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1.  Identifying and Evaluating Field Indicators of Urogenital Schistosomiasis-Related Morbidity in Preschool-Aged Children 
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases  2015;9(3):e0003649.
Background
Several studies have been conducted quantifying the impact of schistosome infections on health and development in school-aged children. In contrast, relatively little is known about morbidity levels in preschool-aged children (≤5 years) who have been neglected in terms of schistosome research and control. The aim of this study was to compare the utility of available point-of-care (POC) morbidity diagnostic tools in preschool versus primary school-aged children (6–10 years) and determine markers which can be used in the field to identify and quantify Schistosoma haematobium-related morbidity.
Methods/Principal Findings
A comparative cross-sectional study was conducted to evaluate the performance of currently available POC morbidity diagnostic tools on Zimbabwean children aged 1–5 years (n=104) and 6–10 years (n=194). Morbidity was determined using the POC diagnostics questionnaire-based reporting of haematuria and dysuria, clinical examination, urinalysis by dipsticks, and urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR). Attributable fractions were used to quantify the proportion of morbidity attributable to S. haematobium infection. Based on results of attributable fractions, UACR was identified as the most reliable tool for detecting schistosome-related morbidity, followed by dipsticks, visual urine inspection, questionnaires, and lastly clinical examination. The results of urine dipstick attributes showed that proteinuria and microhaematuria accounted for most differences between schistosome egg-positive and negative children (T=-50.1; p<0.001). These observations were consistent in preschool vs. primary school-aged children.
Conclusions/Significance
Preschool-aged children in endemic areas can be effectively screened for schistosome-related morbidity using the same currently available diagnostic tools applicable to older children. UACR for detecting albuminuria is recommended as the best choice for rapid assessment of morbidity attributed to S. haematobium infection in children in the field. The use of dipstick microhaematuria and proteinuria as additional indicators of schistosome-related morbidity would improve the estimation of disease burden in young children.
Author Summary
Schistosomiasis is a major parasitic disease affecting children in Africa, with impacts on health, growth and cognitive development. Recently, the World Health Organization has recommended inclusion of preschool-aged children (≤5 years) in schistosome control programmes. However, so far the performance of available morbidity diagnostic tools has not been thoroughly evaluated in this age group. To address this knowledge gap, we conducted a study in preschool children comparing the utility of currently available point-of-care tools for diagnosing Schistosoma haematobium-related morbidity, namely: questionnaire-reported haematuria and dysuria, clinical examination, dipstick urinalysis, and measurement of urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR). We also investigated the performance of these tools in older children (6–10 years). Our study identified UACR as the most reliable tool for detecting schistosome-related morbidity in terms of the morbidity attributable to schistosome infection, followed by dipsticks, visual urine inspection, questionnaires, and lastly clinical examination The study further showed that the tools currently used in school-aged children for diagnosing schistosome-related morbidity can be extended to preschool children, allowing easier integration of this age group into treatment and monitoring programmes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003649
PMCID: PMC4368198  PMID: 25793584
2.  Optimum Methadone Compliance Testing 
Executive Summary
Objective
The objective of this analysis was to determine the diagnostic utility of oral fluid testing collected with the Intercept oral fluid collection device.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Opioids (opiates or narcotics) are a class of drugs derived from the opium poppy plant that typically relieve pain and produce a euphoric feeling. Methadone is a long-acting synthetic opioid used to treat opioid dependence and chronic pain. It prevents symptoms of opioid withdrawal, reduces opioid cravings and blocks the euphoric effects of short-acting opioids such as heroin and morphine. Opioid dependence is associated with harms including an increased risk of exposure to Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Hepatitis C as well as other health, social and psychological crises. The goal of methadone treatment is harm reduction. Treatment with methadone for opioid dependence is often a long-term therapy. The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons estimates that there are currently 250 physicians qualified to prescribe methadone, and 15,500 people in methadone maintenance programs across Ontario.
Drug testing is a clinical tool whose purpose is to provide objective meaningful information, which will reinforce positive behavioral changes in patients and guide further treatment needs. Such information includes knowledge of whether the patient is taking their methadone as prescribed and reducing or abstaining from using opioid and other drugs of abuse use. The results of drug testing can be used with behavior modification techniques (contingency management techniques) where positive reinforcements such as increased methadone take-home privileges, sustained employment or parole are granted for drug screens negative for opioid use, and negative reinforcement including loss of these privileges for drug screens positive for opioid used.
Body fluids including blood, oral fluid, often referred to as saliva, and urine may contain metabolites and the parent drug of both methadone and drugs of abuse and provide a means for drug testing. Compared with blood which has a widow of detection of several hours, urine has a wider window of detection, approximately 1 to 3 days, and is therefore considered more useful than blood for drug testing. Because of this, and the fact that obtaining a urine specimen is relatively easy, urine drug screening is considered the criterion measure (gold standard) for methadone maintenance monitoring. However, 2 main concerns exist with urine specimens: the possibility of sample tampering by the patient and the necessity for observed urine collection. Urine specimens may be tampered with in 3 ways: dilution, adulteration (contamination) with chemicals, and substitution (patient submits another persons urine specimen). To circumvent sample tampering the supervised collection of urine specimens is a common and recommended practice. However, it has been suggested that this practice may have negative effects including humiliation experienced by patient and staff, and may discourage patients from staying in treatment. Supervised urine specimen collection may also present an operational problem as staff must be available to provide same-sex supervision. Oral fluid testing has been proposed as a replacement for urine because it can be collected easily under direct supervision without infringement of privacy and reduces the likelihood of sample tampering. Generally, the results of oral fluid drug testing are similar to urine drug testing but there are some differences, such as lower concentrations of substances in oral fluid than urine, and some drugs remain detectable for longer periods of time in urine than oral fluid.
The Technology Being Reviewed
The Intercept Oral Specimen Collection Device (Ora-Sure Technologies, Bethlehem, PA) consists of an absorbent pad mounted on a plastic stick. The pad is coated with common salts. The absorbent pad is inserted into the mouth and placed between the cheek and gums for 3 minutes on average. The pad absorbs the oral fluid. After 3 minutes (range 2min-5 min) the collection device is removed from the mouth and the absorbent pad is placed in a small vial which contains 0.8mL of pH-balanced preservative, for transportation to a laboratory for analysis. It is recommended that the person undergoing oral fluid drug testing have nothing to eat or drink for a 10- minute period before the oral fluid specimen is collected. This will remove opportunity for adulteration. Likewise, it is recommended that the person be observed for the duration of the collection period to prevent adulteration of the specimen. An average of 0.4 mL of saliva can be collected. The specimen may be stored at 4C to 37C and tested within 21 days of collection (or within 6 weeks if frozen).
The oral fluid specimen must be analyzed in a laboratory setting. There is no point-of-care (POC) oral fluid test kit for drugs of abuse (other than for alcohol). In the laboratory the oral fluid is extracted from the vial after centrifugation and a screening test is completed to eliminate negative specimens. Similar to urinalysis, oral fluid specimens are analyzed first by enzyme immunoassay with positive specimens sent for confirmatory testing. Comparable cut-off values to urinalysis by enzyme immunoassay have been developed for oral fluids
Review Strategy
 
Research Question
What is the diagnostic utility of the Intercept oral specimen device?
Inclusion criteria:
Studies evaluating paired urine and oral fluid specimens from the same individual with the Intercept oral fluid collection device.
The population studied includes drug users.
Exclusion criteria:
Studies testing for marijuana (THC) only.
Outcomes:
Sensitivity and Specificity of oral fluid testing compared to urinalysis for methadone (methadone metabolite), opiates, cocaine, benzodiazepines, and alcohol.
Quality of the Body of Evidence
The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system was used to evaluate the overall quality of the body of evidence (defined as 1 or more studies) supporting the research questions explored in this systematic review. A description of the GRADE system is reported in Appendix 1.
