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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.
doi:10.1098/rsnr.2007.0035
PMCID: PMC2628576  PMID: 18548906
medical laboratory technicians; medical laboratories; medical history
2.  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.
doi:10.1017/mdh.2013.17
PMCID: PMC3865944  PMID: 24069883
Medical Research Council; Agricultural Research Council; Colonial Office; 1940 CDW Act; Colonial Medical Research Council; East Africa
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.
Background
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.
Conclusion
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
Background
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 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000242.
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
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000242
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.
Purpose:
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.
Methods:
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.
Results:
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).
Conclusion:
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.  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
6.  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.
doi:10.1136/oem.59.6.398
PMCID: PMC1740304  PMID: 12040116
7.  Prescriptions for medical research. I--Management within the Medical Research Council. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1993;306(6893):1668-1672.
In their submission to the government in advance of the white paper on science policy in the United Kingdom the Medical Research Council commends the MRC's own approach to managing directly funded research. But a series of semi-structured interviews with the directors of some of the MRC's units suggests a gap between the MRC's model of managed research and the reality. Although such units are theoretically managed from MRC head office (and units are charged an overhead for this), in practice each unit runs its own affairs. Between major reviews average contact time with the head office contact person is seven hours a year. The first paper argues that a purchaser-provider split would recognise the benefits of decentralisation and allow units to bid for research funds from several sources, the successful ones guaranteeing their survival through a rolling series of research programmes. The second paper criticises the MRC's cumbersome peer review system. Reliance on outside experts atrophies the scientific skills of head office staff and builds delays into decision making. A purchaser-provider model would allow the head office scientific staff to act like commercial research and development managers, commissioning research, and using the outcome, rather than peer review, as a criterion for continued funding.
PMCID: PMC1678049  PMID: 8324441
8.  The State of Human Anatomy Teaching in the Medical Schools of Gulf Cooperation Council Countries 
Available literature on medical education charts an emerging trend in the field of anatomy. In the past decade, assisted by innovations in informatics and the paradigm shift in medical education, the hands-on experience of cadaver dissection has progressively become a relic of the past. Within the context of the situation in Gulf Cooperation Council countries, this paper compares the traditional teaching approach with the modern one that tends to emphasise technical gadgetry, virtual reality and plastic models rather than hands-on-experience to impart knowledge and skill. However, cadaver-based learning is an important building block for the future physician and surgeon since clinical astuteness is likely to rely on skills gained from hands-on experience rather than the tendency to learning through virtual reality found in modern curricula.
PMCID: PMC3074750  PMID: 21509271
Anatomy teaching; Computer-assisted learning; Curriculum; Cadaver; Dissection
9.  Why the Medical Research Council refused Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe support for research on human conception in 1971 
Human Reproduction (Oxford, England)  2010;25(9):2157-2174.
BACKGROUND
In 1971, Cambridge physiologist Robert Edwards and Oldham gynaecologist Patrick Steptoe applied to the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) for long-term support for a programme of scientific and clinical ‘Studies on Human Reproduction’. The MRC, then the major British funder of medical research, declined support on ethical grounds and maintained this policy throughout the 1970s. The work continued with private money, leading to the birth of Louise Brown in 1978 and transforming research in obstetrics, gynaecology and human embryology.
METHODS
The MRC decision has been criticized, but the processes by which it was reached have yet to be explored. Here, we present an archive-based analysis of the MRC decision.
RESULTS
We find evidence of initial support for Edwards and Steptoe, including from within the MRC, which invited the applicants to join its new directly funded Clinical Research Centre at Northwick Park Hospital. They declined the offer, preferring long-term grant support at the University of Cambridge, and so exposed the project to competitive funding mode. Referees and the Clinical Research Board saw the institutional set-up in Cambridge as problematic with respect to clinical facilities and patient management; gave infertility a low priority compared with population control; assessed interventions as purely experimental rather than potential treatments, and so set the bar for safety high; feared fatal abnormalities and so wanted primate experiments first; and were antagonized by the applicants’ high media profile. The rejection set MRC policy on IVF for 8 years, until, after the birth of just two healthy babies, the Council rapidly converted to enthusiastic support.
