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1.  Information from Pharmaceutical Companies and the Quality, Quantity, and Cost of Physicians' Prescribing: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(10):e1000352.
Geoff Spurling and colleagues report findings of a systematic review looking at the relationship between exposure to promotional material from pharmaceutical companies and the quality, quantity, and cost of prescribing. They fail to find evidence of improvements in prescribing after exposure, and find some evidence of an association with higher prescribing frequency, higher costs, or lower prescribing quality.
Background
Pharmaceutical companies spent $57.5 billion on pharmaceutical promotion in the United States in 2004. The industry claims that promotion provides scientific and educational information to physicians. While some evidence indicates that promotion may adversely influence prescribing, physicians hold a wide range of views about pharmaceutical promotion. The objective of this review is to examine the relationship between exposure to information from pharmaceutical companies and the quality, quantity, and cost of physicians' prescribing.
Methods and Findings
We searched for studies of physicians with prescribing rights who were exposed to information from pharmaceutical companies (promotional or otherwise). Exposures included pharmaceutical sales representative visits, journal advertisements, attendance at pharmaceutical sponsored meetings, mailed information, prescribing software, and participation in sponsored clinical trials. The outcomes measured were quality, quantity, and cost of physicians' prescribing. We searched Medline (1966 to February 2008), International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (1970 to February 2008), Embase (1997 to February 2008), Current Contents (2001 to 2008), and Central (The Cochrane Library Issue 3, 2007) using the search terms developed with an expert librarian. Additionally, we reviewed reference lists and contacted experts and pharmaceutical companies for information. Randomized and observational studies evaluating information from pharmaceutical companies and measures of physicians' prescribing were independently appraised for methodological quality by two authors. Studies were excluded where insufficient study information precluded appraisal. The full text of 255 articles was retrieved from electronic databases (7,185 studies) and other sources (138 studies). Articles were then excluded because they did not fulfil inclusion criteria (179) or quality appraisal criteria (18), leaving 58 included studies with 87 distinct analyses. Data were extracted independently by two authors and a narrative synthesis performed following the MOOSE guidelines. Of the set of studies examining prescribing quality outcomes, five found associations between exposure to pharmaceutical company information and lower quality prescribing, four did not detect an association, and one found associations with lower and higher quality prescribing. 38 included studies found associations between exposure and higher frequency of prescribing and 13 did not detect an association. Five included studies found evidence for association with higher costs, four found no association, and one found an association with lower costs. The narrative synthesis finding of variable results was supported by a meta-analysis of studies of prescribing frequency that found significant heterogeneity. The observational nature of most included studies is the main limitation of this review.
Conclusions
With rare exceptions, studies of exposure to information provided directly by pharmaceutical companies have found associations with higher prescribing frequency, higher costs, or lower prescribing quality or have not found significant associations. We did not find evidence of net improvements in prescribing, but the available literature does not exclude the possibility that prescribing may sometimes be improved. Still, we recommend that practitioners follow the precautionary principle and thus avoid exposure to information from pharmaceutical companies.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
A prescription drug is a medication that can be supplied only with a written instruction (“prescription”) from a physician or other licensed healthcare professional. In 2009, 3.9 billion drug prescriptions were dispensed in the US alone and US pharmaceutical companies made US$300 billion in sales revenue. Every year, a large proportion of this revenue is spent on drug promotion. In 2004, for example, a quarter of US drug revenue was spent on pharmaceutical promotion. The pharmaceutical industry claims that drug promotion—visits from pharmaceutical sales representatives, advertisements in journals and prescribing software, sponsorship of meetings, mailed information—helps to inform and educate healthcare professionals about the risks and benefits of their products and thereby ensures that patients receive the best possible care. Physicians, however, hold a wide range of views about pharmaceutical promotion. Some see it as a useful and convenient source of information. Others deny that they are influenced by pharmaceutical company promotion but claim that it influences other physicians. Meanwhile, several professional organizations have called for tighter control of promotional activities because of fears that pharmaceutical promotion might encourage physicians to prescribe inappropriate or needlessly expensive drugs.
Why Was This Study Done?
But is there any evidence that pharmaceutical promotion adversely influences prescribing? Reviews of the research literature undertaken in 2000 and 2005 provide some evidence that drug promotion influences prescribing behavior. However, these reviews only partly assessed the relationship between information from pharmaceutical companies and prescribing costs and quality and are now out of date. In this study, therefore, the researchers undertake a systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic) to reexamine the relationship between exposure to information from pharmaceutical companies and the quality, quantity, and cost of physicians' prescribing.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers searched the literature for studies of licensed physicians who were exposed to promotional and other information from pharmaceutical companies. They identified 58 studies that included a measure of exposure to any type of information directly provided by pharmaceutical companies and a measure of physicians' prescribing behavior. They then undertook a “narrative synthesis,” a descriptive analysis of the data in these studies. Ten of the studies, they report, examined the relationship between exposure to pharmaceutical company information and prescribing quality (as judged, for example, by physician drug choices in response to clinical vignettes). All but one of these studies suggested that exposure to drug company information was associated with lower prescribing quality or no association was detected. In the 51 studies that examined the relationship between exposure to drug company information and prescribing frequency, exposure to information was associated with more frequent prescribing or no association was detected. Thus, for example, 17 out of 29 studies of the effect of pharmaceutical sales representatives' visits found an association between visits and increased prescribing; none found an association with less frequent prescribing. Finally, eight studies examined the relationship between exposure to pharmaceutical company information and prescribing costs. With one exception, these studies indicated that exposure to information was associated with a higher cost of prescribing or no association was detected. So, for example, one study found that physicians with low prescribing costs were more likely to have rarely or never read promotional mail or journal advertisements from pharmaceutical companies than physicians with high prescribing costs.
What Do These Findings Mean?
With rare exceptions, these findings suggest that exposure to pharmaceutical company information is associated with either no effect on physicians' prescribing behavior or with adverse affects (reduced quality, increased frequency, or increased costs). Because most of the studies included in the review were observational studies—the physicians in the studies were not randomly selected to receive or not receive drug company information—it is not possible to conclude that exposure to information actually causes any changes in physician behavior. Furthermore, although these findings provide no evidence for any net improvement in prescribing after exposure to pharmaceutical company information, the researchers note that it would be wrong to conclude that improvements do not sometimes happen. The findings support the case for reforms to reduce negative influence to prescribing from pharmaceutical promotion.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000352.
Wikipedia has pages on prescription drugs and on pharmaceutical marketing (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The UK General Medical Council provides guidelines on good practice in prescribing medicines
The US Food and Drug Administration provides information on prescription drugs and on its Bad Ad Program
Healthy Skepticism is an international nonprofit membership association that aims to improve health by reducing harm from misleading health information
The Drug Promotion Database was developed by the World Health Organization Department of Essential Drugs & Medicines Policy and Health Action International Europe to address unethical and inappropriate drug promotion
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000352
PMCID: PMC2957394  PMID: 20976098
2.  Management of patient adherence to medications: protocol for an online survey of doctors, pharmacists and nurses in Europe 
BMJ Open  2011;1(1):e000355.
Introduction
It is widely recognised that many patients do not take prescribed medicines as advised. Research in this field has commonly focused on the role of the patient in non-adherence; however, healthcare professionals can also have a major influence on patient behaviour in taking medicines. This study examines the perceptions, beliefs and behaviours of healthcare professionals—doctors, pharmacists and nurses—about patient medication adherence.
Methods and analysis
This paper describes the study protocol and online questionnaire used in a cross-sectional survey of healthcare professionals in Europe. The participating countries include Austria, Belgium, France, Greece, The Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, Italy and England. The study population comprises primary care and community-based doctors, pharmacists and nurses involved in the care of adult patients taking prescribed medicines for chronic and acute illnesses.
Discussion
Knowledge of the nature, extent and variability of the practices of healthcare professionals to support medication adherence could inform future service design, healthcare professional education, policy and research.
