basis for targeted educational programs to improve quality in colonoscopy practice.
Colonoscopy; Health care; Practice audit; Quality assurance; Quality indicators
To evaluate mid-term outcome in patients who underwent arthroscopic subacromial decompression (ASD) for shoulder impingement syndrome with intact and partially torn rotator cuffs.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 80 consecutive patients (83 shoulders) who underwent ASD for impingement syndrome between 2003 and 2006 were analyzed. Mean age was 57.1 years. Patients’ self-reported Oxford Shoulder Score (OSS) for pain was collected prospectively and was used as an instrument to measure surgical outcome.
The mean initial and final OSS for patients with an intact rotator cuff was 26.1 and 40.3, respectively, at a mean follow up of 71.9 months (nearly 7 years). The mean initial and final OSS for patients with a partially torn articular sided tear was 22.6 and 41.9, respectively, at mean follow up of 70.7 months. Both groups showed significant sustained improvement (P < 0.0001). The mean improvement of OSS following ASD was statistically greater (P < 0.03) for partially torn rotator cuff group (19.3 points) as compared to those with normal rotator cuff (14.2 points).
Patients with dual pathology (partial rotator cuff tear and impingement) appreciated a significantly greater improvement following ASD compared to those with impingement alone. Both groups of patients had a similar final outcome at a mid-term follow up.
Level of Evidence:
IV, retrospective study on consecutive series of patients.
Arthroscopic subacromial decompression; rotator cuff; patient reported outcome measures; partial rotator cuff tear; surgical outcome
Low health literacy has been identified as an independent predictor of poor asthma control. The Institute of Medicine considers the role of information technology (IT) as critical in providing “safe, effective, patient centered, timely, efficient, and equitable” care with the potential to reduce health disparities in underserved populations. The aim of this study was to design and evaluate an interactive computer-based questionnaire to assess asthma symptoms in children of parents with limited health literacy and/or limited English proficiency.
Volunteer caregivers attending a mobile asthma clinic were randomly assigned to complete the electronic or the paper-and-pencil version of an asthma screening questionnaire (ASQ) in their language of choice (English or Spanish). In the electronic version, a tablet computer was used to present the ASQ questions as video clips and to collect information through the touchscreen. Participants also completed a demographic questionnaire, a brief health literacy questionnaire, and a system usability and satisfaction questionnaire. Reliability of the paper and electronic self-assessments was evaluated by comparing each participant’s answers to information they provided during a nurse-guided structured interview (gold standard).
A total of 48 parents participated in the study, 26 completed the electronic ASQ and 21 the paper-and-pencil form. Thirty-five percent of the children had well-controlled asthma (n = 17). Most participants were Spanish speaking (67%) Hispanic (n = 44) mothers (n = 43) with a median age of 32 years. More than half had ≤8 years of education (n = 25) and earned <$20,000 per year (n = 27). The median health literacy score was 32 (range 0 36). The correlation between health literacy scores and years of education was significant (p = .47, p < .01). Concordance between the electronic ASQ and the nurse interview was significantly higher than concordance between the paper ASQ and the nurse interview (68% versus 54%; p < .01). All parents who completed the electronic questionnaire reported being satisfied; 96% felt comfortable using it, and found it simple to use.
By facilitating the assessment of asthma symptoms at manageable cost, interactive information technology tools may help reduce barriers to access due to inadequate levels of English proficiency and health literacy.
asthma; children; computer-based assessment; English proficiency; health literacy; parents; self-report
Objective measures can be impractical in some settings, because they are time consuming and require face-to-face contact. More recently, there is an increasing trend towards the use of subjective outcome measures. Hence, in this article, five common subjective shoulder outcome measures are critically appraised in terms of their development, validity, relia-lity, responsiveness and clinical application.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Following an extensive literature search, five common shoulder patient-based scores were identified: Disability of Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH), Oxford Shoulder Score (OSS), Shoulder Disability Questionnaire (SDQ-UK), Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI), and the Shoulder Rating Questionnaire (SRQ). These questionnaires were then critically appraised in terms of their development process, validity, reliability, responsiveness, and clinical application.