Summary of Findings
A total of 854 potential citations were retrieved. After reviewing titles and abstracts, 2 met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Two other relevant studies were found after corresponding with the author of the 2 studies retrieved from the literature search. Therefore a total of 4 published studies are included in this analysis. All 4 studies carried out by the same investigator meet the definition of Medical Advisory Secretariat level III (not a-randomized controlled trial with contemporaneous controls) study design. In each of the studies, paired urine and oral fluid specimens where obtained from drug users. Urine collection was not observed in the studies however, laboratory tests for pH and creatinine were used to determine the reliability of the specimen. Urine specimens thought to be diluted and unreliable were removed from the evaluation. Urinalysis was used as the criterion measurement for which to determine the sensitivity and specificity of oral fluid testing by the Intercept oral fluid device for opiates, benzodiazepines, cocaine and marijuana. Alcohol was not tested in any of the 4 studies. From these 4 studies, the following conclusions were drawn:
The evidence indicates that oral fluid testing with the Intercept oral fluid device has better specificity than sensitivity for opiates, benzodiazepines, cocaine and marijuana.
The sensitivity of oral fluids testing with the Intercept oral fluid device seems to be from best to worst: cocaine > benzodiazepines >opiates> marijuana.
The sensitivity and specificity for opiates of the Intercept oral fluid device ranges from 75 to 90% and 97- 100% respectively.
The consequences of opiate false-negatives by oral fluid testing with the Intercept oral fluid device need to be weighed against the disadvantages of urine testing, including invasion of privacy issues and adulteration and substitution of the urine specimen.
The window of detection is narrower for oral fluid drug testing than urinalysis and because of this oral fluid testing may best be applied in situations where there is suspected frequent drug use. When drug use is thought to be less frequent or remote, urinalysis may offer a wider (24-48 hours more than oral fluids) window of detection.
The narrow window of detection for oral fluid testing may mean more frequent testing is needed compared to urinalysis. This may increase the expense for drug testing in general.
POC oral fluid testing is not yet available and may limit the practical utility of this drug testing methodology. POC urinalysis by immunoassay is available.
The possible applications of oral fluid testing may include:
Because of its narrow window of detection compared to urinalysis oral fluid testing may best be used during periods of suspected frequent or recent drug use (within 24 hours of drug testing). This is not to say that oral fluid testing is superior to urinalysis during these time periods.
In situations where an observed urine specimen is difficult to obtain. This may include persons with “shy bladder syndrome” or with other urinary conditions limiting their ability to provide an observed urine specimen.
When the health of the patient would make urine testing unreliable (e,g., renal disease)
As an alternative drug testing method when urine specimen tampering practices are suspected to be affecting the reliability of the urinalysis test.
Possible limiting Factors to Diffusion of Oral Fluid Technology
No oral fluid POC test equivalent to onsite urine dips or POC analyzer reducing immediacy of results for patient care.
Currently, physicians get reimbursed directly for POC urinalysis. Oral fluid must be analyzed in a lab setting removing physician reimbursement, which is a source of program funding for many methadone clinics.
Small amount of oral fluid specimen obtained; repeat testing on same sample will be difficult.
Reliability of positive oral fluid methadone (parent drug) results may decrease because of possible contamination of oral cavity after ingestion of dose. Therefore high methadone levels may not be indicative of compliance with treatment. Oral fluid does not as yet test for methadone metabolite.
There currently is no licensed provincial laboratory that analyses oral fluid specimens.
Abbreviations
2-ethylidene- 1,5-dimethyl-3,3-diphenylpyrrolidine
enzyme immunoassay
Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA),
Enzyme Multiplied Immunoassay Test (EMIT)
Gas chromatography
gas chromatography/mass spectrometry
High-performance liquid chromatography
Limit of Detection
Mass spectrometry
Methadone Maintenance Treatment
Oral fluid testing
Phencyclidine
Point of Care Testing
tetrahydrocannabinol
11-nor-delta-9-tetrhydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid
urine drug testing
PMCID: PMC3379523  PMID: 23074492
3.  Interactions between Non-Physician Clinicians and Industry: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(11):e1001561.
In a systematic review of studies of interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry, Quinn Grundy and colleagues found that many of the issues identified for physicians' industry interactions exist for non-physician clinicians.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
With increasing restrictions placed on physician–industry interactions, industry marketing may target other health professionals. Recent health policy developments confer even greater importance on the decision making of non-physician clinicians. The purpose of this systematic review is to examine the types and implications of non-physician clinician–industry interactions in clinical practice.
Methods and Findings
We searched MEDLINE and Web of Science from January 1, 1946, through June 24, 2013, according to PRISMA guidelines. Non-physician clinicians eligible for inclusion were: Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, Physician Assistants, pharmacists, dieticians, and physical or occupational therapists; trainee samples were excluded. Fifteen studies met inclusion criteria. Data were synthesized qualitatively into eight outcome domains: nature and frequency of industry interactions; attitudes toward industry; perceived ethical acceptability of interactions; perceived marketing influence; perceived reliability of industry information; preparation for industry interactions; reactions to industry relations policy; and management of industry interactions. Non-physician clinicians reported interacting with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Clinicians across disciplines met with pharmaceutical representatives regularly and relied on them for practice information. Clinicians frequently received industry “information,” attended sponsored “education,” and acted as distributors for similar materials targeted at patients. Clinicians generally regarded this as an ethical use of industry resources, and felt they could detect “promotion” while benefiting from industry “information.” Free samples were among the most approved and common ways that clinicians interacted with industry. Included studies were observational and of varying methodological rigor; thus, these findings may not be generalizable. This review is, however, the first to our knowledge to provide a descriptive analysis of this literature.
Conclusions
Non-physician clinicians' generally positive attitudes toward industry interactions, despite their recognition of issues related to bias, suggest that industry interactions are normalized in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. Industry relations policy should address all disciplines and be implemented consistently in order to mitigate conflicts of interest and address such interactions' potential to affect patient care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Making and selling health care goods (including drugs and devices) and services is big business. To maximize the profits they make for their shareholders, companies involved in health care build relationships with physicians by providing information on new drugs, organizing educational meetings, providing samples of their products, giving gifts, and holding sponsored events. These relationships help to keep physicians informed about new developments in health care but also create the potential for causing harm to patients and health care systems. These relationships may, for example, result in increased prescription rates of new, heavily marketed medications, which are often more expensive than their generic counterparts (similar unbranded drugs) and that are more likely to be recalled for safety reasons than long-established drugs. They may also affect the provision of health care services. Industry is providing an increasingly large proportion of routine health care services in many countries, so relationships built up with physicians have the potential to influence the commissioning of the services that are central to the treatment and well-being of patients.
Why Was This Study Done?
As a result of concerns about the tension between industry's need to make profits and the ethics underlying professional practice, restrictions are increasingly being placed on physician–industry interactions. In the US, for example, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act now requires US manufacturers of drugs, devices, and medical supplies that participate in federal health care programs to disclose all payments and gifts made to physicians and teaching hospitals. However, other health professionals, including those with authority to prescribe drugs such as pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and nurse practitioners are not covered by this legislation or by similar legislation in other settings, even though the restructuring of health care to prioritize primary care and multidisciplinary care models means that “non-physician clinicians” are becoming more numerous and more involved in decision-making and medication management. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic), the researchers examine the nature and implications of the interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 15 published studies that examined interactions between non-physician clinicians (Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, midwives, pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and dieticians) and industry (corporations that produce health care goods and services). They extracted the data from 16 publications (representing 15 different studies) and synthesized them qualitatively (combined the data and reached word-based, rather than numerical, conclusions) into eight outcome domains, including the nature and frequency of interactions, non-physician clinicians' attitudes toward industry, and the perceived ethical acceptability of interactions. In the research the authors identified, non-physician clinicians reported frequent interactions with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Most non-physician clinicians met industry representatives regularly, received gifts and samples, and attended educational events or received educational materials (some of which they distributed to patients). In these studies, non-physician clinicians generally regarded these interactions positively and felt they were an ethical and appropriate use of industry resources. Only a minority of non-physician clinicians felt that marketing influenced their own practice, although a larger percentage felt that their colleagues would be influenced. A sizeable proportion of non-physician clinicians questioned the reliability of industry information, but most were confident that they could detect biased information and therefore rated this information as reliable, valuable, or useful.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These and other findings suggest that non-physician clinicians generally have positive attitudes toward industry interactions but recognize issues related to bias and conflict of interest. Because these findings are based on a small number of studies, most of which were undertaken in the US, they may not be generalizable to other countries. Moreover, they provide no quantitative assessment of the interaction between non-physician clinicians and industry and no information about whether industry interactions affect patient care outcomes. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that industry interactions are normalized (seen as standard) in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. This normalization creates the potential for serious risks to patients and health care systems. The researchers suggest that it may be unrealistic to expect that non-physician clinicians can be taught individually how to interact with industry ethically or how to detect and avert bias, particularly given the ubiquitous nature of marketing and promotional materials. Instead, they suggest, the environment in which non-physician clinicians practice should be structured to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of interactions with industry.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by James S. Yeh and Aaron S. Kesselheim
The American Medical Association provides guidance for physicians on interactions with pharmaceutical industry representatives, information about the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, and a toolkit for preparing Physician Payments Sunshine Act reports
The International Council of Nurses provides some guidance on industry interactions in its position statement on nurse-industry relations
The UK General Medical Council provides guidance on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest as part of its good medical practice website, which describes what is required of all registered doctors in the UK
Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide is a manual prepared by Health Action International and the World Health Organization that schools of medicine and pharmacy can use to train students how to recognize and respond to pharmaceutical promotion.
