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1.  Professional Uncertainty and Disempowerment Responding to Ethnic Diversity in Health Care: A Qualitative Study 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(11):e323.
Background
While ethnic disparities in health and health care are increasing, evidence on how to enhance quality of care and reduce inequalities remains limited. Despite growth in the scope and application of guidelines on “cultural competence,” remarkably little is known about how practising health professionals experience and perceive their work with patients from diverse ethnic communities. Using cancer care as a clinical context, we aimed to explore this with a range of health professionals to inform interventions to enhance quality of care.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a qualitative study involving 18 focus groups with a purposeful sample of 106 health professionals of differing disciplines, in primary and secondary care settings, working with patient populations of varying ethnic diversity in the Midlands of the UK. Data were analysed by constant comparison and we undertook processes for validation of analysis. We found that, as they sought to offer appropriate care, health professionals wrestled with considerable uncertainty and apprehension in responding to the needs of patients of ethnicities different from their own. They emphasised their perceived ignorance about cultural difference and were anxious about being culturally inappropriate, causing affront, or appearing discriminatory or racist. Professionals' ability to think and act flexibly or creatively faltered. Although trying to do their best, professionals' uncertainty was disempowering, creating a disabling hesitancy and inertia in their practice. Most professionals sought and applied a knowledge-based cultural expertise approach to patients, though some identified the risk of engendering stereotypical expectations of patients. Professionals' uncertainty and disempowerment had the potential to perpetuate each other, to the detriment of patient care.
Conclusions
This study suggests potential mechanisms by which health professionals may inadvertently contribute to ethnic disparities in health care. It identifies critical opportunities to empower health professionals to respond more effectively. Interventions should help professionals acknowledge their uncertainty and its potential to create inertia in their practice. A shift away from a cultural expertise model toward a greater focus on each patient as an individual may help.
From a qualitative study, Joe Kai and colleagues have identified opportunities to empower health professionals to respond more effectively to challenges in their work with patients from diverse ethnic communities.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Communities are increasingly diverse in terms of ethnicity (belonging to a group of people defined by social characteristics such as cultural tradition or national origin) and race (belonging to a group identified by inherited physical characteristics). Although health professionals and governments are striving to ensure that everybody has the same access to health care, there is increasing evidence of ethnic inequalities in health-care outcomes. Some of these inequalities reflect intrinsic differences between groups of people—Ashkenazi Jews, for example, often carry an altered gene that increases their chance of developing aggressive breast cancer. Often, however, these differences reflect inequalities in the health care received by different ethnic groups. To improve this situation, “cultural competence” has been promoted over recent years. Cultural competence is the development of skills by individuals and organizations that allow them to work effectively with people from different cultures. Health professionals are now taught about ethnic differences in health beliefs and practices, religion, and communication styles to help them provide the best service to all their patients.
Why Was This Study Done?
Numerous guidelines aim to improve cultural competency but little is known about how health professionals experience and perceive their work with patients from diverse ethnic groups. Is their behavior influenced by ethnicity in ways that might contribute to health care disparities? For example, do doctors sometimes avoid medical examinations for fear of causing offence because of cultural differences? If more were known about how health professionals handle ethnic diversity (a term used here to include both ethnicity and race) it might be possible to reduce ethnic inequalities in health care. In this qualitative study, the researchers have explored how health professionals involved in cancer care are affected by working with ethnically diverse patients. A qualitative study is one that collects nonquantitative data such as how doctors “feel” about treating people of different ethnic backgrounds; a quantitative study might compare clinical outcomes in different ethnic groups.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers enrolled 106 doctors, nurses, and other health-related professionals from different health-service settings in the Midlands, an ethnically diverse region of the UK. They organized 18 focus groups in which the health professionals described their experiences of caring for people from ethnic minority backgrounds. The participants were encouraged to recall actual cases and to identify what they saw as problems and strengths in their interactions with these patients. The researchers found that the health professionals wrestled with many challenges when providing health care for patients from diverse ethnic backgrounds. These challenges included problems with language and with general communication (for example, deciding when it was acceptable to touch a patient to show empathy). Health professionals also worried they did not know enough about cultural differences. As a result, they said they often felt uncertain of their ability to avoid causing affront or appearing racist. This uncertainty, the researchers report, disempowered the health professionals, sometimes making them hesitate or fail to do what was best for their patient.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings reveal that health professionals often experience considerable uncertainty when caring for ethnically diverse patients, even after training in cultural competency. They also show that this uncertainty can lead to hesitancy and inertia, which might contribute to ethnic health care inequalities. Because the study participants were probably already interested in ethnic diversity and health care, interviews with other health professionals (and investigations of patient experiences) are needed to confirm these findings. Nevertheless, the researchers suggest several interventions that might reduce health care inequalities caused by ethnic diversity. For example, health professionals should be encouraged to recognize their uncertainty and should have access to more information and training about ethnic differences. In addition, there should be a shift in emphasis away from relying on knowledge-based cultural information towards taking an “ethnographic” approach. In other words, health professionals should be helped to feel able to ask their patients about what matters most to them as individuals about their illness and treatment.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040323.
Information on cultural competence and health care is available from the US National Center for Cultural Competence (in English and Spanish) and DiversityRx
PROCEED (Professionals Responding to Cancer in Ethnic Diversity) is a multimedia training tool for educators within the health and allied professions developed from the results of this study; a press release on PROCEED is available from the University of Nottingham
Transcultural Health Care Practice: An educational resource for nurses and health care practitioners is available on the web site of the UK Royal College of Nursing
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040323
PMCID: PMC2071935  PMID: 18001148
2.  Addressing implementation challenges during guideline development – a case study of Swedish national guidelines for methods of preventing disease 
Background
Many of the world’s life threatening diseases (e.g. cancer, heart disease, stroke) could be prevented by eliminating life-style habits such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use. Incorporating evidence-based research on methods to change unhealthy lifestyle habits in clinical practice would be equally valuable. However gaps between guideline development and implementation are well documented, with implications for health care quality, safety and effectiveness. The development phase of guidelines has been shown to be important both for the quality in guideline content and for the success of implementation. There are, however, indications that guidelines related to general disease prevention methods encounter specific barriers compared to guidelines that are diagnosis-specific. In 2011 the Swedish National board for Health and Welfare launched guidelines with a preventive scope. The aim of this study was to investigate how implementation challenges were addressed during the development process of these disease preventive guidelines.
Methods
Seven semi-structured interviews were conducted with members of the guideline development management group. Archival data detailing the guideline development process were also collected and used in the analysis. Qualitative data were analysed using content analysis as the analytical framework.
Results
The study identified several strategies and approaches that were used to address implementation challenges during guideline development. Four themes emerged from the analysis: broad agreements and consensus about scope and purpose; a formalized and structured development procedure; systematic and active involvement of stakeholders; and openness and transparency in the specific guideline development procedure. Additional factors concerning the scope of prevention and the work environment of guideline developers were perceived to influence the possibilities to address implementation issues.
Conclusions
This case study provides examples of how guideline developers perceive and approach the issue of implementation during the development and early launch of prevention guidelines. Models for guideline development could benefit from an initial assessment of how the guideline topic, its target context and stakeholders will affect the upcoming implementation.
doi:10.1186/s12913-014-0672-4
PMCID: PMC4308005  PMID: 25608684
Clinical practice guidelines; Development process; Evidence-based public health; Implementation; Disease prevention; Lifestyle change
3.  The Swedish duty hour enigma 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14(Suppl 1):S6.
Background
The Swedish resident duty hour limit is regulated by Swedish and European legal frameworks. With a maximum average of 40 working hours per week, the Swedish duty hour regulation is one of the most restrictive in the world. At the same time, the effects of resident duty hour limits have been neither debated nor researched in the Swedish context. As a result, little is known about the Swedish conceptual framework for resident duty hours, their restriction, or their outcomes: we call this “the Swedish duty hour enigma.” This situation poses a further question: How do Swedish residents themselves construct a conceptual framework for duty hour restrictions?
Methods
A case study was conducted at Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm – an urban, research-intensive hospital setting. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 34 residents currently in training in 6 specialties. The empirical data analysis relied on theoretical propositions and was conducted thematically using a pattern-matching technique. The interview guide was based on four main topics: the perceived effect of duty hour restrictions on (1) patient care, (2) resident education, (3) resident well-being, and (4) research.
