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1.  Informed palliative care in nursing homes through the interRAI Palliative Care instrument: a study protocol based on the Medical Research Council framework 
BMC Geriatrics  2014;14:132.
Nursing homes are important locations for palliative care. Through comprehensive geriatric assessments (CGAs), evaluations can be made of palliative care needs of nursing home residents. The interRAI Palliative Care instrument (interRAI PC) is a CGA that evaluates diverse palliative care needs of adults in all healthcare settings. The evaluation results in Client Assessment Protocols (CAPs: indications of problems that need addressing) and Scales (e.g. Palliative Index for Mortality (PIM)) which can be used to design, evaluate and adjust care plans. This study aims to examine the effect of using the interRAI PC on the quality of palliative care in nursing homes. Additionally, it aims to evaluate the feasibility and validity of the interRAI PC.
This study covers phases 0, I and II of the Medical Research Council (MRC) framework for designing and evaluating complex interventions, with a longitudinal, quasi-experimental pretest-posttest design and with mixed methods of evaluation. In phase 0, a systematic literature search is conducted. In phase I, the interRAI PC is adapted for use in Belgium and implemented on the BelRAI-website and a practical training is developed. In phase II, the intervention is tested in fifteen nursing homes. Participating nursing homes fill out the interRAI PC during one year for all residents receiving palliative care. Using a pretest-posttest design with quasi-random assignment to the intervention or control group, the effect of the interRAI PC on the quality of palliative care is evaluated with the Palliative care Outcome Scale (POS). Psychometric analysis is conducted to evaluate the predictive validity of the PIM and the convergent validity of the CAP ‘Mood’ of the interRAI PC. Qualitative data regarding the usability and face validity of the instrument are collected through focus groups, interviews and field notes.
This is the first study to evaluate the validity and effect of the interRAI PC in nursing homes, following a methodology based on the MRC framework. This approach improves the study design and implementation and will contribute to a higher generalizability of results. The final result will be a psychometrically evaluated CGA for nursing home residents receiving palliative care.
Trial registration NCT02281032. Registered October 30th, 2014.
PMCID: PMC4280705  PMID: 25479633
Palliative care; Nursing homes; Comprehensive geriatric assessment; interRAI Palliative Care instrument; Older adults; Study protocol
2.  Professional Practice Plans: Recommendations from the 2005 Council of Faculties-Council of Deans Task Force 
Determine the degree to which AACP member schools have established professional practice plans, characterize the nature of existing practice plans, and provide recommendations on the implementation of practice plans at AACP member schools.
Survey of CEO Deans of AACP member institutions administered via online survey instrument.
Sixty-five schools responded, with 29 (45%) indicating that they had an active practice plan in place. Fifty-two percent of those who do no have practice plans in place anticipate having plans established within three years. A variety of revenue sources are addressed by existing practice plans including sponsored research, patient care, educational activities and consulting.
Academic pharmacy lacks sophistication in regards to developing comprehensive professional practice plans. Colleges of pharmacy should consider differentiating plans that address monies collected from sponsored research vs. professional services. AACP should continue to monitor this topic as increasing participation by member schools is expected.
PMCID: PMC1636951  PMID: 17136167
practice plans; faculty consulting; clinical services; faculty-generated revenue
3.  Associations between Mode of HIV Testing and Consent, Confidentiality, and Referral: A Comparative Analysis in Four African Countries 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(10):e1001329.
A study carried out by Carla Obermeyer and colleagues examines whether practices regarding consent, confidentiality, and referral vary depending on whether HIV testing is provided through voluntary counseling and testing or provider-initiated testing.
Recommendations about scaling up HIV testing and counseling highlight the need to provide key services and to protect clients' rights, but it is unclear to what extent different modes of testing differ in this respect. This paper examines whether practices regarding consent, confidentiality, and referral vary depending on whether testing is provided through voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) or provider-initiated testing.
Methods and Findings
The MATCH (Multi-Country African Testing and Counseling for HIV) study was carried out in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda. Surveys were conducted at selected facilities. We defined eight outcome measures related to pre- and post-test counseling, consent, confidentiality, satisfactory interactions with providers, and (for HIV-positive respondents) referral for care. These were compared across three types of facilities: integrated facilities, where testing is provided along with medical care; stand-alone VCT facilities; and prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) facilities, where testing is part of PMTCT services. Tests of bivariate associations and modified Poisson regression were used to assess significance and estimate the unadjusted and adjusted associations between modes of testing and outcome measures. In total, 2,116 respondents tested in 2007 or later reported on their testing experience. High percentages of clients across countries and modes of testing reported receiving recommended services and being satisfied. In the unadjusted analyses, integrated testers were less likely to meet with a counselor before testing (83% compared with 95% of VCT testers; p<0.001), but those who had a pre-test meeting were more likely to have completed consent procedures (89% compared with 83% among VCT testers; p<0.001) and pre-test counseling (78% compared with 73% among VCT testers; p = 0.015). Both integrated and PMTCT testers were more likely to receive complete post-test counseling than were VCT testers (59% among both PMTCT and integrated testers compared with 36% among VCT testers; p<0.001). Adjusted analyses by country show few significant differences by mode of testing: only lower satisfaction among integrated testers in Burkina Faso and Uganda, and lower frequency of referral among PMTCT testers in Malawi. Adjusted analyses of pooled data across countries show a higher likelihood of pre-test meeting for those testing at VCT facilities (adjusted prevalence ratio: 1.22, 95% CI: 1.07–1.38) and higher satisfaction for stand-alone VCT facilities (adjusted prevalence ratio: 1.15; 95% CI: 1.06–1.25), compared to integrated testing, but no other associations were statistically significant.
Overall, in this study most respondents reported favorable outcomes for consent, confidentiality, and referral. Provider-initiated ways of delivering testing and counseling do not appear to be associated with less favorable outcomes for clients than traditional, client-initiated VCT, suggesting that testing can be scaled up through multiple modes without detriment to clients' rights.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
In 2007, World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) issued a joint guidance document on “provider-initiated” HIV testing and counseling. They noted that previous testing strategies that relied on “client-initiated” testing (also referred to as VCT, for voluntary counseling and testing) had failed to reach enough people, both in high-income and resource-constrained countries—in Africa, for example, at that time, just 12% of men and 10% of women had ever been tested. They argued that many opportunities to diagnose and counsel people that visit health facilities for other reasons are being missed, and that provider-initiated HIV testing and counseling can help expand access to HIV treatment, care, and support. They made it clear, however, that mandatory testing is not acceptable. All provider-initiated testing must therefore give individuals the option to not be tested. In addition, the guidelines stressed that all testing must continue to observe “the three Cs” (informed consent, counseling, and confidentiality) and be accompanied by an “enabling environment” including the availability of antiretroviral therapy, prevention and support services, and a supportive social, policy, and legal framework. A number of advocates have subsequently criticized the guidelines for failing to recognize that health-care services and staff in some countries do not always observe the three Cs. Critics have also questioned the appropriateness of the strategy for settings where antiretroviral therapy is not always available or where stigma and discrimination remain widespread.
