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1.  Perceived satisfaction of ophthalmology residents with the current Iranian ophthalmology curriculum 
Objective
To assess the level of perceived satisfaction with the current Iranian ophthalmology curriculum in ensuring that residents acquire required competencies in various ophthalmology fields.
Methods
A closed-ended questionnaire was circulated to 100 residents or recently graduated ophthalmologists in Iran to measure their level of satisfaction about clinical conferences, journal clubs, scientific lectures, wet lab, simulation, evidence-based practice, and outpatient clinic and operating room training. They also cited the main barriers to a successful board exam.
Results
Ninety-nine questionnaires were completed and returned. Mean age of the responders was 31 ± 4.56 years. A total of 36 (36.4%) responders expressed an overall satisfaction about the residency program, and 49 (49.5%) did not feel happy about the state of teaching evidence-based decision making. They identified cataract surgery and eyeglass prescription as the most common regularly functioning modalities in their centers. The majority of the participants stated they have received appropriate training in cataract surgery (71%), but only 9% were satisfied with the provided training in glaucoma or vitreous and retinal surgery. Nevertheless, their overall satisfaction with their outpatient skills was good.
Conclusion
The ophthalmologists felt quite confident in management of uncomplicated cases, especially cataract surgery at the level of general ophthalmology, but future studies can assess the effect of new practice-based teaching methods on the residents’ clinical training and eventually on patient care.
doi:10.2147/OPTH.S18907
PMCID: PMC3180484  PMID: 21966187
trainees’ perspectives; clinical training; assessment; diagnosis
2.  Urologic medications and ophthalmologic side effects: a review 
Commonly prescribed urologic medications can have significant ophthalmologic side effects. The existing information can be conflicting. We looked at alpha-blockers and intraoperative floppy iris syndrome (IFIS), phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors and non-arteritic ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) and lastly anticholinergic medications and glaucoma. There is no conclusive scientific data on what to do if the risk of urinary retention is low to moderate, however, we recommend that patients having cataract surgery should stop alpha-blocker medications preoperatively. If there is a high risk of urinary retention, the alpha-blocker should not be withheld, with the active involvement of the ophthalmologist. The role of using 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors (5ARIs) can be considered. There is no convincing evidence that PDE5 inhibitors cause non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION), but patients should be advised of the possible risk of visual loss, especially in patients with risk factors of ischemic heart disease. Acute angle closure glaucoma (AACG or closed angle glaucoma) is very rarely caused by anticholinergic medications in patients with narrow angle anterior eye chambers. However, these medications are safe in patients with open angle glaucoma or treated closed angle glaucoma. Urologists should inquire about the patient’s glaucoma history from his/her ophthalmologist before starting an anticholinergic medication.
doi:10.5489/cuaj.11037
PMCID: PMC3289699  PMID: 22396371
3.  Disseminating a cervical cancer screening program through primary physicians in Hong Kong: a qualitative study 
Background
Organized screening programs are more effective and equitable than opportunistic screening, yet governments face challenges to implement evidence-based programs. The objective of this study was to identify reasons for low levels of adoption among primary care physicians of a government sponsored Cervical Screening Program (CSP).
Methods
We conducted in-depth interviews with a snowball sample of primary care private and public primary care physicians in Hong Kong. Rogers’ theory of diffusion of innovation was used to understand the factors that influenced the physicians’ practice decisions.
Results
Our study found that Hong Kong physicians made the decision to encourage cervical screening and to participate in the CSP based primarily upon their clinical and business practice needs rather than upon the scientific evidence. The low rates of adoption of the CSP can be attributed to the physicians’ perceptions that the program’s complexity and incompatibility exceeded its relative advantages. Furthermore, women’s knowledge, attitudes and practices, identified as barriers by physicians, were also barriers to physicians adopting the CSP.
Conclusions
In both private and public health care systems, screening programs that rely on physicians must align program incentives with the physicians’ motivators or pursue additional demand creation policies to achieve objectives.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-85
PMCID: PMC3975957  PMID: 24568606
Cervical cancer screening; Dissemination; Physicians; Prevention; Screening programs
4.  Adapting Comparative Effectiveness Research Summaries for Delivery to Patients and Providers through a Patient Portal 
Despite increases in the scientific evidence for a variety of medical treatments, a gap remains in the adoption of best medical practices. This manuscript describes a process for adapting published summary guides from comparative effectiveness research to render them concise, targeted to audience, and easily actionable; and a strategy for disseminating such evidence to patients and their physicians through a web-based portal and linked electronic health record. This project adapted summary guides about oral medications for adults with type 2 diabetes to a fifth-grade literacy level and modified the resulting materials based on evaluations with the Suitability Assessment of Materials instrument. Focus groups and individual interviews with patients, diabetes providers, and health literacy experts were employed to evaluate and enhance the adapted summary guide. We present the lessons learned as general guidelines for the creation of concise, targeted, and actionable evidence and its delivery to both patients and providers through increasingly prevalent health information technologies.
PMCID: PMC3900228  PMID: 24551387
5.  An analysis of ophthalmology trainees’ perceptions of feedback for cataract surgery training 
Objectives
To determine whether feedback for cataract surgery is perceived to be given to trainee ophthalmologists, the way in which any feedback is given, and what the trainee perceives to be the effect of feedback on their performance.
Design
Cross-sectional qualitative study.
Participants
Twelve trainee ophthalmologists at various levels of specialty training in the UK.
Methods
Semi-structured interviews were conducted via telephone or face to face. Interviews were transcribed and underwent thematic analysis using a qualitative software data package.