Results
The residents did not perceive the volume of duty hours to be the main determinant of success or failure in the four contextual domains of patient care, resident education, resident well-being, and research. Instead, they emphasized resident well-being and a desire for flexibility.
Conclusions
According to Swedish residents’ conceptual framework on duty hours, the amount of time spent on duty is not a proxy for the quality of resident training. Instead, flexibility, organization, and scheduling of duty hours are considered to be the factors that have the greatest influence on resident well-being, quality of learning, and opportunities to attain the competence needed for independent practice.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-S1-S6
PMCID: PMC4304284  PMID: 25559074
4.  Effect of an Educational Toolkit on Quality of Care: A Pragmatic Cluster Randomized Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(2):e1001588.
In a pragmatic cluster-randomized trial, Baiju Shah and colleagues evaluated the effectiveness of printed educational materials for clinician education focusing on cardiovascular disease screening and risk reduction in people with diabetes.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Printed educational materials for clinician education are one of the most commonly used approaches for quality improvement. The objective of this pragmatic cluster randomized trial was to evaluate the effectiveness of an educational toolkit focusing on cardiovascular disease screening and risk reduction in people with diabetes.
Methods and Findings
All 933,789 people aged ≥40 years with diagnosed diabetes in Ontario, Canada were studied using population-level administrative databases, with additional clinical outcome data collected from a random sample of 1,592 high risk patients. Family practices were randomly assigned to receive the educational toolkit in June 2009 (intervention group) or May 2010 (control group). The primary outcome in the administrative data study, death or non-fatal myocardial infarction, occurred in 11,736 (2.5%) patients in the intervention group and 11,536 (2.5%) in the control group (p = 0.77). The primary outcome in the clinical data study, use of a statin, occurred in 700 (88.1%) patients in the intervention group and 725 (90.1%) in the control group (p = 0.26). Pre-specified secondary outcomes, including other clinical events, processes of care, and measures of risk factor control, were also not improved by the intervention. A limitation is the high baseline rate of statin prescribing in this population.
Conclusions
The educational toolkit did not improve quality of care or cardiovascular outcomes in a population with diabetes. Despite being relatively easy and inexpensive to implement, printed educational materials were not effective. The study highlights the need for a rigorous and scientifically based approach to the development, dissemination, and evaluation of quality improvement interventions.
Trial Registration
http://www.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01411865 and NCT01026688
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Clinical practice guidelines help health care providers deliver the best care to patients by combining all the evidence on disease management into specific recommendations for care. However, the implementation of evidence-based guidelines is often far from perfect. Take the example of diabetes. This common chronic disease, which is characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood, impairs the quality of life of patients and shortens life expectancy by increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases (conditions that affect the heart and circulation) and other life-threatening conditions. Patients need complex care to manage the multiple risk factors (high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high levels of fat in the blood) that are associated with the long-term complications of diabetes, and they need to be regularly screened and treated for these complications. Clinical practice guidelines for diabetes provide recommendations on screening and diagnosis, drug treatment, and cardiovascular disease risk reduction, and on helping patients self-manage their disease. Unfortunately, the care delivered to patients with diabetes frequently fails to meet the standards laid down in these guidelines.
Why Was This Study Done?
How can guideline adherence and the quality of care provided to patients be improved? A common approach is to send printed educational materials to clinicians. For example, when the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) updated its clinical practice guidelines in 2008, it mailed educational toolkits that contained brochures and other printed materials targeting key themes from the guidelines to family physicians. In this pragmatic cluster randomized trial, the researchers investigate the effect of the CDA educational toolkit that targeted cardiovascular disease screening and treatment on the quality of care of people with diabetes. A pragmatic trial asks whether an intervention works under real-life conditions and whether it works in terms that matter to the patient; a cluster randomized trial randomly assigns groups of people to receive alternative interventions and compares outcomes in the differently treated “clusters.”
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers randomly assigned family practices in Ontario, Canada to receive the educational toolkit in June 2009 (intervention group) or in May 2010 (control group). They examined outcomes between July 2009 and April 2010 in all patients with diabetes in Ontario aged over 40 years (933,789 people) using population-level administrative data. In Canada, administrative databases record the personal details of people registered with provincial health plans, information on hospital visits and prescriptions, and physician service claims for consultations, assessments, and diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. They also examined clinical outcome data from a random sample of 1,592 patients at high risk of cardiovascular complications. In the administrative data study, death or non-fatal heart attack (the primary outcome) occurred in about 11,500 patients in both the intervention and control group. In the clinical data study, the primary outcome―use of a statin to lower blood fat levels―occurred in about 700 patients in both study groups. Secondary outcomes, including other clinical events, processes of care, and measures of risk factor control were also not improved by the intervention. Indeed, in the administrative data study, some processes of care outcomes related to screening for heart disease were statistically significantly worse in the intervention group than in the control group, and in the clinical data study, fewer patients in the intervention group reached blood pressure targets than in the control group.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the CDA cardiovascular diseases educational toolkit did not improve quality of care or cardiovascular outcomes in a population with diabetes. Indeed, the toolkit may have led to worsening in some secondary outcomes although, because numerous secondary outcomes were examined, this may be a chance finding. Limitations of the study include its length, which may have been too short to see an effect of the intervention on clinical outcomes, and the possibility of a ceiling effect—the control group in the clinical data study generally had good care, which left little room for improvement of the quality of care in the intervention group. Overall, however, these findings suggest that printed educational materials may not be an effective way to improve the quality of care for patients with diabetes and other complex conditions and highlight the need for a rigorous, scientific approach to the development, dissemination, and evaluation of quality improvement interventions.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001588.
The US National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse provides information about diabetes for patients, health care professionals, and the general public (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information (including some personal stories) for patients and carers about type 2 diabetes, the commonest form of diabetes
The Canadian Diabetes Association also provides information about diabetes for patients (including some personal stories about living with diabetes) and health care professionals; its latest clinical practice guidelines are available on its website
The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence provides general information about clinical guidelines and about health care quality standards in the UK
The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality aims to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans (information in English and Spanish); the US National Guideline Clearinghouse is a searchable database of clinical practice guidelines
The International Diabetes Federation provides information about diabetes for patients and health care professionals, along with international statistics on the burden of diabetes
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001588
PMCID: PMC3913553  PMID: 24505216
5.  The perceived meaning of a (w)holistic view among general practitioners and district nurses in Swedish primary care: a qualitative study 
Background
The definition of primary care varies between countries. Swedish primary care has developed from a philosophic viewpoint based on quality, accessibility, continuity, co-operation and a holistic view. The meaning of holism in international literature differs between medicine and nursing. The question is, if the difference is due to different educational traditions. Due to the uncertainties in defining holism and a holistic view we wished to study, in depth, how holism is perceived by doctors and nurses in their clinical work. Thus, the aim was to explore the perceived meaning of a holistic view among general practitioners (GPs) and district nurses (DNs).
Methods
Seven focus group interviews with a purposive sample of 22 GPs and 20 nurses working in primary care in two Swedish county councils were conducted. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using qualitative content analysis.
Results
The analysis resulted in three categories, attitude, knowledge, and circumstances, with two, two and four subcategories respectively. A professional attitude involves recognising the whole person; not only fragments of a person with a disease. Factual knowledge is acquired through special training and long professional experience. Tacit knowledge is about feelings and social competence. Circumstances can either be barriers or facilitators. A holistic view is a strong motivator and as such it is a facilitator. The way primary care is organised can be either a barrier or a facilitator and could influence the use of a holistic approach. Defined geographical districts and care teams facilitate a holistic view with house calls being essential, particularly for nurses. In preventive work and palliative care, a holistic view was stated to be specifically important. Consultations and communication with the patient were seen as important tools.
Conclusion
'Holistic view' is multidimensional, well implemented and very much alive among both GPs and DNs. The word holistic should really be spelt 'wholistic' to avoid confusion with complementary and alternative medicine. It was obvious that our participants were able to verbalise the meaning of a 'wholistic' view through narratives about their clinical, every day work. The possibility to implement a 'wholistic' perspective in their work with patients offers a strong motivation for GPs and DNs.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-8-8
PMCID: PMC1828160  PMID: 17346340
6.  “It is a challenge to do it the right way”: an interpretive description of caregivers’ experiences in caring for migrant patients in Northern Sweden 
Background
Experiences from nations with population diversity show extensive evidence on the need for cultural and linguistic competence in health care. In Sweden, despite the increasing diversity, only few studies have focused on challenges in cross-cultural care. The aim of this study was to explore the perspectives and experiences of caregivers in caring for migrant patients in Northern Sweden in order to understand the challenges they face and generate knowledge that could inform clinical practice.