Why Was This Study Done?
To inform the debate surrounding scale-up of HIV testing in general and provider-initiated testing in particular with data on “real-life” testing, researchers have since carried out a number of studies. One of them, called MATCH (for Multi-Country African Testing and Counseling for HIV), was designed to allow systematic comparisons across African countries of different ways of HIV testing. Its goal was to investigate the uptake of testing, to analyze differences in the experience of testing across countries and modes of testing, and to use the results to devise better strategies to increase knowledge of HIV status and referral to care. MATCH used different means to collect information, including surveys and interviews. People from Burkina Faso, Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda participated. Some had undergone HIV testing, others had not. This study used a subset of the survey data collected for the MATCH study and asked whether there were systematic differences depending on the type of testing people had experienced.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The data the researchers used were from 2,116 people who had undergone testing in the two previous years at different facilities in the four countries. The different facilities were grouped into three “modes” of testing: VCT-only testing, integrated testing (which included hospitals and other medical facilities where provider-initiated and client-initiated testing were both available, along with other medical services), and prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) testing at medical facilities offering services to pregnant women. Analyzing the survey responses, the researchers categorized them as related to eight different “outcomes”: pre-test meeting, pre-test counseling, consent, confidentiality, satisfaction with the person-to-person interactions, post-test meeting to receive results, post-test counseling, and referral to care.
They found that across countries and different facilities, the majority of participants reported having received most of the testing-related services. More than 90% reported having a pre-test meeting, and around 80% were satisfied with the personal interactions, with the consent process, and with confidentiality. About 50% of participants reported receiving all post-test services, and 71% of those who had tested positive for HIV reported appropriate referral to care.
When they looked for differences between different modes of testing, the researchers found that while they existed, they did not consistently favor one mode over another. Some outcomes scored higher in VCT facilities, some in PMTCT facilities, and some in integrated facilities.
What Do These Findings Mean?
While there is room for improvement in HIV testing services (especially post-test services) across the countries and facilities included, the study did not reveal major problems with consent or confidentiality. The results also suggest that services at PMTCT and integrated facilities are not any worse than those at VCT-only sites. It seems therefore reasonable to continue expanding access to HIV testing and to include all facilities in the scale-up. That said, this is only one of a number of studies examining issues surrounding HIV testing, and decisions should be based on all available evidence. The results here are consistent with some of the other studies, but there are also reports that counseling might become neglected as testing is scaled up, and that offering testing routinely at every doctor's visit makes it seem mandatory even if there is the possibility to “opt out.” Other analyses of the MATCH study use in-depth interviews to understand in more detail the feelings, experiences, and attitudes of participants who have been tested as well as those who have not been tested. It will be important to see whether their results are consistent with the ones here, which are based on a survey of people who have been tested.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
WHO has published a toolkit for scaling up HIV testing and counseling services in resource-limited settings, as well as the report Service Delivery Approaches to HIV Testing and Counselling (HSC): A Strategic HTC Programme Framework
In response to reactions to the 2007 joint WHO/UNAIDS guidelines Guidance on Provider-Initiated HIV Testing and Counselling in Health Facilities, the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights issued a Statement and Recommendations on Scaling up HIV Testing and Counselling
The NAM/aidsmap website has a section on HIV testing policies and guidelines.
PMCID: PMC3479110  PMID: 23109914
4.  Making progress: the role of cancer councils in Australia in indigenous cancer control 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:347.
Indigenous Australians have poorer outcomes from cancer for a variety of reasons including poorer participation in screening programs, later diagnosis, higher rates of cancer with poor prognosis and poorer uptake and completion of treatment. Cancer prevention and support for people with cancer is part of the core business of the State and Territory Cancer Councils. To support sharing of lessons learned, this paper reports an environmental scan undertaken in 2010 in cancer councils (CCs) nationwide that aimed to support Indigenous cancer control.
The methods replicated the approach used in a 2006 environmental scan of Indigenous related activity in CCs. The Chief Executive Officer of each CC nominated individuals for interview. Interviews explored staffing, projects, programs and activities to progress cancer control issues for Indigenous Australians, through phone or face-to-face interviews. Reported initiatives were tabulated using predetermined categories of activity and summaries were returned to interviewees, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Subcommittee and Chief Executive Officers for verification.
All CCs participated and modest increases in activity had occurred in most states since 2006 through different means. Indigenous staff numbers were low and no Indigenous person had yet been employed in smaller CCs; no CC had an Indigenous Board member and efforts at capacity building were often directed outside of the organisation. Developing partnerships with Indigenous organisations were ongoing. Acknowledgement and specific mention of Indigenous people in policy was increasing. Momentum increased following the establishment of a national subcommittee which increased the profile of Indigenous issues and provided collegial and practical support for those committed to reducing Indigenous cancer disparities. Government funding of “Closing the Gap” and research in the larger CCs have been other avenues for increasing knowledge and activity in Indigenous cancer control.
This environmental scan measured progress, allowed sharing of information and provided critical assessment of progress across areas of importance for increasing Indigenous cancer control. Structured examination of policies, institutional support systems, programs and interventions is a useful means of highlighting opportunities for progress with minority groups relevant for many organisations. Progress has occurred with momentum likely to increase in the future and benefit from commitment to long-term monitoring and sharing of achievements.
PMCID: PMC4004461  PMID: 24725974
Cancer; Aboriginal; Indigenous; Environmental scan; Delivery of health care/*organization & administration; Health services accessibility; Neoplasms/*prevention & control
5.  Involvement of consumers in studies run by the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit: Results of a survey 
Trials  2012;13:9.
We aimed to establish levels of consumer involvement in randomised controlled trials (RCTs), meta-analyses and other studies carried out by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) Clinical Trials Unit across the range of research programs, predominantly in cancer and HIV.
Staff responsible for studies that were included in a Unit Progress Report (MRC CTU, April 2009) were asked to complete a semi-structured questionnaire survey regarding consumer involvement. This was defined as active involvement of consumers as partners in the research process and not as subjects of that research. The electronic questionnaires combined open and closed questions, intended to capture quantitative and qualitative information on whether studies had involved consumers; types of activities undertaken; recruitment and support; advantages and disadvantages of involvement and its perceived impact on aspects of the research.
Between October 2009 and April 2010, 138 completed questionnaires (86%) were returned. Studies had been conducted over a 20 year period from 1989, and around half were in cancer; 30% in HIV and 20% were in other disease areas including arthritis, tuberculosis and blood transfusion medicine. Forty-three studies (31%) had some consumer involvement, most commonly as members of trial management groups (TMG) [88%]. A number of positive impacts on both the research and the researcher were identified. Researchers generally felt involvement was worthwhile and some felt that consumer involvement had improved the credibility of the research. Benefits in design and quality, trial recruitment, dissemination and decision making were also perceived. Researchers felt they learned from consumer involvement, albeit that there were some barriers.
