PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-25 (648884)

Clipboard (0)
None

Related Articles

1.  Eurocan plus report: feasibility study for coordination of national cancer research activities 
Summary
The EUROCAN+PLUS Project, called for by the European Parliament, was launched in October 2005 as a feasibility study for coordination of national cancer research activities in Europe. Over the course of the next two years, the Project process organized over 60 large meetings and countless smaller meetings that gathered in total over a thousand people, the largest Europe–wide consultation ever conducted in the field of cancer research.
Despite a strong tradition in biomedical science in Europe, fragmentation and lack of sustainability remain formidable challenges for implementing innovative cancer research and cancer care improvement. There is an enormous duplication of research effort in the Member States, which wastes time, wastes money and severely limits the total intellectual concentration on the wide cancer problem. There is a striking lack of communication between some of the biggest actors on the European scene, and there are palpable tensions between funders and those researchers seeking funds.
It is essential to include the patients’ voice in the establishment of priority areas in cancer research at the present time. The necessity to have dialogue between funders and scientists to establish the best mechanisms to meet the needs of the entire community is evident. A top priority should be the development of translational research (in its widest form), leading to the development of effective and innovative cancer treatments and preventive strategies. Translational research ranges from bench–to–bedside innovative cancer therapies and extends to include bringing about changes in population behaviours when a risk factor is established.
The EUROCAN+PLUS Project recommends the creation of a small, permanent and independent European Cancer Initiative (ECI). This should be a model structure and was widely supported at both General Assemblies of the project. The ECI should assume responsibility for stimulating innovative cancer research and facilitating processes, becoming the common voice of the cancer research community and serving as an interface between the cancer research community and European citizens, patients’ organizations, European institutions, Member States, industry and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), putting into practice solutions aimed at alleviating barriers to collaboration and coordination of cancer research activities in the European Union, and dealing with legal and regulatory issues. The development of an effective ECI will require time, but this entity should be established immediately. As an initial step, coordination efforts should be directed towards the creation of a platform on translational research that could encompass (1) coordination between basic, clinical and epidemiological research; (2) formal agreements of co–operation between comprehensive cancer centres and basic research laboratories throughout Europe and (3) networking between funding bodies at the European level.
The European Parliament and its instruments have had a major influence in cancer control in Europe, notably in tobacco control and in the implementation of effective population–based screening. To make further progress there is a need for novelty and innovation in cancer research and prevention in Europe, and having a platform such as the ECI, where those involved in all aspects of cancer research can meet, discuss and interact, is a decisive development for Europe.
Executive Summary
Cancer is one of the biggest public health crises facing Europe in the 21st century—one for which Europe is currently not prepared nor preparing itself. Cancer is a major cause of death in Europe with two million casualties and three million new cases diagnosed annually, and the situation is set to worsen as the population ages.
These facts led the European Parliament, through the Research Directorate-General of the European Commission, to call for initiatives for better coordination of cancer research efforts in the European Union. The EUROCAN+PLUS Project was launched in October 2005 as a feasibility study for coordination of national cancer research activities. Over the course of the next two years, the Project process organized over 60 large meetings and countless smaller meetings that gathered in total over a thousand people. In this respect, the Project became the largest Europe-wide consultation ever conducted in the field of cancer research, implicating researchers, cancer centres and hospitals, administrators, healthcare professionals, funding agencies, industry, patients’ organizations and patients.
The Project first identified barriers impeding research and collaboration in research in Europe. Despite a strong tradition in biomedical science in Europe, fragmentation and lack of sustainability remain the formidable challenges for implementing innovative cancer research and cancer care improvement. There is an enormous duplication of research effort in the Member States, which wastes time, wastes money and severely limits the total intellectual concentration on the wide cancer problem. There is a striking lack of communication between some of the biggest actors on the European scene, and there are palpable tensions between funders and those researchers seeking funds.
In addition, there is a shortage of leadership, a multiplicity of institutions each focusing on its own agenda, sub–optimal contact with industry, inadequate training, non–existent career paths, low personnel mobility in research especially among clinicians and inefficient funding—all conspiring against efficient collaboration in cancer care and research. European cancer research today does not have a functional translational research continuum, that is the process that exploits biomedical research innovations and converts them into prevention methods, diagnostic tools and therapies. Moreover, epidemiological research is not integrated with other types of cancer research, and the implementation of the European Directives on Clinical Trials 1 and on Personal Data Protection 2 has further slowed the innovation process in Europe. Furthermore, large inequalities in health and research exist between the EU–15 and the New Member States.
The picture is not entirely bleak, however, as the European cancer research scene presents several strengths, such as excellent basic research and clinical research and innovative etiological research that should be better exploited.
When considering recommendations, several priority dimensions had to be retained. It is essential that proposals include actions and recommendations that can benefit all Member States of the European Union and not just States with the elite centres. It is also essential to have a broader patient orientation to help provide the knowledge to establish cancer control possibilities when we exhaust what can be achieved by the implementation of current knowledge. It is vital that the actions proposed can contribute to the Lisbon Strategy to make Europe more innovative and competitive in (cancer) research.
The Project participants identified six areas for which consensus solutions should be implemented in order to obtain better coordination of cancer research activities. The required solutions are as follows. The proactive management of innovation, detection, facilitation of collaborations and maintenance of healthy competition within the European cancer research community.The establishment of an exchange portal of information for health professionals, patients and policy makers.The provision of guidance for translational and clinical research including the establishment of a translational research platform involving comprehensive cancer centres and cancer research centres.The coordination of calls and financial management of cancer research projects.The construction of a ‘one–stop shop’ as a contact interface between the industry, small and medium enterprises, scientists and other stakeholders.The support of greater involvement of healthcare professionals in translational research and multidisciplinary training.
In the course of the EUROCAN+PLUS consultative process, several key collaborative projects emerged between the various groups and institutes engaged in the consultation. There was a collaboration network established with Europe’s leading Comprehensive Cancer Centres; funding was awarded for a closer collaboration of Owners of Cancer Registries in Europe (EUROCOURSE); there was funding received from FP7 for an extensive network of leading Biological Resource Centres in Europe (BBMRI); a Working Group identified the special needs of Central, Eastern and South–eastern Europe and proposed a remedy (‘Warsaw Declaration’), and the concept of developing a one–stop shop for dealing with academia and industry including the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) was discussed in detail.
Several other dimensions currently lacking were identified. There is an absolute necessity to include the patients’ voice in the establishment of priority areas in cancer research at the present time. It was a salutary lesson when it was recognized that all that is known about the quality of life of the cancer patient comes from the experience of a tiny proportion of cancer patients included in a few clinical trials. The necessity to have dialogue between funders and scientists to establish the best mechanisms to meet the needs of the entire community was evident. A top priority should be the development of translational research (in its widest form) and the development of effective and innovative cancer treatments and preventative strategies in the European Union. Translational research ranges from bench-to-bedside innovative cancer therapies and extends to include bringing about changes in population behaviours when a risk factor is established.
Having taken note of the barriers and the solutions and having examined relevant examples of existing European organizations in the field, it was agreed during the General Assembly of 19 November 2007 that the EUROCAN+PLUS Project had to recommend the creation of a small, permanent and neutral ECI. This should be a model structure and was widely supported at both General Assemblies of the project. The proposal is based on the successful model of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), and its principal aims include providing a forum where researchers from all backgrounds and from all countries can meet with members of other specialities including patients, nurses, clinicians, funders and scientific administrators to develop priority programmes to make Europe more competitive in research and more focused on the cancer patient.
The ECI should assume responsibility for: stimulating innovative cancer research and facilitating processes;becoming the common voice of the cancer research community and serving as an interface between the cancer research community and European citizens, patients’ and organizations;European institutions, Member States, industry and small and medium enterprises;putting into practice the aforementioned solutions aimed at alleviating barriers and coordinating cancer research activities in the EU;dealing with legal and regulatory issues.
