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1.  Keeping the culture alive: the laboratory technician in mid-twentieth-century British medical research 
This paper reports results from a detailed study of the careers of laboratory technicians in British medical research. Technicians and their contributions are very frequently missing from accounts of modern medicine, and this project is an attempt to correct that absence. The present paper focuses almost entirely on the Medical Research Council's National Institute for Medical Research in North London, from the first proposal of such a body in 1913 until the mid 1960s. The principal sources of information have been technical staff themselves, largely as recorded in an extensive series of oral history interviews. These have covered a wide range of issues and provide valuable perspectives about technicians' backgrounds and working lives.
PMCID: PMC2628576  PMID: 18548906
medical laboratory technicians; medical laboratories; medical history
2.  Implementing the 2009 Institute of Medicine recommendations on resident physician work hours, supervision, and safety 
Long working hours and sleep deprivation have been a facet of physician training in the US since the advent of the modern residency system. However, the scientific evidence linking fatigue with deficits in human performance, accidents and errors in industries from aeronautics to medicine, nuclear power, and transportation has mounted over the last 40 years. This evidence has also spawned regulations to help ensure public safety across safety-sensitive industries, with the notable exception of medicine.
In late 2007, at the behest of the US Congress, the Institute of Medicine embarked on a year-long examination of the scientific evidence linking resident physician sleep deprivation with clinical performance deficits and medical errors. The Institute of Medicine’s report, entitled “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety”, published in January 2009, recommended new limits on resident physician work hours and workload, increased supervision, a heightened focus on resident physician safety, training in structured handovers and quality improvement, more rigorous external oversight of work hours and other aspects of residency training, and the identification of expanded funding sources necessary to implement the recommended reforms successfully and protect the public and resident physicians themselves from preventable harm.
Given that resident physicians comprise almost a quarter of all physicians who work in hospitals, and that taxpayers, through Medicare and Medicaid, fund graduate medical education, the public has a deep investment in physician training. Patients expect to receive safe, high-quality care in the nation’s teaching hospitals. Because it is their safety that is at issue, their voices should be central in policy decisions affecting patient safety. It is likewise important to integrate the perspectives of resident physicians, policy makers, and other constituencies in designing new policies. However, since its release, discussion of the Institute of Medicine report has been largely confined to the medical education community, led by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
To begin gathering these perspectives and developing a plan to implement safer work hours for resident physicians, a conference entitled “Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety: What will it take to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations?” was held at Harvard Medical School on June 17–18, 2010. This White Paper is a product of a diverse group of 26 representative stakeholders bringing relevant new information and innovative practices to bear on a critical patient safety problem. Given that our conference included experts from across disciplines with diverse perspectives and interests, not every recommendation was endorsed by each invited conference participant. However, every recommendation made here was endorsed by the majority of the group, and many were endorsed unanimously. Conference members participated in the process, reviewed the final product, and provided input before publication. Participants provided their individual perspectives, which do not necessarily represent the formal views of any organization.
In September 2010 the ACGME issued new rules to go into effect on July 1, 2011. Unfortunately, they stop considerably short of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations and those endorsed by this conference. In particular, the ACGME only applied the limitation of 16 hours to first-year resident physicans. Thus, it is clear that policymakers, hospital administrators, and residency program directors who wish to implement safer health care systems must go far beyond what the ACGME will require. We hope this White Paper will serve as a guide and provide encouragement for that effort.
Resident physician workload and supervision
By the end of training, a resident physician should be able to practice independently. Yet much of resident physicians’ time is dominated by tasks with little educational value. The caseload can be so great that inadequate reflective time is left for learning based on clinical experiences. In addition, supervision is often vaguely defined and discontinuous. Medical malpractice data indicate that resident physicians are frequently named in lawsuits, most often for lack of supervision. The recommendations are: The ACGME should adjust resident physicians workload requirements to optimize educational value. Resident physicians as well as faculty should be involved in work redesign that eliminates nonessential and noneducational activity from resident physician dutiesMechanisms should be developed for identifying in real time when a resident physician’s workload is excessive, and processes developed to activate additional providersTeamwork should be actively encouraged in delivery of patient care. Historically, much of medical training has focused on individual knowledge, skills, and responsibility. As health care delivery has become more complex, it will be essential to train resident and attending physicians in effective teamwork that emphasizes collective responsibility for patient care and recognizes the signs, both individual and systemic, of a schedule and working conditions that are too demanding to be safeHospitals should embrace the opportunities that resident physician training redesign offers. Hospitals should recognize and act on the potential benefits of work redesign, eg, increased efficiency, reduced costs, improved quality of care, and resident physician and attending job satisfactionAttending physicians should supervise all hospital admissions. Resident physicians should directly discuss all admissions with attending physicians. Attending physicians should be both cognizant of and have input into the care patients are to receive upon admission to the hospitalInhouse supervision should be required for all critical care services, including emergency rooms, intensive care units, and trauma services. Resident physicians should not be left unsupervised to care for critically ill patients. In settings in which the acuity is high, physicians who have completed residency should provide direct supervision for resident physicians. Supervising physicians should always be physically in the hospital for supervision of resident physicians who care for critically ill patientsThe ACGME should explicitly define “good” supervision by specialty and by year of training. Explicit requirements for intensity and level of training for supervision of specific clinical scenarios should be providedCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should use graduate medical education funding to provide incentives to programs with proven, effective levels of supervision. Although this action would require federal legislation, reimbursement rules would help to ensure that hospitals pay attention to the importance of good supervision and require it from their training programs
Resident physician work hours
Although the IOM “Sleep, supervision and safety” report provides a comprehensive review and discussion of all aspects of graduate medical education training, the report’s focal point is its recommendations regarding the hours that resident physicians are currently required to work. A considerable body of scientific evidence, much of it cited by the Institute of Medicine report, describes deteriorating performance in fatigued humans, as well as specific studies on resident physician fatigue and preventable medical errors.
