PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-25 (1503374)

Clipboard (0)
None

Related Articles

1.  Exploring the Nature of Therapeutic Massage Bodywork Practice 
Background
Research on therapeutic massage bodywork (TMB) continues to expand, but few studies consider how research or knowledge translation may be affected by the lack of uniformly standardized competencies for most TMB therapies, by practitioner variability from training in different forms of TMB, or from the effects of experience on practice.
Purpose
This study explores and describes how TMB practitioners practice, for the purpose of improving TMB training, practice, and research.
Participants & Setting
19 TMB practitioners trained in multiple TMB therapies, in Alberta, Canada.
Research Design
Qualitative descriptive sub-analysis of interviews from a comprehensive project on the training and practice of TMB, focused on the delivery of TMB therapies in practice.
Results
Two broad themes emerged from the data: (1) every treatment is individualized, and (2) each practitioner’s practice of TMB therapies evolves. Individualization involves adapting treatment to the needs of the patient in the moment, based on deliberate and unconscious responses to verbal and nonverbal cues. Individualization starts with initial assessment and continues throughout the treatment encounter. Expertise is depicted as more nuanced and skilful individualization and treatment, evolved through experience, ongoing training, and spontaneous technique exploration. Practitioners consider such individualization and development of experience desirable. Furthermore, ongoing training and experience result in therapy application unique to each practitioner. Most practitioners believed they could not apply a TMB therapy without influence from other TMB therapies they had learned.
Conclusions
There are ramifications for research design, knowledge translation, and education. Few practitioners are likely able to administer treatments in the same way, and most would not like to practice without being able to individualize treatment. TMB clinical studies need to employ research methods that accommodate the complexity of clinical practice. TMB education should facilitate the maturation of practice skills and self-reflection, including the mindful integration of multiple TMB therapies.
PMCID: PMC3577637  PMID: 23481609
complementary therapies/methods; massage; musculoskeletal manipulations; clinical competence; decision-making; qualitative research; clinical practice
2.  Adaptation of the CARE Guidelines for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork Publications: Efforts To Improve the Impact of Case Reports 
Case reports provide the foundation of practice-based evidence for therapeutic massage and bodywork (TMB), as well as many other health-related fields. To improve the consistency of information contained in case reports, the CARE (CAse REport) Group developed and published a set of guidelines for the medical community to facilitate systematic data collection (http://www.care-statement.org/#). Because of the differences between the practice of medicine and TMB, modifying some sections of the CARE guidelines is necessary to make them compatible with TMB case reports. Accordingly, the objectives of this article are to present the CARE guidelines, apply each section of the guidelines to TMB practice and reporting with suggested adaptations, and highlight concerns, new ideas, and other resources for potential authors of TMB case reports.
The primary sections of the CARE guidelines adapted for TMB case reports are diagnostic assessment, follow-up and outcomes, and therapeutic intervention. Specifically, because diagnosis falls outside of the scope of most TMB practitioners, suggestions are made as to how diagnoses made by other health care providers should be included in the context of a TMB case report. Additionally, two new aspects of the case presentation section are recommended: a) assessment measures, which outline and describe the outcome measures on which the case report will focus, and b) a description of the TMB provider (i.e., scope of practice, practice environment, experience level, training, credentialing, and/or expertise) as part of the intervention description.
This article culminates with practical resources for TMB practitioners writing case reports, including a TMB Case Report Template—a single document that TMB practitioners can use to guide his or her process of writing a case report. Once the template is adopted by authors of TMB case reports, future efforts can explore the impact on the quality and quantity of case reports and how they impact TMB practice, research, education and, ultimately, the clients.
PMCID: PMC4145002  PMID: 25184013
case study; massage therapy; manual therapy; evidenced-based practice
3.  Negotiating Consent: Exploring Ethical Issues when Therapeutic Massage Bodywork Practitioners Are Trained in Multiple Therapies 
Introduction
Obtaining informed consent from competent patients is essential to the ethical delivery of health care, including therapeutic massage and bodywork (TMB). The informed consent process used by TMB practitioners has not been previously studied. Little information is available about the practice of informed consent in a treatment-focused environment that may involve multiple decision points, use of multiple TMB therapies, or both.
Methods
As part of a larger study on the process of providing TMB therapy, 19 practitioners were asked about obtaining informed consent during practice. Qualitative description was used to analyze discussions of the consent process generally, and about its application when practitioners use multiple TMB therapies.
Results
Two main consent approaches emerged, one based on a general consent early in the treatment process, and a second ongoing consent process undertaken throughout the course of treatment. Both processes are constrained by how engaged a patient wants to be, and the amount of information and time needed to develop a truly informed consent.
Conclusions
An understanding-based consent process that accommodates an acknowledged information differential between the patient and practitioner, and that is guided by clearly delineated goals within a trust-based relationship, may be the most effective consent process under the conditions of real practice conditions.
PMCID: PMC4240696  PMID: 25452820
complementary therapies/methods; massage; musculoskeletal manipulations; consent; decision-making; qualitative research; clinical practice
4.  A Descriptive Study of the Practice Patterns of Massage New Zealand Massage Therapists 
Background:
Massage therapy has grown in popularity, yet little is known globally or in New Zealand about massage therapists and their practices.
Purpose and Setting:
The aims of this study were to describe the practice patterns of trained Massage New Zealand massage therapists in New Zealand private practice, with regard to therapist characteristics; practice modes and settings, and therapy characteristics; referral patterns; and massage therapy as an occupation.
Research Design and Participants:
A survey questionnaire was mailed to 66 trained massage therapist members of Massage New Zealand who were recruiting massage clients for a concurrent study of massage therapy culture.
Results:
Most massage therapists were women (83%), NZ European (76%), and holders of a massage diploma qualification (89%). Massage therapy was both a full- (58%) and part-time (42%) occupation, with the practice of massage therapy being the only source of employment for 70% of therapists. Nearly all therapists (94%) practiced massage for more than 40 weeks in the year, providing a median of 16 – 20 hours of direct client care per week. Most massage therapists worked in a “solo practice” (58%) and used a wide and active referral network. Almost all therapists treated musculoskeletal symptoms: the most common client issues or conditions treated were back pain/problem (99%), neck/shoulder pain/problem (99%), headache or migraine (99%), relaxation and stress reduction (96%), and regular recovery or maintenance massage (89%). The most frequent client fee per treatment was NZ$60 per hour in a clinic and NZ$1 per minute at a sports event or in the workplace. Therapeutic massage, relaxation massage, sports massage, and trigger-point therapy were the most common styles of massage therapy offered. Nearly all massage therapists (99%) undertook client assessment; 95% typically provided self-care recommendations; and 32% combined other complementary and alternative medicine therapies with their massage consultations.
Conclusions:
This study provides new information about the practice of massage therapy by trained massage therapists. It will help to inform the massage industry and other health care providers, potential funders, and policymakers about the provision of massage therapy in the NZ health care system.
PMCID: PMC3088528  PMID: 21589692
Complementary and alternative therapies; massage therapy; New Zealand; integrative care; practice patterns
5.  Advancing the Therapeutic Massage Research Agenda(s) 
Therapeutic massage and bodywork (TMB) is now an established field of research with dedicated funding, researchers, and many venues and channels for dissemination of TMB research. Research agendas are a way for a profession to focus the development and funding of research on facets of TMB practice and education that are most needed at a given point of time to best move forward the practice and professionalization of TMB. Of the two TMB research agendas, one is currently being updated, the other is newly developed. Because of the impact on the development of the profession, gaps in research agendas also need to be carefully considered. Three areas that could use further consideration or support within the current agendas include education, methods and methodologies, and underlying assumptions. TMB researchers need to engage with and support the current agendas, and participate in their evolution.