Solutions implemented through the ECI will lead to better coordination and collaboration throughout Europe, more efficient use of resources, an increase in Europe’s attractiveness to the biomedical industry and better quality of cancer research and education of health professionals.
The Project considered that European legal instruments currently available were inadequate for addressing many aspects of the barriers identified and for the implementation of effective, lasting solutions. Therefore, the legal environment that could shelter an idea like the ECI remains to be defined but should be done so as a priority. In this context, the initiative of the European Commission for a new legal entity for research infrastructure might be a step in this direction. The development of an effective ECI will require time, but this should be established immediately. As an initial step, coordination efforts should be directed towards the creation of a platform on translational research that could encompass: (1) coordination between basic, clinical and epidemiological research; (2) formal agreements of co-operation between comprehensive cancer centres and basic research laboratories throughout Europe; (3) networking between funding bodies at the European level. Another topic deserving immediate attention is the creation of a European database on cancer research projects and cancer research facilities.
Despite enormous progress in cancer control in Europe during the past two decades, there was an increase of 300,000 in the number of new cases of cancer diagnosed between 2004 and 2006. The European Parliament and its instruments have had a major influence in cancer control, notably in tobacco control and in the implementation of effective population–based screening. To make further progress there is a need for novelty and innovation in cancer research and prevention in Europe, and having a platform such as the ECI, where those involved in all aspects of cancer research can meet, discuss and interact, is a decisive development for Europe.
doi:10.3332/ecancer.2011.84
PMCID: PMC3234055  PMID: 22274749
2.  Medication reconciliation at hospital admission and discharge: insufficient knowledge, unclear task reallocation and lack of collaboration as major barriers to medication safety 
Background
Medication errors are a leading cause of patient harm. Many of these errors result from an incomplete overview of medication either at a patient’s referral to or at discharge from the hospital. One solution is medication reconciliation, a formal process in which health care professionals partner with patients to ensure an accurate and complete transfer of medication information at interfaces of care. In 2007, the Dutch government compelled hospitals to implement a bundle concerning medication reconciliation at hospital admission and discharge. But to date many hospitals have failed to implement this bundle fully. The aim of this study was to gain insight into the barriers and drivers of the implementation process.
Methods
We performed face to face, semi-structured interviews with twenty health care professionals and managers from several departments at a 953 bed university hospital in the Netherlands and also from the surrounding community health services. The interviews were analysed using a combined theoretical framework of Grol and Cabana to classify the drivers and barriers identified.
Results
There is lack of awareness and insufficient knowledge of health care professionals about the health care problem and the bundle medication reconciliation. These result in a lack of support for implementing the bundle. In addition clinicians are reluctant to reallocate tasks to nurses or pharmacy technicians. Another major barrier is a lack of communication, understanding and collaboration between hospital and community caregivers. The introduction of more competitive market forces has made matters worse. Major drivers are a good implementation plan, patient awareness, and obligation by the government.
Conclusions
We identified a wide range of barriers and drivers which health care professionals believe influence the implementation of medication reconciliation. This reflects the complexity of implementation. Implementation can be improved if these factors are adequately addressed. The feasibility and effectiveness of these strategies should be tested in controlled trails.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-170
PMCID: PMC3416693  PMID: 22721361
Adverse events; Safety; Quality; Medication reconciliation; Medication error; Implementation; Implementation barriers
3.  Perceived facilitators and barriers in diabetes care: a qualitative study among health care professionals in the Netherlands 
BMC Family Practice  2013;14:114.
Background
The need to understand barriers to the implementation of health care innovations in daily practice has been widely documented, but perceived facilitators and barriers in diabetes care by Dutch health care professionals remain unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate these factors among health care professionals (HCPs) using a qualitative research design.
Methods
Data were collected from 18 semi-structured interviews with HCPs from all professions relevant to diabetes care. The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim and the data were analyzed using NVivo 8.0.
Results
Major facilitators were the more prominent role of the practice nurses and diabetes nurses in diabetes care, benchmarking, the Care Standard (CS) of the Netherlands Diabetes federation and multidisciplinary collaboration, although collaboration with certain professional groups (i.e. dieticians, physical therapists and pharmacists), as well as the collaboration between primary and secondary care, could still be improved. The bundled payment system for the funding of diabetes care and the role of the health insurers were perceived as major barriers within the health care system. Other important barriers were reported to be the lack of motivation among patients and the lack of awareness of lifestyle programs and prevention initiatives for diabetes patients among professionals.
Conclusions
Organizational changes in diabetes care, as a result of the increased attention given to management continuity of care, have led to an increased need for multidisciplinary collaboration within and between health care sectors (e.g. public health, primary care and secondary care). To date, daily routines for shared care are still sub-optimal and improvements in facilities, such as registration systems, should be implemented to further optimize communication and exchange of information.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-14-114
PMCID: PMC3751909  PMID: 23937325
Diabetes; Health care professionals; Facilitators; Barriers
4.  The association between chronic care management and the quality of thrombosis care 
Introduction
The oral anticoagulant therapy (OAT), used to prevent thrombosis, is associated with substantial avoidable hospitalization.
Aim
Identify the associations between chronic care management and the quality of OAT as suggested by the chronic care model (CCM) of Wagner.
Methods
Regression analysis with data of 61 thrombosis clinics and inductive analysis with 63 interviews with health care professionals of 23 thrombosis clinics.
Results
Results show substantial differences between regions in the quality of thrombosis care and the CCM activities. However, the variation in quality of care was not associated with the differences in CCM activities. The inductive analysis indicates that there are problems in the cooperation between caregivers. Several preferred CCM activities (e.g., multidisciplinary protocol) as well as the barriers to implement these activities (e.g., conflicting interests) were put forward by the health care professionals.
Conclusion
It can be concluded that there is variation in quality of thrombosis care between regions. This variation could not be explained by the observed differences in CCM activities. However, fragmentation is a major source of inefficiency according to health care professionals. The paper concludes with suggestions to improve chronic care management for thrombosis.
PMCID: PMC3031809
quality of care; thrombosis; chronic care management; disease management; effectiveness
5.  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
6.  Point-of-Care International Normalized Ratio (INR) Monitoring Devices for Patients on Long-term Oral Anticoagulation Therapy 
Executive Summary
Subject of the Evidence-Based Analysis
The purpose of this evidence based analysis report is to examine the safety and effectiveness of point-of-care (POC) international normalized ratio (INR) monitoring devices for patients on long-term oral anticoagulation therapy (OAT).
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Long-term OAT is typically required by patients with mechanical heart valves, chronic atrial fibrillation, venous thromboembolism, myocardial infarction, stroke, and/or peripheral arterial occlusion. It is estimated that approximately 1% of the population receives anticoagulation treatment and, by applying this value to Ontario, there are an estimated 132,000 patients on OAT in the province, a figure that is expected to increase with the aging population.
Patients on OAT are regularly monitored and their medications adjusted to ensure that their INR scores remain in the therapeutic range. This can be challenging due to the narrow therapeutic window of warfarin and variation in individual responses. Optimal INR scores depend on the underlying indication for treatment and patient level characteristics, but for most patients the therapeutic range is an INR score of between 2.0 and 3.0.
The current standard of care in Ontario for patients on long-term OAT is laboratory-based INR determination with management carried out by primary care physicians or anticoagulation clinics (ACCs). Patients also regularly visit a hospital or community-based facility to provide a venous blood samples (venipuncture) that are then sent to a laboratory for INR analysis.
Experts, however, have commented that there may be under-utilization of OAT due to patient factors, physician factors, or regional practice variations and that sub-optimal patient management may also occur. There is currently no population-based Ontario data to permit the assessment of patient care, but recent systematic reviews have estimated that less that 50% of patients receive OAT on a routine basis and that patients are in the therapeutic range only 64% of the time.