Whilst most researchers identified benefits of involving consumers, most of studies included in the survey had no involvement. Information from this survey will inform the development of a unit policy on consumer involvement, to guide future research conducted within the MRC Clinical Trials Unit and beyond.
PMCID: PMC3398265  PMID: 22243649
Public and patient involvement; consumer involvement; clinical trials; systematic reviews; RCTs
6.  Adult advanced cardiac life support: the European Resuscitation Council guidelines 1992 (abridged). European Resuscitation Council Working Party. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1993;306(6892):1589-1593.
The European Resuscitation Council, established in 1990, is committed to saving lives by improving standards of cardiopulmonary resuscitation across Europe and coordinating the activities of interested organisations and individuals. In this regard the council has successfully brought together physicians and surgeons from eastern and western Europe and, in addition, has established relations with the American Heart Association and equivalent organisations in Canada, Australia, and South Africa. A main objective of the European Resuscitation Council is to produce guidelines for cardiopulmonary and cerebral resuscitation, and in this paper members of a working party of 14 experts from 11 countries set out an abridged version of the council's guidelines for adult advanced cardiac life support. The council hopes that the guidelines and accompanying algorithms will serve as a ready use "how to do it" for ordinary practitioners and paramedics inside and outside hospital.
PMCID: PMC1677983  PMID: 8329924
7.  Legal aspects with regard to integrated care: a long way to go 
The main purpose of this abstract is to raise awareness of the unsatisfactory legal situation with regard to integrated care. The abstract focuses on two major legal issues. First, I picture the actual legal situation regarding cross-border healthcare. Secondly, I describe the duties care providers and patients may face when entering into integrated care programs.
Cross-border healthcare
Currently, we lack an European legislative framework that regulates cross-border healthcare. One reason for this fact is that Article 152 EC treaty states that “Community Action in the field of public health shall fully respect the responsibilities of the Member States for the organisation and delivery of health services and medical care” [1]. Therefore, it's up to each Member State to provide regulations with regard to cross-border healthcare services. Hence, patients need to deal with various national—often inconsistent—provisions when considering consuming cross-border healthcare. As a consequence, patients easily felt overstrained and the unclear legal situation prevents them from crossing a border to obtain healthcare. This often averts the establishment of integrated care models. As a result, patients lose the opportunity to receive more or different healthcare services and products in Member States other than the State in which they are living or are insured.
Nevertheless, it was the European Court of Justice (ECJ) with its continuous rulings in respect to cross-border healthcare that started with the harmonization process of cross-border healthcare legislation. The ECJ judges have ruled that freedom to cross EU borders for the best and quickest treatment is a right for all [2]. However, litigation before the ECJ suffers from deficiencies in this respect. In particular, the case law of the ECJ on the issue clearly shows the unsatisfactory nature of case-by-case ex post procedures for a complex and developing policy area. Further, litigation always leads to a winner and a loser, but does not foster an iterative, deliberate process in which the optimal accommodation of all affected interests is reached because the ECJ always decides on a particular case [3]. As a consequence, the European Commission has presented a proposal for a directive on the application of patient's rights in cross-border healthcare which reflects the decisions of the ECJ [4]. The aim of the proposed directive is—expressed in simplified terms—to ensure and to clarify the conditions for exercising patient's right to cross-border healthcare, and to create a framework for increasing cooperation between Member States. The proposal directive covers cross-border healthcare irrespective of how it is organised, financed or provided and whether it is private or public. The outcome of the proposed directive would be the reduction of obstacles faced when crossing the border in order to obtain healthcare. In case the proposed directive will be approved and will come into force, a major step in order to enlarge the possibilities to achieve integrated care is done. However, the Member States (e.g. Austria) take a critical stance towards the proposed directive and no one currently knows whether it will ever be approved [5].
The actor's duties with respect to integrated care programs
Entering into an integrated care program leads to legal challenges with regard to the actors. In particular, the question which duties are faced when entering into an integrated care program has not been raised yet. Therefore, patients find themselves in situations with a deficit of information and do not see the legal consequences when entering into an integrated care program. Patients often do not realise that they conclude an agreement with a health insurance company. They bind themselves for a certain period (sometimes several years) and they are contractually not allowed to rescind from the agreement. In general, integrated care programs offered from health insurance companies oblige the patient to consult the healthcare providers that are covered from the agreement. As a consequence, in case patients are not satisfied with the healthcare provider because of medical or personal reasons, no change to another healthcare provider is possible. Further, patients always enter into an implied health treatment agreement with the healthcare provider. In turn, healthcare providers do not have any certainties to be appointed from health insurance companies and, therefore, may lose essential revenues. In addition, healthcare providers are obliged to fulfil certain requirements (technical and organisational) in order to be appointed. In case they are not able anymore to continuously fulfil these requirements, health insurance companies may rescind their contracts. Having these issues in mind, one can assume that entering into an integrated care program implies various—often unseen—duties from different perspectives.
At a glance, the legal background of integrated care still raises a lot of unsolved problems both on a national and on a European level. As a next step, legal uncertainties should be made transparent in order to give the actors the possibility to discuss them. A consequence of this public discussion would be a cornerstone for more consumer-friendly healthcare models that would lead to better patient treatment and would enhance integrated healthcare.
PMCID: PMC2807115
cross-border healthcare; legislation; European Court of Justice; patient's rights; legal duties; integrated care program
8.  A self-evaluation tool for integrated care services: the Development Model for Integrated Care applied in practice 
The purpose of the workshop is to show the applications of the Development Model for Integrated Care (DMIC) in practice. This relatively new and validated model, can be used by integrated care practices to evaluate their integrated care, to assess their phase of development and reveal improvement areas. In the workshop the results of the use of the model in three types of integrated care settings in the Netherlands will be presented. Participants are offered practical instruments based on the validated DMIC to use in their own setting and will be introduced to the webbased tool.
To integrate care from multiple providers into a coherent and streamlined client-focused service, a large number of activities and agreements have to be implemented like streamlining information flows and adequate transfers of clients. In the large range of possible activities it is often not clear what essential activities are and where to start or continue. Also, knowledge about how to further develop integrated care services is needed. The Development Model for Integrated Care (DMIC), based on PhD research of Mirella Minkman, describes nine clusters containing in total 89 elements that contribute to the integration of care. The clusters are named: ‘client-centeredness’, ‘delivery system’, ‘performance management’, ‘quality of care’, ‘result-focused learning’, ‘interprofessional teamwork’, ‘roles and tasks’, ‘commitment’, and ‘transparant entrepreneurship’ [1–3]. In 2011 a new digital webbased self-evolution tool which contains the 89 elements grouped in nine clusters was developed. The DMIC also describes four phases of development [4]. The model is empirically validated in practice by assessing the relevance and implementation of the elements and development phases in 84 integrated care services in The Netherlands: in stroke, acute myocardial infarct (AMI), and dementia services. The validation studies are recently published [5, 6]. In 2011 also other integrated care services started using the model [7]. Vilans developed a digital web-based self-evaluation tool for integrated care services based on the DMIC. A palliative care network, four diabetes services, a youth care service and a network for autism used the self-evaluation tool to evaluate the development of their integrated care service. Because of its generic character, the model and tool are believed to be also interesting internationally.
