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1.  Recruiting Chinese Americans into Cancer Screening Intervention Trials: Strategies and Outcomes 
Clinical trials (London, England)  2014;11(2):167-177.
Background
Cancer is the leading cause of death among Asian Americans. While Asian Americans are the fastest growing minority population in the United States, they are under-represented in cancer research and report poor adherence to cancer screening guidelines.
Purpose
This study utilized data from two large randomized intervention trials to evaluate strategies to recruit first-generation Chinese American immigrants from community settings and Chinese American physician practices. Findings will inform effective strategies for promoting Asian American participation in cancer control research.
Methods
Chinese Americans who were nonadherent to annual mammography screening guidelines (Study 1 with 664 immigrant women >age 40) and to colorectal cancer screening guidelines (Study 2 with 455 immigrants >age 50) were enrolled from the greater Washington DC, New York City (NYC), and Philadelphia (PA) areas. Both studies trained bilingual staff to enroll Chinese-speaking participants with the aid of linguistically appropriate fliers and brochures to obtain consent. Study 1 adopted community approaches and worked with community organizations to enroll participants. Study 2 randomly selected potential participants through 24 Chinese American primary care physician offices, and mailed letters from physicians to enroll patients, followed by telephone calls from research staff. The success of recruitment approaches was assessed by yield rates based on number of participants approached, ineligible, and consented.
Results
Most participants (70%) of Study 1 were enrolled through in-person community approaches (e.g, Chinese schools, stores, health fairs, and personal networks). The final yield of specific venues differed widely (6% to 100%) due to various proportions of ineligible subjects (2% to 64%) and refusals (0% to 92%). The Study 2 recruitment approach (physician letter followed by telephone calls) had different outcomes in two geographic areas, partially due to differences in demographic characteristics in the DC and NYC/PA areas. The community approaches enrolled more recent immigrants and uninsured Chinese Americans than the physician and telephone call approach (p<.001). Enrollment cost is provided to inform future research studies.
Limitations
Our recruitment outcomes might not be generalizable to all Chinese Americans or other Asian American populations because they may vary by study protocols (e.g., length of trials), target populations (i.e., eligibility criteria), and available resources.
Conclusions
Use of multiple culturally relevant strategies (e.g., building trusting relationships through face-to-face enrollment, use of bilingual and bicultural staff, use of a physician letter, and employing linguistically appropriate materials) was crucial for successfully recruiting a large number of Chinese Americans in community and clinical settings. Our data demonstrates that substantial effort is required for recruitment; studies need to budget for this effort to ensure the inclusion of Asian Americans in health research.
doi:10.1177/1740774513518849
PMCID: PMC3972290  PMID: 24567288
Randomized controlled trial; Chinese Americans; Minority enrollment; Community recruitment
2.  Cancer Screening and Haitian Immigrants: The Primary Care Provider Factor 
Background
Haitian immigrants, among the fastest growing immigrant communities in the United States, have low cancer screening rates. Several patient barriers have been identified and associated with low screening rates but little is known on provider barriers for cancer screening. To address this gap, we assessed the cancer screening practices, attitudes, and beliefs of primary care providers serving the Haitian community.
Methods
We surveyed a random sample of physicians serving first generation Haitian immigrants in New York City, identified through their zip codes of practice. Participants completed a questionnaire to assess their beliefs, attitudes and practices surrounding cancer screening, and their perceptions of patient barriers to screening.
Results
50 of 87 physicians (58%) consented to participate in the study. Cancer site-specific and overall cancer screening scores were created for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening. 75% of providers followed breast cancer screening guidelines, 16% for cervical cancer, and 30% for colorectal cancer. None of the providers in the sample were following guidelines for all three cancer sites. Additionally, 97% reported recommending digital rectal exam and PSA annually to patients 50 years or older with no family history, and 100% to patients over 50 years old with family history.
Conclusions
The reported practices of providers serving the Haitian immigrant community in New York City are not fully consistent with practice guidelines. Efforts should be made to reinforce screening guideline knowledge in physicians serving the Haitian immigrant community, to increase the utilization of systems that increase cancer screening, and to implement strategies to overcome patient barriers.
doi:10.1007/s10903-007-9076-4
PMCID: PMC3315358  PMID: 17647104
Haitian immigrants; Physicians practices; Cancer screening
3.  Physician Emigration from Sub-Saharan Africa to the United States: Analysis of the 2011 AMA Physician Masterfile 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(9):e1001513.
Siankam Tankwanchi and colleagues used the AMA Physician Masterfile and the WHO Global Health Workforce Statistics on physicians in sub-Saharan Africa to determine trends in physician emigration to the United States.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
The large-scale emigration of physicians from sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to high-income nations is a serious development concern. Our objective was to determine current emigration trends of SSA physicians found in the physician workforce of the United States.
Methods and Findings
We analyzed physician data from the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Health Workforce Statistics along with graduation and residency data from the 2011 American Medical Association Physician Masterfile (AMA-PM) on physicians trained or born in SSA countries who currently practice in the US. We estimated emigration proportions, year of US entry, years of practice before emigration, and length of time in the US. According to the 2011 AMA-PM, 10,819 physicians were born or trained in 28 SSA countries. Sixty-eight percent (n = 7,370) were SSA-trained, 20% (n = 2,126) were US-trained, and 12% (n = 1,323) were trained outside both SSA and the US. We estimated active physicians (age ≤70 years) to represent 96% (n = 10,377) of the total. Migration trends among SSA-trained physicians increased from 2002 to 2011 for all but one principal source country; the exception was South Africa whose physician migration to the US decreased by 8% (−156). The increase in last-decade migration was >50% in Nigeria (+1,113) and Ghana (+243), >100% in Ethiopia (+274), and >200% (+244) in Sudan. Liberia was the most affected by migration to the US with 77% (n = 175) of its estimated physicians in the 2011 AMA-PM. On average, SSA-trained physicians have been in the US for 18 years. They practiced for 6.5 years before US entry, and nearly half emigrated during the implementation years (1984–1999) of the structural adjustment programs.
Conclusion
Physician emigration from SSA to the US is increasing for most SSA source countries. Unless far-reaching policies are implemented by the US and SSA countries, the current emigration trends will persist, and the US will remain a leading destination for SSA physicians emigrating from the continent of greatest need.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Population growth and aging and increasingly complex health care interventions, as well as existing policies and market forces, mean that many countries are facing a shortage of health care professionals. High-income countries are addressing this problem in part by encouraging the immigration of foreign health care professionals from low- and middle-income countries. In the US, for example, international medical graduates (IMGs) can secure visas and permanent residency by passing examinations provided by the Educational Commission of Foreign Medical Graduates and by agreeing to provide care in areas that are underserved by US physicians. Inevitably, the emigration of physicians from low- and middle-income countries undermines health service delivery in the emigrating physicians' country of origin because physician supply is already inadequate in those countries. Physician emigration from sub-Saharan Africa, which has only 2% of the global physician workforce but a quarter of the global burden of disease, is particularly worrying. Since 1970, as a result of large-scale emigration and limited medical education, there has been negligible or negative growth in the density of physicians in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In Liberia, for example, in 1973, there were 7.76 physicians per 100,000 people but by 2008 there were only 1.37 physicians per 100,000 people; in the US, there are 250 physicians per 100,000 people.
Why Was This Study Done?
Before policy proposals can be formulated to address global inequities in physician distribution, a clear picture of the patterns of physician emigration from resource-limited countries is needed. In this study, the researchers use data from the 2011 American Medical Association Physician Masterfile (AMA-PM) to investigate the “brain drain” of physicians from sub-Saharan Africa to the US. The AMA-PM collects annual demographic, academic, and professional data on all residents (physicians undergoing training in a medical specialty) and licensed physicians who practice in the US.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used data from the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Health Workforce Statistics and graduation and residency data from the 2011 AMA-PM to estimate physician emigration rates from sub-Saharan African countries, year of US entry, years of service provided before emigration to the US, and length of time in the US. There were 10,819 physicians who were born or trained in 28 sub-Saharan African countries in the 2011 AMA-PM. By using a published analysis of the 2002 AMA-PM, the researchers estimated that US immigration among sub-Saharan African-trained physicians had increased over the past decade for all the countries examined except South Africa, where physician emigration had decreased by 8%. Overall, the number of sub-Saharan African IMGs in the US had increased by 38% since 2002. More than half of this increase was accounted for by Nigerian IMGs. Liberia was the country most affected by migration of its physicians to the US—77% of its estimated 226 physicians were in the 2011 AMA-PM. On average, sub-Saharan African IMGs had been in the US for 18 years and had practiced for 6.5 years before emigration. Finally, nearly half of the sub-Saharan African IMGs had migrated to US between 1984 and 1995, years during which structural adjustment programs, which resulted in deep cuts to public health care services, were implemented in developing countries by international financial institutions as conditions for refinancing.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although the sub-Saharan African IMGs in the 2011 AMA-PM only represent about 1% of all the physicians and less than 5% of the IMGs in the AMA-PM, these findings reveal a major loss of physicians from sub-Saharan Africa. They also suggest that emigration of physicians from sub-Saharan Africa is a growing problem and is likely to continue unless job satisfaction for physicians is improved in their country of origin. Moreover, because the AMA-PM only lists physicians who qualify for a US residency position, more physicians may have moved from sub-Saharan Africa to the US than reported here and may be working in other jobs incommensurate with their medical degrees (“brain waste”). The researchers suggest that physician emigration from sub-Saharan Africa to the US reflects the complexities in the labor markets for health care professionals in both Africa and the US and can be seen as low- and middle-income nations subsidizing the education of physicians in high-income countries. Policy proposals to address global inequities in physician distribution will therefore need both to encourage the recruitment, training, and retention of health care professionals in resource-limited countries and to persuade high-income countries to train more home-grown physicians to meet the needs of their own populations.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001513.
The Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research is a non-profit foundation committed to improving world health through education that was established in 2000 by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates
The Global Health Workforce Alliance is a partnership of national governments, civil society, international agencies, finance institutions, researchers, educators, and professional associations dedicated to identifying, implementing and advocating for solutions to the chronic global shortage of health care professionals (available in several languages)
Information on the American Medical Association Physician Masterfile and the providers of physician data lists is available via the American Medical Associations website
The World Health Organization (WHO) annual World Health Statistics reports present the most recent health statistics for the WHO Member States
The Medical Education Partnership Initiative is a US-sponsored initiative that supports medical education and research in sub-Saharan African institutions, aiming to increase the quantity, quality, and retention of graduates with specific skills addressing the health needs of their national populations
CapacityPlus is the USAID-funded global project uniquely focused on the health workforce needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals
Seed Global Health cultivates the next generation of health professionals by allying medical and nursing volunteers with their peers in resource-limited settings
"America is Stealing the Worlds Doctors", a 2012 New York Times article by Matt McAllester, describes the personal experience of a young doctor who emigrated from Zambia to the US
Path to United States Practice Is Long Slog to Foreign Doctors, a 2013 New York Times article by Catherine Rampell, describes the hurdles that immigrant physicians face in practicing in the US
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001513
PMCID: PMC3775724  PMID: 24068894
4.  Language Use and the Receipt of Cancer Screening Recommendations by Immigrant Chinese American Women 
Journal of Women's Health  2009;18(2):201-207.
Abstract
Background
Cancer screening rates are low among Chinese American women, a mostly immigrant minority population. This is possibly because they do not receive cancer screening recommendations from their physicians. The objective of this study was to determine if the rate at which physicians recommend cancer screening to older Chinese American women differs according to the language used during visits.
Methods
Data for the cross-sectional study were collected from a telephone survey of older Chinese American women residing in the Washington, DC, area. A total of 507 asymptomatic Chinese American women aged ≥50 who had a regular physician participated in this study. The main outcome was women's self-reported perception of having received a recommendation from their physician for mammography, Pap tests, or colorectal cancer screening in the past 2 years. The main independent variable was the language used during visits (English vs. Chinese). Patient age, educational level, employment status, cultural views, physician specialty, physician gender, and length of relationship with the physician were included in the multiple logistic regression analyses.
Results
Chinese women who communicated with their physicians in English were 1.71 (95% CI 1.00-2.96) and 1.73 (95% CI 1.00-3.00) times more likely to report having received mammography and colorectal cancer screening recommendations, respectively (p < 0.05). Physicians in family medicine or general practice were 2.11 (95% CI 1.31-3.40) and 1.70 (95% CI 1.06-2.48) times more likely to recommend cancer screening than those in other specialties.