Overview of POC INR Devices
POC INR devices offer an alternative to laboratory-based testing and venipuncture, enabling INR determination from a fingerstick sample of whole blood. Independent evaluations have shown POC devices to have an acceptable level of precision. They permit INR results to be determined immediately, allowing for more rapid medication adjustments.
POC devices can be used in a variety of settings including physician offices, ACCs, long-term care facilities, pharmacies, or by the patients themselves through self-testing (PST) or self-management (PSM) techniques. With PST, patients measure their INR values and then contact their physician for instructions on dose adjustment, whereas with PSM, patients adjust the medication themselves based on pre-set algorithms. These models are not suitable for all patients and require the identification and education of suitable candidates.
Potential advantages of POC devices include improved convenience to patients, better treatment compliance and satisfaction, more frequent monitoring and fewer thromboembolic and hemorrhagic complications. Potential disadvantages of the device include the tendency to underestimate high INR values and overestimate low INR values, low thromboplastin sensitivity, inability to calculate a mean normal PT, and errors in INR determination in patients with antiphospholipid antibodies with certain instruments. Although treatment satisfaction and quality of life (QoL) may improve with POC INR monitoring, some patients may experience increased anxiety or preoccupation with their disease with these strategies.
Evidence-Based Analysis Methods
Research Questions
1. Effectiveness
Does POC INR monitoring improve clinical outcomes in various settings compared to standard laboratory-based testing?
Does POC INR monitoring impact patient satisfaction, QoL, compliance, acceptability, convenience compared to standard laboratory-based INR determination?
Settings include primary care settings with use of POC INR devices by general practitioners or nurses, ACCs, pharmacies, long-term care homes, and use by the patient either for PST or PSM.
2. Cost-effectiveness
What is the cost-effectiveness of POC INR monitoring devices in various settings compared to standard laboratory-based INR determination?
Inclusion Criteria
English-language RCTs, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses
Publication dates: 1996 to November 25, 2008
Population: patients on OAT
Intervention: anticoagulation monitoring by POC INR device in any setting including anticoagulation clinic, primary care (general practitioner or nurse), pharmacy, long-term care facility, PST, PSM or any other POC INR strategy
Minimum sample size: 50 patients Minimum follow-up period: 3 months
Comparator: usual care defined as venipuncture blood draw for an INR laboratory test and management provided by an ACC or individual practitioner
Outcomes: Hemorrhagic events, thromboembolic events, all-cause mortality, anticoagulation control as assessed by proportion of time or values in the therapeutic range, patient reported outcomes including satisfaction, QoL, compliance, acceptability, convenience
Exclusion criteria
Non-RCTs, before-after studies, quasi-experimental studies, observational studies, case reports, case series, editorials, letters, non-systematic reviews, conference proceedings, abstracts, non-English articles, duplicate publications
Studies where POC INR devices were compared to laboratory testing to assess test accuracy
Studies where the POC INR results were not used to guide patient management
Method of Review
A search of electronic databases (OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, The Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment [INAHTA] database) was undertaken to identify evidence published from January 1, 1998 to November 25, 2008. Studies meeting the inclusion criteria were selected from the search results. Reference lists of selected articles were also checked for relevant studies.
Summary of Findings
Five existing reviews and 22 articles describing 17 unique RCTs met the inclusion criteria. Three RCTs examined POC INR monitoring devices with PST strategies, 11 RCTs examined PSM strategies, one RCT included both PST and PSM strategies and two RCTs examined the use of POC INR monitoring devices by health care professionals.
Anticoagulation Control
Anticoagulation control is measured by the percentage of time INR is within the therapeutic range or by the percentage of INR values in the therapeutic range. Due to the differing methodologies and reporting structures used, it was deemed inappropriate to combine the data and estimate whether the difference between groups would be significant. Instead, the results of individual studies were weighted by the number of person-years of observation and then pooled to calculate a summary measure.
Across most studies, patients in the intervention groups tended to have a higher percentage of time and values in the therapeutic target range in comparison to control patients. When the percentage of time in the therapeutic range was pooled across studies and weighted by the number of person-years of observation, the difference between the intervention and control groups was 4.2% for PSM, 7.2% for PST and 6.1% for POC use by health care practitioners. Overall, intervention patients were in the target range 69% of the time and control patients were in the therapeutic target range 64% of the time leading to an overall difference between groups of roughly 5%.
Major Complications and Deaths
There was no statistically significant difference in the number of major hemorrhagic events between patients managed with POC INR monitoring devices and patients managed with standard laboratory testing (OR =0.74; 95% CI: 0.52- 1.04). This difference was non-significant for all POC strategies (PSM, PST, health care practitioner).
Patients managed with POC INR monitoring devices had significantly fewer thromboembolic events than usual care patients (OR =0.52; 95% CI: 0.37 - 0.74). When divided by POC strategy, PSM resulted in significantly fewer thromboembolic events than usual care (OR =0.46.; 95% CI: 0.29 - 0.72). The observed difference in thromboembolic events for PSM remained significant when the analysis was limited to major thromboembolic events (OR =0.40; 95% CI: 0.17 - 0.93), but was non-significant when the analysis was limited to minor thromboembolic events (OR =0.73; 95% CI: 0.08 - 7.01). PST and GP/Nurse strategies did not result in significant differences in thromboembolic events, however there were only a limited number of studies examining these interventions.
No statistically significant difference was observed in the number of deaths between POC intervention and usual care control groups (OR =0.67; 95% CI: 0.41 - 1.10). This difference was non-significant for all POC strategies. Only one study reported on survival with 10-year survival rate of 76.1% in the usual care control group compared to 84.5% in the PSM group (P=0.05).
Summary Results of Meta-Analyses of Major Complications and Deaths in POC INR Monitoring Studies
Patient Satisfaction and Quality of Life
Quality of life measures were reported in eight studies comparing POC INR monitoring to standard laboratory testing using a variety of measurement tools. It was thus not possible to calculate a quantitative summary measure. The majority of studies reported favourable impacts of POC INR monitoring on QoL and found better treatment satisfaction with POC monitoring. Results from a pre-analysis patient and caregiver focus group conducted in Ontario also indicated improved patient QoL with POC monitoring.
Quality of the Evidence
Studies varied with regard to patient eligibility, baseline patient characteristics, follow-up duration, and withdrawal rates. Differential drop-out rates were observed such that the POC intervention groups tended to have a larger number of patients who withdrew. There was a lack of consistency in the definitions and reporting for OAT control and definitions of adverse events. In most studies, the intervention group received more education on the use of warfarin and performed more frequent INR testing, which may have overestimated the effect of the POC intervention. Patient selection and eligibility criteria were not always fully described and it is likely that the majority of the PST/PSM trials included a highly motivated patient population. Lastly, a large number of trials were also sponsored by industry.
Despite the observed heterogeneity among studies, there was a general consensus in findings that POC INR monitoring devices have beneficial impacts on the risk of thromboembolic events, anticoagulation control and patient satisfaction and QoL (ES Table 2).
GRADE Quality of the Evidence on POC INR Monitoring Studies
CI refers to confidence interval; Interv, intervention; OR, odds ratio; RCT, randomized controlled trial.
Economic Analysis
Using a 5-year Markov model, the health and economic outcomes associated with four different anticoagulation management approaches were evaluated:
Standard care: consisting of a laboratory test with a venipuncture blood draw for an INR;
Healthcare staff testing: consisting of a test with a POC INR device in a medical clinic comprised of healthcare staff such as pharmacists, nurses, and physicians following protocol to manage OAT;
PST: patient self-testing using a POC INR device and phoning in results to an ACC or family physician; and
PSM: patient self-managing using a POC INR device and self-adjustment of OAT according to a standardized protocol. Patients may also phone in to a medical office for guidance.