The Institute of Medicine's Report on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice recommends steps to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest
The University of California, San Francisco, Office of Continuing Medical Education offers a course called Marketing of Medicines
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561
PMCID: PMC3841103  PMID: 24302892
4.  Epidemiological urinalysis of children from kindergartens of Can Gio, Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam 
BMC Pediatrics  2013;13:183.
Background
Recent studies on Vietnamese children have shown that kidney diseases are not detected early enough to prevent chronic renal failure. The dipstick test is a simple and useful tool for detecting urinary abnormalities, especially in isolated or remote areas of Vietnam, where children have limited access to health care.
Methods
This cross-sectional study was conducted in 2011 at seven kindergartens in Can Gio district, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Two thousand and twelve children, aged 3 to 5, were enrolled. Morning mid-stream urine samples were examined by dipstick. Children with abnormal findings were re-examined with a second dipstick and underwent further investigations.
Results
Urinalysis was available for 1,032 boys and 980 girls. Mean age was 4.4 ± 0.8 years. Urinary abnormalities were detected in 108 (5.5%) of the subjects. Among them, nitrituria and leucocyturia accounted for more than 50%. Positive fractions of proteinuria, hematuria, nitrituria, leucocyturia, and combined nitrituria and leucocyturia after two dipsticks were 0.1%, 0.1%, 2%, 1% and 0.3%, respectively. Abnormal findings were more common in girls than boys (p < 0.001), and higher in communes with very low (< 50 persons/km2) population density (14.3% vs 4.1%, p < 0.001). A renal ultrasound detected four cases of hydronephrosis and one case of duplication of ureter.
Conclusions
The prevalence of urinary abnormalities in asymptomatic children in South Vietnam demonstrates the need for hygiene education among parents. Training for dipstick usage for all medical staff at health stations, especially in remote areas and in places with very low population density, is also clearly necessary. Routine urinalysis can be set up if a close control is conducted at locations.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-13-183
PMCID: PMC3829665  PMID: 24206763
Chronic kidney disease; Dipstick; Urinary screening; Can Gio; Vietnam
5.  New Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Neisseria meningitidis Serogroups A, W135, C, and Y 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(9):e337.
Background
Outbreaks of meningococcal meningitis (meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis) are a major public health concern in the African “meningitis belt,” which includes 21 countries from Senegal to Ethiopia. Of the several species that can cause meningitis, N. meningitidis is the most important cause of epidemics in this region. In choosing the appropriate vaccine, accurate N. meningitidis serogroup determination is key. To this end, we developed and evaluated two duplex rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for detecting N. meningitidis polysaccharide (PS) antigens of several important serogroups.
Methods and Findings
Mouse monoclonal IgG antibodies against N. meningitidis PS A, W135/Y, Y, and C were used to develop two immunochromatography duplex RDTs, RDT1 (to detect serogroups A and W135/Y) and RDT2 (to detect serogroups C and Y). Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy criteria were used to determine diagnostic accuracy of RDTs on reference strains and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples using culture and PCR, respectively, as reference tests. The cutoffs were 105 cfu/ml for reference strains and 1 ng/ml for PS. Sensitivities and specificities were 100% for reference strains, and 93.8%–100% for CSF serogroups A, W135, and Y in CSF. For CSF serogroup A, the positive and negative likelihood ratios (± 95% confidence intervals [CIs]) were 31.867 (16.1–63.1) and 0.065 (0.04–0.104), respectively, and the diagnostic odds ratio (± 95% CI) was 492.9 (207.2–1,172.5). For CSF serogroups W135 and Y, the positive likelihood ratio was 159.6 (51.7–493.3) Both RDTs were equally reliable at 25 °C and 45 °C.
Conclusions
These RDTs are important new bedside diagnostic tools for surveillance of meningococcus serogroups A and W135, the two serogroups that are responsible for major epidemics in Africa.
There are several strains ofNeisseria meningitidis that can cause seasonal outbreaks of meningitis in Africa. Treatment of patients and containment of the epidemic through vaccination depends on which strain is responsible. The new dipstick tests described here are accurate and suitable for storage and use in resource-poor settings.
Editors' Summary
Background
Bacterial meningitis, a potentially deadly infection of tissues that line the brain and spinal cord, affects over 1 million people each year. Patients with bacterial meningitis usually have fever, headache, and stiff neck, and may become unconscious and die if the disease is not treated within hours. Most cases of bacterial meningitis occur in Africa, particularly in the arid savannah region south of the Sahara known as the Sahel, where epidemic outbreaks of meningitis occur periodically. This region, also called the “meningitis belt,” extends from Senegal and adjacent coastal countries in West Africa across the continent to Ethiopia. Although most outbreaks tend to occur in the dry season, they differ in frequency in different areas of the meningitis belt, and may involve any of several kinds of bacteria. One of the major causes of epidemic meningitis is Neisseria meningitidis, a meningococcus bacterium that exists in several different groups. Group A has been a common cause of epidemic meningitis in Africa, and some outbreaks were due to group C. More recently, group W135 has emerged as an epidemic strain. In addition to prompt diagnosis and treatment of individual cases, effective public health strategies for controlling meningococcal meningitis include rapid identification of outbreaks and determination of the type of bacteria involved, followed by mass vaccination of people in the surrounding area without delay. Vaccines are chosen on the basis of the responsible meningococcal serogroup: either the inexpensive bivalent vaccine A/C or the expensive, less readily available trivalent vaccine A/C/W135. Before the advent of W135 as an epidemic clone, bivalent vaccine was applied in the meningitis belt without identification of the serogroup. With the appearance of the W135 strain in 2003, however, the determination of serogroup before vaccination is important to select an effective vaccine and avoid misspending of limited funds.
Why Was This Study Done?
Because there are few laboratories in the affected countries and epidemiological surveillance systems are inadequate, it is difficult for health authorities to mount a rapid and effective vaccination campaign in response to an outbreak. In addition, because the two main bacteria (meningococcus and pneumococcus) that cause meningitis require different antibiotic treatments, it is important for doctors to find out quickly which bacteria is causing an individual case. The authors of this study wanted to develop a rapid and easy test that can tell whether meningococcus is the cause of a particular case of meningitis, and if so, which group of meningococcus is involved. As most outbreaks in the meningitis belt occur in rural areas that are distant from well-equipped medical laboratories, it was necessary to develop a test that can be carried out at the patient's bedside by nurses, does not require refrigeration or laboratory equipment, and is highly accurate in distinguishing among the different groups of meningococcus.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers have developed a rapid test to determine whether a patient's meningitis is caused by one of the four most common groups of meningococcus circulating in Africa. The test is done on the patient's spinal fluid, which is obtained by a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) as part of the usual evaluation of a patient thought to have meningitis. The test uses two paper strips, also called dipsticks (one for groups A and W135/Y, and the other for groups C and Y), that can be placed in two separate tubes of the patient's spinal fluid. After several minutes, the appearance of red lines on the dipsticks shows whether one of the four groups of meningococcus is present. The dipsticks can be produced in large quantities and relatively cheaply. The researchers showed that the test dipsticks are stable for weeks in hot weather, and are therefore practical for bedside use in resource-poor settings. They examined the test on stored spinal fluid from patients in Niger and found that the dipstick test was able to identify the correct group of meningococcus more than 95% of the time for the three groups represented in these specimens (the results were compared to a standard DNA test or culture that are highly accurate for identifying the type of bacteria present but much more complicated and expensive).
