Cardiovascular disease accounts for a large burden of disease, but is amenable to prevention through lifestyle modification. This paper examines patient and practice predictors of referral to a lifestyle modification program (LMP) offered as part of a cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT) of prevention of vascular disease in primary care.
Data from the intervention arm of a cluster RCT which recruited 36 practices through two rural and three urban primary care organisations were used. In each practice, 160 eligible high risk patients were invited to participate. Practices were randomly allocated to intervention or control groups. Intervention practice staff were trained in screening, motivational interviewing and counselling and encouraged to refer high risk patients to a LMP involving individual and group sessions. Data include patient surveys; clinical audit; practice survey on capacity for preventive care; referral records from the LMP. Predictors of referral were examined using multi-level logistic regression modelling after adjustment for confounding factors.
Of 301 eligible patients, 190 (63.1%) were referred to the LMP. Independent predictors of referral were baseline BMI ≥ 25 (OR 2.87 95%CI:1.10, 7.47), physical inactivity (OR 2.90 95%CI:1.36,6.14), contemplation/preparation/action stage of change for physical activity (OR 2.75 95%CI:1.07, 7.03), rural location (OR 12.50 95%CI:1.43, 109.7) and smaller practice size (1–3 GPs) (OR 16.05 95%CI:2.74, 94.24).
Providing a well-structured evidence-based lifestyle intervention, free of charge to patients, with coordination and support for referral processes resulted in over 60% of participating high risk patients being referred for disease prevention. Contrary to expectations, referrals were more frequent from rural and smaller practices suggesting that these practices may be more ready to engage with these programs.
Preventive health care; General practice; Health behaviour; Lifestyle modification; Referral
OBJECTIVES: We studied the effect of small monetary incentives and non-monetary incentives of similar value on enrollment and participation in clinic based HIV/STD prevention counselling. We examined incident STDs to try to assess whether participants offered money may be less motivated to change risky behaviours than those offered other incentives. METHODS: Patients from five US STD clinics were invited to enroll in a multisession risk reduction counselling intervention and, based on their enrollment date, were offered either $15 for each additional session or non-monetary incentives worth $15. The two incentive groups were compared on participants' enrollment, completion of intervention sessions, and new STDs over the 24 months after enrollment. RESULTS: Of 648 patients offered money, 198 (31%) enrolled compared with 160 (23%) of 696 patients offered other incentives (p = 0.002). Enrollees in the two incentive groups had similar baseline characteristics, including condom use. Of the 198 participants offered money, 109 (55%) completed all sessions compared with 59 (37%) of the participants offered other incentives (p < 0.0001). Comparing those offered money with those offered other incentives STD rates were similar after 6, 12, and 24 months. CONCLUSIONS: Small monetary incentives enhanced enrollment and participation compared with other incentives of similar value. Regardless of incentive offered, participants had similar post-enrollment STD rates, suggesting that the type of incentive does not adversely affect motivation to change behaviour. Money may be useful in encouraging high risk individuals to participate in and complete counselling or other public health interventions.
Few studies have investigated the effect of small unconditional non-monetary incentives on survey response rates amongst GPs or medical practitioners. This study assessed the effectiveness of offering a small unconditional non-financial incentive to increase survey response rates amongst general practitioners within a randomised controlled trial (RCT).
An RCT was conducted within a general practice survey that investigated how to prolong working lives amongst ageing GPs in Australia. GPs (n = 125) were randomised to receive an attractive pen or no pen during their first invitation for participation in a survey. GPs could elect to complete the survey online or via mail. Two follow up reminders were sent without a pen to both groups. The main outcome measure was response rates.
The response rate for GPs who received a pen was higher in the intervention group (61.9%) compared to the control group (46.8%). This study did not find a statistically significant effect of a small unconditional non-financial incentive (in the form of a pen) on survey response rates amongst GPs (Odds ratio, 95% confidence interval: 1.85 (0.91 to 3.77). No GPs completed the online version.
A small unconditional non-financial incentives, in the form of a pen, may improve response rates for GPs.
Surveys; Randomized controlled trial; Response rate; Family physician; Questionnaire; Incentives; Employment; Online
Postal questionnaires are an economical and simple method of data collection for research purposes but are subject to non-response bias. Several studies have explored the effect of monetary and non-monetary incentives on response. Recent meta-analyses conclude that financial incentives are an effective way of increasing response rates. However, large surveys rarely have the resources to reward individual participants. Three previous papers report on the effectiveness of lottery incentives with contradictory results. This study aimed to determine the effect of including a lottery-style incentive on response rates to a postal health survey.