Article summary
Article focus
A protocol for a cross-sectional survey of healthcare professionals in Europe to examine the perceptions, beliefs and behaviours of healthcare professionals—doctors, pharmacists and nurses—about patient medication adherence.
The questionnaire used in the survey of healthcare professionals is described in detail.
Key messages
There is an acute need for evidence regarding healthcare professionals' beliefs, perceptions and behaviour with regard to patient non-adherence to medicines.
This protocol describes a study to address this need.
The results of this study could guide healthcare professionals as they support patients with taking medicine in their day-to-day clinical practice.
Strengths and limitations of this study
The survey is the largest cross-national survey of healthcare professionals' approach to medication adherence.
Reliance on self-report data may raise concerns regarding the validity of the findings.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000355
PMCID: PMC3276023  PMID: 22080529
3.  Patients’ adherence to osteoporosis therapy 
Canadian Family Physician  2008;54(3):394-402.
OBJECTIVE
To explore the experiences and perceptions of postmenopausal women regarding strategies to improve adherence to osteoporosis therapy.
DESIGN
Qualitative, mixed phenomenologic study using focus groups.
SETTING
Family physicians’ and specialists’ practices and community pharmacies in Hamilton, Ont.
PARTICIPANTS
A total of 37 postmenopausal women currently taking at least 1 prescription or over-the-counter medication for osteoporosis.
METHOD
Focus groups were conducted using a semistructured interview guide consisting of 10 open-ended questions about patients’ perceptions of their osteoporosis medications, their reasons for adherence and non-adherence to therapy, and the effectiveness of strategies they had tried to improve adherence. At least 2 research team members analyzed the data to find primary themes.
MAIN FINDINGS
Analysis of data from the 7 focus groups found 6 main factors that influenced adherence to medications: belief in the importance of taking medications for osteoporosis, medication-specific factors, beliefs regarding medications and health, relationships with health care providers, information exchange, and strategies to improve adherence. Strategies that facilitated adherence to medications included having a system for taking medications, using cues or reminders, being well informed about the reasons for taking medications, and having regular follow-up by health care providers for support and monitoring after having been prescribed medications.
CONCLUSION
Results of this study provide a better understanding of how patients’ perceptions and experiences affect their adherence to osteoporosis medications. Because each patient’s reasons for non-adherence might be different, depending on individual beliefs or circumstances, strategies to improve adherence to medications should be individualized accordingly.
PMCID: PMC2278357  PMID: 18337534
4.  Learning curves, taking instructions, and patient safety: using a theoretical domains framework in an interview study to investigate prescribing errors among trainee doctors 
Background
Prescribing errors are a major source of morbidity and mortality and represent a significant patient safety concern. Evidence suggests that trainee doctors are responsible for most prescribing errors. Understanding the factors that influence prescribing behavior may lead to effective interventions to reduce errors. Existing investigations of prescribing errors have been based on Human Error Theory but not on other relevant behavioral theories. The aim of this study was to apply a broad theory-based approach using the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) to investigate prescribing in the hospital context among a sample of trainee doctors.
Method
Semistructured interviews, based on 12 theoretical domains, were conducted with 22 trainee doctors to explore views, opinions, and experiences of prescribing and prescribing errors. Content analysis was conducted, followed by applying relevance criteria and a novel stage of critical appraisal, to identify which theoretical domains could be targeted in interventions to improve prescribing.
Results
Seven theoretical domains met the criteria of relevance: “social professional role and identity,” “environmental context and resources,” “social influences,” “knowledge,” “skills,” “memory, attention, and decision making,” and “behavioral regulation.” From critical appraisal of the interview data, “beliefs about consequences” and “beliefs about capabilities” were also identified as potentially important domains. Interrelationships between domains were evident. Additionally, the data supported theoretical elaboration of the domain behavioral regulation.
Conclusions
In this investigation of hospital-based prescribing, participants’ attributions about causes of errors were used to identify domains that could be targeted in interventions to improve prescribing. In a departure from previous TDF practice, critical appraisal was used to identify additional domains that should also be targeted, despite participants’ perceptions that they were not relevant to prescribing errors. These were beliefs about consequences and beliefs about capabilities. Specifically, in the light of the documented high error rate, beliefs that prescribing errors were not likely to have consequences for patients and that trainee doctors are capable of prescribing without error should also be targeted in an intervention. This study is the first to suggest critical appraisal for domain identification and to use interview data to propose theoretical elaborations and interrelationships between domains.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-7-86
PMCID: PMC3546877  PMID: 22967756
Prescribing; Patient safety; Theoretical domains framework
5.  How Well Do Doctors Know their Patients? Factors Affecting Physician Understanding of Patients’ Health Beliefs 
BACKGROUND
An important feature of patient-centered care is physician understanding of their patients’ health beliefs and values.
OBJECTIVE
Determine physicians’ awareness of patients’ health beliefs as well as communication, relationship, and demographic factors associated with better physician understanding of patients’ illness perspectives.
DESIGN
Cross-sectional, observational study.
RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS
A convenience sample of 207 patients and 29 primary care physicians from 10 outpatient clinics.
APPROACH AND MEASURES
After their consultation, patients and physicians independently completed the CONNECT instrument, a measure that assesses beliefs about the degree to which the patient’s condition has a biological cause, is the patient’s fault, is one the patient can control, has meaning for the patient, can be treated with natural remedies, and patient preferences for a partnership with the physician. Physicians completed the measure again on how they thought the patient responded. Active patient participation (frequency of questions, concerns, acts of assertiveness) was coded from audio-recordings of the consultations. Physicians’ answers for how they thought the patient responded to the health belief measure were compared to their patients’ actual responses. Degree of physician understanding of patients’ health beliefs was computed as the absolute difference between patients’ health beliefs and physicians’ perception of patients’ health beliefs.
KEY RESULTS
Physicians’ perceptions of their patients’ health beliefs differed significantly (P < 0.001) from patients’ actual beliefs. Physicians also thought patients’ beliefs were more aligned with their own. Physicians had a better understanding of the degree to which patients believed their health conditions had personal meaning (p = 0.001), would benefit from natural remedies (p = 0.049), were conditions the patient could control (p = 0.001), and wanted a partnership with the doctor (p = 0.014) when patients more often asked questions, expressed concerns, and stated their opinions. Physicians were poorer judges of patients’ beliefs when patients were African-American (desire for partnership) (p = 0.013), Hispanic (meaning) (p = 0.075), or of a different race (sense of control) (p = 0.024).
CONCLUSIONS
Physicians were not good judges of patient’s health beliefs, but had a substantially better understanding when patients more actively participated in the consultation. Strategies for increasing physicians’ awareness of patients’ health beliefs include preconsultation assessment of patients’ beliefs, implementing culturally appropriate patient activation programs, and greater use of partnership-building to encourage active patient participation.
doi:10.1007/s11606-010-1453-3
PMCID: PMC3024116  PMID: 20652759
physician-patient relationship; racial concordance; patient-centered communication; patient participation; disparities
6.  Interactions Between Pharmaceutical Representatives and Doctors in Training 
Objective
Medical school and residency are formative years in establishing patterns of prescribing. We aimed to review the literature regarding the extent of pharmaceutical industry contact with trainees, attitudes about these interactions, and effects on trainee prescribing behavior, with an emphasis on points of potential intervention and policy formation.
Design
We searched MEDLINE from 1966 until May 2004 for English language articles. All original articles were included if the abstract reported content relevant to medical training and the pharmaceutical industry. Editorials, guidelines, and policy recommendations were excluded.
Measurements and Main Results
Contact with pharmaceutical representatives was common among residents. The majority of trainees felt that the interactions were appropriate. A minority felt that their own prescribing could be influenced by contact or gifts, but were more likely to believe that others' prescribing could be influenced. Resident prescribing was associated with pharmaceutical representative visits and the availability of samples. A variety of policy and educational interventions appear to influence resident attitudes toward interactions with industry, although data on the long-term effects of these interventions are limited. Overall, residents reported insufficient training in this area.