Conclusions
Chinese American women who conversed with their physicians in Chinese were less likely to perceive receiving cancer screening recommendations. Future research is needed to identify physician-specific knowledge, attitude, and cultural barriers to recommending cancer screening.
doi:10.1089/jwh.2007.0709
PMCID: PMC2945721  PMID: 19183091
5.  Cancer screening practices among primary care physicians serving Chinese Americans in San Francisco. 
Western Journal of Medicine  1999;170(3):148-155.
Previous research has reported a lack of regular cancer screening among Chinese Americans. The overall objectives of this study were to use a mail survey of primary care physicians who served Chinese Americans in San Francisco to investigate: a) the attitudes, beliefs, and practices regarding breast, cervical, and colon cancer screening and b) factors influencing the use of these cancer screening tests. The sampling frame for our mail survey consisted of: a) primary care physicians affiliated with the Chinese Community Health Plan and b) primary care physicians with a Chinese surname listed in the Yellow Pages of the 1995 San Francisco Telephone Directory. A 5-minute, self-administered questionnaire was developed and mailed to 80 physicians, and 51 primary care physicians completed the survey. A majority reported performing regular clinical breast examinations (84%) and teaching their patients to do self-breast examinations (84%). However, the rate of performing Pap smears was only 61% and the rate of ordering annual mammograms for patients aged 50 and older was 63%. The rates of ordering annual fecal occult blood testing and sigmoidoscopy at regular intervals of three to five years among patients aged 50 and older were 69% and 20%, respectively. Barriers (patient-specific, provider-specific, and practice logistics) to using cancer screening tests were identified. The data presented in this study provide a basis for developing interventions to increase performance of regular cancer screening among primary care physicians serving Chinese Americans. Cancer screening rates may be improved by targeting the barriers to screening identified among these physicians. Strategies to help physicians overcome these barriers are discussed.
PMCID: PMC1305532  PMID: 10214101
6.  Implementing the 2009 Institute of Medicine recommendations on resident physician work hours, supervision, and safety 
Long working hours and sleep deprivation have been a facet of physician training in the US since the advent of the modern residency system. However, the scientific evidence linking fatigue with deficits in human performance, accidents and errors in industries from aeronautics to medicine, nuclear power, and transportation has mounted over the last 40 years. This evidence has also spawned regulations to help ensure public safety across safety-sensitive industries, with the notable exception of medicine.
In late 2007, at the behest of the US Congress, the Institute of Medicine embarked on a year-long examination of the scientific evidence linking resident physician sleep deprivation with clinical performance deficits and medical errors. The Institute of Medicine’s report, entitled “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety”, published in January 2009, recommended new limits on resident physician work hours and workload, increased supervision, a heightened focus on resident physician safety, training in structured handovers and quality improvement, more rigorous external oversight of work hours and other aspects of residency training, and the identification of expanded funding sources necessary to implement the recommended reforms successfully and protect the public and resident physicians themselves from preventable harm.
Given that resident physicians comprise almost a quarter of all physicians who work in hospitals, and that taxpayers, through Medicare and Medicaid, fund graduate medical education, the public has a deep investment in physician training. Patients expect to receive safe, high-quality care in the nation’s teaching hospitals. Because it is their safety that is at issue, their voices should be central in policy decisions affecting patient safety. It is likewise important to integrate the perspectives of resident physicians, policy makers, and other constituencies in designing new policies. However, since its release, discussion of the Institute of Medicine report has been largely confined to the medical education community, led by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
To begin gathering these perspectives and developing a plan to implement safer work hours for resident physicians, a conference entitled “Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety: What will it take to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations?” was held at Harvard Medical School on June 17–18, 2010. This White Paper is a product of a diverse group of 26 representative stakeholders bringing relevant new information and innovative practices to bear on a critical patient safety problem. Given that our conference included experts from across disciplines with diverse perspectives and interests, not every recommendation was endorsed by each invited conference participant. However, every recommendation made here was endorsed by the majority of the group, and many were endorsed unanimously. Conference members participated in the process, reviewed the final product, and provided input before publication. Participants provided their individual perspectives, which do not necessarily represent the formal views of any organization.
In September 2010 the ACGME issued new rules to go into effect on July 1, 2011. Unfortunately, they stop considerably short of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations and those endorsed by this conference. In particular, the ACGME only applied the limitation of 16 hours to first-year resident physicans. Thus, it is clear that policymakers, hospital administrators, and residency program directors who wish to implement safer health care systems must go far beyond what the ACGME will require. We hope this White Paper will serve as a guide and provide encouragement for that effort.
Resident physician workload and supervision
By the end of training, a resident physician should be able to practice independently. Yet much of resident physicians’ time is dominated by tasks with little educational value. The caseload can be so great that inadequate reflective time is left for learning based on clinical experiences. In addition, supervision is often vaguely defined and discontinuous. Medical malpractice data indicate that resident physicians are frequently named in lawsuits, most often for lack of supervision. The recommendations are: The ACGME should adjust resident physicians workload requirements to optimize educational value. Resident physicians as well as faculty should be involved in work redesign that eliminates nonessential and noneducational activity from resident physician dutiesMechanisms should be developed for identifying in real time when a resident physician’s workload is excessive, and processes developed to activate additional providersTeamwork should be actively encouraged in delivery of patient care. Historically, much of medical training has focused on individual knowledge, skills, and responsibility. As health care delivery has become more complex, it will be essential to train resident and attending physicians in effective teamwork that emphasizes collective responsibility for patient care and recognizes the signs, both individual and systemic, of a schedule and working conditions that are too demanding to be safeHospitals should embrace the opportunities that resident physician training redesign offers. Hospitals should recognize and act on the potential benefits of work redesign, eg, increased efficiency, reduced costs, improved quality of care, and resident physician and attending job satisfactionAttending physicians should supervise all hospital admissions. Resident physicians should directly discuss all admissions with attending physicians. Attending physicians should be both cognizant of and have input into the care patients are to receive upon admission to the hospitalInhouse supervision should be required for all critical care services, including emergency rooms, intensive care units, and trauma services. Resident physicians should not be left unsupervised to care for critically ill patients. In settings in which the acuity is high, physicians who have completed residency should provide direct supervision for resident physicians. Supervising physicians should always be physically in the hospital for supervision of resident physicians who care for critically ill patientsThe ACGME should explicitly define “good” supervision by specialty and by year of training. Explicit requirements for intensity and level of training for supervision of specific clinical scenarios should be providedCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should use graduate medical education funding to provide incentives to programs with proven, effective levels of supervision. Although this action would require federal legislation, reimbursement rules would help to ensure that hospitals pay attention to the importance of good supervision and require it from their training programs
Resident physician work hours
Although the IOM “Sleep, supervision and safety” report provides a comprehensive review and discussion of all aspects of graduate medical education training, the report’s focal point is its recommendations regarding the hours that resident physicians are currently required to work. A considerable body of scientific evidence, much of it cited by the Institute of Medicine report, describes deteriorating performance in fatigued humans, as well as specific studies on resident physician fatigue and preventable medical errors.
The question before this conference was what work redesign and cultural changes are needed to reform work hours as recommended by the Institute of Medicine’s evidence-based report? Extensive scientific data demonstrate that shifts exceeding 12–16 hours without sleep are unsafe. Several principles should be followed in efforts to reduce consecutive hours below this level and achieve safer work schedules. The recommendations are: Limit resident physician work hours to 12–16 hour maximum shiftsA minimum of 10 hours off duty should be scheduled between shiftsResident physician input into work redesign should be actively solicitedSchedules should be designed that adhere to principles of sleep and circadian science; this includes careful consideration of the effects of multiple consecutive night shifts, and provision of adequate time off after night work, as specified in the IOM reportResident physicians should not be scheduled up to the maximum permissible limits; emergencies frequently occur that require resident physicians to stay longer than their scheduled shifts, and this should be anticipated in scheduling resident physicians’ work shiftsHospitals should anticipate the need for iterative improvement as new schedules are initiated; be prepared to learn from the initial phase-in, and change the plan as neededAs resident physician work hours are redesigned, attending physicians should also be considered; a potential consequence of resident physician work hour reduction and increased supervisory requirements may be an increase in work for attending physicians; this should be carefully monitored, and adjustments to attending physician work schedules made as needed to prevent unsafe work hours or working conditions for this group“Home call” should be brought under the overall limits of working hours; work load and hours should be monitored in each residency program to ensure that resident physicians and fellows on home call are getting sufficient sleepMedicare funding for graduate medical education in each hospital should be linked with adherence to the Institute of Medicine limits on resident physician work hours
Moonlighting by resident physicians
The Institute of Medicine report recommended including external as well as internal moonlighting in working hour limits. The recommendation is: All moonlighting work hours should be included in the ACGME working hour limits and actively monitored. Hospitals should formalize a moonlighting policy and establish systems for actively monitoring resident physician moonlighting
Safety of resident physicians
The “Sleep, supervision and safety” report also addresses fatigue-related harm done to resident physicians themselves. The report focuses on two main sources of physical injury to resident physicians impaired by fatigue, ie, needle-stick exposure to blood-borne pathogens and motor vehicle crashes. Providing safe transportation home for resident physicians is a logistical and financial challenge for hospitals. Educating physicians at all levels on the dangers of fatigue is clearly required to change driving behavior so that safe hospital-funded transport home is used effectively. Fatigue-related injury prevention (including not driving while drowsy) should be taught in medical school and during residency, and reinforced with attending physicians; hospitals and residency programs must be informed that resident physicians’ ability to judge their own level of impairment is impaired when they are sleep deprived; hence, leaving decisions about the capacity to drive to impaired resident physicians is not recommendedHospitals should provide transportation to all resident physicians who report feeling too tired to drive safely; in addition, although consecutive work should not exceed 16 hours, hospitals should provide transportation for all resident physicians who, because of unforeseen reasons or emergencies, work for longer than consecutive 24 hours; transportation under these circumstances should be automatically provided to house staff, and should not rely on self-identification or request
Training in effective handovers and quality improvement
Handover practice for resident physicians, attendings, and other health care providers has long been identified as a weak link in patient safety throughout health care settings. Policies to improve handovers of care must be tailored to fit the appropriate clinical scenario, recognizing that information overload can also be a problem. At the heart of improving handovers is the organizational effort to improve quality, an effort in which resident physicians have typically been insufficiently engaged. The recommendations are: Hospitals should train attending and resident physicians in effective handovers of careHospitals should create uniform processes for handovers that are tailored to meet each clinical setting; all handovers should be done verbally and face-to-face, but should also utilize written toolsWhen possible, hospitals should integrate hand-over tools into their electronic medical records (EMR) systems; these systems should be standardized to the extent possible across residency programs in a hospital, but may be tailored to the needs of specific programs and services; federal government should help subsidize adoption of electronic medical records by hospitals to improve signoutWhen feasible, handovers should be a team effort including nurses, patients, and familiesHospitals should include residents in their quality improvement and patient safety efforts; the ACGME should specify in their core competency requirements that resident physicians work on quality improvement projects; likewise, the Joint Commission should require that resident physicians be included in quality improvement and patient safety programs at teaching hospitals; hospital administrators and residency program directors should create opportunities for resident physicians to become involved in ongoing quality improvement projects and root cause analysis teams; feedback on successful quality improvement interventions should be shared with resident physicians and broadly disseminatedQuality improvement/patient safety concepts should be integral to the medical school curriculum; medical school deans should elevate the topics of patient safety, quality improvement, and teamwork; these concepts should be integrated throughout the medical school curriculum and reinforced throughout residency; mastery of these concepts by medical students should be tested on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) stepsFederal government should support involvement of resident physicians in quality improvement efforts; initiatives to improve quality by including resident physicians in quality improvement projects should be financially supported by the Department of Health and Human Services
Monitoring and oversight of the ACGME
While the ACGME is a key stakeholder in residency training, external voices are essential to ensure that public interests are heard in the development and monitoring of standards. Consequently, the Institute of Medicine report recommended external oversight and monitoring through the Joint Commission and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The recommendations are: Make comprehensive fatigue management a Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goal; fatigue is a safety concern not only for resident physicians, but also for nurses, attending physicians, and other health care workers; the Joint Commission should seek to ensure that all health care workers, not just resident physicians, are working as safely as possibleFederal government, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, should encourage development of comprehensive fatigue management programs which all health systems would eventually be required to implementMake ACGME compliance with working hours a “ condition of participation” for reimbursement of direct and indirect graduate medical education costs; financial incentives will greatly increase the adoption of and compliance with ACGME standards
Future financial support for implementation
The Institute of Medicine’s report estimates that $1.7 billion (in 2008 dollars) would be needed to implement its recommendations. Twenty-five percent of that amount ($376 million) will be required just to bring hospitals into compliance with the existing 2003 ACGME rules. Downstream savings to the health care system could potentially result from safer care, but these benefits typically do not accrue to hospitals and residency programs, who have been asked historically to bear the burden of residency reform costs. The recommendations are: The Institute of Medicine should convene a panel of stakeholders, including private and public funders of health care and graduate medical education, to lay down the concrete steps necessary to identify and allocate the resources needed to implement the recommendations contained in the IOM “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety” report. Conference participants suggested several approaches to engage public and private support for this initiativeEfforts to find additional funding to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations should focus more broadly on patient safety and health care delivery reform; policy efforts focused narrowly upon resident physician work hours are less likely to succeed than broad patient safety initiatives that include residency redesign as a key componentHospitals should view the Institute of Medicine recommendations as an opportunity to begin resident physician work redesign projects as the core of a business model that embraces safety and ultimately saves resourcesBoth the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should take the Institute of Medicine recommendations into consideration when promulgating rules for innovation grantsThe National Health Care Workforce Commission should consider the Institute of Medicine recommendations when analyzing the nation’s physician workforce needs
Recommendations for future research
Conference participants concurred that convening the stakeholders and agreeing on a research agenda was key. Some observed that some sectors within the medical education community have been reluctant to act on the data. Several logical funders for future research were identified. But above all agencies, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the only stakeholder that funds graduate medical education upstream and will reap savings downstream if preventable medical errors are reduced as a result of reform of resident physician work hours.
