Patients are increasingly expected to become active, critical consumers in healthcare. They can use comparative healthcare information presented on websites to make informed choices for healthcare providers. However, the use of this information has been limited so far. An obstacle can be that the information is not perceived as relevant by patients. Presenting only the most important quality indicators might improve the usefulness of this information. The aim of this study was to explore which quality indicators different subgroups of patients find important when choosing a hospital for total hip arthroplasty (THA) or total knee arthroplasty (TKA).
In this explorative, cross-sectional study, questionnaires were distributed to 265 patients who underwent or had to undergo THA/TKA. Participants were asked to rank the importance of three types of quality indicators: patient experience indicators, clinical performance indicators, and indicators about hospital services. We used random effects regression analyses to assess the relative importance of the indicators in different subgroups of patients.
110 patients (response rate 41.5%) who underwent or had to undergo THA/TKA participated. Conduct of doctors, the presence of procedures to prevent adverse effects of thrombosis and information about the specialist area of orthopaedists were the most important patient experience indicator, clinical performance indicator and indicator about hospital services, respectively. We found a few differences between patient subgroups in the importance attached to the quality indicators.
This study provides a first insight into which quality indicators patients find important when choosing a hospital for THA/TKA, and shows that subgroups of patients differ in the value they attach to these indicators. More extended research is needed to establish the indicators that should at least be presented in succinct overviews of comparative healthcare information for patients choosing a hospital for THA/TKA.
Effective and efficient care is required to prevent the spread of infectious pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB). We attempted to compare care quality among different healthcare institutions in Southern Taiwan.
This study conducted population-based retrospective cohort design. One tuberculosis sanatorium, 2 medical centers, 11 regional hospitals, and 15 district hospitals and primary practitioners in the study area had reported tuberculosis cases, registered from January 1 to June 30 2003. Those cases with sputum positive PTB were followed 15 months after anti-tuberculosis treatment initiation. Meanwhile, Level of conformance with diagnostic guidelines, efficiency of diagnostic and treatment process, and treatment were measured as main outcome. Association was investigated using Chi-square tests, Kruskal Wallis tests, Mann-Whiteney U tests, and multiple logistic regression analysis to evaluate outcome differences among different levels of institutions.
The analyses included 421 patients. In comparison with patients receiving treatment at medical centers, regional hospitals, and district hospitals/primary practitioners, patients at the Chest Specialty Hospital were more likely to provide at least three sputum specimens (74.1% vs. 48.2%, 36.8%, and 50.0%), shorter workdays examining sputum smears (2.4 ± 2.4 days vs. 2.6 ± 2.1, 4.5 ± 3.1, and 3.5 ± 2.6 days), shorter interval between the first consultation and treatment (10.1 ± 18.3 days vs. 31.0 ± 53.6, 31.2 ± 70.4, and 25.4 ± 37.6 days), and a higher successful treatment rate (92.6% vs. 65.2%, 63.9%, and 68.0%). Furthermore, after adjusting age and gender, the patients treated by the pulmonologists and treated at Chest Specialty Hospital had significantly more successful treatment rate, of which odds ratios were 1.74 and 4.58 respectively.
Differences in care quality exist among different types of healthcare institutions and among individual physicians. The implementation of practice guidelines should contribute to an improvement in the care quality of the treatment and diagnosis of PTB.
The purpose of this study was to compare pre- and post-surgical healthcare costs in commercially insured total joint arthroplasty (TJA) patients with osteoarthritis (OA) in the United States (U.S.).
Using a large healthcare claims database, we identified patients over age 39 with hip or knee OA who underwent unilateral primary TJA (hip or knee) between 1/1/2006 and 9/30/2007. Utilization of healthcare services and costs were aggregated into three periods: 12 months "pre-surgery," 91 days "peri-operative," and 3 to 15 month "follow-up," Mean total pre-surgery costs were compared with follow-up costs using Wilcoxon signed-rank test.
14,912 patients met inclusion criteria for the study. The mean total number of outpatient visits declined from pre-surgery to follow-up (18.0 visits vs 17.1), while the percentage of patients hospitalized increased (from 7.5% to 9.8%) (both p < 0.01). Mean total costs during the follow-up period were 18% higher than during pre-surgery ($11,043 vs. $9,632, p < 0.01), largely due to an increase in the costs of inpatient care associated with hospital readmissions ($3,300 vs. $1,817, p < 0.01). Pharmacotherapy costs were similar for both periods ($2013 [follow-up] vs. $1922 [pre-surgery], p = 0.33); outpatient care costs were slightly lower in the follow-up period ($4338 vs. $4571, p < 0.01). Mean total costs for the peri-operative period were $36,553.