PMCID: PMC3757228  PMID: 24000302
6.  The Greater Value of the CONSORT Statement Guidelines: Guideposts for Designing and Reporting all TMB Research 
The IJTMB recommends the use of the CONSORT Statement (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) guidelines for the reporting of randomized, controlled clinical trials (RCTs). A careful review of the guidelines shows important applications of these guidelines to all types of research reporting and design, not just RCTs. There is an Extension to these guidelines specific to nonpharmacologic interventions, including manually applied therapies and complementary medicine, and thus therapeutic massage and bodywork (TMB). Components of the Extension are thus relevant to publication in the IJTMB and should be considered part of standard reporting. As well, while the goals of the CONSORT Statement guidelines are to improve reporting of RCTs, the issues raised in the guidelines and explanatory document are relevant to all forms of TMB research and should be considered in all TMB research manuscripts. Finally, while not their purpose, the guidelines could also be used as an informal checklist when developing robust TMB research.
PMCID: PMC3528186  PMID: 23431357
7.  Attitudes and Practices of Massage Therapists as Related to Conventional Medicine 
Introduction
Research into opinions about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has focused on conventional medical practitioners with little exploration of CAM practitioners’ views.
Purpose
To survey attitudes and practices of massage therapists toward conventional medicine.
Research Design
An anonymous online survey consisting of Likert-type scales, fill-in answers, and multiple-choice questions was used.
Participants
Members of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP), the largest massage therapy association in the US with over 77,000 members.
Main Outcome Measures
Participants were asked about their years of practice and training, choice of health care practitioners, sources for information about CAM and Western/allopathic medicine, client referral patterns, optimal treatment approaches for various medical conditions, and overall impressions of CAM and Western/ allopathic medicine.
Results
Analysis of n = 3,148 responses indicated that while 66.9% of respondents had a neutral or worse impression of Western/allopathic medicine, 64.3% use a conventional medicine practitioner as their primary health care provider, 61.9% have referred clients to a conventional medicine practitioner in the past six months, and 90.5% seek out information on Western/allopathic medicine. The mode response of the best treatment approach to various medical problems was a mix of Western/allopathic medicine and CAM.
Conclusions
This study suggests that despite the ambivalence of many massage therapists towards conventional medicine, many use it, encourage clients to do so, and see involvement of both as crucial to health.
PMCID: PMC3312644  PMID: 22553480
complementary; alternative medicine; attitudes; massage
8.  The Intersection of Massage Practice and Research: Community Massage Therapists as Research Personnel on an NIH-funded Effectiveness Study 
Introduction
Few NIH funded studies give community massage therapists the opportunity to become study personnel. A recent NIH/NCCAM-funded study investigating chronic low back pain (CLBP) recruited, trained, and utilized community massage practitioners (CMPs) as study personnel. This study’s aim was to determine whether health-related outcomes for CLBP improve when patients are referred from primary care to select CAM modalities including massage therapy (MT). The purpose of this paper is to report the results of the study’s three massage practice-driven study objectives which were to: 1) identify challenges and solutions to recruiting and retaining ample CMPs, 2) develop a practice-informed protocol reflecting real-world MT, and 3) determine the extent to which CMPs comply with rigorous research methodology in their clinical practices as study personnel.
Methods
Eligible CMPs in urban and rural Kentucky counties were identified through licensure board records, professional organizations, and personal contact opportunities. Interested CMPs completed 6 CE hours of research and Human Subjects Protection training and agreed to comply with a study protocol reflecting MT as practiced. Once trained, study CMPs were matched with study participants to provide and document up to 10 MT sessions per participant.
Results
Utilizing prominent MT community members proved invaluable to CMP recruitment and protocol development. CMP recruitment challenges included mixed interest, low number of available rural CMPs, busy clinic schedules, and compensation. Ethics CE credits were offered to encourage CMP interest. A total of 28 Kentucky licensed massage therapists with 5–32 years of experience completed study training. A total of 127 CLBP patients consented to participate (n = 104 for MT). Twenty-five CMPs were assigned CLBP patients and provided 1–10 treatments for 94 study participants. Treatment documentation was provided by CMPs for 97% of treatments provided.
Conclusions
When recruitment, retention, and protocol compliance challenges are met, CMPs are valuable study personnel for practice-based research reflecting real-world MT practice.
PMCID: PMC4051806  PMID: 24920968
practice-based research networks; chronic low back pain; licensed massage therapists; methods; clinical trial; real-world massage practice
9.  Tobacco brief intervention training for chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage practitioners: protocol for the CAM reach study 
Background
Tobacco use remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the US. Effective tobacco cessation aids are widely available, yet underutilized. Tobacco cessation brief interventions (BIs) increase quit rates. However, BI training has focused on conventional medical providers, overlooking other health practitioners with regular contact with tobacco users. The 2007 National Health Interview Survey found that approximately 20% of those who use provider-based complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) are tobacco users. Thus, CAM practitioners potentially represent a large, untapped community resource for promoting tobacco cessation and use of effective cessation aids. Existing BI training is not well suited for CAM practitioners’ background and practice patterns, because it assumes a conventional biomedical foundation of knowledge and philosophical approaches to health, healing and the patient-practitioner relationship. There is a pressing need to develop and test the effectiveness of BI training that is both grounded in Public Health Service (PHS) Guidelines for tobacco dependence treatment and that is relevant and appropriate for CAM practitioners.
Methods/Design
The CAM Reach (CAMR) intervention is a tobacco cessation BI training and office system intervention tailored specifically for chiropractors, acupuncturists and massage therapists. The CAMR study utilizes a single group one-way crossover design to examine the CAMR intervention’s impact on CAM practitioners’ tobacco-related practice behaviors. Primary outcomes included CAM practitioners’ self-reported conduct of tobacco use screening and BIs. Secondary outcomes include tobacco using patients’ readiness to quit, quit attempts, use of guideline-based treatments, and quit rates and also non-tobacco-using patients’ actions to help someone else quit.
Discussion
CAM practitioners provide care to significant numbers of tobacco users. Their practice patterns and philosophical approaches to health and healing are well suited for providing BIs. The CAMR study is examining the impact of the CAMR intervention on practitioners’ tobacco-related practice behaviors, CAM patient behaviors, and documenting factors important to the conduct of practice-based research in real-world CAM practices.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-510
PMCID: PMC4320589  PMID: 25524595
Tobacco cessation; Brief intervention; Training; Communication; Acupuncture; Chiropractic; Massage therapy; System intervention; Longitudinal study; Qualitative study
10.  The Next Frontiers 
This issue of the IJTMB includes articles that represent the scope of therapeutic massage and bodywork (TMB) practice and education. The two research articles represent the testing of deductive hypotheses not commonly seen in the TMB literature: the change in tactile abnormalities of young children with autism using qigong massage, and changes in postural balance from massage to the muscles associated with the mandibular trigeminal nerve. The education editorial opens the IJTMB dialogue on the need, value, and issues of competency-based education relative to hours-based programming.
PMCID: PMC3838307  PMID: 24298294
11.  Current Status and Future Prospects of Clinical Psycholog 
SUMMARY
The escalating costs of health care and other recent trends have made health care decisions of great societal import, with decision-making responsibility often being transferred from practitioners to health economists, health plans, and insurers. Health care decision making increasingly is guided by evidence that a treatment is efficacious, effective–disseminable, cost-effective, and scientifically plausible. Under these conditions of heightened cost concerns and institutional–economic decision making, psychologists are losing the opportunity to play a leadership role in mental and behavioral health care: Other types of practitioners are providing an increasing proportion of delivered treatment, and the use of psychiatric medication has increased dramatically relative to the provision of psychological interventions.
