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1.  Variation in the psychosocial determinants of the intention to prescribe hormone therapy prior to the release of the Women's Health Initiative trial: a survey of general practitioners and gynaecologists in France and Quebec 
Theory-based approaches are advocated to improve our understanding of prescription behaviour. This study is an application of the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) with additional variables. It was designed to assess which variables were associated with the intention to prescribe hormone therapy (HT). In addition, variations in the measures across medical specialities (GPs and gynaecologists) and across countries (France and Quebec) were investigated.
A survey among 2,000 doctors from France and 1,044 doctors from Quebec was conducted. Data were collected by means of a self-administered questionnaire. A clinical vignette was used to elicit doctors' opinions. The following TPB variables were assessed: attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioural control, attitudinal beliefs, normative beliefs and power of control beliefs. Additional variables (role belief, moral norm and practice pattern-related factors) were also assessed. A stepwise logistic regression was used to assess which variables were associated with the intention to prescribe HT. GPs and gynaecologists were compared to each other within countries and the two countries were compared within the specialties.
Overall, 1,085 doctors from France returned their questionnaire and 516 doctors from Quebec (response rate = 54% and 49%, respectively). In the overall regression model, power of control beliefs, moral norm and role belief were significantly associated with intention (all at p < 0.0001). The models by specialty and country were: for GPs in Quebec, power of control beliefs (p < 0.0001), moral norm (p < 0.01) and cytology and hormonal dosage (both at p < 0.05); for GPs in France, power of control beliefs and role belief (both at p < 0.0001) and perception of behavioural control (p < 0.05) and cessation of menses (p < 0.01); for gynaecologists in Quebec, moral norm and power of control beliefs (both at p = 0.01); and for gynaecologists in France, power of control beliefs (p < 0.0001), and moral norm, role belief and lipid profile (all at p < 0.05).
In both countries, compared with GPs, intention to prescribe HT was higher for gynaecologists. Psychosocial determinants of doctors' intention to prescribe HT varied according to the specialty and the country thus, suggesting an influence of contextual factors on these determinants.
PMCID: PMC1250227  PMID: 16150149
2.  The future of pharmaceutical care in France: a survey of final-year pharmacy students' opinions 
In the last decades, the provision of pharmaceutical care by community pharmacists has developed in OECD countries. These developments involved significant changes in professional practices and organization of primary care. In France, they have recently been encouraged by a new legal framework and favored by an increasing demand for health care (increase in the number of patients with chronic diseases) and reductions in services being offered (reduction in the number of general practitioners and huge regional disparities).
Objectives: This study aimed to investigate final-year pharmacy students' opinions on 1/expanding the scope of pharmacists' practices and 2/the potential barriers for the implementation of pharmaceutical care. We discussed these in the light of the experiences of pharmacists in Quebec, and other countries in Europe (United Kingdom and the Netherlands).
All final-year students in pharmaceutical studies, preparing to become community pharmacists, at the University Paris-Descartes in Paris during 2010 (n = 146) were recruited. All of them were interviewed by means of a questionnaire describing nine "professional" practices by pharmacists, arranged in four dimensions: (1) screening and chronic disease management, (2) medication surveillance, (3) pharmacy-prescribed medication and (4) participation in health care networks. Respondents were asked (1) how positively they view the extension of their current practices, using a 5 point Likert scale and (2) their perception of potential professional, technical, organizational and/or financial obstacles to developing these practices.
143 (97.9%) students completed the questionnaire. Most of practices studied received a greater than 80% approval rating, although only a third of respondents were in favor of the sales of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. The most significant perceived barriers were working time, remuneration and organizational problems, specifically the need to create a physical location for consultations to respect patients' privacy within a pharmacy.
Despite remaining barriers to cross, this study showed that future French pharmacists were keen to develop their role in patient care, beyond the traditional role of dispensing. However, the willingness of doctors and patients to consent should be investigated and also rigorous studies to support or refute the positive impact of pharmaceutical care on the quality of care should be carried out.
PMCID: PMC3115856  PMID: 21612642
3.  PRISMA in Québec and France: implementation and impact of a coordination-type integrated service delivery (ISD) system for frail older people 
Several models of integrated service delivery (ISD) networks are presently experimented in Canada and elsewhere, but most of them are designed according to a full integration model (PACE, S-HMO, SIPA). PRISMA is the only example of a coordinated-type model to be developed and fully implemented with a process and outcome evaluation.
The PRISMA model includes the following components to enhance the integration: 1) co-operation between decision-makers and managers of all services and institutions, 2) the use of a single entry point, 3) case management process, 4) individualized service plans, 5) a unique disability-based assessment tool (SMAF) with a case-mix system (Iso-SMAF profiles) and case-finding tool (PRISMA-7), and 6) a computerized system for communicating between institutions and professionals.
The PRISMA model
The PRISMA model was implemented in three areas (urban, rural with or without a local hospital) in Québec, Canada and research was carried out using both qualitative and quantitative data to evaluate its process and impact. An efficiency study was carried out, considering societal costs and all population impacts.
Based on the population impact demonstration, the PRISMA model has also been adapted and implemented in France. This symposium will present the implementation, impact and efficiency of the Québec experimentation, and the implementation transfer in France.
The 4 abstracts related to this project presentation:
1. Description and implementation of the PRISMA ISD system in Québec
Hébert R, Veil A, Raîche M, Dubois M-F, Dubuc N, Tousignant M
Components: The six components of the PRISMA model will be presented. The model was implemented in three areas (urban, rural with or without a local hospital) in Québec, Canada and the implementation evaluation was carried out using mixed (qualitative and quantitative) methods. Over four years, the implementation rates went from 22% to 79%. The perception of integration by managers and clinicians working in the different organizations of the network shows that most interactions are perceived at the cooperation level and some getting to the highest collaboration level. The perception of efficacy of case managers was very high. Implementing such model is feasible and decision to generalize it was made in Québec.
2. Population impact of PRISMA on frail older people and utilization of health and social services
Hébert R, Raîche M, Dubois M-F, Gueye NR, Dubuc N, Tousignant M
Objective: The objective of the population impact study was to evaluate the impact of the PRISMA model on health, satisfaction and services utilization of frail older people. It was a population-based study with a quasi-experimental design. From a random selection of people over 75 years old, a sample of 1501 persons identified at risk of functional decline was recruited in the three experimental areas (n=751) and three comparison zones (n=800). Subjects were measured at baseline and yearly for four years on functional autonomy, satisfaction with services and empowerment. Functional decline was defined as a loss of five points on the SMAF disability scale, institutionalization or death. Information on utilization of health and social services (public, private and community) was collected by bi-monthly phone questionnaires.
Results: When the last two years (where implementation rate was over 75%) were compared with first two years, the experimental group presented a difference of 6.3% on functional decline prevalence (p=0.03). Satisfaction and empowerment were significantly higher (both p<0.001) in the experimental group. For health services utilization, a 20% reduction of visits to emergency room (p<0.001) was observed in the experimental cohort. The hospitalization rate was also lower in the experimental group but the difference was not statistically significant (p=0.19). No significant effect was observed on other services.
3. Efficiency of the PRISMA model regarding population impacts
Durand S, Hébert R, Blanchette D, Buteau M
Efficiency: Assessing the efficiency of PRISMA is based on a comprehensive economic evaluation, with a societal approach. Given the implementation complexity of the six components in this innovative integration model, a micro-analysis was performed to assess its implementation and operational costs for the three experimental areas. The impact on residential, health and social services expenditures was also valued, based on use data collected during bimonthly interviews. Unit costs of these numerous services were estimated according to the opportunity cost approach. All these economic data were compared with the results of the population impact study through a cost-consequences analysis in order to measure PRISMA efficiency.
Results: The overall cost was not higher in the experimental group. It seems that implementation and operational costs of the PRISMA were offset relatively quickly by the savings likely stemming from better-adapted services. Also, the PRISMA had no effect on the mix of public, private and community costs. The population impact study showed positive impacts on functional decline prevalence, on handicaps, and on older people's satisfaction and empowerment. The only negative impact on the population is caregiver burden. Overall, these findings add evidence in support of increased efficiency under PRISMA.