doi:10.2147/NSS.S19649
PMCID: PMC3630963  PMID: 23616719
resident; hospital; working hours; safety
7.  PAP SMEAR RECEIPT AMONG VIETNAMESE IMMIGRANTS: THE IMPORTANCE OF HEALTH CARE FACTORS 
Ethnicity & health  2009;14(6):575-589.
Objective
Recent US data indicate that women of Vietnamese descent have higher cervical cancer incidence rates than women of any other race/ethnicity, and lower levels of Pap testing than white, black, and Latina women. Our objective was to provide information about Pap testing barriers and facilitators that could be used to develop cervical cancer control intervention programs for Vietnamese American women.
Design
We conducted a cross-sectional, community-based survey of Vietnamese immigrants. Our study was conducted in metropolitan Seattle, Washington. A total of 1,532 Vietnamese American women participated in the study. Demographic, health care, and knowledge/belief items associated with previous cervical cancer screening participation (ever screened and screened according to interval screening guidelines) were examined.
Results
Eighty-one percent of the respondents had been screened for cervical cancer in the previous three years. Recent Pap testing was strongly associated (p<0.001) with having a regular doctor, having a physical in the last year, previous physician recommendation for testing, and having asked a physician for testing. Women whose regular doctor was a Vietnamese man were no more likely to have received a recent Pap smear than those with no regular doctor.
Conclusion
Our findings indicate that cervical cancer screening disparities between Vietnamese and other racial/ethnic groups are decreasing. Efforts to further increase Pap smear receipt in Vietnamese American communities should enable women without a source of health care to find a regular provider. Additionally, intervention programs should improve patient-provider communication by encouraging health care providers (especially male Vietnamese physicians serving women living in ethnic enclaves) to recommend Pap testing, as well as by empowering Vietnamese women to specifically ask their physicians for Pap testing.
doi:10.1080/13557850903111589
PMCID: PMC2788032  PMID: 19626504
Cervical cancer; Immigrants; Pap testing; Vietnamese
8.  Primary care physician characteristics associated with cancer screening: a retrospective cohort study in Ontario, Canada 
Cancer Medicine  2014;4(2):212-223.
Primary care physicians can serve as both facilitators and barriers to cancer screening, particularly for under-screened groups such as immigrant patients. The objective of this study was to inform physician-targeted interventions by identifying primary care physician characteristics associated with cancer screening for their eligible patients, for their eligible immigrant patients, and for foreign-trained physicians, for their eligible immigrant patients from the same world region. A population-based retrospective cohort study was performed, looking back 3 years from 31 December 2010. The study was performed in urban primary care practices in Ontario, Canada's largest province. A total of 6303 physicians serving 1,156,627 women eligible for breast cancer screening, 2,730,380 women eligible for cervical screening, and 2,260,569 patients eligible for colorectal screening participated. Appropriate breast screening was defined as at least one mammogram in the previous 2 years, appropriate cervical screening was defined as at least one Pap test in the previous 3 years, and appropriate colorectal screening as at least one fecal occult blood test in the previous 2 years or at least one colonoscopy or barium enema in the previous 10 years. Just fewer than 40% of physicians were female, and 26.1% were foreign trained. In multivariable analyses, physicians who attended medical schools in the Caribbean/Latin America, the Middle East/North Africa, South Asia, and Western Europe were less likely to screen their patients than Canadian graduates. South Asian-trained physicians were significantly less likely to screen South Asian women for cervical cancer than other foreign-trained physicians who were seeing region-congruent patients (adjusted odds ratio: 0.56 [95% confidence interval 0.32–0.98] versus physicians from the USA, Australia and New Zealand). South Asian patients were the most vulnerable to under-screening, and decreasing patient income quintile was consistently associated with lower likelihood of screening, although less so for immigrant patients. This study highlights certain physician characteristics that are associated with cancer screening for eligible patients, including immigrant patients, and that should be considered when designing physician-targeted interventions. We have also highlighted an ethnic community, South Asians, which requires particular attention, both among its patients and its primary care providers. Future research should further explore the reasons for these findings.
doi:10.1002/cam4.358
PMCID: PMC4329005  PMID: 25430885
Cancer screening; immigrant health; primary care; socioeconomic status
9.  Mammography Screening among Chinese-American Women 
Cancer  2003;97(5):1293-1302.
BACKGROUND
Breast carcinoma is the most common major malignancy among several Asian-American populations. This study surveyed mammography screening knowledge and practices among Chinese-American women.
METHODS
In 1999, the authors conducted a cross-sectional, community-based survey in Seattle, Washington. Bilingual and bicultural interviewers administered surveys in Mandarin, Cantonese, or English at participants’ homes.
RESULTS
The survey cooperation rate (responses among reachable and eligible households) was 72% with 350 eligible women (age ≥ 40 years with no prior history of breast carcinoma or double mastectomy). Seventy-four percent of women reported prior mammography screening, and 61% of women reported screening in the last 2 years. In multivariate analysis, a strong association was found between mammography screening and recommendations by physicians and nurses (prior screening: odds ratio [OR], 16.0; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 7.8–35.0; recent screening: OR, 7.0; 95% CI, 3.8–13.6). This finding applied to both recent immigrants (< 15 years in the U.S.) and earlier immigrants (≥ 15 years in the U.S.). Thirty-two percent of women reported that the best way to detect breast carcinoma was a modality other than mammogram.
CONCLUSIONS
The authors recommend a multifaceted approach to increase mammography screening by Chinese-American women: recommendations from the provider plus targeted education to address the effectiveness of screening mammography compared with breast self examination and clinical breast examination.
doi:10.1002/cncr.11169
PMCID: PMC1618781  PMID: 12599238
mammography; screening; Asian; Chinese
10.  A Comprehensive Screening And Treatment Model For Reducing Disparities In Hepatitis B 
Health Affairs (Project Hope)  2011;30(10):1974-1983.
Chronic hepatitis B affects Asian Americans at a much higher rate than the general US population. Appropriate care can limit morbidity and mortality from hepatitis B. However, access to care for many Asian Americans and other immigrant groups is limited by their lack of knowledge about the disease, as well as cultural, linguistic, and financial challenges. This article describes the results of BfreeNYC, a New York City pilot program that, from 2004 to 2008, provided hepatitis B community education and awareness, free screening and vaccinations, and free or low-cost treatment primarily to immigrants from Asia, but also to residents from other racial and ethnic minority groups. The program was the largest citywide screening program in the United States, reaching nearly 9,000 people, and the only one providing comprehensive care to those who were infected. During the program, new hepatitis B cases reported annually from predominantly Asian neighborhoods in the city increased 34 percent. More than two thousand people were vaccinated; 57 percent of the 1,162 patients who tested positive for hepatitis B and were evaluated by program clinical services were still in care at the end of the program. Our analysis found that the program was effective in reaching the target population and providing care. Although follow-up care data will be needed to demonstrate long-term costeffectiveness, the program may serve as a useful prototype for addressing hepatitis B disparities in communities across the United States.
doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0700
PMCID: PMC3333793  PMID: 21976342
11.  Physical Distress and Cancer Care Experiences Among Chinese-American and Non-Hispanic White Breast Cancer Survivors 
Gynecologic Oncology  2011;124(3):383-388.
Objective
The number of Chinese-American breast cancer survivors (BCS) is increasing as a result of increasing incidence rates. There has been little research on Chinese BCS’ follow-up cancer care. This qualitative study aims to understand how Chinese-American BCS experience and cope with physical distress relative to non-Hispanic White (NHW) survivors.
Methods
Seventy-one BCS (37 Chinese immigrant, 7 US-born Chinese, 27 NHW) were recruited from the Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry to participate in focus group discussions or one-on-one interviews about their survivorship experiences. All BCS were diagnosed with breast cancer at stage 0-IIA between 2006-2009, and had survived for 1-4 years without recurrence. Interviews were conducted in Cantonese, Mandarin, or English. Data analyses followed established qualitative methods of content analysis.
Results
BCS experienced pain and side effects from radiation, surgery, and hormonal therapy. Physical distress subsequently caused emotional concerns about recurrence or metastasis. Most BCS consulted physicians about their physical distress. Chinese immigrant BCS were less likely to have their issues resolved compared to NHW and US-born Chinese who were more likely to question physicians, ask for referrals, and make repeat attempts if their problems were not resolved. Some Chinese immigrant BCS turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine for relief or accepted the idea that physical distress was part of survivorship.
Conclusion
Chinese immigrant BCS may be at risk for greater distress compared with US-born Chinese and NHW BCS because of cultural norms that make them less inclined to express their needs to physicians or challenge physicians when their needs are not met. Furthermore, they may express symptoms in culturally unique ways (e.g., hot-cold imbalances). Further research is needed to determine how to best improve survivorship care experiences in this understudied population, with the goal of decreasing BCS’ physical distress and improving quality of life.
doi:10.1016/j.ygyno.2011.11.029
PMCID: PMC3298543  PMID: 22115854
12.  Internet-Based Device-Assisted Remote Monitoring of Cardiovascular Implantable Electronic Devices 
Executive Summary
Objective
The objective of this Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) report was to conduct a systematic review of the available published evidence on the safety, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of Internet-based device-assisted remote monitoring systems (RMSs) for therapeutic cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) such as pacemakers (PMs), implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs), and cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) devices. The MAS evidence-based review was performed to support public financing decisions.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a major cause of fatalities in developed countries. In the United States almost half a million people die of SCD annually, resulting in more deaths than stroke, lung cancer, breast cancer, and AIDS combined. In Canada each year more than 40,000 people die from a cardiovascular related cause; approximately half of these deaths are attributable to SCD.
Most cases of SCD occur in the general population typically in those without a known history of heart disease. Most SCDs are caused by cardiac arrhythmia, an abnormal heart rhythm caused by malfunctions of the heart’s electrical system. Up to half of patients with significant heart failure (HF) also have advanced conduction abnormalities.
Cardiac arrhythmias are managed by a variety of drugs, ablative procedures, and therapeutic CIEDs. The range of CIEDs includes pacemakers (PMs), implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs), and cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) devices. Bradycardia is the main indication for PMs and individuals at high risk for SCD are often treated by ICDs.
Heart failure (HF) is also a significant health problem and is the most frequent cause of hospitalization in those over 65 years of age. Patients with moderate to severe HF may also have cardiac arrhythmias, although the cause may be related more to heart pump or haemodynamic failure. The presence of HF, however, increases the risk of SCD five-fold, regardless of aetiology. Patients with HF who remain highly symptomatic despite optimal drug therapy are sometimes also treated with CRT devices.