Randomised controlled trial. Setting: North and West Birmingham. 8,645 patients aged 18 or over randomly selected from registers of eight general practices (family physician practices). Intervention: Inclusion of a flyer and letter with a health questionnaire informing patients that returned questionnaires would be entered into a lottery-style draw for £100 of gift vouchers. Control: Health questionnaire accompanied only by standard letter of explanation. Main outcome measures: Response rate and completion rate to questionnaire.
5,209 individuals responded with identical rates in both groups (62.1%). Practice, patient age, sex and Townsend score (a postcode based deprivation measure) were identified as predictive of response, with higher response related to older age, being female and living in an area with a lower Townsend score (less deprived).
This RCT, using a large community based sample, found that the offer of entry into a lottery style draw for £100 of High Street vouchers has no effect on response rates to a postal health questionnaire.
This paper reviews the ethical controversy concerning the use of monetary incentives in health promotion, focussing specifically on the arguments relating to the impact on personal autonomy of such incentives.
Offering people small amounts of money in the context of health promotion and medical care has been attempted in a number of settings in recent years. This use of personal financial incentives has attracted a degree of ethical controversy. One form of criticism is that such schemes interfere with the autonomy of the patient or citizen in an illegitimate way.
This paper presents a thematic analysis of the main arguments concerning personal autonomy and the use of monetary incentives in behaviour change.
The main moral objections to the uses of incentives are that they may be in general or in specific instances paternalistic, coercive, involve bribery, or undermine the agency of the person.
While incentive schemes may engage these problems on occasion, there is no good reason to think that they do so inherently and of necessity. We need better behavioural science evidence to understand how incentives work, in order to evaluate their moral effects in practice.
health promotion; personal financial incentives
Financial incentives have been used for many years internationally to improve quality of care in general practice. The aim of this pilot study was to determine if offering general practitioners (GP) a small incentive payment per test would increase chlamydia testing in women aged 16 to 24 years, attending general practice.
General practice clinics (n = 12) across Victoria, Australia, were cluster randomized to receive either a $AUD5 payment per chlamydia test or no payment for testing 16 to 24 year old women for chlamydia. Data were collected on the number of chlamydia tests and patient consultations undertaken by each GP over two time periods: 12 month pre-trial and 6 month trial period. The impact of the intervention was assessed using a mixed effects logistic regression model, accommodating for clustering at GP level.
Testing increased from 6.2% (95% CI: 4.2, 8.4) to 8.8% (95% CI: 4.8, 13.0) (p = 0.1) in the control group and from 11.5% (95% CI: 4.6, 18.5) to 13.4% (95% CI: 9.5, 17.5) (p = 0.4) in the intervention group. Overall, the intervention did not result in a significant increase in chlamydia testing in general practice. The odds ratio for an increase in testing in the intervention group compared to the control group was 0.9 (95% CI: 0.6, 1.2). Major barriers to increased chlamydia testing reported by GPs included a lack of time, difficulty in remembering to offer testing and a lack of patient awareness around testing.
A small financial incentive alone did not increase chlamydia testing among young women attending general practice. It is possible small incentive payments in conjunction with reminder and feedback systems may be effective, as may higher financial incentive payments. Further research is required to determine if financial incentives can increase testing in Australian general practice, the type and level of financial scheme required and whether incentives needs to be part of a multi-faceted package.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry ACTRN12608000499381.
Postal questionnaires are widely used to collect data in healthcare research but a poor response rate may reduce the validity and reliability of results. There was a lack of evidence available relating to use of a monetary incentive to improve the response rate in the healthcare setting.
The MRC ORACLE Children Study is assessing the health and development of nearly 9000 seven year old children whose mothers' joined the MRC ORACLE Trial. We carried out a randomised controlled trial of inclusion of monetary incentive (five pound voucher redeemable at many high street stores) with the reminder questionnaire to parents. This trial took place between April 2002 and November 2003. When the parents were sent the reminder questionnaire about their child's health and development they were randomly assigned by concealed computer-generated allocation stratified by week of birthday to receive a five pound voucher or no incentive. The population were 722 non-responders to the initial mailing of a 12-page questionnaire. Main outcome measures: Difference in response rate between the two groups.
Inclusion of the voucher with the reminder questionnaire resulted in a 11.7%(95% CI 4.7% to 18.6%) improvement in the response rate between the two groups.