The SDQ-UK has shown good construct validity but there is no data available regarding internal consistency, reliability and responsiveness. The SPADI has good internal consistency, fair reliability with adequate criterion and construct validity. The DASH has shown to have good construct validity, excellent test–re-test reliability and responsiveness to change. The OSS has good sensitivity, validity and responsiveness. Though SRQ has good internal consistency, its reproducibility and responsiveness are poor.
Based on this critical appraisal, the DASH received the best ratings for its clinimetric properties followed by the OSS.
Shoulder; Disability; Subjective; Outcome measure
There is a need for better interpretation of orthopedic treatment effects. Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are already commonly used for patient evaluation. PROMs can be used to determine treatment effects in research as well as in clinical settings by calculating change scores, with pre- and post-treatment evaluation. The smallest detectable change (SDC) and minimal important change (MIC) are two important benchmarks for interpreting these change scores. The purpose was to determine the SDC and the MIC for four commonly used shoulder-related PROMs: Simple Shoulder Test (SST), Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH and QuickDASH), and the Oxford Shoulder Score (OSS).
A cohort of 164 consecutive patients with shoulder problems visiting an orthopedic outpatient clinic completed the SST, DASH, and the OSS at their first visit and 6 months after operative or non-operative treatment. The SDC was calculated with a test re-test protocol (0–2 weeks). For the MIC, change scores (0–6 months of evaluation) were calculated in seven subgroups of patients, according to an additional self-administered ranking of change over time (anchor-based mean change technique). The MIC is defined as the average score of the ‘slightly improved’ group according to the anchor. The QuickDASH was computed from the DASH.
The SDC of the SST was 2.8, DASH 16.3, QuickDASH 17.1, and OSS 6.0. The MIC change score for the SST was 2.2, DASH 12.4, QuickDASH 13.4, and OSS 6.0.
This study shows that on an individual patient-based level, when taking into account SDC and MIC, the change score should exceed 2.8 points for the SST, 16.3 points for the DASH, 17.1 points for the QuickDASH, and 6.0 points for the OSS to have a clinically relevant change on a PROM, which is not due to measurement error.
Shoulder; PROM; Interpretation; MIC; SDC; DASH; Simple shoulder test; Oxford shoulder score
OBJECTIVE—A computer based touchscreen family cancer history questionnaire was developed and implemented to facilitate the provision of cancer risk assessments for the ambulatory and outpatient populations of a free standing cancer hospital.
METHODS—A questionnaire consisting of a series of branched point decision making screens was developed which enables the participant to enter demographic data, personal cancer history, and cancer histories for first and second degree relatives. A freestanding touchscreen computer kiosk system was used to place the questionnaire in public areas of the cancer hospital and clinic. Genetic professionals analysed the data received, using published criteria, and provided a basic cancer risk assessment and surveillance recommendations within 10 business days. A survey was completed by a small random group of users (n=59) three to six months after receipt of their risk assessment.
RESULTS—After 11 months, 1440 people had entered information and received a written communication. Only 2% of completed questionnaires contained insufficient information to provide a basic risk assessment. Of the small group of participants surveyed, almost all (95%) felt "very comfortable" using the system, 93% remembered receiving the risk assessment letter when queried three to six months later, 42% felt their perceptions about cancer risk had changed, and 20% had made changes in their or their family's cancer surveillance practices.
CONCLUSION—The touchscreen computer family history questionnaire allows easy collection of family history information, provision of risk assessments to a broad population, and promotes increased awareness of familial risk and appropriate surveillance.