Methods
We used an interpretive description approach, combining semi-structured interviews with 10 caregivers purposively selected and participant observation of patient-provider interactions in caring encounters. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed using thematic analysis approach. Field notes were also used to orient data collection and confirm or challenge the analysis.
Results
We found complex and intertwined challenges as indicated in the three themes we present including: the sociocultural diversity, the language barrier and the challenges migrants face in navigating through the Swedish health care system. The caregivers described migrants as a heterogeneous group coming from different geographical areas with varied social, cultural and religious affiliations, migration histories and statuses, all of which influenced the health care encounter, whether providing or receiving. Participants also described language as a major barrier to effective provision and use of health services. Meanwhile, they expressed concern over the use of interpreters in the triad communication and over the difficulties encountered by migrants in navigating through the Swedish health care system.
Conclusions
The study illuminates complex challenges facing health care providers caring for migrant populations and highlights the need for multifaceted approaches to improve the delivery and receipt of care. The policy implications of these challenges are discussed in relation to the need to (a) adapt care to the individual needs, (b) translate key documents and messages in formats and languages accessible and acceptable to migrants, (c) train interpreters and enhance caregivers’ contextual understanding of migrant groups and their needs, (d) and improve migrants’ health literacy through strategies such as community based educational outreach.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-433
PMCID: PMC3557194  PMID: 23194441
Caregivers/caregiving; Culture/cultural competence; Immigrants/migrants; Interpretive description; Language/linguistics; Interpreters; Health care professionals; Religion; Thematic analysis; Sweden
7.  Experiences of general practitioners and practice nurses of training courses in evidence-based health care: a qualitative study. 
BACKGROUND: Clinical governance will require general practitioners (GPs) and practice nurses (PNs) to become competent in finding, appraising, and implementing research evidence--the skills of evidence-based health care (EBHC). AIM: To report the experiences of GPs and PNs in training in this area. METHOD: We held 30 in-depth, semi-structured interviews throughout North Thames region with three groups of informants: primary care practitioners recruited from the mailing lists of established EBHC courses; organizers and teachers on these courses; and educational advisers from Royal Colleges, universities, and postgraduate departments. Detailed qualitative analysis was undertaken to identify themes from each of these interview groups. RESULTS: At the time of the fieldwork for this study (late 1997), remarkably few GPs or PNs had attended any formal EBHC courses in our region. Perceived barriers to attendance on courses included inconsistency in marketing terminology, cultural issues (e.g. EBHC being perceived as one aspect of rapid and unwanted change in the workplace), lack of confidence in the subject matter (especially mathematics and statistics), lack of time, and practical and financial constraints. Our interviews suggested, however, that the principles and philosophy of EBHC are beginning to permeate traditional lecture-based continuing medical education courses, and consultant colleagues increasingly seek to make their advice 'evidence based'. CONCLUSION: We offer some preliminary recommendations for the organizers of EBHC courses for primary care. These include offering a range of flexible training, being explicit about course content, recognizing differences in professional culture between primary and secondary care and between doctors and nurses, and addressing issues of funding and accreditation at national level. Introducing EBHC through traditional topic-based postgraduate teaching programmes may be more acceptable and more effective than providing dedicated courses in its theoretical principles.
PMCID: PMC1313472  PMID: 10621987
8.  Counseling on lifestyle habits in the United States and Sweden: a report comparing primary care health professionals’ perspectives on lifestyle counseling in terms of scope, importance and competence 
BMC Family Practice  2014;15:83.
Background
The role of primary care professionals in lifestyle counseling for smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and diet is receiving attention at the national level in many countries. The U. S. and Sweden are two countries currently establishing priorities in these areas. A previously existing international research collaboration provides a unique opportunity to study this issue.
Methods
Data from a national survey in Sweden and a study in rural Upstate New York were compared to contrast the perspectives, attitudes, and practice of primary care professionals in the two countries. Answers to four key questions on counseling for tobacco use, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and eating habits were compared.
Results
The response rates were 71% (n = 180) and 89% (n = 86) in the Sweden and the U.S. respectively. U.S. professionals rated counseling "very important" significantly more frequently than Swedish professionals for tobacco (99% versus 92%, p < .0001), physical activity (90% versus 79%, p = .04), and eating habits (86% versus 69%, p = .003). U.S. professionals also reported giving "very much" counseling more frequently for these same three endpoints than did the Swedish professionals (tobacco 81% versus 38%, p < .0001, physical activity 64% versus 31%, p < .0001, eating 59% versus 34%, p = .0001). Swedish professionals also rated their level of expertise in providing counseling significantly lower than did their U.S. counterparts for all four endpoints. A higher percentage of U.S. professionals expressed a desire to increase levels of counseling "very much", but only significantly so for eating habits (42% versus 28%, p = .037).
Conclusions
The study demonstrates large differences between the extent that Swedish and American primary care professionals report being engaged in counseling on lifestyle issues, how important they perceive counseling to be, and what expertise they possess in this regard. Explanations might be found in inter-professional attitudes, the organization of healthcare, including the method of reimbursement, traditions of preventive healthcare, and cultural differences between the two countries. Further studies are needed to explore these questions, with the aim of facilitating improved lifestyle counseling in primary care.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-15-83
PMCID: PMC4023528  PMID: 24886390
Attitudes; Counseling; Guidelines; Health promotion; Life style; Prevention; Primary care; Sweden; USA
9.  The evolution of nursing in Australian general practice: a comparative analysis of workforce surveys ten years on 
BMC Family Practice  2014;15:52.
Background
Nursing in Australian general practice has grown rapidly over the last decade in response to government initiatives to strengthen primary care. There are limited data about how this expansion has impacted on the nursing role, scope of practice and workforce characteristics. This study aimed to describe the current demographic and employment characteristics of Australian nurses working in general practice and explore trends in their role over time.
Methods
In the nascence of the expansion of the role of nurses in Australian general practice (2003–2004) a national survey was undertaken to describe nurse demographics, clinical roles and competencies. This survey was repeated in 2009–2010 and comparative analysis of the datasets undertaken to explore workforce changes over time.
Results
Two hundred eighty four nurses employed in general practice completed the first survey (2003/04) and 235 completed the second survey (2009/10). Significantly more participants in Study 2 were undertaking follow-up of pathology results, physical assessment and disease specific health education. There was also a statistically significant increase in the participants who felt that further education/training would augment their confidence in all clinical tasks (p < 0.001). Whilst the impact of legal implications as a barrier to the nurses’ role in general practice decreased between the two time points, more participants perceived lack of space, job descriptions, confidence to negotiate with general practitioners and personal desire to enhance their role as barriers. Access to education and training as a facilitator to nursing role expansion increased between the two studies. The level of optimism of participants for the future of the nurses’ role in general practice was slightly decreased over time.
Conclusions
This study has identified that some of the structural barriers to nursing in Australian general practice have been addressed over time. However, it also identifies continuing barriers that impact practice nurse role development. Understanding and addressing these issues is vital to optimise the effectiveness of the primary care nursing workforce.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-15-52
PMCID: PMC3987204  PMID: 24666420
Practice nurse; Nursing workforce; Survey; Office nurse; General practice; Primary care, Australia
10.  Multiple Intravenous Infusions Phase 1b 
Background
Minimal research has been conducted into the potential patient safety issues related to administering multiple intravenous (IV) infusions to a single patient. Previous research has highlighted that there are a number of related safety risks. In Phase 1a of this study, an analysis of 2 national incident-reporting databases (Institute for Safe Medical Practices Canada and United States Food and Drug Administration MAUDE) found that a high percentage of incidents associated with the administration of multiple IV infusions resulted in patient harm.
Objectives
The primary objectives of Phase 1b of this study were to identify safety issues with the potential to cause patient harm stemming from the administration of multiple IV infusions; and to identify how nurses are being educated on key principles required to safely administer multiple IV infusions.
Data Sources and Review Methods
A field study was conducted at 12 hospital clinical units (sites) across Ontario, and telephone interviews were conducted with program coordinators or instructors from both the Ontario baccalaureate nursing degree programs and the Ontario postgraduate Critical Care Nursing Certificate programs. Data were analyzed using Rasmussen’s 1997 Risk Management Framework and a Health Care Failure Modes and Effects Analysis.