4. Poster abstract: the PRISMA France study: implementation rate and factors influencing this rate
Somme D, Trouve H, Etheridge F, Gagnon D, Couturier Y, Balard F, Saint-Jean O
See elsewhere in this supplement.
PMCID: PMC2807086
PRISMA model; integrated service delivery
4.  Ideal and actual involvement of community pharmacists in health promotion and prevention: a cross-sectional study in Quebec, Canada 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:192.
An increased interest is observed in broadening community pharmacists' role in public health. To date, little information has been gathered in Canada on community pharmacists' perceptions of their role in health promotion and prevention; however, such data are essential to the development of public-health programs in community pharmacy. A cross-sectional study was therefore conducted to explore the perceptions of community pharmacists in urban and semi-urban areas regarding their ideal and actual levels of involvement in providing health-promotion and prevention services and the barriers to such involvement.
Using a five-step modified Dillman's tailored design method, a questionnaire with 28 multiple-choice or open-ended questions (11 pages plus a cover letter) was mailed to a random sample of 1,250 pharmacists out of 1,887 community pharmacists practicing in Montreal (Quebec, Canada) and surrounding areas. It included questions on pharmacists' ideal level of involvement in providing health-promotion and preventive services; which services were actually offered in their pharmacy, the employees involved, the frequency, and duration of the services; the barriers to the provision of these services in community pharmacy; their opinion regarding the most appropriate health professionals to provide them; and the characteristics of pharmacists, pharmacies and their clientele.
In all, 571 out of 1,234 (46.3%) eligible community pharmacists completed and returned the questionnaire. Most believed they should be very involved in health promotion and prevention, particularly in smoking cessation (84.3%); screening for hypertension (81.8%), diabetes (76.0%) and dyslipidemia (56.9%); and sexual health (61.7% to 89.1%); however, fewer respondents reported actually being very involved in providing such services (5.7% [lifestyle, including smoking cessation], 44.5%, 34.8%, 6.5% and 19.3%, respectively). The main barriers to the provision of these services in current practice were lack of: time (86.1%), coordination with other health care professionals (61.1%), staff or resources (57.2%), financial compensation (50.8%), and clinical tools (45.5%).
Although community pharmacists think they should play a significant role in health promotion and prevention, they recognize a wide gap between their ideal and actual levels of involvement. The efficient integration of primary-care pharmacists and pharmacies into public health cannot be envisioned without addressing important organizational barriers.
PMCID: PMC3342160  PMID: 22420693
Community pharmacists; Cross-sectional study; Health promotion; Prevention; Public health
5.  Reduction in Clostridium difficile Infection Rates after Mandatory Hospital Public Reporting: Findings from a Longitudinal Cohort Study in Canada 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(7):e1001268.
A population-based study conducted by Nick Daneman and colleagues in Ontario, Canada reports on the association between population reporting of hospital infection rates and a reduction in population burden of Clostridium difficile colitis.
The role of public reporting in improving hospital quality of care is controversial. Reporting of hospital-acquired infection rates has been introduced in multiple health care systems, but its relationship to infection rates has been understudied. Our objective was to determine whether mandatory public reporting by hospitals is associated with a reduction in hospital rates of Clostridium difficile infection.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a longitudinal, population-based cohort study in Ontario (Canada's largest province) between April 1, 2002, and March 31, 2010. We included all patients (>1 y old) admitted to 180 acute care hospitals. Using Poisson regression, we developed a model to predict hospital- and age-specific monthly rates of C. difficile disease per 10,000 patient-days prior to introduction of public reporting on September 1, 2008. We then compared observed monthly rates of C. difficile infection in the post-intervention period with rates predicted by the pre-intervention predictive model. In the pre-intervention period there were 33,634 cases of C. difficile infection during 39,221,113 hospital days, with rates increasing from 7.01 per 10,000 patient-days in 2002 to 10.79 in 2007. In the first calendar year after the introduction of public reporting, there was a decline in observed rates of C. difficile colitis in Ontario to 8.92 cases per 10,000 patient-days, which was significantly lower than the predicted rate of 12.16 (95% CI 11.35–13.04) cases per 10,000 patient-days (p<0.001). Over this period, public reporting was associated with a 26.7% (95% CI 21.4%–31.6%) reduction in C. difficile cases, or a projected 1,970 cases averted per year (95% CI 1,476–2,500). The effect was specific to C. difficile, with rates of community-acquired gastrointestinal infections and urinary tract infections unchanged. A limitation of our study is that this observational study design cannot rule out the influence of unmeasured temporal confounders.
Public reporting of hospital C. difficile rates was associated with a substantial reduction in the population burden of this infection. Future research will be required to discern the direct mechanism by which C. difficile infection rates may have been reduced in response to public reporting.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
A stay in hospital can be lifesaving but can expose people to health care–associated infections. One of these—Clostridium difficile infection—is a major cause of infectious disease illness and death in developed countries. C. difficile bacteria cause diarrhea and, more rarely, life-threatening inflammation of the gut (colitis). They are present in the gut of about 3% of adults but do not normally cause any problems because other “good” bacteria keep them in check. However, antibiotics destroy these good bacteria, and if a person who has taken antibiotics becomes infected with C. difficile before good bacteria repopulate the gut, C. difficile can multiply rapidly and produce toxins that cause illness. Because C. difficile is usually acquired from other infected patients and their contaminated environments, and because antibiotic use is highly prevalent in hospitals, most C. difficile infections are acquired in hospitals and nursing homes. Infections can be prevented by practicing good hygiene in health care environments (for example, washing hands regularly with soap and water), by isolating patients who are infected with C. difficile, and by prescribing antibiotics for other infections sparingly.
Why Was This Study Done?
Hospitals often need encouragement to improve infection control and other aspects of care. One potential way to improve the quality of hospital care is mandatory public reporting of measures of care quality. This intervention may help hospitals identify areas of poor performance to target for improvement or may motivate them to improve care quality to avoid the shame of a bad performance report. Although many health care systems have introduced public reporting of hospital-acquired infections, the effects of this intervention have been poorly studied. In this longitudinal cohort study, the researchers use population-based health care data to evaluate the impact of the introduction of mandatory hospital public reporting of the rates of hospital-acquired C. difficile infection in Ontario, Canada. Since September 1, 2008, hospitals in Ontario have been required to send monthly data on hospital-acquired C. difficile infections to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for posting on a public website.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used health care administrative data for all patients older than one year admitted to acute care hospitals in Ontario between April 1, 2002, and March 31, 2010, to develop a model to predict monthly rates of C. difficile disease per 10,000 patient-days based on rates in the period before the introduction of public reporting. They then compared the observed rates of C. difficile disease after the introduction of public reporting with the rates predicted by this model. In the pre-intervention period, there were nearly 34,000 cases of C. difficile disease during about 39 million hospital days. Rates of C. difficile disease increased from 7.01 cases per 10,000 patient-days in 2002 to 10.79 cases per 10,000 patient-days in 2007. After the introduction of public reporting, the C. difficile disease rate fell to 8.92 cases per 10,000 patient-days, which is significantly (that is, unlikely to have occurred by chance) lower than the 12.16 cases per 10,000 patient-days predicted by the pre-intervention model. Finally, the researchers estimate that public reporting was associated with a 26.6% reduction in C. difficile disease cases and that it averted about 1,900 cases per year.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that mandatory public reporting of hospital rates of C. difficile disease may reduce the population burden of this serious infection. Because this is an observational study, these findings do not prove that the introduction of mandatory public reporting actually caused a reduction in infection rates. Some other uncharacterized factor might be responsible for the decrease in C. difficile disease in Ontario hospitals since late 2008. Moreover, the many assumptions included in the predictive model means that the estimated number of cases averted by the introduction of public reporting may be inaccurate. Although further research is needed to determine how public reporting might affect C. difficile disease rates, the researchers suggest that, in this study, mandatory public reporting may have increased the prominence of C. difficile on hospital quality improvement agendas and may have motivated hospitals to adhere more closely to best practices in C. difficile prevention.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides detailed information about C. difficile infection, including an article called Making Health Care Safer: Stopping C. difficile Infections
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about C. difficile infections
The Health Protection Agency provides information about mandatory reporting of C. difficile infections in England and Wales and a fact sheet on C. difficile
Information about public reporting of hospital C. difficile rates in Ontario is available (in English and French)
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources about C. difficile infections (in English and Spanish)
The UK Clostridium Difficle Support website has a forum containing personal stories about C. difficile infection
PMCID: PMC3398960  PMID: 22815656
6.  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
7.  Significant Reduction of Antibiotic Use in the Community after a Nationwide Campaign in France, 2002–2007 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(6):e1000084.