The question before this conference was what work redesign and cultural changes are needed to reform work hours as recommended by the Institute of Medicine’s evidence-based report? Extensive scientific data demonstrate that shifts exceeding 12–16 hours without sleep are unsafe. Several principles should be followed in efforts to reduce consecutive hours below this level and achieve safer work schedules. The recommendations are: Limit resident physician work hours to 12–16 hour maximum shiftsA minimum of 10 hours off duty should be scheduled between shiftsResident physician input into work redesign should be actively solicitedSchedules should be designed that adhere to principles of sleep and circadian science; this includes careful consideration of the effects of multiple consecutive night shifts, and provision of adequate time off after night work, as specified in the IOM reportResident physicians should not be scheduled up to the maximum permissible limits; emergencies frequently occur that require resident physicians to stay longer than their scheduled shifts, and this should be anticipated in scheduling resident physicians’ work shiftsHospitals should anticipate the need for iterative improvement as new schedules are initiated; be prepared to learn from the initial phase-in, and change the plan as neededAs resident physician work hours are redesigned, attending physicians should also be considered; a potential consequence of resident physician work hour reduction and increased supervisory requirements may be an increase in work for attending physicians; this should be carefully monitored, and adjustments to attending physician work schedules made as needed to prevent unsafe work hours or working conditions for this group“Home call” should be brought under the overall limits of working hours; work load and hours should be monitored in each residency program to ensure that resident physicians and fellows on home call are getting sufficient sleepMedicare funding for graduate medical education in each hospital should be linked with adherence to the Institute of Medicine limits on resident physician work hours
Moonlighting by resident physicians
The Institute of Medicine report recommended including external as well as internal moonlighting in working hour limits. The recommendation is: All moonlighting work hours should be included in the ACGME working hour limits and actively monitored. Hospitals should formalize a moonlighting policy and establish systems for actively monitoring resident physician moonlighting
Safety of resident physicians
The “Sleep, supervision and safety” report also addresses fatigue-related harm done to resident physicians themselves. The report focuses on two main sources of physical injury to resident physicians impaired by fatigue, ie, needle-stick exposure to blood-borne pathogens and motor vehicle crashes. Providing safe transportation home for resident physicians is a logistical and financial challenge for hospitals. Educating physicians at all levels on the dangers of fatigue is clearly required to change driving behavior so that safe hospital-funded transport home is used effectively. Fatigue-related injury prevention (including not driving while drowsy) should be taught in medical school and during residency, and reinforced with attending physicians; hospitals and residency programs must be informed that resident physicians’ ability to judge their own level of impairment is impaired when they are sleep deprived; hence, leaving decisions about the capacity to drive to impaired resident physicians is not recommendedHospitals should provide transportation to all resident physicians who report feeling too tired to drive safely; in addition, although consecutive work should not exceed 16 hours, hospitals should provide transportation for all resident physicians who, because of unforeseen reasons or emergencies, work for longer than consecutive 24 hours; transportation under these circumstances should be automatically provided to house staff, and should not rely on self-identification or request
Training in effective handovers and quality improvement
Handover practice for resident physicians, attendings, and other health care providers has long been identified as a weak link in patient safety throughout health care settings. Policies to improve handovers of care must be tailored to fit the appropriate clinical scenario, recognizing that information overload can also be a problem. At the heart of improving handovers is the organizational effort to improve quality, an effort in which resident physicians have typically been insufficiently engaged. The recommendations are: Hospitals should train attending and resident physicians in effective handovers of careHospitals should create uniform processes for handovers that are tailored to meet each clinical setting; all handovers should be done verbally and face-to-face, but should also utilize written toolsWhen possible, hospitals should integrate hand-over tools into their electronic medical records (EMR) systems; these systems should be standardized to the extent possible across residency programs in a hospital, but may be tailored to the needs of specific programs and services; federal government should help subsidize adoption of electronic medical records by hospitals to improve signoutWhen feasible, handovers should be a team effort including nurses, patients, and familiesHospitals should include residents in their quality improvement and patient safety efforts; the ACGME should specify in their core competency requirements that resident physicians work on quality improvement projects; likewise, the Joint Commission should require that resident physicians be included in quality improvement and patient safety programs at teaching hospitals; hospital administrators and residency program directors should create opportunities for resident physicians to become involved in ongoing quality improvement projects and root cause analysis teams; feedback on successful quality improvement interventions should be shared with resident physicians and broadly disseminatedQuality improvement/patient safety concepts should be integral to the medical school curriculum; medical school deans should elevate the topics of patient safety, quality improvement, and teamwork; these concepts should be integrated throughout the medical school curriculum and reinforced throughout residency; mastery of these concepts by medical students should be tested on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) stepsFederal government should support involvement of resident physicians in quality improvement efforts; initiatives to improve quality by including resident physicians in quality improvement projects should be financially supported by the Department of Health and Human Services
Monitoring and oversight of the ACGME
While the ACGME is a key stakeholder in residency training, external voices are essential to ensure that public interests are heard in the development and monitoring of standards. Consequently, the Institute of Medicine report recommended external oversight and monitoring through the Joint Commission and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The recommendations are: Make comprehensive fatigue management a Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goal; fatigue is a safety concern not only for resident physicians, but also for nurses, attending physicians, and other health care workers; the Joint Commission should seek to ensure that all health care workers, not just resident physicians, are working as safely as possibleFederal government, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, should encourage development of comprehensive fatigue management programs which all health systems would eventually be required to implementMake ACGME compliance with working hours a “ condition of participation” for reimbursement of direct and indirect graduate medical education costs; financial incentives will greatly increase the adoption of and compliance with ACGME standards
Future financial support for implementation
The Institute of Medicine’s report estimates that $1.7 billion (in 2008 dollars) would be needed to implement its recommendations. Twenty-five percent of that amount ($376 million) will be required just to bring hospitals into compliance with the existing 2003 ACGME rules. Downstream savings to the health care system could potentially result from safer care, but these benefits typically do not accrue to hospitals and residency programs, who have been asked historically to bear the burden of residency reform costs. The recommendations are: The Institute of Medicine should convene a panel of stakeholders, including private and public funders of health care and graduate medical education, to lay down the concrete steps necessary to identify and allocate the resources needed to implement the recommendations contained in the IOM “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety” report. Conference participants suggested several approaches to engage public and private support for this initiativeEfforts to find additional funding to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations should focus more broadly on patient safety and health care delivery reform; policy efforts focused narrowly upon resident physician work hours are less likely to succeed than broad patient safety initiatives that include residency redesign as a key componentHospitals should view the Institute of Medicine recommendations as an opportunity to begin resident physician work redesign projects as the core of a business model that embraces safety and ultimately saves resourcesBoth the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should take the Institute of Medicine recommendations into consideration when promulgating rules for innovation grantsThe National Health Care Workforce Commission should consider the Institute of Medicine recommendations when analyzing the nation’s physician workforce needs
Recommendations for future research
Conference participants concurred that convening the stakeholders and agreeing on a research agenda was key. Some observed that some sectors within the medical education community have been reluctant to act on the data. Several logical funders for future research were identified. But above all agencies, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the only stakeholder that funds graduate medical education upstream and will reap savings downstream if preventable medical errors are reduced as a result of reform of resident physician work hours.
PMCID: PMC3630963  PMID: 23616719
resident; hospital; working hours; safety
3.  Human Resource and Funding Constraints for Essential Surgery in District Hospitals in Africa: A Retrospective Cross-Sectional Survey 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(3):e1000242.
In the second of two papers investigating surgical provision in eight district hospitals in Saharan African countries, Margaret Kruk and colleagues describe the range of providers of surgical care and anesthesia and estimate the related costs.
There is a growing recognition that the provision of surgical services in low-income countries is inadequate to the need. While constrained health budgets and health worker shortages have been blamed for the low rates of surgery, there has been little empirical data on the providers of surgery and cost of surgical services in Africa. This study described the range of providers of surgical care and anesthesia and estimated the resources dedicated to surgery at district hospitals in three African countries.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional survey of data from eight district hospitals in Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda. There were no specialist surgeons or anesthetists in any of the hospitals. Most of the health workers were nurses (77.5%), followed by mid-level providers (MLPs) not trained to provide surgical care (7.8%), and MLPs trained to perform surgical procedures (3.8%). There were one to six medical doctors per hospital (4.2% of clinical staff). Most major surgical procedures were performed by doctors (54.6%), however over one-third (35.9%) were done by MLPs. Anesthesia was mainly provided by nurses (39.4%). Most of the hospital expenditure was related to staffing. Of the total operating costs, only 7% to 14% was allocated to surgical care, the majority of which was for obstetric surgery. These costs represent a per capita expenditure on surgery ranging from US$0.05 to US$0.14 between the eight hospitals.