What Do These Findings Mean?
The new dipstick test for meningococcal meningitis represents a major advance for health-care workers in remote locations affected by meningitis epidemics. This test can be stored without refrigeration and used at bedside in the hot temperatures typical of the African savannah during the meningitis season. The dipsticks are easier to use than currently available test kits, give more rapid results, and are more accurate in telling the difference between group Y and the increasingly important group W135. Further research is needed to determine whether the test can be used with other clinical specimens (such as blood or urine), and whether the test is dependable for detecting group C meningococcus, which is common in Europe but rare in Africa. Nonetheless, the dipstick test promises to be an important tool for guiding individual treatment decisions as well as public health actions, including vaccine selection, against the perennial threat of epidemic meningitis.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030337.
World Health Organization fact sheet on meningococcal meningitis
PATH Meningitis Vaccine Project
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page on meningococcal disease
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030337
PMCID: PMC1563501  PMID: 16953658
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.  The attitude of Belgian social insurance physicians towards evidence-based practice and clinical practice guidelines 
BMC Family Practice  2009;10:64.
Background
Evidence-based medicine has broadened its scope and is starting to reach insurance medicine. Although still in its initial stages, physicians in the area of insurance medicine should keep up-to-date with the evidence on various diseases in order to correctly assess disability and to give appropriate advice about health care reimbursement. In order to explore future opportunities of evidence-based medicine to improve daily insurance medicine, there is a need for qualitative studies to better understand insurance physicians' perceptions of EBM. The present study was designed to identify the attitude of insurance physicians towards evidence-based medicine and clinical practice guidelines, and to determine their ability to access, retrieve and appraise the health evidence and the barriers for applying evidence to practice.
Methods
A cross-sectional survey study was carried out among all Dutch-speaking insurance physicians employed at one of the six Belgian social insurance sickness funds and at the National Institute of Disability and Health care Insurance (n = 224). Chi-square tests were used to compare nominal and ordinal variables. Student's t-tests, ANOVA, Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis were used to compare means of continuous variables for different groups.
Results
The response rate was 48.7%. The majority of respondents were positive towards evidence-based medicine and clinical practice guidelines. Their knowledge of EBM was rather poor. Perceived barriers for applying evidence to practice were mainly time and lack of EBM skills.
Conclusion
Although the majority of physicians were positive towards EBM and welcomed more guidelines, the use of evidence and clinical practice guidelines in insurance medicine is low at present. It is in the first place important to eradicate the perceived inertia which limits the use of EBM and to further investigate the EBM principles in the context of insurance medicine. Available high-quality evidence-based resources (at the moment mainly originating from other medical fields) need to be structured in a way that is useful for insurance physicians and global access to this information needs to be ensured.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-10-64
PMCID: PMC2745368  PMID: 19740436
8.  Correlation between dipstick urinalysis and urine sediment microscopy in detecting haematuria among children with sickle cell anaemia in steady state in Ilorin, Nigeria 
Introduction
Haematuria is one of the clinical manifestations of sickle cell nephropathy. Although dipstick urinalysis detects haemoglobin and by extension haematuria; it does not confirm haematuria. Urine sediment microscopy confirms haematuria and constitutes a non-invasive “renal biopsy”. The need to correlate dipstick urinalysis and urine sediment microscopy findings becomes important because of the cheapness, quickness and simplicity of the former procedure.
Methods
Dipstick urinalysis and urine sediment microscopy were carried (both on first contact and a month after) among consecutive steady state sickle cell anaemia children attending sickle cell clinic at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital between October 2004 and July 2005.
Results
A total of 75 sickle cell anemia children aged between 1-17 years met the inclusion criteria. Haematuria was found in 12 children (16.0%) and persistent haematuria in 10 children 13.3%. Age and gender did not have significant relationship with haematuria both at first contact (p values 0.087 and 0.654 respectively) and at follow-up (p values 0.075 and 0.630 respectively). Eumorphic haematuria was confirmed in all the children with persistent haematuria with Pearson correlation +0.623 and significant p value of 0.000.
Conclusion
The study has revealed a direct significant correlation for haematuria detected on dipstick urinalysis and at urine sediment microscopy. It may therefore be inferred that dipstick urinalysis is an easy and readily available tool for the screening of haematuria among children with sickle cell anaemia and should therefore be done routinely at the sickle cell clinics.
doi:10.11604/pamj.2013.15.135.1854
PMCID: PMC3852513  PMID: 24319525
Sickle cell nephropathy; children; haematuria; dipstick urinalysis; urine sediment microscopy
9.  Physicians' Initial Management of Acute Low Back Pain Versus Evidence-Based Guidelines 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2005;20(12):1132-1135.
Background
Little information is available on physician characteristics and patient presentations that may influence compliance with evidence-based guidelines for acute low back pain.
Objective
To assess whether physicians' management decisions are consistent with the Agency for Health Research Quality's guideline and whether responses varied with the presentation of sciatica or by physician characteristics.
Design
Cross-sectional study using a mailed survey.
Participants
Participants were randomly selected from internal medicine, family practice, general practice, emergency medicine, and occupational medicine specialties.
Measurements
A questionnaire asked for recommendations for 2 case scenarios, representing patients without and with sciatica, respectively.
Results
Seven hundred and twenty surveys were completed (response rate=25%). In cases 1 (without sciatica) and 2 (with sciatica), 26.9% and 4.3% of physicians fully complied with the guideline, respectively. For each year in practice, the odds of guideline noncompliance increased 1.03 times (95% confidence interval [CI]=1.01 to 1.05) for case 1. With occupational medicine as the referent specialty, general practice had the greatest odds of noncompliance (3.60, 95% CI=1.75 to 7.40) in case 1, followed by internal medicine and emergency medicine. Results for case 2 reflected the influence of sciatica with internal medicine having substantially higher odds (vs case 1) and the greatest odds of noncompliance of any specialty (6.93, 95% CI=1.47 to 32.78), followed by family practice and emergency medicine.
Conclusions
A majority of primary care physicians continue to be noncompliant with evidence-based back pain guidelines. Sciatica dramatically influenced clinical decision-making, increasing the extent of noncompliance, particularly for internal medicine and family practice. Physicians' misunderstanding of sciatica's natural history and belief that more intensive initial management is indicated may be factors underlying the observed influence of sciatica.
doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2005.0230.x
PMCID: PMC1490268  PMID: 16423103
back pain; guidelines; practice variation; clinical vignette; decision making
10.  Design of the Balance@Work project: systematic development, evaluation and implementation of an occupational health guideline aimed at the prevention of weight gain among employees 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:461.
Background
Occupational health professionals may play an important role in preventive health promotion activities for employees. However, due to a lack of knowledge and evidence- and practice based methods and strategies, interventions are hardly being implemented by occupational physicians to date. The aim of the Balance@Work project is to develop, evaluate, and implement an occupational health guideline aimed at the prevention of weight gain among employees.