CONCLUSIONS
This analysis enriches our view of a crucial decision, highlights institutional opportunities and constraints and provides insight into the then dominant attitudes of reproductive scientists and clinicians towards human conception research.
doi:10.1093/humrep/deq155
PMCID: PMC2922998  PMID: 20657027
Robert Edwards; funding; history; human conception; IVF; Medical Research Council; Patrick Steptoe
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.
doi:10.1093/brain/awr318
PMCID: PMC3338921  PMID: 22189568
MRC; manual muscle testing; Rasch; neuromuscular disorders
11.  Open access intrapartum CTG database 
Background
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.
Description
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-16
PMCID: PMC3898997  PMID: 24418387
Cardiotocography; Intrapartum; CTG; Database; Signal processing; Fetal heart rate
12.  Making progress: the role of cancer councils in Australia in indigenous cancer control 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:347.
Background
Indigenous Australians have poorer outcomes from cancer for a variety of reasons including poorer participation in screening programs, later diagnosis, higher rates of cancer with poor prognosis and poorer uptake and completion of treatment. Cancer prevention and support for people with cancer is part of the core business of the State and Territory Cancer Councils. To support sharing of lessons learned, this paper reports an environmental scan undertaken in 2010 in cancer councils (CCs) nationwide that aimed to support Indigenous cancer control.
Methods
The methods replicated the approach used in a 2006 environmental scan of Indigenous related activity in CCs. The Chief Executive Officer of each CC nominated individuals for interview. Interviews explored staffing, projects, programs and activities to progress cancer control issues for Indigenous Australians, through phone or face-to-face interviews. Reported initiatives were tabulated using predetermined categories of activity and summaries were returned to interviewees, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Subcommittee and Chief Executive Officers for verification.
Results
All CCs participated and modest increases in activity had occurred in most states since 2006 through different means. Indigenous staff numbers were low and no Indigenous person had yet been employed in smaller CCs; no CC had an Indigenous Board member and efforts at capacity building were often directed outside of the organisation. Developing partnerships with Indigenous organisations were ongoing. Acknowledgement and specific mention of Indigenous people in policy was increasing. Momentum increased following the establishment of a national subcommittee which increased the profile of Indigenous issues and provided collegial and practical support for those committed to reducing Indigenous cancer disparities. Government funding of “Closing the Gap” and research in the larger CCs have been other avenues for increasing knowledge and activity in Indigenous cancer control.
Conclusions
This environmental scan measured progress, allowed sharing of information and provided critical assessment of progress across areas of importance for increasing Indigenous cancer control. Structured examination of policies, institutional support systems, programs and interventions is a useful means of highlighting opportunities for progress with minority groups relevant for many organisations. Progress has occurred with momentum likely to increase in the future and benefit from commitment to long-term monitoring and sharing of achievements.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-347
PMCID: PMC4004461  PMID: 24725974
Cancer; Aboriginal; Indigenous; Environmental scan; Delivery of health care/*organization & administration; Health services accessibility; Neoplasms/*prevention & control
13.  Innovative Practices to Sustain and Renew Service and Patient-centered Outcomes 
Global Advances in Health and Medicine  2014;3(Suppl 1):BPA02.
Background and Objectives:
In integrating HeartMath into our culture at Gundersen Health System, we have a shared focus on delivering workshops and sustaining our HeartMath practices through a variety of innovative approaches. This presentation provides examples of our success in keeping the HeartMath practices alive for our staff.
Gundersen is a fully integrated delivery system of 6500 employees. More than 700 medical, dental, and associate employees are distributed throughout 41 clinic locations, a 325-bed tertiary medical center, a Level II Trauma Center, Gundersen Medical Foundation, residency and medical education programs, and a clinical research program. Our service area covers 19 counties in three states, Western Wisconsin, Southeast Minnesota and Northeast Iowa. We are a physician-led organization embracing a strong administrative/medical partnership.
Three parts of the 2012–2016 strategic plan apply to this initiative: Innovate to achieve service and patient-centered experience outcomes that are best in class (Outstanding Patient Experience); create a culture that embraces a passion for caring and spirit of improvement (Great Place to Work); and engage our staff to create a safe, injury-free, and healing environment for themselves, our patients, and visitors (Great Place to Work).
Rollout Method:
Between February 2011 and February 2013, more than 1200 employees completed HeartMath training. This initiative started with two staff members becoming HeartMathcertified trainers in January 2011. To promote leadership support for the program, the department chair MDs received HeartMath education in May 2011. Several units were identified to be the first to receive the training. As positive reviews circulated, requests for trainings were received from other departments. These included requests to customize the HeartMath offerings for leadership summits, manager meetings, new leader on-boarding, and physician and associate staff and to offer HeartMath appetizers. The reception from both senior leaders and staff warranted two additional trainers becoming certified in August 2011. The administrative leaders completed HeartMath education in March 2012 through our Leadership Academy.