With an increasing prevalence of age-related conditions such as chronic HF and the expanding indications for ICD therapy, the rate of ICD placement has been dramatically increasing. The appropriate indications for ICD placement, as well as the rate of ICD placement, are increasingly an issue. In the United States, after the introduction of expanded coverage of ICDs, a national ICD registry was created in 2005 to track these devices. A recent survey based on this national ICD registry reported that 22.5% (25,145) of patients had received a non-evidence based ICD and that these patients experienced significantly higher in-hospital mortality and post-procedural complications.
In addition to the increased ICD device placement and the upfront device costs, there is the need for lifelong follow-up or surveillance, placing a significant burden on patients and device clinics. In 2007, over 1.6 million CIEDs were implanted in Europe and the United States, which translates to over 5.5 million patient encounters per year if the recommended follow-up practices are considered. A safe and effective RMS could potentially improve the efficiency of long-term follow-up of patients and their CIEDs.
Technology
In addition to being therapeutic devices, CIEDs have extensive diagnostic abilities. All CIEDs can be interrogated and reprogrammed during an in-clinic visit using an inductive programming wand. Remote monitoring would allow patients to transmit information recorded in their devices from the comfort of their own homes. Currently most ICD devices also have the potential to be remotely monitored. Remote monitoring (RM) can be used to check system integrity, to alert on arrhythmic episodes, and to potentially replace in-clinic follow-ups and manage disease remotely. They do not currently have the capability of being reprogrammed remotely, although this feature is being tested in pilot settings.
Every RMS is specifically designed by a manufacturer for their cardiac implant devices. For Internet-based device-assisted RMSs, this customization includes details such as web application, multiplatform sensors, custom algorithms, programming information, and types and methods of alerting patients and/or physicians. The addition of peripherals for monitoring weight and pressure or communicating with patients through the onsite communicators also varies by manufacturer. Internet-based device-assisted RMSs for CIEDs are intended to function as a surveillance system rather than an emergency system.
Health care providers therefore need to learn each application, and as more than one application may be used at one site, multiple applications may need to be reviewed for alarms. All RMSs deliver system integrity alerting; however, some systems seem to be better geared to fast arrhythmic alerting, whereas other systems appear to be more intended for remote follow-up or supplemental remote disease management. The different RMSs may therefore have different impacts on workflow organization because of their varying frequency of interrogation and methods of alerts. The integration of these proprietary RM web-based registry systems with hospital-based electronic health record systems has so far not been commonly implemented.
Currently there are 2 general types of RMSs: those that transmit device diagnostic information automatically and without patient assistance to secure Internet-based registry systems, and those that require patient assistance to transmit information. Both systems employ the use of preprogrammed alerts that are either transmitted automatically or at regular scheduled intervals to patients and/or physicians.
The current web applications, programming, and registry systems differ greatly between the manufacturers of transmitting cardiac devices. In Canada there are currently 4 manufacturers—Medtronic Inc., Biotronik, Boston Scientific Corp., and St Jude Medical Inc.—which have regulatory approval for remote transmitting CIEDs. Remote monitoring systems are proprietary to the manufacturer of the implant device. An RMS for one device will not work with another device, and the RMS may not work with all versions of the manufacturer’s devices.
All Internet-based device-assisted RMSs have common components. The implanted device is equipped with a micro-antenna that communicates with a small external device (at bedside or wearable) commonly known as the transmitter. Transmitters are able to interrogate programmed parameters and diagnostic data stored in the patients’ implant device. The information transfer to the communicator can occur at preset time intervals with the participation of the patient (waving a wand over the device) or it can be sent automatically (wirelessly) without their participation. The encrypted data are then uploaded to an Internet-based database on a secure central server. The data processing facilities at the central database, depending on the clinical urgency, can trigger an alert for the physician(s) that can be sent via email, fax, text message, or phone. The details are also posted on the secure website for viewing by the physician (or their delegate) at their convenience.
Research Questions
The research directions and specific research questions for this evidence review were as follows:
To identify the Internet-based device-assisted RMSs available for follow-up of patients with therapeutic CIEDs such as PMs, ICDs, and CRT devices.
To identify the potential risks, operational issues, or organizational issues related to Internet-based device-assisted RM for CIEDs.
To evaluate the safety, acceptability, and effectiveness of Internet-based device-assisted RMSs for CIEDs such as PMs, ICDs, and CRT devices.
To evaluate the safety, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of Internet-based device-assisted RMSs for CIEDs compared to usual outpatient in-office monitoring strategies.
To evaluate the resource implications or budget impact of RMSs for CIEDs in Ontario, Canada.
Research Methods
Literature Search
The review included a systematic review of published scientific literature and consultations with experts and manufacturers of all 4 approved RMSs for CIEDs in Canada. Information on CIED cardiac implant clinics was also obtained from Provincial Programs, a division within the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care with a mandate for cardiac implant specialty care. Various administrative databases and registries were used to outline the current clinical follow-up burden of CIEDs in Ontario. The provincial population-based ICD database developed and maintained by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) was used to review the current follow-up practices with Ontario patients implanted with ICD devices.
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on September 21, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from 1950 to September 2010. Search alerts were generated and reviewed for additional relevant literature until December 31, 2010. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search.
Inclusion Criteria
published between 1950 and September 2010;
English language full-reports and human studies;
original reports including clinical evaluations of Internet-based device-assisted RMSs for CIEDs in clinical settings;
reports including standardized measurements on outcome events such as technical success, safety, effectiveness, cost, measures of health care utilization, morbidity, mortality, quality of life or patient satisfaction;
randomized controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews and meta-analyses, cohort and controlled clinical studies.
Exclusion Criteria
non-systematic reviews, letters, comments and editorials;
reports not involving standardized outcome events;
clinical reports not involving Internet-based device assisted RM systems for CIEDs in clinical settings;
reports involving studies testing or validating algorithms without RM;
studies with small samples (<10 subjects).
Outcomes of Interest
The outcomes of interest included: technical outcomes, emergency department visits, complications, major adverse events, symptoms, hospital admissions, clinic visits (scheduled and/or unscheduled), survival, morbidity (disease progression, stroke, etc.), patient satisfaction, and quality of life.
Summary of Findings
The MAS evidence review was performed to review available evidence on Internet-based device-assisted RMSs for CIEDs published until September 2010. The search identified 6 systematic reviews, 7 randomized controlled trials, and 19 reports for 16 cohort studies—3 of these being registry-based and 4 being multi-centered. The evidence is summarized in the 3 sections that follow.
1. Effectiveness of Remote Monitoring Systems of CIEDs for Cardiac Arrhythmia and Device Functioning
In total, 15 reports on 13 cohort studies involving investigations with 4 different RMSs for CIEDs in cardiology implant clinic groups were identified in the review. The 4 RMSs were: Care Link Network® (Medtronic Inc,, Minneapolis, MN, USA); Home Monitoring® (Biotronic, Berlin, Germany); House Call 11® (St Jude Medical Inc., St Pauls, MN, USA); and a manufacturer-independent RMS. Eight of these reports were with the Home Monitoring® RMS (12,949 patients), 3 were with the Care Link® RMS (167 patients), 1 was with the House Call 11® RMS (124 patients), and 1 was with a manufacturer-independent RMS (44 patients). All of the studies, except for 2 in the United States, (1 with Home Monitoring® and 1 with House Call 11®), were performed in European countries.
The RMSs in the studies were evaluated with different cardiac implant device populations: ICDs only (6 studies), ICD and CRT devices (3 studies), PM and ICD and CRT devices (4 studies), and PMs only (2 studies). The patient populations were predominately male (range, 52%–87%) in all studies, with mean ages ranging from 58 to 76 years. One study population was unique in that RMSs were evaluated for ICDs implanted solely for primary prevention in young patients (mean age, 44 years) with Brugada syndrome, which carries an inherited increased genetic risk for sudden heart attack in young adults.
Most of the cohort studies reported on the feasibility of RMSs in clinical settings with limited follow-up. In the short follow-up periods of the studies, the majority of the events were related to detection of medical events rather than system configuration or device abnormalities. The results of the studies are summarized below:
The interrogation of devices on the web platform, both for continuous and scheduled transmissions, was significantly quicker with remote follow-up, both for nurses and physicians.
In a case-control study focusing on a Brugada population–based registry with patients followed-up remotely, there were significantly fewer outpatient visits and greater detection of inappropriate shocks. One death occurred in the control group not followed remotely and post-mortem analysis indicated early signs of lead failure prior to the event.
Two studies examined the role of RMSs in following ICD leads under regulatory advisory in a European clinical setting and noted:
– Fewer inappropriate shocks were administered in the RM group.
– Urgent in-office interrogations and surgical revisions were performed within 12 days of remote alerts.
– No signs of lead fracture were detected at in-office follow-up; all were detected at remote follow-up.
Only 1 study reported evaluating quality of life in patients followed up remotely at 3 and 6 months; no values were reported.
Patient satisfaction was evaluated in 5 cohort studies, all in short term follow-up: 1 for the Home Monitoring® RMS, 3 for the Care Link® RMS, and 1 for the House Call 11® RMS.
– Patients reported receiving a sense of security from the transmitter, a good relationship with nurses and physicians, positive implications for their health, and satisfaction with RM and organization of services.
– Although patients reported that the system was easy to implement and required less than 10 minutes to transmit information, a variable proportion of patients (range, 9% 39%) reported that they needed the assistance of a caregiver for their transmission.
– The majority of patients would recommend RM to other ICD patients.
– Patients with hearing or other physical or mental conditions hindering the use of the system were excluded from studies, but the frequency of this was not reported.
Physician satisfaction was evaluated in 3 studies, all with the Care Link® RMS:
– Physicians reported an ease of use and high satisfaction with a generally short-term use of the RMS.
– Physicians reported being able to address the problems in unscheduled patient transmissions or physician initiated transmissions remotely, and were able to handle the majority of the troubleshooting calls remotely.
– Both nurses and physicians reported a high level of satisfaction with the web registry system.
2. Effectiveness of Remote Monitoring Systems in Heart Failure Patients for Cardiac Arrhythmia and Heart Failure Episodes
Remote follow-up of HF patients implanted with ICD or CRT devices, generally managed in specialized HF clinics, was evaluated in 3 cohort studies: 1 involved the Home Monitoring® RMS and 2 involved the Care Link® RMS. In these RMSs, in addition to the standard diagnostic features, the cardiac devices continuously assess other variables such as patient activity, mean heart rate, and heart rate variability. Intra-thoracic impedance, a proxy measure for lung fluid overload, was also measured in the Care Link® studies. The overall diagnostic performance of these measures cannot be evaluated, as the information was not reported for patients who did not experience intra-thoracic impedance threshold crossings or did not undergo interventions. The trial results involved descriptive information on transmissions and alerts in patients experiencing high morbidity and hospitalization in the short study periods.
3. Comparative Effectiveness of Remote Monitoring Systems for CIEDs
Seven RCTs were identified evaluating RMSs for CIEDs: 2 were for PMs (1276 patients) and 5 were for ICD/CRT devices (3733 patients). Studies performed in the clinical setting in the United States involved both the Care Link® RMS and the Home Monitoring® RMS, whereas all studies performed in European countries involved only the Home Monitoring® RMS.
3A. Randomized Controlled Trials of Remote Monitoring Systems for Pacemakers
Two trials, both multicenter RCTs, were conducted in different countries with different RMSs and study objectives. The PREFER trial was a large trial (897 patients) performed in the United States examining the ability of Care Link®, an Internet-based remote PM interrogation system, to detect clinically actionable events (CAEs) sooner than the current in-office follow-up supplemented with transtelephonic monitoring transmissions, a limited form of remote device interrogation. The trial results are summarized below:
In the 375-day mean follow-up, 382 patients were identified with at least 1 CAE—111 patients in the control arm and 271 in the remote arm.
The event rate detected per patient for every type of CAE, except for loss of atrial capture, was higher in the remote arm than the control arm.
The median time to first detection of CAEs (4.9 vs. 6.3 months) was significantly shorter in the RMS group compared to the control group (P < 0.0001).
Additionally, only 2% (3/190) of the CAEs in the control arm were detected during a transtelephonic monitoring transmission (the rest were detected at in-office follow-ups), whereas 66% (446/676) of the CAEs were detected during remote interrogation.