Methods
Following the guideline development protocol of the Netherlands Society of Occupational Medicine and the Intervention Mapping protocol, the guideline was developed based on literature, interviews with relevant stakeholders, and consensus among an expert group. The guideline consists of an individual and an environmental component. The individual component includes recommendations for occupational physicians on how to promote physical activity and healthy dietary behavior based on principles of motivational interviewing. The environmental component contains an obesogenic environment assessment tool. The guideline is evaluated in a randomised controlled trial among 20 occupational physicians. Occupational physicians in the intervention group apply the guideline to eligible workers during 6 months. Occupational physicians in the control group provide care as usual. Measurements take place at baseline and 6, 12, and 18 months thereafter. Primary outcome measures include waist circumference, daily physical activity and dietary behavior. Secondary outcome measures include sedentary behavior, determinants of behavior change, body weight and body mass index, cardiovascular disease risk profile, and quality of life. Additionally, productivity, absenteeism, and cost-effectiveness are assessed.
Discussion
Improving workers' daily physical activity and dietary behavior may prevent weight gain and subsequently improve workers' health, increase productivity, and reduce absenteeism. After an effect- and process evaluation the guideline will be adjusted and, after authorisation, published. Together with several implementation aids, the published guideline will be disseminated broadly by the Netherlands Society of Occupational Medicine.
Trial Registration
ISRCTN73545254/NTR1190
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-461
PMCID: PMC2799413  PMID: 20003405
11.  How to Define the Content of a Job-Specific Worker's Health Surveillance for Hospital Physicians? 
Safety and Health at Work  2015;7(1):18-31.
Background
A job-specific Worker's Health Surveillance (WHS) for hospital physicians is a preventive occupational health strategy aiming at early detection of their diminished work-related health in order to improve or maintain physician's health and quality of care. This study addresses what steps should be taken to determine the content of a job-specific WHS for hospital physicians and outlines that content.
Methods
Based on four questions, decision trees were developed for physical and psychological job demands and for biological, chemical, and physical exposures to decide whether or not to include work-related health effects related to occupational exposures or aspects of health reflecting insufficient job requirements. Information was gathered locally through self-reporting and systematic observations at the workplace and from evidence in international publications.
Results
Information from the decision trees on the prevalence and impact of the health- or work-functioning effect led to inclusion of occupational exposures (e.g., biological agents, emotionally demanding situations), job requirements (e.g., sufficient vision, judging ability), or health effects (e.g., depressive symptoms, neck complaints). Additionally, following the Dutch guideline for occupational physicians and based on specific job demands, screening for cardiovascular diseases, work ability, drug use, and alcohol consumption was included. Targeted interventions were selected when a health or work functioning problem existed and were chosen based on evidence for effectiveness.
Conclusion
The process of developing a job-specific WHS for hospital physicians was described and the content presented, which might serve as an example for other jobs. Before implementation, it must first be tested for feasibility and acceptability.
doi:10.1016/j.shaw.2015.08.004
PMCID: PMC4792917  PMID: 27014487
hospital physicians; occupational health strategy; patient safety; prevention; worker's health surveillance
12.  Feasibility and impact of an evidence-based electronic decision support system for diabetes care in family medicine: protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial 
Background
In Belgium, the construction of the national electronic point-of-care information service, EBMPracticeNet, was initiated in 2011 to optimize quality of care by promoting evidence-based decision-making. The collaboration of the government, healthcare providers, Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) partners, and vendors of Electronic Health Records (EHR) is unique to this project. All Belgian healthcare professionals get free access to an up-to-date database of validated Belgian and nearly 1,000 international guidelines, incorporated in a portal that also provides EBM information from sources other than guidelines, including computerized clinical decision support that is integrated in the EHRs.
The EBMeDS system is the electronic evidence-based decision support system of EBMPracticeNet. The EBMeDS system covers all clinical areas of diseases and could play a crucial role in response to the emerging challenge posed by chronic conditions. Diabetes was chosen as the analysis topic of interest. The objective of this study is to assess the effectiveness of EBMeDS use in improving diabetes care. This objective will be enhanced by a formal process evaluation to provide crucial information on the feasibility of using the system in daily Belgian family medicine.
Methods
The study is a cluster-randomized trial with before/after measurements conducted in Belgian family medicine. Physicians’ practices will be randomly assigned to the intervention or control group in a 1:1 ratio, to receive either the EBMeDS reminders or to follow the usual care process. Randomization will be performed by a statistical consultant with an electronic random list generator, anonymously for the researchers. The follow-up period of the study will be 12 months with interim analysis points at 3, 6 and 9 months. Primary outcome is the one-year pre- to post-implementation change in HbA1c. Patients will not be informed about the intervention. Data analysts will be kept blinded to the allocation.
Discussion
The knowledge obtained in this study will be useful for further integration in other Belgian software packages. Users’ perceptions and process evaluation will provide information for improving the feasibility of the system.
Trial registration
The trial is registered with the ClinicalTrials.gov registry: NCT01830569.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-8-83
PMCID: PMC3751256  PMID: 23915250
Diabetes mellitus; Decision support systems; Clinical; Point-of-care systems; Electronic health records; Guideline implementation
13.  Can urine dipstick testing for urinary tract infection at point of care reduce laboratory workload? 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2005;58(9):951-954.
Aim: The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust microbiology laboratory receives 150 000 urine samples each year, approximately 80% of which prove to be culture negative. The aim of this study was to reduce the proportion of culture negative urines arriving in the laboratory, by producing local evidence based guidelines for the use of urine dipstick testing at point of care within the trust’s three acute hospitals.
Methods: One thousand and seventy six unborated urine samples were dipstick tested at the point of care using an automatic strip reader. Quantitative results for the four infection associated markers—leucocyte esterase, nitrite, blood, and protein—were compared with the results of conventional laboratory microscopy and culture.
Results: The performance of different marker combinations was calculated against the routine laboratory methods. One hundred and seventy five (16.3%) samples were negative for all four markers. Of these dipstick negative samples, only three (1.7% of all true positives) were positive by culture. The absence of all four infection associated markers was found to have a greater than 98% negative predictive value and a sensitivity and specificity of 98.3% and 19.2%, respectively.
Conclusions: A urinary dipstick testing algorithm for infection associated markers was derived for use in hospital patients to screen out negative urines. Two years after distributing the algorithm and promoting access to reagent strips and strip readers, a reduction in the urine workload has been seen against an otherwise increasing laboratory specimen load.
doi:10.1136/jcp.2004.025429
PMCID: PMC1770822  PMID: 16126876
algorithm; infection associated markers; urinary tract infection; urine dipstick testing; workload
14.  EBMPracticeNet: A Bilingual National Electronic Point-Of-Care Project for Retrieval of Evidence-Based Clinical Guideline Information and Decision Support 
JMIR Research Protocols  2013;2(2):e23.
Background
In Belgium, the construction of a national electronic point-of-care information service, EBMPracticeNet, was initiated in 2011 to optimize quality of care by promoting evidence-based decision-making. The collaboration of the government, health care providers, evidence-based medicine (EBM) partners, and vendors of electronic health records (EHR) is unique to this project. All Belgian health care professionals get free access to an up-to-date database of validated Belgian and nearly 1000 international guidelines, incorporated in a portal that also provides EBM information from other sources than guidelines, including computerized clinical decision support that is integrated in the EHRs.
Objective
The objective of this paper was to describe the development strategy, the overall content, and the management of EBMPracticeNet which may be of relevance to other health organizations creating national or regional electronic point-of-care information services.
Methods
Several candidate providers of comprehensive guideline solutions were evaluated and one database was selected. Translation of the guidelines to Dutch and French was done with translation software, post-editing by translators and medical proofreading. A strategy is determined to adapt the guideline content to the Belgian context. Acceptance of the computerized clinical decision support tool has been tested and a randomized controlled trial is planned to evaluate the effect on process and patient outcomes.
Results
Currently, EBMPracticeNet is in "work in progress" state. Reference is made to the results of a pilot study and to further planned research including a randomized controlled trial.
Conclusions
The collaboration of government, health care providers, EBM partners, and vendors of EHRs is unique. The potential value of the project is great. The link between all the EHRs from different vendors and a national database held on a single platform that is controlled by all EBM organizations in Belgium are the strengths of EBMPracticeNet.
doi:10.2196/resprot.2644
PMCID: PMC3713937  PMID: 23842038
evidence-based medicine; practice guidelines as topic; decision support systems; clinical; point-of-care systems; biomedical technology; medical informatics; information storage and retrieval; information management; ambulatory care information systems
15.  A Risk Prediction Model for the Assessment and Triage of Women with Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy in Low-Resourced Settings: The miniPIERS (Pre-eclampsia Integrated Estimate of RiSk) Multi-country Prospective Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(1):e1001589.