Results
Twenty-two primary patient safety issues were identified with the potential to directly cause patient harm. Seventeen of these (critical issues) were categorized into 6 themes. A cause-consequence tree was established to outline all possible contributing factors for each critical issue. Clinical recommendations were identified for immediate distribution to, and implementation by, Ontario hospitals. Future investigation efforts were planned for Phase 2 of the study.
Limitations
This exploratory field study identifies the potential for errors, but does not describe the direct observation of such errors, except in a few cases where errors were observed. Not all issues are known in advance, and the frequency of errors is too low to be observed in the time allotted and with the limited sample of observations.
Conclusions
The administration of multiple IV infusions to a single patient is a complex task with many potential associated patient safety risks. Improvements to infusion and infusion-related technology, education standards, clinical best practice guidelines, hospital policies, and unit work practices are required to reduce the risk potential. This report makes several recommendations to Ontario hospitals so that they can develop an awareness of the issues highlighted in this report and minimize some of the risks. Further investigation of mitigating strategies is required and will be undertaken in Phase 2 of this research.
Plain Language Summary
Patients, particularly in critical care environments, often require multiple intravenous (IV) medications via large volumetric or syringe infusion pumps. The infusion of multiple IV medications is not without risk; unintended errors during these complex procedures have resulted in patient harm. However, the range of associated risks and the factors contributing to these risks are not well understood.
Health Quality Ontario’s Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee commissioned the Health Technology Safety Research Team at the University Health Network to conduct a multi-phase study to identify and mitigate the risks associated with multiple IV infusions. Some of the questions addressed by the team were as follows: What is needed to reduce the risk of errors for individuals who are receiving a lot of medications? What strategies work best?
The initial report, Multiple Intravenous Infusions Phase 1a: Situation Scan Summary Report, summarizes the interim findings based on a literature review, an incident database review, and a technology scan.
The Health Technology Safety Research Team worked in close collaboration with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada on an exploratory study to understand the risks associated with multiple IV infusions and the degree to which nurses are educated to help mitigate them. The current report, Multiple Intravenous Infusions Phase 1b: Practice and Training Scan, presents the findings of a field study of 12 hospital clinical units across Ontario, as well as 13 interviews with educators from baccalaureate-level nursing degree programs and postgraduate Critical Care Nursing Certificate programs. It makes 9 recommendations that emphasize best practices for the administration of multiple IV infusions and pertain to secondary infusions, line identification, line set-up and removal, and administering IV bolus medications.
The Health Technology Safety Research Team has also produced an associated report for hospitals entitled Mitigating the Risks Associated With Multiple IV Infusions: Recommendations Based on a Field Study of Twelve Ontario Hospitals, which highlights the 9 interim recommendations and provides a brief rationale for each one.
PMCID: PMC3377572  PMID: 23074426
11.  Implementing Quality Improvement in Small, Autonomous Primary Care Practices: Implications for the Patient Centered Medical Home 
Quality in Primary Care  2011;19(5):289-300.
Background
Implementing improvement programs to enhance quality of care within primary care clinics is complex, with limited practical guidance available to help practices during the process. Understanding how improvement strategies can be implemented in primary care is timely given the recent national movement towards transforming primary care into patient-centered medical homes (PCMH). This study examined practice members’ perceptions of the opportunities and challenges associated with implementing changes in their practice.
Methods
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 56 individuals working in 16 small, community-based primary care practices. The interview consisted of open-ended questions focused on participants’ perceptions of: (1) practice vision, (2) perceived need for practice improvement, and (3) barriers that hinder practice improvement. The interviews were conducted at the participating clinics and were tape-recorded, transcribed, and content analyzed.
Results
Content analysis identified two main domains for practice improvement related to: (1) the process of care, and (2) patients’ involvement in their disease management. Examples of desired process of care changes included improvement in patient tracking/follow-up system, standardization of processes of care, and overall clinic documentations. Changes related to the patients’ involvement in their care included improving (a) health education, and (b) self care management. Among the internal barriers were: staff readiness for change, poor communication, and relationship difficulties among team members. External barriers were: insurance regulations, finances and patient health literacy.
Practice Implications
Transforming their practices to more patient-centered models of care will be a priority for primary care providers. Identifying opportunities and challenges associated with implementing change is critical for successful improvement programs. Successful strategy for enhancing the adoption and uptake of PCMH elements should leverage areas of concordance between practice members’ perceived needs and planned improvement efforts.
PMCID: PMC3313551  PMID: 22186171
primary care practice; quality improvement; qualitative analysis
12.  Interactions between Non-Physician Clinicians and Industry: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(11):e1001561.
In a systematic review of studies of interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry, Quinn Grundy and colleagues found that many of the issues identified for physicians' industry interactions exist for non-physician clinicians.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
With increasing restrictions placed on physician–industry interactions, industry marketing may target other health professionals. Recent health policy developments confer even greater importance on the decision making of non-physician clinicians. The purpose of this systematic review is to examine the types and implications of non-physician clinician–industry interactions in clinical practice.
Methods and Findings
We searched MEDLINE and Web of Science from January 1, 1946, through June 24, 2013, according to PRISMA guidelines. Non-physician clinicians eligible for inclusion were: Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, Physician Assistants, pharmacists, dieticians, and physical or occupational therapists; trainee samples were excluded. Fifteen studies met inclusion criteria. Data were synthesized qualitatively into eight outcome domains: nature and frequency of industry interactions; attitudes toward industry; perceived ethical acceptability of interactions; perceived marketing influence; perceived reliability of industry information; preparation for industry interactions; reactions to industry relations policy; and management of industry interactions. Non-physician clinicians reported interacting with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Clinicians across disciplines met with pharmaceutical representatives regularly and relied on them for practice information. Clinicians frequently received industry “information,” attended sponsored “education,” and acted as distributors for similar materials targeted at patients. Clinicians generally regarded this as an ethical use of industry resources, and felt they could detect “promotion” while benefiting from industry “information.” Free samples were among the most approved and common ways that clinicians interacted with industry. Included studies were observational and of varying methodological rigor; thus, these findings may not be generalizable. This review is, however, the first to our knowledge to provide a descriptive analysis of this literature.
Conclusions
Non-physician clinicians' generally positive attitudes toward industry interactions, despite their recognition of issues related to bias, suggest that industry interactions are normalized in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. Industry relations policy should address all disciplines and be implemented consistently in order to mitigate conflicts of interest and address such interactions' potential to affect patient care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Making and selling health care goods (including drugs and devices) and services is big business. To maximize the profits they make for their shareholders, companies involved in health care build relationships with physicians by providing information on new drugs, organizing educational meetings, providing samples of their products, giving gifts, and holding sponsored events. These relationships help to keep physicians informed about new developments in health care but also create the potential for causing harm to patients and health care systems. These relationships may, for example, result in increased prescription rates of new, heavily marketed medications, which are often more expensive than their generic counterparts (similar unbranded drugs) and that are more likely to be recalled for safety reasons than long-established drugs. They may also affect the provision of health care services. Industry is providing an increasingly large proportion of routine health care services in many countries, so relationships built up with physicians have the potential to influence the commissioning of the services that are central to the treatment and well-being of patients.
Why Was This Study Done?