Sustainability Method:
The importance of sustainability of this type of training and project cannot be overemphasized. Therefore, we adopted a wide-ranging strategy. A HeartMath website was incorporated into our GundU Renewal Center. We set up organization-wide user groups that met regularly and organization-wide self-care events. The participants were made aware of sustainability resources and daily visual reminders (HeartQuotes). Monthly articles and participants' stories were placed in the Gundersen newsletter. Recognition posters were awarded to departments showing the percentage of their employees that have attended the trainings. When Jean Watson was adopted as the nursing theorist, an executive decision was made to strategically align her Caring Theory with the HeartMath program.
Results:
Using a 1-to-10 scale (1 = not recommend, 10 = highly recommend), 86% rated 7–10 they would recommend this program to colleagues. A post-workshop research survey pilot consisting of 20 questions sent to 122 participants 3 to 6 months after completion received a 54% response rate, with 86% indicating regular use of techniques.
The following Figure illustrates the results of sustainability and impact research.
Sustainability and impact research.
doi:10.7453/gahmj.2014.BPA02
PMCID: PMC3923279
Patient-centered outcomes; biofeedback; stress reduction; HeartMath
14.  Tuberculosis among Health-Care Workers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e494.
Background
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).
Conclusions
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
Background.
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 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030494.
• 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
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030494
PMCID: PMC1716189  PMID: 17194191
15.  Profile and scientific production of Brazilian National Council of Technological and Scientific Development researchers in Pediatrics 
Revista Paulista de Pediatria  2013;31(3):278-284.
OBJECTIVE:
To evaluate the profile and the scientific production of researchers in Pediatrics with scholarship from the National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development.
METHODS:
The Lattes curricula of 34 researchers in Pediatrics with active scholarships, from 2006 to 2008 were included in the analysis. The variables of interest were: gender, affiliation, time since PHD, tutoring of undergraduate students, mentorship of masters and doctors, scientific production and the papers' impact.
RESULTS:
In a total of 411 researchers in Medicine, 34 (8%) belonged to Pediatrics. Males (77%) and scholars in the category 2 of productivity (62%) prevailed. Three states of Brazil were responsible for approximately 90% of the researchers: São Paulo (53%), Minas Gerais (21%), and Rio Grande do Sul (15%). During their academic career, the Pediatrics researchers have published 3,122 articles with a median of 89 articles per researcher (interquartile range - IQ=51-119). Of the total, 40 and 59% articles were indexed in the Web of Science and Scopus databases, respectively. The Pediatrics researchers have published papers in 599 journals with a median impact factor of 2.35 (IQ=1.37-3.73) for the 323 indexed journals.
CONCLUSIONS:
The Pediatrics researchers have a relevant scientific output from the quantity point of the view, but there is a need to improve quality.
doi:10.1590/S0103-05822013000300002
PMCID: PMC4182968  PMID: 24142308
scientific publication indicators; Pediatrics; Medicine; education, Medical, Graduate; Health Sciences
16.  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.
doi:10.2174/1874434601408010025
PMCID: PMC4168647  PMID: 25246996
Chronic pain; content analysis; Krippendorff method; primary care clinic.
17.  New York State Council of Health-system Pharmacists 
Pharmacy and Therapeutics  2013;38(7):425-426.
The Emily Jerry Foundation was instrumental in requiring training and certification for pharmacy technicians; and a representative from the institute for Safe Medication Practices discusses “off-the-beaten-track” areas of medication use.
PMCID: PMC3776484  PMID: 24049431
18.  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.
Images
PMCID: PMC1818330  PMID: 688125
19.  A Systematic Approach to Capacity Strengthening of Laboratory Systems for Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Sri Lanka 
Background
The lack of capacity in laboratory systems is a major barrier to achieving the aims of the London Declaration (2012) on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). To counter this, capacity strengthening initiatives have been carried out in NTD laboratories worldwide. Many of these initiatives focus on individuals' skills or institutional processes and structures ignoring the crucial interactions between the laboratory and the wider national and international context. Furthermore, rigorous methods to assess these initiatives once they have been implemented are scarce. To address these gaps we developed a set of assessment and monitoring tools that can be used to determine the capacities required and achieved by laboratory systems at the individual, organizational, and national/international levels to support the control of NTDs.