This improvement in response rate and hence the validity and reliability of results obtained appears to be justified ethically and financially.
Previous research suggests that lifestyle intervention for the prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) are effective, however little is known about factors affecting participation in such programs. This study aims to explore factors influencing levels of participation in a lifestyle modification program conducted as part of a cluster randomized controlled trial of CVD prevention in primary care.
This concurrent mixed methods study used data from the intervention arm of a cluster RCT which recruited 30 practices through two rural and three urban primary care organizations. Practices were randomly allocated to intervention (n = 16) and control (n = 14) groups. In each practice up to 160 eligible patients aged between 40 and 64 years old, were invited to participate. Intervention practice staff were trained in lifestyle assessment and counseling and referred high risk patients to a lifestyle modification program (LMP) consisting of two individual and six group sessions over a nine month period. Data included a patient survey, clinical audit, practice survey on capacity for preventive care, referral and attendance records at the LMP and qualitative interviews with Intervention Officers facilitating the LMP. Multi-level logistic regression modelling was used to examine independent predictors of attendance at the LMP, supplemented with qualitative data from interviews with Intervention Officers facilitating the program.
A total of 197 individuals were referred to the LMP (63% of those eligible). Over a third of patients (36.5%) referred to the LMP did not attend any sessions, with 59.4% attending at least half of the planned sessions. The only independent predictors of attendance at the program were employment status - not working (OR: 2.39 95% CI 1.15-4.94) and having high psychological distress (OR: 2.17 95% CI: 1.10-4.30). Qualitative data revealed that physical access to the program was a barrier, while GP/practice endorsement of the program and flexibility in program delivery facilitated attendance.
Barriers to attendance at a LMP for CVD prevention related mainly to external factors including work commitments and poor physical access to the programs rather than an individuals’ health risk profile or readiness to change. Improving physical access and offering flexibility in program delivery may enhance future attendance. Finally, associations between psychological distress and attendance rates warrant further investigation.
Preventive health care; Lifestyle modification; Attendance rates; Reach; Primary care; Family practice; Chronic disease prevention
We evaluated the relative impact of four procedures designed to encourage parents to obtain immunizations for their children. In a public health setting, the families of 1,133 immunization-deficient preschool children were randomly assigned to six conditions: (a) a general prompt; (b) a more client-specific prompt; (c) a specific prompt and increased public health clinic access; (d) a specific prompt and monetary incentives; (e) contact control; and (f) no contact control. All interventions, except the general prompt, produced some evidence of improvement when compared with the control groups. The monetary incentive group revealed the largest effect, followed by the increased access group, specific prompt group, and general prompt group, respectively. The data suggest that relatively powerful and immediate effects on preschoolers' clinic attendance for immunization may be produced by monetary incentives in conjunction with client-specific prompts. However, client-specific prompts alone appear to be the most cost-effective of the interventions.
Poor response rates to postal questionnaires can introduce bias and reduce the statistical power of a study. To improve response rates in our trial in primary care we tested the effect of introducing an unconditional direct payment of £5 for the completion of postal questionnaires.
We recruited patients in general practice with knee problems from sites across the United Kingdom. An evidence-based strategy was used to follow-up patients at twelve months with postal questionnaires. This included an unconditional direct payment of £5 to patients for the completion and return of questionnaires. The first 105 patients did not receive the £5 incentive, but the subsequent 442 patients did. We used logistic regression to analyse the effect of introducing a monetary incentive to increase the response to postal questionnaires.
The response rate following reminders for the historical controls was 78.1% (82 of 105) compared with 88.0% (389 of 442) for those patients who received the £5 payment (diff = 9.9%, 95% CI 2.3% to 19.1%). Direct payments significantly increased the odds of response (adjusted odds ratio = 2.2, 95% CI 1.2 to 4.0, P = 0.009) with only 12 of 442 patients declining the payment. The incentive did not save costs to the trial – the extra cost per additional respondent was almost £50.
The direct payment of £5 significantly increased the completion of postal questionnaires at negligible increase in cost for an adequately powered study.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is largely preventable and prevention expenditures are relatively low. The randomised controlled SPRING-trial (SPRING-RCT) shows that cardiovascular risk management by practice nurses in general practice with and without self-monitoring both decreases cardiovascular risk, with no additional effect of self-monitoring. For considering future approaches of cardiovascular risk reduction, cost effectiveness analyses of regular care and additional self-monitoring are performed from a societal perspective on data from the SPRING-RCT.