Didier Guillemot and colleagues describe the evaluation of a nationwide programme in France aimed at decreasing unnecessary outpatient prescriptions for antibiotics. The campaign was successful, particularly in reducing prescriptions for children.
Overuse of antibiotics is the main force driving the emergence and dissemination of bacterial resistance in the community. France consumes more antibiotics and has the highest rate of beta-lactam resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae than any other European country. In 2001, the government initiated “Keep Antibiotics Working”; the program's main component was a campaign entitled “Les antibiotiques c'est pas automatique” (“Antibiotics are not automatic”) launched in 2002. We report the evaluation of this campaign by analyzing the evolution of outpatient antibiotic use in France 2000–2007, according to therapeutic class and geographic and age-group patterns.
Methods and Findings
This evaluation is based on 2000–2007 data, including 453,407,458 individual reimbursement data records and incidence of flu-like syndromes (FLSs). Data were obtained from the computerized French National Health Insurance database and provided by the French Sentinel Network. As compared to the preintervention period (2000–2002), the total number of antibiotic prescriptions per 100 inhabitants, adjusted for FLS frequency during the winter season, changed by −26.5% (95% confidence interval [CI] −33.5% to −19.6%) over 5 years. The decline occurred in all 22 regions of France and affected all antibiotic therapeutic classes except quinolones. The greatest decrease, −35.8% (95% CI −48.3% to −23.2%), was observed among young children aged 6–15 years. A significant change of −45% in the relationship between the incidence of flu-like syndromes and antibiotic prescriptions was observed.
The French national campaign was associated with a marked reduction of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions, particularly in children. This study provides a useful method for assessing public-health strategies designed to reduce antibiotic use.
Editors' Summary
In 1928, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, the first antibiotic (a drug that kills bacteria). By the early 1940s, large amounts of penicillin could be made and, in the following decades, several other classes of powerful antibiotics were discovered. For a time, it looked like bacteria and the diseases that they cause had been defeated. But bacteria rapidly became resistant to these wonder drugs and nowadays, antibiotic resistance is a pressing public-health concern. Almost every type of disease-causing bacteria has developed resistance to one or more antibiotic in clinical use, and multidrug-resistant bacteria are causing outbreaks of potentially fatal diseases in hospitals and in the community. For example, multidrug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae (multidrug-resistant pneumococci or MRP) is now very common. S. pneumoniae colonize the nose and throat (the upper respiratory tract) and can cause diseases that range from mild ear infections to life-threatening pneumonia, particularly in young children and elderly people.
Why Was This Study Done?
For years, doctors have been prescribing (and patients have been demanding) antibiotics for viral respiratory infections (VRIs) such as colds and flu even though antibiotics do not cure viral infections. This overuse of antibiotics has been the main driving force in the spread of MRP. Thus, the highest rate of S. pneumoniae antibiotic resistance in Europe occurs in France, which has one of the highest rates of antibiotic consumption in the world. In 2001 France initiated “le plan national pour préserver l'efficacité des antibiotiques” to reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics, particularly for the treatment of VRIs among children. The main component of the program was the “Antibiotiques c'est pas automatique” (“Antibiotics are not automatic”) campaign, which ran from 2002 to 2007 during the winter months when VRIs mainly occur. The campaign included an educational campaign for health care workers, the promotion of rapid tests for diagnosis of streptococcal infections, and a public information campaign about VRIs and about antibiotic resistance. In this study, the researchers evaluate the campaign by analyzing outpatient antibiotic use throughout France from 2000 to 2007.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers obtained information about antibiotic prescriptions and about the occurrence of flu-like illnesses during the study period from the French National Health Insurance database and national disease surveillance system, respectively. After adjusting for variations in the frequency of flu-like illnesses, compared to the preintervention period (2000–2002), the number of antibiotic prescriptions per 100 inhabitants decreased by a quarter over the five winters of the “Antibiotics are not automatic” campaign. The use of all major antibiotic classes except quinolones decreased in all 22 regions of France. Thus, whereas in 2000, more than 70 prescriptions per 100 inhabitants were issued during the winter in 15 regions, by 2006/7, no regions exceeded this prescription rate. The greatest decrease in prescription rate (a decrease of more than a third by 2006/7) was among children aged 6–15 years. Finally, although the rates of antibiotic prescriptions reflected the rates of flu-like illness throughout the campaign, by 2006/7 this relationship was much weaker, which suggests that fewer antibiotics were being prescribed for VRIs.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that the “Antibiotics are not automatic” campaign was associated with a reduction in antibiotic prescriptions, particularly in children. Because the whole French population was exposed to the campaign, these findings do not prove that the campaign actually caused the reduction in antibiotic prescriptions. The observed decrease might have been caused by other initiatives in France or elsewhere or by the introduction of a S. pneumoniae vaccine during the study period, for example. However, an independent survey indicated that fewer members of the public expected an antibiotic prescription for a VRI at the end of the campaign than at the start, that more people knew that antibiotics only kill bacteria, and that doctors were more confident about not prescribing antibiotics for VRIs. Thus, campaigns like “Antibiotics are not automatic” may be a promising way to reduce the overuse of antibiotics and to slow the spread of antibiotic resistance until new classes of effective antibiotics are developed.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Stephen Harbarth and Benedikt Huttner
The Bugs and Drugs Web site from the UK National electronic Library of Infection provides information about antibiotic resistance and links to other resources
The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases provides information on antimicrobial drug resistance and on pneumococcal pneumonia
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also have information on antibiotic resistance (in English and Spanish)
The European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Consumption Web site provides information on antibiotic consumption in European countries
Les antibiotiques c'est pas automatique provides information about the “Antibiotics are not automatic” campaign (in French)
Information on the Plan National pour Pérserver l'efficacité des antibiotiques is also available (in French)
PMCID: PMC2683932  PMID: 19492093
8.  From podium to press: The 10-year publication rate of abstracts presented at the annual meetings of the Quebec Urological Association (QUA) 
Our objective was to determine the proportion of publications arising from abstracts presented at the Quebec Urological Association (QUA). We wanted to analyze differences in publication rates according to certain parameters, and to examine the quality of publications using journal impact factors.
All abstracts presented at the annual meetings of the QUA between 2000 and 2010 were obtained from the QUA archives and searched using the PubMed database. Variables included: institute, number of abstracts presented, year of presentation and publication, impact factor of publishing journal (according to 2010 Thomson Reuters report), time to publication (months), research type, presenter and location of research. Kaplan Meier methods were used for analysis.
By May 2012, 248 out of 439 abstracts (QUA 2000 to 2010) were published in peer-reviewed journals, resulting in a publication rate of 56%. There were significant differences in publication rates according to institution, research type and location of research. Researchers from non-Quebec institutions were twice as likely to publish compared to those from Quebec institutions (Cox HR 2.13, CI 1.20–3.76, p < 0.01).
The QUA publication rate was considerably higher than previously studied by the American Urological Association (37.8%) and British Association of Urological Surgeons (≈42%); however length of follow-up and presentation types differed. Research conducted outside Quebec was more likely to be published, reflecting the multi-institution robust study designs and higher level of evidence. Factors influencing publication deserve further attention, and clinicians are encouraged to conduct research with intent to publish.