Mean total utilization of outpatient healthcare services declined slightly in the first year following TJA (exclusive of the peri-operative period), while mean total healthcare costs increased during the same time period, largely due to increased costs associated with hospital readmissions. Further study is necessary to determine whether healthcare costs decrease in subsequent years.
It is known that supplement use is a widespread and accepted practice by athletes and people who attend commercial gyms. Little is known about protein supplement amongst people undertaking strength training in commercial gyms in Italy when compared to the US.
The purpose of this study was to examine the use of protein supplementation, alone or in association with other supplements, and dietary behavior amongst regular fitness center attendees in Palermo, Italy.
Resistance training information have been collected from 800 regular fitness center attendees for the initial analysis. A specific questionnaire was generated for the experimentation. Data were collected using a face-to-face interview method. Supplement users were then compared to the non users and analyzed using a one-way ANOVA, Kruskall-Wallis, chi-square test or exact test of Fisher when appropriate.
30.1% of the respondents use dietary supplements during their training as a believe it is the "way to gain muscles and strength". Whey protein shakes (50.0%) mixed with creatine and amino-acids (48.3%) were the most frequent choices amongst the users. A majority of the subjects (34.0%) appeared to rely on their gym instructors' advice for their intake; a lower proportion (13.0%) consulted physicians, while none of them consulted nutritionists. A high consumption of milk has been noticed in both users (67,7%) and non-users (52,8%); supplement non-users consumed significantly more snacks and bakery products than users per week (P < 0.001), while users consumed significantly more protein-rich foods (P < 0.01) with a particular preference for meat (48.0%).
A considerable number of regular strength training adepts consume protein supplements mixed with other products (mainly creatine and amino-acids). Limited numbers consult "dietary specialists" and rely mainly on their instructors. We emphasize on the importance of the dissemination of scientifically based information about supplementation in this environment and the promotion of updated educational programs for the instructors.
To date, online public healthcare reports have not been effectively used by consumers. Therefore, we qualitatively examined how healthcare consumers process and evaluate comparative healthcare information on the Internet.
Using semi-structured cognitive interviews, interviewees (n = 20) were asked to think aloud and answer questions, as they were prompted with three Dutch web pages providing comparative healthcare information.
We identified twelve themes from consumers' thoughts and evaluations. These themes were categorized under four important areas of interest: (1) a response to the design; (2) a response to the information content; (3) the use of the information, and (4) the purpose of the information.
Several barriers to an effective use of comparative healthcare information were identified, such as too much information and the ambiguity of terms presented on websites. Particularly important for future research is the question of how comparative healthcare information can be integrated with alternative information, such as patient reviews on the Internet. Furthermore, the readability of quality of care concepts is an issue that needs further attention, both from websites and communication experts.
Many countries have introduced elements of managed competition in their healthcare system with the aim to accomplish more efficient and demand-driven health care. Simultaneously, generating and reporting of comparative healthcare information has become an important quality-improvement instrument. We examined whether the introduction of managed competition in the Dutch healthcare system along with public reporting of quality information was associated with performance improvement in health plans.
Experiences of consumers with their health plan were measured in four consecutive years (2005-2008) using the CQI® health plan instrument 'Experiences with Healthcare and Health Insurer'. Data were available of 13,819 respondents (response = 45%) of 30 health plans in 2005, of 8,266 respondents (response = 39%) of 32 health plans in 2006, of 8,088 respondents (response = 34%) of 32 health plans in 2007, and of 7,183 respondents (response = 31%) of 32 health plans in 2008. We performed multilevel regression analyses with three levels: respondent, health plan and year of measurement. Per year and per quality aspect, we estimated health plan means while adjusting for consumers' age, education and self-reported health status. We tested for linear and quadratic time effects using chi-squares.
The overall performance of health plans increased significantly from 2005 to 2008 on four quality aspects. For three other aspects, we found that the overall performance first declined and then increased from 2006 to 2008, but the performance in 2008 was not better than in 2005. The overall performance of health plans did not improve more often for quality aspects that were identified as important areas of improvement in the first year of measurement. On six out of seven aspects, the performance of health plans that scored below average in 2005 increased more than the performance of health plans that scored average and/or above average in that year.
We found mixed results concerning the effects of managed competition on the performance of health plans. To determine whether managed competition in the healthcare system leads to quality improvement in health plans, it is important to examine whether and for what reasons health plans initiate improvement efforts.