Data sources
In the workshop we will present the results of three studies in integrated diabetes, youth and palliative care. The three projects consist of multiple steps, see below. Workshop participants could also work with the DMIC following these steps.
One: Preparation of the digital self-evolution tool for integrated care services
Although they are very different, the three integrated care services all wanted to gain insight in their development and improvement opportunities. We tailored the digital self-evaluation tool for each specific integrated care services, but for all the basis was the DMIC. Personal accounts for the digital DMIC self-evalution survey were sent to multiple partners working in each integrated care service (4–16 partners).
Two: Use of the online self-evaluation tool each partner of the local integrated care setting evaluated the integrated care by filling in the web-based questionnaire. The tool consists of three parts (A-C) named: general information about the integrated care practice (A); the clusters and elements of the DMIC (B); and the four phases of development (C). The respondents rated the relevance and presence of each element in their integrated care practice. Respondents were asked to estimate in which phase of development their thought their service was.
Three: Analysing the results
Advisers from Vilans, the Centre of excellence for long-term care in the Netherlands, analysed the self-evolution results in cooperation with the integrated care coordinators. The results show the total amount of implemented integrated care elements per cluster in spider graphs and the development phase as calculated by the DMIC model. Suggestions for further development of the integrated care services were analysed and reported.
Four: Discussing the implications for further development
In a workshop with the local integrated care partners the results of the self-evaluation were presented and discussed. We noticed remarkable results and highlight elements for further development. In addition, we gave advice for further development appropriate to the development phase of the integrated care service. Furthermore, the professionals prioritized the elements and decided which elements to start working on. This resulted in a (quality improvement) plan for the further development of the integrated care service.
Five: Reporting results
In a report all the results of the survey (including consensus scores) and the workshops came together. The integrated care coordinators stated that the reports really helped them to assess their improvement strategy. Also, there was insight in the development phase of their service which gave tools for further development.
Case description
The three cases presented are a palliative network, an integrated diabetes services and an integrated care network for youth in the Netherlands. The palliative care network wanted to reflect on their current development, to build a guiding framework for further development of the network. About sixteen professionals within the network worked with the digital self-evaluation tool and the DMIC: home care organisations, welfare organizations, hospice centres, health care organisations, community organizations.
For diabetes care, a Dutch health care insurance company wished to gain insight in the development of the contracted integrated care services to stimulate further development of the services. Professionals of three diabetes integrated care services were invited to fill in the digital self-evaluation tool. Of each integrated care service professionals like a general practitioner, a diabetes nurse, a medical specialist, a dietician and a podiatrist were invited. In youth care, a local health organisation wondered whether the DMIC could be helpful to visualize the results of youth integrated care services at process- and organisational level. The goal of the project was to define indicators at a process- and organisational level for youth care services based on the DMIC. In the future, these indicators might be used to evaluate youth care integrated care services and improve the quality of youth care within the Netherlands.
Conclusions and discussion
It is important for the quality of integrated care services that the involved coordinators, managers and professionals are aware of the development process of the integrated care service and that they focus on elements which can further develop and improve their integrated care. However, we noticed that integrated care services in the Netherlands experience difficulties in developing their integrated care service. It is often not clear what essential activities are to work on and how to further develop the integrated care service. A guiding framework for the development of integrated care was missing. The DMIC model has been developed for that reason and offers a useful tool for assessment, self-evaluation or improvement of integrated care services in practice. The model has been validated for AMI, dementia and stroke services. The latest new studies in diabetes, palliative care and youth care gave further insight in the generic character of the DMIC. Based on these studies it can be assumed that the DMIC can be used for multiple types of integrated care services. The model is assumed to be interesting for an international audience. Improving integrated care is a complex topic in a large number of countries; the DMIC is also based on the international literature. Dutch integrated care coordinators stated that the DMIC helped them to assess their integrated care development in practice and supported them in obtaining ideas for expanding and improving their integrated care activities.
The web-based self-evaluation tool focuses on a process- and organisational level of integrated care. Also, the self assessed development phase can be compared to the development phase as calculated by the DMIC tool. The cases showed this is fruitful input for discussions. When using the tool, the results can also be used in quality policy reports and improvement plans. The web-based tool is being tested at this moment in practice, but in San Marino we can present the latest webversion and demonstrate with a short video how to use the tool and model. During practical exercises in the workshop the participants will experience how the application of the DMIC can work for them in practice or in research. For integrated care researchers and policy makers, the DMIC questionnaire and tool is a promising method for further research and policy plans in integrated care.
PMCID: PMC3617779
development model for integrated care; development of integrated care services; implementation and improvement of integrated care; self evaluation
9.  Homeopathy – what are the active ingredients? An exploratory study using the UK Medical Research Council's framework for the evaluation of complex interventions 
Research in homeopathy has traditionally addressed itself to defining the effectiveness of homeopathic potencies in comparison to placebo medication. There is now increasing awareness that the homeopathic consultation is in itself a therapeutic intervention working independently or synergistically with the prescribed remedy. Our objective was to identify and evalute potential "active ingredients" of the homeopathic approach as a whole, in a prospective formal case series, which draws on actual consultation data, and is based on the MRC framework for the evaluation of complex interventions.
Following on from a theoretical review of how homeopathic care might mediate its effects, 18 patients were prospectively recruited to a case series based at Bristol Homeopathic Hospital. Patients, who lived with one of three index conditions, were interviewed before and after a five visit "package of care". All consultations were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Additional data, including generic and condition-specific questionnaires, artwork and "significant other" reports were collected. Textual data was subject to thematic analysis and triangulated with other sources.
We judged that around one third of patients had experienced a major improvement in their health over the study period, a third had some improvement and a third had no improvement. Putative active ingredients included the patients' "openness to the mind-body connection", consultational empathy, in-depth enquiry into bodily complaints, disclosure, the remedy matching process and, potentially, the homeopathic remedies themselves.
This study has has identified, using primary consultation and other data, a range of factors that might account for the effectiveness of homeopathic care. Some of these, such as empathy, are non-specific. Others, such as the remedy matching process, are specific to homeopathy. These findings counsel against the use of placebo-controlled RCT designs in which both arms would potentially be receiving specific active ingredients. Future research in homeopathy should focus on pragmatic trials and seek to confirm or refute the therapeutic role of constructs such as patient "openness", disclosure and homeopathicity.