Direct medical and productivity costs are analysed alongside the SPRING-RCT, studying 179 participants (men aged 50–75 years, women aged 55–75 years), with an elevated cardiovascular risk, in 20 general practices in the Netherlands. Standard cardiovascular treatment according to Dutch guidelines is compared with additional counselling based on self-monitoring at home (pedometer, weighing scale and/ or blood pressure device) both by trained practice nurses. Cost-effectiveness is evaluated for both treatment groups and patient categories (age, sex, education).
Costs are €98 and €187 per percentage decrease in 10-year cardiovascular mortality estimation, for the control and intervention group respectively. In both groups lost productivity causes the majority of the costs. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio is approximately €1100 (95% CI: -5157 to 6150). Self-monitoring may be cost effective for females and higher educated participants, however confidence intervals are wide.
In this study population, regular treatment is more cost effective than counselling based on self-monitoring, with the majority of costs caused by lost productivity.
Trialregister.nl identifier: http://NTR2188
Cost-effectiveness; Arteriosclerosis; Cardiovascular diseases; Primary health care; Prevention and control; Self-management
Challenges remain in translating the well-established evidence for management of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk into clinical practice. Although electronic clinical decision support (CDS) systems are known to improve practitioner performance, their development in Australian primary health care settings is limited.
Study aims were to (1) develop a valid CDS tool that assists Australian general practitioners (GPs) in global CVD risk management, and (2) preliminarily evaluate its acceptability to GPs as a point-of-care resource for both general and underserved populations.
CVD risk estimation (based on Framingham algorithms) and risk-based management advice (using recommendations from six Australian guidelines) were programmed into a software package. Tool validation: Data from 137 patients attending a physician’s clinic were analyzed to compare the tool’s risk scores with those obtained from an independently programmed algorithm in a separate statistics package. The tool’s management advice was compared with a physician’s recommendations based on a manual review of the guidelines. Field test: The tool was then tested with 21 GPs from eight general practices and three Aboriginal Medical Services. Customized CDS-based recommendations were generated for 200 routinely attending patients (33% Aboriginal) using information extracted from the health record by a research assistant. GPs reviewed these recommendations during each consultation. Changes in CVD risk factor measurement and management were recorded. In-depth interviews with GPs were conducted.
Validation testing: The tool’s risk assessment algorithm correlated very highly with the independently programmed version in the separate statistics package (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.999). For management advice, there were only two cases of disagreement between the tool and the physician. Field test: GPs found 77% (153/200) of patient outputs easy to understand and agreed with screening and prescribing recommendations in 72% and 64% of outputs, respectively; 26% of patients had their CVD risk factor history updated; 73% had at least one CVD risk factor measured or tests ordered. For people assessed at high CVD risk (n = 82), 10% and 9%, respectively, had lipid-lowering and BP-lowering medications commenced or dose adjustments made, while 7% newly commenced anti-platelet medications. Three key qualitative findings emerged: (1) GPs found the tool enabled a systematic approach to care; (2) the tool greatly influenced CVD risk communication; (3) successful implementation into routine care would require integration with practice software, minimal data entry, regular revision with updated guidelines, and a self-auditing feature. There were no substantive differences in study findings for Aboriginal Medical Services GPs, and the tool was generally considered appropriate for use with Aboriginal patients.
A fully-integrated, self-populating, and potentially Internet-based CDS tool could contribute to improved global CVD risk management in Australian primary health care. The findings from this study will inform a large-scale trial intervention.
Decision support systems; clinical; cardiovascular diseases; physicians, family; Aborigines, Australian
Hypertension is a common major risk factor for stroke and coronary heart disease. Little is known about how achievement of financially incentivised and non-incentivised indicators of quality of care varies with deprivation, or about the effect of financial incentives on health inequalities in hypertension. General practices in the UK have received financial incentives for high quality care since 2004. This study set out to assess the variations in achievement of incentivised and non-incentivised quality indicators for hypertension by patient area deprivation, before and after the introduction of financial incentives.
Achievement of 14 quality indicators for hypertension in 304 patient participants in 18 general practices in Norfolk, England was assessed one year before (2003) and one year after (2005) the introduction of financial incentives. Four indicators were incentivised and 10 were non-incentivised. Each participant's postcode was linked to an index of multiple deprivation score.