PMCID: PMC3699087  PMID: 23826052
9.  Seasonal congestive heart failure mortality and hospitalisation trends, Quebec 1990–1998 
Study objective: To describe seasonal congestive heart failure (CHF) mortality and hospitalisations in Quebec, Canada between 1990–1998 and compare trends in CHF mortality and morbidity with those in France.
Design: Population cohort study.
Setting: Province of Quebec, Canada.
Patients: Mortality data were obtained from the Quebec Death Certificate Registry and hospitalisation from the Quebec Med-Echo hospital discharge database. Cases with primary ICD-9 code 428 were considered cases of CHF.
Results: Monthly CHF mortality was higher in January, declined until September and then rose steadily (p<0.05). Hospital admissions for CHF declined from May until September (moving averages analysis p<0.0001). Seasonal mortality patterns observed in Quebec were similar to those observed in France.
Conclusion: CHF mortality in Quebec is highest during the winter and declines in the summer, similar to observations in France and Scotland. This suggests that absolute temperatures may not necessarily be that important but increased CHF mortality is observed once environmental temperatures fall below a certain "threshold" temperature. Alternatively better internal heating and warmer clothing required for survival in Quebec may ameliorate mortality patterns despite colder external environments.
PMCID: PMC1732686  PMID: 14729893
10.  Women in pediatrics: the experience in Quebec. 
OBJECTIVES: To compare the practice patterns of female pediatricians in Quebec with those of their male counterparts and to identify specific factors influencing these practice patterns. DESIGN: Matched cohort questionnaire survey. SETTING: Primary, secondary and tertiary care pediatric practices in Quebec. PARTICIPANTS: All 146 female pediatricians and 133 of the 298 male pediatricians, matched for age as well as type and site of practice; 119 (82%) of the female and 115 (86%) of the male pediatricians responded. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Demographic and family data as well as detailed information about the practice profile. RESULTS: The two groups were comparable regarding demographic data, professional work and patient care. Compared with the male respondents, the female pediatricians were younger and saw more outpatients. The mean number of hours worked per week, excluding on-call duty, was 40.5 (standard deviation [SD] 12.4) for the women and 48.9 (SD 12.0) for the men (p < 0.001). The female pediatricians were more likely than their male counterparts to have spouses who were also physicians (40%) or in another profession (45%). The female pediatricians without children worked significantly fewer hours than the male pediatricians with or without children (p < 0.001). Children (p = 0.006), but not the number of children (p = 0.452), had a significant effect on the number of hours worked by the female pediatricians. CONCLUSION: The duality of the role of female physicians as mothers and professional caregivers must be considered during workload evaluations. If the same style of practice and the increase in the proportion of female pediatricians continue, about 20% more pediatricians will be needed in 10 years to accomplish the same workload.
PMCID: PMC1490552  PMID: 8439936
11.  Burden of constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C) in France, Italy, and the United Kingdom 
Several studies have examined the effect of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) on health outcomes in Western Europe, but less research has focused on the constipation subtype (IBS-C). The current study addresses this gap by comparing patients with IBS-C and matched controls for health status, work productivity, and resource utilization.
Data were obtained from the 2010 5EU National Health and Wellness Survey (NHWS), which includes respondents from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK. Only participants from France (n = 15,051), Italy (n = 7580), and the UK (n = 15,065) were included in the analyses. Respondents who reported a physician diagnosis of IBS and reported only constipation symptoms were compared with respondents who did not report being diagnosed with IBS using a propensity score-matching methodology (matching on sociodemographics, health behaviors, and comorbidities). Differences between patients with IBS-C and matched controls were examined on health status (Short Form Survey Instrument version 2), work productivity (Work Productivity and Activity Impairment questionnaire), and health care resource use in the past 6 months.
A total of 83 (0.55%), 109 (1.44%), and 204 (1.35%) respondents reported a diagnosis of IBS with only constipation symptoms in France, Italy, and the UK, respectively. Within each country, patients with IBS-C reported significantly worse health status compared with matched controls (all P < 0.05) and significantly more physician visits (all P < 0.05). More hospitalizations were also observed in the UK (P < 0.05). Among those who were employed, patients with IBS-C in France and the UK also reported significantly more presenteeism than matched controls (all P < 0.05).
These findings highlight the pervasive influence of IBS-C on the day-to-day functioning of sufferers, their ability to be productive at work, and their influence on the wider health care system. Significant unmet needs remain, and improved management of this condition could result in significant and clinically meaningful gains in health status as well as alleviating a societal cost burden.
PMCID: PMC3499004  PMID: 23162373
Europe; health status; work productivity; health care resource use
12.  Variations in the treatment of early-stage breast cancer in Quebec between 1988 and 1994 
BACKGROUND: The influence of organizational factors on the process and outcomes of the treatment of breast cancer has been extensively investigated. Although the quality of care is presumed to be better in larger centres, evidence is inconsistent. This study was conducted to determine whether therapies for patients with breast cancer varied according to hospital caseload. METHODS: Women newly diagnosed between 1988 and 1994 with early-stage node-negative primary breast cancer were randomly selected from the Quebec tumour registry and the Quebec hospital discharge database. Data were collected from medical charts, and only women having undergone dissection of the axilla were included in the analyses. Logistic regression analysis was used to adjust for case mix and organizational variables. RESULTS: The final sample included 1259 patients with node-negative stage I or II primary breast cancer. The proportion of women who underwent breast-conserving surgery increased significantly with hospital caseload (from 78.0% in hospitals admitting fewer than 25 new cases each year to 88.0% in those admitting 100 patients or more; p for trend < 0.001). This trend remained significant even after statistical adjustment for case mix and organizational factors (p for trend = 0.001). Of the 1039 women who underwent breast-conserving surgery 965 (92.9%) received radiotherapy. Use of systemic adjuvant therapy (tamoxifen or chemotherapy, or both) increased with the number of patients treated in a given centre (from 60.1% to 68.5%), but this trend disappeared after adjustment for case mix and other factors. The proportion of patients receiving systemic adjuvant therapy consistent with published consensus guidelines tended to increase with caseload for those treated in hospitals participating in multicentre clinical trials but decrease with caseload for patients in hospitals not involved in clinical research. INTERPRETATION: The care of patients in Quebec with early-stage breast cancer is characterized by a high prevalence of both breast-conserving surgery and systemic adjuvant therapy. Large centres, especially those actively involved in clinical research, rapidly adopt innovative therapeutic modalities.
PMCID: PMC1230703  PMID: 10551190
13.  An assessment of pharmacists’ readiness for paperless labeling: a national survey 
To assess the state of readiness for the adoption of paperless labeling among a nationally representative sample of pharmacies, including chain pharmacies, independent retail pharmacies, hospitals, and other rural or urban dispensing sites.
Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were used to analyze responses to a cross-sectional survey disseminated to American Pharmacists Association pharmacists nationwide. The survey assessed factors related to pharmacists’ attitudinal readiness (ie, perceptions of impact) and pharmacies’ structural readiness (eg, availability of electronic resources, internet access) for the paperless labeling initiative.
We received a total of 436 survey responses (6% response rate) from pharmacists representing 44 US states and territories. Across the spectrum of settings we studied, pharmacists had work access to computers, printers, fax machines and access to the internet or intranet. Approximately 79% of respondents believed that the initiative would improve the adequacy of drug information available in their work site and 95% believed it would either not change (33%) or would improve (62%) communication to patients. Overall, respondents’ comments supported advancing the initiative; however, some comments revealed reservations regarding corporate or pharmacy buy-in, success of implementation, and ease of adoption.
This is the first nationwide study to report about pharmacists’ perspectives on paperless labeling. In general, pharmacists believe they are ready and that their pharmacies are well equipped for the transition to paperless labeling. Further exploration of perspectives from product label manufacturers and corporate pharmacy offices is needed to understand fully what will be necessary to complete this transition.
PMCID: PMC3912718  PMID: 23523874
Drug Information Services; Feasibility Studies; Pharmacies; Pharmacists; Product labeling/methods
14.  Patient attitudes regarding the role of the pharmacist and interest in expanded pharmacist services 
Canadian Pharmacists Journal : CPJ  2014;147(4):239-247.