Conclusions
The pharmaceutical industry has a significant presence during residency training, has gained the overall acceptance of trainees, and appears to influence prescribing behavior. Training programs can benefit from policies and curricula that teach residents about industry influence and ways in which to critically evaluate information that they are given. Recommendations for local and national approaches are discussed.
doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2005.0134.x
PMCID: PMC1490177  PMID: 16050893
medical students; interns and residents; medical education; drug industry
7.  Interactions between Non-Physician Clinicians and Industry: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(11):e1001561.
In a systematic review of studies of interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry, Quinn Grundy and colleagues found that many of the issues identified for physicians' industry interactions exist for non-physician clinicians.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
With increasing restrictions placed on physician–industry interactions, industry marketing may target other health professionals. Recent health policy developments confer even greater importance on the decision making of non-physician clinicians. The purpose of this systematic review is to examine the types and implications of non-physician clinician–industry interactions in clinical practice.
Methods and Findings
We searched MEDLINE and Web of Science from January 1, 1946, through June 24, 2013, according to PRISMA guidelines. Non-physician clinicians eligible for inclusion were: Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, Physician Assistants, pharmacists, dieticians, and physical or occupational therapists; trainee samples were excluded. Fifteen studies met inclusion criteria. Data were synthesized qualitatively into eight outcome domains: nature and frequency of industry interactions; attitudes toward industry; perceived ethical acceptability of interactions; perceived marketing influence; perceived reliability of industry information; preparation for industry interactions; reactions to industry relations policy; and management of industry interactions. Non-physician clinicians reported interacting with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Clinicians across disciplines met with pharmaceutical representatives regularly and relied on them for practice information. Clinicians frequently received industry “information,” attended sponsored “education,” and acted as distributors for similar materials targeted at patients. Clinicians generally regarded this as an ethical use of industry resources, and felt they could detect “promotion” while benefiting from industry “information.” Free samples were among the most approved and common ways that clinicians interacted with industry. Included studies were observational and of varying methodological rigor; thus, these findings may not be generalizable. This review is, however, the first to our knowledge to provide a descriptive analysis of this literature.
Conclusions
Non-physician clinicians' generally positive attitudes toward industry interactions, despite their recognition of issues related to bias, suggest that industry interactions are normalized in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. Industry relations policy should address all disciplines and be implemented consistently in order to mitigate conflicts of interest and address such interactions' potential to affect patient care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Making and selling health care goods (including drugs and devices) and services is big business. To maximize the profits they make for their shareholders, companies involved in health care build relationships with physicians by providing information on new drugs, organizing educational meetings, providing samples of their products, giving gifts, and holding sponsored events. These relationships help to keep physicians informed about new developments in health care but also create the potential for causing harm to patients and health care systems. These relationships may, for example, result in increased prescription rates of new, heavily marketed medications, which are often more expensive than their generic counterparts (similar unbranded drugs) and that are more likely to be recalled for safety reasons than long-established drugs. They may also affect the provision of health care services. Industry is providing an increasingly large proportion of routine health care services in many countries, so relationships built up with physicians have the potential to influence the commissioning of the services that are central to the treatment and well-being of patients.
Why Was This Study Done?
As a result of concerns about the tension between industry's need to make profits and the ethics underlying professional practice, restrictions are increasingly being placed on physician–industry interactions. In the US, for example, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act now requires US manufacturers of drugs, devices, and medical supplies that participate in federal health care programs to disclose all payments and gifts made to physicians and teaching hospitals. However, other health professionals, including those with authority to prescribe drugs such as pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and nurse practitioners are not covered by this legislation or by similar legislation in other settings, even though the restructuring of health care to prioritize primary care and multidisciplinary care models means that “non-physician clinicians” are becoming more numerous and more involved in decision-making and medication management. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic), the researchers examine the nature and implications of the interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 15 published studies that examined interactions between non-physician clinicians (Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, midwives, pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and dieticians) and industry (corporations that produce health care goods and services). They extracted the data from 16 publications (representing 15 different studies) and synthesized them qualitatively (combined the data and reached word-based, rather than numerical, conclusions) into eight outcome domains, including the nature and frequency of interactions, non-physician clinicians' attitudes toward industry, and the perceived ethical acceptability of interactions. In the research the authors identified, non-physician clinicians reported frequent interactions with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Most non-physician clinicians met industry representatives regularly, received gifts and samples, and attended educational events or received educational materials (some of which they distributed to patients). In these studies, non-physician clinicians generally regarded these interactions positively and felt they were an ethical and appropriate use of industry resources. Only a minority of non-physician clinicians felt that marketing influenced their own practice, although a larger percentage felt that their colleagues would be influenced. A sizeable proportion of non-physician clinicians questioned the reliability of industry information, but most were confident that they could detect biased information and therefore rated this information as reliable, valuable, or useful.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These and other findings suggest that non-physician clinicians generally have positive attitudes toward industry interactions but recognize issues related to bias and conflict of interest. Because these findings are based on a small number of studies, most of which were undertaken in the US, they may not be generalizable to other countries. Moreover, they provide no quantitative assessment of the interaction between non-physician clinicians and industry and no information about whether industry interactions affect patient care outcomes. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that industry interactions are normalized (seen as standard) in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. This normalization creates the potential for serious risks to patients and health care systems. The researchers suggest that it may be unrealistic to expect that non-physician clinicians can be taught individually how to interact with industry ethically or how to detect and avert bias, particularly given the ubiquitous nature of marketing and promotional materials. Instead, they suggest, the environment in which non-physician clinicians practice should be structured to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of interactions with industry.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by James S. Yeh and Aaron S. Kesselheim
The American Medical Association provides guidance for physicians on interactions with pharmaceutical industry representatives, information about the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, and a toolkit for preparing Physician Payments Sunshine Act reports
The International Council of Nurses provides some guidance on industry interactions in its position statement on nurse-industry relations
The UK General Medical Council provides guidance on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest as part of its good medical practice website, which describes what is required of all registered doctors in the UK
Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide is a manual prepared by Health Action International and the World Health Organization that schools of medicine and pharmacy can use to train students how to recognize and respond to pharmaceutical promotion.
The Institute of Medicine's Report on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice recommends steps to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest
The University of California, San Francisco, Office of Continuing Medical Education offers a course called Marketing of Medicines
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561
PMCID: PMC3841103  PMID: 24302892
8.  Decision-Making of Older Patients in Context of the Doctor-Patient Relationship: A Typology Ranging from “Self-Determined” to “Doctor-Trusting” Patients 
Background. This qualitative study aims to gain insight into the perceptions and experiences of older patients with regard to sharing health care decisions with their general practitioners. Patients and Methods. Thirty-four general practice patients (≥70 years) were asked about their preferences and experiences concerning shared decision making with their doctors using qualitative semistructured interviews. All interviews were analysed according to principles of content analysis. The resulting categories were then arranged into a classification grid to develop a typology of preferences for participating in decision-making processes. Results. Older patients generally preferred to make decisions concerning everyday life rather than medical decisions, which they preferred to leave to their doctors. We characterised eight different patient types based on four interdependent positions (self-determination, adherence, information seeking, and trust). Experiences of a good doctor-patient relationship were associated with trust, reliance on the doctor for information and decision making, and adherence. Conclusion. Owing to the varied patient decision-making types, it is not easy for doctors to anticipate the desired level of patient involvement. However, the decision matter and the self-determination of patients provide good starting points in preparing the ground for shared decision making. A good relationship with the doctor facilitates satisfying decision-making experiences.
doi:10.1155/2013/478498
PMCID: PMC3652207  PMID: 23691317
9.  Rules and guidelines in clinical practice: a qualitative study in operating theatres of doctors' and nurses' views 
Quality & safety in health care  2005;14(4):290-294.
Background: The current orthodoxy within patient safety research and policy is characterised by a faith in rules based systems which limit the capacity for individual discretion, and hence fallibility. However, guidelines have been seen as stifling innovation and eroding trust. Our objectives were to explore the attitudes towards guidelines of doctors and nurses working together in surgical teams and to examine the extent to which trusting relationships are maintained in a context governed by explicit rules.