The second study, the OEDIPE trial, was a smaller trial (379 patients) performed in France evaluating the ability of the Home Monitoring® RMS to shorten PM post-operative hospitalization while preserving the safety of conventional management of longer hospital stays.
Implementation and operationalization of the RMS was reported to be successful in 91% (346/379) of the patients and represented 8144 transmissions.
In the RM group 6.5% of patients failed to send messages (10 due to improper use of the transmitter, 2 with unmanageable stress). Of the 172 patients transmitting, 108 patients sent a total of 167 warnings during the trial, with a greater proportion of warnings being attributed to medical rather than technical causes.
Forty percent had no warning message transmission and among these, 6 patients experienced a major adverse event and 1 patient experienced a non-major adverse event. Of the 6 patients having a major adverse event, 5 contacted their physician.
The mean medical reaction time was faster in the RM group (6.5 ± 7.6 days vs. 11.4 ± 11.6 days).
The mean duration of hospitalization was significantly shorter (P < 0.001) for the RM group than the control group (3.2 ± 3.2 days vs. 4.8 ± 3.7 days).
Quality of life estimates by the SF-36 questionnaire were similar for the 2 groups at 1-month follow-up.
3B. Randomized Controlled Trials Evaluating Remote Monitoring Systems for ICD or CRT Devices
The 5 studies evaluating the impact of RMSs with ICD/CRT devices were conducted in the United States and in European countries and involved 2 RMSs—Care Link® and Home Monitoring ®. The objectives of the trials varied and 3 of the trials were smaller pilot investigations.
The first of the smaller studies (151 patients) evaluated patient satisfaction, achievement of patient outcomes, and the cost-effectiveness of the Care Link® RMS compared to quarterly in-office device interrogations with 1-year follow-up.
Individual outcomes such as hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and unscheduled clinic visits were not significantly different between the study groups.
Except for a significantly higher detection of atrial fibrillation in the RM group, data on ICD detection and therapy were similar in the study groups.
Health-related quality of life evaluated by the EuroQoL at 6-month or 12-month follow-up was not different between study groups.
Patients were more satisfied with their ICD care in the clinic follow-up group than in the remote follow-up group at 6-month follow-up, but were equally satisfied at 12- month follow-up.
The second small pilot trial (20 patients) examined the impact of RM follow-up with the House Call 11® system on work schedules and cost savings in patients randomized to 2 study arms varying in the degree of remote follow-up.
The total time including device interrogation, transmission time, data analysis, and physician time required was significantly shorter for the RM follow-up group.
The in-clinic waiting time was eliminated for patients in the RM follow-up group.
The physician talk time was significantly reduced in the RM follow-up group (P < 0.05).
The time for the actual device interrogation did not differ in the study groups.
The third small trial (115 patients) examined the impact of RM with the Home Monitoring® system compared to scheduled trimonthly in-clinic visits on the number of unplanned visits, total costs, health-related quality of life (SF-36), and overall mortality.
There was a 63.2% reduction in in-office visits in the RM group.
Hospitalizations or overall mortality (values not stated) were not significantly different between the study groups.
Patient-induced visits were higher in the RM group than the in-clinic follow-up group.
The TRUST Trial
The TRUST trial was a large multicenter RCT conducted at 102 centers in the United States involving the Home Monitoring® RMS for ICD devices for 1450 patients. The primary objectives of the trial were to determine if remote follow-up could be safely substituted for in-office clinic follow-up (3 in-office visits replaced) and still enable earlier physician detection of clinically actionable events.
Adherence to the protocol follow-up schedule was significantly higher in the RM group than the in-office follow-up group (93.5% vs. 88.7%, P < 0.001).
Actionability of trimonthly scheduled checks was low (6.6%) in both study groups. Overall, actionable causes were reprogramming (76.2%), medication changes (24.8%), and lead/system revisions (4%), and these were not different between the 2 study groups.
The overall mean number of in-clinic and hospital visits was significantly lower in the RM group than the in-office follow-up group (2.1 per patient-year vs. 3.8 per patient-year, P < 0.001), representing a 45% visit reduction at 12 months.
The median time from onset of first arrhythmia to physician evaluation was significantly shorter (P < 0.001) in the RM group than in the in-office follow-up group for all arrhythmias (1 day vs. 35.5 days).
The median time to detect clinically asymptomatic arrhythmia events—atrial fibrillation (AF), ventricular fibrillation (VF), ventricular tachycardia (VT), and supra-ventricular tachycardia (SVT)—was also significantly shorter (P < 0.001) in the RM group compared to the in-office follow-up group (1 day vs. 41.5 days) and was significantly quicker for each of the clinical arrhythmia events—AF (5.5 days vs. 40 days), VT (1 day vs. 28 days), VF (1 day vs. 36 days), and SVT (2 days vs. 39 days).
System-related problems occurred infrequently in both groups—in 1.5% of patients (14/908) in the RM group and in 0.7% of patients (3/432) in the in-office follow-up group.
The overall adverse event rate over 12 months was not significantly different between the 2 groups and individual adverse events were also not significantly different between the RM group and the in-office follow-up group: death (3.4% vs. 4.9%), stroke (0.3% vs. 1.2%), and surgical intervention (6.6% vs. 4.9%), respectively.
The 12-month cumulative survival was 96.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 95.5%–97.6%) in the RM group and 94.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 91.8%–96.6%) in the in-office follow-up group, and was not significantly different between the 2 groups (P = 0.174).
The CONNECT Trial
The CONNECT trial, another major multicenter RCT, involved the Care Link® RMS for ICD/CRT devices in a15-month follow-up study of 1,997 patients at 133 sites in the United States. The primary objective of the trial was to determine whether automatically transmitted physician alerts decreased the time from the occurrence of clinically relevant events to medical decisions. The trial results are summarized below:
Of the 575 clinical alerts sent in the study, 246 did not trigger an automatic physician alert. Transmission failures were related to technical issues such as the alert not being programmed or not being reset, and/or a variety of patient factors such as not being at home and the monitor not being plugged in or set up.
The overall mean time from the clinically relevant event to the clinical decision was significantly shorter (P < 0.001) by 17.4 days in the remote follow-up group (4.6 days for 172 patients) than the in-office follow-up group (22 days for 145 patients).
– The median time to a clinical decision was shorter in the remote follow-up group than in the in-office follow-up group for an AT/AF burden greater than or equal to 12 hours (3 days vs. 24 days) and a fast VF rate greater than or equal to 120 beats per minute (4 days vs. 23 days).
Although infrequent, similar low numbers of events involving low battery and VF detection/therapy turned off were noted in both groups. More alerts, however, were noted for out-of-range lead impedance in the RM group (18 vs. 6 patients), and the time to detect these critical events was significantly shorter in the RM group (same day vs. 17 days).
Total in-office clinic visits were reduced by 38% from 6.27 visits per patient-year in the in-office follow-up group to 3.29 visits per patient-year in the remote follow-up group.
Health care utilization visits (N = 6,227) that included cardiovascular-related hospitalization, emergency department visits, and unscheduled clinic visits were not significantly higher in the remote follow-up group.
The overall mean length of hospitalization was significantly shorter (P = 0.002) for those in the remote follow-up group (3.3 days vs. 4.0 days) and was shorter both for patients with ICD (3.0 days vs. 3.6 days) and CRT (3.8 days vs. 4.7 days) implants.
The mortality rate between the study arms was not significantly different between the follow-up groups for the ICDs (P = 0.31) or the CRT devices with defribillator (P = 0.46).
Conclusions
There is limited clinical trial information on the effectiveness of RMSs for PMs. However, for RMSs for ICD devices, multiple cohort studies and 2 large multicenter RCTs demonstrated feasibility and significant reductions in in-office clinic follow-ups with RMSs in the first year post implantation. The detection rates of clinically significant events (and asymptomatic events) were higher, and the time to a clinical decision for these events was significantly shorter, in the remote follow-up groups than in the in-office follow-up groups. The earlier detection of clinical events in the remote follow-up groups, however, was not associated with lower morbidity or mortality rates in the 1-year follow-up. The substitution of almost all the first year in-office clinic follow-ups with RM was also not associated with an increased health care utilization such as emergency department visits or hospitalizations.
The follow-up in the trials was generally short-term, up to 1 year, and was a more limited assessment of potential longer term device/lead integrity complications or issues. None of the studies compared the different RMSs, particularly the different RMSs involving patient-scheduled transmissions or automatic transmissions. Patients’ acceptance of and satisfaction with RM were reported to be high, but the impact of RM on patients’ health-related quality of life, particularly the psychological aspects, was not evaluated thoroughly. Patients who are not technologically competent, having hearing or other physical/mental impairments, were identified as potentially disadvantaged with remote surveillance. Cohort studies consistently identified subgroups of patients who preferred in-office follow-up. The evaluation of costs and workflow impact to the health care system were evaluated in European or American clinical settings, and only in a limited way.
Internet-based device-assisted RMSs involve a new approach to monitoring patients, their disease progression, and their CIEDs. Remote monitoring also has the potential to improve the current postmarket surveillance systems of evolving CIEDs and their ongoing hardware and software modifications. At this point, however, there is insufficient information to evaluate the overall impact to the health care system, although the time saving and convenience to patients and physicians associated with a substitution of in-office follow-up by RM is more certain. The broader issues surrounding infrastructure, impacts on existing clinical care systems, and regulatory concerns need to be considered for the implementation of Internet-based RMSs in jurisdictions involving different clinical practices.
PMCID: PMC3377571  PMID: 23074419
13.  U.S. Primary Care Physicians’ Lung Cancer Screening Beliefs and Recommendations 
Background
No high-quality study to date has shown that screening reduces lung cancer mortality, and expert groups do not recommend screening for asymptomatic individuals. Nevertheless, lung cancer screening tests are available in the U.S., and primary care physicians (PCPs) may have a role in recommending them to patients.
Purpose
This study describes U.S. PCPs’ beliefs about and recommendations for lung cancer screening, and examines characteristics of PCPs who recommend screening.
Methods
A nationally representative survey of practicing PCPs was conducted in 2006–2007. Mailed questionnaires assessed PCPs’ beliefs about lung cancer screening guidelines and the effectiveness of screening tests, and whether PCPs would recommend screening for asymptomatic patients. Data were analyzed in 2009.
Results
Nine hundred and sixty-two PCPs completed the survey (absolute response rate=70.6%; cooperation rate=76.8%). One quarter said that major guidelines support lung cancer screening. Two thirds said that low–radiation dose spiral CT (LDCT) is very or somewhat effective in reducing lung cancer mortality in current smokers; LDCT was perceived as more effective than chest × ray or sputum cytology. Responding to vignettes describing asymptomatic patients of varying smoking exposure, 67% of PCPs recommended lung cancer screening for at least one of the vignettes. Most PCPs recommending screening said they would use chest × ray; up to 26% would use LDCT. In adjusted analyses, PCPs’ beliefs and practice style were strongly associated with their lung cancer screening recommendations.
Conclusions
Many PCPs’ lung cancer screening beliefs and recommendations are inconsistent with current evidence and guidelines. Provider education regarding lung cancer screening’s evidence base and guideline content is indicated.
doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2010.07.004
PMCID: PMC3133954  PMID: 20965378
14.  Cervical Cancer-Related Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices of Health Professionals Working in Brazil’s Network of Primary Care Units 
The Oncologist  2014;19(4):375-382.
The authors surveyed coordinators and health professionals from 1,600 primary health care units across Brazil regarding their knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to cervical cancer and human papillomavirus vaccination. Results showed that overscreening may be impeding efforts to increase cervical cancer screening coverage among the eligible target population of women aged 25–64 years and that educational efforts may be needed to increase knowledge about targeting age-appropriate groups for human papillomavirus vaccination.
Introduction.
Brazil’s national strategy for cervical cancer screening includes using the Papanicolaou (Pap) test every 3 years among women aged 25–64 years. Comprehensive primary care services are provided through a network of primary health units, but little is known about cervical cancer-related knowledge, attitudes, and practices among health professionals and coordinators working in these facilities.
Methods.
In 2011, we conducted a cross-sectional nationally representative phone survey of 1,600 primary health care units to interview one unit coordinator and one health care professional per unit (either nurse, physician, or community health worker). Responses were obtained from 1,251 coordinators, 182 physicians, 347 nurses, and 273 community health workers. Questionnaires were administered to assess health units’ characteristics and capacity for cervical cancer-related services as well as health professionals’ perceived effectiveness of the Pap test, preparedness to talk to women about cervical cancer, adherence with screening guidelines, and willingness to recommend human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination to females.