African countries have adopted different policies to ensure the provision of surgical care in their respective district hospitals. Overall, the surgical output per capita was very low, reflecting low staffing ratios and limited expenditures for surgery. We found that most surgical and anesthesia services in the three countries in the study were provided by generalist doctors, MLPs, and nurses. Although more information is needed to estimate unmet need for surgery, increasing the funds allocated to surgery, and, in the absence of trained doctors and surgeons, formalizing the training of MLPs appears to be a pragmatic and cost-effective way to make basic surgical services available in underserved areas.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Infectious diseases remain the major killers in developing countries, but traumatic injuries, complications of childbirth, and other conditions that need surgery are important contributors to the overall burden of disease in these countries. Unfortunately, the provision of surgical services in low- and middle-income countries is often insufficient. There are many fewer operations per a head of population in developing countries than in developed countries, essential operations such as cesarean sections for complicated deliveries are not always available, and elective operations such as male and female sterilization can be difficult to obtain. Lack of funding for surgical procedures and shortages of trained health workers have often been blamed for the low rates of surgery in developing countries. For example, anesthesiologists (doctors who are trained to give anesthetics and other pain-relieving agents) and trained anesthetists (usually nurses and technicians) are rare in many African countries, as are surgeons and obstetricians (doctors who look after women during pregnancy and childbirth). To make matters worse, these specialists often work in tertiary referral hospitals in large cities. In district hospitals, which provide most of the primary health care needs of rural populations, basic surgical care is usually provided by “mid-level health care providers” (MLPs)—individuals with a level of training between that of nurses and physicians.
Why Was This Study Done?
Various organizations are currently working to improve emergency and essential surgical care in developing countries. For example, the Bellagio Essential Surgery Group (BESG) seeks to define, quantify, and address the problem of unmet surgical needs in sub-Saharan Africa. Importantly, however, before any programs can be introduced to improve access to surgical services in developing countries, better baseline data on existing surgical services needs to be collected—most of the available information on these services is anecdotal. In this study, the researchers (most of whom are members of the BESG) investigate the provision of surgical procedures and anesthesia in district hospitals in three sub-Saharan African countries and estimate the costs of surgery performed in the same hospitals.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers collected recent data on the number of doctors, MLPs, and nurses in two district hospitals in Tanzania and in Mozambique, and from four district hospitals in Uganda and information on each hospital's expenditure. Most of the health workers in these hospitals (which care for 3 million people between them) were nurses (77.5%), followed by MLPs not trained to provide surgical care (7.8%), and MLPs trained to provide surgical care (3.8%). The hospitals had between one and six medical doctors each (28 across all the hospitals), but there were no trained surgeons or anesthesiologists posted at any of the hospitals. About half of the major surgical procedures undertaken at these hospitals were performed by doctors but more than a third were done by MLPs although the exact pattern of personnel involved in surgery varied among the three countries. Anesthesia was mostly provided by nurses and doctors; again the pattern of anesthesia provision varied among countries and hospitals. Only 7%–14% of overall hospital expenditure was allocated to surgical care and most of this allocation was used for obstetric services. Finally, the researchers estimate that, on the basis of district populations, the district hospitals spent between US$0.05 and US$0.14 per head on surgical services.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, in the district hospitals investigated in this study, physicians, MLPs, and nurses provide most of the surgical care. Furthermore, although all the hospitals in the study provide some surgical care, it accounts for a small part of the hospitals' overall operating costs. These findings may not be generalizable to other district hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa and provide no information about the unmet needs for surgical care. Nevertheless, these findings and those of a separate paper that investigates the range and volume of surgical procedures undertaken in the same district hospitals provide a valuable baseline for planning the expansion of health care services in Africa. They also suggest that increasing the funds allocated to surgery and formalizing the training of MLPs might be a cost-effective way of increasing access to surgical care in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The range and volume of surgery in the same hospitals is investigated in a PLoS Medicine Research Article by Moses Galukande et al.
Information on the Bellagio Essential Surgery Group is available
WHO's Global initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care plans to take essential emergency, basic surgery and anesthesia skills to health care staff in low- and middle-income countries around the world; WHO also has a page describing the importance of emergency and essential surgery in primary health care
PMCID: PMC2834706  PMID: 20231869
4.  A Program Using Pharmacy Technicians to Collect Medication Histories in the Emergency Department 
Pharmacy and Therapeutics  2015;40(1):56-61.
When specially trained pharmacy technicians took patients’ medication histories in a hospital emergency department, the histories they conducted were accurate 88% of the time compared with 57% of those conducted by nurses, who had other duties.
To evaluate the percentage, frequency, and types of medication history errors made by pharmacy technicians compared with nurses in the emergency department (ED) to determine if patient safety and care can be improved while reducing nurses’ workloads.
Medication history errors were evaluated in a pre-post study comparing a historical control group (nurses) prior to the implementation of a pharmacy technician program in the ED to a prospective cohort group (pharmacy technicians). Two certified pharmacy technicians were trained by the post-graduate year one (PGY1) pharmacy practice resident to conduct medication history interviews in a systematic fashion, with outside resources (i.e., assisted living facility, pharmacy, physician’s office, or family members) being consulted if any portion of the medication history was unclear or lacking information. The primary outcome compared the percentage of patients with accurate medication histories in each group. Secondary outcomes included differences between groups regarding total medication errors, types of errors, documentation of patient allergies and drug reactions, and documentation of last administration times for high-risk anticoagulant/antiplatelet medications. Accuracy was determined by reviewing each documented medication history for identifiable errors, including review of electronic generated prescriptions within the hospital system as well as physician notes or histories documented on the same day (for potential discrepancies). This review was performed by the pharmacy resident. The categories of errors included a drug omission, a drug commission, an incorrect or missing drug, an incorrect or missing dose, or an incorrect or missing frequency. Anonymous surveys were distributed to ED nurses to assess their feedback on the new medication reconciliation program using pharmacy technicians.
A total of 300 medication histories from the ED were evaluated (150 in each group). Medication histories conducted by pharmacy technicians were accurate 88% of the time compared with 57% of those conducted by nurses (P < 0.0001). Nineteen errors (1.1%) were made by pharmacy technicians versus 117 (8.3%) by nurses (relative risk [RR], 7.5; P < 0.0001). The most common type of error was an incorrect or missing dose (10 versus 59, P < 0.001), followed by an incorrect or missing frequency (0 versus 30, P < 0.0001), and a drug commission (5 versus 23, P = 0.004). There were no differences between groups regarding the documentation of patient allergies. Documentation rates of high-risk anticoagulant and antiplatelet administration times were greater for pharmacy technicians than for nurses (76% versus 13%, P < 0.001).
This study demonstrates that trained pharmacy technicians can assist prescribers and nurses by improving the accuracy of medication histories obtained in the ED.
PMCID: PMC4296593  PMID: 25628508
5.  Communication methods and production techniques in fixed prosthesis fabrication: a UK based survey. Part 1: Communication methods 
British Dental Journal  2014;217(6):E12.