Methods: Fourteen consultant grade surgeons of mixed specialty, 12 consultant anaesthetists, and 15 nurses were selected to reflect a range of roles. Participant observation was combined with semi-structured interviews.
Results: Doctors' views about the contribution of guidelines to safety and to clinical practice differed from those of nurses. Doctors rejected written rules, instead adhering to the unwritten rules of what constitutes acceptable behaviour for members of the medical profession. In contrast, nurses viewed guideline adherence as synonymous with professionalism and criticised doctors for failing to comply with guidelines.
Conclusions: While the creation of a "safety culture" requires a shared set of beliefs, attitudes and norms in relation to what is seen as safe clinical practice, differences of opinion on these issues exist which cannot be easily reconciled since they reflect deeply ingrained beliefs about what constitutes professional conduct. While advocates of standardisation (such as nurses) view doctors as rule breakers, doctors may not necessarily regard guidelines as legitimate or identify with the rules written for them by members of other social groups. Future safety research and policy should attempt to understand the unwritten rules which govern clinical behaviour and examine the ways in which such rules are produced, maintained, and accepted as legitimate.
doi:10.1136/qshc.2005.013912
PMCID: PMC1744048  PMID: 16076795
10.  Association of Medical Students' Reports of Interactions with the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Industries and Medical School Policies and Characteristics: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(10):e1001743.
Aaron Kesselheim and colleagues compared US medical students' survey responses regarding pharmaceutical company interactions with the schools' AMSA PharmFree scorecard and Institute on Medicine as a Profession's (IMAP) scores.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Professional societies use metrics to evaluate medical schools' policies regarding interactions of students and faculty with the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. We compared these metrics and determined which US medical schools' industry interaction policies were associated with student behaviors.
Methods and Findings
Using survey responses from a national sample of 1,610 US medical students, we compared their reported industry interactions with their schools' American Medical Student Association (AMSA) PharmFree Scorecard and average Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) Conflicts of Interest Policy Database score. We used hierarchical logistic regression models to determine the association between policies and students' gift acceptance, interactions with marketing representatives, and perceived adequacy of faculty–industry separation. We adjusted for year in training, medical school size, and level of US National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. We used LASSO regression models to identify specific policies associated with the outcomes. We found that IMAP and AMSA scores had similar median values (1.75 [interquartile range 1.50–2.00] versus 1.77 [1.50–2.18], adjusted to compare scores on the same scale). Scores on AMSA and IMAP shared policy dimensions were not closely correlated (gift policies, r = 0.28, 95% CI 0.11–0.44; marketing representative access policies, r = 0.51, 95% CI 0.36–0.63). Students from schools with the most stringent industry interaction policies were less likely to report receiving gifts (AMSA score, odds ratio [OR]: 0.37, 95% CI 0.19–0.72; IMAP score, OR 0.45, 95% CI 0.19–1.04) and less likely to interact with marketing representatives (AMSA score, OR 0.33, 95% CI 0.15–0.69; IMAP score, OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.14–0.95) than students from schools with the lowest ranked policy scores. The association became nonsignificant when fully adjusted for NIH funding level, whereas adjusting for year of education, size of school, and publicly versus privately funded school did not alter the association. Policies limiting gifts, meals, and speaking bureaus were associated with students reporting having not received gifts and having not interacted with marketing representatives. Policy dimensions reflecting the regulation of industry involvement in educational activities (e.g., continuing medical education, travel compensation, and scholarships) were associated with perceived separation between faculty and industry. The study is limited by potential for recall bias and the cross-sectional nature of the survey, as school curricula and industry interaction policies may have changed since the time of the survey administration and study analysis.
Conclusions
As medical schools review policies regulating medical students' industry interactions, limitations on receipt of gifts and meals and participation of faculty in speaking bureaus should be emphasized, and policy makers should pay greater attention to less research-intensive institutions.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Making and selling prescription drugs and medical devices is big business. To promote their products, pharmaceutical and medical device companies build relationships with physicians by providing information on new drugs, by organizing educational meetings and sponsored events, and by giving gifts. Financial relationships begin early in physicians' careers, with companies providing textbooks and other gifts to first-year medical students. In medical school settings, manufacturers may help to inform trainees and physicians about developments in health care, but they also create the potential for harm to patients and health care systems. These interactions may, for example, reduce trainees' and trained physicians' skepticism about potentially misleading promotional claims and may encourage physicians to prescribe new medications, which are often more expensive than similar unbranded (generic) drugs and more likely to be recalled for safety reasons than older drugs. To address these and other concerns about the potential career-long effects of interactions between medical trainees and industry, many teaching hospitals and medical schools have introduced policies to limit such interactions. The development of these policies has been supported by expert professional groups and medical societies, some of which have created scales to evaluate the strength of the implemented industry interaction policies.
Why Was This Study Done?
The impact of policies designed to limit interactions between students and industry on student behavior is unclear, and it is not known which aspects of the policies are most predictive of student behavior. This information is needed to ensure that the policies are working and to identify ways to improve them. Here, the researchers investigate which medical school characteristics and which aspects of industry interaction policies are most predictive of students' reported behaviors and beliefs by comparing information collected in a national survey of US medical students with the strength of their schools' industry interaction policies measured on two scales—the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) PharmFree Scorecard and the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) Conflicts of Interest Policy Database.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers compared information about reported gift acceptance, interactions with marketing representatives, and the perceived adequacy of faculty–industry separation collected from 1,610 medical students at 121 US medical schools with AMSA and IMAP scores for the schools evaluated a year earlier. Students at schools with the highest ranked interaction policies based on the AMSA score were 63% less likely to accept gifts as students at the lowest ranked schools. Students at the highest ranked schools based on the IMAP score were about half as likely to accept gifts as students at the lowest ranked schools, although this finding was not statistically significant (it could be a chance finding). Similarly, students at the highest ranked schools were 70% less likely to interact with sales representatives as students at the lowest ranked schools. These associations became statistically nonsignificant after controlling for the amount of research funding each school received from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Policies limiting gifts, meals, and being a part of speaking bureaus (where companies pay speakers to present information about the drugs for dinners and other events) were associated with students' reports of receiving no gifts and of non-interaction with sales representatives. Finally, policies regulating industry involvement in educational activities were associated with the perceived separation between faculty and industry, which was regarded as adequate by most of the students at schools with such policies.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that policies designed to limit industry interactions with medical students need to address multiple aspects of these interactions to achieve changes in the behavior and attitudes of trainees, but that policies limiting gifts, meals, and speaking bureaus may be particularly important. These findings also suggest that the level of NIH funding plays an important role in students' self-reported behaviors and their perceptions of industry, possibly because institutions with greater NIH funding have the resources needed to implement effective policies. The accuracy of these findings may be limited by recall bias (students may have reported their experiences inaccurately), and by the possibility that industry interaction policies may have changed in the year that elapsed between policy grading and the student survey. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that limitations on gifts should be emphasized when academic medical centers refine their policies on interactions between medical students and industry and that particular attention should be paid to the design and implementation of policies that regulate industry interactions in institutions with lower levels of NIH funding.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001743.
The UK General Medical Council provides guidance on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest as part of its good medical practice document, which describes what is required of all registered doctors in the UK
Information about the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) Just Medicine campaign (formerly the PharmFree campaign) and about the AMSA Scorecard is available
Information about the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and about its Conflicts of Interest Policy Database is also available
“Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide” is a manual prepared by Health Action International and the World Health Organization that medical schools can use to train students how to recognize and respond to pharmaceutical promotion
The US Institute of Medicine's report “Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice” recommends steps to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest
The ALOSA Foundation provides evidence-based, non-industry-funded education about treating common conditions and using prescription drugs
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001743
PMCID: PMC4196737  PMID: 25314155
11.  "Seeing a doctor is just like having a date": a qualitative study on doctor shopping among overactive bladder patients in Hong Kong 
BMC Family Practice  2014;15:27.