Results.
Most units conducted screening (91.9%), used home visits to conduct recruitment and outreach (83.4%), and provided follow-up to women who did not return to discuss Pap test results (88.1%). Approximately 93% of health professionals stated that Pap testing was effective in decreasing death rates from cervical cancer and 65% stated that national guidelines for cervical cancer screening are very influential; 93% of nurses and physicians reported screening women annually and 75% reported beginning to screen women younger than 25 years old. Regarding HPV vaccination, almost 90% of nurses and physicians would recommend the HPV vaccine to their females patients if it were available. A larger proportion of physicians and nurses recommended the HPV vaccine to older girls (13–18 years) and women (19–26 years and even older than 26 years) than to younger girls (12 years or younger).
Conclusion.
Although Brazil’s network of primary care units has significantly increased access to cervical cancer screening, effective strategies are needed to ensure that women get screened at the appropriate ages and intervals. Additionally, this study’s baseline data on HPV vaccination may be useful as Brazil embarks on a national HPV vaccination program in 2014.
doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2013-0318
PMCID: PMC3983817  PMID: 24668334
Cervical cancer screening in Brazil; Global health; HPV vaccination; Cervical cancer knowledge
15.  Physician barriers to population-based, fecal occult blood test-based colorectal cancer screening programs for average-risk patients 
BACKGROUND:
Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening is an efficacious but underused means to reduce the burden of CRC. Population-based CRC screening programs are currently being implemented in Canada and physicians are key partners in increasing screening uptake. The current study identified physician attitudes and barriers that need to be addressed by provincial programs.
METHODS:
A mailed survey of primary care physicians in Alberta.
RESULTS:
The survey response rate was 42.4% (806 of 1903). The majority of physicians suggested CRC screening as part of a routine periodic examination; however, the approach to test selection and the type of tests recommended varied by geographical region. The majority of physicians agreed (48%) or strongly agreed (36%) that a province-wide screening program is the best approach to reducing mortality from CRC. However, there were many serious concerns identified – the most common was endoscopic capacity for follow-up of patients with a positive fecal occult blood test (FOBT), which was cited by 55% to 69% of the physicians surveyed. The barriers to three commonly available tests (FOBT, flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy) varied according to health region, and the types of barriers identified varied according to the specific test.
INTERPRETATION:
Screening for CRC is gradually being accepted among primary care physicians in Alberta. A key finding of the present descriptive study was the regional variation in practices, perceived barriers and concerns about provincial population-based screening programs based on FOBT as the primary screening test. Provincial programs will need to address the issue of endoscopic capacity and perceived barriers to FOBT to gain primary care physician acceptance of FOBT-based CRC screening programs.
PMCID: PMC2898489  PMID: 20559577
Colorectal cancer; Health surveys; Mass screening; Primary care
16.  Identifying Older Chinese Immigrants at High Risk for Osteoporosis 
BACKGROUND
Data about whether Asian Americans are a high-risk or a low-risk group for osteoporosis are limited and inconsistent. Few previous studies have recognized that the heterogeneity of the Asian American population, with respect to both nativity (foreign- vs U.S.-born) and ethnicity, may be related to osteoporosis risk.
OBJECTIVE
To assess whether older foreign-born Chinese Americans living in an urban ethnic enclave are at high risk of osteoporosis and to refer participants at high risk for follow-up care.
DESIGN
Cross-sectional survey and osteoporosis screening, undertaken as a collaborative project by the Chinese American Service League and researchers at the University of Chicago.
SETTING
Chicago's Chinatown.
PARTICIPANTS
Four hundred sixty-nine immigrant Chinese American men and women aged 50 and older.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS
Chinese Americans in this urban setting are generally recent immigrants from south China with limited education and resources: mean age at immigration was 54, 56% had primary only or no education, and 57% reported “fair” or “poor” self-rated health. Eighteen percent are uninsured and 55% receive Medicaid. Bone mineral density (BMD) of the calcaneus was estimated using quantitative ultrasound. Immigrant Chinese women in the study had lower average BMD than reference data for white women or U.S.-born Asian Americans. BMD for immigrant Chinese men in the study was similar to white men at ages 50 to 69, and lower at older ages. Low body mass index, low educational attainment and older age at immigration were all associated with lower BMD.
CONCLUSIONS
Foreign-born Chinese Americans may be a high-risk group for osteoporosis.
doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.2003.20331.x
PMCID: PMC1494886  PMID: 12848833
bone density; Asian Americans; Chinese Americans; osteoporosis; emigration and immigration
17.  Patients’ anxiety and expectations 
Canadian Family Physician  2005;51(12):1659.
OBJECTIVE
To compare the influence of physicians’ recommendations and patients’ anxiety or expectations on the decision to order four cancer screening tests in clinical situations where guidelines were equivocal: screening for prostate cancer with prostate-specific antigen for men older than 50; breast cancer screening with mammography for women 40 to 49; colorectal cancer screening with fecal occult blood testing; and colorectal cancer screening with colonoscopy for patients older than 40.
DESIGN
Cross-sectional mailed survey with clinical vignettes.
SETTING
British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island.
PARTICIPANTS
Of 600 randomly selected family physicians in active practice approached, 351 responded, but 35 respondents were ineligible (response rate 62%).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Decisions to order cancer screening tests, physicians’ perceptions of recommendations, patients’ anxiety about cancer, and patients’ expectation to be tested.
RESULTS
For all screening situations, physicians most likely to order the tests believed that routine screening with the test was recommended; physicians least likely to order tests believed routine screening was not. Patients’ expectations or anxiety, however, markedly increased screening by physicians who did not believe that routine screening was recommended. In regression models, the interaction between physicians’ recommendations and patients’ anxiety or expectation was significant for all four screening tests. When patients had no anxiety or expectations, physicians’ beliefs about screening strongly predicted test ordering. Physicians who believed routine screening was recommended ordered the test in most cases regardless of patient characteristics. But patients’ anxiety or expectations markedly increased the probability that the test would be ordered. The probability of test ordering went from 0.28 to 0.54 for prostate-specific antigen (odds ratio [OR] = 1.9), from 0.15 to 0.44 for mammography (OR = 2.8), from 0.33 to 0.79 for fecal occult blood testing (OR = 2.4), and from 0.29 to 0.65 for colonoscopy (OR = 2.2).
CONCLUSION
Differences in clinical judgment about recommended practice lead to practice variation, but physicians are also influenced by nonmedical factors, such as patients’ anxiety and expectations of receiving tests. In terms of magnitude of influence, clinical judgment is more powerful than nonmedical patient factors, but patient factors are also powerful drivers of family physicians’ decisions about cancer screening when practice guidelines are equivocal.
PMCID: PMC1479496  PMID: 16926946
18.  Colorectal Cancer Screening by Primary Care Physicians 
Background
Primary care physicians (hereafter, physicians) play a critical role in the delivery of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening in the U.S. This study describes the CRC screening recommendations and practices of U.S. physicians and compares them to findings from a 1999–2000 national provider survey.
Methods
Data from 1266 physicians responding to the 2006–2007 National Survey of Primary Care Physicians' Recommendations and Practices for Breast, Cervical, Colorectal, and Lung Cancer Screening (cooperation rate=75%) were analyzed in 2008. Descriptive statistics were used to examine physicians' CRC screening recommendations and practices as well as the office systems used to support screening activities. Sample weights were applied in the analyses to obtain national estimates.
Results
Ninety-five percent of physicians routinely recommend screening colonoscopy to asymptomatic, average-risk patients; 80% recommend fecal occult blood testing (FOBT). Only a minority recommend sigmoidoscopy, double-contrast barium enema, computed tomographic colonography, or fecal DNA testing. Fifty-six percent recommend two screening modalities; 17% recommend one. Nearly all physicians who recommend endoscopy refer their patients for the procedure. Four percent perform sigmoidoscopy, a 25-percentage-point decline from 1999–2000. Although 61% of physicians reported that their practice had guidelines for CRC screening, only 30% use provider reminders; 15% use patient reminders.
Conclusions
Physicians' CRC screening recommendations and practices have changed substantially since 1999–2000. Colonoscopy is now the most frequently recommended test. Most physicians do not recommend the full menu of test options prescribed in national guidelines. Few perform sigmoidoscopy. Office systems to support CRC screening are lacking in many physicians' practices. Given ongoing changes in CRC screening technologies and guidelines, the continued monitoring of physicians' CRC screening recommendations and practices is imperative.
doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2009.03.008
PMCID: PMC2727732  PMID: 19442479
19.  Clinical Utility of Vitamin D Testing 
Executive Summary
This report from the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) was intended to evaluate the clinical utility of vitamin D testing in average risk Canadians and in those with kidney disease. As a separate analysis, this report also includes a systematic literature review of the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in these two subgroups.
This evaluation did not set out to determine the serum vitamin D thresholds that might apply to non-bone health outcomes. For bone health outcomes, no high or moderate quality evidence could be found to support a target serum level above 50 nmol/L. Similarly, no high or moderate quality evidence could be found to support vitamin D’s effects in non-bone health outcomes, other than falls.
Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a lipid soluble vitamin that acts as a hormone. It stimulates intestinal calcium absorption and is important in maintaining adequate phosphate levels for bone mineralization, bone growth, and remodelling. It’s also believed to be involved in the regulation of cell growth proliferation and apoptosis (programmed cell death), as well as modulation of the immune system and other functions. Alone or in combination with calcium, Vitamin D has also been shown to reduce the risk of fractures in elderly men (≥ 65 years), postmenopausal women, and the risk of falls in community-dwelling seniors. However, in a comprehensive systematic review, inconsistent results were found concerning the effects of vitamin D in conditions such as cancer, all-cause mortality, and cardiovascular disease. In fact, no high or moderate quality evidence could be found concerning the effects of vitamin D in such non-bone health outcomes. Given the uncertainties surrounding the effects of vitamin D in non-bone health related outcomes, it was decided that this evaluation should focus on falls and the effects of vitamin D in bone health and exclusively within average-risk individuals and patients with kidney disease.
Synthesis of vitamin D occurs naturally in the skin through exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from sunlight, but it can also be obtained from dietary sources including fortified foods, and supplements. Foods rich in vitamin D include fatty fish, egg yolks, fish liver oil, and some types of mushrooms. Since it is usually difficult to obtain sufficient vitamin D from non-fortified foods, either due to low content or infrequent use, most vitamin D is obtained from fortified foods, exposure to sunlight, and supplements.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Vitamin D deficiency may lead to rickets in infants and osteomalacia in adults. Factors believed to be associated with vitamin D deficiency include:
darker skin pigmentation,
winter season,
living at higher latitudes,
skin coverage,
kidney disease,
malabsorption syndromes such as Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and
genetic factors.
Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency due to either renal losses or decreased synthesis of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D.
Health Canada currently recommends that, until the daily recommended intakes (DRI) for vitamin D are updated, Canada’s Food Guide (Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide) should be followed with respect to vitamin D intake. Issued in 2007, the Guide recommends that Canadians consume two cups (500 ml) of fortified milk or fortified soy beverages daily in order to obtain a daily intake of 200 IU. In addition, men and women over the age of 50 should take 400 IU of vitamin D supplements daily. Additional recommendations were made for breastfed infants.
A Canadian survey evaluated the median vitamin D intake derived from diet alone (excluding supplements) among 35,000 Canadians, 10,900 of which were from Ontario. Among Ontarian males ages 9 and up, the median daily dietary vitamin D intake ranged between 196 IU and 272 IU per day. Among females, it varied from 152 IU to 196 IU per day. In boys and girls ages 1 to 3, the median daily dietary vitamin D intake was 248 IU, while among those 4 to 8 years it was 224 IU.
Vitamin D Testing
Two laboratory tests for vitamin D are available, 25-hydroxy vitamin D, referred to as 25(OH)D, and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. Vitamin D status is assessed by measuring the serum 25(OH)D levels, which can be assayed using radioimmunoassays, competitive protein-binding assays (CPBA), high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC), and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). These may yield different results with inter-assay variation reaching up to 25% (at lower serum levels) and intra-assay variation reaching 10%.