The range of achievement of incentivised quality indicators was 65-94% in the least deprived third of participants, and 77-94% in the most deprived third in 2003 and 2005 combined. For non-incentivised indicators, the range was 7-85% in the least deprived and 24-93% in the most deprived third.
Achievement of incentivised quality indicators in 2003 and 2005 combined did not vary significantly by area deprivation. Achievement of three of 10 non-incentivised indicators was higher in participants from more deprived postcode areas: providing lifestyle advice (odds ratio 1.34, 95% confidence interval 1.00-1.79), assessment of peripheral vascular disease (1.54, 1.02-2.35) and electrocardiography (1.38, 1.04-1.82).
Participants from more deprived areas received at least the same, and sometimes better, quality of care than those from less deprived areas. Quality of care for hypertension in general practice may not follow the inequitable distribution seen with some other conditions.
Hypertension; Inequalities; Primary Health Care; Quality Indicators
Recruitment and retention of patients and healthcare providers in randomised controlled trials (RCTs) is important in order to determine the effectiveness of interventions. However, failure to achieve recruitment targets is common and reasons why a particular recruitment strategy works for one study and not another remain unclear. We sought to describe a strategy used in a multicentre RCT in primary care, to report researchers' and participants' experiences of its implementation and to inform future strategies to maximise recruitment and retention.
In total 48 general practices and 903 patients were recruited from three different areas of Ireland to a RCT of an intervention designed to optimise secondary prevention of coronary heart disease. The recruitment process involved telephoning practices, posting information, visiting practices, identifying potential participants, posting invitations and obtaining consent. Retention involved patients attending reviews and responding to questionnaires and practices facilitating data collection.
We achieved high retention rates for practices (100%) and for patients (85%) over an 18-month intervention period. Pilot work, knowledge of the setting, awareness of change in staff and organisation amongst participant sites, rapid responses to queries and acknowledgement of practitioners' contributions were identified as being important. Minor variations in protocol and research support helped to meet varied, complex and changing individual needs of practitioners and patients and encouraged retention in the trial. A collaborative relationship between researcher and practice staff which required time to develop was perceived as vital for both recruitment and retention.
Recruiting and retaining the numbers of practices and patients estimated as required to provide findings with adequate power contributes to increased confidence in the validity and generalisability of RCT results. A continuous dynamic process of monitoring progress within trials and tailoring strategies to particular circumstances, whilst not compromising trial protocols, should allow maximal recruitment and retention.
Research literature consistently documents that scientifically based therapeutic recommendations are not always followed in the hospital or in the primary care setting. Currently, there is evidence that some general practitioners in Australia are not prescribing appropriately for patients diagnosed with 1) hypertension (HT) and 2) chronic heart failure (CHF). The objectives of this study were to improve general practitioner’s drug treatment management of these patients through feedback on their own prescribing and small group discussions with peers and a trained group facilitator. The impact evaluation includes quantitative assessment of prescribing changes at 6, 9, 12 and 18 months after the intervention.
A pragmatic multi site cluster RCT began recruiting practices in October 2009 to evaluate the effects of a multi-faceted quality improvement (QI) intervention on prescribing practice among Australian general practitioners (GP) in relation to patients with CHF and HT. General practices were recruited nationally through General Practice Networks across Australia. Participating practices were randomly allocated to one of three groups: two groups received the QI intervention (the prescribing indicator feedback reports and small group discussion) with each group undertaking the clinical topics (CHF and HT) in reverse order to the other. The third group was waitlisted to receive the intervention 6 months later and acted as a “control” for the other two groups.
De-identified data on practice, doctor and patient characteristics and their treatment for CHF and HT are extracted at six-monthly intervals before and after the intervention. Post-test comparisons will be conducted between the intervention and control arms using intention to treat analysis and models that account for clustering of practices in a Network and clustering of patients within practices and GPs.
This paper describes the study protocol for a project that will contribute to the development of acceptable and sustainable methods to promote QI activities within routine general practice, enhance prescribing practices and improve patient outcomes in the context of CHF and HT. Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR), Trial # 320870.
There are significant gaps in the implementation and uptake of evidence-based guideline recommendations for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes in Australian general practice. This study protocol describes the methodology for a cluster randomised trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a model that aims to improve the implementation of these guidelines in Australian general practice developed by a collaboration between researchers, non-government organisations, and the profession.