To examine and compare the factors causing long waiting lists for non-urgent surgery in public (Ministry of Health, military, and teaching) and private hospitals in the city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and to examine the relationship between the personal characteristics of the respondents (surgeons) and the surgery-delay experience.
Material and Methods:
The instrument used in this study was a self-administered questionnaire. Out of 500 distributed questionnaires 320 valid responses were returned. Data were collected from 14 public and private hospitals in Riyadh City. Frequencies and percentages; Mann-Whitney; Kruskall-Wallis one way ANOVA; Chi-square; Phi; and Cramers’ V tests were used in the statistical analysis..
Results show that seven factors were significantly important in causing long waiting lists. A significant difference with regard to the seriousness of this problem was found between the two types of hospitals.
This study shows that there is a significant difference in the seriousness of the problem between private and various types of public hospitals. Similar studies in different parts of the country are therefore recommended.
Non-urgent surgery; waiting lists; and private; MOH; military; and teaching hospitals
This paper describes both the use of and needs for informal caregivers of people with dementia, based on a questionnaire survey organized within the National Dementia Programme in the Netherlands. The National Dementia Programme is a quality collaborative of the Dutch Alzheimer's Association, the Institute of Quality of Healthcare (CBO) and the Knowledge Centre on Ageing (Vilans), instigated by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, to improve integrated care for people with dementia and their informal caregivers. The support needs of informal caregivers are important to improve caregiver well-being and delaying institutionalization of the person with dementia.
In the period April 2006 - January 2007, the National Dementia Programme questionnaire was completed by 984 informal caregivers. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the use of and needs for additional professional support by informal caregivers. Chi-square tests were used to assess the relationships between characteristics of the caregivers (spouses, sons/daughters, sons/daughters in-law) and support needs on one hand and to assess the relationship between the living situation of the person with dementia (living at home or living in a nursing home or home for the elderly) and support needs on the other hand.
Almost all informal caregivers (92.6%) received some professional support. However, two thirds (67.4%) indicated they had one or more needs for additional professional support. Informal caregivers often need additional professional advice about what to do when their relative is frightened, angry of confused. Spouses reported different needs than sons or daughters (in-law): spouses relatively often need emotional support and sons or daughters (in-law) more often need information and coordination of dementia care.
Most of the informal caregivers report that they need additional information and advice, e.g. about how to cope with behavioral problems of their relative, about the progression of the illness trajectory, emotional support and coordination of dementia care. Future support programmes, e.g. in the field of case management, should address the specific needs of informal caregivers.
Little information exists on work and stress related health of medical doctors in non-EU countries. Filling this knowledge gap is needed to uncover the needs of this target population and to provide information on comparability of health related phenomena such as burnout across countries. This study examined work related characteristics, work-home and home-work interference and burnout among Serbian primary healthcare physicians (PHPs) and compared burnout levels with other medical doctors in EU countries.
Data were collected via surveys which contained Maslach Burnout Inventory and other validated instruments measuring work and home related characteristics. The sample consisted of 373 PHPs working in 12 primary healthcare centres. Data were analysed using t-tests and Chi square tests.
No gender differences were detected on mean scores of variables among Serbian physicians, who experience high levels of personal accomplishment, workload, job control and social support, medium to high levels of emotional exhaustion, medium levels of depersonalisation and work-home interference, and low levels of home-work interference. There were more women than men who experienced low job control and high depersonalisation. Serbian physicians experienced significantly higher emotional exhaustion and lower depersonalisation than physicians in some other European countries.
To diminish excessive workload, the number of physicians working in primary healthcare centres in Serbia should be increased. Considering that differences between countries were detected on all burnout subcomponents, work-related interventions for employees should be country specific. The role of gender needs to be closely examined in future studies as well.
Burnout; Medical doctors; Gender differences; Work-Home and Home Work Interference; Job Characteristics
Background: Increasing efforts have been made to provide information to help consumers to select a healthcare provider, but the public release of hospital performance data has had only a limited impact on consumer choice.
Objectives: To understand the experience of consumers in searching for physician performance information and to investigate the potential impact on their propensity to change doctors if hypothetically provided with physician specific performance information.
Design: A nationwide telephone interview survey using a structured questionnaire.
Setting: The survey was conducted in Taiwan, a country with a universal health insurance programme where residents are free to choose between physicians for any medical consultation.
Participants: 4015 adults aged over 20 years contacted by random digit dialling telephone calls.