Research has shown that numerous psychological interventions are efficacious, effective, and cost-effective. However, these interventions are used infrequently with patients who would benefit from them, in part because clinical psychologists have not made a convincing case for the use of these interventions (e.g., by supplying the data that decision makers need to support implementation of such interventions) and because clinical psychologists do not themselves use these interventions even when given the opportunity to do so.
Clinical psychologists’ failure to achieve a more significant impact on clinical and public health may be traced to their deep ambivalence about the role of science and their lack of adequate science training, which leads them to value personal clinical experience over research evidence, use assessment practices that have dubious psychometric support, and not use the interventions for which there is the strongest evidence of efficacy. Clinical psychology resembles medicine at a point in its history when practitioners were operating in a largely prescientific manner. Prior to the scientific reform of medicine in the early 1900s, physicians typically shared the attitudes of many of today’s clinical psychologists, such as valuing personal experience over scientific research. Medicine was reformed, in large part, by a principled effort by the American Medical Association to increase the science base of medical school education. Substantial evidence shows that many clinical psychology doctoral training programs, especially PsyD and for-profit programs, do not uphold high standards for graduate admission, have high student–faculty ratios, deemphasize science in their training, and produce students who fail to apply or generate scientific knowledge.
A promising strategy for improving the quality and clinical and public health impact of clinical psychology is through a new accreditation system that demands highquality science training as a central feature of doctoral training in clinical psychology. Just as strengthening training standards in medicine markedly enhanced the quality of health care, improved training standards in clinical psychology will enhance health and mental health care. Such a system will (a) allow the public and employers to identify scientifically trained psychologists; (b) stigmatize ascientific training programs and practitioners; (c) produce aspirational effects, thereby enhancing training quality generally; and (d) help accredited programs improve their training in the application and generation of science. These effects should enhance the generation, application, and dissemination of experimentally supported interventions, thereby improving clinical and public health. Experimentally based treatments not only are highly effective but also are cost-effective relative to other interventions; therefore, they could help control spiraling health care costs. The new Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS) is intended to accredit clinical psychology training programs that offer highquality science-centered education and training, producing graduates who are successful in generating and applying scientific knowledge. Psychologists, universities, and other stakeholders should vigorously support this new accreditation system as the surest route to a scientifically principled clinical psychology that can powerfully benefit clinical and public health.
doi:10.1111/j.1539-6053.2009.01036.x
PMCID: PMC2943397  PMID: 20865146
12.  Investigation of benefits and costs of an ophthalmic outreach clinic in general practice. 
BACKGROUND: With the advent of general practitioner fundholding, there has been growth in outreach clinics covering many specialties. The benefits and costs of this model of service provision are unclear. AIM: A pilot study aimed to evaluate an outreach model of ophthalmic care in terms of its impact on general practitioners, their use of secondary ophthalmology services, patients' views, and costs. METHOD: A prospective study, from April 1992 to March 1993, of the introduction of an ophthalmic outreach service in 17 general practices in London was undertaken. An ophthalmic outreach team, comprising an ophthalmic medical practitioner and an ophthalmic nurse, held clinics in the practices once a month. Referral rates to Edgware General Hospital ophthalmology outpatient department over one year from the study practices were compared with those from 17 control practices. General practitioners' assessments of the scheme and its impact on their knowledge and practice of ophthalmology were sought through a postal survey of all partners and interviews with one partner in each practice. Patient surveys were conducted using self-administered structured questionnaires. A costings exercise compared the outreach model with the conventional hospital ophthalmology outpatient clinic. RESULTS: Of 1309 patients seen by the outreach team in the study practices, 480 (37%) were referred to the ophthalmology outpatient department. The annual referral rate to this department from control practices was 9.5 per 10,000 registered patients compared with 3.8 per 10,000 registered patients from study practices. A total of 1187 patients were referred to the outpatient department from control practices. An increase in knowledge of ophthalmology was reported by 18 of 47 general practitioners (38%). Nineteen (40%) of 47 general practitioners took advantage of the opportunity for inservice training with the outreach team; they were more likely to change their routine practice for ophthalmic care or referral criteria for patients with cataracts or diabetes than those who did not attend for inservice training. The outreach scheme was popular with patients, for whom ease of access and familiarity of surroundings were major advantages. The cost per patient seen in the outreach clinics (48.09 pounds) was about three times the cost per patient seen in the outpatient department (15.71 pounds). CONCLUSION: The model of ophthalmic outreach care in this pilot study was popular with patients and general practitioners and appeared to act as an effective filter of demand for care in the hospital setting. However, the educational impact of the scheme was limited. Although the unit costs (per patient) of the outreach scheme compared unfavourably with those of conventional outpatient treatment, potential health gains from this more accessible model of care require further exploration.
PMCID: PMC1239466  PMID: 8745862
13.  Comparison of Transperineal Mapping Biopsy Results with Whole-Mount Radical Prostatectomy Pathology in Patients with Localized Prostate Cancer 
Prostate Cancer  2014;2014:781438.
Objective. We sought to evaluate the accuracy of transperineal mapping biopsy (TMB) by comparing it to the pathology specimen of patients who underwent radical prostatectomy (RP) for localized prostate cancer. Methods. From March 2007 to September 2009, 78 men at a single center underwent TMB; 17 of 78 subsequently underwent RP. TMB cores were grouped into four quadrants and matched to data from RP whole-mount slides. Gleason score, tumor location and volume, cross-sectional area, and maximal diameter were measured; sensitivity and specificity were assessed. Results. For the 17 patients who underwent RP, TMB revealed 12 (71%) had biopsy Gleason grades ≥ 3 + 4 and 13 (76%) had bilateral disease. RP specimens showed 14 (82%) had Gleason scores ≥ 3 + 4 and 13 (76%) had bilateral disease. Sensitivity and specificity of TMB for prostate cancer detection were 86% (95% confidence interval [CI] 72%–94%) and 83% (95% CI 62%–95%), respectively. Four quadrants negative for cancer on TMB were positive on prostatectomy, and six positive on TMB were negative on prostatectomy. Conclusion. TMB is a highly invasive procedure that can accurately detect and localize prostate cancer. These findings help establish baseline performance characteristics for TMB and its utility for organ-sparing strategies.
doi:10.1155/2014/781438
PMCID: PMC4037573  PMID: 24900923
14.  Designing Consumer Health Technologies for the Treatment of Patients With Depression: A Health Practitioner's Perspective 
Background
The consumer health technologies used by patients on a daily basis can be effectively leveraged to assist them in the treatment of depression. However, because treatment for depression is a collaborative endeavor, it is important to understand health practitioners’ perspectives on the benefits, drawbacks, and design of such technologies.
Objective
The objective of this research was to understand how patients and health practitioners can effectively and successfully influence the design of consumer health treatment technologies for treating patients with depression.
Methods
A group of 10 health practitioners participated in individual semistructured contextual interviews at their offices. Health practitioners rated an a priori identified list of depression indicators using a 7-point Likert scale and generated a list of depression indicators. Finally, health practitioners were asked to rate the perceived usefulness of an a priori identified list of depression treatment technologies using a 7-point Likert scale.