Beth Payne and colleagues use a risk prediction model, the Pre-eclampsia Integrated Estimate of RiSk (miniPIERS) to help inform the clinical assessment and triage of women with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy in low-resourced settings.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Pre-eclampsia/eclampsia are leading causes of maternal mortality and morbidity, particularly in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs). We developed the miniPIERS risk prediction model to provide a simple, evidence-based tool to identify pregnant women in LMICs at increased risk of death or major hypertensive-related complications.
Methods and Findings
From 1 July 2008 to 31 March 2012, in five LMICs, data were collected prospectively on 2,081 women with any hypertensive disorder of pregnancy admitted to a participating centre. Candidate predictors collected within 24 hours of admission were entered into a step-wise backward elimination logistic regression model to predict a composite adverse maternal outcome within 48 hours of admission. Model internal validation was accomplished by bootstrapping and external validation was completed using data from 1,300 women in the Pre-eclampsia Integrated Estimate of RiSk (fullPIERS) dataset. Predictive performance was assessed for calibration, discrimination, and stratification capacity. The final miniPIERS model included: parity (nulliparous versus multiparous); gestational age on admission; headache/visual disturbances; chest pain/dyspnoea; vaginal bleeding with abdominal pain; systolic blood pressure; and dipstick proteinuria. The miniPIERS model was well-calibrated and had an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC ROC) of 0.768 (95% CI 0.735–0.801) with an average optimism of 0.037. External validation AUC ROC was 0.713 (95% CI 0.658–0.768). A predicted probability ≥25% to define a positive test classified women with 85.5% accuracy. Limitations of this study include the composite outcome and the broad inclusion criteria of any hypertensive disorder of pregnancy. This broad approach was used to optimize model generalizability.
Conclusions
The miniPIERS model shows reasonable ability to identify women at increased risk of adverse maternal outcomes associated with the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. It could be used in LMICs to identify women who would benefit most from interventions such as magnesium sulphate, antihypertensives, or transportation to a higher level of care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Each year, ten million women develop pre-eclampsia or a related hypertensive (high blood pressure) disorder of pregnancy and 76,000 women die as a result. Globally, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy cause around 12% of maternal deaths—deaths of women during or shortly after pregnancy. The mildest of these disorders is gestational hypertension, high blood pressure that develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Gestational hypertension does not usually harm the mother or her unborn child and resolves after delivery but up to a quarter of women with this condition develop pre-eclampsia, a combination of hypertension and protein in the urine (proteinuria). Women with mild pre-eclampsia may not have any symptoms—the condition is detected during antenatal checks—but more severe pre-eclampsia can cause headaches, blurred vision, and other symptoms, and can lead to eclampsia (fits), multiple organ failure, and death of the mother and/or her baby. The only “cure” for pre-eclampsia is to deliver the baby as soon as possible but women are sometimes given antihypertensive drugs to lower their blood pressure or magnesium sulfate to prevent seizures.
Why Was This Study Done?
Women in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are more likely to develop complications of pre-eclampsia than women in high-income countries and most of the deaths associated with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy occur in LMICs. The high burden of illness and death in LMICs is thought to be primarily due to delays in triage (the identification of women who are or may become severely ill and who need specialist care) and delays in transporting these women to facilities where they can receive appropriate care. Because there is a shortage of health care workers who are adequately trained in the triage of suspected cases of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy in many LMICs, one way to improve the situation might be to design a simple tool to identify women at increased risk of complications or death from hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Here, the researchers develop miniPIERS (Pre-eclampsia Integrated Estimate of RiSk), a clinical risk prediction model for adverse outcomes among women with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy suitable for use in community and primary health care facilities in LMICs.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used data on candidate predictors of outcome that are easy to collect and/or measure in all health care settings and that are associated with pre-eclampsia from women admitted with any hypertensive disorder of pregnancy to participating centers in five LMICs to build a model to predict death or a serious complication such as organ damage within 48 hours of admission. The miniPIERS model included parity (whether the woman had been pregnant before), gestational age (length of pregnancy), headache/visual disturbances, chest pain/shortness of breath, vaginal bleeding with abdominal pain, systolic blood pressure, and proteinuria detected using a dipstick. The model was well-calibrated (the predicted risk of adverse outcomes agreed with the observed risk of adverse outcomes among the study participants), it had a good discriminatory ability (it could separate women who had a an adverse outcome from those who did not), and it designated women as being at high risk (25% or greater probability of an adverse outcome) with an accuracy of 85.5%. Importantly, external validation using data collected in fullPIERS, a study that developed a more complex clinical prediction model based on data from women attending tertiary hospitals in high-income countries, confirmed the predictive performance of miniPIERS.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that the miniPIERS model performs reasonably well as a tool to identify women at increased risk of adverse maternal outcomes associated with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Because miniPIERS only includes simple-to-measure personal characteristics, symptoms, and signs, it could potentially be used in resource-constrained settings to identify the women who would benefit most from interventions such as transportation to a higher level of care. However, further external validation of miniPIERS is needed using data collected from women living in LMICs before the model can be used during routine antenatal care. Moreover, the value of miniPIERS needs to be confirmed in implementation projects that examine whether its potential translates into clinical improvements. For now, though, the model could provide the basis for an education program to increase the knowledge of women, families, and community health care workers in LMICs about the signs and symptoms of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001589.
The World Health Organization provides guidelines for the management of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy in low-resourced settings
The Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program provides information on pre-eclampsia and eclampsia targeted to low-resourced settings along with a tool-kit for LMIC providers
The US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provides information about high blood pressure in pregnancy and a guide to lowering blood pressure in pregnancy
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about pre-eclampsia
The US not-for profit organization Preeclampsia Foundation provides information about all aspects of pre-eclampsia; its website includes some personal stories
The UK charity Healthtalkonline also provides personal stories about hypertensive disorders of pregnancy
MedlinePlus provides links to further information about high blood pressure and pregnancy (in English and Spanish); the MedlinePlus Encyclopedia has a video about pre-eclampsia (also in English and Spanish)
More information about miniPIERS and about fullPIERS is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001589
PMCID: PMC3897359  PMID: 24465185
16.  Dipstick haematuria and bladder cancer in men over 60: results of a community study. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1989;299(6706):1010-1012.
OBJECTIVE--To investigate the prevalence and relevance of dipstick haematuria in a group of men in the community. DESIGN--Prospective study of elderly men invited to attend a health centre for urine screening as part of a health check. SETTING--An inner city health centre in Leeds. SUBJECTS--578 Of 855 men aged 60-85 responding to an invitation to participate. INTERVENTIONS--The subjects had their urine tested with a dipstick (Multistix) for the presence of blood and then tested their urine once a week for the next 10 weeks. Those with one or more positive test results were offered full urological investigation. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE--The prevalence of urological disease in those subjects with dipstick haematuria. RESULTS--78 Men (13%) had dipstick haematuria on a single test and a further 54 (9%) had evidence of dipstick haematuria when testing their urine once a week during a subsequent 10 week period. Investigation of 87 men disclosed urological disease in 45, including four with a bladder tumour and seven with epithelial dysplasia. CONCLUSION--Dipstick haematuria is a common incidental finding in men over 60 and is associated with appreciable urological disease. The introduction of less invasive methods of investigation, particularly flexible cystoscopy and ultrasonography, has made investigation of these patients simple and safe and makes screening for bladder cancer in the community more feasible.
PMCID: PMC1837876  PMID: 2511941
17.  Urinary ATP and visualization of intracellular bacteria: a superior diagnostic marker for recurrent UTI in renal transplant recipients? 
SpringerPlus  2014;3:200.