Pharmacists are consistently ranked among the most trusted professionals, and research shows high levels of satisfaction with pharmacist services. Studies have also shown that the public is generally unaware of the full range of roles and responsibilities of a pharmacist. The purpose of this study was to explore the public’s knowledge and attitudes regarding the role of the community pharmacist and to determine their likelihood of using expanded pharmacist services.
Adults across Newfoundland and Labrador were surveyed by telephone. Survey questions addressed how frequently participants visited the pharmacy, understanding of duties undertaken by pharmacists, perceptions and attitudes regarding pharmacists as health care professionals, likelihood of using expanded pharmacist services and participant demographics. Comparisons were made between responses from urban and rural participants and frequent versus nonfrequent pharmacy users, to determine if there were any differences.
The majority of participants were generally aware of what pharmacists do when filling prescriptions; those who visited the pharmacy more frequently appeared to be more informed. Participants indicated they would take advantage of the expanded services suggested, with greatest interest in receiving advice for minor ailment management and prescription refills from pharmacists. Results support the prevailing view that pharmacists are trusted health professionals who should have access to patients’ health information to provide best care.
The public is aware of aspects of the pharmacist’s role, but opportunities exist to better educate the public on the knowledge, skills and unique professional abilities of pharmacists to support uptake of expanded pharmacist services.
PMCID: PMC4212442  PMID: 25360150
15.  Evaluation of the Research Grant Program of the Foundation of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists, 1995–2008 
Pharmacist-led research has grown substantially over the past 10 to 15 years. The Research Grant Program of the Research and Education Foundation of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP Foundation), initiated in 1992, is the only funding opportunity available specifically to members of the Society.
To evaluate the status of research projects funded by the Research Grant Program of the CSHP Foundation, to examine the outcomes of these projects, and to determine the opinions of grant recipients regarding this competition.
An e-mail survey was sent to each of the 34 hospital pharmacist researchers who received funding from the Research Grant Program of the CSHP Foundation during the period 1995 to 2008. Survey questions sought to evaluate scholarly outcomes (i.e., publications and presentations) from funded projects. The opinions of grant recipients about the value of the program were also solicited.
One of the potential respondents had returned the grant money and was ineligible for the survey. Of the 33 potential respondents, 30 (91%) responded to the survey. Overall, 24 of the projects had been completed at the time of the survey, and 19 of these had been published, resulting in a total of 26 manuscripts. Abstracts had been presented for 21 of the projects. In total, 49 abstracts had been presented at national (22), international (13), provincial (7) and local (7) conferences. The median award was $5000 (interquartile range $5000 to $7500). Eleven of the projects had received additional funding, primarily from the recipient’s hospital or health authority or from university sources. The survey respondents indicated that the grant from the CSHP Foundation had been critical to completion of their projects and had been of assistance in securing additional funding, when such funding was necessary. Respondents felt that dedicated research funding for hospital pharmacists in Canada should continue.
The Research Grant Program of the CSHP Foundation has been important to hospital pharmacists, enabling a variety of research projects to be initiated and completed. The high rate of project completion and the large number of publications and presentations resulting from this work speak to both the quality of the work and the dedication of the research teams. The CSHP Foundation should continue to fund this competition and should explore a more robust model, with larger awards and more funded projects each year.
PMCID: PMC3242572  PMID: 22479094
hospital pharmacy; research; funding; grants; survey; pharmacie d’hôpital; recherche; financement; bourses; sondage
16.  Internationally trained pharmacists in Great Britain: what do registration data tell us about their recruitment? 
Internationally trained health professionals are an important part of the domestic workforce, but little is known about pharmacists who come to work in Great Britain. Recent changes in the registration routes onto the Register of Pharmacists of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain may have affected entries from overseas: reciprocal arrangements for pharmacists from Australia and New Zealand ended in June 2006; 10 new states joined the European Union in 2004 and a further two in 2007, allowing straightforward registration.
The aims of the paper are to extend our knowledge about the extent to which Great Britain is relying on the contribution of internationally trained pharmacists and to explore their routes of entry and demographic characteristics and compare them to those of pharmacists trained in Great Britain.
The August 2007 Register of Pharmacists provided the main data for analysis. Register extracts between 2002 and 2005 were also explored, allowing longitudinal comparison, and work pattern data from the 2005 Pharmacist Workforce Census were included.
In 2007, internationally trained pharmacists represented 8.8% of the 43 262 registered pharmacists domiciled in Great Britain. The majority (40.6%) had joined the Register from Europe; 33.6% and 25.8% joined via adjudication and reciprocal arrangements. Until this entry route ended for pharmacists from Australia and New Zealand in 2006, annual numbers of reciprocal pharmacists increased. European pharmacists are younger (mean age 31.7) than reciprocal (40.0) or adjudication pharmacists (43.0), and the percentage of women among European-trained pharmacists is much higher (68%) when compared with British-trained pharmacists (56%). While only 7.1% of pharmacists registered in Great Britain have a London address, this proportion is much higher for European (13.9%), adjudication (19.5%) and reciprocal pharmacists (28.9%). The latter are more likely to work in hospitals than in community pharmacies, and all groups of internationally trained pharmacist are more likely to work full-time than British-trained ones. Adjudication pharmacists appear to stay on the Register longer than their reciprocal and European colleagues.
Analysis of the Register of Pharmacists provides novel insights into the origins, composition and destinations of internationally trained pharmacists. They represent a notable proportion of the Register, indicating that British employers are relying on their contribution for the delivery of pharmacy services. With the increasing mobility of health care professionals across geographical borders, it will be important to undertake primary research to gain a better understanding of the expectations, plans and experiences of pharmacists entering from outside Great Britain.
PMCID: PMC2714492  PMID: 19555489
17.  Personal Decision-Making Criteria Related to Seasonal and Pandemic A(H1N1) Influenza-Vaccination Acceptance among French Healthcare Workers 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e38646.
Influenza-vaccination rates among healthcare workers (HCW) remain low worldwide, even during the 2009 A(H1N1) pandemic. In France, this vaccination is free but administered on a voluntary basis. We investigated the factors influencing HCW influenza vaccination.
In June–July 2010, HCW from wards of five French hospitals completed a cross-sectional survey. A multifaceted campaign aimed at improving vaccination coverage in this hospital group was conducted before and during the 2009 pandemic. Using an anonymous self-administered questionnaire, we assessed the relationships between seasonal (SIV) and pandemic (PIV) influenza vaccinations, and sociodemographic and professional characteristics, previous and current vaccination statuses, and 33 statements investigating 10 sociocognitive domains. The sociocognitive domains describing HCWs' SIV and PIV profiles were analyzed using the classification-and-regression–tree method.
Of the HCWs responding to our survey, 1480 were paramedical and 401 were medical with 2009 vaccination rates of 30% and 58% for SIV and 21% and 71% for PIV, respectively (p<0.0001 for both SIV and PIV vaccinations). Older age, prior SIV, working in emergency departments or intensive care units, being a medical HCW and the hospital they worked in were associated with both vaccinations; while work shift was associated only with PIV. Sociocognitive domains associated with both vaccinations were self-perception of benefits and health motivation for all HCW. For medical HCW, being a role model was an additional domain associated with SIV and PIV.
Both vaccination rates remained low. Vaccination mainly depended on self-determined factors and for medical HCW, being a role model.
PMCID: PMC3407215  PMID: 22848342
18.  Cross-border reproductive care among French patients: experiences in Greece, Spain and Belgium 
Human Reproduction (Oxford, England)  2013;28(11):3103-3110.
What are the characteristics, motivation and experience of French patients seeking cross-border reproductive care (CBRC)?
French patients seeking CBRC are same-sex couples, single women who are not eligible for assisted reproduction technologies (ARTs) in France and heterosexual couples seeking oocyte donation due to extremely limited access to this technique in France, while their choice of Greece as a destination is influenced by financial issues.
CBRC is a new, increasing, complex and poorly understood phenomenon. A few studies have investigated UK, German or Italian CBRC patients, but none have specifically investigated French patients although France is one of the top four countries of origin of CBRC patients in Europe.