Main outcome measures
The importance of feedback to the trainee and methods to improve the giving of feedback.
Results
Feedback was thought to be a useful tool for improving performance in cataract surgery by all participants. Emergent themes were the importance of specificity of feedback and having confidence in the supervisor. Participants suggested ways that the feedback given can be improved upon. An insight was gained into how the feedback has an effect on their performance.
Conclusion
This study showed that trainees perceive the feedback they receive to be of high quality. Feedback enables the trainees to self-reflect and improve their surgical techniques.
doi:10.2147/OPTH.S54979
PMCID: PMC3865084  PMID: 24376339
postgraduate training; education; phacoemulsification; microsurgical skills; cognitive learning; reflection
6.  Educational and decision-support tools for asthma-management guideline implementation 
Asia Pacific Allergy  2012;2(1):26-34.
Many international and national asthma guidelines are now available in large parts of the world, but they are not yet implemented appropriately. There is a gap between scientific evidence-based medicine and real clinical practice. Implementation of guidelines is highly complex. Special strategies are needed to encourage guideline-based, high-quality care. It is important to understand the contents, the format, and the learning strategies which physicians prefer for the dissemination of guidelines. Physicians prefer more concise and immediately available guidelines that are practical to use. Thus, asthma guidelines should be disseminated as convenient and easily accessible tools. Various education programs and decision-support tools have been designed and applied to the clinical management of asthma to solve these challenging problems. Many of them have been shown to be effective at increasing physicians' knowledge and adherence to asthma guidelines and improving patients' clinical outcomes. These educational and decision-support tools are expected to contribute to a narrowing of the gap between asthma guidelines and practice/implementation of the guidelines.
doi:10.5415/apallergy.2012.2.1.26
PMCID: PMC3269598  PMID: 22348204
Asthma; Guideline; Education; Decision-support; Implementation
7.  Rational Prescribing in Primary Care (RaPP): A Cluster Randomized Trial of a Tailored Intervention 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(6):e134.
Background
A gap exists between evidence and practice regarding the management of cardiovascular risk factors. This gap could be narrowed if systematically developed clinical practice guidelines were effectively implemented in clinical practice. We evaluated the effects of a tailored intervention to support the implementation of systematically developed guidelines for the use of antihypertensive and cholesterol-lowering drugs for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a cluster-randomized trial comparing a tailored intervention to passive dissemination of guidelines in 146 general practices in two geographical areas in Norway. Each practice was randomized to either the tailored intervention (70 practices; 257 physicians) or control group (69 practices; 244 physicians). Patients started on medication for hypertension or hypercholesterolemia during the study period and all patients already on treatment that consulted their physician during the trial were included. A multifaceted intervention was tailored to address identified barriers to change. Key components were an educational outreach visit with audit and feedback, and computerized reminders linked to the medical record system. Pharmacists conducted the visits. Outcomes were measured for all eligible patients seen in the participating practices during 1 y before and after the intervention. The main outcomes were the proportions of (1) first-time prescriptions for hypertension where thiazides were prescribed, (2) patients assessed for cardiovascular risk before prescribing antihypertensive or cholesterol-lowering drugs, and (3) patients treated for hypertension or hypercholesterolemia for 3 mo or more who had achieved recommended treatment goals.
The intervention led to an increase in adherence to guideline recommendations on choice of antihypertensive drug. Thiazides were prescribed to 17% of patients in the intervention group versus 11% in the control group (relative risk 1.94; 95% confidence interval 1.49–2.49, adjusted for baseline differences and clustering effect). Little or no differences were found for risk assessment prior to prescribing and for achievement of treatment goals.
Conclusions
Our tailored intervention had a significant impact on prescribing of antihypertensive drugs, but was ineffective in improving the quality of other aspects of managing hypertension and hypercholesterolemia in primary care.
Editors' Summary
Background.
An important issue in health care is “getting research into practice,” in other words, making sure that, when evidence from research has established the best way to treat a disease, doctors actually use that approach with their patients. In reality, there is often a gap between evidence and practice.
  An example concerns the treatment of people who have high blood pressure (hypertension) and/or high cholesterol. These are common conditions, and both increase the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. Research has shown that the risks can be lowered if patients with these conditions are given drugs that lower blood pressure (antihypertensives) and drugs that lower cholesterol. There are many types of these drugs now available. In many countries, the health authorities want family doctors (general practitioners) to make better use of these drugs. They want doctors to prescribe them to everyone who would benefit, using the type of drugs found to be most effective. When there is a choice of drugs that are equally effective, they want doctors to use the cheapest type. (In the case of antihypertensives, an older type, known as thiazides, is very effective and also very cheap, but many doctors prefer to give their patients newer, more expensive alternatives.) Health authorities have issued guidelines to doctors that address these issues. However, it is not easy to change prescribing practices, and research in several countries has shown that issuing guidelines has only limited effects.
Why Was This Study Done?
The researchers wanted—in two parts of Norway—to compare the effects on prescribing practices of what they called the “passive dissemination of guidelines” with a more active approach, where the use of the guidelines was strongly promoted and encouraged.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
They worked with 146 general practices. In half of them the guidelines were actively promoted. The remaining were regarded as a control group; they were given the guidelines but no special efforts were made to encourage their use. It was decided at random which practices would be in which group; this approach is called a randomized controlled trial. The methods used to actively promote use of the guidelines included personal visits to the practices by pharmacists and use of a computerized reminder system. Information was then collected on the number of patients who, when first treated for hypertension, were prescribed a thiazide. Other information collected included whether patients had been properly assessed for their level of risk (for strokes and heart attacks) before antihypertensive or cholesterol-lowering drugs were given. In addition, the researchers recorded whether the recommended targets for improvement in blood pressure and cholesterol level had been reached.