Results
Of the 10 health practitioners interviewed, 5 (50%) were mental health practitioners, 3 (30%) nurses, and 2 (20%) general practitioners. A total of 29 unique depression indicators were generated by the health practitioners. These indicators were grouped into 5 high-level categories that were identified by the research team and 2 clinical experts: (1) daily and social functioning, (2) medication, (3) nutrition and physical activity, (4) demographics and environment, and (5) suicidal thoughts. These indicators represent opportunities for designing technologies to support health practitioners who treat patients with depression. The interviews revealed nuances of the different health practitioners’ clinical practices and also barriers to using technology to guide the treatment of depression. These barriers included (1) technology that did not fit within the current practice or work infrastructure, (2) technology that would not benefit the current treatment process, (3) patients forgetting to use the technology, and (4) patients not being able to afford the technology.
Conclusions
In order to be successful in the treatment of depression, consumer health treatment technologies must address health practitioners’ technology concerns early on in the design phase, account for the various types of health practitioners, treatment methods, and clinical practices, and also strive to seamlessly integrate traditional and nontraditional depression indicators within various health practitioners’ clinical practices.
doi:10.2196/ijmr.2368
PMCID: PMC3906692  PMID: 24413087
depression; health care providers; technology; user-computer interface
15.  Primary Care Research Team Assessment (PCRTA): development and evaluation. 
BACKGROUND: Since the early 1990s the United Kingdom (UK) Department of Health has explicitly promoted a research and development (R&D) strategy for the National Health Service (NHS). General practitioners (GPs) and other members of the primary care team are in a unique position to undertake research activity that will complement and inform the research undertaken by basic scientists and hospital-based colleagues and lead directly to a better evidence base for decision making by primary care professionals. Opportunities to engage in R&D in primary care are growing and the scope for those wishing to become involved is finally widening. Infrastructure funding for research-active practices and the establishment of a range of support networks have helped to improve the research capacity and blur some of the boundaries between academic departments and clinical practice. This is leading to a supportive environment for primary care research. There is thus a need to develop and validate nationally accepted quality standards and accreditation of performance to ensure that funders, collaborators and primary care professionals can deliver high quality primary care research. Several strategies have been described in national policy documents in order to achieve an improvement in teaching and clinical care, as well as enhancing research capacity in primary care. The development of both research practices and primary care research networks has been recognised as having an important contribution to make in enabling health professionals to devote more protected time to undertake research methods training and to undertake research in a service setting. The recognition and development of primary care research has also brought with it an emphasis on quality and standards, including an approach to the new research governance framework. PRIMARY CARE RESEARCH TEAM ASSESSMENT: In 1998, the NHS Executive South and West, and later the London Research and Development Directorate, provided funding for a pilot project based at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) to develop a scheme to accredit UK general practices undertaking primary care R&D. The pilot began with initial consultation on the development of the process, as well as the standards and criteria for assessment. The resulting assessment schedule allowed for assessment at one of two levels: Collaborative Research Practice (Level I), with little direct experience of gaining project or infrastructure funding Established Research Practice (Level II), with more experience of research funding and activity and a sound infrastructure to allow for growth in capacity. The process for assessment of practices involved the assessment of written documentation, followed by a half-day assessment visit by a multidisciplinary team of three assessors. IMPLEMENTATION--THE PILOT PROJECT: Pilot practices were sampled in two regions. Firstly, in the NHS Executive South West Region, where over 150 practices expressed an interest in participating. From these a purposive sample of 21 practices was selected, providing a range of research and service activity. A further seven practices were identified and included within the project through the East London and Essex Network of Researchers (ELENoR). Many in this latter group received funding and administrative support and advice from ELENoR in order to prepare written submissions for assessment. Some sample loss was encountered within the pilot project, which was attributable largely to conflicting demands on participants' time. Indeed, the preparation of written submissions within the South West coincided with the introduction of primary care groups (PCGs) in April 1999, which several practices cited as having a major impact on their participation in the pilot project. A final sample of 15 practices (nine in the South West and six through ELENoR) underwent assessment through the pilot project. EVALUATION: A formal evaluation of the Primary Care Research Team Assessment (PCRTA) pilot was undertaken by an independent researcher (FM). This was supplemented with feedback from the assessment team members. The qualitative aspect of the evaluation, which included face-to-face and telephone interviews with assessors, lead researchers and other practice staff within the pilot research practices, as well as members of the project management group, demonstrated a positive view of the pilot scheme. Several key areas were identified in relation to particular strengths of research practices and areas for development including: Strengths Level II practices were found to have a strong primary care team ethos in research. Level II practices tended to have a greater degree of strategic thinking in relation to research. Development areas Level I practices were found to lack a clear and explicit research strategy. Practices at both levels had scope to develop their communication processes for dissemination of research and also for patient involvement. Practices at both levels needed mechanisms for supporting professional development in research methodology. The evaluation demonstrated that practices felt that they had gained from their participation and assessors felt that the scheme had worked well. Some specific issues were raised by different respondents within the qualitative evaluation relating to consistency of interpretation of standards and also the possible overlap of the assessment scheme with other RCGP quality initiatives. NATIONAL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PRIMARY CARE RESEARCH TEAM ASSESSMENT: The pilot project has been very successful and recommendations have been made to progress to a UK scheme. Management and review of the scheme will remain largely the same, with a few changes focusing on the assessment process and support for practices entering the scheme. Specific changes include: development of the support and mentoring role of the primary care research networks increased peer and external support and mentoring for research practices undergoing assessment development of assessor training in line with other schemes within the RCGP Assessment Network work to ensure consistency across RCGP accreditation schemes in relation to key criteria, thereby facilitating comparable assessment processes refinement of the definition of the two groups, with Level I practices referred to as Collaborators and Level II practices as Investigator-Led. The project has continued to generate much enthusiasm and support and continues to reflect current policy. Indeed, recent developments include the proposed new funding arrangements for primary care R&D, which refer to the RCGP assessment scheme and recognise it as a key component in the future R&D agenda. The assessment scheme will help primary care trusts (PCTs) and individual practices to prepare and demonstrate their approach to research governance in a systematic way. It will also provide a more explicit avenue for primary care trusts to explore local service and development priorities identified within health improvement programmes and the research priorities set nationally for the NHS.
PMCID: PMC2560501  PMID: 12049028
16.  Preoperative symptom type influences the 30-day perioperative outcomes of carotid endarterectomy and carotid stenting in the Society for Vascular Surgery Vascular Registry 
Journal of vascular surgery  2014;60(3):639-644.
Objective
The objective of this study was to determine the effect of presenting symptom types on 30-day periprocedural outcomes of carotid endarterectomy (CEA) and carotid artery stenting (CAS) in contemporary vascular practice.
Methods
Retrospective review was undertaken of the Society for Vascular Surgery Vascular Registry database subjects who underwent CEA or CAS from 2004 to 2011. Patients were grouped by discrete 12-month preprocedural ipsilateral symptom type: stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA), transient monocular blindness (TMB), or asymptomatic (ASX). Risk-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) were used to compare the likelihood of the 30-day outcomes of death, stroke, and myocardial infarction (MI) and the composite outcomes of death + stroke and death + stroke + MI.
Results
Symptom type significantly influences risk-adjusted 30-day outcomes for carotid intervention. Presentation with stroke predicted the poorest outcomes (death + stroke + MI composite: OR, 1.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.83–2.03 vs TIA; OR, 2.56; 95% CI, 1.18–5.57 vs TMB; OR, 2.12; 95% CI, 1.46–3.08 vs ASX), followed by TIA (death + stroke + MI composite: OR, 1.97; 95% CI, 0.91–4.25 vs TMB; OR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.14–2.33 vs ASX). For both CAS and CEA patients, presentation with stroke or TIA predicted a higher risk of periprocedural stroke than in ASX patients. Presentation with stroke predicted higher 30-day risk of death with CAS but not with CEA. MI rates were not affected by presenting symptom type. The 30-day outcomes for the TMB and ASX patient groups were equivalent in both treatment arms.