A cross-sectional study was carried out in 2010–2012 in three ART centres in Greece, Belgium and Spain in order to investigate French patients treated in these centres. Recruitment was prospective in Greece and Belgium and retrospective in Spain. The overall response rate was 68%, with 128 French patients participating.
French patients filled in a questionnaire. Information was collected on their socio-economic characteristics and their search for ART treatment in France and in other countries.
In the Belgian centre, 89% of French patients used sperm donation whereas oocyte donation was used by 100% of patients in the Greek centre and 74% of patients in the Spanish centre. The majority (94%) of French patients using sperm donation in Belgium were not legally eligible for access to ART in France as they were same-sex couples or single women, and the main criterion of choice of centre was its geographical proximity (71%). Most of the French patients using oocyte donation in Greece and Spain fulfilled criteria for fully reimbursed oocyte donation treatment in France as they were heterosexual couples (99%) with the woman aged <43 years (65%). For these couples, CBRC was motivated by the extremely limited access to oocyte donation in France. Half of French CBRC patients using oocyte donation in Spain had a low/intermediate occupational level (such as primary school teachers, nurses, administrative officers or sales agents, workers and employees) and this proportion was much higher in Greece (82%, P < 0.01).
Larger and more wide-ranging studies are needed as this study included only 128 patients who may not be representative of all French CBRC patients, especially because the study was carried out only in three ART centres and these too may not be representative.
CBRC among French patients had been thought to reflect mainly law evasion. This study showed that the reality is much more complex and that CBRC among French patients reflects both law evasion and limited access to oocyte donation in France. It also brings new insight into the characteristics of the patients by suggesting a certain degree of ‘democratization’ in access to such care. However, the choice of centre seemed related to socio-economic characteristics, in that the Greek centre treated a less advantaged population than the Spanish centre.
This study was supported by French public research funds, the Institute Emilie du Châtelet from the Ile-de-France Region, the Biomedicine Agency and the Research Institute of Public Health (IReSP). There are no conflicts of interest.
Not applicable.
PMCID: PMC3795470  PMID: 23943796
assisted reproduction technologies; oocyte donation; cross-border reproductive care; sperm donation; Europe
19.  Which physicians make home visits and why? A survey 
BACKGROUND: Recent changes in the North American health care system and certain demographic factors have led to increases in home care services. Little information is available to identify the strategies that could facilitate this transformation in medical practice and ensure that such changes respond adequately to patients' needs. As a first step, the authors attempted to identify the major factors influencing physicians' home care practices in the Quebec City area. METHODS: A self-administered questionnaire was sent by mail to all 696 general practitioners working in the Quebec City area. The questionnaire was intended to gather information on physicians' personal and professional characteristics, as well as their home care practice (practice volume, characteristics of both clients and home visits, and methods of patient assessment and follow-up). RESULTS: A total of 487 physicians (70.0%) responded to the questionnaire, 283 (58.1%) of whom reported making home visits. Of these, 119 (42.0%) made fewer than 5 home visits per week, and 88 (31.1%) dedicated 3 hours or less each week to this activity. Physicians in private practice made more home visits than their counterparts in family medicine units and CLSCs (centres locaux des services communautaires [community centres for social and health services]) (mean 11.5 v. 5.8 visits per week), although the 2 groups reported spending about the same amount of time on this type of work (mean 5.6 v. 5.0 hours per week). The proportion of visits to patients in residential facilities or other private residences was greater for private practitioners than for physicians from family medicine units and CLSCs (29.7% v. 18.9% of visits), as were the proportions of visits made at the patient's request (28.0% v. 14.2% of visits) and resulting from an acute condition (21.4% v. 16.0% of visits). The proportion of physicians making home visits at the request of a CLSC was greater for those in family medicine units and CLSCs than for those in private practice (44.0% v. 11.3% of physicians), as was the proportion of physicians making home visits at the request of a colleague (18.0% v. 4.5%) or at the request of hospitals (30.0% v. 6.8%). Physicians in family medicine units and CLSCs did more follow-ups at a frequency of less than once per month than private practitioners (50.9% v. 37.1% of patients), and they treated a greater proportion of patients with cognitive disorders (17.2% v. 12.6% of patients) and palliative care needs (13.7% v. 8.6% of patients). Private practitioners made less use of CLSC resources to assess home patients or follow them. Male private practitioners made more home visits than their female counterparts (mean 12.8 v. 8.3 per week), although they spent an almost equal amount of time on this activity (mean 5.7 v. 5.2 hours per week). INTERPRETATION: These results suggest that practice patterns for home care vary according to the physician's practice setting and sex. Because of foreseeable increases in the numbers of patients needing home care, further research is required to evaluate how physicians' practices can be adapted to patients' needs in this area.
PMCID: PMC1230536  PMID: 10478159
20.  The Effect of Universal Influenza Immunization on Mortality and Health Care Use 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(10):e211.
In 2000, Ontario, Canada, initiated a universal influenza immunization program (UIIP) to provide free influenza vaccines for the entire population aged 6 mo or older. Influenza immunization increased more rapidly in younger age groups in Ontario compared to other Canadian provinces, which all maintained targeted immunization programs. We evaluated the effect of Ontario's UIIP on influenza-associated mortality, hospitalizations, emergency department (ED) use, and visits to doctors' offices.
Methods and Findings
Mortality and hospitalization data from 1997 to 2004 for all ten Canadian provinces were obtained from national datasets. Physician billing claims for visits to EDs and doctors' offices were obtained from provincial administrative datasets for four provinces with comprehensive data. Since outcomes coded as influenza are known to underestimate the true burden of influenza, we studied more broadly defined conditions. Hospitalizations, ED use, doctors' office visits for pneumonia and influenza, and all-cause mortality from 1997 to 2004 were modelled using Poisson regression, controlling for age, sex, province, influenza surveillance data, and temporal trends, and used to estimate the expected baseline outcome rates in the absence of influenza activity. The primary outcome was then defined as influenza-associated events, or the difference between the observed events and the expected baseline events. Changes in influenza-associated outcome rates before and after UIIP introduction in Ontario were compared to the corresponding changes in other provinces. After UIIP introduction, influenza-associated mortality decreased more in Ontario (relative rate [RR] = 0.26) than in other provinces (RR = 0.43) (ratio of RRs = 0.61, p = 0.002). Similar differences between Ontario and other provinces were observed for influenza-associated hospitalizations (RR = 0.25 versus 0.44, ratio of RRs = 0.58, p < 0.001), ED use (RR = 0.31 versus 0.69, ratio of RRs = 0.45, p < 0.001), and doctors' office visits (RR = 0.21 versus 0.52, ratio of RRs = 0.41, p < 0.001). Sensitivity analyses were carried out to assess consistency, specificity, and the presence of a dose-response relationship. Limitations of this study include the ecological study design, the nonspecific outcomes, difficulty in modeling baseline events, data quality and availability, and the inability to control for potentially important confounders.
Compared to targeted programs in other provinces, introduction of universal vaccination in Ontario in 2000 was associated with relative reductions in influenza-associated mortality and health care use. The results of this large-scale natural experiment suggest that universal vaccination may be an effective public health measure for reducing the annual burden of influenza.
Comparing influenza-related mortality and health care use between Ontario and other Canadian provinces, Jeffrey Kwong and colleagues find evidence that Ontario's universal vaccination program has reduced the burden of influenza.
Editors' Summary
Seasonal outbreaks (epidemics) of influenza—a viral disease of the nose, throat, and airways—affect millions of people and kill about 500,000 individuals every year. These epidemics occur because of “antigenic drift”: small but frequent changes in the viral proteins to which the human immune system responds mean that an immune response produced one year by exposure to an influenza virus provides only partial protection against influenza the next year. Immunization can boost this natural immunity and reduce a person's chances of catching influenza. That is, an injection of killed influenza viruses can be used to prime the immune system so that it responds quickly and efficiently when exposed to live virus. However, because of antigenic drift, for influenza immunization to be effective, it has to be repeated annually with a vaccine that contains the major circulating strains of the influenza virus.