Only 11% of those patients visiting the control group of practices who should have been prescribed thiazides, according to the guidelines, actually received them. Of those seen by doctors in the practices where the guidelines were actively promoted, 17% received thiazides. According to statistical analysis, the increase achieved by active promotion is significant. Little or no differences were found for risk assessment prior to prescribing and for achievement of treatment goals.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Even in the active promotion group, the great majority of patients (83%) were still not receiving treatment according to the guidelines. However, active promotion of guidelines is more effective than simply issuing the guidelines by themselves. The study also demonstrates that it is very hard to change prescribing practices. The efforts made here to encourage the doctors to change were considerable, and although the results were significant, they were still disappointing. Also disappointing is the fact that achievement of treatment goals was no better in the active-promotion group. These issues are discussed further in a Perspective about this study (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030229).
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030134.
• The Web site of the American Academy of Family Physicians has a page on heart disease
• The MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia's pages on heart diseases and vascular diseases
• Information from NHS Direct (UK National Health Service) about heart attack and stroke
• Another PLoS Medicine article has also addressed trends in thiazide prescribing
Passive dissemination of management guidelines for hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia was compared with active promotion. Active promotion led to significant improvement in antihypertensive prescribing but not other aspects of management.
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030134
PMCID: PMC1472695  PMID: 16737346
8.  Role of pirenoxine in the effects of catalin on in vitro ultraviolet-induced lens protein turbidity and selenite-induced cataractogenesis in vivo 
Molecular Vision  2011;17:1862-1870.
Purpose
In this study, we investigated the biochemical pharmacology of pirenoxine (PRX) and catalin under in vitro selenite/calcium- and ultraviolet (UV)-induced lens protein turbidity challenges. The systemic effects of catalin were determined using a selenite-induced cataractogenesis rat model.
Methods
In vitro cataractogenesis assay systems (including UVB/C photo-oxidation of lens crystallins, calpain-induced proteolysis, and selenite/calcium-induced turbidity of lens crystallin solutions) were used to screen the activity of PRX and catalin eye drop solutions. Turbidity was identified as the optical density measured using spectroscopy at 405 nm. We also determined the in vivo effects of catalin on cataract severity in a selenite-induced cataract rat model. Sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS–PAGE) was applied to analyze the integrity of crystallin samples.
Results
PRX at 1,000 μM significantly delayed UVC-induced turbidity formation compared to controls after 4 h of UVC exposure (p<0.05), but not in groups incubated with PRX concentrations of <1,000 μM. Results were further confirmed by SDS–PAGE. The absolute γ-crystallin turbidity induced by 4 h of UVC exposure was ameliorated in the presence of catalin equivalent to 1~100 μM PRX in a concentration-dependent manner. Samples with catalin-formulated vehicle only (CataV) and those containing PRX equivalent to 100 μM had a similar protective effect after 4 h of UVC exposure compared to the controls (p<0.05). PRX at 0.03, 0.1, and 0.3 μM significantly delayed 10 mM selenite- and calcium-induced turbidity formation compared to controls on days 0~4 (p<0.05). Catalin (equivalent to 32, 80, and 100 μM PRX) had an initial protective effect against selenite-induced lens protein turbidity on day 1 (p<0.05). Subcutaneous pretreatment with catalin (5 mg/kg) also statistically decreased the mean cataract scores in selenite-induced cataract rats on post-induction day 3 compared to the controls (1.3±0.2 versus 2.4±0.4; p<0.05). However, catalin (equivalent to up to 100 μM PRX) did not inhibit calpain-induced proteolysis activated by calcium, and neither did 100 μM PRX.
Conclusions
PRX at micromolar levels ameliorated selenite- and calcium-induced lens protein turbidity but required millimolar levels to protect against UVC irradiation. The observed inhibition of UVC-induced turbidity of lens crystallins by catalin at micromolar concentrations may have been a result of the catalin-formulated vehicle. Transient protection by catalin against selenite-induced turbidity of crystallin solutions in vitro was supported by the ameliorated cataract scores in the early stage of cataractogenesis in vivo by subcutaneously administered catalin. PRX could not inhibit calpain-induced proteolysis activated by calcium or catalin itself, and may be detrimental to crystallins under UVB exposure. Further studies on formulation modifications of catalin and recommended doses of PRX to optimize clinical efficacy by cataract type are warranted.
PMCID: PMC3144730  PMID: 21850160
9.  GPs' approach to insulin prescribing in older patients: a qualitative study 
Background
Evidence suggests that insulin is under-prescribed in older people. Some reasons for this include physician's concerns about potential side-effects or patients' resistance to insulin. In general, however, little is known about how GPs make decisions related to insulin prescribing in older people.
Aim
To explore the process and rationale for prescribing decisions of GPs when treating older patients with type 2 diabetes.
Design of study
Qualitative individual interviews using a grounded theory approach.
Setting
Primary care.
Method
A thematic analysis was conducted to identify themes that reflected factors that influence the prescribing of insulin.
Results
Twenty-one GPs in active practice in Ontario completed interviews. Seven factors influencing the prescribing of insulin for older patients were identified: GPs' beliefs about older people; GPs' beliefs about diabetes and its management; gauging the intensity of therapy required; need for preparation for insulin therapy; presence of support from informal or formal healthcare provider; frustration with management complexity; and GPs' experience with insulin administration. Although GPs indicated that they would prescribe insulin allowing for the above factors, there was a mismatch in intended approach to prescribing and self-reported prescribing.