Main outcome measures: Subjects were asked (1) if they have ever compared the quality of care provided by physicians in their area; (2) if they would consult a performance report if it was available; and (3) if they would change doctors on the basis of information provided in the report.
Results: Approximately half the subjects had made comparisons between doctors; 73% stated that they would consult a performance report if it was available, and 77% were prepared to change doctors if their doctor performed badly in the report.
Conclusions: Providing physician specific performance reports to the public may be viewed favourably by consumers of health care and have a significant impact on physician selection and hence quality improvement.
Comparisons of patient experiences between providers are increasingly used as an index of performance. The present study describes the ability of patient experience surveys to discriminate between healthcare providers for various patient groups and quality aspects, and reports the sample sizes required for reliable (comparisons of) provider scores.
The consumer quality index is a family of surveys that are tailored to specific patient groups. Data was used from patients who underwent cataract surgery, patients who underwent hip or knee surgery, patients suffering from spinal disc herniation and patients suffering from varicose veins. Multi-level regression models were fitted to assess the proportion of variance in patient experiences that is attributable to providers for various quality aspects.
The proportion of variance in patient experiences that is attributable to providers varied from 0.001 to 0.054. The required sample size for reliable estimates at the provider level varied from 41 to 1967 per provider. Differences in discriminative power between patient groups and/or quality aspects were inconsistent, with one exception: for all groups, the discriminative power of experiences regarding change in physical functioning was particularly limited.
From a statistical point of view, the discriminative power appears limited. The sample sizes required for reliable estimates are often substantial and deserve careful consideration when setting up measurements. Future research should evaluate the discriminative power by validating differences between providers in patient experiences with other indices and should explore other, more sensitive measures of patient experiences regarding treatment-related changes in physical functioning.
Only a limited proportion of patients with psychiatric disorders attend the healthcare facilities, and that too when the condition becomes severe. Treatment from unqualified medical practitioners and faith healers is a common practice, and is attributable to the delay in proper treatment.
Materials and Methods:
A cross-sectional study was conducted to understand the pathway of care adopted by psychiatric patients and its relationship with the socio-demographic determinants in the study population. The subjects were selected from urban specialty psychiatric hospitals and interviewed using a pre-tested, semi-structured interview schedule. The data was analyzed using SPSS v10.0 software. The Chi square test, T test, and Kruskall Wallis Test were used, as needed.
A total of 295 patients (203 males) were included in this study. The majority of the patients (45%) were suffering from Bipolar affective disorders (45%), followed by schizophrenia (36%). The majority, 203 (68%), were from the rural area, with 94 patients being illiterate. The mean distance traveled for treatment was 249 km. The majority of these (69%) had first contacted faith healers and a qualified psychiatrist was the first contacted person for only 9.2% of the patients.
A large proportion of psychiatric patients do not attend any health facility due to a lack of awareness about treatment services, the distance, and due to the fear of the stigma associated with treatment. The psychiatric patients first seek the help of various sources prior to attending a psychiatric health facility. The pathway adopted by these patients need to be kept in mind at the time of preparation of the mental health program.
India; mental illnesses; pathway of care; psychiatry; social psychiatry
The primary objective of this study was to compare quality of life of disease-free patients after therapy for gynecologic malignancies at follow-up in comparison with healthy check-up patients. Our second objective was to assess correlation between demographic data, disease and treatment factors and quality of life scores.
Patients completed the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General (FACT-G) quality of life questionnaire at least 6 months after treatment for a gynecologic malignancy. Responses were compared to unmatched healthy women who were seen for standard gynecologic screening examinations. Statistical calculation was done using chi-squared tests, Wilcoxon rank-sum, and Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis and Spearman rank correlations. Factors associated with FACT-G scores were evaluated using univariate and multivariate analyses.
Eight hundred and seventy patients were recruited. The median time since therapy was 61 months (range, 6 to 173 months). The overall FACT-G scores were higher in the patient group than in the healthy group (p<0.05). The scores of each subscale measuring physical, functional, social/family and emotional well-being were also higher in the patient group (p<0.05). Multivariate analysis revealed correlation between Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status, educational level, care giver, presence of economic problems and FACT-G scores.
The quality of life scores were higher in gynecologic cancer patients after treatment. And the factors that associated with the higher score in the patient group are having husband as a caregiver, no financial problem, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group score 0 or 1 and having high school or higher education.