Background
Although having a regular primary care provider is noted to be beneficial to health, doctor shopping has been documented as a common treatment seeking behavior among chronically ill patients in different countries. However, little research has been conducted into the reasons behind doctor shopping behavior among patients with overactive bladder, and even less into how this behavior relates to these patients’ illness and social experiences, perceptions, and cultural practices. Therefore, this study examines overactive bladder patients to investigate the reasons behind doctor shopping behavior.
Methods
My study takes a qualitative approach, conducting 30 semi-structured individual interviews, with 30 overactive bladder patients in Hong Kong.
Results
My study found six primary themes that influenced doctor shopping behavior: lack of perceived need, convenience, work-provided medical insurance, unpleasant experiences with doctors, searching for a match doctor, and switching between biomedicine and traditional Chinese medicine. Besides the perceptual factors, participants’ social environment, illness experiences, personal cultural preference, and cultural beliefs also intertwined to generate their doctor shopping behavior. Due to the low perceived need for a regular personal primary care physician, environmental factors such as time, locational convenience, and work-provided medical insurance became decisive in doctor shopping behavior. Patients’ unpleasant illness experiences, stemming from a lack of understanding among many primary care doctors about overactive bladder, contributed to participants’ sense of mismatch with these doctors, which induced them to shop for another doctor.
Conclusions
Overactive bladder is a chronic bladder condition with very limited treatment outcome. Although patients with overactive bladder often require specialty urology treatment, it is usually beneficial for the patients to receive continuous, coordinated, comprehensive, and patient-centered support from their primary care providers. Primary care doctors’ understanding on patients with overactive bladder with empathetic attitudes is important to reduce the motivations of doctor shopping behavior among these patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-15-27
PMCID: PMC3936809  PMID: 24502367
Hong Kong; Doctor shopping; Perceptions; Social environment; Illness and treatment experiences; Personal cultural preference; Cultural beliefs; Overactive bladder patients
12.  Contact between Doctors and the Pharmaceutical Industry, Their Perceptions, and the Effects on Prescribing Habits 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110130.
Background
The prescribing behaviour of doctors is influenced by the pharmaceutical industry. This study investigated the extent to which contacts with pharmaceutical sales representatives (PSR) and the perception of these contacts influence prescribing habits.
Method
An online questionnaire regarding contact with PSRs and perceptions of this contact was sent to 1,388 doctors, 11.5% (n = 160) of whom completed the survey. Individual prescribing data over a year (number of prescriptions, expenditure, and daily doses) for all on-patent branded, off-patent branded, and generic drugs were obtained from the Bavarian Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians.
Results
84% of the doctors saw PSR at least once a week, and 14% daily. 69% accepted drug samples, 39% accepted stationery and 37% took part in sponsored continuing medical education (CME) frequently. 5 physicians (3%) accepted no benefits at all. 43% of doctors believed that they received adequate and accurate information from PSRs frequently or always and 42% believed that their prescribing habits were influenced by PSR visits occasionally or frequently. Practices that saw PSRs frequently had significantly higher total prescriptions and total daily doses (but not expenditure) than practices that were less frequently visited. Doctors who believed that they received accurate information from PSRs showed higher expenditures on off-patent branded drugs (thus available as generics) and a lower proportion of generics. The eschewal of sponsored CME was associated with a lower proportion of on patent-branded drug prescriptions, lower expenditure on off-patent branded drug prescriptions and a higher proportion of generics. Acceptance of office stationery was associated with higher daily doses.
Conclusions
Avoidance of industry-sponsored CME is associated with more rational prescribing habits. Furthermore, gift acceptance and the belief that one is receiving adequate information from a PSR are associated with changed prescribing habits. Further studies with larger sample sizes are needed.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0110130
PMCID: PMC4199668  PMID: 25330392
13.  Asthma Beliefs Are Associated with Medication Adherence in Older Asthmatics 
BACKGROUND
Empirical research and health policies on asthma have focused on children and young adults, even though asthma morbidity and mortality are higher among older asthmatics.
OBJECTIVE
To explore the relationship of asthma-related beliefs and self-reported controller medication adherence in older asthmatics.
DESIGN
An observational study of asthma beliefs and self-management among older adults.
PARTICIPANTS
Asthmatics ages ≥60 years (N = 324, mean age 67.4 ± 6.8, 28 % white, 32 % black, 30 % Hispanic) were recruited from primary care practices in New York City and Chicago.
MAIN MEASURES
Self-reported controller medication adherence was assessed using the Medication Adherence Report Scale. Based on the Common Sense Model of Self-Regulation, patients were asked if they believe they only have asthma with symptoms, their physician can cure their asthma, and if their asthma will persist. Beliefs on the benefit, necessity and concerns of treatment use were also assessed. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the association of beliefs with self-reported medication adherence.
KEY RESULTS
The majority (57.0 %) of patients reported poor adherence. Poor self-reported adherence was more common among those with erroneous beliefs about asthma illness and treatments, including the “no symptoms, no asthma” belief (58.7 % vs. 31.7 %, respectively, p < 0.001), “will not always have asthma” belief (34.8 % vs. 12.5 %, p < 0.001), and the “MD can cure asthma” belief (21.7 % vs. 9.6 %, p = 0.01). Adjusting for illness beliefs, treatment beliefs and demographics, patients with a “no symptoms, no asthma” belief had lower odds of having good self-reported adherence (odds ratio [OR] 0.45, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 0.23-0.86), as did those with negative beliefs about the benefits (OR 0.73, 95 % CI 0.57-0.94) and necessity (OR 0.89, 95 % CI 0.83-0.96) of treatment.
CONCLUSIONS
Illness and treatment beliefs have a strong influence on self-reported medication adherence in older asthmatics. Interventions to improve medication adherence in older asthmatics by modifying illness and treatment beliefs warrant study.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-012-2160-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s11606-012-2160-z
PMCID: PMC3539042  PMID: 22878848
asthma; disease management; medication adherence; aging; health beliefs.
14.  Perspectives of older adults on co-management of low back pain by doctors of chiropractic and family medicine physicians: a focus group study 
Background
While older adults may seek care for low back pain (LBP) from both medical doctors (MDs) and doctors of chiropractic (DCs), co-management between these providers is uncommon. The purposes of this study were to describe the preferences of older adults for LBP co-management by MDs and DCs and to identify their concerns for receiving care under such a treatment model.
Methods
We conducted 10 focus groups with 48 older adults who received LBP care in the past year. Interviews explored participants’ care seeking experiences, co-management preferences, and perceived challenges to successful implementation of a MD-DC co-management model. We analyzed the qualitative data using thematic content analysis.
Results
Older adults considered LBP co-management by MDs and DCs a positive approach as the professions have complementary strengths. Participants wanted providers who worked in a co-management model to talk openly and honestly about LBP, offer clear and consistent recommendations about treatment, and provide individualized care. Facilitators of MD-DC co-management included collegial relationships between providers, arrangements between doctors to support interdisciplinary referral, computer systems that allowed exchange of health information between clinics, and practice settings where providers worked in one location. Perceived barriers to the co-management of LBP included the financial costs associated with receiving care from multiple providers concurrently, duplication of tests or imaging, scheduling and transportation problems, and potential side effects of medication and chiropractic care. A few participants expressed concern that some providers would not support a patient-preferred co-managed care model.