Conclusion
GPs' rationale for prescribing (or not prescribing) insulin is mediated by both practitioner-related and patient-related factors. GPs intended and actual prescribing varied depending on their assessment of each patient's situation. In order to improve prescribing for increasing numbers of older people with type 2 diabetes, more education for GPs, specialist support, and use of allied health professionals is needed.
doi:10.3399/bjgp08X319639
PMCID: PMC2566521  PMID: 18682013
insulin; primary health care; qualitative research; type 2 diabetes mellitus
10.  Preconditions for successful guideline implementation: perceptions of oncology nurses 
BMC Nursing  2011;10:23.
Background
Although evidence-based guidelines are important for improving the quality of patient care, implementation in practice is below expectations. With the recent focus on team care, guidelines are intended to promote the integration of care across multiple disciplines. We conducted an exploratory study to understand oncology nurses' perceptions of guideline implementation and to learn their views on how their experiences affected the implementation.
Methods
A qualitative study was used with focus group interviews. We collected data from 11 nurses with more than 5 years of oncology nursing experience in Japan. The data were analyzed using grounded theory.
Results
Results of the analysis identified "preconditions for successful guideline implementation" as a core category. There were 4 categories (goal congruence, equal partnership, professional self-development and user-friendliness) and 11 subcategories related to organizational, multidisciplinary, individual, and guideline levels.
Conclusions
Although the guidelines were viewed as important, they were not fully implemented in practice. There are preconditions at the organizational, multidisciplinary, individual, and guideline levels that must be met if an organization is to successfully implement the guideline in clinical settings. Prioritizing strategies by focusing on these preconditions will help to facilitate successful guideline implementation.
doi:10.1186/1472-6955-10-23
PMCID: PMC3247822  PMID: 22067513
11.  Barriers and facilitators to the implementation of clinical practice guidelines: A cross-sectional survey among physicians in Estonia 
Background
In an era when an increasing amount of clinical information is available to health care professionals, the effective implementation of clinical practice guidelines requires the development of strategies to facilitate the use of these guidelines. The objective of this study was to assess attitudes towards clinical practice guidelines, as well as the barriers and facilitators to their use, among Estonian physicians. The study was conducted to inform the revision of the clinical practice guideline development process and can provide inspiration to other countries considering the increasing use of evidence-based medicine.
Methods
We conducted an online survey of physicians to assess resource, system, and attitudinal barriers. We also asked a set of questions related to improving the use of clinical practice guidelines and collected free-text comments. We hypothesized that attitudes concerning guidelines may differ by gender, years of experience and practice setting. The study population consisted of physicians from the database of the Department of Continuing Medical Education of the University of Tartu. Differences between groups were analyzed using the Kruskal-Wallis non-parametric test.
Results
41% (497/1212) of physicians in the database completed the questionnaire, comprising more than 10% of physicians in the country. Most respondents (79%) used treatment guidelines in their daily clinical practice. Lack of time was the barrier identified by the most physicians (42%), followed by lack of medical resources for implementation (32%). The majority of physicians disagreed with the statement that guidelines were not accessible (73%) or too complicated (70%). Physicians practicing in outpatient settings or for more than 25 years were the most likely to experience difficulties in guideline use. 95% of respondents agreed that an easy-to-find online database of guidelines would facilitate use.
Conclusions
Use of updated evidence-based guidelines is a prerequisite for the high-quality management of diseases, and recognizing the factors that affect guideline compliance makes it possible to work towards improving guideline adherence in clinical practice. In our study, physicians with long-term clinical experience and doctors in outpatient settings perceived more barriers, which should be taken into account when planning strategies in improving the use of guidelines. Informed by the results of the survey, leading health authorities are making an effort to develop specially designed interventions to implement clinical practice guidelines, including an easily accessible online database.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-455
PMCID: PMC3532376  PMID: 23234504
Clinical practice guidelines; Implementation; Estonia; World health organization; Barriers; Facilitators
12.  Barriers of and Facilitators to Physician Recommendation of Colorectal Cancer Screening 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2007;22(12):1681-1688.
BACKGROUND
Colorectal cancer screening (CRCS) has been demonstrated to be effective and is consistently recommended by clinical practice guidelines. However, only slightly over half of all Americans have ever been screened. Patients cite physician recommendation as the most important motivator of screening. This study explored the barriers of and facilitators to physician recommendation of CRCS.
METHODS
A 3-component qualitative study to explore the barriers of and facilitators to physician recommendation of CRCS: in-depth, semistructured interviews with 29 purposively sampled, community- and academic-based primary care physicians; chart-stimulated recall, a technique that utilizes patient charts to probe physician recall and provide context about the barriers of and facilitators to physician recommendation of CRCS during actual clinic encounters; and focus groups with 18 academic primary care physicians. Grounded theory techniques of analysis were used.
RESULTS
All the participating physicians were aware of and recommended CRCS. The overwhelmingly preferred test was colonoscopy. Barriers of physician recommendation of CRCS included patient comorbidities, prior patient refusal of screening, physician forgetfulness, acute care visits, lack of time, and lack of reminder systems and test tracking systems. Facilitators to physician recommendation of CRCS included patient request, patient age 50–59, physician positive attitudes about CRCS, physician prioritization of screening, visits devoted to preventive health, reminders, and incentives.