As a result of concerns about the tension between industry's need to make profits and the ethics underlying professional practice, restrictions are increasingly being placed on physician–industry interactions. In the US, for example, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act now requires US manufacturers of drugs, devices, and medical supplies that participate in federal health care programs to disclose all payments and gifts made to physicians and teaching hospitals. However, other health professionals, including those with authority to prescribe drugs such as pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and nurse practitioners are not covered by this legislation or by similar legislation in other settings, even though the restructuring of health care to prioritize primary care and multidisciplinary care models means that “non-physician clinicians” are becoming more numerous and more involved in decision-making and medication management. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic), the researchers examine the nature and implications of the interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 15 published studies that examined interactions between non-physician clinicians (Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, midwives, pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and dieticians) and industry (corporations that produce health care goods and services). They extracted the data from 16 publications (representing 15 different studies) and synthesized them qualitatively (combined the data and reached word-based, rather than numerical, conclusions) into eight outcome domains, including the nature and frequency of interactions, non-physician clinicians' attitudes toward industry, and the perceived ethical acceptability of interactions. In the research the authors identified, non-physician clinicians reported frequent interactions with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Most non-physician clinicians met industry representatives regularly, received gifts and samples, and attended educational events or received educational materials (some of which they distributed to patients). In these studies, non-physician clinicians generally regarded these interactions positively and felt they were an ethical and appropriate use of industry resources. Only a minority of non-physician clinicians felt that marketing influenced their own practice, although a larger percentage felt that their colleagues would be influenced. A sizeable proportion of non-physician clinicians questioned the reliability of industry information, but most were confident that they could detect biased information and therefore rated this information as reliable, valuable, or useful.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These and other findings suggest that non-physician clinicians generally have positive attitudes toward industry interactions but recognize issues related to bias and conflict of interest. Because these findings are based on a small number of studies, most of which were undertaken in the US, they may not be generalizable to other countries. Moreover, they provide no quantitative assessment of the interaction between non-physician clinicians and industry and no information about whether industry interactions affect patient care outcomes. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that industry interactions are normalized (seen as standard) in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. This normalization creates the potential for serious risks to patients and health care systems. The researchers suggest that it may be unrealistic to expect that non-physician clinicians can be taught individually how to interact with industry ethically or how to detect and avert bias, particularly given the ubiquitous nature of marketing and promotional materials. Instead, they suggest, the environment in which non-physician clinicians practice should be structured to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of interactions with industry.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by James S. Yeh and Aaron S. Kesselheim
The American Medical Association provides guidance for physicians on interactions with pharmaceutical industry representatives, information about the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, and a toolkit for preparing Physician Payments Sunshine Act reports
The International Council of Nurses provides some guidance on industry interactions in its position statement on nurse-industry relations
The UK General Medical Council provides guidance on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest as part of its good medical practice website, which describes what is required of all registered doctors in the UK
Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide is a manual prepared by Health Action International and the World Health Organization that schools of medicine and pharmacy can use to train students how to recognize and respond to pharmaceutical promotion.
The Institute of Medicine's Report on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice recommends steps to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest
The University of California, San Francisco, Office of Continuing Medical Education offers a course called Marketing of Medicines
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561
PMCID: PMC3841103  PMID: 24302892
13.  Effect of a Community-Based Nursing Intervention on Mortality in Chronically Ill Older Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(7):e1001265.
Kenneth Coburn and colleagues report findings from a randomized trial evaluating the effects of a complex nursing intervention on mortality risk among older individuals diagnosed with chronic health conditions.
Background
Improving the health of chronically ill older adults is a major challenge facing modern health care systems. A community-based nursing intervention developed by Health Quality Partners (HQP) was one of 15 different models of care coordination tested in randomized controlled trials within the Medicare Coordinated Care Demonstration (MCCD), a national US study. Evaluation of the HQP program began in 2002. The study reported here was designed to evaluate the survival impact of the HQP program versus usual care up to five years post-enrollment.
Methods and Findings
HQP enrolled 1,736 adults aged 65 and over, with one or more eligible chronic conditions (coronary artery disease, heart failure, diabetes, asthma, hypertension, or hyperlipidemia) during the first six years of the study. The intervention group (n = 873) was offered a comprehensive, integrated, and tightly managed system of care coordination, disease management, and preventive services provided by community-based nurse care managers working collaboratively with primary care providers. The control group (n = 863) received usual care. Overall, a 25% lower relative risk of death (hazard ratio [HR] 0.75 [95% CI 0.57–1.00], p = 0.047) was observed among intervention participants with 86 (9.9%) deaths in the intervention group and 111 (12.9%) deaths in the control group during a mean follow-up of 4.2 years. When covariates for sex, age group, primary diagnosis, perceived health, number of medications taken, hospital stays in the past 6 months, and tobacco use were included, the adjusted HR was 0.73 (95% CI 0.55–0.98, p = 0.033). Subgroup analyses did not demonstrate statistically significant interaction effects for any subgroup. No suspected program-related adverse events were identified.
Conclusions
The HQP model of community-based nurse care management appeared to reduce all-cause mortality in chronically ill older adults. Limitations of the study are that few low-income and non-white individuals were enrolled and implementation was in a single geographic region of the US. Additional research to confirm these findings and determine the model's scalability and generalizability is warranted.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01071967
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
In almost every country in the world, the proportion of people aged over 60 years is growing faster than any other age group because of increased life expectancy. This demographic change has several implications for public health, especially as older age is a risk factor for many chronic diseases—diseases of long duration and generally slow progression. Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes, are by far the leading cause of death in the world, representing almost two-thirds of all deaths. Therefore in most countries, the challenge of managing increasingly ageing populations who have chronic illnesses demands an urgent response and countries such as the United States are actively researching possible solutions.
Why Was This Study Done?
Some studies suggest that innovations in chronic disease management that are led by nurses may help address the epidemic of chronic diseases by increasing the quality and reducing the cost of care. However, to date, reports of the evaluation of such interventions lack rigor and do not provide evidence of improved long-term health outcomes or reduced health care costs. So in this study, the researchers used the gold standard of research, a randomized controlled trial, to examine the impact of a community-based nurse care management model for older adults with chronic illnesses in the United States as part of a series of studies supported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers recruited eligible patients aged 65 years and over with heart failure, coronary heart disease, asthma, diabetes, hypertension, and/or hyperlipidemia who received traditional Medicare—a fee for service insurance scheme in which beneficiaries can choose to receive their care from any Medicare provider—from participating primary care practices in Pennsylvania. The researchers then categorized patients according to their risk on the basis of several factors including the number of chronic diseases each individual had before randomizing patients to receive usual care or the nurse-led intervention. The intervention included an individualized plan comprising education, symptom monitoring, medication, counseling for adherence, help identifying, arranging, and monitoring community health and social service referrals in addition to group interventions such as weight loss maintenance and exercise classes. The researchers checked whether any participating patients had died by using the online Social Security Death Master File. Then the researchers used a statistical model to calculate the risk of death in both groups.
Of the 1,736 patients the researchers recruited into the trial, 873 were randomized to receive the intervention and 863 were in the control group (usual care). The researchers found that 86 (9.9%) participants in the intervention group and 111 (12.9%) participants in the control group died during the study period, representing a 25% lower relative risk of death among the intervention group. However, when the researchers considered other factors, such as sex, age group, primary diagnosis, perceived health, number of medications taken, hospital stays in the past 6 months, and tobacco use in their statistical model, this risk was slightly altered—0.73 risk of death in the intervention group.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that that community-based nurse care management is associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality among older adults with chronic illnesses who are beneficiaries of the fee for service Medicare scheme in the United States. These findings also support the important role of nurses in improving health outcomes in this group of patients and show the feasibility of implementing this program in collaboration with primary care practices. Future research is needed to test the adaptability, scalability, and generalizability of this model of care.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001265.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Arlene Bierman
Information about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is available
The World Health Organization provides statistics on the prevalence of both chronic illness and ageing
Heath Quality Partners provide information about the study
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001265
PMCID: PMC3398966  PMID: 22815653
14.  Evaluation of Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention in Routine Practice of Primary Care Nurses in Vhembe District, South Africa 
Croatian medical journal  2008;49(3):392-401.
Aim
To assess the implementation of the Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention (SBI) strategy as part of a routine practice of nurses in 18 primary health care services in Vhembe district, South Africa.
Method
We performed a cross-sectional study to assess the success of implementation of the SBI in 18 primary health care services. We examined all anonymously completed questionnaires (n = 2670) collected from all practices after a 6-month implementation period. Clinic managers were interviewed on SBI implementation after 4 months of implementation. The success of implementation was assessed on the basis of perceived benefits, beliefs, values, past history, current needs, competing priorities, complexity of innovation, trialability and observability, and feedback on SBI performance.
Results
In the 6-month period, nurses screened 2670 patients and found that 648 (23.4%) patients (39.1% men and 13.8% women) were hazardous or harmful drinkers. Nine clinics had good and 9 poor SBI implementation. Factors discriminating the clinics with good or poor SBI implementation included the percentage of nurses trained in SBI, support visits, clinical workload, competing priorities, team work, innovation adoption curve, perceived complexity of innovation, compatibility beliefs, trialability, and observability of SBI.
Conclusion
To improve SBI implementation as a routine practice, more attention should be paid to training modalities, clinic organization, and changes in the attitudes of nurses.
doi:10.3325/cmj.2008.3.392
PMCID: PMC2443624  PMID: 18581618
15.  Barriers to accurate diagnosis and effective management of heart failure in primary care: qualitative study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2003;326(7382):196.