Quality of life; Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General; Gynecologic cancer
Rapidly emerging technologies make it possible for consumers to acquire information that is intended to explain their inherited susceptibility to disease and facilitate tailored healthcare services through direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing of personal genetic (PG) and personal genomic (PGM) testing. However, the health benefits and risks associated with these technologies are largely unknown. Consumers will turn to their healthcare providers, including nurse practitioners, to interpret test results and seek guidance on how to use these test results for medical decision-making. Nurse practitioners will need to constantly update their practice skills in response to advances in genomic technology that create new expectations among patients and lead to substantial changes in healthcare delivery.
direct-to-consumer marketing; nurse practitioner; personal genetic testing; personal genomic testing
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the predictive accuracy of the Diagnostic Cost Group (DCG) model using health survey information. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: Longitudinal data collected for a sample of members of a Dutch sickness fund. In the Netherlands the sickness funds provide compulsory health insurance coverage for the 60 percent of the population in the lowest income brackets. STUDY DESIGN: A demographic model and DCG capitation models are estimated by means of ordinary least squares, with an individual's annual healthcare expenditures in 1994 as the dependent variable. For subgroups based on health survey information, costs predicted by the models are compared with actual costs. Using stepwise regression procedures a subset of relevant survey variables that could improve the predictive accuracy of the three-year DCG model was identified. Capitation models were extended with these variables. DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS: For the empirical analysis, panel data of sickness fund members were used that contained demographic information, annual healthcare expenditures, and diagnostic information from hospitalizations for each member. In 1993, a mailed health survey was conducted among a random sample of 15,000 persons in the panel data set, with a 70 percent response rate. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The predictive accuracy of the demographic model improves when it is extended with diagnostic information from prior hospitalizations (DCGs). A subset of survey variables further improves the predictive accuracy of the DCG capitation models. The predictable profits and losses based on survey information for the DCG models are smaller than for the demographic model. Most persons with predictable losses based on health survey information were not hospitalized in the preceding year. CONCLUSIONS: The use of diagnostic information from prior hospitalizations is a promising option for improving the demographic capitation payment formula. This study suggests that diagnostic information from outpatient utilization is complementary to DCGs in predicting future costs.
How companies deal with complaints is a particularly challenging aspect in managing the quality of their service. In this study we test the direct and relative effects of service quality dimensions on consumer complaint satisfaction evaluations and trust in a company in the Dutch health insurance market.
A cross-sectional survey design was used. Survey data of 150 members of a Dutch insurance panel who lodged a complaint at their healthcare insurer within the past 12 months were surveyed. The data were collected using a questionnaire containing validated multi-item measures. These measures assess the service quality dimensions consisting of functional quality and technical quality and consumer complaint satisfaction evaluations consisting of complaint satisfaction and overall satisfaction with the company after complaint handling. Respondents' trust in a company after complaint handling was also measured. Using factor analysis, reliability and validity of the measures were assessed. Regression analysis was used to examine the relationships between these variables.
Overall, results confirm the hypothesized direct and relative effects between the service quality dimensions and consumer complaint satisfaction evaluations and trust in the company. No support was found for the effect of technical quality on overall satisfaction with the company. This outcome might be driven by the context of our study; namely, consumers get in touch with a company to resolve a specific problem and therefore might focus more on complaint satisfaction and less on overall satisfaction with the company.
Overall, the model we present is valid in the context of the Dutch health insurance market. Management is able to increase consumers' complaint satisfaction, overall satisfaction with the company, and trust in the company by improving elements of functional and technical quality. Furthermore, we show that functional and technical quality do not influence consumer satisfaction evaluations and trust in the company to the same extent. Therefore, it is important for managers to be aware of the type of consumer satisfaction they are measuring when evaluating the handling of complaints within their company.
The outcome of arthroscopic procedures is related to the surgeon’s skills in arthroscopy. Currently, evaluation of such skills relies on direct observation by a surgeon trainer. This type of assessment, by its nature, is subjective and time-consuming. The aim of our study was to identify whether haptic information generated from arthroscopic tools could distinguish between skilled and less skilled surgeons. A standard arthroscopic probe was fitted with a force/torque sensor. The probe was used by five surgeons with different levels of experience in knee arthroscopy performing 11 different tasks in 10 standard knee arthroscopies. The force/torque data from the hand and tool interface were recorded and synchronized with a video recording of the procedure. The torque magnitude and patterns generated were analyzed and compared. A computerized system was used to analyze the force/torque signature based on general principles for quality of performance using such measures as economy in movement, time efficiency, and consistency in performance. The results showed a considerable correlation between three haptic parameters and the surgeon’s experience, which could be used in an automated objective assessment system for arthroscopic surgery.