The primary analytic perspective was that of the MOHLTC. Only direct medical costs were considered and the time horizon of the model was five years - the serviceable life of a POC device.
From the results of the economic analysis, it was found that POC strategies are cost-effective compared to traditional INR laboratory testing. In particular, the healthcare staff testing strategy can derive potential cost savings from the use of one device for multiple patients. The PSM strategy, however, seems to be the most cost-effective method i.e. patients are more inclined to adjust their INRs more readily (as opposed to allowing INRs to fall out of range).
Considerations for Ontario Health System
Although the use of POC devices continues to diffuse throughout Ontario, not all OAT patients are suitable or have the ability to practice PST/PSM. The use of POC is currently concentrated at the institutional setting, including hospitals, ACCs, long-term care facilities, physician offices and pharmacies, and is much less commonly used at the patient level. It is, however, estimated that 24% of OAT patients (representing approximately 32,000 patients in Ontario), would be suitable candidates for PST/PSM strategies and willing to use a POC device.
There are several barriers to the use and implementation of POC INR monitoring devices, including factors such as lack of physician familiarity with the devices, resistance to changing established laboratory-based methods, lack of an approach for identifying suitable patients and inadequate resources for effective patient education and training. Issues of cost and insufficient reimbursement strategies may also hinder implementation and effective quality assurance programs would need to be developed to ensure that INR measurements are accurate and precise.
Conclusions
For a select group of patients who are highly motivated and trained, PSM resulted in significantly fewer thromboembolic events compared to conventional laboratory-based INR testing. No significant differences were observed for major hemorrhages or all-cause mortality. PST and GP/Nurse use of POC strategies are just as effective as conventional laboratory-based INR testing for thromboembolic events, major hemorrhages, and all-cause mortality. POC strategies may also result in better OAT control as measured by the proportion of time INR is in the therapeutic range and there appears to be beneficial impacts on patient satisfaction and QoL. The use of POC devices should factor in patient suitability, patient education and training, health system constraints, and affordability.
Keywords
anticoagulants, International Normalized Ratio, point-of-care, self-monitoring, warfarin.
PMCID: PMC3377545  PMID: 23074516
7.  Makerere University College of Health Sciences’ role in addressing challenges in health service provision at Mulago National Referral Hospital 
Background
Mulago National Referral Hospital (MNRH), Uganda’s primary tertiary and teaching hospital, and Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MakCHS) have a close collaborative relationship. MakCHS students complete clinical rotations at MNRH, and MakCHS faculty partner with Mulago staff in clinical care and research. In 2009, as part of a strategic planning process, MakCHS undertook a qualitative study to examine care and service provision at MNRH, identify challenges, gaps, and solutions, and explore how MakCHS could contribute to improving care and service delivery at MNRH.
Methods
Key informant interviews (n=23) and focus group discussions (n=7) were conducted with nurses, doctors, administrators, clinical officers and other key stakeholders. Interviews and focus groups were tape recorded and transcribed verbatim, and findings were analyzed through collaborative thematic analysis.
Results
Challenges to care and service delivery at MNRH included resource constraints (staff, space, equipment, and supplies), staff inadequacies (knowledge, motivation, and professionalism), overcrowding, a poorly functioning referral system, limited quality assurance, and a cumbersome procurement system. There were also insufficiencies in the teaching of professionalism and communication skills to students, and patient care challenges that included lack of access to specialized services, risk of infections, and inappropriate medications.
Suggestions for how MakCHS could contribute to addressing these challenges included strengthening referral systems and peripheral health center capacity, and establishing quality assurance mechanisms. The College could also strengthen the teaching of professionalism, communication and leadership skills to students, and monitor student training and develop courses that contribute to continuous professional development. Additionally, the College could provide in-service education for providers on professionalism, communication skills, strategies that promote evidence-based practice and managerial leadership skills.
Conclusions
Although there are numerous barriers to delivery of quality health services at MNRH, many barriers could be addressed by strengthening the relationship between the Hospital and MakCHS. Strategic partnerships and creative use of existing resources, both human and financial, could improve the quality of care and service delivery at MNRH. Improving services and providing more skills training could better prepare MakCHS graduates for leadership roles in other health care facilities, ultimately improving health outcomes throughout Uganda.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-11-S1-S7
PMCID: PMC3059479  PMID: 21411007
8.  Joy and Challenges in Improving Chronic Illness Care: Capturing Daily Experiences of Academic Primary Care Teams 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2010;25(Suppl 4):581-585.
BACKGROUND
Two chronic care collaboratives (The National Collaborative and the California Collaborative) were convened to facilitate implementing the chronic care model (CCM) in academic medical centers and into post-graduate medical education.
OBJECTIVE
We developed and implemented an electronic team survey (ETS) to elicit, in real-time, team member’s experiences in caring for people with chronic illness and the effect of the Collaborative on teams and teamwork.
DESIGN
The ETS is a qualitative survey based on Electronic Event Sampling Methodology. It is designed to collect meaningful information about daily experience and any event that might influence team members’ daily work and subsequent outcomes.
PARTICIPANTS
Forty-one residency programs from 37 teaching hospitals participated in the collaboratives and comprised faculty and resident physicians, nurses, and administrative staff.
APPROACH
Each team member participating in the collaboratives received an e-mail with directions to complete the ETS for four weeks during 2006 (the National Collaborative) and 2007 (the California Collaborative).
KEY RESULTS
At the team level, the response rate to the ETS was 87% with team members submitting 1,145 narrative entries. Six key themes emerged from the analysis, which were consistent across all sites. Among teams that achieved better clinical outcomes on Collaborative clinical indicators, an additional key theme emerged: professional work satisfaction, or “Joy in Work”. In contrast, among teams that performed lower in collaborative measures, two key themes emerged that reflected the effect of providing care in difficult institutional environments—“lack of professional satisfaction” and awareness of “system failures”.
CONCLUSIONS
The ETS provided a unique perspective into team performance and the day-to-day challenges and opportunities in chronic illness care. Further research is needed to explore systematic approaches to integrating the results from this study into the design of improvement efforts for clinical teams.
doi:10.1007/s11606-010-1408-8
PMCID: PMC2940446  PMID: 20737233
chronic illness; team; joy in work; graduate medical education; ambulatory training; interprofessional training
9.  Developing a national dissemination plan for collaborative care for depression: QUERI Series 
Background
Little is known about effective strategies for disseminating and implementing complex clinical innovations across large healthcare systems. This paper describes processes undertaken and tools developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Mental Health Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (MH-QUERI) to guide its efforts to partner with clinical leaders to prepare for national dissemination and implementation of collaborative care for depression.
Methods
An evidence-based quality improvement (EBQI) process was used to develop an initial set of goals to prepare the VA for national dissemination and implementation of collaborative care. The resulting product of the EBQI process is referred to herein as a "National Dissemination Plan" (NDP). EBQI participants included: a) researchers with expertise on the collaborative care model for depression, clinical quality improvement, and implementation science, and b) VA clinical and administrative leaders with experience and expertise on how to adapt research evidence to organizational needs, resources and capacity. Based on EBQI participant feedback, drafts of the NDP were revised and refined over multiple iterations before a final version was approved by MH-QUERI leadership. 'Action Teams' were created to address each goal. A formative evaluation framework and related tools were developed to document processes, monitor progress, and identify and act upon barriers and facilitators in addressing NDP goals.