Methodology and principal findings
We developed a set of qualitative and quantitative assessment and monitoring tools based on published evidence on optimal laboratory capacity. We implemented the tools with laboratory managers in Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, and Sri Lanka. Using the tools enabled us to identify strengths and gaps in the laboratory systems from the following perspectives: laboratory quality benchmarked against ISO 15189 standards, the potential for the laboratories to provide support to national and regional NTD control programmes, and the laboratory's position within relevant national and international networks and collaborations.
Conclusion
We have developed a set of mixed methods assessment and monitoring tools based on evidence derived from the components needed to strengthen the capacity of laboratory systems to control NTDs. Our tools help to systematically assess and monitor individual, organizational, and wider system level capacity of laboratory systems for NTD control and can be applied in different country contexts.
Author Summary
Capacity strengthening activities such as technical training for staff, student research project supervision, and equipment provision are being carried out in laboratories worldwide as part of the global effort to control neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). However, these activities often focus on developing the skill sets of an individual and are not being thoroughly monitored and assessed. To address these gaps we developed a set of monitoring and assessment tools that can be used to determine the capacities required and achieved by laboratory systems to support the control of NTDs. The tools simultaneously focus on individuals (e.g., technicians, students, researchers), organisations (e.g., universities, research institutions, clinical facilities), national governments, and international agencies. Using the tools highlighted the strengths and limitations of each laboratory system in addition to the role of the laboratory regionally and internationally. We used the tools in Kenya, Ghana, Malawi and Sri Lanka, and concluded that our tools can be adapted and tailored to use in other countries and laboratories.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002736
PMCID: PMC3945753  PMID: 24603407
20.  “It takes a village” to raise research productivity: Impact of a Trauma Interdisciplinary Group for Research (TIGR) at an urban, Level 1 trauma center 
The journal of trauma and acute care surgery  2013;75(1):10.1097/TA.0b013e31829383c4.
BACKGROUND
Few interdisciplinary research groups include basic scientists, pharmacists, therapists, nutritionists, lab technicians, as well as trauma patients and families, in addition to clinicians. Increasing interprofessional diversity within scientific teams working to improve trauma care is a goal of national organizations and federal funding agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This paper describes the design, implementation, and outcomes of a Trauma Interdisciplinary Group for Research (TIGR) at a Level 1 trauma center as it relates to increasing research productivity, with specific examples excerpted from an on-going NIH-funded study.
METHODS
We utilized a pre-test/post-test design with objectives aimed at measuring increases in research productivity following a targeted intervention. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis was used to develop the intervention which included research skill-building activities, accomplished by adding multidisciplinary investigators to an existing NIH-funded project. The NIH project aimed to test the hypothesis that accelerated biologic aging from chronic stress increases baseline inflammation and reduces inflammatory response to trauma (projected N=150). Pre/Post-TIGR data related to participant screening, recruitment, consent, and research processes were compared. Research productivity was measured through abstracts, publications, and investigator-initiated projects.
RESULTS
Research products increased from N =12 to N=42; (~ 400%). Research proposals for federal funding increased from N=0 to N=3, with success rate of 66%. Participant screenings for the NIH-funded study increased from N=40 to N=313. Consents increased from N=14 to N=70. Lab service fees were reduced from $300/participant to $5/participant.
CONCLUSIONS
Adding diversity to our scientific team via TIGR was exponentially successful in 1) improving research productivity, 2) reducing research costs, and 3) increasing research products and mentoring activities that the team prior to TIGR had not entertained. The team is now well-positioned to apply for more federally funded projects and more trauma clinicians are considering research careers than before.
doi:10.1097/TA.0b013e31829383c4
PMCID: PMC3860374  PMID: 24349879
research activity; interdisciplinary communication; trauma centers; wounds and injuries; multiple trauma
21.  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
22.  Mapping the use of simulation in prehospital care – a literature review 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1757-7241-22-22
PMCID: PMC3997227  PMID: 24678868
Simulation; Prehospital; Systematic literature review
23.  The General Medical Council: frame of reference or arbiter of morals? 
Journal of Medical Ethics  1977;3(3):110-114.