Highlights the importance of dentist-technician communication.Concludes that dentists must ensure that written prescriptions contain all the necessary information so that the dental technician can fabricate fixed prostheses correctly and without delay.Recommendations for improved communication are made with the ultimate goal of better patient service.
Statement of the problem The General Dental Council (GDC) states that members of the dental team have to 'communicate clearly and effectively with other team members and colleagues in the interest of patients'. A number of studies from different parts of the world have highlighted problems and confirmed the need for improved communication methods and production techniques between dentists and dental technicians.
Aim The aim of this study was to identify the communication methods and production techniques used by dentists and dental technicians for the fabrication of fixed prostheses within the UK from the dental technicians' perspective. The current publication reports on the communication methods.
Materials and methods Seven hundred and eighty-two online questionnaires were distributed to the Dental Laboratories Association membership and included a broad range of topics. Statistical analysis was undertaken to test the influence of various demographic variables.
Results The number of completed responses totalled 248 (32% response rate). The laboratory prescription and the telephone were the main communication tools used. Statistical analysis of the results showed that a greater number of communication methods were used by large laboratories. Frequently missing items from the laboratory prescription were the shade and the date required. The majority of respondents (73%) stated that a single shade was selected in over half of cases. Sixty-eight percent replied that the dentist allowed sufficient laboratory time. Twenty-six percent of laboratories felt either rarely involved or not involved at all as part of the dental team.
Conclusion This study suggests that there are continuing communication and teamwork issues between dentists and dental laboratories.
PMCID: PMC4340155  PMID: 25257016
6.  Resuscitation from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: is survival dependent on who is available at the scene? 
Heart  1999;81(1):47-52.
Objective—To determine whether survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is influenced by the on-scene availability of different grades of ambulance personnel and other health professionals.
Design—Population based, retrospective, observational study.
Setting—County of Nottinghamshire with a population of one million.
Subjects—All 2094 patients who had resuscitation attempted by Nottinghamshire Ambulance Service crew from 1991 to 1994; study of 1547 patients whose arrest were of cardiac aetiology.
Main outcome measures—Survival to hospital admission and survival to hospital discharge.
Results—Overall survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest remains poor: 221 patients (14.3%) survived to reach hospital alive and only 94 (6.1%) survived to be discharged from hospital. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that the chances of those resuscitated by technician crew reaching hospital alive were poor but were greater when paramedic crew were either called to assist technicians or dealt with the arrest themselves (odds ratio 6.9 (95% confidence interval 3.92 to 26.61)). Compared to technician crew, survival to hospital discharge was only significantly improved with paramedic crew (3.55 (1.62 to 7.79)) and further improved when paramedics were assisted by either a health professional (9.91 (3.12 to 26.61)) or a medical practitioner (20.88 (6.72 to 64.94)).
Conclusions—Survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest remains poor despite attendance at the scene of the arrest by ambulance crew and other health professionals. Patients resuscitated by a paramedic from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest caused by cardiac disease were more likely to survive to hospital discharge than when resuscitation was provided by an ambulance technician. Resuscitation by a paramedic assisted by a medical practitioner offers a patient the best chances of surviving the event.

 Keywords: out-of-hospital;  cardiac arrest;  paramedic;  technician
PMCID: PMC1728906  PMID: 10220544
7.  Respiratory morbidity in a population of French dental technicians 
Aims: To compare wage earner dental technicians with non-exposed salaried subjects for the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and function, and chest x ray abnormalities.
Methods: A total of 134 dental technicians and 131 non-exposed subjects participated. A medical and an occupational questionnaire were filled in to evaluate the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and occupational exposures. Subjects underwent respiratory tests and chest x ray examination.
Results: Mean age of the dental technicians was 36.6 years with a mean duration of dental work of 16.5 years. There was a significant risk of cough (day and night) and usual phlegm in dental technicians. Respiratory function parameters were lower in dental technicians with a significant difference between exposed and non-exposed groups for % FVC (forced vital capacity), % FEF25 (forced mid expiratory flow), and % FEF50. The prevalence of small opacities increased with age. Small opacities were significantly related to an exposure to asbestos in the past.
Conclusions: Our young population of dental technicians is at risk of respiratory morbidity. They should benefit from adequate technical prevention measures.
PMCID: PMC1740304  PMID: 12040116
8.  A Review Article of the Reduce Errors in Medical Laboratories 
The current article examines the modern practices of reducing errors in medical laboratories. The paper sought to examine the methods that different countries are applying to reduce errors in medical laboratories. In addition, the paper examines the relationship between inadequate training of laboratory personnel and error causation in medical laboratories. A total of 17 research articles have been reviewed. The paper has done a comparison of pathology laboratory practices in the US, Canada, the UK and Australia, regarding laboratory staff skills and error reduction. The paper finds out that; although some of the developed countries have employed advanced technology to reduce errors, there is still a great need to use sophisticated medical equipment to reduce errors. In addition, the levels of training for the medical technicians are still low. They are not equipped enough to reduce the errors to the required levels. The article recommends application of advanced technology in the reduction of errors, and training of technicians on the best practices to reduce errors.
PMCID: PMC4796466  PMID: 25560334
medical laboratory errors; pathology; laboratory staff skills; clinical laboratory
9.  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
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.
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
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
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
PMCID: PMC3841103  PMID: 24302892
10.  Modifying the Medical Research Council grading system through Rasch analyses 
Brain  2011;135(5):1639-1649.
The Medical Research Council grading system has served through decades for the evaluation of muscle strength and has been recognized as a cardinal feature of daily neurological, rehabilitation and general medicine examination of patients, despite being respectfully criticized due to the unequal width of its response options. No study has systematically examined, through modern psychometric approach, whether physicians are able to properly use the Medical Research Council grades. The objectives of this study were: (i) to investigate physicians’ ability to discriminate among the Medical Research Council categories in patients with different neuromuscular disorders and with various degrees of weakness through thresholds examination using Rasch analysis as a modern psychometric method; (ii) to examine possible factors influencing physicians’ ability to apply the Medical Research Council categories through differential item function analyses; and (iii) to examine whether the widely used Medical Research Council 12 muscles sum score in patients with Guillain–Barré syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy would meet Rasch model's expectations. A total of 1065 patients were included from nine cohorts with the following diseases: Guillain–Barré syndrome (n = 480); myotonic dystrophy type-1 (n = 169); chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (n = 139); limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (n = 105); multifocal motor neuropathy (n = 102); Pompe's disease (n = 62) and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined related polyneuropathy (n = 8). Medical Research Council data of 72 muscles were collected. Rasch analyses were performed on Medical Research Council data for each cohort separately and after pooling data at the muscle level to increase category frequencies, and on the Medical Research Council sum score in patients with Guillain–Barré syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy. Disordered thresholds were demonstrated in 74–79% of the muscles examined, indicating physicians’ inability to discriminate between most Medical Research Council categories. Factors such as physicians’ experience or illness type did not influence these findings. Thresholds were restored after rescoring the Medical Research Council grades from six to four options (0, paralysis; 1, severe weakness; 2, slight weakness; 3, normal strength). The Medical Research Council sum score acceptably fulfilled Rasch model expectations after rescoring the response options and creating subsets to resolve local dependency and item bias on diagnosis. In conclusion, a modified, Rasch-built four response category Medical Research Council grading system is proposed, resolving clinicians’ inability to differentiate among its original response categories and improving clinical applicability. A modified Medical Research Council sum score at the interval level is presented and is recommended for future studies in Guillain–Barré syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy.