Results
The National Dissemination Plan suggests that effectively disseminating collaborative care for depression in the VA will likely require attention to: Guidelines and Quality Indicators (4 goals), Training in Clinical Processes and Evidence-based Quality Improvement (6 goals), Marketing (7 goals), and Informatics Support (1 goal). Action Teams are using the NDP as a blueprint for developing infrastructure to support system-wide adoption and sustained implementation of collaborative care for depression. To date, accomplishments include but are not limited to: conduct of a systematic review of the literature to update VA depression treatment guidelines to include the latest evidence on collaborative care for depression; training for clinical staff on TIDES (Translating Initiatives for Depression into Effective Solutions project) care; spread of TIDES care to new VA facilities; and integration of TIDES depression assessment tools into a planned update of software used in delivery of VA mental health services. Thus far, common barriers encountered by Action Teams in addressing NDP goals include: a) limited time to address goals due to competing tasks/priorities, b) frequent turnover of key organizational leaders/stakeholders, c) limited skills and training among team members for addressing NDP goals, and d) difficulty coordinating activities across Action Teams on related goals.
Conclusion
MH-QUERI has partnered with VA organizational leaders to develop a focused yet flexible plan to address key factors to prepare for national dissemination and implementation of collaborative care for depression. Early indications suggest that the plan is laying an important foundation that will enhance the likelihood of successful implementation and spread across the VA healthcare system.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-3-59
PMCID: PMC2631596  PMID: 19117524
10.  Implementation of an innovative web-based conference table for community-dwelling frail older people, their informal caregivers and professionals: a process evaluation 
Background
Due to fragmentation of care, continuity of care is often limited in the care provided to frail older people. Further, frail older people are not always enabled to become involved in their own care. Therefore, we developed the Health and Welfare Information Portal (ZWIP), a shared Electronic Health Record combined with a communication tool for community-dwelling frail older people and primary care professionals. This article describes the process evaluation of its implementation, and aims to establish (1) the outcomes of the implementation process, (2) which implementation strategies and barriers and facilitators contributed to these outcomes, and (3) how its future implementation could be improved.
Methods
Mixed methods study, consisting of (1) a survey among professionals (n = 118) and monitoring the use of the ZWIP by frail older people and professionals, followed by (2) semi-structured interviews with purposively selected professionals (n = 12).
Results
290 frail older people and 169 professionals participated in the ZWIP. At the end of the implementation period, 55% of frail older people and informal caregivers, and 84% of professionals had logged on to their ZWIP at least once. For professionals, the exposure to the implementation strategies was generally as planned, they considered the interprofessional educational program and the helpdesk very important strategies. However, frail older people’s exposure to the implementation strategies was less than intended. Facilitators for the ZWIP were the perceived need to enhance interprofessional collaboration and the ZWIP application being user-friendly. Barriers included the low computer-literacy of frail older people, a preference for personal communication and limited use of the ZWIP by other professionals and frail older people. Interviewees recommended using the ZWIP for other target populations as well and adding further strategies that may help frail older people to feel more comfortable with computers and the ZWIP.
Conclusions
This study describes the implementation process of an innovative e-health intervention for community-dwelling frail older people, informal caregivers and primary care professionals. As e-health is an important medium for overcoming fragmentation of healthcare and facilitating patient involvement, but its adoption in everyday practice remains a challenge, the positive results of this implementation are promising.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-251
PMCID: PMC3470954  PMID: 22894654
E-health; Implementation; Process evaluation; Frail older people; Primary care
11.  Fostering participation of general practitioners in integrated health services networks: incentives, barriers, and guidelines 
Background
While the active participation of general practitioners (GPs) in integrated health services networks (IHSNs) plays a critical role in their success, little is known about the incentives and barriers to their actual participation.
Methods
Data were gathered through semi-structured interviews and a mail survey with GPs enrolled in SIPA (system of integrated care for older persons) at 2 sites in Montreal. A total of 61 GPs completed the questionnaire, from which 22 were randomly selected for the qualitative study, with active and non-active participation in the IHSN.
Results
The key themes associated with GP participation were clinician characteristics, consequences perceived at the outset, the SIPA implementation process, relationships with the SIPA team and professional consequences. The incentive factors reported were collaborative practices, high rates of elderly and SIPA patients in their clienteles, concerns about SIPA, the selection of frail elderly patients, close relationships with the case manager, the perceived efficacy of SIPA, and improved professional practices. Barriers to GP participation included high expectations, GP recruitment, lack of information on SIPA, difficult relationships with SIPA geriatricians and deterioration of physician-patient relationships. Four profiles of participation were identified: 2 groups of participants active in SIPA and 2 groups of participants not active in SIPA. The active GPs were familiar with collaborative practices, had higher IHSN patient rates, expressed more concerns than expectations, reported satisfactory relationships with case managers and perceived the efficacy of SIPA. Both active and non-active GPs reported quality care in the IHSN and improved professional practice.
Conclusion
Throughout the implementation process, the participation of GPs in an IHSN depends on numerous professional (clinician characteristics) and organizational factors (GP recruitment, relationships with case managers). Our study provides guiding principles for establishing future integrated models of care. It suggests practical guidelines to support the active participation of GPs in these networks such as physicians with collaborative practices, recruitment of significant number of patients per physicians, the information provided and the accompaniment by geriatricians.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-48
PMCID: PMC2664801  PMID: 19292905
12.  Facilitating professional liaison in collaborative care for depression in UK primary care; a qualitative study utilising normalisation process theory 
BMC Family Practice  2014;15:78.
Background
Collaborative care (CC) is an organisational framework which facilitates the delivery of a mental health intervention to patients by case managers in collaboration with more senior health professionals (supervisors and GPs), and is effective for the management of depression in primary care. However, there remains limited evidence on how to successfully implement this collaborative approach in UK primary care. This study aimed to explore to what extent CC impacts on professional working relationships, and if CC for depression could be implemented as routine in the primary care setting.
Methods
This qualitative study explored perspectives of the 6 case managers (CMs), 5 supervisors (trial research team members) and 15 general practitioners (GPs) from practices participating in a randomised controlled trial of CC for depression. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and data was analysed using a two-step approach using an initial thematic analysis, and a secondary analysis using the Normalisation Process Theory concepts of coherence, cognitive participation, collective action and reflexive monitoring with respect to the implementation of CC in primary care.
Results
Supervisors and CMs demonstrated coherence in their understanding of CC, and consequently reported good levels of cognitive participation and collective action regarding delivering and supervising the intervention. GPs interviewed showed limited understanding of the CC framework, and reported limited collaboration with CMs: barriers to collaboration were identified. All participants identified the potential or experienced benefits of a collaborative approach to depression management and were able to discuss ways in which collaboration can be facilitated.
Conclusion
Primary care professionals in this study valued the potential for collaboration, but GPs’ understanding of CC and organisational barriers hindered opportunities for communication. Further work is needed to address these organisational barriers in order to facilitate collaboration around individual patients with depression, including shared IT systems, facilitating opportunities for informal discussion and building in formal collaboration into the CC framework.
Trial registration
ISRCTN32829227 30/9/2008.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-15-78
PMCID: PMC4030004  PMID: 24885746
13.  How can insulin initiation delivery in a dual-sector health system be optimised? A qualitative study on healthcare professionals’ views 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:313.
Background
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate in developing countries. However, glycaemia control remains suboptimal and insulin use is low. One important barrier is the lack of an efficient and effective insulin initiation delivery approach. This study aimed to document the strategies used and proposed by healthcare professionals to improve insulin initiation in the Malaysian dual-sector (public–private) health system.
Methods
In depth interviews and focus group discussions were conducted in Klang Valley and Seremban, Malaysia in 2010–11. Healthcare professionals consisting of general practitioners (n = 11), medical officers (n = 8), diabetes educators (n = 3), government policy makers (n = 4), family medicine specialists (n = 10) and endocrinologists (n = 2) were interviewed. We used a topic guide to facilitate the interviews, which were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using a thematic approach.