The optimal serum concentration of vitamin D has not been established and it may change across different stages of life. Similarly, there is currently no consensus on target serum vitamin D levels. There does, however, appear to be a consensus on the definition of vitamin D deficiency at 25(OH)D < 25 nmol/l, which is based on the risk of diseases such as rickets and osteomalacia. Higher target serum levels have also been proposed based on subclinical endpoints such as parathyroid hormone (PTH). Therefore, in this report, two conservative target serum levels have been adopted, 25 nmol/L (based on the risk of rickets and osteomalacia), and 40 to 50 nmol/L (based on vitamin D’s interaction with PTH).
Ontario Context
Volume & Cost
The volume of vitamin D tests done in Ontario has been increasing over the past 5 years with a steep increase of 169,000 tests in 2007 to more than 393,400 tests in 2008. The number of tests continues to rise with the projected number of tests for 2009 exceeding 731,000. According to the Ontario Schedule of Benefits, the billing cost of each test is $51.7 for 25(OH)D (L606, 100 LMS units, $0.517/unit) and $77.6 for 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (L605, 150 LMS units, $0.517/unit). Province wide, the total annual cost of vitamin D testing has increased from approximately $1.7M in 2004 to over $21.0M in 2008. The projected annual cost for 2009 is approximately $38.8M.
Evidence-Based Analysis
The objective of this report is to evaluate the clinical utility of vitamin D testing in the average risk population and in those with kidney disease. As a separate analysis, the report also sought to evaluate the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Canada. The specific research questions addressed were thus:
What is the clinical utility of vitamin D testing in the average risk population and in subjects with kidney disease?
What is the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in the average risk population in Canada?
What is the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in patients with kidney disease in Canada?
Clinical utility was defined as the ability to improve bone health outcomes with the focus on the average risk population (excluding those with osteoporosis) and patients with kidney disease.
Literature Search
A literature search was performed on July 17th, 2009 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1, 1998 until July 17th, 2009. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Articles with unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist, then a group of epidemiologists until consensus was established. The quality of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Observational studies that evaluated the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Canada in the population of interest were included based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria listed below. The baseline values were used in this report in the case of interventional studies that evaluated the effect of vitamin D intake on serum levels. Studies published in grey literature were included if no studies published in the peer-reviewed literature were identified for specific outcomes or subgroups.
Considering that vitamin D status may be affected by factors such as latitude, sun exposure, food fortification, among others, the search focused on prevalence studies published in Canada. In cases where no Canadian prevalence studies were identified, the decision was made to include studies from the United States, given the similar policies in vitamin D food fortification and recommended daily intake.
Inclusion Criteria
Studies published in English
Publications that reported the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Canada
Studies that included subjects from the general population or with kidney disease
Studies in children or adults
Studies published between January 1998 and July 17th 2009
Exclusion Criteria
Studies that included subjects defined according to a specific disease other than kidney disease
Letters, comments, and editorials
Studies that measured the serum vitamin D levels but did not report the percentage of subjects with serum levels below a given threshold
Outcomes of Interest
Prevalence of serum vitamin D less than 25 nmol/L
Prevalence of serum vitamin D less than 40 to 50 nmol/L
Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D was the metabolite used to assess vitamin D status. Results from adult and children studies were reported separately. Subgroup analyses according to factors that affect serum vitamin D levels (e.g., seasonal effects, skin pigmentation, and vitamin D intake) were reported if enough information was provided in the studies
Quality of Evidence
The quality of the prevalence studies was based on the method of subject recruitment and sampling, possibility of selection bias, and generalizability to the source population. The overall quality of the trials was examined according to the GRADE Working Group criteria.
Summary of Findings
Fourteen prevalence studies examining Canadian adults and children met the eligibility criteria. With the exception of one longitudinal study, the studies had a cross-sectional design. Two studies were conducted among Canadian adults with renal disease but none studied Canadian children with renal disease (though three such US studies were included). No systematic reviews or health technology assessments that evaluated the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Canada were identified. Two studies were published in grey literature, consisting of a Canadian survey designed to measure serum vitamin D levels and a study in infants presented as an abstract at a conference. Also included were the results of vitamin D tests performed in community laboratories in Ontario between October 2008 and September 2009 (provided by the Ontario Association of Medical Laboratories).
Different threshold levels were used in the studies, thus we reported the percentage of subjects with serum levels of between 25 and 30 nmol/L and between 37.5 and 50 nmol/L. Some studies stratified the results according to factors affecting vitamin D status and two used multivariate models to investigate the effects of these characteristics (including age, season, BMI, vitamin D intake, skin pigmentation, and season) on serum 25(OH)D levels. It’s unclear, however, if these studies were adequately powered for these subgroup analyses.
Study participants generally consisted of healthy, community-dwelling subjects and most excluded individuals with conditions or medications that alter vitamin D or bone metabolism, such as kidney or liver disease. Although the studies were conducted in different parts of Canada, fewer were performed in Northern latitudes, i.e. above 53°N, which is equivalent to the city of Edmonton.
Adults
Serum vitamin D levels of < 25 to 30 nmol/L were observed in 0% to 25.5% of the subjects included in five studies; the weighted average was 3.8% (95% CI: 3.0, 4.6). The preliminary results of the Canadian survey showed that approximately 5% of the subjects had serum levels below 29.5 nmol/L. The results of over 600,000 vitamin D tests performed in Ontarian community laboratories between October 2008 and September 2009 showed that 2.6% of adults (> 18 years) had serum levels < 25 nmol/L.
The prevalence of serum vitamin D levels below 37.5-50 nmol/L reported among studies varied widely, ranging from 8% to 73.6% with a weighted average of 22.5%. The preliminary results of the CHMS survey showed that between 10% and 25% of subjects had serum levels below 37 to 48 nmol/L. The results of the vitamin D tests performed in community laboratories showed that 10% to 25% of the individuals had serum levels between 39 and 50 nmol/L.
In an attempt to explain this inter-study variation, the study results were stratified according to factors affecting serum vitamin D levels, as summarized below. These results should be interpreted with caution as none were adjusted for other potential confounders. Adequately powered multivariate analyses would be necessary to determine the contribution of risk factors to lower serum 25(OH)D levels.
Seasonal variation
Three adult studies evaluating serum vitamin D levels in different seasons observed a trend towards a higher prevalence of serum levels < 37.5 to 50 nmol/L during the winter and spring months, specifically 21% to 39%, compared to 8% to 14% in the summer. The weighted average was 23.6% over the winter/spring months and 9.6% over summer. The difference between the seasons was not statistically significant in one study and not reported in the other two studies.
Skin Pigmentation
Four studies observed a trend toward a higher prevalence of serum vitamin D levels < 37.5 to 50 nmol/L in subjects with darker skin pigmentation compared to those with lighter skin pigmentation, with weighted averages of 46.8% among adults with darker skin colour and 15.9% among those with fairer skin.
Vitamin D intake and serum levels
Four adult studies evaluated serum vitamin D levels according to vitamin D intake and showed an overall trend toward a lower prevalence of serum levels < 37.5 to 50 nmol/L with higher levels of vitamin D intake. One study observed a dose-response relationship between higher vitamin D intake from supplements, diet (milk), and sun exposure (results not adjusted for other variables). It was observed that subjects taking 50 to 400 IU or > 400 IU of vitamin D per day had a 6% and 3% prevalence of serum vitamin D level < 40 nmol/L, respectively, versus 29% in subjects not on vitamin D supplementation. Similarly, among subjects drinking one or two glasses of milk per day, the prevalence of serum vitamin D levels < 40 nmol/L was found to be 15%, versus 6% in those who drink more than two glasses of milk per day and 21% among those who do not drink milk. On the other hand, one study observed little variation in serum vitamin D levels during winter according to milk intake, with the proportion of subjects exhibiting vitamin D levels of < 40 nmol/L being 21% among those drinking 0-2 glasses per day, 26% among those drinking > 2 glasses, and 20% among non-milk drinkers.
The overall quality of evidence for the studies conducted among adults was deemed to be low, although it was considered moderate for the subgroups of skin pigmentation and seasonal variation.
Newborn, Children and Adolescents
Five Canadian studies evaluated serum vitamin D levels in newborns, children, and adolescents. In four of these, it was found that between 0 and 36% of children exhibited deficiency across age groups with a weighted average of 6.4%. The results of over 28,000 vitamin D tests performed in children 0 to 18 years old in Ontario laboratories (Oct. 2008 to Sept. 2009) showed that 4.4% had serum levels of < 25 nmol/L.
According to two studies, 32% of infants 24 to 30 months old and 35.3% of newborns had serum vitamin D levels of < 50 nmol/L. Two studies of children 2 to 16 years old reported that 24.5% and 34% had serum vitamin D levels below 37.5 to 40 nmol/L. In both studies, older children exhibited a higher prevalence than younger children, with weighted averages 34.4% and 10.3%, respectively. The overall weighted average of the prevalence of serum vitamin D levels < 37.5 to 50 nmol/L among pediatric studies was 25.8%. The preliminary results of the Canadian survey showed that between 10% and 25% of subjects between 6 and 11 years (N= 435) had serum levels below 50 nmol/L, while for those 12 to 19 years, 25% to 50% exhibited serum vitamin D levels below 50 nmol/L.
The effects of season, skin pigmentation, and vitamin D intake were not explored in Canadian pediatric studies. A Canadian surveillance study did, however, report 104 confirmed cases1 (2.9 cases per 100,000 children) of vitamin D-deficient rickets among Canadian children age 1 to 18 between 2002 and 2004, 57 (55%) of which from Ontario. The highest incidence occurred among children living in the North, i.e., the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. In 92 (89%) cases, skin pigmentation was categorized as intermediate to dark, 98 (94%) had been breastfed, and 25 (24%) were offspring of immigrants to Canada. There were no cases of rickets in children receiving ≥ 400 IU VD supplementation/day.
Overall, the quality of evidence of the studies of children was considered very low.
Kidney Disease
Adults
Two studies evaluated serum vitamin D levels in Canadian adults with kidney disease. The first included 128 patients with chronic kidney disease stages 3 to 5, 38% of which had serum vitamin D levels of < 37.5 nmol/L (measured between April and July). This is higher than what was reported in Canadian studies of the general population during the summer months (i.e. between 8% and 14%). In the second, which examined 419 subjects who had received a renal transplantation (mean time since transplantation: 7.2 ± 6.4 years), the prevalence of serum vitamin D levels < 40 nmol/L was 27.3%. The authors concluded that the prevalence observed in the study population was similar to what is expected in the general population.
Children
No studies evaluating serum vitamin D levels in Canadian pediatric patients with kidney disease could be identified, although three such US studies among children with chronic kidney disease stages 1 to 5 were. The mean age varied between 10.7 and 12.5 years in two studies but was not reported in the third. Across all three studies, the prevalence of serum vitamin D levels below the range of 37.5 to 50 nmol/L varied between 21% and 39%, which is not considerably different from what was observed in studies of healthy Canadian children (24% to 35%).
Overall, the quality of evidence in adults and children with kidney disease was considered very low.
Clinical Utility of Vitamin D Testing
A high quality comprehensive systematic review published in August 2007 evaluated the association between serum vitamin D levels and different bone health outcomes in different age groups. A total of 72 studies were included. The authors observed that there was a trend towards improvement in some bone health outcomes with higher serum vitamin D levels. Nevertheless, precise thresholds for improved bone health outcomes could not be defined across age groups. Further, no new studies on the association were identified during an updated systematic review on vitamin D published in July 2009.
With regards to non-bone health outcomes, there is no high or even moderate quality evidence that supports the effectiveness of vitamin D in outcomes such as cancer, cardiovascular outcomes, and all-cause mortality. Even if there is any residual uncertainty, there is no evidence that testing vitamin D levels encourages adherence to Health Canada’s guidelines for vitamin D intake. A normal serum vitamin D threshold required to prevent non-bone health related conditions cannot be resolved until a causal effect or correlation has been demonstrated between vitamin D levels and these conditions. This is as an ongoing research issue around which there is currently too much uncertainty to base any conclusions that would support routine vitamin D testing.
For patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), there is again no high or moderate quality evidence supporting improved outcomes through the use of calcitriol or vitamin D analogs. In the absence of such data, the authors of the guidelines for CKD patients consider it best practice to maintain serum calcium and phosphate at normal levels, while supplementation with active vitamin D should be considered if serum PTH levels are elevated. As previously stated, the authors of guidelines for CKD patients believe that there is not enough evidence to support routine vitamin D [25(OH)D] testing. According to what is stated in the guidelines, decisions regarding the commencement or discontinuation of treatment with calcitriol or vitamin D analogs should be based on serum PTH, calcium, and phosphate levels.