Level of Evidence: Level II, diagnostic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
Generic Medicines are an important policy option allowing for access to affordable, essential medicines. Quality of generic medicines must be guaranteed through the activities of national medicines regulatory authorities. Existing negative perceptions surrounding the quality of generic medicines must be addressed to ensure that people use them with confidence. Campaigns to increase the uptake of generic medicines by consumers and providers of healthcare need to be informed by local norms and practices. This study sought to compare South African consumers’ and healthcare providers’ perceptions of quality of generics to the actual quality of selected products.
The study was conducted at the local level in three cities of South Africa: Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Purposive sampling was used to recruit consumer participants (n = 73) and random sampling used to recruit healthcare providers from public and private sectors (n = 15). Data were obtained through twelve focus group discussions with consumers and semi-structured interviews (n = 15) with healthcare providers in order to gain familiarity with perceptions of quality. One hundred and thirty five products comprising paracetamol tablets (n = 47), amoxicillin capsules (n = 45) and hydrochlorothiazide tablets (n = 43) were sourced from public and private sector healthcare providers. These products were subjected to in vitro dissolution, uniformity of weight and identity (Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy) tests using prescribed methods from the British (2005) and United States Pharmacopeias (2006).
Respondents described drug quality in relation to the effect on symptoms. Procurement and use behavior of healthcare providers was influenced by prior experience, manufacturers’ names and consumers’ ability to pay. All formulations passed the in vitro tests for quality.
This study showed clear differences between perceptions of quality and actual quality of medicines suggesting deficiencies in public engagement by government regarding the implementation of generic medicines policy. Implementation of generic medicines policy requires the involvement of consumers and healthcare providers to specifically address their information gaps and needs.
Research comparing the frequency of musculoskeletal complaints between musicians and non-musicians is scarce. The aim of this study was to compare the prevalence of musculoskeletal complaints between musicians and non-musicians.
A cross-sectional study in 3215 students from three music academies (n = 345) and one medical school (n = 2870) in The Netherlands was performed, using an electronic questionnaire. The questionnaire included socio-demographic characteristics, use of music instruments and the occurrence of musculoskeletal complaints in six body regions. Questions were related to musculoskeletal complaints over the last twelve months and at the time of the questionnaire. Chi-square, t-tests and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used for comparison between the two groups. The association between musculoskeletal complaints and possible predictors was analyzed using a logistic and Poisson regression.
Eighty-seven music academy students and 503 medical students returned the questionnaire, of which respectively eighty-three and 494 were included in the study. Seventy-four music academy students (89.2%) reported one or more musculoskeletal complaints during the last twelve months, compared to 384 (77.9%) medical students (p = 0.019). Moreover 52 music academy students (62.7%) and 211 medical students (42.7%) reported current musculoskeletal complaints (p = 0.001). The Odds ratio (OR) for the development of musculoskeletal complaints during the last twelve months in music academy students versus medical students is 2.33 (95% CI 1.61–3.05, p = 0.022). The OR at the time of the questionnaire is 2.25 (95% CI 1.77–2.73, p = 0.001). The total number of complaints have been modeled by employing a Poisson regression; the results show that non-musicians have on average less complaints than musicians (p = 0.01). The adjusted means are 2.90 (95% CI 2.18–3.63) and 1.83 (95% CI 1.63–2.04) respectively for musicians and non-musicians. Regarding the localization of complaints, music academy students reported more complaints concerning the right hand, wrists, left elbow, shoulders, neck, jaw and mouth in contrast to medical students.
Musculoskeletal complaints are significantly more common among musicians compared to non-musicians, mainly due to a higher number of upper extremity complaints.
Musculoskeletal diseases; Epidemiology; Musicians; Occupational diseases; Prevalence; Upper extremity; Cumulative trauma disorders
Since previous studies suggest the emergency department (ED) misdiagnosis rate of heart failure is 10–20% we sought to describe the characteristics of ED patients misdiagnosed as non-decompensated heart failure in the ED.
We analyzed a prospective convenience sample of 439 patients at 4 emergency departments who presented with signs or symptoms of decompensated heart failure. Patients with a cardiology criterion standard diagnosis of decompensated heart failure and an ED diagnosis of decompensated heart failure were compared to patients with a criterion standard of decompensated heart failure but no ED diagnosis of decompensated heart failure. Two senior cardiology fellows retrospectively determined the patient's heart failure status during their acute ED presentation. The Mann-Whitney u-test for two groups, the Kruskall-Wallis test for multiple groups, or Chi-square tests, were used as appropriate.