PMCID: PMC1676018  PMID: 17101037
10.  Factors that hinder community participation in developing and implementing comprehensive council health plans in Manyoni District, Tanzania 
Global Health Action  2015;8:10.3402/gha.v8.26461.
Decentralization of public health planning is proposed to facilitate public participation in health issues. Health Sector Reform in Tanzania places emphasis on the participation of lower level health facilities and community in health planning process. Despite availability of policies, guidelines, and community representative organs, actual implementation of decentralization strategies is poorly achieved. This study intended to find out factors that hinder community participation in developing and implementing Comprehensive Council Health Plan (CCHP).
Materials and methods
A qualitative approach was conducted in this study with key informants from Health Facility Governing Committees (HFGC), Council Health Service Board (CHSB), and Council Health Management Team (CHMT). Data were collected using in-depth interviews. Data generated were analyzed for themes and patterns.
Factors that hindered community participation included lack of awareness on the CCHP among HFGC members, poor communication and information sharing between CHMT and HFGC, unstipulated roles and responsibilities of HFGC, lack of management capacity among HFGC members, and lack of financial resources for implementing HFGC activities.
The identified challenges call for policy makers to revisit the decentralization by devolution policy by ensuring that local governance structures have adequate resources as well as autonomy to participate in planning and managing CCHP in general and health facility plans in particular.
PMCID: PMC4452651  PMID: 26037041
community participation; health planning; Tanzania
11.  Patients' satisfaction with general practitioner services: a survey by a community health council. 
Brighton community health council responded to the invitation of five local general practitioners to undertake a patient satisfaction survey of their practices. A total of 177 mothers of children under five years old were interviewed in their own homes. Satisfaction with the services provided by the general practitioners and members of the primary health care team to the respondents and to their young children was high overall, but critical comment reflected a dissatisfaction with professionals' unwillingness to take mothers' concerns at face value and to recognize the validity of mothers' own experiential knowledge. Some women were not satisfied with the extent to which they could ask questions or explain their problem. They resented attempts by receptionists to bar access to doctors and the apparent reluctance of doctors and health visitors to make home visits. It is suggested that various strategies such as telephone consultations, written guidelines on childhood ailments and parent support groups within the context of a more interactive partnership between patients and professionals could lead to a more effective service.
PMCID: PMC1712154  PMID: 2560044
12.  Reproductive rights and options available to women infected with HIV in Ghana: perspectives of service providers from three Ghanaian health facilities 
BMC Women's Health  2013;13:13.
Owing to improved management of HIV and its associated opportunistic infections, many HIV-positive persons of reproductive age are choosing to exercise their right of parenthood. This study explored the knowledge of health workers from two Ghanaian districts on the reproductive rights and options available to HIV-positive women who wish to conceive.
Facility-based cross-sectional in design, the study involved the entire population of nurse counselors (32) and medical officers (3) who provide counseling and testing services to clients infected with HIV. Both structured and in-depth interviews were conducted after informed consent.
Two main perspectives were revealed. There was an overwhelmingly high level of approbation by the providers on HIV-positive women’s right to reproduction (94.3%). At the same time, the providers demonstrated a lack of knowledge regarding the various reproductive options available to women infected with HIV. Site of facility, and being younger were associated with practices that violated client’s right to contraceptive counseling (p < 0.05) in each case. Some of the providers openly expressed their inability to give qualified guidance to HIV-positive women on the various reproductive options.
Taken together, these findings suggest that many HIV-positive clients do not receive comprehensive information about their reproductive options. These findings highlight some of the problems that service providers face as HIV counselors. Both service providers and policy makers need to recognize these realities and incorporate reproductive health issues of HIV-persons into the existing guidelines.
PMCID: PMC3605156  PMID: 23496943
13.  Two Different Strategies to Facilitate Involvement in Healthcare Improvements: A Swedish County Council Initiative 
From a management point of view, there are many different approaches from which to choose to engage staff members in initiatives to improve performance.
The present study evaluated how two different types of improvement strategies facilitate and encourage involvement of different professional groups in health-care organizations.
Empirical data of two different types of strategies were collected within an improvement project in a County Council in Sweden. The data analysis was carried out through classifying the participants' profession, position, gender, and the organizational administration of which they were a part, in relation to their participation.
An improvement project in a County Council in Sweden.
Designed Improvement Processes consisted of n=105 teams and Intrapreneurship Projects of n=202 projects.
Two different types of improvement strategies, Designed Improvement Processes and Intrapreneurship Projects.
Main Outcome Measures:
How two different types of improvement strategies facilitate and encourage involvement of different professional groups in healthcare organizations.
Nurses were the largest group participating in both improvement initiatives. Physicians were also well represented, although they seemed to prefer the less structured Intrapreneurship Projects approach. Assistant nurses, being the second largest staff group, were poorly represented in both initiatives. This indicates that the benefits and support for one group may push another group aside.
Managers need to give prerequisites and incentives for staff who do not participate in improvements to do so. Comparisons of different types of improvement initiatives are an underused research strategy that yields interesting and thoughtful results.
PMCID: PMC4268608  PMID: 25568821
Healthcare settings; nursing staff professions; participation; quality improvement; quality management
14.  Evaluation of primary care midwifery in the Netherlands: design and rationale of a dynamic cohort study (DELIVER) 
In the Netherlands, midwives are autonomous medical practitioners and 78% of pregnant women start their maternity care with a primary care midwife. Scientific research to support evidence-based practice in primary care midwifery in the Netherlands has been sparse. This paper describes the research design and methodology of the multicenter multidisciplinary prospective DELIVER study which is the first large-scale study evaluating the quality and provision of primary midwifery care.
Between September 2009 and April 2011, data were collected from clients and their partners, midwives and other healthcare professionals across the Netherlands. Clients from twenty midwifery practices received up to three questionnaires to assess the expectations and experiences of clients (e.g. quality of care, prenatal screening, emotions, health, and lifestyle). These client data were linked to data from the Netherlands Perinatal Register and electronic client records kept by midwives. Midwives and practice assistants from the twenty participating practices recorded work-related activities in a diary for one week, to assess workload. Besides, the midwives were asked to complete a questionnaire, to gain insight into collaboration of midwives with other care providers, their tasks and attitude towards their job, and the quality of the care they provide. Another questionnaire was sent to all Dutch midwifery practices which reveals information regarding the organisation of midwifery practices, provision of preconception care, collaboration with other care providers, and provision of care to ethnic minorities. Data at client, midwife and practice level can be linked. Additionally, partners of pregnant women and other care providers were asked about their expectations and experiences regarding the care delivered by midwives and in six practices client consults were videotaped to objectively assess daily practice.