Renal transplant recipients (RTR) are highly susceptible to urinary tract infections (UTIs) with over 50% of patients having at least one UTI within the first year. Yet it is generally acknowledged that there is considerable insensitivity and inaccuracy in routine urinalysis when screening for UTIs. Thus a large number of transplant patients with genuine urine infections may go undiagnosed and develop chronic recalcitrant infections, which can be associated with graft loss and morbidity. Given a recent study demonstrating ATP is released by urothelial cells in response to bacteria exposure, possibly acting at metabotropic P2Y receptors mediating a proinflammatory response, we have investigated alternative, and possibly more appropriate, urinalysis techniques in a cohort of RTRs.
Mid-stream urine (MSU) samples were collected from 53 outpatient RTRs. Conventional leukocyte esterase and nitrite dipstick tests, and microscopic pyuria counts (in 1 μl), ATP concentration measurements, and identification of intracellular bacteria in shed urothelial cells, were performed on fresh unspun samples and compared to ‘gold-standard’ bacterial culture results.
Of the 53 RTRs, 22% were deemed to have a UTI by ‘gold-standard’ conventional bacteria culture, whereas 87%, 8% and 4% showed evidence of UTIs according to leukocyte esterase dipstick, nitrite dipstick, and a combination of both dipsticks, respectively. Intracellular bacteria were visualized in shed urothelial cells of 44% of RTRs, however only 1 of the 23 RTRs (44%) was deemed to have a UTI by conventional bacteria culture. A significant association of the ‘gold-standard’ test with urinary ATP concentration combined with visualization of intracellular bacteria in shed urothelial cells was determined using the Fisher’s exact test.
It is apparent that standard bedside tests for UTIs give variable results and that seemingly quiescent bacteria in urothelial cells are very common in RTRs and may represent a focus of subclinical infection. Furthermore, our results suggest urinary ATP concentration combined with detection of intracellular bacteria in shed urinary epithelial cells may be a sensitive means by which to detect ‘occult’ infection in RTRs.
doi:10.1186/2193-1801-3-200
PMCID: PMC4022969  PMID: 24839587
Intracellular bacteria; IBC; Pyuria; Urinary ATP; Bladder; Acridine orange stain
18.  Developing clinical rules to predict urinary tract infection in primary care settings: sensitivity and specificity of near patient tests (dipsticks) and clinical scores 
Background
Suspected urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common presentations in primary care. Systematic reviews have not documented any adequately powered studies in primary care that assess independent predictors of laboratory diagnosis.
Aim
To estimate independent clinical and dipstick predictors of infection and to develop clinical decision rules.
Design of study
Validation study of clinical and dipstick findings compared with laboratory testing.
Setting
General practices in the south of England.
Method
Laboratory diagnosis of 427 women with suspected UTI was assessed using European urinalysis guidelines. Independent clinical and dipstick predictors of diagnosis were estimated.
Results
UTI was confirmed in 62.5% of women with suspected UTI. Only nitrite, leucocyte esterase (+ or greater), and blood (haemolysed trace or greater) independently predicted diagnosis (adjusted odds ratios 6.36, 4.52, 2.23 respectively). A dipstick decision rule, based on having nitrite, or both leucocytes and blood, was moderately sensitive (77%) and specific (70%); positive predictive value (PPV) was 81% and negative predictive value (NPV) was 65%. Predictive values were improved by varying the cut-off point: NPV was 73% for all three dipstick results being negative, and PPV was 92% for having nitrite and either blood or leucocyte esterase. A clinical decision rule, based on having two of the following: urine cloudiness, offensive smell, and dysuria and/or nocturia of moderate severity, was less sensitive (65%) (specificity 69%; PPV 77%, NPV 54%). NPV was 71% for none of the four clinical features, and the PPV was 84% for three or more features.
Conclusions
Simple decision rules could improve targeting of investigation and treatment. Strategies to use such rules need to take into account limited negative predictive value, which is lower than expected from previous research.
PMCID: PMC1874525  PMID: 16882379
clinical scoring algorithms; diagnosis, urinary tract infection; dipsticks
19.  Pediatric screening urinalysis: a difference-in-differences analysis of how a 2007 change in guidelines impacted use 
BMC Pediatrics  2014;14:260.
Background
Practice guidelines can promote higher-quality care, yet they are inconsistently adopted. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of a 2007 American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation to discontinue routine screening urinalysis in children.
Methods
Using data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, we used a difference-in-differences approach to estimate visit-level screening urinalysis proportions before (2005-2006, n = 1,247) and after (2008-2009, n = 1,772) the 2007 AAP recommendation. We compared visits by children 4-18 years old to visits by young adults aged 19-32. Analyses were adjusted for continuous patient age, patient race/ethnicity, physician specialty, and stratified by patient gender and visit setting.
Results
The 2007 recommendation was associated with no significant change in adjusted visit-level screening urinalysis proportions in child visits (20.4% to 22.5%) compared to an increase in young adult visits (20.1% to 27.0%) – a differential impact of -4.8 percentage points (95% Confidence Interval [CI] -9.0, -0.5). In private practices, visit proportions differentially decreased by 7.6 percentage points (95% CI -13.7, -1.5) in female children and by 0.5 percentage points (95% CI -10.6, 9.6) in male children. In community health centers, visit proportions differentially decreased by 17.4 percentage points (95% CI -27.9, -6.8) in female children and by 33.5 percentage points (95% CI -47.4, -19.7) in male children.
Conclusions
A 2007 recommendation to discontinue routine screening urinalysis in children was associated with no change in use in child visits relative to an increase in use in adult visits. Overall, nearly one-quarter of child visits still included screening urinalysis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-14-260
PMCID: PMC4287447  PMID: 25303836
Preventive services; Practice guidelines; Screening urinalysis
20.  Caution required when relying on a colleague's advice; a comparison between professional advice and evidence from the literature 
Background
Occupational Physicians rely especially on advice from colleagues when answering their information demands. On the other hand, Evidence-based Medicine (EBM) promotes the use of up-to-date research literature instead of experts. To find out if there was a difference between expert-based practice and EBM we compared professional advice on occupational health topics with best evidence from the literature.
Methods
We asked 14 occupational physicians to consult their usual information sources on 12 pre-conceived occupational health problems. The problems were presented in the form of case vignettes which contained sufficient clinical information to be used by the occupational physicians for the consultation of their experts. We had searched the literature for the best available evidence on the 12 problems, which made it possible to answer the clinical questions with a clear yes or no.
Results
The cases could be used by the occupational physicians as arising from their own practice. All together the occupational physicians consulted 75 different experts. Almost half of the consulted experts were near colleagues, 10% were industrial hygienists, 8% medical specialists and the rest had a varied background. Fifty three percent (95% confidence interval 42% to 65%) of all professional advice was not in line with the research literature. In 18 cases (24%) professional advice explicitly referred to up-to-date research literature as their used source. These cases were substantially less incorrect (17%) than advice that had not mentioned the literature as a source (65%) (difference 48%, 95% Confidence Interval from 27% to 69%).
Conclusion
Advice that occupational physicians routinely get in their daily practice differs substantially from best evidence from the literature. Occupational physicians who ask professional advice should always ask about the evidence of this advice.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-5-59
PMCID: PMC1208884  PMID: 16131405
21.  Renal Status of Children With Sickle Cell Disease in Accra, Ghana 
Ghana Medical Journal  2011;45(4):155-160.
Summary
Introduction
In West Africa, the prevalence of sickle cell disease (SCD) is 2%. The disease adversely affects growth, development and organ function including the kidneys. There is however a dearth of information about the renal status of SCD children in Ghana.
Objectives
To assess the renal status of children with SCD in steady state.
Design
A cross-sectional case-control study.
Setting
Paediatric Sickle Cell Clinic, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra.
Participants
Cases-357 SCD cases and 70 of their HbAA siblings as controls.
Methods
Documentation of their socio-demographic data, clinical data and dipstick urinalysis findings, and renal ultrasonography on selected participants.