CONCLUSION
There are multiple physician, patient, and system barriers to recommending CRCS. Thus, interventions may need to target barriers at multiple levels to successfully increase physician recommendation of CRCS.
doi:10.1007/s11606-007-0396-9
PMCID: PMC2219836  PMID: 17939007
physician practice patterns; colorectal cancer screening; mass screening; physician–patient relation; communication barriers
13.  Noninvasive monitoring of Pirenoxine Sodium concentration in aqueous humor based on dual-wavelength iris imaging technique 
Biomedical Optics Express  2011;2(2):231-242.
We present a noninvasive method of detecting substance concentration in the aqueous humor based on dual-wavelength iris imaging technology. Two light sources, one centered within (392 nm) and the other centered outside (850 nm) of an absorption band of Pirenoxine Sodium, a common type of drugs in eye disease treatment, were used for dual-wavelength iris imaging measurement. After passing through the aqueous humor twice, the back-scattering light was detected by a charge-coupled device (CCD). The detected images were then used to calculate the concentration of Pirenoxine Sodium. In eye model experiment, a resolution of 0.6525 ppm was achieved. Meanwhile, at least 4 ppm can be distinguished in in vivo experiment. These results demonstrated that our method can measure Pirenoxine Sodium concentration in the aqueous humor and its potential ability to monitor other materials’ concentration in the aqueous humor.
doi:10.1364/BOE.2.000231
PMCID: PMC3038439  PMID: 21339869
(110.2970) Image detection systems; (170.1470) Blood or tissue constituent monitoring; (170.3880) Medical and biological imaging; (170.4470) Ophthalmology
14.  Physician attitude toward depression care interventions: Implications for implementation of quality improvement initiatives 
Background
Few individuals with depression treated in the primary care setting receive care consistent with clinical treatment guidelines. Interventions based on the chronic care model (CCM) have been promoted to address barriers and improve the quality of care. A current understanding of barriers to depression care and an awareness of whether physicians believe interventions effectively address those barriers is needed to enhance the success of future implementation.
Methods
We conducted semi-structured interviews with 23 primary care physicians across the US regarding their experience treating patients with depression, barriers to care, and commonly promoted CCM-based interventions. Themes were identified from interview transcripts using a grounded theory approach.
Results
Six barriers emerged from the interviews: difficulty diagnosing depression, patient resistance, fragmented mental health system, insurance coverage, lack of expertise, and competing demands and other responsibilities as a primary care provider. A number of interventions were seen as helpful in addressing these barriers – including care managers, mental health integration, and education – while others received mixed reviews. Mental health consultation models received the least endorsement. Two systems-related barriers, the fragmented mental health system and insurance coverage limitations, appeared incompletely addressed by the interventions.
Conclusion
CCM-based interventions, which include care managers, mental health integration, and patient education, are most likely to be implemented successfully because they effectively address several important barriers to care and are endorsed by physicians. Practices considering the adoption of interventions that received less support should educate physicians about the benefit of the interventions and attend to physician concerns prior to implementation. A focus on interventions that address systems-related barriers is needed to overcome all barriers to care.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-3-40
PMCID: PMC2567342  PMID: 18826646
15.  Making the use of psychotropic drugs more rational through the development of GRADE recommendations in specialist mental healthcare 
Introduction
In recent years the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology has often been used by international or national health authorities, or scientific societies, for developing evidence-based treatment recommendations. However, the GRADE approach has never been used by practicing physicians who aim at harmonizing their prescribing behaviours paying due attention to the best available evidence. This paper describes the experience of a working group of psychiatrists who adopted the GRADE approach to develop clinical recommendations on the use of psychotropic drugs in specialist mental healthcare.
Case description
The project was conducted in the Department of Mental Health of Verona, Italy, a city located in the north of Italy. At the beginning of 2012, psychiatrists with a specific interest in the rational use of psychotropic drugs were identified and appointed as members of a Guideline Development Group (GDG). The first task of the GDG was the identification of controversial areas in the use of psychotropic drugs, the definition of scoping questions, and the identification of outcomes of interest. The GDG was supported by a scientific secretariat, who searched the evidence, identified one or more systematic reviews matching the scoping questions, and drafted GRADE tables.
Discussion and evaluation
On the basis of efficacy, acceptability, tolerability and safety data, considering the risk of bias and confidence in estimates, and taking also into consideration preferences, values and practical aspects in favour and against the intervention under scrutiny, a draft recommendation with its strength was formulated and agreed by GDG members. Recommendations were submitted for consideration to all specialists of the Department, discussed in two plenary sessions open to the whole staff, and finally approved at the end of 2012.
Conclusion
The present project of guideline development raised several challenging and innovating aspects, including a “bottom-up” approach, as it was motivated by reasons that found agreement among specialists, those who developed the recommendations were those who were supposed to follow them, and values, preferences and feasibility issues were considered paying due attention to local context variables.
doi:10.1186/1752-4458-7-14
PMCID: PMC3653717  PMID: 23638942
Treatment guidelines; Knowledge transfer; Mental healthcare; Psychotropic drugs
16.  Communication and Decision Making About Life-Sustaining Treatment: Examining the Experiences of Resident Physicians and Seriously-Ill Hospitalized Patients 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2008;23(11):1877-1882.
BACKGROUND
Despite evidence-based recommendations for communication and decision making about life-sustaining treatment, resident physicians’ actual practice may vary. Few prior studies have examined these conversations qualitatively to uncover why ineffective communication styles may persist.
OBJECTIVE
To explore how discussions about life-sustaining treatment occur and examine the factors that influence physicians’ communicative practices in hopes of providing novel insight into how these processes can be improved.