Results
Three main themes emerged from the interviews. Firstly, there was a lack of collaboration between the private and public sectors in diabetes care. The general practitioners in the private sector proposed an integrated system for them to refer patients to the public health services for insulin initiation programmes. There could be shared care between the two sectors and this would reduce the disproportionately heavy workload at the public sector. Secondly, besides the support from the government health authority, the healthcare professionals wanted greater involvement of non-government organisations, media and pharmaceutical industry in facilitating insulin initiation in both the public and private sectors. The support included: training of healthcare professionals; developing and disseminating patient education materials; service provision by diabetes education teams; organising programmes for patients’ peer group sessions; increasing awareness and demystifying insulin via public campaigns; and subsidising glucose monitoring equipment. Finally, the healthcare professionals proposed the establishment of multidisciplinary teams as a strategy to increase the rate of insulin initiation. Having team members from different ethnic backgrounds would help to overcome language and cultural differences when communicating with patients.
Conclusion
The challenges faced by a dual-sector health system in delivering insulin initiation may be addressed by greater collaborations between the private and public sectors and governmental and non-government organisations, and among different healthcare professionals.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-313
PMCID: PMC3533841  PMID: 22545648
Insulin initiation; Dual-sector health system; Malaysia; Diabetes; Public sector; Private sector
14.  Drawbacks and benefits associated with inter-organizational collaboration along the discovery-development-delivery continuum: a cancer research network case study 
Background
The scientific process around cancer research begins with scientific discovery, followed by development of interventions, and finally delivery of needed interventions to people with cancer. Numerous studies have identified substantial gaps between discovery and delivery in health research. Team science has been identified as a possible solution for closing the discovery to delivery gap; however, little is known about effective ways of collaborating within teams and across organizations. The purpose of this study was to determine benefits and drawbacks associated with organizational collaboration across the discovery-development-delivery research continuum.
Methods
Representatives of organizations working on cancer research across a state answered a survey about how they collaborated with other cancer research organizations in the state and what benefits and drawbacks they experienced while collaborating. We used exponential random graph modeling to determine the association between these benefits and drawbacks and the presence of a collaboration tie between any two network members.
Results
Different drawbacks and benefits were associated with discovery, development, and delivery collaborations. The only consistent association across all three was with the drawback of difficulty due to geographic differences, which was negatively associated with collaboration, indicating that those organizations that had collaborated were less likely to perceive a barrier related to geography. The benefit, enhanced access to other knowledge, was positive and significant in the development and delivery networks, indicating that collaborating organizations viewed improved knowledge exchange as a benefit of collaboration. ‘Acquisition of additional funding or other resources’ and ‘development of new tools and methods’ were negatively significantly related to collaboration in these networks. So, although improved knowledge access was an outcome of collaboration, more tangible outcomes were not being realized. In the development network, those who collaborated were less likely to see ‘enhanced influence on treatment and policy’ and ‘greater quality or frequency of publications’ as benefits of collaboration.
Conclusion
With the exception of the positive association between knowledge transfer and collaboration and the negative association between geography and collaboration, the significant relationships identified in this study all reflected challenges associated with inter-organizational collaboration. Understanding network structures and the perceived drawbacks and benefits associated with collaboration will allow researchers to build and funders to support successful collaborative teams and perhaps aid in closing the discovery to delivery gap.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-7-69
PMCID: PMC3443066  PMID: 22831463
Network analysis; Exponential random graph modeling; Cancer research; Translational research
15.  A Multi-Institutional Quality Improvement Initiative to Transform Education for Chronic Illness Care in Resident Continuity Practices 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2010;25(Suppl 4):574-580.
BACKGROUND
There is a gap between the need for patient-centered, evidence-based primary care for the large burden of chronic illness in the US, and the training of resident physicians to provide that care.
OBJECTIVE
To improve training for residents who provide chronic illness care in teaching practice settings.
DESIGN
US teaching hospitals were invited to participate in one of two 18-month Breakthrough Series Collaboratives—either a national Collaborative, or a subsequent California Collaborative—to implement the Chronic Care Model (CCM) and related curriculum changes in resident practices. Most practices focused on patients with diabetes mellitus. Educational redesign strategies with related performance measures were developed for curricular innovations anchored in the CCM. In addition, three clinical measures—HbA1c <7%, LDL <100 mg/dL, and blood pressure ≤130/80—and three process measures—retinal and foot examinations, and patient self-management goals—were tracked.
PARTICIPANTS
Fifty-seven teams from 37 self-selected teaching hospitals committed to implement the CCM in resident continuity practices; 41 teams focusing on diabetes improvement participated over the entire duration of one of the Collaboratives.
INTERVENTIONS
Teaching-practice teams—faculty, residents and staff—participated in Collaboratives by attending monthly calls and regular 2-day face-to-face meetings with the other teams. The national Collaborative faculty led calls and meetings. Each team used rapid cycle quality improvement (PDSA cycles) to implement the CCM and curricular changes. Teams reported education and clinical performance measures monthly.
RESULTS
Practices underwent extensive redesign to establish CCM elements. Education measures tracked substantial development of CCM-related learning. The clinical and process measures improved, however inconsistently, during the Collaboratives.
CONCLUSIONS
These initiatives suggest that systematic practice redesign for implementing the CCM along with linked educational approaches are achievable in resident continuity practices. Improvement of clinical outcomes in such practices is daunting but achievable.
doi:10.1007/s11606-010-1392-z
PMCID: PMC2940442  PMID: 20737232
residency training; chronic illness; teaching hospitals; Chronic Care Model
16.  Barriers and facilitators to evidence based care of type 2 diabetes patients: experiences of general practitioners participating to a quality improvement program 
Objective
To evaluate the barriers and facilitators to high-quality diabetes care as experienced by general practitioners (GPs) who participated in an 18-month quality improvement program (QIP). This QIP was implemented to promote compliance with international guidelines.
Methods
Twenty out of the 120 participating GPs in the QIP underwent semi-structured interviews that focused on three questions: 'Which changes did you implement or did you observe in the quality of diabetes care during your participation in the QIP?' 'According to your experience, what induced these changes?' and 'What difficulties did you experience in making the changes?'
Results
Most GPs reported that enhanced knowledge, improved motivation, and a greater sense of responsibility were the key factors that led to greater compliance with diabetes care guidelines and consequent improvements in diabetes care. Other factors were improved communication with patients and consulting specialists and reliance on diabetes nurse educators. Some GPs were reluctant to collaborate with specialists, and especially with diabetes educators and dieticians. Others blamed poor compliance with the guidelines on lack of time. Most interviewees reported that a considerable minority of patients were unwilling to change their lifestyles.
Conclusion
Qualitative research nested in an experimental trial may clarify the improvements that a QIP may bring about in a general practice, provide insight into GPs' approach to diabetes care and reveal the program's limits. Implementation of a QIP encounters an array of cognitive, motivational, and relational obstacles that are embedded in a patient-healthcare provider relationship.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-4-41
PMCID: PMC2719589  PMID: 19624848
17.  Better together? a naturalistic qualitative study of inter-professional working in collaborative care for co-morbid depression and physical health problems 
Background
Mental-physical multi-morbidities pose challenges for primary care services that traditionally focus on single diseases. Collaborative care models encourage inter-professional working to deliver better care for patients with multiple chronic conditions, such as depression and long-term physical health problems. Successive trials from the United States have shown that collaborative care effectively improves depression outcomes, even in people with long-term conditions (LTCs), but little is known about how to implement collaborative care in the United Kingdom. The aim of the study was to explore the extent to which collaborative care was implemented in a naturalistic National Health Service setting.
Methods
A naturalistic pilot study of collaborative care was undertaken in North West England. Primary care mental health professionals from IAPT (Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies) services and general practice nurses were trained to collaboratively identify and manage patients with co-morbid depression and long-term conditions. Qualitative interviews were performed with health professionals at the beginning and end of the pilot phase. Normalization Process Theory guided analysis.