In total, 7685 clients completed at least one questionnaire, 136 midwives and assistants completed a diary with work-related activities (response 100%), 99 midwives completed a questionnaire (92%), and 319 practices across the country completed a questionnaire (61%), 30 partners of clients participated in focus groups, 21 other care providers were interviewed and 305 consults at six midwifery practices were videotaped.
The multicenter DELIVER study provides an extensive database with national representative data on the quality of primary care midwifery in the Netherlands. This study will support evidence-based practice in primary care midwifery in the Netherlands and contribute to a better understanding of the maternity care system.
PMCID: PMC3331850  PMID: 22433820
15.  Costs of day hospital and community residential chemical dependency treatment 
Evidence suggests that expensive hospital-based inpatient chemical dependency programs do not deliver outcomes that are superior to less costly day hospital programs, but patient placement criteria developed by the Addiction Society of Medicine (ASAM) nonetheless have identified a need for low-intensity residential treatment for patients with higher levels of severity. Community-based residential programs may represent a low-cost inpatient alternative that satisfies the ASAM criteria, but research is lacking in this area. A recent clinical trial has found similar outcomes at social model residential treatment and clinically-oriented day hospital programs, but did not report on the costs associated with treatment in that study.
This paper addresses whether the similar outcomes in the recent trial were delivered with comparable costs. It also studies costs separately for men and women, and for Whites and non-Whites, subgroups not included or identified in prior cost effectiveness work.
This paper reports on clients who participated in a randomized trial conducted in three metropolitan areas served by a large pre-paid health plan. Clients were eligible if they met the first five dimensions of the ASAM criteria for low-intensity residential treatment and had not been mandated to residential treatment due to dangerous home environment (the sixth ASAM dimension). The five day hospital programs included here are typical of mainstream private chemical dependency programs that were developed as an alternative to inpatient treatment. The seven residential programs are typical of those historically developed by members of alcohol mutual-help programs. Cost data for the study sites were collected using the Drug Abuse Treatment Cost Analysis Program (DATCAP) which produces estimates of average costs per week per client treated at a particular treatment program. Lengths of stay were derived from program records. Costs per episode for each study subject were calculated by multiplying the DATCAP-based program-specific costs (per week) by the number of weeks the subject stayed in the program to which they had been randomly assigned. Differences in length of stay, and in per-episode costs, were compared between residential and day hospital subjects using the Brown-Forsythe robust test of the equality of means.
Lengths of stay at residential treatment were significantly longer than at day hospital, in the sample overall and in the disaggregated analyses for both genders and for both Whites and non-Whites. This difference was especially marked among non-Whites, who had quite short stays in day hospital. The average cost per week was $575 per week at day hospital, versus $370 per week at the residential programs. However, because of the longer stays in residential programs, this lower cost per week did not always translate to lower per-episode costs. Instead, the per-episode costs were significantly higher for those treated in residential programs than in day hospital in the sample overall, and among non-Whites. Costs were comparable for Whites and for women treated in either setting, but were marginally higher for men randomized to residential programs.
These cost results must be considered in light of the null findings comparing outcomes between subjects randomized to residential versus day hospital programs in this study, in the overall sample and by gender and race/ethnicity: That is, the longer stays in the sample overall and for non-White clients at residential programs came at higher costs but did not lead to better rates of abstinence. An important component of the cost differential arose from especially short stays in day hospital among non-Whites, calling into question the attractiveness of day hospital for minority clients.
Outcomes and costs at residential versus day hospital programs were similar for women and for Whites in a randomized trial of pre-paid health plan members who met ASAM criteria for low-intensity residential treatment but were not at environmental risk. For non-Whites, and marginally for men, a preference for residential care would appear to come at a higher cost.
Implications for health care provision and use
Lengths of stay in residential treatment are significantly longer than in day hospital, but costs per week are lower. Women and Whites appear to be equally well-served in residential and day hospital programs, with no significant cost differential. Provision of residential treatment for non-Whites may be more costly than day hospital, because their residential stays are likely to be 3 times longer than they would be if treated in day hospital. For men, residential care will be marginally more costly.
Implications for health policy formulation
Residential treatment appears to represent a cost-effective alternative to day hospital for female and White clients with severe alcohol and drug problems who are not at environmental risk, although it will be important that the current study be replicated with different samples and study programs.
Implications for further research
The much shorter stays in day hospital than at residential among non-Whites highlight the need for research to better understand how to best meet the needs and preferences of non-White clients when considering both costs and outcomes.
PMCID: PMC2744443  PMID: 18424874
16.  Conflicts in Rights of Disclosure of HIV Status in South Western Nigeria: the Health Care Provider’s Perspective 
Materia Socio-Medica  2012;24(1):21-25.
Close interaction between clients and health care workers as regards disclosure, refusal of treatment and right to know status has been a subject of debate in legal and medical quarters. The objective of this study was to assess perceived rights of health care workers towards disclosure of HIV status in Lagos State in Southwestern Nigeria.
This was a descriptive cross sectional study carried out among 260 health care workers using multistage sampling technique. Research instruments were semi structured self administered and pre tested questionnaires. Data was analyzed using the SPSS softwares.
Mean age of respondents was 39.3(+3.7) years. One hundred and eight four (70.8%) of the health workers studied said that it is the right of health care workers to know the HIV status of clients before commencement of treatments, and 36 (13.8%) agreed that health care workers have the right to refuse to treat or carry out procedure on known HIV positive clients. Twenty (7.7%) said that HIV positive health care workers should not be allowed to handle clients clinically, 72 (27.7%) believed that it is the right of HIV positive clients to know the HIV status of health care workers before attending to them, 36 (13.8%) of respondents has ever disclosed their HIV status to clients before carrying out procedures on them. Fifty six (21.5%) of respondents were willing to show their result results to a HIV positive clients who insist on knowing his or her HIV status, 84 (32.3%) believed that clients has the right to refuse a known HIV positive health care workers to treat or carry out some procedures.
There was no statistically significant association between readiness to disclose HIV status and believing that health care workers have the right to know the status of clients before given them treatment ({P< 0.05).
The need to balance out perceived rights of health care workers and clients would assist in provision of quality services to HIV positive clients.
PMCID: PMC3732355  PMID: 23922512
Rights; stigma and discrimination; conflicts; health care workers.
17.  Mental health and social service needs for mental health service users in Japan: a cross-sectional survey of client- and staff-perceived needs 
The appropriate utilization of community services by people with mental health difficulties is becoming increasingly important in Japan. The aim of the present study was to describe service needs, as perceived by people with mental health difficulties living in the community and their service providers. We analyzed the difference between two necessity ratings using paired data in order to determine implications related to needs assessment for mental health services.