Keywords: genetic counselling; risk assessment; computers; medical informatics
Cognitive assessment in a clinical setting is generally made by pencil-and-paper tests, while computer-based tests enable the measurement and the extraction of additional performance indexes. Previous studies have demonstrated that in a research context exploration deficits occur also in patients without evidence of unilateral neglect at pencil-and-paper tests. The objective of this study is to apply a touchscreen-based cancellation test, feasible also in a clinical context, to large groups of control subjects and unilaterally brain-damaged patients, with and without unilateral spatial neglect (USN), in order to assess disturbances of the exploratory skills. A computerized cancellation test on a touchscreen interface was used for assessing the performance of 119 neurologically unimpaired control subjects and 193 patients with unilateral right or left hemispheric brain damage, either with or without USN. A set of performance indexes were defined including Latency, Proximity, Crossings and their spatial lateral gradients, and Preferred Search Direction. Classic outcome scores were computed as well. Results show statistically significant differences among groups (assumed p<0.05). Right-brain-damaged patients with USN were significantly slower (median latency per detected item was 1.18 s) and less efficient (about 13 search-path crossings) in the search than controls (median latency 0.64 s; about 3 crossings). Their preferred search direction (53.6% downward, 36.7% leftward) was different from the one in control patients (88.2% downward, 2.1% leftward). Right-brain-damaged patients without USN showed a significantly abnormal behavior (median latency 0.84 s, about 5 crossings, 83.3% downward and 9.1% leftward direction) situated half way between controls and right-brain-damaged patients with USN. Left-brain-damaged patients without USN were significantly slower and less efficient than controls (latency 1.19 s, about 7 crossings), preserving a normal preferred search direction (93.7% downward). Therefore, the proposed touchscreen-based assessment had evidenced disorders in spatial exploration also in patients without clinically diagnosed USN.
To assess the use of patient-reported outcome (PROs) measures in the routine clinical care of lung–heart transplant patients. We assessed whether the addition of PROs in routine clinical care affected the duration of the consultation and patient’s and clinician’s views.
Consecutive lung–heart transplant patients visiting the outpatient clinic, University of Alberta Hospital, completed the Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire (CRQ) and the Health Utilities Index (HUI) on touchscreen computers. Information on the patient’s responses was made available to the members of the transplant team prior to the encounter with the patient. The duration of clinical encounters was noted. At the end of every visit, clinicians completed a questionnaire on the usefulness of having PRO information available. After 6 months patients completed a survey of their experiences.
The final patient sample consisted of 172 patients with a mean (SD) age of 52 (13.3) years old; 47% were female; 68% were organ recipients and 32% candidates. The transplant team, comprising four pulmunologists, two nurses, and one pharmacist had an average of 9 years of practical experience in pulmunology. The mean duration of patient–clinician encounters in minutes was 15.15 (4.52). Ninety-eight percent of patients indicated that they would be happy to complete the CRQ and HUI at every clinic visit. Ninety-one percent of the assessments completed by clinicians showed complete satisfaction with the use of PROs in routine practice. Further, the clinicians developed guidelines for the use of PRO information in clinical practice.
The incorporation of PRO measures in the routine clinical care of lung–heart transplant patients resulted in a reduction of the duration of patient–clinician encounters. The experience was well accepted by patients and clinicians. We conclude that the routine use of PROs in lung–heart transplant patients has become standard practice.
patient-reported outcome measures; Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire; Health Utilities Index; routine clinical care; lung transplant
Background and purpose
Different results after shoulder arthroplasty have been found for different diagnostic groups. We evaluated function, pain, and quality of life after shoulder arthroplasty in 4 diagnostic groups.
Patients and methods
Patients with shoulder arthroplasties registered in the Norwegian Arthroplasty Register from 1994 through 2008 were posted a questionnaire in 2010. 1,107 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA), acute fracture (AF), or fracture sequela (FS) returned completed forms (65% response rate). The primary outcome measure was the Oxford shoulder score (OSS), which assesses symptoms and function experienced by the patient on a scale from 0 to 48. A secondary outcome measure was the EQ-5D, which assesses life quality. The patients completed a questionnaire concerning symptoms 1 month before surgery, and another concerning the month before they received the questionnaire.
Patients with RA and OA had the best results with a mean improvement in OSS of 16 units, as opposed to 11 for FS patients. Both shoulder pain and function had improved substantially. The change in OSS for patients with AF was negative (–11), but similar end results were obtained for AF patients as for RA and OA patients. Quality of life had improved in patients with RA, OA, and FS.
Good results in terms of pain relief and improved level of function were obtained after shoulder arthroplasty for patients with RA, OA, and—to a lesser degree—FS. A shoulder arthropathy had a major effect on quality of life, and treatment with shoulder replacement substantially improved it.
To model the financial effects of implementing a hospital-wide electronic medical record (EMR) system in a tertiary facility in Malawi.