We hypothesise that the intervention will alter the behaviour of clinicians and patients resulting in improvements of recording of lifestyle and physiological risk factors (by 20%) and increased adherence to guideline recommendations for: the management of CVD and diabetes risk factors (by 20%); and lifestyle and physiological risk factors of patients at risk (by 5%). Thirty-two general practices will be randomised in a 1:1 allocation to receive either the intervention or continue with usual care, after stratification by state. The intervention will be delivered through: small group education; audit of patient records to determine preventive care; and practice facilitation visits adapted to the needs of the practices. Outcome data will be extracted from electronic medical records and patient questionnaires, and qualitative evaluation from provider and patient interviews.
We plan to disseminate study findings widely and directly inform implementation strategies by governments, professional bodies, and non-government organisations including the partner organisations.
Primary care; Family medicine; Guidelines; Preventive care; Cardiovascular disease
Sending a monetary incentive with postal questionnaires has been found to improve the proportion of responders, in research in non-healthcare settings. However, there is little research on use of incentives to improve follow-up rates in clinical trials, and existing studies are inconclusive. We conducted a randomised trial among participants in the Managing Injuries of the Neck Trial (MINT) to investigate the effects on the proportion of questionnaires returned and overall non-response of sending a £5 gift voucher with a follow-up questionnaire.
Participants in MINT were randomised to receive either: (a) a £5 gift voucher (incentive group) or (b) no gift voucher (no incentive group), with their 4 month or 8 month follow-up questionnaire. We recorded, for each group, the number of questionnaires returned, the number returned without any chasing from the study office, the overall number of non-responders (after all chasing efforts by the study office), and the costs of following up each group.
2144 participants were randomised, 1070 to the incentive group and 1074 to the no incentive group. The proportion of questionnaires returned (RR 1.10 (95% CI 1.05, 1.16)) and the proportion returned without chasing (RR 1.14 (95% CI 1.05, 1.24) were higher in the incentive group, and the overall non-response rate was lower (RR 0.68 (95% CI 0.53, 0.87)). Adjustment for injury severity and hospital of recruitment to MINT made no difference to these results, and there were no differences in results between the 4-month and 8-month follow up questionnaires. Analysis of costs suggested a cost of £67.29 per additional questionnaire returned.
Monetary incentives may be an effective way to increase the proportion of postal questionnaires returned and minimise loss to follow-up in clinical trials.
Trial registration number
There is a need to find innovative approaches for translating best practices for chronic disease care into daily primary care practice routines. Primary care plays a crucial role in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease. There is, however, a substantive care gap, and many challenges exist in implementing evidence-based care. The Improved Delivery of Cardiovascular Care (IDOCC) project is a pragmatic trial designed to improve the delivery of evidence-based care for the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease in primary care practices using practice outreach facilitation.
The IDOCC project is a stepped-wedge cluster randomized control trial in which Practice Outreach Facilitators work with primary care practices to improve cardiovascular disease prevention and management for patients at highest risk. Primary care practices in a large health region in Eastern Ontario, Canada, were eligible to participate. The intervention consists of regular monthly meetings with the Practice Outreach Facilitator over a one- to two-year period. Starting with audit and feedback, consensus building, and goal setting, the practices are supported in changing practice behavior by incorporating chronic care model elements. These elements include (a) evidence-based decision support for providers, (b) delivery system redesign for practices, (c) enhanced self-management support tools provided to practices to help them engage patients, and (d) increased community resource linkages for practices to enhance referral of patients. The primary outcome is a composite score measured at the level of the patient to represent each practice's adherence to evidence-based guidelines for cardiovascular care. Qualitative analysis of the Practice Outreach Facilitators' written narratives of their ongoing practice interactions will be done. These textual analyses will add further insight into understanding critical factors impacting project implementation.
This pragmatic, stepped-wedge randomized controlled trial with both quantitative and process evaluations demonstrates innovative methods of implementing large-scale quality improvement and evidence-based approaches to care delivery. This is the first Canadian study to examine the impact of a large-scale multifaceted cardiovascular quality-improvement program in primary care. It is anticipated that through the evaluation of IDOCC, we will demonstrate an effective, practical, and sustainable means of improving the cardiovascular health of patients across Canada.
Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of startle is greater for attended compared to ignored prestimuli, and, consistent with theories of motivated attention, initial evidence suggests that this effect is greater among participants given performance-based incentives. The present study examined a within-subjects incentive manipulation. Participants (n = 41) completed two blocks of a tone discrimination task. During the incentive block, participants received trialwise feedback with small monetary incentives for task performance. Startle eyeblink EMG responses to auditory probes were assessed at 60-, 120-, and 180-ms tone-probe stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs). As predicted, PPI was enhanced during attended compared to ignored prestimuli only at the 120-ms SOA in the incentive condition. There was no evidence of attentional modification in the no-incentive condition. These data suggest that attentional modification of PPI is sensitive to within-subjects manipulations of incentive, providing a useful tool for testing models of motivated attention in psychopathology and psychopharmacology.