Limitations associated with the evidence of vitamin D testing include ambiguities in the definition of an ‘adequate threshold level’ and both inter- and intra- assay variability. The MAS considers both the lack of a consensus on the target serum vitamin D levels and assay limitations directly affect and undermine the clinical utility of testing. The evidence supporting the clinical utility of vitamin D testing is thus considered to be of very low quality.
Daily vitamin D intake, either through diet or supplementation, should follow Health Canada’s recommendations for healthy individuals of different age groups. For those with medical conditions such as renal disease, liver disease, and malabsorption syndromes, and for those taking medications that may affect vitamin D absorption/metabolism, physician guidance should be followed with respect to both vitamin D testing and supplementation.
Conclusions
Studies indicate that vitamin D, alone or in combination with calcium, may decrease the risk of fractures and falls among older adults.
There is no high or moderate quality evidence to support the effectiveness of vitamin D in other outcomes such as cancer, cardiovascular outcomes, and all-cause mortality.
Studies suggest that the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Canadian adults and children is relatively low (approximately 5%), and between 10% and 25% have serum levels below 40 to 50 nmol/L (based on very low to low grade evidence).
Given the limitations associated with serum vitamin D measurement, ambiguities in the definition of a ‘target serum level’, and the availability of clear guidelines on vitamin D supplementation from Health Canada, vitamin D testing is not warranted for the average risk population.
Health Canada has issued recommendations regarding the adequate daily intake of vitamin D, but current studies suggest that the mean dietary intake is below these recommendations. Accordingly, Health Canada’s guidelines and recommendations should be promoted.
Based on a moderate level of evidence, individuals with darker skin pigmentation appear to have a higher risk of low serum vitamin D levels than those with lighter skin pigmentation and therefore may need to be specially targeted with respect to optimum vitamin D intake. The cause-effect of this association is currently unclear.
Individuals with medical conditions such as renal and liver disease, osteoporosis, and malabsorption syndromes, as well as those taking medications that may affect vitamin D absorption/metabolism, should follow their physician’s guidance concerning both vitamin D testing and supplementation.
PMCID: PMC3377517  PMID: 23074397
20.  Heterogeneous Demographic and Cultural Profiles of Non-adherent Chinese-American Patients to Colorectal Cancer Screening: A Latent Class Analysis 
Cancer nursing  2014;37(2):106-113.
Background
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the leading causes of cancer death for Chinese Americans, but their CRC screening rates remain low.
Objective
We examined subgroups of Chinese-American patients non-adherent to CRC screening guidelines to better inform clinical practices to effectively promote screening.
Methods
Using latent class analysis (LCA) of data from 327 participants recruited from 18 primary care clinics, we classified non-adherent patients based on sociodemographics, screening barriers, attitudinal and clinical factors for CRC screening.
Results
The best-fitting LCA model described three distinctive classes: Western Healthcare Class (WHC, 35%), Eastern Healthcare Class (EHC, 18%) and Mixed Healthcare Class (MHC, 46%). WHC patients were highly-educated with average 20 years of U.S. residency, high level of English proficiency, the least Eastern cultural views of care and the greatest exposure to physician recommendations, but reported having no time for screenings. EHC patients were highly-educated seniors and recent immigrants with the least CRC knowledge and the more Eastern cultural views. MHC patients had low level of education, resided in the U.S. for 20 years, and had relatively long relationships with physicians, but their knowledge and cultural views were similar to those of EHC patients.
Conclusions
Non-adherent Chinese-American patients are heterogeneous. It is essential to have future intervention programs tailored to address specific screening beliefs and barriers for subtypes of non-adherent patients.
Implications for Practice
Training primary care physicians to recognize patients’ different demographic characteristics and healthcare beliefs may facilitate physician’s communication with patients to overcome their barriers and improve screening behaviors.
doi:10.1097/NCC.0b013e3182888b5b
PMCID: PMC3692589  PMID: 23519040
colorectal cancer screening; Chinese Americans; cultural view of healthcare; latent class analysis
21.  NYC Condom Use and Satisfaction and Demand for Alternative Condom Products in New York City Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinics 
In 2007, via a high-profile media campaign, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) introduced the “NYC Condom,” the first specially packaged condom unique to a municipality. We conducted a survey to measure NYC Condom awareness of and experience with NYC Condoms and demand for alternative male condoms to be distributed by the DOHMH. Trained interviewers administered short, in-person surveys at five DOHMH-operated sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics in Spring 2008. We systematically sampled eligible patients: NYC residents aged ≥18 years waiting to see a physician. We approached 539; 532 agreed to be screened (98.7% response rate); 462 completed the survey and provided NYC zip codes. Most respondents were male (56%), non-Hispanic black (64%), aged 18–24 years (43%) or 25–44 years (45%), employed (65%), and had a high school degree/general equivalency diploma or less (53%). Of those surveyed, 86% were aware of the NYC Condom, and 81% of those who obtained the condoms used them. NYC Condom users were more likely to have four or more sexual partners in the past 12 months (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.0, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.0–3.8), use condoms frequently (AOR = 2.1, 95% CI = 1.3–3.6), and name an alternative condom for distribution (AOR = 2.2, 95% CI = 1.3–3.9). The most frequently requested condom types respondents wanted DOHMH to provide were larger size (28%), ultra thin/extra sensitive (21%), and extra strength (16%). We found high rates of NYC Condom use. NYC Condom users reported more sexual partners than others, suggesting the condom initiative successfully reached higher-risk persons within the STD clinic population. Study results document the condom social marketing campaign’s success.
doi:10.1007/s11524-011-9597-y
PMCID: PMC3157509  PMID: 21792691
Condom social marketing; HIV prevention; Condom use and satisfaction
22.  Primary Care Physicians’ Cancer Screening Recommendation Practices and Perceptions of Cancer Risk of Asian Americans 
Asian Americans experience disproportionate incidence and mortality rates of certain cancers, compared to other racial/ethnic groups. Primary care physicians are a critical source for cancer screening recommendations and play a significant role in increasing cancer screening of their patients. This study assessed primary care physicians’ perceptions of cancer risk in Asians and screening recommendation practices. Primary care physicians practicing in New Jersey and New York City (n=100) completed a 30-question survey on medical practice characteristics, Asian patient communication, cancer screening guidelines, and Asian cancer risk. Liver cancer and stomach cancer were perceived as higher cancer risks among Asian Americans than among the general population, and breast and prostate cancer were perceived as lower risks. Physicians are integral public health liaisons who can be both influential and resourceful toward educating Asian Americans about specific cancer awareness and screening information.
PMCID: PMC3800694  PMID: 23679307
Asian Americans; cancer; primary care physician; health disparities
23.  Guideline-Inconsistent Breast Cancer Screening for Women over 50: A Vignette-Based Survey 
ABSTRACT
BACKGROUND
Professional organizations have issued guidelines recommending breast cancer screening for women 50 years of age.
OBJECTIVE
This study examines the percent of U.S. primary care physicians who report breast cancer screening practices that are not consistent with guidelines, and the characteristics of physicians who reported offering extra test modalities.
DESIGN
We analyzed a subset of a 2008 cross-sectional Women’s Health Care survey sent to primary care physicians randomly selected from the national American Medical Association (AMA) Physician Masterfile. A subset of physicians received a survey that presented a vignette of a health maintenance visit for an asymptomatic 51-year-old woman who was not at high risk for breast cancer. Responses were weighted to represent physicians nationally.
PARTICIPANTS
1,654 U.S. family physicians, general internists, and obstetrician-gynecologists under age 65, who practiced in office or hospital based settings (62.8 % response rate). After exclusions, 553 study physicians remained for analysis.
MAIN MEASURE
Physician self-report of breast cancer screening practices that are not consistent with the recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), and the American Cancer Society (ACS), defined as almost always offering mammography.
KEY RESULTS
36.0 % (95 % CI: 31.8 %–40.5 %) of physicians reported offering breast cancer screening tests inconsistent with national guidelines, with most offering extra tests (magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] and/or ultrasound) (33.2 %, 95 % CI 29.1 %–37.6 %). In adjusted analysis, risk-averse physicians and those who believed in the clinical effectiveness of MRI were more likely to offer extra breast cancer screening tests.
CONCLUSIONS
Physicians often report offering breast cancer screening test modalities beyond those recommended for a 51-year-old woman. Strategies, such as academic detailing regarding appropriate use of technology and provision of clinical decision support for breast cancer screening, could decrease overuse of resources.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-013-2567-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s11606-013-2567-1
PMCID: PMC3889955  PMID: 23943421
breast cancer; cancer screening; guidelines; physician behavior; primary care; prevention; malpractice; risk assessment
24.  Access to and use of sexual and reproductive health services provided by midwives among rural immigrant women in Spain: midwives’ perspectives 
Global Health Action  2013;6:10.3402/gha.v6i0.22645.
Background
There is insufficient information regarding access and participation of immigrant women in Spain in sexual and reproductive health programs. Recent studies show their lower participation rate in gynecological cancer screening programs; however, little is known about the participation in other sexual and reproductive health programs by immigrant women living in rural areas with high population dispersion.
Objectives
The objective of this study is to explore the perceptions of midwives who provide these services regarding immigrant women's access and participation in sexual and reproductive health programs offered in a rural area.
Design
A qualitative study was performed, within a larger ethnographic study about rural primary care, with data collection based on in-depth interviews and field notes. Participants were the midwives in primary care serving 13 rural basic health zones (BHZ) of Segovia, a region of Spain with high population dispersion. An interview script was designed to collect information about midwives’ perceptions on immigrant women's access to and use of the healthcare services that they provide. Interviews were recorded and transcribed with participant informed consent. Data were analyzed based on the qualitative content analysis approach and triangulation of results with fieldwork notes.
Results
Midwives perceive that immigrants in general, and immigrant women in particular, underuse family planning services. This underutilization is associated with cultural differences and gender inequality. They also believe that the number of voluntary pregnancy interruptions among immigrant women is elevated and identify childbearing and childrearing-related tasks and the language barrier as obstacles to immigrant women accessing the available prenatal and postnatal healthcare services.
Conclusions
Immigrant women's underutilization of midwifery services may be linked to the greater number of unintended pregnancies, pregnancy terminations, and the delay in the first prenatal visit, as discerned by midwives. Future research should involve samples of immigrant women themselves, to provide a deeper understanding of the current knowledge, attitudes, and practices of the immigrant population regarding reproductive and sexual health to provide better health services.
doi:10.3402/gha.v6i0.22645
PMCID: PMC3822087  PMID: 24206651
gender; health services accessibility; immigrants; midwives; primary health care; qualitative research; rural population; sexual and reproductive health; utilization; women's health
25.  Diabetes Screening Among Immigrants 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(4):754-761.
OBJECTIVE
To examine diabetes screening, predictors of screening, and the burden of undiagnosed diabetes in the immigrant population and whether these estimates differ by ethnicity.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
A population-based retrospective cohort linking administrative health data to immigration files was used to follow the entire diabetes-free population aged 40 years and up in Ontario, Canada (N = 3,484,222) for 3 years (2004–2007) to determine whether individuals were screened for diabetes. Multivariate regression was used to determine predictors of having a diabetes test.
RESULTS
Screening rates were slightly higher in the immigrant versus the general population (76.0 and 74.4%, respectively; P < 0.001), with the highest rates in people born in South Asia, Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Immigrant seniors (age ≥65 years) were screened less than nonimmigrant seniors. Percent yield of new diabetes subjects among those screened was high for certain countries of birth (South Asia, 13.0%; Mexico and Latin America, 12.1%; Caribbean, 9.5%) and low among others (Europe, Central Asia, U.S., 5.1–5.2%). The number of physician visits was the single most important predictor of screening, and many high-risk ethnic groups required numerous visits before a test was administered. The proportion of diabetes that remained undiagnosed was estimated to be 9.7% in the general population and 9.0% in immigrants.
CONCLUSIONS
Overall diabetes-screening rates are high in Canada’s universal health care setting, including among high-risk ethnic groups. Despite this finding, disparities in screening rates between immigrant subgroups persist and multiple physician visits are often required to achieve recommended screening levels.
doi:10.2337/dc11-1393
PMCID: PMC3308303  PMID: 22357181

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