PMCID: PMC3338921  PMID: 22189568
MRC; manual muscle testing; Rasch; neuromuscular disorders
11.  Open access intrapartum CTG database 
Cardiotocography (CTG) is a monitoring of fetal heart rate and uterine contractions. Since 1960 it is routinely used by obstetricians to assess fetal well-being. Many attempts to introduce methods of automatic signal processing and evaluation have appeared during the last 20 years, however still no significant progress similar to that in the domain of adult heart rate variability, where open access databases are available (e.g. MIT-BIH), is visible. Based on a thorough review of the relevant publications, presented in this paper, the shortcomings of the current state are obvious. A lack of common ground for clinicians and technicians in the field hinders clinically usable progress. Our open access database of digital intrapartum cardiotocographic recordings aims to change that.
The intrapartum CTG database consists in total of 552 intrapartum recordings, which were acquired between April 2010 and August 2012 at the obstetrics ward of the University Hospital in Brno, Czech Republic. All recordings were stored in electronic form in the OB TraceVue®;system. The recordings were selected from 9164 intrapartum recordings with clinical as well as technical considerations in mind. All recordings are at most 90 minutes long and start a maximum of 90 minutes before delivery. The time relation of CTG to delivery is known as well as the length of the second stage of labor which does not exceed 30 minutes. The majority of recordings (all but 46 cesarean sections) is – on purpose – from vaginal deliveries. All recordings have available biochemical markers as well as some more general clinical features. Full description of the database and reasoning behind selection of the parameters is presented in the paper.
A new open-access CTG database is introduced which should give the research community common ground for comparison of results on reasonably large database. We anticipate that after reading the paper, the reader will understand the context of the field from clinical and technical perspectives which will enable him/her to use the database and also understand its limitations.
PMCID: PMC3898997  PMID: 24418387
Cardiotocography; Intrapartum; CTG; Database; Signal processing; Fetal heart rate
12.  The 2009 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting: Martin Chalfie, Chemistry 2008 
American Biologist Martin Chalfie shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Roger Tsien and Osamu Shimomura for their discovery and development of the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP).
Martin Chalfie was born in Chicago in 1947 and grew up in Skokie Illinois. Although he had an interest in science from a young age-- learning the names of the planets and reading books about dinosaurs-- his journey to a career in biological science was circuitous. In high school, Chalfie enjoyed his AP Chemistry course, but his other science courses did not make much of an impression on him, and he began his undergraduate studies at Harvard uncertain of what he wanted to study. Eventually he did choose to major in Biochemistry, and during the summer between his sophomore and junior years, he joined Klaus Weber's lab and began his first real research project, studying the active site of the enzyme aspartate transcarbamylase. Unfortunately, none of the experiments he performed in Weber's lab worked, and Chalfie came to the conclusion that research was not for him.
Following graduation in 1969, he was hired as a teacher Hamden Hall Country Day School in Connecticut where he taught high school chemistry, algebra, and social sciences for 2 years. After his first year of teaching, he decided to give research another try. He took a summer job in Jose Zadunaisky's lab at Yale, studying chloride transport in the frog retina. Chalfie enjoyed this experience a great deal, and having gained confidence in his own scientific abilities, he applied to graduate school at Harvard, where he joined the Physiology department in 1972 and studied norepinephrine synthesis and secretion under Bob Pearlman. His interest in working on C. elegans led him to post doc with Sydney Brenner, at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England. In 1982 he was offered position at Columbia University.
When Chalfie first heard about GFP at a research seminar given by Paul Brehm in 1989, his lab was studying genes involved in the development and function of touch-sensitive cells in C. elegans. He immediately became very excited about the idea of expressing the fluorescent protein in the nematode, hoping to figure out where the genes were expressed in the live organism. At the time, all methods of examining localization, such as antibody staining or in situ hybridization, required fixation of the tissue or cells, revealing the location of proteins only at fixed points in time.
In September 1992, after obtaining GFP DNA from Douglas Prasher, Chalfie asked his rotation student, Ghia Euskirchen to express GFP in E. coli, unaware that several other labs were also trying to express the protein, without success. Chalfie and Euskirchen used PCR to amplify only the coding sequence of GFP, which they placed in an expression vector and expressed in E.coli. Because of her engineering background, Euskirchen knew that the microscope in the Chalfie lab was not good enough to use for this type of experiment, so she captured images of green bacteria using the microscope from her former engineering lab. This work demonstrated that GFP fluorescence requires no component other than GFP itself. In fact, the difficulty that other labs had encountered stemmed from their use of restriction enzyme digestions for subcloning, which brought along an extra sequence that prevented GFP's fluorescent expression. Following Euskirchen's successful expression in E. coli, Chalfie's technician Yuan Tu went on to express GFP in C. elegans, and Chalfie published the findings in Science in 1994.
Through the study of C. elegans and GFP, Chalfie feels there is an important lesson to be learned about the importance basic research. Though there has been a recent push for clinically-relevant or patent-producing (translational) research, Chalfie warns that taking this approach alone is a mistake, given how "woefully little" we know about biology. He points out the vast expanse of the unknowns in biology, noting that important discoveries such as GFP are very frequently made through basic research using a diverse set of model organisms. Indeed, the study of GFP bioluminescence did not originally have a direct application to human health. Our understanding of it, however, has led to a wide array of clinically-relevant discoveries and developments. Chalfie believes we should not limit ourselves: "We should be a little freer and investigate things in different directions, and be a little bit awed by what we're going to find."
PMCID: PMC3152221  PMID: 20147885
13.  The Research Council System and the Politics of Medical and Agricultural Research for the British Colonial Empire, 1940–52 
Medical History  2013;57(3):338-358.
Historical accounts of colonial science and medicine have failed to engage with the Colonial Office’s shift in focus towards the support of research after 1940. A large new fund was created in 1940 to expand activities in the colonies described as fundamental research. With this new funding came a qualitative shift in the type of personnel and activity sought for colonial development and, as a result, a diverse group of medical and technical officers existed in Britain’s colonies by the 1950s. The fact that such variety existed amongst British officers in terms of their qualifications, institutional locations and also their relationships with colonial and metropolitan governments makes the use of the term ‘expert’ in much existing historical scholarship on scientific and medical aspects of empire problematic. This article will consider how the Colonial Office achieved this expansion of research activities and personnel after 1940. Specifically, it will focus on the reasons officials sought to engage individuals drawn from the British research councils to administer this work and the consequences of their involvement for the new apparatus established for colonial research after 1940. An understanding of the implications of the application of the research council system to the Colonial Empire requires engagement with the ideology promoted by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and Medical Research Council (MRC) which placed emphasis on the distinct and higher status of fundamental research and which privileged freedom for researchers.
PMCID: PMC3865944  PMID: 24069883
Medical Research Council; Agricultural Research Council; Colonial Office; 1940 CDW Act; Colonial Medical Research Council; East Africa
14.  Incidence of tuberculosis, hepatitis, brucellosis, and shigellosis in British medical laboratory workers. 
British Medical Journal  1976;1(6012):759-762.