Attention; Startle reflex; Prepulse inhibition; Incentive; Motivation
Maximizing response rates is critically important in order to provide the most generalizable and unbiased research results. High response rates reduce the chance of respondents being systematically different from non-respondents, and thus, reduce the risk of results not truly reflecting the study population. Monetary incentives are often used to improve response rates, but little is known about whether larger incentives improve response rates in those who previously have been unenthusiastic about participating in research. In this study we compared the response rates and cost-effectiveness of a $5 versus $2 monetary incentive accompanying a short survey mailed to patients who did not respond or refused to participate in research study with a face-to-face survey.
1,328 non-responders were randomly assigned to receive $5 or $2 and a short, 10-question survey by mail. Reminder postcards were sent to everyone; those not returning the survey were sent a second survey without incentive. Overall response rates, response rates by incentive condition, and odds of responding to the larger incentive were calculated. Total costs (materials, postage, and labor) and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were also calculated and compared by incentive condition.
After the first mailing, the response rate within the $5 group was significantly higher (57.8% vs. 47.7%, p < .001); after the second mailing, the difference narrowed by 80%, resulting in a non-significant difference in cumulative rates between the $5 and $2 groups (67.3% vs. 65.4%, respectively, p = .47). Regardless of incentive or number of contacts, respondents were significantly more likely to be male, white, married, and 50-75 years old. Total costs were higher with the larger versus smaller incentive ($13.77 versus $9.95 per completed survey).
A $5 incentive provides a significantly higher response rate than a $2 incentive if only one survey mailing is used but not if two survey mailings are used.
Cost-effectiveness; data collection; incremental cost-effectiveness ratios; financial incentives; response rate; non-response
Most patients attending urban STD clinics can benefit from workshops designed to promote sexual health and reduce sexual risk behaviors. However, many patients do not attend such workshops when invited. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of providing a financial incentive on attendance at a sexual risk reduction workshop tailored to patients at an urban STD clinic. A quasi-experimental design with two conditions (incentive vs. no incentive) was implemented sequentially with 107 STD clinic patients (58 men, 49 women; 69% African-American; mean = 27 years old) reporting risky sexual behavior. Attendance at a subsequent sexual risk reduction workshop served as the key outcome. Results indicated that participants who were provided with a $30 cash incentive were more likely to attend the risk reduction workshop (38%) than participants who were not offered an incentive (9%), χ2 (1, N = 107) = 12.88, p < .001. Additional analyses confirmed that incentive (AOR = 7.59, p < .001) predicted attendance even after controlling for other significant predictors, namely, employment status (AOR = 3.04, p < .05) and age (AOR = 1.07, p < .05). We conclude that financial incentives are an effective way to increase attendance at sexual risk reduction workshops for at-risk urban populations.
incentives; intervention; HIV prevention; STD; sexual behavior
A substantial part of cardiovascular disease prevention is delivered in primary care. Special attention should be paid to the assessment of cardiovascular risk factors. According to the Dutch guideline for cardiovascular risk management, the heavy workload of cardiovascular risk management for GPs could be shared with advanced practice nurses.
To investigate the clinical effectiveness of practice nurses acting as substitutes for GPs in cardiovascular risk management after 1 year of follow-up.
Design of study
Prospective pragmatic randomised trial.
Primary care in the south of the Netherlands. Six centres (25 GPs, six nurses) participated.
A total of 1626 potentially eligible patients at high risk for cardiovascular disease were randomised to a practice nurse group (n = 808) or a GP group (n = 818) in 2006. In total, 701 patients were included in the trial. The Dutch guideline for cardiovascular risk management was used as the protocol, with standardised techniques for risk assessment. Changes in the following risk factors after 1 year were measured: lipids, systolic blood pressure, and body mass index. In addition, patients in the GP group received a brief questionnaire.
A larger decrease in the mean level of risk factors was observed in the practice nurse group compared with the GP group. After controlling for confounders, only the larger decrease in total cholesterol in the practice nurse group was statistically significant (P = 0.01, two-sided).