Materials and Methods
We evaluated three areas of impact: length of stay, transcription time, and laboratory use. We collected data on expenditures in these categories under the paper-based (pre-EMR) system, and then estimated reductions in each category based on findings from EMR systems in the USA and backed by ambulatory data from low-income settings. We compared these potential savings accrued over a period of 5 years with the costs of implementing the touchscreen point-of-care EMR system at that site.
Estimated cost savings in length of stay, transcription time, and laboratory use totaled US$284 395 annually. When compared with the costs of installing and sustaining the EMR system, there is a net financial gain by the third year of operation. Over 5 years the estimated net benefit was US$613 681.
Despite considering only three categories of savings, this analysis demonstrates the potential financial benefits of EMR systems in low-income settings. The results are robust to higher discount rates, and a net benefit is realized even under more conservative assumptions.
This model demonstrates that financial benefits could be realized with an EMR system in a low-income setting. Further studies will examine these and other categories in greater detail, study the financial effects at different levels of organization, and benefit from post-implementation data. This model will be further improved by substituting its assumptions for evidence as we conduct more detailed studies.
Electronic Medical Records; Low-Income Population; Malawi; Economics; Cost Savings
Socioeconomic disparities influence the usage rate of advanced communication technologies in Canada. It is important to assess all patient interactions with computers and electronic devices based on these socioeconomic differences. This project studied the ease of use of a touch-screen interface program for collecting patient feedback. The interface collected feedback on physicians’ communication skills, an important health concern that has been garnering more and more attention. A concurrent paper survey was used to gather information on the socioeconomic status and the usability of the touchscreen device. As expected, patients who were older, had lower annual household income, and had lower educational attainment were associated with more difficulty using the devices. Surprisingly, 94% of all users (representing a wide range of socioeconomic status backgrounds) rated the device as easy to use.
socioeconomic factors; age factors; medical informatics; computer-user interface
Functional results of reversed total prostheses (RTP) have—to a very limited degree—been compared with those of other shoulder prosthesis types. The aim of our study was to compare results of four different types of shoulder prostheses in terms of function, pain, and quality of life (QoL).
Questionnaires were completed by 859 patients with shoulder prostheses registered in the Norwegian Arthroplasty Register. Patients with osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or fracture sequela (FS) were included. Symptoms and function were assessed using the Oxford Shoulder Score (OSS, scale 0–48), and the EuroQoL-5D (EQ-5D) was used to assess QoL.
Best functional results were obtained using conventional total prostheses (TPs) and RTPs —mean OSS improvement 18 and 16 units, respectively, vs 11 with hemiprostheses (HPs). For patients with OA, TPs performed best; for those with RA and FS, RTPs performed best; and those with HPs had the worst results in all diagnostic groups. The greatest improvement in QoL was seen in patients with TPs and RTPs.
Conventional TPs provide the best improvement in pain, function and QoL in OA patients; RTPs are superior in patients with RA and FS.
Smith and Nephew (Endoscopy division, Andover, MA, USA) have estimated that 60,000 Intra-Discal Electrothermal Therapy (IDET) procedures have been performed world wide up to June 2005. Despite the large number of procedures performed, a critical appraisal of the evidence of efficacy of IDET has not appeared in the literature. This paper reviews the current evidence of clinical efficacy for IDET obtained via a systematic review of the literature. Studies were included if they used at least one of four specified primary outcome measures; pain intensity as assessed by a visual analogue score (VAS), global measurement of overall improvement, back specific functional status such as Oswestry disability Index (ODI) and return to work. Levels of evidence were assigned according to the hierarchy described by the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (www.cebm.net). Papers addressing possible mechanisms of action of IDET were not considered as the focus of the literature review was clinical effectiveness. Eleven prospective cohort studies (level II evidence) were reported on a total of 256 patients with a mean follow-up of 17.1 months (range 12–28 months). The mean improvement in the VAS for back pain was 3.4 points (range 1.4–6.5) and the mean improvement in ODI was 5.2 points (range 4.0–6.4). A total of 379 patients were reported in five retrospective studies (level III evidence). Between 13 and 23% of patients subsequently underwent surgery for low back pain within the study period. Two randomised controlled trials of IDET have been reported in the literature. The first randomised 64 patients (37 to IDET, 27 to Sham). The advantage for IDET patients amounted to 1.3 points on the VAS and seven points on the ODI. The second study randomised 57 subjects (38 to IDET, 19 to Sham) and showed no benefit from IDET over placebo. The evidence for efficacy of IDET remains weak and has not passed the standard of scientific proof.