Results
The mean [SD] age was 7.18 [3.15]yrs for cases and 5.16[3.28]yrs for controls. The genotypes were Hb SS (76.7%), Hb SC (21.8 %), and Hb Sβthal (1.4%). Urinalysis showed leucocyturia in 12.6% versus 5.7% (χ2=62.5 and the p=0.000)), isolated proteinuria in 2.8% versus 1.43% (χ2=10.01 and p=0.001) haematuria in 2.6% versus 0% (χ2=9.233, p=0.002) and nitrites in 2.2% versus 1.4% (χ2 =16.3,p=0.02) of cases and controls respectively. The youngest SCD case with proteinuria was 2yrs. old. Proteinuria prevalence increased with age, , occurring in 5.7% of cases aged 9–11yrs. and 20.6% of cases aged 12yrs. Two-thirds of the proteinuria cases were aged 9–12yrs., of whom 50% were aged 12yrs. Renal ultrasound findings were normal in all those examined.
Conclusion
Urinary abnormalities suggesting nephropathy occur early in SCD patients in Ghana. Routine dipstick screening at clinic visits countrywide would help early detection and prompt intervention to limit renal impairment.
PMCID: PMC3283093  PMID: 22359421
Kidney; Sickle Cell Disease; Children; Ghana
22.  Dipstick Screening for Urinary Tract Infection in Febrile Infants 
Pediatrics  2014;133(5):e1121-e1127.
OBJECTIVE:
This study compares the performance of urine dipstick alone with urine microscopy and with both tests combined as a screen for urinary tract infection (UTI) in febrile infants aged 1 to 90 days.
METHODS:
We queried the Intermountain Healthcare data warehouse to identify febrile infants with urine dipstick, microscopy, and culture performed between 2004 and 2011. UTI was defined as >50 000 colony-forming units per milliliter of a urinary pathogen. We compared the performance of urine dipstick with unstained microscopy or both tests combined (“combined urinalysis”) to identify UTI in infants aged 1 to 90 days.
RESULTS:
Of 13 030 febrile infants identified, 6394 (49%) had all tests performed and were included in the analysis. Of these, 770 (12%) had UTI. Urine culture results were positive within 24 hours in 83% of UTIs. The negative predictive value (NPV) was >98% for all tests. The combined urinalysis NPV was 99.2% (95% confidence interval: 99.1%–99.3%) and was significantly greater than the dipstick NPV of 98.7% (98.6%–98.8%). The dipstick positive predictive value was significantly greater than combined urinalysis (66.8% [66.2%–67.4%] vs 51.2% [50.6%–51.8%]). These data suggest 8 febrile infants would be predicted to have a false-positive combined urinalysis for every 1 infant with UTI initially missed by dipstick screening.
CONCLUSIONS:
Urine dipstick testing compares favorably with both microscopy and combined urinalysis in febrile infants aged 1 to 90 days. The urine dipstick test may be an adequate stand-alone screen for UTI in febrile infants while awaiting urine culture results.
doi:10.1542/peds.2013-3291
PMCID: PMC4006440  PMID: 24777232
urinary tract infection; urinalysis; infant; newborn; predictive value of tests; reagent strips; nitrites; leukocyte esterase; utilization
23.  Evaluation of dipstick analysis among elderly residents to detect bacteriuria: a cross-sectional study in 32 nursing homes 
BMC Geriatrics  2009;9:32.
Background
Few studies have evaluated dipstick urinalysis for elderly and practically none present confidence intervals. Furthermore, most previous studies combine all bacteria species in a "positive culture". Thus, their evaluation may be inappropriate due to Yule-Simpson's paradox. The aim of this study was to evaluate diagnostic accuracy of dipstick urinalysis for the elderly in nursing homes.
Methods
In this cross-sectional study voided urine specimens were collected from 651 elderly individuals in nursing homes. Dipstick urinalysis for nitrite, leukocyte esterase and urine culture were performed. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values with 95% confidence intervals were calculated. Visual readings were compared to readings with a urine chemistry analyzer.
Results
207/651 (32%) of urine cultures showed growth of a potentially pathogenic bacterium. Combining the two dipsticks improved test characteristics slightly compared to using only one of the dipsticks. When both dipsticks are negative, presence of potentially pathogenic bacteria can be ruled out with a negative predictive value of 88 (84–92)%. Visual and analyzer readings had acceptable agreement.
Conclusion
When investigating for bacteriuria in elderly people at nursing homes we suggest nitrite and leukocyte esterase dipstick be combined. There are no clinically relevant differences between visual and analyzer dipstick readings. When dipstick urinalysis for nitrite and leukocyte esterase are both negative it is unlikely that the urine culture will show growth of potentially pathogenic bacteria and in a patient with an uncomplicated illness further testing is unnecessary.
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-9-32
PMCID: PMC2724370  PMID: 19635163
24.  Danish general practitioners' estimation of urinary albumin concentration in the detection of proteinuria and microalbuminuria. 
BACKGROUND. Microalbuminuria may predict proteinuria and increased mortality in non-insulin dependent diabetic patients. Early detection of microalbuminuria may therefore be essential. AIM. The primary objective of this study was to describe the association between the presence of albuminuria in diabetic patients as detected by general practitioners using conventional reagent strip dipstick tests for albumin, and the urinary albumin concentration as measured in a hospital laboratory. METHOD. A total of 675 newly diagnosed diabetic patients aged 40 years or over were included in the Danish study, diabetes care in general practice. Data for urinary albumin concentration from a morning urine sample and the results of three consecutive dipstick tests for albumin were collected for 417 patients. RESULTS. When defining elevated urinary albumin concentration as 200 mg l-1 or more (proteinuria) the finding of at least one positive test out of the three dipstick tests for albumin had a diagnostic sensitivity of 73% and a specificity of 89%. When the microalbuminuric range (15.0 to 199.9 mg l-1) was added to the definition of renal involvement, the sensitivity of the dipstick test became as low as 28% with a specificity of 96%. CONCLUSION. It is essential for general practitioners to be able to identify proteinuric patients. To achieve this by means of the conventional dipstick test, general practice procedures need to be improved. As it is becoming increasingly well-documented that microalbuminuric non-insulin dependent diabetic patients may benefit from pharmacological treatment of even slight arterial hypertension and heart failure, it seems reasonable to suggest that the use of dipsticks for albumin in general practice be replaced by laboratory quantitative determination of urinary albumin concentration in a morning urine sample.
PMCID: PMC1239138  PMID: 7702885
25.  Prospective, observational study comparing automated and visual point-of-care urinalysis in general practice 
BMJ Open  2016;6(8):e011230.
Objective
Point-of-care testing (POCT) urinalysis might reduce errors in (subjective) reading, registration and communication of test results, and might also improve diagnostic outcome and optimise patient management. Evidence is lacking. In the present study, we have studied the analytical performance of automated urinalysis and visual urinalysis compared with a reference standard in routine general practice.
Setting
The study was performed in six general practitioner (GP) group practices in the Netherlands. Automated urinalysis was compared with visual urinalysis in these practices. Reference testing was performed in a primary care laboratory (Saltro, Utrecht, The Netherlands).
Primary and secondary outcome measures
Analytical performance of automated and visual urinalysis compared with the reference laboratory method was the primary outcome measure, analysed by calculating sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) and Cohen's κ coefficient for agreement. Secondary outcome measure was the user-friendliness of the POCT analyser.
Results
Automated urinalysis by experienced and routinely trained practice assistants in general practice performs as good as visual urinalysis for nitrite, leucocytes and erythrocytes. Agreement for nitrite is high for automated and visual urinalysis. κ's are 0.824 and 0.803 (ranked as very good and good, respectively). Agreement with the central laboratory reference standard for automated and visual urinalysis for leucocytes is rather poor (0.256 for POCT and 0.197 for visual, respectively, ranked as fair and poor). κ's for erythrocytes are higher: 0.517 (automated) and 0.416 (visual), both ranked as moderate. The Urisys 1100 analyser was easy to use and considered to be not prone to flaws.
Conclusions
Automated urinalysis performed as good as traditional visual urinalysis on reading of nitrite, leucocytes and erythrocytes in routine general practice. Implementation of automated urinalysis in general practice is justified as automation is expected to reduce human errors in patient identification and transcribing of results.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011230
PMCID: PMC4985791  PMID: 27503860
Point-of-care testing; general practice; urinalysis; urine analysis; diagnosis

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