Conclusions
Presenting symptom type significantly affects the 30-day outcomes of both CAS and CEA in contemporary vascular surgical practice. Presentation with stroke and TIA predicts higher rates of periprocedural complications, whereas TMB presentation predicts a periprocedural risk profile similar to that of ASX disease.
doi:10.1016/j.jvs.2014.03.237
PMCID: PMC4287967  PMID: 25154963
17.  A Cluster-Randomised Trial Evaluating an Intervention for Patients with Stress-Related Mental Disorders and Sick Leave in Primary Care 
PLoS Clinical Trials  2007;2(6):e26.
Objective:
Mental health problems often affect functioning to such an extent that they result in sick leave. The worldwide reported prevalence of mental health problems in the working population is 10%–18%. In developed countries, mental health problems are one of the main grounds for receiving disability benefits. In up to 90% of cases the cause is stress-related, and health-care utilisation is mainly restricted to primary care. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of our Minimal Intervention for Stress-related mental disorders with Sick leave (MISS) in primary care, which is intended to reduce sick leave and prevent chronicity of symptoms.
Design:
Cluster-randomised controlled educational trial.
Setting:
Primary health-care practices in the Amsterdam area, The Netherlands.
Participants:
A total of 433 patients (MISS n = 227, usual care [UC] n = 206) with sick leave and self-reported elevated level of distress.
Interventions:
Forty-six primary care physicians were randomised to either receive training in the MISS or to provide UC. Eligible patients were screened by mail.
Outcome Measures:
The primary outcome measure was duration of sick leave until lasting full return to work. The secondary outcomes were levels of self-reported distress, depression, anxiety, and somatisation.
Results:
No superior effect of the MISS was found on duration of sick leave (hazard ratio 1.06, 95% confidence interval 0.87–1.29) nor on severity of self-reported symptoms.
Conclusions:
We found no evidence that the MISS is more effective than UC in our study sample of distressed patients. Continuing research should focus on the potential beneficial effects of the MISS; we need to investigate which elements of the intervention might be useful and which elements should be adjusted to make the MISS effective.
Editorial Commentary
Background: People who take sick leave from work as a result of mental health problems very often report that the cause is stress-related. Although stress-related sick leave imposes a significant burden on individuals and economies, few evidence-based therapies exist to prevent sick leave in people who are experiencing stress-related mental health problems. The researchers carrying out this study wanted to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention for stress-related mental health disorders amongst people who had been on sick leave for less than three months. The intervention involved short training sessions for primary health-care practitioners, during which the practitioners were taught how to diagnose stress-related problems; how to provide information to patients and encourage their recovery and active return to work; and how to give advice and monitor patients' recovery. The researchers carried out a cluster-randomized trial evaluating this training program, in which 46 primary care practitioners were assigned by chance to receive either the training program or to practice usual care. Over the course of the trial, 433 patients with elevated levels of distress and sick leave were included in the study, 227 of whom were treated by practitioners receiving the training program and 206 of whom received usual care. These patients were followed up for 12 months and the primary outcome studied in the trial was the length of sick leave taken until full return to work. Secondary outcome measures included patients' reports of distress, depression, and other symptoms as recorded using specific questionnaires.
What the trial shows: In the trial, data on the primary outcome measure was available for 87% of the patients treated by practitioners receiving the training intervention and 84% of the patients receiving usual care. When these outcomes were analyzed, there was no evidence of a benefit of the training program on amount of sick leave taken. Over the course of the study, the severity of patients' self-reported symptoms fell in both groups, but there was no significant difference in symptom severity between the two groups of patients. A subgroup analysis suggested that more practitioners in the intervention group recognized patients as having stress-related mental health problems. Among the group of patients who were diagnosed as having stress-related mental health problems, those who were treated by practitioners in the intervention group seemed to return to work slightly more quickly than those in the usual care group. However, it is not easy to interpret the findings of this secondary analysis.
Strengths and limitations: Strengths of this study include the procedures for cluster randomization, in which primary care practitioners were randomized, rather than patients. This process ensures that only patients assigned to the intervention arm receive the benefits of the intervention, and avoids “contamination” between intervention and control groups. A further strength includes the blinding of researchers who were collecting data to the intervention that each practitioner had received. The findings of the study, however, are difficult to interpret. No effect of the training intervention was found on the study's primary outcome measure; it is possible that the training intervention does indeed have some benefit, but the benefit may not have been found in this particular trial because of the inclusion of patients with a very wide range of problems; in addition the practitioners may have not had the time or ability to apply what they learnt in the training program.
Contribution to the evidence: Very little evidence exists regarding the effects of training interventions for improving care of patients with stress-related mental health problems. The findings of this trial support those of another study carried out in a primary care setting, which found that training interventions do not seem to reduce length of sick leave. However, another study carried out in an occupational health-care setting, in which patients included in the trial had been recognised as having stress-related mental disorders, did find some benefit of an intervention program.
doi:10.1371/journal.pctr.0020026
PMCID: PMC1885369  PMID: 17549228
18.  The role of counsellors in general practice. A qualitative study. 
Counselling services in general practice are now widespread but little is known about their nature or role. We therefore carried out in-depth telephone interviews with a representative sample of 72 general practitioners and 60 of their counsellors who had participated in a previous national survey of counselling services in England and Wales. Our aim was to gain greater insight into the functioning of these services in order to determine the most appropriate focus for future research and development. Interviews were semi-structured and focused on service initiation and duration; counsellors' background and training; working arrangements including sources of funding; types of clients; communication between general practitioners and counsellors; perceived advantages and disadvantages to general practitioners, counsellors, and clients; goals, barriers, and proposed changes. Approximately two thirds of counsellors were employed by district health authorities and attached to practices. One third were employed by the practice with the financial assistance of family health services authorities. Practice-employed counsellors appeared a relatively new service innovation whose growth was facilitated by the general practitioner contract of 1991. Practice-employed counsellors were preferred to practice-attached staff in that general practitioners had greater control over the selection of counsellors and their working arrangements. Problems with interprofessional communication were noted in relation to counsellors' wishes to maintain patient confidentiality by not exchanging information about patients with general practitioners. Counsellors received referrals principally from general practitioners and occasionally from other primary health care staff. Self-referral by patients was rare. The problems for which patients were most commonly referred were: stress/anxiety, relationship problems, depression, and bereavement. The principal therapeutic styles were Rogerian counselling, behavioural therapy, and psychodynamic psychotherapy. A quarter described their style as 'eclectic'. Individual, not group, therapy was the norm. Sessions were usually 50 minutes in duration. However, waiting list times, the frequency of sessions, and overall duration of therapy varied enormously. Overall 28% of counsellors held no formal qualification in counselling or in any of the psychotherapies. Counsellors and general practitioners were generally satisfied with the service and identified a wide range of benefits with few disadvantages. The principal problem was said to be that demand exceeded capacity and the principal change proposed was expansion of the service. The findings provide the most comprehensive account to date of the present state and likely future direction of counselling services in general practice and point to the need to: 1. Evaluate the cost-effectiveness of counselling in the management of common psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression 2. Establish a national policy for the training and accreditation of counsellors working in general practice settings 3. Educate general practitioners about the organization and role of counselling services with particular attention to interprofessional communication and the maintenance of patient confidentiality.
PMCID: PMC2560396  PMID: 9080766
19.  The Effectiveness of Community Action in Reducing Risky Alcohol Consumption and Harm: A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(3):e1001617.