Intradiscal electrothermal therapy; Clinical outcome; Evidence-based medicine
Clinical audit is an important tool to improve patient care and outcomes in health service. A significant proportion of time and economic resources are spent on activities related to clinical audit. Completion of audit cycle is essential to confirm the improvements in healthcare delivery. We aimed this study to evaluate audits carried out within trauma and orthopaedic unit of a teaching hospital over the last 4 years, and establish the proportions which were re-audited as per recommendations.
Data was collected from records of the clinical audit department. All orthopaedic audit projects from 2005 to 2009 were included in this study. The projects were divided in to local, regional and national audits. Data regarding audit lead clinicians, completion and presentation of projects, recommendations and re-audits was recorded.
Out of 61 audits commenced during last four years, 19.7% (12) were abandoned, 72.1% (44) were presented and 8.2 % (5) were still ongoing. The audit cycle was completed in only 29% (13) projects.
Change of junior doctors every 4~6 months is related to fewer re-audits. Active involvement by supervising consultant, reallocation of the project after one trainee has finished, and full support of audit department may increase the ratio of completion of audit cycles, thereby improving the patient care.
Audit of audits; orthopaedic audits; quality of care; audit cycle.
OBJECTIVE--To assess the feasibility of recording patient ethnicity in primary care using the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys classification. DESIGN--A descriptive intervention study and attitude survey in random samples of adults and primary care staff in randomly selected practices. SETTING--Eight practices in Lincolnshire and seven in Leicester. SUBJECTS AND METHODS--When patients were asked their ethnicity by general practitioners, nurses, or receptionists data were collected for 863 of a possible 880 patients. Of 750 patients sent a questionnaire about their attitudes towards the collection of such data 489 responded. Ninety five primary care staff completed a similar questionnaire. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Time taken to record a patient's ethnicity; attitudes of patients and staff towards such recording, including who should ask, who can respond for others, and whether data can be shared with secondary care. RESULTS--Recording the data took less than a minute for three quarters of patients, but even this would need an average of a week of receptionist time per general practitioner. 72% of patients and 57% of staff agreed that ethnic data could be shared with secondary care, and 73% of patients and 60% of staff felt that the data should probably be collected in general practice. CONCLUSIONS--Ethnicity recording in general practice is feasible and acceptable. Nevertheless, the role of ethnic data in assessing health need in primary care, an adequate recording system, and evidence that recording offers benefits greater than the costs need to be established.
In the last 25 years, assessment of orthopaedic intervention has become patient focused, with the development of self-completion patient-centred outcome measures. The Oxford hip score (OHS) is a joint specific outcome measure tool designed to assess disability in patients undergoing total hip replacement (THR). Although the psychometric properties of the OHS have been rigorously examined, there is little research on the patient's perspective of the OHS. Therefore, the aim of this study is to assess whether the OHS is an adequate disability measure from the patient's perspective using qualitative analysis of annotations written on the OHS by patients.
In total, 276 orthopaedic patients completed an OHS between April 2004 and May 2005. One hundred and fifty six pre-operative patients listed for a THR completed the OHS during a pre-admission assessment clinic, and 120 post-operative patients completed the OHS postally in the home setting. Patient's unprompted annotations in response to the questions on the OHS were recorded and grouped into thematic categories.
In total, 46 (17%) patients made 52 annotations when completing the OHS. These annotations identified five main areas of difficulty that patients experienced: lack of question clarity (particularly concerning the use of aids), difficulty in reporting measurements of pain, restrictive and irrelevant questions, the influence of co-morbidities on responses, and double-barrelled questions.
Although the OHS is a useful short tool for the assessment of disability in patients undergoing THR, this study identified several problem areas that are applicable to patient-centred outcome tools in general. To overcome these current limitations, further work is underway to develop a more individualised patient-centred outcome measure of disability for use in patients with osteoarthritis.