Many members of the public think of the General Medical Council (GMC) as the body which tries doctors: the doctors' law courts, as it were. And, except in the more sober of newspapers and news reports, the 'offences ' which receive the most publicity are those concerning alleged improper relations between doctors and patients. Professor Sir Denis Hill, in the following paper, which he read in the spring of this year to the annual conference of the London Medical Group devoted to a discussion of human sexuality, chose to examine the whole function of the General Medical Council as a frame of moral reference for doctors. Judging allegations of professional misconduct by doctors is the function of the Council's Disciplinary Committee. Judging sexual misconduct forms only a small part of their work. The GMC's responsibility covers the whole notion of morals and morality as it concerns doctors in their professional work. Sir Denis Hill stresses the modern thinking that morality must be learned and that attitudes are always shifting as society alters its norms of what is moral conduct. That is not to say that all that was previously considered not to be moral has now become acceptable but rather that other concepts have entered the field of moral debate. Therefore the GMC must constantly review the frame of reference it offers to doctors and the public may be surprised to learn that that process is never static. Sir Denis Hill in this paper is speaking personally and not as a member of the General Medical Council or of any of that body's special committees.
PMCID: PMC1154576  PMID: 926129
24.  Involvement of consumers in studies run by the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit: Results of a survey 
Trials  2012;13:9.
Background
We aimed to establish levels of consumer involvement in randomised controlled trials (RCTs), meta-analyses and other studies carried out by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) Clinical Trials Unit across the range of research programs, predominantly in cancer and HIV.
Methods
Staff responsible for studies that were included in a Unit Progress Report (MRC CTU, April 2009) were asked to complete a semi-structured questionnaire survey regarding consumer involvement. This was defined as active involvement of consumers as partners in the research process and not as subjects of that research. The electronic questionnaires combined open and closed questions, intended to capture quantitative and qualitative information on whether studies had involved consumers; types of activities undertaken; recruitment and support; advantages and disadvantages of involvement and its perceived impact on aspects of the research.
Results
Between October 2009 and April 2010, 138 completed questionnaires (86%) were returned. Studies had been conducted over a 20 year period from 1989, and around half were in cancer; 30% in HIV and 20% were in other disease areas including arthritis, tuberculosis and blood transfusion medicine. Forty-three studies (31%) had some consumer involvement, most commonly as members of trial management groups (TMG) [88%]. A number of positive impacts on both the research and the researcher were identified. Researchers generally felt involvement was worthwhile and some felt that consumer involvement had improved the credibility of the research. Benefits in design and quality, trial recruitment, dissemination and decision making were also perceived. Researchers felt they learned from consumer involvement, albeit that there were some barriers.
Conclusions
Whilst most researchers identified benefits of involving consumers, most of studies included in the survey had no involvement. Information from this survey will inform the development of a unit policy on consumer involvement, to guide future research conducted within the MRC Clinical Trials Unit and beyond.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-13-9
PMCID: PMC3398265  PMID: 22243649
Public and patient involvement; consumer involvement; clinical trials; systematic reviews; RCTs
25.  House Staff Quality Council: One Institution's Experience to Integrate Resident Involvement in Patient Care Improvement Initiatives 
The Ochsner Journal  2013;13(3):394-399.
Background
Residents and fellows perform a large portion of the hands-on patient care in tertiary referral centers. As frontline providers, they are well suited to identify quality and patient safety issues. As payment reform shifts hospitals to a fee-for-value–type system with reimbursement contingent on quality outcomes, preventive health, and patient satisfaction, house staff must be intimately involved in identifying and solving care delivery problems related to quality, outcomes, and patient safety. Many challenges exist in integrating house staff into the quality improvement infrastructure; these challenges may ideally be managed by the development of a house staff quality council (HSQC).
Methods
Residents and fellows at Scott & White Memorial Hospital interested in participating in a quality council submitted an application, curriculum vitae, and letter of support from their program director. Twelve residents and fellows were selected based on their prior quality improvement experience and/or their interest in quality and safety initiatives.
Results
In only 1 year, our HSQC, an Alliance of Independent Academic Medical Centers National Initiative III project, initiated 3 quality projects and began development of a fourth project.
Conclusion
Academic medical centers should consider establishing HSQCs to align institutional quality goals with residency training and medical education.
PMCID: PMC3776517  PMID: 24052771
Internship and residency; outcome assessment (health care); patient safety; quality improvement

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