Objective
To ascertain the beliefs, current practices, and decision making of general practitioners in the diagnosis and management of suspected heart failure in primary care, with a view to identifying barriers to good care.
Design
A qualitative approach using focus groups with 30 general practitioners from four primary care groups. The sampling strategy was stratified and purposive. The contents of interviews were transcribed and analysed according to the principles of “pragmatic variant” grounded theory.
Setting
North east England.
Results
Three categories of difficulties contribute to variations in medical practice and to the reasons why general practitioners experience difficulties in diagnosing and managing heart failure. The first is uncertainty about clinical practice, including lack of confidence in establishing an accurate diagnosis and worries about using angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, β blockers, and spironolactone in patients who are often elderly and frail, with comorbidity and polypharmacy. The second is a lack of awareness of relevant research evidence in what was perceived to be a complex and rapidly changing therapeutic field. Doubts about the applicability of research findings in primary care, and fear of information overload also emerged. The third category consists of influences of individual preference and local organisational factors. Medical training, negative clinical experiences, and outside agencies influenced the behaviour of general practitioners and professional culture. Local factors included the availability of diagnostic services, resources (such as accessible cardiologists), and interactions between professionals in primary or secondary care, and they seemed to shape the practice and decision making processes in primary care.
Conclusions
The national service framework for coronary heart disease stresses that the substandard care of patients with heart failure is unacceptable. This study identified barriers to be overcome across primary and secondary care in implementation strategies that are specific to the locality and multifaceted. Single strategies—for example, the provision of guidelines—are unlikely to have an impact on clinical outcomes, and new, conjoint models of care need to be explored.
What is already known on this topicHeart failure is a common condition with a high morbidity and mortality and is largely managed in primary careAlthough modern management with accurate diagnosis and treatment improves prognosis considerably, unacceptable variations exist in the clinical application of current guidelines for heart failureWhat this study addsGeneral practitioners expressed a lack of confidence in establishing an accurate diagnosis of left ventricular systolic dysfunction, even if open access echocardiography was availableUncertainty about diagnosis led to poor uptake of evidence based treatment strategies for heart failure patients, and, despite awareness, reluctance to initiate modern treatmentLocal organisational factors around NHS provision of diagnostic services, resources, and interaction between primary and secondary care influence how general practitioners manage heart failureImplementation strategies for heart failure management across primary and secondary care are needed that are specific to their locality and multifaceted
PMCID: PMC140276  PMID: 12543836
16.  Medicine in the 21st Century: Recommended Essential Geriatrics Competencies for Internal Medicine and Family Medicine Residents 
Background
Physician workforce projections by the Institute of Medicine require enhanced training in geriatrics for all primary care and subspecialty physicians. Defining essential geriatrics competencies for internal medicine and family medicine residents would improve training for primary care and subspecialty physicians. The objectives of this study were to (1) define essential geriatrics competencies common to internal medicine and family medicine residents that build on established national geriatrics competencies for medical students, are feasible within current residency programs, are assessable, and address the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education competencies; and (2) involve key stakeholder organizations in their development and implementation.
Methods
Initial candidate competencies were defined through small group meetings and a survey of more than 100 experts, followed by detailed item review by 26 program directors and residency clinical educators from key professional organizations. Throughout, an 8-member working group made revisions to maintain consistency and compatibility among the competencies. Support and participation by key stakeholder organizations were secured throughout the project.
Results
The process identified 26 competencies in 7 domains: Medication Management; Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health; Complex or Chronic Illness(es) in Older Adults; Palliative and End-of-Life Care; Hospital Patient Safety; Transitions of Care; and Ambulatory Care. The competencies map directly onto the medical student geriatric competencies and the 6 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Competencies.
Conclusions
Through a consensus-building process that included leadership and members of key stakeholder organizations, a concise set of essential geriatrics competencies for internal medicine and family medicine residencies has been developed. These competencies are well aligned with concerns for residency training raised in a recent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission report to Congress. Work is underway through stakeholder organizations to disseminate and assess the competencies among internal medicine and family medicine residency programs.
doi:10.4300/JGME-D-10-00065.1
PMCID: PMC2951777  PMID: 21976086
17.  Primary Care Research Team Assessment (PCRTA): development and evaluation. 
BACKGROUND: Since the early 1990s the United Kingdom (UK) Department of Health has explicitly promoted a research and development (R&D) strategy for the National Health Service (NHS). General practitioners (GPs) and other members of the primary care team are in a unique position to undertake research activity that will complement and inform the research undertaken by basic scientists and hospital-based colleagues and lead directly to a better evidence base for decision making by primary care professionals. Opportunities to engage in R&D in primary care are growing and the scope for those wishing to become involved is finally widening. Infrastructure funding for research-active practices and the establishment of a range of support networks have helped to improve the research capacity and blur some of the boundaries between academic departments and clinical practice. This is leading to a supportive environment for primary care research. There is thus a need to develop and validate nationally accepted quality standards and accreditation of performance to ensure that funders, collaborators and primary care professionals can deliver high quality primary care research. Several strategies have been described in national policy documents in order to achieve an improvement in teaching and clinical care, as well as enhancing research capacity in primary care. The development of both research practices and primary care research networks has been recognised as having an important contribution to make in enabling health professionals to devote more protected time to undertake research methods training and to undertake research in a service setting. The recognition and development of primary care research has also brought with it an emphasis on quality and standards, including an approach to the new research governance framework. PRIMARY CARE RESEARCH TEAM ASSESSMENT: In 1998, the NHS Executive South and West, and later the London Research and Development Directorate, provided funding for a pilot project based at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) to develop a scheme to accredit UK general practices undertaking primary care R&D. The pilot began with initial consultation on the development of the process, as well as the standards and criteria for assessment. The resulting assessment schedule allowed for assessment at one of two levels: Collaborative Research Practice (Level I), with little direct experience of gaining project or infrastructure funding Established Research Practice (Level II), with more experience of research funding and activity and a sound infrastructure to allow for growth in capacity. The process for assessment of practices involved the assessment of written documentation, followed by a half-day assessment visit by a multidisciplinary team of three assessors. IMPLEMENTATION--THE PILOT PROJECT: Pilot practices were sampled in two regions. Firstly, in the NHS Executive South West Region, where over 150 practices expressed an interest in participating. From these a purposive sample of 21 practices was selected, providing a range of research and service activity. A further seven practices were identified and included within the project through the East London and Essex Network of Researchers (ELENoR). Many in this latter group received funding and administrative support and advice from ELENoR in order to prepare written submissions for assessment. Some sample loss was encountered within the pilot project, which was attributable largely to conflicting demands on participants' time. Indeed, the preparation of written submissions within the South West coincided with the introduction of primary care groups (PCGs) in April 1999, which several practices cited as having a major impact on their participation in the pilot project. A final sample of 15 practices (nine in the South West and six through ELENoR) underwent assessment through the pilot project. EVALUATION: A formal evaluation of the Primary Care Research Team Assessment (PCRTA) pilot was undertaken by an independent researcher (FM). This was supplemented with feedback from the assessment team members. The qualitative aspect of the evaluation, which included face-to-face and telephone interviews with assessors, lead researchers and other practice staff within the pilot research practices, as well as members of the project management group, demonstrated a positive view of the pilot scheme. Several key areas were identified in relation to particular strengths of research practices and areas for development including: Strengths Level II practices were found to have a strong primary care team ethos in research. Level II practices tended to have a greater degree of strategic thinking in relation to research. Development areas Level I practices were found to lack a clear and explicit research strategy. Practices at both levels had scope to develop their communication processes for dissemination of research and also for patient involvement. Practices at both levels needed mechanisms for supporting professional development in research methodology. The evaluation demonstrated that practices felt that they had gained from their participation and assessors felt that the scheme had worked well. Some specific issues were raised by different respondents within the qualitative evaluation relating to consistency of interpretation of standards and also the possible overlap of the assessment scheme with other RCGP quality initiatives. NATIONAL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PRIMARY CARE RESEARCH TEAM ASSESSMENT: The pilot project has been very successful and recommendations have been made to progress to a UK scheme. Management and review of the scheme will remain largely the same, with a few changes focusing on the assessment process and support for practices entering the scheme. Specific changes include: development of the support and mentoring role of the primary care research networks increased peer and external support and mentoring for research practices undergoing assessment development of assessor training in line with other schemes within the RCGP Assessment Network work to ensure consistency across RCGP accreditation schemes in relation to key criteria, thereby facilitating comparable assessment processes refinement of the definition of the two groups, with Level I practices referred to as Collaborators and Level II practices as Investigator-Led. The project has continued to generate much enthusiasm and support and continues to reflect current policy. Indeed, recent developments include the proposed new funding arrangements for primary care R&D, which refer to the RCGP assessment scheme and recognise it as a key component in the future R&D agenda. The assessment scheme will help primary care trusts (PCTs) and individual practices to prepare and demonstrate their approach to research governance in a systematic way. It will also provide a more explicit avenue for primary care trusts to explore local service and development priorities identified within health improvement programmes and the research priorities set nationally for the NHS.