There were 173 (39.4%) patients with a criterion standard diagnosis of decompensated heart failure. Among those with this criterion standard diagnosis of decompensated heart failure, discordant patients without an ED diagnosis of decompensated heart failure (n = 58) were more likely to have a history of COPD (p = 0.017), less likely to have a previous history of heart failure (p = 0.014), and less likely to have an elevated b-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) level (median 518 vs 764 pg/ml; p = 0.038) than those who were given a concordant ED diagnosis of decompensated heart failure. BNP levels were higher in those with a criterion standard diagnosis of decompensated heart failure than in those without a criterion standard diagnosis (median 657 vs 62.7 pg/ml). However, 34.6% of patients with decompensated heart failure had BNP levels in the normal (<100 pg/ml; 6.1%) or indeterminate range (100–500 pg/ml; 28.5%).
We found the ED diagnoses of decompensated heart failure to be discordant with the criterion standard in 14.3% of patients, the vast majority of which were due to a failure to diagnose heart failure when it was present. Patients with a previous history of COPD, without a previous history of heart failure and with lower BNP levels were more likely to have an ED misdiagnosis of non-decompensated heart failure. Readily available, accurate, objective ED tests are needed to improve the early diagnosis of decompensated heart failure in ED patients.
The purpose of this study was to examine the demographic and hospitalization characteristics of children hospitalized with lower extremity fractures in the United States in 2006.
Children aged 0 to 20 years with a diagnosis of lower extremity fracture in the 2006 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID) were included. Lower extremity fractures were defined by International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification codes 820-829 under “Injury and Poisoning (800-999).” Patient demographic and hospitalization-related data were analyzed by chi-square testing and unbalanced analysis of variance.
There were more boys than girls with lower extremity fractures and 53% had private insurance as their primary payer. About one half of the children were between the ages of 13 and 20 years, but all ages were represented from age 0 to 20. White children accounted for 56%. Urban hospitalizations accounted for 93% of cases and 66 percent of admissions were to teaching hospitals. All patients had an average length of stay (LOS) 4.04 days, and infant patients had the longest average LOS of 5.46 days. The average number of diagnoses per patient was 3.07, and the average number of procedures per patient was 2.21. The average charge per discharge was $35,236, and the oldest patients had the largest average charge of $41,907. The average number of comorbidities increased with increasing patient age. There was a 55.6% greater mortality risk in non-teaching hospitals than in teaching hospitals and there was at least ten times the mortality risk in rural hospitals than in urban hospitals.
This study provides an understanding of the demographic and hospitalization characteristics of children with lower extremity fractures in the United States in 2006. This information may be useful in implementing measures to help prevent similar injuries in the future. Further research is required to determine causality of the associations found including increased mortality risk for this population at rural and non-teaching hospitals.
Patients undergoing hip or knee replacement are at high risk of developing a postoperative venous thromboembolism even after discharge from hospital. We sought to identify hospital and patient characteristics associated with receiving thromboprophylaxis after discharge and to compare the risk of short-term mortality among those who did or did not receive thromboprophylaxis.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study using system-wide hospital discharge summary records, physician billing information, medication reimbursement claims and demographic records. We included patients aged 65 years and older who received a hip or knee replace ment and who were discharged home after surgery.
In total we included 10 744 patients. Of these, 7058 patients who received a hip replacement and 3686 who received a knee replacement. The mean age was 75.4 (standard deviation [SD] 6.8) years and 38% of patients were men. In total, 2059 (19%) patients received thomboprophylaxis at discharge. Patients discharged from university teaching hospitals were less likely than those discharged from community hospitals to received thromboprophylaxis after discharge (odds ratio [OR] 0.89, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.80–1.00). Patients were less likely to receive thromboprophylaxis after discharge if they had a longer hospital stay (15–30 days v. 1–7 days, OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.59–0.81). Patients were more likely to receive thromboprophylaxis if they had hip (v. knee) replacement, osteoarthritis, heart failure, atrial fibrillation or hypertension, higher (v. lower) income or if they were treated at medium-volume hospitals (69–116 hip and knee replacements per year). In total, 223 patients (2%) died in the 3-month period after discharge. The risk of short-term mortality was lower among those who received thromboprophylaxis after discharge (hazard ratio [HR] 0.34, 95% CI 0.20–0.57).
Fewer than 1 in 5 elderly patients discharged home after a hip-or knee-replacement surgery received postdischarge thromboprophylaxis. Those prescribed these medications had a lower risk of short-term mortality. The benefits of and barriers to thromboprophylaxis therapy after discharge in this population requires further study.