A retrospective postal survey of 21 000 medical laboratory workers in England and Wales showed 18 new cases of pulmonary tuberculosis in 1971, a five-times increased risk of acquiring the disease compared with the general population. Technicians were at greatest risk, especially if they worked in morbid anatomy departments. Of the 35 cases of hepatitis, the technicians were again the occupational group most likely to acquire the disease. Microbiology staff were twice as likely to report shigellosis as those in other pathology divisions but only one case of brucellosis was reported in the whole laboratory population. A similar survey carried out in 1973 of 3000 Scottish medical laboratory workers corroborates the results from England and Wales. Medical laboratory workers continue to experience a considerable risk of developing an occupationally acquired infection. Improvements in staff safety and health care seem to be necessary.
PMCID: PMC1639170  PMID: 1260318
15.  Continuing professional development training needs of medical laboratory personnel in Botswana 
Laboratory professionals are expected to maintain their knowledge on the most recent advances in laboratory testing and continuing professional development (CPD) programs can address this expectation. In developing countries, accessing CPD programs is a major challenge for laboratory personnel, partly due to their limited availability. An assessment was conducted among clinical laboratory workforce in Botswana to identify and prioritize CPD training needs as well as preferred modes of CPD delivery.
A self-administered questionnaire was disseminated to medical laboratory scientists and technicians registered with the Botswana Health Professions Council. Questions were organized into domains of competency related to (i) quality management systems, (ii) technical competence, (iii) laboratory management, leadership, and coaching, and (iv) pathophysiology, data interpretation, and research. Participants were asked to rank their self-perceived training needs using a 3-point scale in order of importance (most, moderate, and least). Furthermore, participants were asked to select any three preferences for delivery formats for the CPD.
Out of 350 questionnaires that were distributed, 275 were completed and returned giving an overall response rate of 79%. The most frequently selected topics for training in rank order according to key themes were (mean, range) (i) quality management systems, most important (79%, 74–84%); (ii) pathophysiology, data interpretation, and research (68%, 52–78%); (iii) technical competence (65%, 44–73%); and (iv) laboratory management, leadership, and coaching (60%, 37–77%). The top three topics selected by the participants were (i) quality systems essentials for medical laboratory, (ii) implementing a quality management system, and (iii) techniques to identify and control sources of error in laboratory procedures. The top three preferred CPD delivery modes, in rank order, were training workshops, hands-on workshops, and internet-based learning. Journal clubs at the workplace was the least preferred method of delivery of CPD credits.
CPD programs to be developed should focus on topics that address quality management systems, case studies, competence assessment, and customer care. The findings from this survey can also inform medical laboratory pre-service education curriculum.
PMCID: PMC4141587  PMID: 25134431
Continuing professional development; Curriculum; Developing countries; Medical laboratory; Training needs
16.  Tuberculosis among Health-Care Workers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e494.
The risk of transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from patients to health-care workers (HCWs) is a neglected problem in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Most health-care facilities in these countries lack resources to prevent nosocomial transmission of tuberculosis (TB).
Methods and Findings
We conducted a systematic review to summarize the evidence on the incidence and prevalence of latent TB infection (LTBI) and disease among HCWs in LMICs, and to evaluate the impact of various preventive strategies that have been attempted. To identify relevant studies, we searched electronic databases and journals, and contacted experts in the field. We identified 42 articles, consisting of 51 studies, and extracted data on incidence, prevalence, and risk factors for LTBI and disease among HCWs. The prevalence of LTBI among HCWs was, on average, 54% (range 33% to 79%). Estimates of the annual risk of LTBI ranged from 0.5% to 14.3%, and the annual incidence of TB disease in HCWs ranged from 69 to 5,780 per 100,000. The attributable risk for TB disease in HCWs, compared to the risk in the general population, ranged from 25 to 5,361 per 100,000 per year. A higher risk of acquiring TB disease was associated with certain work locations (inpatient TB facility, laboratory, internal medicine, and emergency facilities) and occupational categories (radiology technicians, patient attendants, nurses, ward attendants, paramedics, and clinical officers).
In summary, our review demonstrates that TB is a significant occupational problem among HCWs in LMICs. Available evidence reinforces the need to design and implement simple, effective, and affordable TB infection-control programs in health-care facilities in these countries.
A systematic review demonstrates that tuberculosis is an important occupational problem among health care workers in low and middle-income countries.
Editors' Summary
One third of the world's population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB). In many people, the bug causes no health problems—it remains latent. But about 10% of infected people develop active, potentially fatal TB, often in their lungs. People with active pulmonary TB readily spread the infection to other people, including health-care workers (HCWs), in small airborne droplets produced when they cough or sneeze. In high-income countries such as the US, guidelines are in place to minimize the transmission of TB in health-care facilities. Administrative controls (for example, standard treatment plans for people with suspected or confirmed TB) aim to reduce the exposure of HCWs to people with TB. Environmental controls (for example, the use of special isolation rooms) aim to prevent the spread and to reduce the concentration of infectious droplets in the air. Finally, respiratory-protection controls (for example, personal respirators for nursing staff) aim to reduce the risk of infection when exposure to M. tuberculosis is unavoidably high. Together, these three layers of control have reduced the incidence of TB in HCWs (the number who catch TB annually) in high-income countries.
Why Was This Study Done?
But what about low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where more than 90% of the world's cases of TB occur? Here, there is little money available to implement even low-cost strategies to reduce TB transmission in health-care facilities—so how important an occupational disease is TB in HCWs in these countries? In this study, the researchers have systematically reviewed published papers to find out the incidence and prevalence (how many people in a population have a specific disease) of active TB and latent TB infections (LTBIs) in HCWs in LMICs. They have also investigated whether any of the preventative strategies used in high-income countries have been shown to reduce the TB burden in HCWs in poorer countries.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
To identify studies on TB transmission to HCWs in LMICs, the researchers searched electronic databases and journals, and also contacted experts on TB transmission. They then extracted and analyzed the relevant data on TB incidence, prevalence, risk factors, and control measures. Averaged-out over the 51 identified studies, 54% of HCWs had LTBI. In most of the studies, increasing age and duration of employment in health-care facilities, indicating a longer cumulative exposure to infection, was associated with a higher prevalence of LTBI. The same trend was seen in a subgroup of medical and nursing students. After accounting for the incidence of TB in the relevant general population, the excess incidence of TB in the different studies that was attributable to being a HCW ranged from 25 to 5,361 cases per 100, 000 people per year. In addition, a higher risk of acquiring TB was associated with working in specific locations (for example, inpatient TB facilities or diagnostic laboratories) and with specific occupations, including nurses and radiology attendants; most of the health-care facilities examined in the published studies had no specific TB infection-control programs in place.
What Do These Findings Mean?