PMCID: PMC2560501  PMID: 12049028
18.  Technology adoption and implementation in organisations: comparative case studies of 12 English NHS Trusts 
BMJ Open  2012;2(2):e000872.
Objectives
To understand organisational technology adoption (initiation, adoption decision, implementation) by looking at the different types of innovation knowledge used during this process.
Design
Qualitative, multisite, comparative case study design.
Setting
One primary care and 11 acute care organisations (trusts) across all health regions in England in the context of infection prevention and control.
Participants and data analysis
121 semistructured individual and group interviews with 109 informants, involving clinical and non-clinical staff from all organisational levels and various professional groups. Documentary evidence and field notes were also used. 38 technology adoption processes were analysed using an integrated approach combining inductive and deductive reasoning.
Main findings
Those involved in the process variably accessed three types of innovation knowledge: ‘awareness’ (information that an innovation exists), ‘principles’ (information about an innovation's functioning principles) and ‘how-to’ (information required to use an innovation properly at individual and organisational levels). Centralised (national, government-led) and local sources were used to obtain this knowledge. Localised professional networks were preferred sources for all three types of knowledge. Professional backgrounds influenced an asymmetric attention to different types of innovation knowledge. When less attention was given to ‘how-to’ compared with ‘principles’ knowledge at the early stages of the process, this contributed to 12 cases of incomplete implementation or discontinuance after initial adoption.
Conclusions
Potential adopters and change agents often overlooked or undervalued ‘how-to’ knowledge. Balancing ‘principles’ and ‘how-to’ knowledge early in the innovation process enhanced successful technology adoption and implementation by considering efficacy as well as strategic, structural and cultural fit with the organisation's context. This learning is critical given the policy emphasis for health organisations to be innovation-ready.
Article summary
Article focus
Despite policy support and the development of a dedicated evidence dissemination infrastructure in the NHS, why is technology adoption and implementation still a challenge?
We need to understand better how the innovation process unfolds in organisations to build on what we know about individual behaviours. In particular, how the use of different types of knowledge about an innovation impacts its adoption and implementation.
Key messages
In our study, centralised dissemination of evidence had minimal to moderate impact on organisational innovation adoption decisions. Practice-based, peer-mediated and local dissemination systems were perceived more relevant.
In contrast to technology adoption by individuals, organisational adoption required a wider multifaceted conceptualisation of ‘how-to’ knowledge in line with the more complex dynamics in organisations. When ‘how-to’ knowledge was undervalued and considered late, important strategic, structural and cultural elements of the trust's context were overlooked. This had negative implications for technology adoption and implementation.
Professional backgrounds of those involved in the process influenced the types of innovation knowledge considered, which had implications for implementation. The involvement of diverse professionals in decision-making improves the chances of successful implementation through a balanced consideration of the strength of scientific evidence and practical application.
Strengths and limitations of this study
The scale of the study, its real time and longitudinal nature provide a rich data set. Our study is theory driven and comprises multisite comparative case studies, which enhance the generalisability of findings beyond the context of the studied trusts.
We explicitly studied cases of non-adoption and discontinuation after initial adoption to provide important learning often missing from innovation diffusion research.
On limitations, we were not able to follow implementation past the end of August 2010 and therefore do not have information on routinised use of the implemented technologies.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-000872
PMCID: PMC3329608  PMID: 22492183
19.  Attitudes of medical students to medical leadership and management: a systematic review to inform curriculum development 
BMC Medical Education  2011;11:93.
Background
There is a growing acknowledgement that doctors need to develop leadership and management competences to become more actively involved in the planning, delivery and transformation of patient services. We undertook a systematic review of what is known concerning the knowledge, skills and attitudes of medical students regarding leadership and management. Here we report the results pertaining to the attitudes of students to provide evidence to inform curriculum development in this developing field of medical education.
Methods
We searched major electronic databases and citation indexes within the disciplines of medicine, education, social science and management. We undertook hand searching of major journals, and reference and citation tracking. We accessed websites of UK medical institutions and contacted individuals working within the field.
Results
26 studies were included. Most were conducted in the USA, using mainly quantitative methods. We used inductive analysis of the topics addressed by each study to identity five main content areas: Quality Improvement; Managed Care, Use of Resources and Costs; General Leadership and Management; Role of the Doctor, and Patient Safety. Students have positive attitudes to clinical practice guidelines, quality improvement techniques and multidisciplinary teamwork, but mixed attitudes to managed care, cost containment and medical error. Education interventions had variable effects on students' attitudes. Medical students perceive a need for leadership and management education but identified lack of curriculum time and disinterest in some activities as potential barriers to implementation.
Conclusions
The findings from our review may reflect the relatively little emphasis given to leadership and management in medical curricula. However, students recognise a need to develop leadership and management competences. Although further work needs to be undertaken, using rigorous methods, to identify the most effective and cost-effective curriculum innovations, this review offers the only currently available summary of work examining the attitudes of students to this important area of development for future doctors.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-11-93
PMCID: PMC3247079  PMID: 22082174
20.  Transforming Primary Care Training—Patient-Centered Medical Home Entrustable Professional Activities for Internal Medicine Residents 
ABSTRACT
INTRODUCTION
The U.S. faces a critical gap between residency training and clinical practice that affects the recruitment and preparation of internal medicine residents for primary care careers. The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) represents a new clinical microsystem that is being widely promoted and implemented to improve access, quality, and sustainability in primary care practice.
AIM
We address two key questions regarding the training of internal medicine residents for practice in PCMHs. First, what are the educational implications of practice transformations to primary care home models? Second, what must we do differently to prepare internal medicine residents for their futures in PCMHs?
PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
The 2011 Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) PCMH Education Summit established seven work groups to address the following topics: resident workplace competencies, teamwork, continuity of care, assessment, faculty development, ‘medical home builder’ tools, and policy. The output from the competency work group was foundational for the work of other groups. The work group considered several educational frameworks, including developmental milestones, competencies, and entrustable professional activities (EPAs).
RESULTS
The competency work group defined 25 internal medicine resident PCMH EPAs. The 2011 National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) PCMH standards served as an organizing framework for EPAs.
DISCUSSION
The list of PCMH EPAs has the potential to begin to transform the education of internal medicine residents for practice and leadership in the PCMH. It will guide curriculum development, learner assessment, and clinical practice redesign for academic health centers.
doi:10.1007/s11606-012-2193-3
PMCID: PMC3663955  PMID: 22997002
patient-centered medical home; entrustable professional activities; graduate medical education; internal medicine; primary care
21.  Impacts of Computerized Physician Documentation in a Teaching Hospital: Perceptions of Faculty and Resident Physicians 
Objective: Computerized physician documentation (CPD) has been implemented throughout the nation's Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs) and is likely to increasingly replace handwritten documentation in other institutions. The use of this technology may affect educational and clinical activities, yet little has been reported in this regard. The authors conducted a qualitative study to determine the perceived impacts of CPD among faculty and housestaff in a VAMC.
Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted using semistructured interviews with faculty (n = 10) and a group interview with residents (n = 10) at a VAMC teaching hospital.
Measurements: Content analysis of field notes and taped transcripts were done by two independent reviewers using a grounded theory approach. Findings were validated using member checking and peer debriefing.
Results: Four major themes were identified: (1) improved availability of documentation; (2) changes in work processes and communication; (3) alterations in document structure and content; and (4) mistakes, concerns, and decreased confidence in the data. With a few exceptions, subjects felt documentation was more available, with benefits for education and patient care. Other impacts of CPD were largely seen as detrimental to aspects of clinical practice and education, including documentation quality, workflow, professional communication, and patient care.