PARTICIPANTS AND APPROACH
We conducted and recorded 56 qualitative semi-structured interviews with participants from 28 matched dyads of a resident physician and a hospitalized patient or their surrogate decision maker with whom cardiopulmonary resuscitation was discussed. Transcripts were analyzed and coded using the constant comparative method to develop themes.
MAIN RESULTS
Resident physicians introduced decisions about resuscitation in a scripted, depersonalized and procedure-focused manner. Decision makers exhibited a poor understanding of the decision they were being asked to make and resident physicians often disagreed with the decision. Residents did not advocate for a particular course of action; however, the discussions of resuscitation were framed in ways that may have implicitly influenced decision making.
CONCLUSIONS
Residents’ communication practices may stem from their attempt to balance an informed choice model of decision making with their interest in providing appropriate care for the patient. Physicians’ beliefs about mandatory autonomy may be an impediment to improving communication about patients’ choices for life-sustaining treatment. Redefining the role of the physician will be necessary if a shared decision making model is to be adopted.
doi:10.1007/s11606-008-0779-6
PMCID: PMC2585663  PMID: 18800206
communication; decision making; end-of-life care; medical education; ethics
17.  A clinical decision support needs assessment of community-based physicians 
Objective
To conduct a grounded needs assessment to elicit community-based physicians' current views on clinical decision support (CDS) and its desired capabilities that may assist future CDS design and development for community-based practices.
Materials and methods
To gain insight into community-based physicians' goals, environments, tasks, and desired support tools, we used a human–computer interaction model that was based in grounded theory. We conducted 30 recorded interviews with, and 25 observations of, primary care providers within 15 urban and rural community-based clinics across Oregon. Participants were members of three healthcare organizations with different commercial electronic health record systems. We used a grounded theory approach to analyze data and develop a user-centered definition of CDS and themes related to desired CDS functionalities.
Results
Physicians viewed CDS as a set of software tools that provide alerts, prompts, and reference tools, but not tools to support patient management, clinical operations, or workflow, which they would like. They want CDS to enhance physician–patient relationships, redirect work among staff, and provide time-saving tools. Participants were generally dissatisfied with current CDS capabilities and overall electronic health record usability.
Discussion
Physicians identified different aspects of decision-making in need of support: clinical decision-making such as medication administration and treatment, and cognitive decision-making that enhances relationships and interactions with patients and staff.
Conclusion
Physicians expressed a need for decision support that extended beyond their own current definitions. To meet this requirement, decision support tools must integrate functions that align time and resources in ways that assist providers in a broad range of decisions.
doi:10.1136/amiajnl-2011-000119
PMCID: PMC3241161  PMID: 21890874
Qualitative/ethnographic field study; biomedical informatics; developing/using clinical decision support (other than diagnostic) and guideline systems; knowledge acquisition and knowledge management; human-computer interaction and human-centered computing; social/organizational study; developing/using computerized provider order entry; you have; improving the education and skills training of health professionals; system implementation and management issues
18.  Cataract surgery in Southern Ethiopia: distribution, rates and determinants of service provision 
Background
Cataract is the leading cause of blindness worldwide, with the greatest burden found in low-income countries. Cataract surgery is a curative and cost-effective intervention. Despite major non-governmental organization (NGO) support, the cataract surgery performed in Southern Region, Ethiopia is currently insufficient to address the need. We analyzed the distribution, productivity, cost and determinants of cataract surgery services.
Methods
Confidential interviews were conducted with all eye surgeons (Ophthalmologists & Non-Physician Cataract Surgeons [NPCS]) in Southern Region using semi-structured questionnaires. Eye care project managers were interviewed using open-ended qualitative questionnaires. All eye units were visited. Information on resources, costs, and the rates and determinants of surgical output were collected.
Results
Cataract surgery provision is uneven across Southern Region: 66% of the units are within 200 km of the regional capital. Surgeon to population ratios varied widely from 1:70,000 in the capital to no service provision in areas containing 7 million people. The Cataract Surgical Rate (CSR) in 2010 was 406 operations/million/year with zonal CSRs ranging between 204 and 1349. Average number of surgeries performed was 374 operations/surgeon/year. Ophthalmologists and NPCS performed a mean of 682 and 280 cataract operations/surgeon/year, respectively (p = 0.03). Resources are underutilized, at 56% of capacity. Community awareness programs were associated with increased activity (p = 0.009). Several factors were associated with increased surgeon productivity (p < 0.05): working for >2 years, working in a NGO/private clinic, working in an urban unit, having a unit manger, conducting outreach programs and a satisfactory work environment. The average cost of cataract surgery in 2010 was US$141.6 (Range: US$37.6–312.6). Units received >70% of their consumables from NGOs. Mangers identified poor staff motivation, community awareness and limited government support as major challenges.
Conclusions
The uneven distribution of infrastructure and personnel, underutilization by the community and inadequate attention and support from the government are limiting cataract surgery service delivery in Southern Ethiopia. Improved human resource management and implementing community-oriented strategies may help increase surgical output and achieve the “Vision 2020: The Right to Sight” targets for treating avoidable blindness.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-480
PMCID: PMC3842739  PMID: 24245754
Cataract; Cataract surgical rate; Ethiopia; Service provision; Surgeon
19.  How the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Influenced Physicians’ Practice and Attitudes 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2007;22(9):1311-1316.
Background
The landmark Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy Trial published in 2002 showed that the health risks of combination hormone therapy (HT) with estrogen and progestin outweighed the benefits in healthy postmenopausal women. Dissemination of results had a major impact on prescriptions for, and physician beliefs about HT. No study has fully examined the influence of the widely publicized WHI on physicians’ practice and attitudes or their opinions of the scientific evidence regarding HT; in addition, little is known about how physicians assist women in their decisions regarding HT.