In a cluster randomized controlled trial, Anthony Shakeshaft and colleagues measure the effectiveness of a multi-component community-based intervention for reducing alcohol-related harm.
Background
The World Health Organization, governments, and communities agree that community action is likely to reduce risky alcohol consumption and harm. Despite this agreement, there is little rigorous evidence that community action is effective: of the six randomised trials of community action published to date, all were US-based and focused on young people (rather than the whole community), and their outcomes were limited to self-report or alcohol purchase attempts. The objective of this study was to conduct the first non-US randomised controlled trial (RCT) of community action to quantify the effectiveness of this approach in reducing risky alcohol consumption and harms measured using both self-report and routinely collected data.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a cluster RCT comprising 20 communities in Australia that had populations of 5,000–20,000, were at least 100 km from an urban centre (population ≥ 100,000), and were not involved in another community alcohol project. Communities were pair-matched, and one member of each pair was randomly allocated to the experimental group. Thirteen interventions were implemented in the experimental communities from 2005 to 2009: community engagement; general practitioner training in alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI); feedback to key stakeholders; media campaign; workplace policies/practices training; school-based intervention; general practitioner feedback on their prescribing of alcohol medications; community pharmacy-based SBI; web-based SBI; Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services support for SBI; Good Sports program for sports clubs; identifying and targeting high-risk weekends; and hospital emergency department–based SBI. Primary outcomes based on routinely collected data were alcohol-related crime, traffic crashes, and hospital inpatient admissions. Routinely collected data for the entire study period (2001–2009) were obtained in 2010. Secondary outcomes based on pre- and post-intervention surveys (n = 2,977 and 2,255, respectively) were the following: long-term risky drinking, short-term high-risk drinking, short-term risky drinking, weekly consumption, hazardous/harmful alcohol use, and experience of alcohol harm. At the 5% level of statistical significance, there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the interventions were effective in the experimental, relative to control, communities for alcohol-related crime, traffic crashes, and hospital inpatient admissions, and for rates of risky alcohol consumption and hazardous/harmful alcohol use. Although respondents in the experimental communities reported statistically significantly lower average weekly consumption (1.90 fewer standard drinks per week, 95% CI = −3.37 to −0.43, p = 0.01) and less alcohol-related verbal abuse (odds ratio = 0.58, 95% CI = 0.35 to 0.96, p = 0.04) post-intervention, the low survey response rates (40% and 24% for the pre- and post-intervention surveys, respectively) require conservative interpretation. The main limitations of this study are as follows: (1) that the study may have been under-powered to detect differences in routinely collected data outcomes as statistically significant, and (2) the low survey response rates.
Conclusions
This RCT provides little evidence that community action significantly reduces risky alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms, other than potential reductions in self-reported average weekly consumption and experience of alcohol-related verbal abuse. Complementary legislative action may be required to more effectively reduce alcohol harms.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12607000123448
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
People have consumed alcoholic beverages throughout history, but alcohol use is now an increasing global public health problem. According to the World Health Organization's 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study, alcohol use is the fifth leading risk factor (after high blood pressure and smoking) for disease and is responsible for 3.9% of the global disease burden. Alcohol use contributes to heart disease, liver disease, depression, some cancers, and many other health conditions. Alcohol also affects the well-being and health of people around those who drink, through alcohol-related crimes and road traffic crashes. The impact of alcohol use on disease and injury depends on the amount of alcohol consumed and the pattern of drinking. Most guidelines define long-term risky drinking as more than four drinks per day on average for men or more than two drinks per day for women (a “drink” is, roughly speaking, a can of beer or a small glass of wine), and short-term risky drinking (also called binge drinking) as seven or more drinks on a single occasion for men or five or more drinks on a single occasion for women. However, recent changes to the Australian guidelines acknowledge that a lower level of alcohol consumption is considered risky (with lifetime risky drinking defined as more than two drinks a day and binge drinking defined as more than four drinks on one occasion).
Why Was This Study Done?
In 2010, the World Health Assembly endorsed a global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. This strategy emphasizes the importance of community action–a process in which a community defines its own needs and determines the actions that are required to meet these needs. Although community action is highly acceptable to community members, few studies have looked at the effectiveness of community action in reducing risky alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm. Here, the researchers undertake a cluster randomized controlled trial (the Alcohol Action in Rural Communities [AARC] project) to quantify the effectiveness of community action in reducing risky alcohol consumption and harms in rural communities in Australia. A cluster randomized trial compares outcomes in clusters of people (here, communities) who receive alternative interventions assigned through the play of chance.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers pair-matched 20 rural Australian communities according to the proportion of their population that was Aboriginal (rates of alcohol-related harm are disproportionately higher among Aboriginal individuals than among non-Aboriginal individuals in Australia; they are also higher among young people and males, but the proportions of these two groups across communities was comparable). They randomly assigned one member of each pair to the experimental group and implemented 13 interventions in these communities by negotiating with key individuals in each community to define and implement each intervention. Examples of interventions included general practitioner training in screening for alcohol use disorders and in implementing a brief intervention, and a school-based interactive session designed to reduce alcohol harm among young people. The researchers quantified the effectiveness of the interventions using routinely collected data on alcohol-related crime and road traffic crashes, and on hospital inpatient admissions for alcohol dependence or abuse (which were expected to increase in the experimental group if the intervention was effective because of more people seeking or being referred for treatment). They also examined drinking habits and experiences of alcohol-related harm, such as verbal abuse, among community members using pre- and post-intervention surveys. After implementation of the interventions, the rates of alcohol-related crime, road traffic crashes, and hospital admissions, and of risky and hazardous/harmful alcohol consumption (measured using a validated tool called the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) were not statistically significantly different in the experimental and control communities (a difference in outcomes that is not statistically significantly different can occur by chance). However, the reported average weekly consumption of alcohol was 20% lower in the experimental communities after the intervention than in the control communities (equivalent to 1.9 fewer standard drinks per week per respondent) and there was less alcohol-related verbal abuse post-intervention in the experimental communities than in the control communities.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide little evidence that community action reduced risky alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms in rural Australian communities. Although there was some evidence of significant reductions in self-reported weekly alcohol consumption and in experiences of alcohol-related verbal abuse, these findings must be interpreted cautiously because they are based on surveys with very low response rates. A larger or differently designed study might provide statistically significant evidence for the effectiveness of community action in reducing risky alcohol consumption. However, given their findings, the researchers suggest that legislative approaches that are beyond the control of individual communities, such as alcohol taxation and restrictions on alcohol availability, may be required to effectively reduce alcohol harms. In other words, community action alone may not be the most effective way to reduce alcohol-related harm.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001617.
The World Health Organization provides detailed information about alcohol; its fact sheet on alcohol includes information about the global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol; the Global Information System on Alcohol and Health provides further information about alcohol, including information on control policies around the world
The US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has information about alcohol and its effects on health
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a website on alcohol and public health that includes information on the health risks of excessive drinking
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides detailed information about drinking and alcohol, including information on the risks of drinking too much, tools for calculating alcohol consumption, and personal stories about alcohol use problems
MedlinePlus provides links to many other resources on alcohol
More information about the Alcohol Action in Rural Communities project is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001617
PMCID: PMC3949675  PMID: 24618831
20.  A survey of training and practice patterns of massage therapists in two US states 
Background
Despite the growing popularity of therapeutic massage in the US, little is known about the training or practice characteristics of massage therapists. The objective of this study was to describe these characteristics.