Advanced practice nurses are achieving results, equal to or better than GPs for the management of risk factors. The findings of this study support the involvement of practice nurses in cardiovascular risk management in Dutch primary care.
cardiovascular diseases; general practice; general practitioners; prevention; primary care; risk factors
A pilot project cardiovascular prevention was implemented in Sandwell (West Midlands, UK). This used electronic primary care records to identify untreated patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease then invited these high risk patients for assessment by a nurse in their own general practice. Those found to be eligible for treatment were offered treatment. During the pilot a higher proportion of high risk patients were started on treatment in the intervention practices than in control practices. Following the apparent success of the prevention project, it was intended to extend the service to all practices across the Sandwell area. However the pilot project was not a robust evaluation. There was a need for an efficient evaluation that would not disrupt the planned rollout of the project.
Project nurses will sequentially implement targeted cardiovascular case finding in a phased way across all general practices, with the sequence of general practices determined randomly. This is a stepped wedge randomised controlled trial design. The target population is patients aged 35 to 74, without diabetes or cardiovascular disease whose ten-year cardiovascular risk, (determined from data in their electronic records) is ≥20%. The primary outcome is the number of high risk patients started on treatment, because these data could be efficiently obtained from electronic primary care records. From this we can determine the effects of the case finding programme on the proportion of high risk patients started on treatment in practices before and after implementation of targeted case finding. Cost-effectiveness will be modelled from the predicted effects of treatments on cardiovascular events and associated health service costs. Alongside the implementation it is intended to interview clinical staff and patients who participated in the programme in order to determine acceptability to patients and clinicians. Practical considerations meant that 26 practices in Sandwell could be randomised, including about 6,250 patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease. This gives sufficient power for evaluation.
It is possible to design a stepped wedge randomised controlled trial using routine data to determine the primary outcome to evaluate implementation of a cardiovascular prevention programme.
Statinsm; Cardiovascular diseases; Prevention; Risk factors; Cluster randomised controlled trial
Standardised electronic recording of cardiovascular risk factor data collected during primary care delivery could be used to create a new strategy, using an adaptive prediction model, for targeting primary prevention interventions at high-risk individuals. In the short term, this should progressively improve data quality and allow risk modification to be monitored at the population level. In the long term, feedback of data on cardiovascular disease development might enable the model to tailor the recommended interventions more appropriately to the needs of the individual and to adapt to future changes in risk patterns. Ultimately, the inclusion of additional cardiovascular risk factors might enable a richer, more realistic picture of cardiovascular risk profiles to be uncovered. This model may have wider uses in both research and practice, and provides a further incentive for the standardisation of record keeping in primary care.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of global mortality. Risk factor management in clinical practice often relies on relative risk modification rather than the more appropriate absolute risk assessment.
To determine whether patients receiving more-frequently designated GP visits had increased benefit in terms of their absolute CVD risk assessment, as compared with patients in receipt of their usual GP care.
Design and setting
Prospective, open, pragmatic block randomised study in a 1:1 group allocation ratio in three Western Australian general practices.
A convenience sample (n = 1200) of patients aged 40–80 years were randomised to 3-monthly GP visits (five in total for the intensive) or usual GP care (two in total for the opportunistic), with 12 months’ follow-up. The main outcome was absolute CVD risk scores based on the New Zealand Cardiovascular Risk Calculator. Others outcome measures were weight, height, waist circumference, blood pressure, and fasting blood lipids and glucose.
There were 600 patients per group at baseline. At 12 months’ analysis there were 543 in the intensive group and 569 in the opportunistic group. Mean (standard deviation [SD]) absolute CVD risk reduced significantly between baseline and 12 months in the intensive group (6.28% [5.11] to 6.10% [4.94]) but not in the opportunistic group (6.27% [5.10] to 6.24% [5.38]). There was a significant reduction between baseline and 12 months in mean (SD) total cholesterol (5.28 mmol/l [0.94] to 5.08 mmol/l [0.96]); low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (3.08 mmol/l [0.87] to 2.95 mmol/l [0.89]); triglyceride (1.45 mmol/l [0.86] to 1.36 mmol/l [0.84]); and in mean (SD) waist circumference in men (98.74 cm [10.70] to 97.13 cm [10.20]) and females (90.64 cm [14.62] to 88.96 cm [14.00]) in the intensive group.
A targeted approach using absolute risk calculators can be used in primary care to modify global CVD risk assessment.
cardiovascular diseases; general practice; general practitioners; primary care; primary prevention; risk factors