Design and Participants
We conducted in-depth telephone interviews with family practitioners, internists, and gynecologists from integrated health care delivery systems in Washington State (n = 10 physicians) and Massachusetts (n = 12 physicians). Our objectives were to obtain qualitative information from these physicians to understand their perspectives on use of HT, the scientific evidence regarding its risks and benefits, and counseling strategies around HT use and discontinuation.
Approach
We used Template Analysis to code transcribed telephone interviews and identify themes.
Results
Physicians were conflicted about the WHI results and its implications. Seven themes identified from in-depth interviews suggested that the WHI (1) was a ground-breaking study that changed clinical practice, including counseling; (2) was not applicable to the full range of patients seen in clinical practice; (3) raised concerns over the impact of publicized health information on women; (4) created uncertainty about the risks and benefits of HT; (5) called for the use of decision aids; (6) influenced discontinuation strategies; and (7) provided an opportunity to discuss healthy lifestyle options with patients. As a result of the WHI, physicians reported they no longer prescribe HT for prevention and were more likely to suggest discontinuation, although many felt women should be in charge of the HT decision.
Conclusions
Physicians varied in their opinions of HT and the scientific evidence (positive and negative). Whereas the WHI delineated the risks and benefits of HT, physicians reported that decision aids are needed to guide discussions with women about menopause and HT. Better guidance at the time of WHI study publication might have been valuable to ensure best practices.
doi:10.1007/s11606-007-0296-z
PMCID: PMC2219779  PMID: 17634782
practice patterns; attitudes; postmenopausal hormone therapy
20.  Seniors' perceptions of prescription drug advertisements: A pilot study of the potential impact on informed decision making 
Objective
To conduct a pilot study exploring seniors' perceptions of direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs and how the advertisements might prepare them for making informed decisions with their physicians.
Methods
We interviewed 15 seniors (ages 63-82) individually after they each watched nine prescription drug advertisements recorded from broadcast television. Grounded Theory methods were used to identify core themes related to the research questions.
Results
Four themes emerged from the interviews about DTCA: (1) awareness of medications was increased, (2) information was missing or misleading and drugs were often perceived as more effective than clinical evidence would suggest, (3) most seniors were more strongly influenced by personal or vicarious experience with a drug – and by their physician – than by DTCA, and (4) most seniors were circumspect about the information in commercial DTCA.
Conclusions
DTCA may have some limited benefit for informed decision making by seniors, but the advertisements do not provide enough detailed information and some information is misinterpreted.
Practical Implications
Physicians should be aware that many patients may misunderstand DTCA, and that a certain amount of time may be required during consultations to correct these misconceptions until better advertising methods are employed by the pharmaceutical industry.
doi:10.1016/j.pec.2010.10.008
PMCID: PMC3976601  PMID: 21044826
Direct-to-Consumer Advertising; prescription drugs; seniors; informed decision making
21.  Randomised controlled trial of a theoretically grounded tailored intervention to diffuse evidence-based public health practice [ISRCTN23257060] 
Background
Previous studies have shown that Norwegian public health physicians do not systematically and explicitly use scientific evidence in their practice. They work in an environment that does not encourage the integration of this information in decision-making. In this study we investigate whether a theoretically grounded tailored intervention to diffuse evidence-based public health practice increases the physicians' use of research information.
Methods
148 self-selected public health physicians were randomised to an intervention group (n = 73) and a control group (n = 75). The intervention group received a multifaceted intervention while the control group received a letter declaring that they had access to library services. Baseline assessments before the intervention and post-testing immediately at the end of a 1.5-year intervention period were conducted. The intervention was theoretically based and consisted of a workshop in evidence-based public health, a newsletter, access to a specially designed information service, to relevant databases, and to an electronic discussion list. The main outcome measure was behaviour as measured by the use of research in different documents.
Results
The intervention did not demonstrate any evidence of effects on the objective behaviour outcomes. We found, however, a statistical significant difference between the two groups for both knowledge scores: Mean difference of 0.4 (95% CI: 0.2–0.6) in the score for knowledge about EBM-resources and mean difference of 0.2 (95% CI: 0.0–0.3) in the score for conceptual knowledge of importance for critical appraisal. There were no statistical significant differences in attitude-, self-efficacy-, decision-to-adopt- or job-satisfaction scales. There were no significant differences in Cochrane library searching after controlling for baseline values and characteristics.
Conclusion
Though demonstrating effect on knowledge the study failed to provide support for the hypothesis that a theory-based multifaceted intervention targeted at identified barriers will change professional behaviour.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-3-2
PMCID: PMC153535  PMID: 12694632
22.  Canadian guideline for safe and effective use of opioids for chronic noncancer pain 
Canadian Family Physician  2011;57(11):1269-1276.
Abstract
Objective
To provide family physicians with a practical clinical summary of opioid prescribing for specific populations based on recommendations from the Canadian Guideline for Safe and Effective Use of Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain.
Quality of evidence
Researchers for the guideline conducted a systematic review of the literature, focusing on reviews of the effectiveness and safety of opioids in specific populations.