As with all systematic reviews, the accuracy of these findings may be limited by some aspects of the original studies, such as how the incidence of LTBI was measured. In addition, the possibility that the researchers missed some relevant published studies, or that only studies where there was a high incidence of TB in HCWs were published, may also affect the findings of this study. Nevertheless, they suggest that TB is an important occupational disease in HCWs in LMICs and that the HCWs most at risk of TB are those exposed to the most patients with TB. Reduction of that risk should be a high priority because occupational TB leads to the loss of essential, skilled HCWs. Unfortunately, there are few data available to indicate how this should be done. Thus, the researchers conclude, well-designed field studies are urgently needed to evaluate whether the TB-control measures that have reduced TB transmission to HCWs in high-income countries will work and be affordable in LMICs.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
• US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases patient fact sheet on tuberculosis
• US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information for patients and professionals on tuberculosis
• MedlinePlus encyclopedia entry on tuberculosis
• NHS Direct Online, from the UK National Health Service, patient information on tuberculosis
• US National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, information about tuberculosis for health-care workers
• American Lung Association information on tuberculosis and health-care workers
PMCID: PMC1716189  PMID: 17194191
17.  Hearing New Voices: Registered Nurses and Health Technicians Experience Caring for Chronic Pain Patients in Primary Care Clinics 
The Open Nursing Journal  2014;8:25-33.
Recent national estimates from the U.S. reveal that as many as one-third of all Americans experience chronic pain resulting in high prevalence rates of visits to primary care clinics (PCC). Indeed, chronic pain appears to be an emerging global health problem. Research has largely ignored the perspective of PCC staff other than physicians in providing care for patients with chronic pain. We wanted to gain insights from the experiences of Registered Nurses (RNs) and Health Technicians (HTs) who care for this patient population. Krippendorff’s method for content analysis was used to analyze comments written in an open-ended survey from fifty-seven primary care clinic staff (RNs-N=27 and HTs-N=30) respondents. This represented an overall response rate of 75%. Five themes emerged related to the experience of RNs and HTs caring for patients with chronic pain: 1) Primacy of Medications and Accompanying Clinical Quandaries; 2) System Barriers; 3) Dealing with Failure; 4) Primacy of Patient Centered Care; and 5) Importance of Team Based Care. This study demonstrates that nursing staff provide patient-centered care, recognize the importance of their role within an interdisciplinary team and can offer valuable insight about the care of patients with chronic pain. This study provides insight into strategies that can mitigate barriers to chronic pain management while sustaining those aspects that RNs and HTs view as essential for improving patient care for this vulnerable population in PCCs.
PMCID: PMC4168647  PMID: 25246996
Chronic pain; content analysis; Krippendorff method; primary care clinic.
18.  Stabbing and safeguarding in children and young people: a Pan-London service evaluation and audit 
JRSM Short Reports  2013;4(7):1-7.
To characterize paediatric presentations of stabbing to emergency departments across London and to audit existing referral rates to the police and social services against the new standard set by the General Medical Council.
Retrospective multi-centre service evaluation/audit.
All emergency departments within London.
Patients under 18 years of age presenting to emergency departments with non-accidental stabbing between 1 April 2007 and 30 April 2009.
Main outcome measures
Patient age, nature of assault, assailant, injuries and management. Rates of documented referral to police and social services, as mandated by GMC guidance.
A total of 381 presentations were identified from 20 out of the 32 hospitals in London, 160 of whom were less than 16 years old. The majority were seen only by emergency department staff and only a minority (28%) were admitted. Three died in the departments. A knife was the commonest weapon and the limbs the most common site of injury. Referrals to police were documented in only 30% of patients (43% if <16 years old) and to social services in 16% (31% if <16 years old) of those discharged. In the majority, there was no documentation (police 64%, social services 79%).
A significant number of paediatric stabbings present to emergency departments across London. The majority of these are discharged directly from departments. Of those discharged, documentation regarding referral rates to Police and Social Services was poor, and documented referral rates low. This study covered a period prior to the introduction of new General Medical Council guidance and a repeat audit to assess subsequent documented referrals is required.
PMCID: PMC3704062  PMID: 23885300
19.  Assessment of the technical quality of electrocardiograms. 
The technical quality of 600 electrocardiograms (ECG's) was assessed for missing leads and clipping, and graded from 1 to 5 for each of noise, lead drift and beat-to-beat drift. Three subgroups of 200 ECGs each were studied: group A, those obtained by emergency department staff (non-technicians); group B, records obtained by ECG technicians; and group C, telephone-transmitted records obtained by technicians performing all the laboratory work at a smaller, outlying hospital. Records with missing leads, clipping, grade 4 or 5 noise, grade 5 lead drift or grade 5 beat-to-beat drift were classified as unsatisfactory or rejected. With these stringent criteria the rejection rate was 71.0% for group A records, 58.5% for group B and 44.5% for group C. The proportions of records with peak quality (no missing leads or clipping, and grade 1 noise, lead drift or beat-to-beat drift) were 4.5% for group A, 5.5% for group B and 23.0% for group C. Suggested revisions in the grading of technical quality of ECGs are presented.
PMCID: PMC1818330  PMID: 688125
20.  British Contributions to Medical Libraries Overseas 
Since the Second World War, Britain has established or rehabilitated medical schools in eight territories for which she has some responsibility, and, through the British Council, she is making medical library services available in many other countries. Official organizations and professional bodies provide abstract and review journals which enable medical men overseas to keep abreast of modern knowledge, while the Library Association Medical Section and the British National Book Centre have established flourishing exchange services, whose facilities are offered to medical libraries abroad. The most pressing need in developing countries at the present time is for professional medical librarians. Opportunities for training in Britain are open to librarians through at least six official sources besides the British Council and World Health Organization, but so far only two trainees have presented themselves on such grants. Less experienced librarians in the developing countries also need the continuing support of their senior colleagues overseas.
PMCID: PMC198226  PMID: 14223737
21.  Mapping the use of simulation in prehospital care – a literature review 
High energy trauma is rare and, as a result, training of prehospital care providers often takes place during the real situation, with the patient as the object for the learning process. Such training could instead be carried out in the context of simulation, out of danger for both patients and personnel. The aim of this study was to provide an overview of the development and foci of research on simulation in prehospital care practice.
An integrative literature review were used. Articles based on quantitative as well as qualitative research methods were included, resulting in a comprehensive overview of existing published research. For published articles to be included in the review, the focus of the article had to be prehospital care providers, in prehospital settings. Furthermore, included articles must target interventions that were carried out in a simulation context.
The volume of published research is distributed between 1984- 2012 and across the regions North America, Europe, Oceania, Asia and Middle East. The simulation methods used were manikins, films, images or paper, live actors, animals and virtual reality. The staff categories focused upon were paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), medical doctors (MDs), nurse and fire fighters. The main topics of published research on simulation with prehospital care providers included: Intubation, Trauma care, Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Ventilation and Triage.
Simulation were described as a positive training and education method for prehospital medical staff. It provides opportunities to train assessment, treatment and implementation of procedures and devices under realistic conditions. It is crucial that the staff are familiar with and trained on the identified topics, i.e., intubation, trauma care, CPR, ventilation and triage, which all, to a very large degree, constitute prehospital care. Simulation plays an integral role in this. The current state of prehospital care, which this review reveals, includes inadequate skills of prehospital staff regarding ventilation and CPR, on both children and adults, the lack of skills in paediatric resuscitation and the lack of knowledge in assessing and managing burns victims. These circumstances suggest critical areas for further training and research, at both local and global levels.
PMCID: PMC3997227  PMID: 24678868
Simulation; Prehospital; Systematic literature review
22.  How do Community Pharmacies Recover from E-prescription Errors? 
The use of e-prescribing is increasing annually, with over 788 million e-prescriptions received in US pharmacies in 2012. Approximately 9% of e-prescriptions have medication errors.