Conclusions
Older adults are interested in receiving LBP treatment co-managed by MDs and DCs. Older adults considered patient-centered communication, collegial interdisciplinary interactions between these providers, and administrative supports such as scheduling systems and health record sharing as key components for successful LBP co-management.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-225
PMCID: PMC3847523  PMID: 24040970
Older adults; Low back pain; Health services for the aged; Interprofessional relations; Chiropractic; Family medicine; Musculoskeletal disorders; Complementary/alternative medicine; Patient preferences; Qualitative research
15.  Does Reducing Physician Uncertainty Improve Hypertension Control? Rationale and Methods 
Background
Hypertension affects nearly one-third of the U.S. population overall, and the prevalence rises sharply with age. In spite of public educational campaigns and professional education programs to encourage blood pressure measurement and control of both systolic and diastolic control to < 140/90 mmHg (or 130/80 mmHg if diabetic), 43% of treated hypertensives do not achieve the recommended JNC VII target. Among African-Americans, 48% are uncontrolled on treatment. The majority of persons classified as poorly controlled hypertensives have mild systolic blood pressure elevation (in the range of 140–160 mmHg). We hypothesized that physician uncertainty regarding the patient’s usual blood pressure, as well as uncertainty regarding the extent of medication non-adherence represent an important barrier to further reductions in the proportion of uncontrolled hypertensives in the U.S.
Methods
Using cluster randomization, ten primary care clinics (six from a public health care system and four from a private clinic system) were randomized to either the uncertainty reduction intervention condition or to usual care. An average of 68 patients per clinic were recruited to serve as units of observation. Physicians in the five intervention clinics were provided with a specially designed study form that included a graph of recent blood pressure measurements in their study patients, a check box to indicate their assessment of the adequacy of the patient’s blood pressure control, and a menu of services they could order to aid in patient management. These menu options included: 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM); electronic bottle cap assessment of medication adherence, followed by medication adherence counseling in patients found to be non-adherent; and lifestyle assessment and counseling followed by 24-hour ABPM. Physicians in the five usual practice clinics did not have access to these services, but were informed of which patients had been enrolled in the study. Substudies carried out to further characterize the study population and interpret intervention results included ABPM and electronic bottle cap monitoring in a random subsample of patients at baseline, and audio recording of patient-physician encounters after intervention implementation.
Results
The primary study endpoint was defined as the proportion of patients with controlled blood pressure (BP < 140/90 mmHg or < 130/80 mmHg if diabetic). Secondary endpoints include actual measured clinic systolic and diastolic blood pressure, patient physician communication patterns, physician prescribing patient self-reported lifestyle and medication adherence, physician knowledge, attitude and beliefs regarding the utility of intervention tools to achieve blood pressure control, and the cost-effectiveness of the intervention. Six-hundred eighty patients have been randomized, and 675 remain in active follow-up after 1.5 years. Patient closeout will be complete in March of 2009. Analysis of the baseline data is in progress.
Conclusions
Office-based blood pressure measurement error and bias, as well as physician and patient beliefs about the need for treatment intensification may be important factors that limit further progress in blood pressure control. This trial will provide data on the extent to which available technologies not widely used in primary care will change physician prescribing behavior and patient adherence to prescribed treatment.
doi:10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.109.849984
PMCID: PMC2780342  PMID: 20031846
Hypertension Control; African-Americans; Cluster-randomized Trial; 24-hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring; electronic bottle cap monitoring
16.  Medication Adherence Behavior and Priorities Among Older Adults With CKD: A Semistructured Interview Study 
Background
Older adults with chronic kidney disease (CKD) typically take more than five medications and have multiple prescribing physicians. Little however is known about how they prioritize their medical conditions or decide which medications to take.
Methods
Semistructured interviews (average length 40 minutes) with twenty community-dwelling adults with CKD stages 3-5D, receiving nephrology care at a tertiary referral center. Respondents were asked about medications, prescribing physicians, and medication-taking behaviors. We performed thematic analysis to explain patients’ decisions regarding medication prioritization, understanding, and adherence decisions.
Results
Participants (age range, 55–84 years; mean, 72) took 5–14 prescribed medications, had 2–9 physicians, and 5–11 comorbid conditions. All had assigned implicit priorities to their medications. While the majority expressed the intention to be adherent, many regularly skipped medications they considered less important. Most identified the prescribing physician and indication for each medication, but there was often substantial discordance between beliefs about medications and conventional medical opinion. Respondents prioritized medications based on the salience of the particular condition, perceived effects of the treatment, and on the barriers (physical, logistic, or financial) to taking the prescribed drug. Side effects of medications were common and anxiety-provoking, but discussions with the prescribing physician were often delayed or unfulfilling for the patient.
Conclusions
Polypharmacy in CKD patients leads to complex medication choices and adherence behaviors in this population. Most of the patients we interviewed had beliefs or priorities that were non-concordant with conventional medical opinion, but patients rarely discussed these beliefs and priorities, or the resultant poor medication adherence, with their physicians. Further study is needed to provide quantitative data on the magnitude of adherence barriers. It is likely that more effective communication about medication taking could improve patients’ health outcomes and reduce potential adverse drug events.
doi:10.1053/j.ajkd.2010.04.021
PMCID: PMC2935303  PMID: 20674113
qualitative; chronic kidney disease; medication adherence; elderly
17.  A qualitative study of the attitudes of patients in an early intervention service towards antipsychotic long-acting injections 
Objectives:
The objective of this study was to investigate attitudinal themes to antipsychotic long-acting injections (LAIs) in patients in an early intervention team (EIT).
Methods:
Interviews were carried out with outpatients purposively sampled from an EIT to represent patients currently prescribed antipsychotic LAIs, oral antipsychotics and those not prescribed antipsychotic medication. Interviews were conducted and analysed according to grounded theory. Recruitment stopped when saturation of themes was reached.
Results:
Interviews from 11 patients were analysed (median age 24 years). Attitudes to LAIs were condensed into three key categories: therapeutic alliance and the psychiatrists’ recommendation of antipsychotic medication; patients’ knowledge and beliefs about LAIs; and patients’ views regarding the appropriateness of LAIs. Participants valued their psychiatrist’s recommendation as to the most appropriate antipsychotic. Attitudes to LAIs varied but were most positive among those currently receiving a LAI. Among those not prescribed LAIs, some were open to considering a LAI if their clinician recommended it but others were opposed to such treatment and preferred tables. There was a lack of awareness of LAIs as a treatment option among those not prescribed a LAI. Delay in being offered a LAI was reported in the group currently prescribed a LAI. Several participants associated oral antipsychotics, LAIs and mental illness with stigma. Some not prescribed a LAI had misperceptions about the nature of this treatment. Participants regarded the advantages of LAIs as convenience and avoiding forgetting to take tablets, while disadvantages included injection pain, fear of needles and coercion.
Conclusion:
Lack of knowledge, misperceptions and stigma related to LAIs and other treatment options should be addressed by providing patients with accurate information. This will facilitate patients being involved in choices about treatment, and should they decide to accept medication, which drug and formulation is most appropriate for their needs. Clinicians should avoid making assumptions about patients’ attitudes to LAIs; attitudes vary but some early intervention patients not prescribed LAIs are open to considering this treatment. Antipsychotic prescribing should result from a shared decision-making process in which clinicians and patients openly discuss the pros and cons of different formulations and drugs. The themes identified in this qualitative study require further exploration using quantitative methodology.
doi:10.1177/2045125314542098
PMCID: PMC4212491  PMID: 25360242
adherence; antipsychotics; attitudes; depot; first-episode psychosis; long-acting injection; schizophrenia
18.  Structural equation modeling of the proximal–distal continuum of adherence drivers 
Objectives
Nonadherence to prescription medications has been shown to be significantly influenced by three key medication-specific beliefs: patients’ perceived need for the prescribed medication, their concerns about the prescribed medication, and perceived medication affordability. Structural equation modeling was used to test the predictors of these three proximal determinants of medication adherence using the proximal–distal continuum of adherence drivers as the organizing conceptual framework.
Methods
In Spring 2008, survey participants were selected from the Harris Interactive Chronic Illness Panel, an internet-based panel of hundreds of thousands of adults with chronic disease. Respondents were eligible for the survey if they were aged 40 years and older, resided in the US, and reported having at least one of six chronic diseases: asthma, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, osteoporosis, or other cardiovascular disease. A final sample size of 1072 was achieved. The proximal medication beliefs were measured by three multi-item scales: perceived need for medications, perceived medication concerns, and perceived medication affordability. The intermediate sociomedical beliefs and skills included four multi-item scales: perceived disease severity, knowledge about the prescribed medication, perceived immunity to side effects, and perceived value of nutraceuticals. Generic health beliefs and skills consisted of patient engagement in their care, health information-seeking tendencies, internal health locus of control, a single-item measure of self-rated health, and general mental health. Structural equation modeling was used to model proximal–distal continuum of adherence drivers.