Main message
Family physicians can minimize the risks of overdose, sedation, misuse, and addiction through the use of strategies tailored to the age and health status of patients. For patients at high risk of addiction, opioids should be reserved for well-defined nociceptive or neuropathic pain conditions that have not responded to first-line treatments. Opioids should be titrated slowly, with frequent dispensing and close monitoring for signs of misuse. Suspected opioid addiction is managed with structured opioid therapy, methadone or buprenorphine treatment, or abstinence-based treatment. Patients with mood and anxiety disorders tend to have a blunted analgesic response to opioids, are at higher risk of misuse, and are often taking sedating drugs that interact adversely with opioids. Precautions similar to those for other high-risk patients should be employed. The opioid should be tapered if the patient’s pain remains severe despite an adequate trial of opioid therapy. In the elderly, sedation, falls, and overdose can be minimized through lower initial doses, slower titration, benzodiazepine tapering, and careful patient education. For pregnant women taking daily opioid therapy, the opioids should be slowly tapered and discontinued. If this is not possible, they should be tapered to the lowest effective dose. Opioid-dependent pregnant women should receive methadone treatment. Adolescents are at high risk of opioid overdose, misuse, and addiction. Patients with adolescents living at home should store their opioid medication safely. Adolescents rarely require long-term opioid therapy.
Conclusion
Family physicians must take into consideration the patient’s age, psychiatric status, level of risk of addiction, and other factors when prescribing opioids for chronic pain.
PMCID: PMC3215603  PMID: 22084456
23.  Applying Evidence-Based Medicine in Telehealth: An Interactive Pattern Recognition Approximation 
Born in the early nineteen nineties, evidence-based medicine (EBM) is a paradigm intended to promote the integration of biomedical evidence into the physicians daily practice. This paradigm requires the continuous study of diseases to provide the best scientific knowledge for supporting physicians in their diagnosis and treatments in a close way. Within this paradigm, usually, health experts create and publish clinical guidelines, which provide holistic guidance for the care for a certain disease. The creation of these clinical guidelines requires hard iterative processes in which each iteration supposes scientific progress in the knowledge of the disease. To perform this guidance through telehealth, the use of formal clinical guidelines will allow the building of care processes that can be interpreted and executed directly by computers. In addition, the formalization of clinical guidelines allows for the possibility to build automatic methods, using pattern recognition techniques, to estimate the proper models, as well as the mathematical models for optimizing the iterative cycle for the continuous improvement of the guidelines. However, to ensure the efficiency of the system, it is necessary to build a probabilistic model of the problem. In this paper, an interactive pattern recognition approach to support professionals in evidence-based medicine is formalized.
doi:10.3390/ijerph10115671
PMCID: PMC3863864  PMID: 24185841
evidence based medicine; interactive pattern recognition; personalized medicine; clinical guidelines; probabilistic model
24.  What patients want to know about their medications. Focus group study of patient and clinician perspectives. 
Canadian Family Physician  2002;48:104-110.
OBJECTIVE: To describe what patients want to know about their medications and how they currently access information. To describe how physicians and pharmacists respond to patients' information needs. To use patients', physicians', and pharmacists' feedback to develop evidence-based treatment information sheets. DESIGN: Qualitative study using focus groups and a grounded-theory approach. SETTING: Three regions of Canada (British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Ontario). PARTICIPANTS: Eighty-eight patients, 27 physicians, and 35 pharmacists each took part in one of 19 focus groups. METHOD: Purposeful and convenience sampling was used. A trained facilitator used a semistructured interview guide to conduct the focus groups. Analysis was completed by at least two research-team members. MAIN FINDINGS: Patients wanted both general and specific information when considering medication treatments. They wanted basic information about the medical condition being treated and specific information about side effects, duration of treatment, and range of available treatment options. Physicians and pharmacists questioned the amount of side-effect and safety information patients wanted and thought that too much information might deter patients from taking their medications. Patients, physicians, and pharmacists supported the use of evidence-based treatment information sheets. CONCLUSION: Patients and clinicians each appear to have a different understanding of what and how much information patients should receive about medications. Feedback from patients can be used to develop patient-oriented treatment information.
PMCID: PMC2213938  PMID: 11852597
25.  Exploring UK attitudes towards unlicensed medicines use: a questionnaire-based study of members of the general public and physicians 
Aims:
To undertake a questionnaire-based study to evaluate attitudes towards the use of unlicensed medicines among prescribing doctors and members of the general public (ie, patients). The study also aimed to explore the factors that influence physicians’ prescribing decisions and priorities, and to understand the knowledge of the medicines licensing system among members of the public.
Methods:
Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd funded the online interview of 500 members of the general public and 249 prescribing physicians. Best practice standards were followed for questionnaire-based studies; no specific treatments or conditions were mentioned or discussed.
Results:
Few of the participating physicians, only 14%, were very familiar with the UK General Medical Council (GMC) guidelines on the use of unlicensed medicines and just 17% felt very comfortable prescribing an unlicensed medication when a licensed alternative was available. Key physician concerns included the lack of safety data (76%), legal implications (76%), and safety monitoring associated with unlicensed medicine use (71%). Patients and physicians agreed that safety and efficacy are the most important prescribing considerations, although 48% of participating physicians were worried that budget pressures may increase pressure to prescribe unlicensed medications on the basis of cost. A high proportion of patients (81%) also indicated some degree of concern, were they to be prescribed an unlicensed medication when a licensed alternative was available specifically because it costs less.
Conclusions:
This UK-based questionnaire study suggests pervasive concerns among prescribers over the safety, monitoring, and legal implications of unlicensed prescribing. High levels of concern were expressed among patients and physicians if cost were to become an influential factor when making decisions between licensed and unlicensed medications.
doi:10.2147/IJGM.S28341
PMCID: PMC3259025  PMID: 22259259
patient; physician; unlicensed treatment; concern; safety; trust

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