Results
Health professionals adopted limited elements of the collaborative care model in practice. Although benefits of co-location in primary care practices were reported, including reduced stigma of accessing mental health treatment and greater ease of disposal for identified patients, existing norms around the division of mental and physical health work in primary care were maintained, limiting integration of the mental health practitioners into the practice setting. Neither the mental health practitioners nor the practice nurses perceived benefits to joint management of patients.
Conclusions
Established divisions between mental and physical health may pose particular challenges for multi-morbidity service delivery models such as collaborative care. Future work should explore patient perspectives about whether greater inter-professional working enhances experiences of care. The study demonstrates that research into implementation of novel treatments must consider how the introduction of innovation can be balanced with the need for integration into existing practice.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-8-110
PMCID: PMC3848572  PMID: 24053257
Depression; Mental health; Co-morbidity; Implementation; Qualitative; Collaborative care; Chronic care; Primary care
18.  A Collaborative Quality Improvement Model and Electronic Community of Practice to Support Sepsis Management in Emergency Departments: Investigating Care Harmonization for Provincial Knowledge Translation 
JMIR Research Protocols  2012;1(2):e6.
Emergency medicine departments within several organizations are now advocating the adoption of early intervention guidelines for patients with the signs and symptoms of sepsis. This proposed research will lead to a comprehensive understanding of how diverse emergency department (ED) sites across British Columbia (BC), Canada, engage in a quality improvement collaborative to lead to improvements in time-based process measures and clinical outcomes for septic patients in EDs. To address the challenge of sepsis management, in 2007, the BC Ministry of Health began working with emergency health professionals, including health administrators, to establish a provincial ED collaborative: Evidence to Excellence (E2E). The E2E initiative employs the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) model and is supported by a Web-based community of practice (CoP) in emergency medicine. It aims to (1) support clinicians in accessing and applying evidence to clinical practice in emergency medicine, (2) support system change and clinical process improvement, and (3) develop resources and strategies to facilitate knowledge translation and process improvement. Improving sepsis management is one of the central foci of the E2E initiative. The primary purpose of our research is to investigate whether the application of sepsis management protocols leads to improved time-based process measures and clinical outcomes for patients presenting to EDs with sepsis. Also, we seek to investigate the implementation of sepsis protocols among different EDs. For example: (1) How can sepsis protocols be harmonized among different EDs? (2) What are health professionals’ perspectives on interprofessional collaboration with various EDs? and (3) What are the factors affecting the level of success among EDs? Lastly, working in collaboration with the BC Ministry of Health as our policy-maker partner, the research will investigate how the demonstrated efficacy of this research can be applied on a provincial and national level to establish a template for policy makers from other jurisdictions to translate knowledge into action for EDs. This research study will employ the IHI model for improvement, incorporate the principles of participatory action research, and use the E2E online CoP to engage ED practitioners (eg, physicians, nurses, and administrators, exchanging ideas, engaging in discussions, sharing resources, and amalgamating knowledge) from across BC to (1) share the evidence of early intervention in sepsis, (2) adapt the evidence to their patterns of practice, (3) develop a common set of orders for implementing the sepsis pathway, and (4) agree on common indicators to measure clinical outcomes. Our hypothesis is that combining the social networking ability of an electronic CoP and its inherent knowledge translation capacity with the structured project management of the IHI model will result in widespread and sustained improvement in the emergency and overall care of patients with severe sepsis presenting to EDs throughout BC.
doi:10.2196/resprot.1597
PMCID: PMC3626155  PMID: 23611816
Knowledge translation; continuous quality improvement; emergency medicine; sepsis
19.  Lessons Learned From a Collaborative to Improve Care for Patients With Diabetes in 17 Community Health Centers, Massachusetts, 2006 
Preventing Chronic Disease  2010;7(4):A83.
Introduction
In 2006, the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers convened a collaborative to systematically improve health care delivery for patients with diabetes in 17 community health centers. Our goal was to identify facilitators of and barriers to success reported by teams that participated in this collaborative.
Methods
The collaborative's activities lasted 13 months. At their conclusion, we interviewed participating team members. We asked about their teams' successes, challenges, and take-home messages for future collaborative efforts. We organized their responses into common themes by using the Chronic Care Model as a framework.
Results
Themes that emerged as facilitators of success included shifting clinic focus to more actively involve patients and to promote their self-management; improving the understanding and implementation of professional guidelines; and expanding staff roles to accommodate these goals. Patient registries were perceived as beneficial but lacking adequate technical support. Other barriers were staffing and time constraints.
Conclusions
Cooperative efforts to improve health care delivery for people with diabetes may benefit from educating the health care team about guidelines, establishing a stronger role for the patient as part of the health care team, and providing adequate technical instruction and support for the use of clinical databases.
PMCID: PMC2901581  PMID: 20550841
20.  Experiences and needs of diabetic patients and healthcare professionals: a qualitative study in the canton of Vaud (Switzerland) 
Purpose
To explore the needs and expectations of diabetic patients and healthcare professionals in the canton of Vaud.
Context
Development and implementation of a diabetes cantonal program.
Methods
We conducted one focus group (FG) with diabetic patients and one with healthcare professionals (general practitioners, diabetologists, pharmacists, home healthcare managers, podologists) in each of the four health regions of the canton (n=8 FG). FGs were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim, and content analysis performed.
Results and conclusion
Perceived quality of diabetes care varies, depending on participants and regions considered. Participants describe a lack of collaboration and communication between professionals, problems linked to self-management education, and a lack of information on diabetes for the general population.
They propose to improve the quality of care by strengthening existing structures, by developing centralization of care and information, and by reinforcing teamwork and self-management education. They also suggest implementing information and prevention campaigns for the general population.
Diabetics and healthcare professionals express the need to develop a cantonal program at a local level and adapted to patients’ needs. For patients, such a program would represent an opportunity to have access to comprehensive care. For healthcare professionals, it would favor the development of teamwork and of local networks.
Participants point out similar problems and solutions, even if not similarly expressed. These results should help the development and implementation of a program adapted to the patients’ and professionals’ needs.
PMCID: PMC3184830
diabetes; chronic disease management; qualitative methods; Switzerland
21.  Viewpoints about collaboration between primary care and public health in Canada 
Background
Although there is a global movement toward health system integration and collaboration, little is known about values, beliefs, and attitudes towards collaboration between stakeholders in public health (i.e. promotion, protection, and prevention with vulnerable groups and/or at the population level) and primary care (i.e., family practices, nurse-led clinics). The purpose of this study was to explore viewpoints of key stakeholders regarding primary care (PC) and public health (PH) collaboration in Canada.
Methods
We used Q-methodology to identify common viewpoints held by participants who attended a national meeting in Canada in 2010 to discuss PC and PH collaboration. The study was conducted in two phases. In Phase 1 a Q-sample, a Q-sort table, and a short demographic questionnaire were developed which were used in Phase 2 for data collection. The Q-sorts then were analysed to identify the salient factors and consensus statements.
Results
In total, 25 multidisciplinary individuals including researchers, policy-makers, directors, managers, and practitioners (e.g., nurses, family physicians, dietitians) participated. Using a by-person factor analysis, three factors (salient viewpoints) emerged. Factors were named based on their distinguishing statements as follows: a) System Driven Collaborators, b) Cautious Collaborators, and c) Competent Isolationists. System Driven Collaborators strongly believed that a clear mandate from the top is needed to enable PH, PC and the rest of the health system to effectively work together and that people in different branches in the Ministry/ Ministries have to strongly believe in collaboration, actively support it, and develop directed policies to foster organizations work together. Cautious Collaborators strongly supported the idea of having better consciousness-raising about what collaborations might be possible and beneficial, and also reflecting on the collaborations already in place. The Competent Isolationists strongly believed that it is necessary for PC and PH sectors to spend time to ensure that both parties clearly understand the differences between their roles. They believe that physicians, nurses, and social workers will not see the value in collaboration because they lack inter-professional educational programs.