Why Was This Study Done?
Public-health organizations recommend targeted vaccination programs, so that elderly people, infants, and chronically ill individuals—the people most likely to die from pneumonia and other complications of influenza—receive annual influenza vaccination. Some experts argue, however, that universal vaccination might provide populations with better protection from influenza, both directly by increasing the number of vaccinated people and indirectly through “herd immunity,” which occurs when a high proportion of the population is immune to an infectious disease, so that even unvaccinated people are unlikely to become infected (because infected people rarely come into contact with susceptible people). In this study, the researchers compare the effects of the world's first free universal influenza immunization program (UIIP), which started in 2000 in the Canadian province of Ontario, on influenza-associated deaths and health care use with the effects of targeted vaccine programs on the same outcomes elsewhere in Canada.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Using national records, the researchers collected data on influenza vaccination, on all deaths, and on hospitalizations for pneumonia and influenza in all Canadian provinces between 1997 and 2004. They also collected data on emergency department and doctors' office visits for pneumonia and influenza for Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and Manitoba. They then used a mathematical model to estimate the baseline rates for these outcomes in the absence of influenza activity, and from these calculated weekly rates for deaths and health care use specifically resulting from influenza. In 1996–1997, 18% of the population was vaccinated against influenza in Ontario whereas in the other provinces combined the vaccination rate was 13%. On average, since 2000—the year in which UIIP was introduced in Ontario—vaccination rates have risen to 38% and 24% in Ontario and the other provinces, respectively. Since the introduction of UIIP, the researchers report, influenza-associated deaths have decreased by 74% in Ontario but by only 57% in the other provinces combined. Influenza-associated use of health care facilities has also decreased more in Ontario than in the other provinces over the same period.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings are limited by some aspects of the study design. For example, they depend on the accuracy of the assumptions made when calculating events due specifically to influenza, and on the availability and accuracy of vaccination and clinical outcome data. In addition, it is possible that influenza-associated deaths and health care use may have decreased more in Ontario than in the other Canadian provinces because of some unrecognized health care changes specific to Ontario but unrelated to the introduction of universal influenza vaccination. Nevertheless, these findings indicate that, compared to the targeted vaccination programs in the other Canadian provinces, the Ontarian UIIP is associated with reductions in influenza-associated deaths and health care use, particularly in people younger than 65 years old. This effect is seen at a level of vaccination unlikely to produce herd immunity so might be more marked if the uptake of vaccination could be further increased. Thus, although it is possible that Canada is a special case, these findings suggest that universal influenza vaccination might be an effective way to reduce the global burden of influenza.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Read the related PLoSMedicine Perspective by Cécile Viboud and Mark Miller
A related PLoSMedicine Research Article by Carline van den Dool and colleagues is also available
The Ontario Ministry of Health provides information on its universal influenza immunization program (in English and French)
The World Health Organization provides information on influenza and on influenza vaccines (in several languages)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information for patients and professionals on all aspects of influenza (in English and Spanish)
MedlinePlus provides a list of links to other information about influenza (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service provides information about the science of immunization, including a simple explanatory animation of immunity
PMCID: PMC2573914  PMID: 18959473
21.  Risk Factors for Severe Outcomes following 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) Infection: A Global Pooled Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(7):e1001053.
This study analyzes data from 19 countries (from April 2009 to Jan 2010), comprising some 70,000 hospitalized patients with severe H1N1 infection, to reveal risk factors for severe pandemic influenza, which include chronic illness, cardiac disease, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes.
Since the start of the 2009 influenza A pandemic (H1N1pdm), the World Health Organization and its member states have gathered information to characterize the clinical severity of H1N1pdm infection and to assist policy makers to determine risk groups for targeted control measures.
Methods and Findings
Data were collected on approximately 70,000 laboratory-confirmed hospitalized H1N1pdm patients, 9,700 patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs), and 2,500 deaths reported between 1 April 2009 and 1 January 2010 from 19 countries or administrative regions—Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, the United States, and the United Kingdom—to characterize and compare the distribution of risk factors among H1N1pdm patients at three levels of severity: hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths. The median age of patients increased with severity of disease. The highest per capita risk of hospitalization was among patients <5 y and 5–14 y (relative risk [RR] = 3.3 and 3.2, respectively, compared to the general population), whereas the highest risk of death per capita was in the age groups 50–64 y and ≥65 y (RR = 1.5 and 1.6, respectively, compared to the general population). Similarly, the ratio of H1N1pdm deaths to hospitalizations increased with age and was the highest in the ≥65-y-old age group, indicating that while infection rates have been observed to be very low in the oldest age group, risk of death in those over the age of 64 y who became infected was higher than in younger groups. The proportion of H1N1pdm patients with one or more reported chronic conditions increased with severity (median = 31.1%, 52.3%, and 61.8% of hospitalized, ICU-admitted, and fatal H1N1pdm cases, respectively). With the exception of the risk factors asthma, pregnancy, and obesity, the proportion of patients with each risk factor increased with severity level. For all levels of severity, pregnant women in their third trimester consistently accounted for the majority of the total of pregnant women. Our findings suggest that morbid obesity might be a risk factor for ICU admission and fatal outcome (RR = 36.3).
Our results demonstrate that risk factors for severe H1N1pdm infection are similar to those for seasonal influenza, with some notable differences, such as younger age groups and obesity, and reinforce the need to identify and protect groups at highest risk of severe outcomes.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
In April 2009, a new strain of influenza A H1N1 was first identified in Mexico and the United States and subsequently spread around the world. In June 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic alert phase 6, which continued until August 2010. Throughout the pandemic, WHO and member states gathered information to characterize the patterns of risk associated with the new influenza A H1N1 virus infection and to assess the clinical picture. Although risk factors for severe disease following seasonal influenza infection have been well documented in many countries (for example, pregnancy; chronic medical conditions such as pulmonary, cardiovascular, renal, hepatic, neuromuscular, hematologic, and metabolic disorders; some cognitive conditions; and immunodeficiency), risk factors for severe disease following infection early in the 2009 H1N1 pandemic were largely unknown.
Why Was This Study Done?
Many countries have recently reported data on the association between severe H1N1 influenza and a variety of underlying risk factors, but because these data are presented in different formats, making direct comparisons across countries is difficult, with no clear consensus for some conditions. Therefore, to assess the frequency and distribution of known and new potential risk factors for severe H1N1 infection, this study was conducted to collect data (from 1 April 2009 to 1 January 2010) from surveillance programs of the Ministries of Health or National Public Health Institutes in 19 countries―Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong (special administrative region), Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
As part of routine surveillance, countries were asked to provide risk factor data on laboratory-confirmed H1N1 in patients who were admitted to hospital, admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), or had died because of their infection, using a standardized format. The researchers grouped potential risk conditions into four categories: age, chronic medical illnesses, pregnancy (by trimester), and other conditions that were not previously considered as risk conditions for severe influenza outcomes, such as obesity. For each risk factor (except pregnancy), the researchers calculated the percentage of each group of patients using the total number of cases reported in each severity category (hospitalization, admission to ICU, and death). To evaluate the risk associated with pregnancy, the researchers used the ratio of pregnant women to all women of childbearing age (age 15–49 years) at each level of severity to describe the differences between levels.