To identify the effect of competition on health maintenance organizations' (HMOs) quality measures.
Longitudinal analysis of a 5-year panel of the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) and Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Survey® (CAHPS) data (calendar years 1998–2002). All plans submitting data to the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) were included regardless of their decision to allow NCQA to disclose their results publicly.
NCQA, Interstudy, the Area Resource File, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Fixed-effects models were estimated that relate HMO competition to HMO quality controlling for an unmeasured, time-invariant plan, and market traits. Results are compared with estimates from models reliant on cross-sectional variation.
Estimates suggest that plan quality does not improve with increased levels of HMO competition (as measured by either the Herfindahl index or the number of HMOs). Similarly, increased HMO penetration is generally not associated with improved quality. Cross-sectional models tend to suggest an inverse relationship between competition and quality.
The strategies that promote competition among HMOs in the current market setting may not lead to improved HMO quality. It is possible that price competition dominates, with purchasers and consumers preferring lower premiums at the expense of improved quality, as measured by HEDIS and CAHPS. It is also possible that the fragmentation associated with competition hinders quality improvement.
HMOs; NCQA; HEDIS; CAHPS; managed care; quality; performance measurement; competition; markets
OBJECTIVE: To determine the impact of parity in mental health benefits on the marginal prices that consumers face for mental health treatment. DATA SOURCES/DATA COLLECTION: We used detailed information on health plan benefits for a nationally representative sample of the privately insured population under age 65 taken from the 1987 National Medical Expenditure Survey (Edwards and Berlin 1989). The survey was carefully aged and reweighted to represent 1995 population and coverage characteristics. STUDY DESIGN: We computed marginal out-of-pocket costs from the cost-sharing benefits described by policy booklets under current coverage and under parity for various mental health treatment expenditure levels using the MEDSIM health care microsimulation model developed by researchers at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Descriptive analyses and two-limit Tobit regression models are used to examine how insurance generosity varies across individuals by demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Our analyses are limited to a description of how parity would change the marginal incentives faced by consumers under their existing plan's cost-sharing arrangements for mental and physical health care. We do not attempt to simulate how parity might affect the level of benefits, including whether benefits are offered at all, or the level of managed care that affects the actual benefits that plan members receive. Rather, we focus only on the nominal benefits described in their policy booklets. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Our results show that as of 1995 parity coverage would substantially reduce the share of mental health expenditures that consumers would pay at the margin under their existing plan's cost-sharing provisions, with larger changes for outpatient care than for inpatient care. Because current mental health coverage generally becomes less generous as expenditures rise, while coverage for other medical care becomes more generous (due to stop-loss provisions), the difference in incentives between current mental health coverage and the assumed parity coverage widens as total expenditure grows. We also find that the impact of parity on marginal incentives would vary greatly across the privately insured population. CONCLUSIONS: Based on the large variation in the impact of parity on marginal incentives across the population under current plan cost-sharing arrangements, changes in the demand for mental health treatment will likely also vary across the population.
Health information exchange (HIE), the electronic transmission of patient medical information across healthcare institutions, is on the forefront of the national agenda for healthcare reform. As healthcare consumers are critical participants in HIE, understanding their attitudes toward HIE is essential.
To determine healthcare consumers’ attitudes toward physician and personal use of HIE, and factors associated with their attitudes.
Cross-sectional telephone survey.
English-speaking residents of the Hudson Valley of New York.
Consumer reported attitudes towards HIE.
Of 199 eligible residents contacted, 170 (85%) completed the survey: 67% supported physician HIE use and 58% reported interest in using HIE themselves. Multivariate analysis suggested supporters of physician HIE were more likely to be caregivers for chronically ill individuals (OR 4.6, 95% CI 1.06, 19.6), earn more than $100,000 yearly (OR 3.5, 95% CI 1.2, 10.0), and believe physician HIE would improve the privacy and security of their medical records (OR 2.9, 95% CI 1.05, 7.9). Respondents interested in using personal HIE were less likely to be female (OR 0.4, 95% CI 0.1, 0.98), and more likely to be frequent Internet-users (OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.03, 10.6), feel communication among their physicians was inadequate (OR 6.7, 95% CI 1.7, 25.3), and believe personal HIE use would improve communication with their physicians (OR 4.7, 95% CI 1.7, 12.8).
Consumer outreach to gain further support for ongoing personal and physician HIE efforts is needed and should address consumer security concerns and potential disparities in HIE acceptance and use.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-011-1733-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
consumers; health information exchange; personal health records; medical informatics; survey research