Conclusions
Different viewpoints are held by stakeholders around PC and PH collaboration which have the potential to influence the success of collaborations. Understanding and managing these differences is important to assist change management processes required to build and maintain strong PC and PH collaborations.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-311
PMCID: PMC3765372  PMID: 23945461
Public health; Primary care; Collaboration; Partnership; Primary health care; Policy makers; Q-methodology
22.  Filling the Gaps in a Fragmented Health Care System: Development of the Health and Welfare Information Portal (ZWIP) 
JMIR Research Protocols  2012;1(2):e10.
Background
Current health care systems are not optimally designed to meet the needs of our aging populations. First, the fragmentation of care often results in discontinuity of care that can undermine the quality of care provided. Second, patient involvement in care decisions is not sufficiently facilitated.
Objective
To describe the development and the content of a program aimed at: (1) facilitating self-management and shared decision making by frail older people and informal caregivers, and (2) reducing fragmentation of care by improving collaboration among professionals involved in the care of frail older people through a combined multidisciplinary electronic health record (EHR) and personal health record (PHR).
Methods
We used intervention mapping to systematically develop our program in six consecutive steps. Throughout this development, the target populations (ie, professionals, frail older people, and informal caregivers) were involved extensively through their participation in semi-structured interviews and working groups.
Results
We developed the Health and Welfare Information Portal (ZWIP), a personal, Internet-based conference table for multidisciplinary communication and information exchange for frail older people, their informal caregivers, and professionals. Further, we selected and developed methods for implementation of the program, which included an interdisciplinary educational course for professionals involved in the care of frail older people, and planned the evaluation of the program.
Conclusions
This paper describes the successful development and the content of the ZWIP as well as the strategies developed for its implementation. Throughout the development, representatives of future users were involved extensively. Future studies will establish the effects of the ZWIP on self-management and shared decision making by frail older people as well as on collaboration among the professionals involved.
doi:10.2196/resprot.1945
PMCID: PMC3626145  PMID: 23611877
Self-care; cooperative behavior; interdisciplinary communication; electronic health records; frail elderly
23.  Facebook for Scientists: Requirements and Services for Optimizing How Scientific Collaborations Are Established 
Background
As biomedical research projects become increasingly interdisciplinary and complex, collaboration with appropriate individuals, teams, and institutions becomes ever more crucial to project success. While social networks are extremely important in determining how scientific collaborations are formed, social networking technologies have not yet been studied as a tool to help form scientific collaborations. Many currently emerging expertise locating systems include social networking technologies, but it is unclear whether they make the process of finding collaborators more efficient and effective.
Objective
This study was conducted to answer the following questions: (1) Which requirements should systems for finding collaborators in biomedical science fulfill? and (2) Which information technology services can address these requirements?
Methods
The background research phase encompassed a thorough review of the literature, affinity diagramming, contextual inquiry, and semistructured interviews. This phase yielded five themes suggestive of requirements for systems to support the formation of collaborations. In the next phase, the generative phase, we brainstormed and selected design ideas for formal concept validation with end users. Then, three related, well-validated ideas were selected for implementation and evaluation in a prototype.
Results
Five main themes of systems requirements emerged: (1) beyond expertise, successful collaborations require compatibility with respect to personality, work style, productivity, and many other factors (compatibility); (2) finding appropriate collaborators requires the ability to effectively search in domains other than your own using information that is comprehensive and descriptive (communication); (3) social networks are important for finding potential collaborators, assessing their suitability and compatibility, and establishing contact with them (intermediation); (4) information profiles must be complete, correct, up-to-date, and comprehensive and allow fine-grained control over access to information by different audiences (information quality and access); (5) keeping online profiles up-to-date should require little or no effort and be integrated into the scientist’s existing workflow (motivation). Based on the requirements, 16 design ideas underwent formal validation with end users. Of those, three were chosen to be implemented and evaluated in a system prototype, “Digital|Vita”: maintaining, formatting, and semi-automated updating of biographical information; searching for experts; and building and maintaining the social network and managing document flow.
Conclusions
In addition to quantitative and factual information about potential collaborators, social connectedness, personal and professional compatibility, and power differentials also influence whether collaborations are formed. Current systems only partially model these requirements. Services in Digital|Vita combine an existing workflow, maintaining and formatting biographical information, with collaboration-searching functions in a novel way. Several barriers to the adoption of systems such as Digital|Vita exist, such as potential adoption asymmetries between junior and senior researchers and the tension between public and private information. Developers and researchers may consider one or more of the services described in this paper for implementation in their own expertise locating systems.
doi:10.2196/jmir.1047
PMCID: PMC2553246  PMID: 18701421
Expertise locating systems; computer supported collaborative work; information systems; collaborators; research; social networks; translational research
24.  Investigating the barriers to teaching family physicians' and specialists' collaboration in the training environment: a qualitative study 
Background
Collaboration between physicians in different specialties is often taken for granted. However, poor interactions between family physicians and specialists contribute significantly to the observed discontinuity between primary and specialty care. The objective of this study was to explore how collaboration between family physicians and specialists was conceptualised as a competency and experienced in residency training curricula of four faculties of medicine in Canada.
Methods
This is a multiple-case study based on Abbott's theory of professions. Programs targeted were family medicine, general psychiatry, radiology, and internal medicine. The content of the programs' objectives was analyzed. Associate deans of postgraduate studies, program directors, educators, and residents were interviewed individually or in focus groups (47 residents and 45 faculty members).
Results
The training objectives related to family physicians-specialists collaboration were phrased in very general terms and lacked specificity. Obstacles to effective collaboration were aggregated under themes of professional responsibility and questioned expertise. Both trainees and trainers reported increasing distances between specialty and general medicine in three key fields of the professional system: the workplace arena, the training setting, and the production of academic knowledge.
Conclusion
The challenges of developing collaborating skills between generalists and specialist physicians are comparable in many ways to those encountered in inter-professional collaboration and should be given more consideration than they currently receive if we want to improve coordination between primary and specialty care.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-9-31
PMCID: PMC2701430  PMID: 19500409
25.  Collaborative working within UK NHS secondary care and across sectors for COPD and the impact of peer review: qualitative findings from the UK National COPD Resources and Outcomes Project 
Introduction
We investigated the effects on collaborative work within the UK National Health Service (NHS) of an intervention for service quality improvement: informal, structured, reciprocated, multidisciplinary peer review with feedback and action plans. The setting was care for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Theory and methods
We analysed semi-structured interviews with 43 hospital respiratory consultants, nurses and general managers at 24 intervention and 11 control sites, as part of a UK randomised controlled study, the National COPD Resources and Outcomes Project (NCROP), using Scott's conceptual framework for action (inter-organisational, intra-organisational, inter-professional and inter-individual). Three areas of care targeted by NCROP involved collaboration across primary and secondary care.
Results
Hospital respiratory department collaborations with commissioners and hospital managers varied. Analysis suggested that this is related to team responses to barriers. Clinicians in unsuccessful collaborations told ‘atrocity stories’ of organisational, structural and professional barriers to service improvement. The others removed barriers by working with government and commissioner agendas to ensure continued involvement in patients' care. Multidisciplinary peer review facilitated collaboration between participants, enabling them to meet, reconcile differences and exchange ideas across boundaries.
Conclusions
The data come from the first randomised controlled trial of organisational peer review, adding to research into UK health service collaborative work, which has had a more restricted focus on inter-professional relations. NCROP peer review may only modestly improve collaboration but these data suggest it might be more effective than top-down exhortations to change when collaboration both across and within organisations is required.
PMCID: PMC2948684  PMID: 20922063
collaboration; inter-organizational; inter-professional; quality improvement; respiratory disease

Results 1-25 (648884)