The researchers were able to collect data on approximately 70,000 patients requiring hospitalization, 9,700 patients admitted to the ICU, and 2,500 patients who died from H1N1 infection. The proportion of patients with H1N1 with one or more reported chronic conditions increased with severity—the median was 31.1% of hospitalized patients, 52.3% of patients admitted to the ICU, and 61.8% of patients who died. For all levels of severity, pregnant women in their third trimester consistently accounted for the majority of the total of pregnant women. The proportion of patients with obesity increased with increasing disease severity—median of 6% of hospitalized patients, 11.3% of patients admitted to the ICU, and 12.0% of all deaths from H1N1.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that risk factors for severe H1N1 infection are similar to those for seasonal influenza, with some notable differences: a substantial proportion of people with severe and fatal cases of H1N1 had pre-existing chronic illness, which indicates that the presence of chronic illness increases the likelihood of death. Cardiac disease, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes are important risk factors for severe disease that will be especially relevant for countries with high rates of these illnesses. Approximately 2/3 of hospitalized people and 40% of people who died from H1N1 infection did not have any identified pre-existing chronic illness, but this study was not able to comprehensively assess how many of these cases had other risk factors, such as pregnancy, obesity, smoking, and alcohol misuse. Because of large differences between countries, the role of risk factors such as obesity and pregnancy need further study—although there is sufficient evidence to support vaccination and early intervention for pregnant women. Overall, the findings of this study reinforce the need to identify and target high-risk groups for interventions such as immunization, early medical advice, and use of antiviral medications.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
WHO provides a Global Alert and Response (GAR) with updates on a number of influenza-related topics
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on risk factors and H1N1
PMCID: PMC3130021  PMID: 21750667
22.  A first national survey of knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards schizophrenia, bipolar disorders and autism in France 
BMC Psychiatry  2012;12:128.
In order to support evidence-based policies for reduction of stigma, a better understanding of its components: ignorance (knowledge), prejudice (attitude) and discrimination (behaviour) is necessary. This study explores public perceptions and quantifies stigma for three chronic mental disorders: autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorders in France.
Survey of 1000 adults selected from an established market research panel. The 21-item questionnaire explored knowledge, attitudes and behaviours toward each disorder.
Although 95% respondents recognized the names of each disorder fewer than 70% could report specific characteristics and only 33% considered that publically available information was adequate; most respondents identified the media as their main resource. Labeling of conditions in a negative way was frequent (61%) when referring to mental disorders in general, but fell significantly (18%) when linked to an individual with a disorder. Individuals with schizophrenia are assumed to be dangerous; 65% respondents would engage in social distancing from such an individual, versus 29% for bipolar disorders and 7% for autism (p < 0.001). In contrast to other disorders, discrimination against schizophrenia was only partly attenuated in those with familiarity with mental disorders (through personal or family illness).
This first population-based survey in France shows that attitudes towards bipolar disorders and autism are less prejudicial than towards schizophrenia. However, most public attitudes and behaviours towards different disorders appear to be based on assumptions rather than knowledge or evidence suggesting a generic information or anti-stigma programme is unlikely to be effective.
PMCID: PMC3532222  PMID: 22928716
Mental health; Bipolar disorders; Schizophrenia; Autism; Survey; Stigma; Discrimination; Attitudes; Behaviours
23.  Extending role by Japanese pharmacists after training for performing vital signs monitoring 
Pharmacy Practice  2014;12(3):442.
In Japan, the circumstances in which pharmacists work are changing. Pharmacists are expected to assess conditions of patients subject to medication to ensure proper use of pharmaceutical products. To ensure fulfilment of these roles, there have already been pharmacists’ efforts in performing vital signs monitoring.
To clarify the necessity and related issues, by investigating the state of vital sign monitoring in clinical field by pharmacists who have been trained in vital sign monitoring.
A web survey was conducted from 4th October to 3rd December 2012, subjecting 1,026 pharmacists who completed the vital signs training hosted by The Japanese Association of Home Care Pharmacies (JAHCP). Survey items were 1) basic information of a respondent, 2) situation of homecare conducted by pharmacists, 3) seminar attendance status, and 4) vital signs monitoring status after the seminar.
The number of valid respondents was 430 and the response rate was 41.9%. As a result of the present research, it was revealed that 168 pharmacists (41.4%), had the opportunity to perform vital signs monitoring. By conducting vital sign monitoring, effects such as 1) improved motivation of pharmacists and better communication with patients, 2) proper use of medication, and 3) cost reduction were confirmed.
Judging from the results of the survey, pharmacists can improve medication therapy for patients by attaining vital sign skills and conduct vital sign monitoring. Pharmacists who perform vital sign monitoring should share cases where they experienced positive patient outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4161410  PMID: 25243033
Physical Examination; Pharmaceutical Services; Professional Practice; Professional Role; Japan
24.  Pharmacists’ Perceptions of Their Professional Role: Insights into Hospital Pharmacy Culture 
Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive impacts of pharmacists on patient outcomes. To capitalize on these positive impacts, hospital pharmacy organizations around the world are now calling on pharmacists to shift their focus from distribution of medications to patient outcomes. This new emphasis is consistent with the vision statement for the profession of pharmacy in Canada, as set out in the Blueprint for Pharmacy: “Optimal drug therapy outcomes for Canadians through patient-centred care”. Given the ambitious nature of this statement and these goals, it is essential to understand what pharmacists currently think of their practice.
To conduct a qualitative and semiquantitative analysis of hospital pharmacists’ perceptions of their role in patient care.
A researcher posing as a University of Alberta student who was studying how health professionals use language to describe what they do contacted the pharmacy departments of all hospitals in Alberta. The “top-of-mind” approach was used in asking hospital pharmacists 2 questions: (1) How many years have you been practising pharmacy? (2) In 3 or 4 words (or phrases), from your perspective could you please tell me, “What does a pharmacist do”? These techniques were used to minimize the impact of social desirability bias. Content analysis was used to categorize hospital pharmacists’ responses into 4 broad categories: patient-centred, drug-focused, drug distribution, and ambiguous.
A total of 103 phone calls were made to hospital pharmacies, and 85 pharmacists contacted in this way were willing to participate in the survey. Hospital pharmacists provided 333 individual responses to the question about their activities. Of these, 79 (23.7%) were patient-centred, 98 (29.4%) were drug-focused, and 82 (24.6%) were in the drug-distribution category. Ambiguous responses accounted for the remaining 74 (22.2%).
Aspects of care categorized as other than patient-centred should not be construed as unimportant. However, the fact that they were reported in this survey more frequently than patient-centred aspects suggests that hospital pharmacists in Alberta may have not fully embraced the concept of patient-centred care as outlined in the Blueprint for Pharmacy.
PMCID: PMC3053190  PMID: 22479026
patient-centred; drug-focused; drug distribution; top-of-mind approach; hospital pharmacist; pharmacy culture; pratique axée sur le patient; pratique axée sur les médicaments; distribution des médicaments; analyse des réponses spontanées; pharmacien d’hôpital; culture de la pharmacie
25.  China’s regional inequity in pharmacist’s drug safety practice 
The promotion of patient safety and drug safety through promotion of pharmacist’s drug safety practice was among the most important aims of China’s health delivery system reform, but regional inequity in pharmacist’s drug safety practice was still serious in China.
The 2011 national patient safety and medication error baseline survey was carried out for the first time in China, and through analyzing dataset from the survey, this study was set up to test both China’s regional inequity in pharmacist’s drug safety practice and major influencing factors for pharmacist’s drug safety practice among different districts of China.
Pharmacist’s drug safety practice in regions with higher per capita GDP and more abundant medical resources was still better than that in regions with lower per capita GDP and less abundant medical resources. In all districts of China, pharmacist’s drug safety knowledge, drug safety attitude, self-perceived pressure and fatigue, hospital management quality, and hospital regulation were major influencing factors for pharmacist’s drug safety practice, while only in regions with higher per capita GDP and more abundant medical resources, hospital drug safety culture, supervisor’s work team management, cooperation atmosphere of work team, and drug safety culture of work team were major influencing factors for pharmacist’s drug safety practice.
Regional inequity in pharmacist’s drug safety practice still existed in China. In all districts of China, promoting pharmacist’s drug safety knowledge, drug safety attitude, self-perceived pressure and fatigue, hospital management quality, and hospital regulation could help promote pharmacist’s drug safety practice, while only in regions with higher per capita GDP and more abundant medical resources, promoting hospital drug safety culture, supervisor’s work team management, cooperation atmosphere of work team, and drug safety culture of work team could help promote pharmacist’s drug safety practice. And in regions with lower per capita GDP and less abundant medical resources, the link between pharmacist’s drug safety practice and hospital drug safety culture/supervisor’s work team management/cooperation atmosphere of work team/drug safety culture of work team should also be gradually established.
PMCID: PMC3485099  PMID: 22867000

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