This cross-sectional study used two self-reported questionnaires, with one questionnaire administered to mental health service users living in the community and another questionnaire to staff members providing services to those users at community service facilities. The study was conducted in psychiatric social rehabilitation facilities for people with mental health difficulties in Japan. The paired client and staff responses rated needs for each kind of mental health and social service independently. The 19 services listed in the questionnaire included counseling and healthcare, housing, renting, daily living, and employment. Overall, 246 individuals with mental health difficulties were asked to participate in this study, and after excluding invalid responses, 188 client-staff response dyads (76.4% of recruited people, 83.6% of people who gave consent) were analyzed in this study. A Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed rank test was used to compare the perceived needs, and weighted and unweighted Kappa statistics were calculated to assess rating agreement within client-staff dyads.
Over 75% of participants in our study, who were people with mental health difficulties living in the community, regarded each type of mental health service as “somewhat necessary,” or “absolutely necessary” to live in their community. Most clients and staff rated healthcare facilities with 24/7 crisis consultation services as necessary. Agreement between client and staff ratings of perceived needs for services was low (Kappa = .02 to .26). Services regarding housing, renting a place to live, and advocacy had the same tendency in that clients perceived a higher need when compared to staff perceptions (p < .01).
It is essential for the service providers to identify the services that each user needs, engage in dialogue, and involve clients in service planning and development.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13033-015-0009-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4419408  PMID: 25945122
Community mental health services; Needs assessment; Health services needs and demand; Shared decision making; Patient-centered care; Schizophrenia; Mental health difficulties; Consumer participation; Housing; Dialogue
18.  Study protocol: delayed intervention randomised controlled trial within the Medical Research Council (MRC) Framework to assess the effectiveness of a new palliative care service 
Palliative care has been proposed to help meet the needs of patients who suffer progressive non-cancer conditions but there have been few evaluations of service development initiatives. We report here a novel protocol for the evaluation of a new palliative care service in this context.
Using the MRC Framework for the Evaluation of Complex Interventions we modelled a new palliative care and neurology service for patients severely affected by Multiple Sclerosis (MS). We conducted qualitative interviews with patients, families and staff, plus a literature review to model and pilot the service. Then we designed a delayed intervention randomised controlled trial to test its effectiveness as part of phase II of the MRC framework. Inclusion criteria for the trial were patients identified by referring clinicians as having unresolved symptoms or psychological concerns. Referrers were advised to use a score of greater than 8 on the Expanded Disability Scale was a benchmark. Consenting patients newly referred to the new service were randomised to either receive the palliative care service immediately (fast-track) or after a 12-week wait (standard best practice). Face to face interviews were conducted at baseline (before intervention), and at 4–6, 10–12 (before intervention for the standard-practice group), 16–18 and 22–24 weeks with patients and their carers using standard questionnaires to assess symptoms, palliative care outcomes, function, service use and open comments. Ethics committee approval was granted separately for the qualitative phase and then for the trial.
We publish the protocol trial here, to allow methods to be reviewed in advance of publication of the results. The MRC Framework for the Evaluation of Complex Interventions was helpful in both the design of the service, methods for evaluation in convincing staff and the ethics committee to accept the trial. The research will provide valuable information on the effects of palliative care among non-cancer patients and a method to evaluate palliative care in this context.
PMCID: PMC1615868  PMID: 17014714
19.  Views of the Medical Research Council on the Green Paper “A Framework for Government Research and Development”* 
British Medical Journal  1972;1(5796):357-360.
The Council recognize the research needs of Government departments and wish to play their part in meeting them (paragraph 4). The Council have an important role in the national research effort (paragraph 5). Coherent policies in medical research are essential for the best use of resources (paragraph 6). The customer/contractor relationship is inappropriate to most biomedical research (paragraph 8). Transfer of 25% of the Council's budget to departments would, in the long term, hinder the advance of medical practice (paragraph 9). Short-term consequences for universities would be severe (paragraph 10). It would be uneconomical for departments to duplicate machinery for making detailed research policy choices (paragraph 11). A better partnership that will meet the needs of government should be developed between departments and the Council (paragraph 12). Respective responsibilities of departments and the Council in research should be redefined (paragraph 12a). Government funds for medical and related research should be reapportioned in relation to responsibilities (paragraph 12b). A basis is proposed for future partnership with departments, which is not dependent on financial sanctions (paragraph 12c). The Council favour establishment of a board similar to that proposed in the Dainton report (Annex 2).
PMCID: PMC1787266  PMID: 5008667
20.  More than just great quotes: An introduction to the Canadian Tri-Council’s qualitative requirements 
Although at times misunderstood by the general research community, qualitative research has developed out of diverse, rich and complex philosophical traditions and theoretical paradigms. In the most recent Canadian Tri-Council policy statement on the ethical conduct of research involving humans, a chapter was devoted to a summary of methods and methodological requirements that characterize robust qualitative research, despite the diversity of approaches. To dispel common misperceptions about qualitative research and introduce the unfamiliar reader to these requirements, the work of a qualitative study on isoniazid preventive therapy for prophylaxis of tuberculosis published in AIDS is critiqued alongside each of the Tri-Council’s nine requirements.
PMCID: PMC3720007  PMID: 24421811
Canada; Mixed methods; Qualitative methods; Tri-Council
21.  The UPBEAT depression and coronary heart disease programme: using the UK medical research council framework to design a nurse-led complex intervention for use in primary care 
BMC Family Practice  2012;13:119.
Depression is common in coronary heart disease (CHD) and increases the incidence of coronary symptoms and death in CHD patients. Interventions feasible for use in primary care are needed to improve both mood and cardiac outcomes. The UPBEAT-UK programme of research has been funded by the NHS National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to explore the relationship between CHD and depression and to develop a new intervention for use in primary care.
Using the Medical Research Council (MRC) guidelines for developing and evaluating complex interventions, we conducted a systematic review and qualitative research to develop a primary care-based nurse-led intervention to improve mood and cardiac outcomes in patients with CHD and depression. Iterative literature review was used to synthesise our empirical work and to identify evidence and theory to inform the intervention.
We developed a primary care-based nurse-led personalised care intervention which utilises elements of case management to promote self management. Following biopsychosocial assessment, a personalised care plan is devised. Nurses trained in behaviour change techniques facilitate patients to address the problems important to them. Identification and utilisation of existing resources is promoted. Nurse time is conserved through telephone follow up.
Application of the MRC framework for complex interventions has allowed us to develop an evidence based intervention informed by patient and clinician preferences and established theory. The feasibility and acceptability of this intervention is now being tested further in an exploratory trial.
PMCID: PMC3538052  PMID: 23234253
Complex intervention; Personalised care; Coronary heart disease; Depression; Primary care
22.  Knowledge and awareness of diabetes in urban and rural India: The Indian Council of Medical Research India Diabetes Study (Phase I): Indian Council of Medical Research India Diabetes 4 
Representative data on knowledge and awareness about diabetes is scarce in India and is extremely important to plan public health policies aimed at preventing and controlling diabetes.
The aim of the following study is to assess awareness and knowledge about diabetes in the general population, as well as in individuals with diabetes in four selected regions of India.