Results
The average age was 58 years (range = 40–90 years), and 65% were female and 89% were white. Forty-one percent had at least a four-year college education, and just under half (45%) had an annual income of $50,000 or more. Hypertension and hyperlipidemia were each reported by about a quarter of respondents (24% and 23%, respectively). A smaller percentage of respondents had osteoporosis (17%), diabetes (15%), asthma (13%), or other cardiovascular disease (8%). Three independent variables were significantly associated with the three proximal adherence drivers: perceived disease severity, knowledge about the medication, and perceived value of nutraceuticals. Both perceived immunity to side effects and patient engagement was significantly associated with perceived need for medications and perceived medication concerns.
Conclusion
Testing the proximal–distal continuum of adherence drivers shed light on specific areas where adherence dialogue and enhancement should focus. Our results can help to inform the design of future adherence interventions as well as the content of patient education materials and adherence reminder letters. For long-term medication adherence, patients need to autonomously and intrinsically commit to therapy and that, in turn, is more likely to occur if they are both informed (disease and medication knowledge and rationale, disease severity, consequences of nonadherence, and side effects) and motivated (engaged in their care, perceive a need for medication, and believe the benefits outweigh the risks).
doi:10.2147/PPA.S36535
PMCID: PMC3508554  PMID: 23204839
compliance; prescription medications; medication beliefs; treatment beliefs
19.  What’s in a name? Compliance, adherence and concordance in chronic psychiatric disorders 
World Journal of Psychiatry  2014;4(2):30-36.
About half or more of the patients with chronic psychiatric illnesses, either do not take their medications correctly, or completely stop taking them. The problem of poor initial compliance or adherence is often compounded by a continued decline in compliance/adherence over time. The failure to take medicines, adversely affects the outcome of treatment, and places a huge burden of wasted resources on the society. Three terms have been used to describe medication-taking among patients with chronic psychiatric disorders. Compliance is defined as “the extent to which the patient’s behaviour matches the prescriber’s recommendations”. Though compliance has been frequently employed to describe medication-taking behaviour, it has proved problematic because it refers to a process where the clinician decides on a suitable treatment, which the patient is expected to comply with unquestioningly. Studies over the past few decades have emphasized the importance of patients’ perspectives in medication-taking, based on their own beliefs, their personal circumstances, the information and resources available for them. Adherence has been used as a replacement for compliance in an effort to place the clinician-patient relationship in its proper perspective. Adherence refers to a process, in which the appropriate treatment is decided after a proper discussion with the patient. It also implies that the patient is under no compulsion to accept a particular treatment, and is not to be held solely responsible for the occurrence of non-adherence. Adherence has been defined as “the extent to which a person’s behaviour, taking medication, following a diet, and/or executing lifestyle changes, corresponds with agreed recommendations from a health care provider”. To overcome certain problems in the concept of adherence, a third term concordance has been used. The concept of concordance has evolved from a narrower view, emphasizing an agreement between the clinician and the patient, which takes into account each other’s perspective on medication-taking, to a broader process consisting of open discussions with the patient regarding medication-taking, imparting information and supporting patients on long-term medication. It is a process, which entertains patients’ views on medication-taking, and acknowledges that patients’ views have to be respected even if they make choices, which appear to be in conflict with the clinician’s views. Although none of these terms are ideal solutions to understanding the complex process of medication-taking behaviour of patients, the move from compliance to adherence and concordance represents genuine progress in this field, which puts the patient’s perceptions at the centre of the whole process.
doi:10.5498/wjp.v4.i2.30
PMCID: PMC4087153  PMID: 25019054
Compliance; Adherence; Concordance; Chronic psychiatric disorders
20.  “We have become doctors for ourselves”: motives for malaria self-care among adults in southeastern Tanzania 
Malaria Journal  2014;13:249.
Background
Prompt and appropriate treatment of malaria with effective medicines remains necessary if malaria control goals are to be achieved. The theoretical concepts from self-care and the health belief model were used to examine the motivations for malaria self-care among the adult population.
Methods
A qualitative study was conducted through eight focus group discussions with adult community members to explore their general opinions, views and perceptions of malaria and of its treatments. These groups were followed by 15 in-depth interviews of participants with a recent malaria experience to allow for an in-depth exploration of their self-care practices. The analysis followed principles of grounded theory and was conducted using Nvivo 9 qualitative data management software.
Results
The self-treatment of malaria at home was found to be a common practice among the study participants. The majority of the participants practiced self-medication with a painkiller as an initial response. The persistence and the worsening of the disease symptoms prompted participants to consider other self-care options. Perceptions that many malaria symptoms are suggestive of other conditions motivated participants to self-refer for malaria test. The accessibility of private laboratory facilities and drug shops motivated their use for malaria tests and for obtaining anti-malarial medicines, respectively. Self-treatment with anti-malarial monotherapy was common, motivated by their perceived effectiveness and availability. The perceived barriers to using the recommended combination treatment, artemether-lumefantrine, were related to the possible side-effects and to uncertainty about their effectiveness, and these doubts motivated some participants to consider self-medication with local herbs. Several factors were mentioned as motivating people for self-care practices. These included poor patient provider relationship, unavailability of medicine and the costs associated with accessing treatments from the health facilities.
Conclusions
Malaria self-care and self-treatment with anti-malarial monotherapy are common among adults, and are motivated by both individual characteristics and the limitations of the existing health care facilities. There is a need for public health interventions to take into account community perceptions and cultural schemas on malaria self-care practices.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-13-249
PMCID: PMC4085372  PMID: 24986165
Malaria; Self-care; Adults; Qualitative methods; Self-medication; Tanzania
21.  Don’t Forget the Doctor: Gastroenterologists’ Preferences on the Development of mHealth Tools for Inflammatory Bowel Disease 
JMIR mHealth and uHealth  2015;3(1):e5.
Background
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) encompasses a number of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Treatment for IBD is lifelong and complex, and the majority of IBD patients seek information on the Internet. However, research has found existing digital resources to be of questionable quality and that patients find content lacking. Gastroenterologists are frontline sources of information for North American IBD patients, but their opinions and preferences for digital content, design, and utility have not been investigated. The purpose of this study is to systematically explore gastroenterologists’ perceptions of, and design preferences for, mHealth tools.
Objective
Our goal was to critically assess these issues and elicit expert feedback by seeking consensus with Canadian gastroenterologists.
Methods
Using a qualitative approach, a closed meeting with 7 gastroenterologists was audio recorded and field notes taken. To synthesize results, an anonymous questionnaire was collected at the end of the session. Participant-led discussion themes included methodological approaches to non-adherence, concordance, patient-centricity, and attributes of digital tools that would be actively supported and promoted.
Results
Survey results indicated that 4 of the 7 gastroenterologists had experienced patients bringing digital resources to a visit, but 5 found digital patient resources to be inaccurate or irrelevant. All participants agreed that digital tools were of increasing importance and could be leveraged to aid in consultations and save time. When asked to assess digital attributes that they would be confident to refer patients to, all seven indicated that the inclusion of evidence-based facts were of greatest importance. Patient peer-support networks were deemed an asset but only if closely monitored by experts. When asked about interventions, nearly all (6/7) preferred tools that addressed a mix of compliance and concordance, and only one supported the development of tools that focused on compliance. Participants confirmed that they would actively refer patients and other physicians to digital resources. However, while a number of digital IBD tools exist, gastroenterologists would be reluctant to endorse them.