Conclusion: CPD is perceived to have substantial positive and negative impacts on clinical and educational activities and environments. Care should be taken when designing, implementing, and using such systems to avoid or minimize any harmful impacts. More research is needed to assess the extent of the impacts identified and to determine the best strategies to effectively deal with them.
doi:10.1197/jamia.M1525
PMCID: PMC436079  PMID: 15064287
22.  How hard can it be to include research evidence and evaluation in local health policy implementation? Results from a mixed methods study 
Background
Although an evidence-based approach is the ideal model for planning and delivering healthcare, barriers exist to using research evidence to implement and evaluate service change. This paper aims to inform policy implementation and evaluation by understanding the role of research evidence at the local level through implementation of a national chronic conditions management policy.
Methods
We conducted a national email survey of health service commissioners at the most devolved level of decision-making in Wales (Local Health Boards – LHBs) followed by in-depth interviews with representatives of LHBs, purposively selecting five to reflect geographic and economic characteristics. Survey data were analysed descriptively; we used thematic analysis for interview data.
Results
All LHBs (n = 22) completed questionnaires. All reported they routinely assessed the research literature before implementing interventions, but free-text answers revealed wide variation in approach. Most commonly reported information sources included personal contacts, needs assessments, information or research databases. No consistent approach to evaluation was reported. Frequently reported challenges were: insufficient staff capacity (17/22); limited skills, cost, limited time, competing priorities (16/22); availability and quality of routine data (15/22). Respondents reported they would value central guidance on evaluation.
Five interviews were held with managers from the five LHBs contacted. Service delivery decisions were informed by Welsh Government initiatives and priorities, budgets, perceived good practice, personal knowledge, and local needs, but did not include formal research evidence, they reported. Decision making was a collaborative process including clinical staff, patient representatives, and partner organization managers with varying levels of research experience. Robust evaluation data were required, but they were constrained by a lack of skills, time, and resources. They viewed evaluation as a means of demonstrating that targets had been met.
Conclusions
There is a gap between evidence-based aims of national health policy and how health services are commissioned, implemented, and evaluated at local level. Commissioners and managers are unable to routinely incorporate research evidence. If health services research is to identify most effective ways to implement high quality care, it should be incorporated into commissioning and service delivery. Local commissioners and managers need to build the critical use of research evidence and evaluation into health policy implementation at local level in order to provide consistent and effective healthcare services.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-8-17
PMCID: PMC3576241  PMID: 23402558
Health policy implementation; Evidence-based policy; Research and evaluation; Chronic conditions management; Health service delivery
23.  Introduction of Asthma APGAR tools improve asthma management in primary care practices 
Objective:
Primary care asthma management is often not compatible with national evidence-based guidelines. The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility and impact of the Asthma APGAR tools to enhance implementation of asthma guideline-compatible management in primary care practices.
Subjects:
Twenty-four primary care practices across the US.
Methods:
This is a mixed methods study. Quantitative data were used to assess changes in guideline recommended asthma management including use of daily controller therapy, planned care visits, and education and information documentation before and after implementation of the Asthma APGAR. Qualitative data from focus group sessions were used to assess health care professional and patient perceived usability and value of the Asthma APGAR tools during office visits for asthma.
Results:
Implementing the Asthma APGAR tools in the 24 practices was associated with enhanced asthma visit-related medical record documentation including significant increases in recording of activity limitations due to asthma and asthma symptom frequency, asthma medication nonadherence, asthma triggers, and the patients’ perceived response to therapy (p < 0.01 for each item). Some care processes also increased significantly including assessment of inhaler technique and prescribing of daily controller therapy among patients with persistent asthma. Focus groups of patients and of clinical staff reported that the Asthma APGAR tools were easy to use, “made sense” and “improved care” was given and received.
Conclusions:
The Asthma APGAR tools are feasible to implement in primary care practices and their implementation is associated with increased guideline-compliant asthma management.
PMCID: PMC3121335  PMID: 21436980
asthma; guidelines; implementation; quality improvement; asthma control; mixed methods studies; qualitative research; primary care
24.  Implementation and adoption of nationwide electronic health records in secondary care in England: final qualitative results from prospective national evaluation in “early adopter” hospitals 
Objectives To evaluate the implementation and adoption of the NHS detailed care records service in “early adopter” hospitals in England.
Design Theoretically informed, longitudinal qualitative evaluation based on case studies.
Setting 12 “early adopter” NHS acute hospitals and specialist care settings studied over two and a half years.
Data sources Data were collected through in depth interviews, observations, and relevant documents relating directly to case study sites and to wider national developments that were perceived to impact on the implementation strategy. Data were thematically analysed, initially within and then across cases. The dataset consisted of 431 semistructured interviews with key stakeholders, including hospital staff, developers, and governmental stakeholders; 590 hours of observations of strategic meetings and use of the software in context; 334 sets of notes from observations, researchers’ field notes, and notes from national conferences; 809 NHS documents; and 58 regional and national documents.
Results Implementation has proceeded more slowly, with a narrower scope and substantially less clinical functionality than was originally planned. The national strategy had considerable local consequences (summarised under five key themes), and wider national developments impacted heavily on implementation and adoption. More specifically, delays related to unrealistic expectations about the capabilities of systems; the time needed to build, configure, and customise the software; the work needed to ensure that systems were supporting provision of care; and the needs of end users for training and support. Other factors hampering progress included the changing milieu of NHS policy and priorities; repeatedly renegotiated national contracts; different stages of development of diverse NHS care records service systems; and a complex communication process between different stakeholders, along with contractual arrangements that largely excluded NHS providers. There was early evidence that deploying systems resulted in important learning within and between organisations and the development of relevant competencies within NHS hospitals.
Conclusions Implementation of the NHS Care Records Service in “early adopter” sites proved time consuming and challenging, with as yet limited discernible benefits for clinicians and no clear advantages for patients. Although our results might not be directly transferable to later adopting sites because the functionalities we evaluated were new and untried in the English context, they shed light on the processes involved in implementing major new systems. The move to increased local decision making that we advocated based on our interim analysis has been pursued and welcomed by the NHS, but it is important that policymakers do not lose sight of the overall goal of an integrated interoperable solution.
doi:10.1136/bmj.d6054
PMCID: PMC3195310  PMID: 22006942
25.  GPs’ role security and therapeutic commitment in managing alcohol problems: a randomised controlled trial of a tailored improvement programme 
BMC Family Practice  2014;15:70.
Background
General practitioners with more positive role security and therapeutic commitment towards patients with hazardous or harmful alcohol consumption are more involved and manage more alcohol-related problems than others. In this study we evaluated the effects of our tailored multi-faceted improvement implementation programme on GPs’ role security and therapeutic commitment and, in addition, which professional related factors influenced the impact of the implementation programme.
Methods
In a cluster randomised controlled trial, 124 GPs from 82 Dutch general practices were randomised to either the intervention or control group. The tailored, multi-faceted programme included combined physician, organisation, and patient directed alcohol-specific implementation strategies to increase role security and therapeutic commitment in GPs. The control group was mailed the national guideline and patients received feedback letters. Questionnaires were completed before and 12 months after start of the programme. We performed linear multilevel regression analysis to evaluate effects of the implementation programme.
Results
Participating GPs were predominantly male (63%) and had received very low levels of alcohol related education before start of the study (0.4 h). The programme increased therapeutic commitment (p = 0.005; 95%-CI 0.13 – 0.73) but not role security (p = 0.58; 95%-CI −0.31 – 0.54). How important GPs thought it was to improve their care for problematic alcohol consumption, and the GPs’ reported proportion of patients asked about alcohol consumption at baseline, contributed to the effect of the programme on therapeutic commitment.
Conclusions
A tailored, multi-faceted programme aimed at improving GP management of patients with hazardous and harmful alcohol consumption improved GPs’ therapeutic commitment towards patients with alcohol-related problems, but failed to improve GPs’ role security. How important GPs thought it was to improve their care for problematic alcohol consumption, and the GPs’ reported proportion of patients asked about alcohol consumption at baseline, both increased the impact of the programme on therapeutic commitment. It might be worthwhile to monitor proceeding of role security and therapeutic commitment throughout the year after the implementation programme, to see whether the programme is effective on short term but faded out on the longer term.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00298220
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-15-70
PMCID: PMC4021502  PMID: 24742032
Alcohol; Role security; Therapeutic commitment; Prevention; Primary healthcare; Implementation

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