Methods
As part of a study of random samples of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners, we interviewed 226 massage therapists licensed in Connecticut and Washington state by telephone in 1998 and 1999 (85% of those contacted) and then asked a sample of them to record information on 20 consecutive visits to their practices (total of 2005 consecutive visits).
Results
Most massage therapists were women (85%), white (95%), and had completed some continuing education training (79% in Connecticut and 52% in Washington). They treated a limited number of conditions, most commonly musculoskeletal (59% and 63%) (especially back, neck, and shoulder problems), wellness care (20% and 19%), and psychological complaints (9% and 6%) (especially anxiety and depression). Practitioners commonly used one or more assessment techniques (67% and 74%) and gave a massage emphasizing Swedish (81% and 77%), deep tissue (63% and 65%), and trigger/pressure point techniques (52% and 46%). Self-care recommendations, including increasing water intake, body awareness, and specific forms of movement, were made as part of more than 80% of visits. Although most patients self-referred to massage, more than one-quarter were receiving concomitant care for the same problem from a physician. Massage therapists rarely communicated with these physicians.
Conclusion
This study provides new information about licensed massage therapists that should be useful to physicians and other healthcare providers interested in learning about massage therapy in order to advise their patients about this popular CAM therapy.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-5-13
PMCID: PMC1182347  PMID: 15955245
21.  Barriers to accurate diagnosis and effective management of heart failure in primary care: qualitative study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2003;326(7382):196.
Objective
To ascertain the beliefs, current practices, and decision making of general practitioners in the diagnosis and management of suspected heart failure in primary care, with a view to identifying barriers to good care.
Design
A qualitative approach using focus groups with 30 general practitioners from four primary care groups. The sampling strategy was stratified and purposive. The contents of interviews were transcribed and analysed according to the principles of “pragmatic variant” grounded theory.
Setting
North east England.
Results
Three categories of difficulties contribute to variations in medical practice and to the reasons why general practitioners experience difficulties in diagnosing and managing heart failure. The first is uncertainty about clinical practice, including lack of confidence in establishing an accurate diagnosis and worries about using angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, β blockers, and spironolactone in patients who are often elderly and frail, with comorbidity and polypharmacy. The second is a lack of awareness of relevant research evidence in what was perceived to be a complex and rapidly changing therapeutic field. Doubts about the applicability of research findings in primary care, and fear of information overload also emerged. The third category consists of influences of individual preference and local organisational factors. Medical training, negative clinical experiences, and outside agencies influenced the behaviour of general practitioners and professional culture. Local factors included the availability of diagnostic services, resources (such as accessible cardiologists), and interactions between professionals in primary or secondary care, and they seemed to shape the practice and decision making processes in primary care.
Conclusions
The national service framework for coronary heart disease stresses that the substandard care of patients with heart failure is unacceptable. This study identified barriers to be overcome across primary and secondary care in implementation strategies that are specific to the locality and multifaceted. Single strategies—for example, the provision of guidelines—are unlikely to have an impact on clinical outcomes, and new, conjoint models of care need to be explored.
What is already known on this topicHeart failure is a common condition with a high morbidity and mortality and is largely managed in primary careAlthough modern management with accurate diagnosis and treatment improves prognosis considerably, unacceptable variations exist in the clinical application of current guidelines for heart failureWhat this study addsGeneral practitioners expressed a lack of confidence in establishing an accurate diagnosis of left ventricular systolic dysfunction, even if open access echocardiography was availableUncertainty about diagnosis led to poor uptake of evidence based treatment strategies for heart failure patients, and, despite awareness, reluctance to initiate modern treatmentLocal organisational factors around NHS provision of diagnostic services, resources, and interaction between primary and secondary care influence how general practitioners manage heart failureImplementation strategies for heart failure management across primary and secondary care are needed that are specific to their locality and multifaceted
PMCID: PMC140276  PMID: 12543836
22.  Interactions between Non-Physician Clinicians and Industry: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(11):e1001561.
In a systematic review of studies of interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry, Quinn Grundy and colleagues found that many of the issues identified for physicians' industry interactions exist for non-physician clinicians.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
With increasing restrictions placed on physician–industry interactions, industry marketing may target other health professionals. Recent health policy developments confer even greater importance on the decision making of non-physician clinicians. The purpose of this systematic review is to examine the types and implications of non-physician clinician–industry interactions in clinical practice.
Methods and Findings
We searched MEDLINE and Web of Science from January 1, 1946, through June 24, 2013, according to PRISMA guidelines. Non-physician clinicians eligible for inclusion were: Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, Physician Assistants, pharmacists, dieticians, and physical or occupational therapists; trainee samples were excluded. Fifteen studies met inclusion criteria. Data were synthesized qualitatively into eight outcome domains: nature and frequency of industry interactions; attitudes toward industry; perceived ethical acceptability of interactions; perceived marketing influence; perceived reliability of industry information; preparation for industry interactions; reactions to industry relations policy; and management of industry interactions. Non-physician clinicians reported interacting with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Clinicians across disciplines met with pharmaceutical representatives regularly and relied on them for practice information. Clinicians frequently received industry “information,” attended sponsored “education,” and acted as distributors for similar materials targeted at patients. Clinicians generally regarded this as an ethical use of industry resources, and felt they could detect “promotion” while benefiting from industry “information.” Free samples were among the most approved and common ways that clinicians interacted with industry. Included studies were observational and of varying methodological rigor; thus, these findings may not be generalizable. This review is, however, the first to our knowledge to provide a descriptive analysis of this literature.
Conclusions
Non-physician clinicians' generally positive attitudes toward industry interactions, despite their recognition of issues related to bias, suggest that industry interactions are normalized in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. Industry relations policy should address all disciplines and be implemented consistently in order to mitigate conflicts of interest and address such interactions' potential to affect patient care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Making and selling health care goods (including drugs and devices) and services is big business. To maximize the profits they make for their shareholders, companies involved in health care build relationships with physicians by providing information on new drugs, organizing educational meetings, providing samples of their products, giving gifts, and holding sponsored events. These relationships help to keep physicians informed about new developments in health care but also create the potential for causing harm to patients and health care systems. These relationships may, for example, result in increased prescription rates of new, heavily marketed medications, which are often more expensive than their generic counterparts (similar unbranded drugs) and that are more likely to be recalled for safety reasons than long-established drugs. They may also affect the provision of health care services. Industry is providing an increasingly large proportion of routine health care services in many countries, so relationships built up with physicians have the potential to influence the commissioning of the services that are central to the treatment and well-being of patients.
Why Was This Study Done?