Conclusions
Gastroenterologists appear eager to use digital resources that they believe benefit the physician-patient relationship, but despite the trend of patient-centric tools that focus on concordance (shared decision making and enlightened communication between patients and their health care providers), they would prefer digital tools that highlight compliance (patient following orders). This concordance gap highlights an issue of disparity in digital health: patients may not use tools that physicians promote, and physicians may not endorse tools that patients will use. Further research investigating the concordance gap, and tensions between physician preferences and patient needs, is required.
doi:10.2196/mhealth.3987
PMCID: PMC4319145  PMID: 25608628
mHealth; adherence; concordance; compliance; shared decision making; therapeutic alliance; gastroenterology; IBD; ulcerative colitis
22.  How Do Doctors in Different Countries Manage the Same Patient? Results of a Factorial Experiment 
Health Services Research  2006;41(6):2182-2200.
Objective
To determine the relative contributions of: (1) patient attributes; (2) provider characteristics; and (3) health care systems to health care disparities in the management of coronary heart disease (CHD) and depression.
Data Sources/Study Setting
Primary experimental data were collected in 2001–2 from 256 randomly sampled primary care providers in the U.S. (Massachusetts) and the U.K. (Surrey, Southeast London, and the West Midlands).
Study Design
Two factorial experiments were conducted in which physicians were shown, in random order, two clinically authentic videotapes of “patients” presenting with symptoms strongly suggestive of CHD and depression. “Patient” characteristics (age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status [SES]) were systematically varied, permitting estimation of unconfounded main effects and the interaction of patient, provider, and system-level influences.
Data Collection/Data Extraction Methods
Analysis of variance was used to measure provider decision-making outcomes, including diagnosis, information seeking, test ordering, prescribing behavior, lifestyle recommendations, and referrals/follow-ups.
Principal Findings
There is a high level of consistency in decision making for CHD and depression between the U.S. and the U.K. Most physicians in both countries correctly identified conditions depicted in the vignettes, although U.S. doctors engage in more information seeking, are more likely to prescribe medications, and are more certain of their diagnoses than their U.K. counterparts. The absence of any national differences in test ordering is consistent for both of the medical conditions depicted. U.K. physicians, however, were more likely than U.S. physicians to make lifestyle recommendations for CHD and to refer those patients to other providers.
Conclusions
Substantively, these findings point to the importance of patient and provider characteristics in understanding between-country differences in clinical decision making. Methodologically, our use of a factorial experiment highlights the potential of these methods for health services research—especially the estimation of the influence of patient attributes, provider characteristics, and between-country differences in the quality of medical care.
doi:10.1111/j.1475-6773.2006.00595.x
PMCID: PMC1955316  PMID: 17116115
Clinical decision making; health disparities; clinical encounter
23.  Abandoned Acid? Understanding Adherence to Bisphosphonate Medications for the Prevention of Osteoporosis among Older Women: A Qualitative Longitudinal Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e83552.
Background
There is significant morbidity and mortality caused by the complications of osteoporosis, for which ageing is the greatest epidemiological risk factor. Preventive medications to delay osteoporosis are available, but little is known about motivators to adhere to these in the context of a symptomless condition with evidence based on screening results.
Aim
To describe key perceptions that influence older women's adherence and persistence with prescribed medication when identified to be at a higher than average risk of fracture.
Design of Study
A longitudinal qualitative study embedded within a multi-centre trial exploring the effectiveness of screening for prevention of fractures.
Setting
Primary care, Norfolk. United Kingdom
Methods
Thirty older women aged 70–85 years of age who were offered preventive medication for osteoporosis and agreed to undertake two interviews at 6 and 24 months post-first prescription.
Results
There were no overall predictors of adherence which varied markedly over time. Participants' perceptions and motivations to persist with medication were influenced by six core themes: understanding adherence and non-adherence, motivations and self-care, appraising and prioritising risk, anticipating and managing side effects, problems of understanding, and decision making around medication. Those engaged with supportive professionals could better tolerate and overcome barriers such as side-effects.
Conclusions
Many issues are raised following screening in a cohort of women who have not previously sought advice about their bone health. Adherence to preventive medication for osteoporosis is complex and multifaceted. Individual participant understanding, choice, risk and perceived need all interact to produce unpredictable patterns of usage and acceptability. There are clear implications for practice and health professionals should not assume adherence in any older women prescribed medication for the prevention of osteoporosis. The beliefs and motivations of participants and their healthcare providers regarding the need to establish acceptable medication regimes is key to promoting and sustaining adherence.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083552
PMCID: PMC3879247  PMID: 24392086
24.  Beliefs that influence cost-related medication non-adherence among the “haves” and “have nots” with chronic diseases 
Background and objective
Some patients continue taking their medication as prescribed despite serious financial pressures, while others with the ability to pay forego treatment due to cost concerns. The primary goal of this study was to explore how patients’ beliefs about the necessity of treatment and treatment side effects, influence cost-related non-adherence (CRN).
Methods
27,302 participants in the Harris Interactive Chronic Illness Panel completed an internet survey. The current study focused on two subsamples representing: (a) the most economically-vulnerable survey respondents (ie, individuals with household incomes of US$25,000 per year or less and monthly out-of-pocket medication costs of at least US$60, n = 1321); and (b) respondents who were the most likely to have the financial resources to pay for medications (ie, those with incomes of US$125,000 or more and monthly medication costs of less than US$60.00, n = 1195). Multivariate models were constructed for each group to determine the independent impact on CRN of perceived need for medications and side-effect concerns. Increased risk for CRN associated with depression and asthma diagnoses also was examined.
Results
Twenty-one percent of economically vulnerable respondents reported continuing to take their medication as prescribed despite serious cost pressures, while 14% of high-income respondents reported CRN despite apparently manageable out-of-pocket costs. Both low perceived need for medications and concerns about side-effects affected CRN risk in low-income and high-income groups. Within groups of both low-income and high-income respondents, depression and asthma significantly increased patients’ odds of reporting CRN.
Conclusion
Beyond objective financial measures, CRN is influenced by patient beliefs, which can influence the perceived value of prescription drugs. Addressing these beliefs, as well as the unique adherence concerns of patients with depression and asthma, could decrease CRN rates even if cost pressures themselves cannot be reduced.
doi:10.2147/PPA.S23111
PMCID: PMC3176178  PMID: 21949602
medication adherence; cost-of-care; access to care; chronic disease
25.  Essential therapeutics skills required of junior doctors 
Perspectives on Medical Education  2012;1(5-6):225-236.
Junior doctors are responsible for the majority of in-hospital prescription errors. Little research has explored their confidence to prescribe, or practical therapeutics related tasks which they are required to perform in day-to-day practice. This survey aimed to explore these areas, gather feedback regarding therapeutics teaching at undergraduate level, and to apply findings to undergraduate training at University of Birmingham. Questionnaire-based survey of all first-year postgraduate doctors (PG1) attending teaching hospitals in the Birmingham and Worcester regions towards the end of the PG1 year. Doctors were asked about difficulties in prescribing, satisfaction with undergraduate training, and how frequently they undertook particular tasks pertaining to therapeutics. Qualitative data on suggestions for improving the curriculum were also collected. Difficulties were commonly encountered with prescribing warfarin, controlled drugs and syringe-driven drugs. Most (87.4 %) had been required to administer intravenous medications. Nearly all had prescribed to ‘special groups’ such as the elderly (100 %) and patients with renal disease (98.3 %). Thirty-seven percent were not satisfied with their undergraduate therapeutics teaching, and many (56.2 %) recommended making teaching more relevant to clinical practice. Many PG1s expressed difficulties in prescribing potentially dangerous medications. Although better than other UK surveys, significant numbers were not satisfied with undergraduate teaching. The strong opinion was for teaching to become more practical and more relevant. Prescriptions which PG1s are commonly asked to write have been described. Findings have guided improvements to undergraduate teaching and assessment in therapeutics at the University of Birmingham, and may offer guidance to other medical schools.
doi:10.1007/s40037-012-0032-1
PMCID: PMC3518801  PMID: 23240101
Clinical pharmacology and therapeutics; Junior doctors; Prescribing; Undergraduate medical education

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