To describe the process used by community pharmacy staff to detect, explain, and correct e-prescription errors.
The error recovery conceptual framework was employed for data collection and analysis. 13 pharmacists and 14 technicians from five community pharmacies in Wisconsin participated in the study. A combination of data collection methods were utilized, including direct observations, interviews, and focus groups. The transcription and content analysis of recordings were guided by the three-step error recovery model.
Most of the e-prescription errors were detected during the entering of information into the pharmacy system. These errors were detected by both pharmacists and technicians using a variety of strategies which included: (1) performing double checks of e-prescription information; (2) printing the e-prescription to paper and confirming the information on the computer screen with information from the paper printout; and (3) using colored pens to highlight important information. Strategies used for explaining errors included: (1) careful review of patient’ medication history; (2) pharmacist consultation with patients; (3) consultation with another pharmacy team member; and (4) use of online resources. In order to correct e-prescription errors, participants made educated guesses of the prescriber’s intent or contacted the prescriber via telephone or fax. When e-prescription errors were encountered in the community pharmacies, the primary goal of participants was to get the order right for patients by verifying the prescriber’s intent.
Pharmacists and technicians play an important role in preventing e-prescription errors through the detection of errors and the verification of prescribers’ intent. Future studies are needed to examine factors that facilitate or hinder recovery from e-prescription errors.
PMCID: PMC4045654  PMID: 24373898
Electronic prescribing; E-prescribing; Medication Errors; Error Recovery; Community Pharmacy
23.  Translating the medical home into patient-centred language 
London Journal of Primary Care  2014;6(6):124-130.
Key messages
Local community members' interpretation of patient-centred medical home components leads to community-relevant perspectives and messages for both patients and clinical providers.
For patients, the formal components of the patient-centred medical home are conducted and maintained in service to the patient–provider relationship.
Related LJPC papers
Chana N and Ahluwalia S (2014) Evaluating the care of patients with long-term conditions. London Journal of Primary Care 6:131–5.
Morris D (2014) Introducing Volume 6 of London Journal of Primary Care: community-oriented integrated care. London Journal of Primary Care 6:1–2.
Why this matters to us
The High Plains Research Network (HPRN) aspires to broad community, patient and provider engagement in all research projects. The Community Advisory Council (CAC) includes local farmers, ranchers, schoolteachers, business owners and students, and guides all the research conducted in the HPRN. After hearing about the patient-centred medical home, the CAC raised concerns about how the PCMH was truly patient centred. The CAC wanted to learn more about the medical home and help translate the formal patient-centred medical home components into language and constructs more relevant to patients.
Background The patient-centred medical home (PCMH) is a healthcare delivery model that aims to make health care more effective and affordable and to curb the rise in episodic care resulting from increasing costs and sub-specialisation of health care. Although the PCMH model has been implemented in many different healthcare settings, little is known about the PCMH in rural or underserved settings. Further, less is known about patients' understanding of the PCMH and its effect on their care.
Aims The goal of this project was to ascertain the patient perspective of the PCMH and develop meaningful language around the PCMH to help inform and promote patients' participation with the PCMH.
Method The High Plains Research Network Community Advisory Council (CAC) is comprised of a diverse group of individuals from rural eastern Colorado. The CAC and its academic partners started this project by receiving a comprehensive education on the PCMH. Using a community-based participatory research approach, the CAC translated technical medical jargon on the PCMH into a core message that the ‘Medical Home is Relationship’.
Results The PCMH should focus on the relationship of the patient with their personal physician. Medical home activities should be used to support and strengthen this relationship.
Conclusion The findings serve as a reminder of the crucial elements of the PCMH that make it truly patient centred and the importance of engaging local patients in developing and implementing the medical home.
PMCID: PMC4345780  PMID: 25949733
community-based participatory research; patient-centred medical home; rural
24.  A Novel Simulation Technician Laboratory Design: Results of a Survey-Based Study 
Cureus  null;8(3):e534.
The purpose of this study was to elicit feedback from simulation technicians prior to developing the first simulation technician-specific simulation laboratory in Akron, OH.
Simulation technicians serve a vital role in simulation centers within hospitals/health centers around the world. The first simulation technician degree program in the US has been approved in Akron, OH. To satisfy the requirements of this program and to meet the needs of this special audience of learners, a customized simulation lab is essential. 
A web-based survey was circulated to simulation technicians prior to completion of the lab for the new program. The survey consisted of questions aimed at identifying structural and functional design elements of a novel simulation center for the training of simulation technicians. Quantitative methods were utilized to analyze data.
Over 90% of technicians (n=65) think that a lab designed explicitly for the training of technicians is novel and beneficial. Approximately 75% of respondents think that the space provided appropriate audiovisual (AV) infrastructure and space to evaluate the ability of technicians to be independent. The respondents think that the lab needed more storage space, visualization space for a large number of students, and more space in the technical/repair area.
A space designed for the training of simulation technicians was considered to be beneficial. This laboratory requires distinct space for technical repair, adequate bench space for the maintenance and repair of simulators, an appropriate AV infrastructure, and space to evaluate the ability of technicians to be independent.
PMCID: PMC4835150  PMID: 27096134
simulation laboratory design; simulation technician; simulation specialist training
25.  “That’s your patient. There’s your ventilator”: exploring induction to work experiences in a group of non-UK EEA trained anaesthetists in a London hospital: a qualitative study 
BMC Medical Education  2015;15:50.
European health systems depend increasingly on the services of health professionals who obtained their primary medical qualification from other countries. There has been a significant increase recently in fully qualified specialist doctors arriving from the European Union to provide short term or longer-term solutions to health human resources needs in the UK National Health System. These doctors often take up senior consultant positions. As a result, the NHS has had to learn to deal with both expatriation and repatriation of EU doctors as a constant dynamic characteristic of its own ability to deliver services. We conducted a qualitative study to explore the acclimatisation experience of EU doctors with qualifications in anaesthesia arriving in the United Kingdom to take up clinical employment in the NHS. The question we ask is: how do specialty registered anaesthetists who trained in other European countries experience the process of acclimatisation to practice in the United Kingdom in a large hospital in London?
We did individual interviews with non-UK, EU-qualified doctors with Certification of Completion of specialty Training who were registered with the General Medical Council in the UK and could practice in the NHS as specialist anaesthetists. The doctors were all interviewed whilst working in a large NHS teaching hospital in London, UK. We analysed qualitative data from interview transcripts to identity themes and patterns regarding senior doctor’s acclimatisation to the British system.
Acclimatisation conceived of as transfer of clinical expertise was problematic for doctors who felt they lacked the right kind of support. Doctors sought different opportunities to share wider perspectives on care deriving from their previous experience.
Hospital conceptions of acclimatisation as a highly individual process can offer an idealized view of clinical work and learning in the new system. Socio-cultural theories suggest we create regular learning opportunities for international staff to critically reflect on practice with local staff to acclimatise more effectively.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12909-015-0331-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4367902  PMID: 25890264
Continuing education; International medical graduates; Anaesthetists; Critical care; Induction to work; Acclimatisation; Safety orientation; Practice-based learning; Socio-cultural theory

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