Materials and Methods:
The study subjects were drawn from a representative sample of four geographical regions of India, Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Maharashtra representing North, South, East and West and covering a population of 213 million. A total of 16,607 individuals (5112 urban and 11,495 rural) aged ≥20 years were selected from 188 urban and 175 rural areas. Awareness of diabetes and knowledge of causative factors and complications of diabetes were assessed using an interviewer administered structured questionnaire in 14,274 individuals (response rate, 86.0%), which included 480 self-reported diabetic subjects.
Only 43.2% (6160/14,274) of the overall study population had heard about a condition called diabetes. Overall urban residents had higher awareness rates (58.4%) compared to rural residents (36.8%) (P < 0.001). About 46.7% of males and 39.6% of females reported that they knew about a condition called diabetes (P < 0.001). Of the general population, 41.5% (5726/13,794) knew about a condition called diabetes. Among them, 80.7% (4620/5726) knew that the prevalence of diabetes was increasing, whereas among diabetic subjects, it was 93.0% (448/480). Among the general and diabetic population, 56.3% and 63.4% respectively, were aware that diabetes could be prevented. Regarding complications, 51.5% of the general population and 72.7% diabetic population knew that diabetes could affect other organs. Based on a composite knowledge score to assess knowledge among the general population, Tamil Nadu had the highest (31.7) and Jharkhand the lowest score (16.3). However among self-reported diabetic subjects, Maharashtra had the highest (70.1) and Tamil Nadu, the lowest score (56.5).
Knowledge and awareness about diabetes in India, particularly in rural areas, is poor. This underscores the need for conducting large scale diabetes awareness and education programs.
PMCID: PMC4056139  PMID: 24944935
Asian Indians; awareness; diabetes; Indian Council of Medical Research India Diabetes; India; knowledge; rural; South Asians; urban
23.  Factors influencing patient safety in Sweden: perceptions of patient safety officers in the county councils 
National, regional and local activities to improve patient safety in Sweden have increased over the last decade. There are high ambitions for improved patient safety in Sweden. This study surveyed health care professionals who held key positions in their county council’s patient safety work to investigate their perceptions of the conditions for this work, factors they believe have been most important in reaching the current level of patient safety and factors they believe would be most important for achieving improved patient safety in the future.
The study population consisted of 218 health care professionals holding strategic positions in patient safety work in Swedish county councils. Using a questionnaire, the following topics were analysed in this study: profession/occupation; number of years involved in a designated task on patient safety issues; knowledge/overview of the county council’s patient safety work; ability to influence this work; conditions for this work; and the importance of various factors for current and future levels of patient safety.
The response rate to the questionnaire was 79%. The conditions that had the highest number of responses in complete agreement were “patients’ involvement is important for patient safety” and “patient safety work has good support from the county council’s management”. Factors that were considered most important for achieving the current level of patient safety were root cause and risk analyses, incident reporting and the Swedish Patient Safety Law. An organizational culture that encourages reporting and avoids blame was considered most important for improved patient safety in the future, closely followed by improved communication between health care practitioners and patients.
Health care professionals with important positions in the Swedish county councils’ patient safety work believe that conditions for this work are somewhat constrained. They attribute the current levels of patient safety to a broad range of factors and believe that many different solutions can contribute to enhanced patient safety in the future, suggesting that this work must be multifactorial.
PMCID: PMC3579677  PMID: 23391301
Patient safety; Patient involvement; Communication; Safety culture; Root cause analysis; Risk analysis; Incident reporting
24.  Surgeon length of service and risk-adjusted outcomes: linked observational analysis of the UK National Adult Cardiac Surgery Audit Registry and General Medical Council Register 
To explore the relationship between in-hospital mortality following adult cardiac surgery and the time since primary clinical qualification for the responsible consultant cardiac surgeon (a proxy for experience).
Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected national registry data over a 10-year period using mixed-effects multiple logistic regression modelling. Surgeon experience was defined as the time between the date of surgery and award of primary clinical qualification.
UK National Health Service hospitals performing cardiac surgery between January 2003 and December 2012.
All patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafts and/or valve surgery under the care of a consultant cardiac surgeon.
Main outcome measures
All-cause in-hospital mortality.
A total of 292,973 operations performed by 273 consultant surgeons (with lengths of service from 11.2 to 42.0 years) were included. Crude mortality increased approximately linearly until 33 years service, before decreasing. After adjusting for case-mix and year of surgery, there remained a statistically significant (p = 0.002) association between length of service and in-hospital mortality (odds ratio 1.013; 95% CI 1.005–1.021 for each year of ‘experience’).
Consultant cardiac surgeons take on increasingly complex surgery as they gain experience. With this progression, the incidence of adverse outcomes is expected to increase, as is demonstrated in this study. After adjusting for case-mix using the EuroSCORE, we observed an increased risk of mortality in patients operated on by longer serving surgeons. This finding may reflect under-adjustment for risk, unmeasured confounding or a real association. Further research into outcomes over the time course of surgeon's careers is required.
PMCID: PMC4206624  PMID: 25193057
clinical experience; length of service; clinical performance; General Medical Council register; cardiac surgery; audit
25.  Development of the care programme for the last days of life for older patients in acute geriatric hospital wards: a phase 0–1 study according to the Medical Research Council Framework 
BMC Palliative Care  2015;14:24.
The effects of the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) have never been investigated in older patients dying in acute geriatric hospital wards and its content and implementation have never been adapted to this specific setting. Moreover, the LCP has recently been phased out in the UK hospitals. For that reason, this study aims to develop a new care programme to improve care in the last days of life for older patients dying in acute geriatric wards.
We conducted a phase 0–1 study according to the Medical Research Council Framework. Phase 0 consisted of a review of existing LCP programmes from the UK, Italy, and the Netherlands, a literature review to identify key factors for a successful LCP implementation and an analysis of the concerns raised in the UK. In phase 1, we developed a care programme for the last days of life for older patients dying in acute geriatric wards based on the results of phase 0. The care programme was reviewed and refined by two nurses and two physicians working in an acute geriatric ward and by two experts from Italy and the Netherlands.
Phase 0 resulted in the identification of nine important components within the LCP programmes, five key factors for a successful LCP implementation and a summary of the LCP concerns raised in the UK. Based on these findings we developed a new care programme consisting of (1) an adapted LCP document or Care Guide for the older patients dying in an acute geriatric ward, (2) supportive documentation, and (3) an implementation guide to assist health care staff in implementing the care programme on the acute geriatric ward.
Based on the existing LCP programmes and taking into account the key factors for successful LCP implementation as well as the concerns raised in the UK, we developed a care programme for the last days of life and modelled it to the acute geriatric hospital wards after gaining feedback from health professionals caring for older hospitalized patients.
PMCID: PMC4464229  PMID: 25956386
Liverpool Care Pathway; End-of-life care; Older people; Hospital

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