As a result of concerns about the tension between industry's need to make profits and the ethics underlying professional practice, restrictions are increasingly being placed on physician–industry interactions. In the US, for example, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act now requires US manufacturers of drugs, devices, and medical supplies that participate in federal health care programs to disclose all payments and gifts made to physicians and teaching hospitals. However, other health professionals, including those with authority to prescribe drugs such as pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and nurse practitioners are not covered by this legislation or by similar legislation in other settings, even though the restructuring of health care to prioritize primary care and multidisciplinary care models means that “non-physician clinicians” are becoming more numerous and more involved in decision-making and medication management. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic), the researchers examine the nature and implications of the interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 15 published studies that examined interactions between non-physician clinicians (Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, midwives, pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and dieticians) and industry (corporations that produce health care goods and services). They extracted the data from 16 publications (representing 15 different studies) and synthesized them qualitatively (combined the data and reached word-based, rather than numerical, conclusions) into eight outcome domains, including the nature and frequency of interactions, non-physician clinicians' attitudes toward industry, and the perceived ethical acceptability of interactions. In the research the authors identified, non-physician clinicians reported frequent interactions with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Most non-physician clinicians met industry representatives regularly, received gifts and samples, and attended educational events or received educational materials (some of which they distributed to patients). In these studies, non-physician clinicians generally regarded these interactions positively and felt they were an ethical and appropriate use of industry resources. Only a minority of non-physician clinicians felt that marketing influenced their own practice, although a larger percentage felt that their colleagues would be influenced. A sizeable proportion of non-physician clinicians questioned the reliability of industry information, but most were confident that they could detect biased information and therefore rated this information as reliable, valuable, or useful.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These and other findings suggest that non-physician clinicians generally have positive attitudes toward industry interactions but recognize issues related to bias and conflict of interest. Because these findings are based on a small number of studies, most of which were undertaken in the US, they may not be generalizable to other countries. Moreover, they provide no quantitative assessment of the interaction between non-physician clinicians and industry and no information about whether industry interactions affect patient care outcomes. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that industry interactions are normalized (seen as standard) in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. This normalization creates the potential for serious risks to patients and health care systems. The researchers suggest that it may be unrealistic to expect that non-physician clinicians can be taught individually how to interact with industry ethically or how to detect and avert bias, particularly given the ubiquitous nature of marketing and promotional materials. Instead, they suggest, the environment in which non-physician clinicians practice should be structured to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of interactions with industry.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by James S. Yeh and Aaron S. Kesselheim
The American Medical Association provides guidance for physicians on interactions with pharmaceutical industry representatives, information about the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, and a toolkit for preparing Physician Payments Sunshine Act reports
The International Council of Nurses provides some guidance on industry interactions in its position statement on nurse-industry relations
The UK General Medical Council provides guidance on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest as part of its good medical practice website, which describes what is required of all registered doctors in the UK
Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide is a manual prepared by Health Action International and the World Health Organization that schools of medicine and pharmacy can use to train students how to recognize and respond to pharmaceutical promotion.
The Institute of Medicine's Report on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice recommends steps to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest
The University of California, San Francisco, Office of Continuing Medical Education offers a course called Marketing of Medicines
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561
PMCID: PMC3841103  PMID: 24302892
23.  Are personal characteristics of massage therapists associated with their clinical, educational, and interpersonal behaviors? 
Background
Social Cognitive Theory suggests that characteristics of health professionals, such as their beliefs in the effectiveness of their care, influence their behavior. Studying the characteristics of massage therapists may, therefore, provide insight into their clinical, educational and interpersonal behavior, which ultimately affects their client interactions.
Purpose
To examine the association of three personal factors (outcome expectations, expectancies, and practice experience) of the massage therapist and the practice environment with the frequency of three interventional behaviors (clinical, educational, and interpersonal) using Social Cognitive Theory as a theoretical framework.
Methods
A random sample of licensed massage therapists in Iowa completed a mailed questionnaire. Questions included training in massage, use of specific massage techniques and practices, 11 outcome expectations, and 17 different behaviors with their respective expectancies for contributing to favorable client outcomes. Factor analyses were conducted on the behavior and expectancy items. Regression analyses were used to examine the relationship of massage therapist characteristics to the different categories of behavior.
Results
The response rate was 40% (N = 151). The most common techniques employed were Swedish massage, trigger point therapy, and stretching. The most common practices recommended to clients were encouraging water intake, heat application, stretching, stress management, and exercise counseling. Expectancies was the only Social Cognitive Theory variable that significantly predicted the frequency of every category of behavior (clinical, interpersonal, education; all ps < .01). Outcome expectations predicted clinical (p = .03) and educational (p < .01), but not interpersonal behavior. No other associations reached statistical significance.
Conclusions
Massage therapists’ belief in massage to enact a favorable change in a client is strongly associated with their clinical, educational, and interpersonal behavior. Massage therapists were optimistic regarding the ability of massage to provide a favorable outcome, especially if the desired outcome was supported by research.
PMCID: PMC3757230  PMID: 24000306
Social Cognitive Theory; outcome expectations; expectancies; public health; massage therapy
24.  A preliminary survey of the practice patterns of United States Guild Certified Feldenkrais PractitionersCM 
Background
The Feldenkrais Method® of somatic education purports to guide people of varying ages and abilities to improve function. Many people choose this method to aid with recovery from injury, manage chronic conditions, or enhance performance even though limited research supporting its safety and effectiveness exists to guide decisions about use and referral. Very little information about practitioner characteristics and practice patterns is publicly available to assist researchers in the design of appropriate safety and effectiveness studies. The purpose of this study was to obtain an initial overview of the characteristics of United States Guild Certified Feldenkrais PractitionersCM.
Methods
Of 1300 certified Feldenkrais® practitioners at the time of the study, there were 1193 practitioners with email accounts who were sent invitations to complete a web-based survey. The survey inquired about practice locations, additional credentials, service patterns and workloads during the previous 3 months. Response rate and descriptive statistics were calculated.
Results
The survey had a 32.3% (385/1193) response rate. The top states in which responders practiced were California (n = 92) and New York (n = 44). Most responders did not hold other credentials as traditional health care providers or as complementary and alternative medicine providers. Among those who did, the most common credentials were physical therapist (n = 83) and massage therapist (n = 38). Just over a third of traditional health care providers only provided Feldenkrais lessons, compared to 59.3% of complementary and alternative providers. On average, responders saw 7.6 ± 8.1 (median = 5) clients per week for individual lessons, 8.4 ± 11.5 (median = 5) clients per week for group lessons, and 2.9 ± 3.9 (median = 2) new clients per month for individual lessons.
Conclusions
This preliminary survey of United States Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioners indicated that most practiced in the west and northeast, did not hold additional credentials, and had part-time practices. Those who were traditional health care providers were more likely than complementary and alternative medicine providers in other areas to combine their services. These results provide a foundation for further analyses of Feldenkrais practitioner characteristics and practice patterns that can aid the design of safety and effectiveness studies, and enhance use and referral decision-making.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-10-12
PMCID: PMC2858091  PMID: 20359346
25.  Innovation in general practice: is the gap between training and non-training practices getting wider? 
BACKGROUND. Training practices are more developed than non-training practices in terms of a wide range of educational and clinical activities, facilities and staff. If training practices are also adopting new innovations at a faster rate than non-training practices the gap between them will increase. AIM. The aim of this study was to determine whether, between 1982 and 1990, training practices did develop at a faster rate than non-training practices. METHOD. In 1982 a questionnaire was sent to 153 practices in Gloucestershire, Avon and Somerset which all had one or more partners who were members of the Royal College of General Practitioners. A second questionnaire was sent to the same practices in 1990. Information was sought about practice features including organization, size, facilities, staff and clinical and educational activities. A total of 124 practices (62 training and non-training) completed questionnaires on both occasions. RESULTS. There were substantial changes in the cohort between the surveys in 1982 and 1990, with many practices gaining, for example, a practice manager, practice nurse and purpose built premises, and introducing audits, screening activities and specific clinics. For each feature of practice a logistic regression was undertaken with training used as an explanatory variable. Training practices were more likely to develop than non-training practices for a number of features including personnel, aspects of practice organization, educational activities, clinical activities and equipment. CONCLUSION. Training practices are not only more developed than non-training practices but are also more innovative. The gap between training and non-training practices did grow wider between 1982 and 1990. This may be because the members of training practices are inherently more innovative, face fewer obstacles to innovation or that the scheme for approval of practices for training has encouraged specific innovations. Any future accreditation scheme for general practices must be organized to encourage accelerated development in less developed practices rather than only stimulate innovation in already advanced practices.
PMCID: PMC1239263  PMID: 7619584

Results 1-25 (1503374)