To ascertain which physician and practice characteristics are associated with self-reported provision of preventive care as recommended by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care.
Cross-sectional analysis of data from a decennial survey.
A total of 731 family physicians in various practice settings.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Number of patients to whom these physicians provided the recommended preventive services based on physicians’ responses to various scenarios presented in the survey. The responses were scored, and the median score was used to dichotomize physicians into high- and low-scoring groups.
Close to two-thirds of the physicians (61%) were in the high-scoring group. Female family physicians, graduates of Canadian medical schools, and physicians whose practices were organized into family health teams, family health groups, family health networks, community health centres, or health services organizations were more likely to be in the high-scoring group. Physicians practising solo and international medical graduates were more likely to be in the low-scoring group.
Reorganizing delivery of primary care into group practice models might improve provision of preventive services. Licensing requirements for international medical graduates should ensure that these physicians are adequately trained to provide preventive services as recommended in the Canadian context. More research is needed before our results can be generalized beyond southwestern Ontario.
Educational interventions that support the implementation of complex clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) require substantial time commitments from participants. We conducted a comparative study to evaluate if a 90-minute workshop would increase compliance with the recommendations of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care as well as decrease the ordering of tests not the subject of specific recommendations.
Eighty-seven family physicians from Quebec participated in the study. Group assignment was initially randomized, but, owing to logistic problems, randomization was not maintained. After unannounced visits, 2 standardized patients coded the physicians' performance of 23 items recommended for inclusion in the periodic health examination (10 for men and 13 for women) and 8 items recommended for exclusion (4 for both men and women). The “exposed” physicians were visited within 4 to 6 months after the workshop. The “nonexposed” physicians were visited within 4 to 6 months after consent was obtained but before they attended the workshop. We used linear regression analysis to determine if exposure to the workshop resulted in improved performance.
Exposure to the workshop was not associated with a difference in the adjusted mean score for items recommended for inclusion (12.07 for exposed physicians v. 12.35 for those not exposed; maximal and ideal score 23; r = –0.28; 95% confidence interval [CI] = –1.63 to 1.08). However, workshop exposure was associated with lower adjusted mean scores for items recommended for exclusion (1.55 v. 3.17; maximal score 8, ideal score 0; r = –1.63; 95% CI = –2.50 to –0.75) and for other tests (3.59 v. 6.53; r = –2.95; 95% CI = –5.10 to –0.79).
A short workshop can decrease the ordering of unnecessary screening tests by family physicians. Given its low cost and its potential for general application, such an intervention can support the implementation of prevention CPGs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
physician practice patterns; colorectal cancer screening; mass screening; physician–patient relation; communication barriers
Background and Objectives
An eight-member group consisting of Canadian infectious disease and immunology specialists and a family physician with significant experience in HIV management was convened to update existing recommendations, specifically intended for use by Canadian HIV-treating physicians, on the appropriate use of enfuvirtide in HIV/AIDS patients with resistance to other antiretroviral drugs.
Evidence from the literature and expert opinions of the group members formed the basis of the guidelines. Comments on the draft guidelines were obtained from other physicians across Canada with HIV expertise. The final guidelines represent the group’s consensus agreement.
Results and Conclusions
The recommendations were developed to guide physicians in optimal practices in patient selection for enfuvirtide treatment and subsequent patient management. The issues considered include positive predictors of response to enfuvirtide, stage of disease, optimization of the background regimen, early indicators of enfuvirtide response, and patient education and support.
AIDS; HIV; Recommendations; Treatment
Preventive care is a cornerstone in the practice of family medicine, but is
often difficult to provide because of a lack of time and logistic
OBJECTIVE OF PROGRAM
To develop an evidence-based practice-relevant preventive care checklist form
to be used by family physicians during complete health assessment of
Guidelines for preventive health care of adults at average risk from the
Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care and from other Canadian
sources where the Task Force guidelines were not up-to-date were reviewed.
Checklist forms covering recommended preventive health care maneuvers were
created. The forms incorporate evidence-based preventive care guidelines as
well as non–evidence-based components that are a part of routine
practice. The forms require few resources to implement, are cost-effective,
and are easy to use. The forms list items needed to meet provincial billing
requirements for complete health assessments and have space for physicians
to make notes. The forms can be used electronically or printed off and
photocopied for use in paper-based charts.
The Preventive Care Checklist Form© is a low-cost, easy-to-use
tool that merges practice maneuvers with evidence-based recommendations. It
could help improve preventive care practices in Canada.
The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (CTF-PHC) recently revised its screening recommendations for colorectal cancer (CRC). We wished to assess the effect of this change on the screening beliefs and clinical practice of primary care physicians.
We surveyed 160 primary-care physicians, quasi-randomly sampled, in June–July 2001 and again in April–July 2002, 9 months after publication of the guidelines. Descriptive statistics and McNemar χ2 analyses were carried out on data from physicians who responded to both surveys.
Of the those sampled, 47% responded to both surveys. After the publication of the CTF-PHC guidelines, the proportion reporting that they recommend CRC screening to their patients at average risk increased from 43% to 60% (p = 0.02). Before publication of the revised guidelines 48% stated that the CTF-PHC did not support screening, compared with 24% afterward (p = 0.01). CTF-PHC guidelines were acknowledged by 30% to be a source of CRC screening information. Around 9 months post-publication, 24% of the physicians stated their awareness of the revised screening guidelines. The most commonly cited reasons for not recommending CRC screening to average-risk patients were that the evidence is inconclusive and that CTF-PHC guidelines do not support screening.
After publication of the revised CTF-PHC guidelines more primary-care physicians reported that they recommend CRC screening to their average-risk patients. The belief that the evidence is inconclusive nevertheless remains a considerable barrier to implementation. To increase the use of screening for CRC, additional strategies are required.
Preventive interventions may have few or unproven benefits, or they may even be harmful. Since three of the fundamental precepts of Western biomedical ethics are beneficence, non-maleficence and respect for individual autonomy, failure to obtain truly informed consent for many current preventive interventions may be unethical. However, there are many impediments to obtaining such consent. Physicians need to be aware of an immense amount of up-to-date, complex information. It may be difficult for patients to assimilate this information, and there is rarely time for physicians to become informed and to inform their patients. Clinical practice guidelines may be helpful, but not all are based on evidence, and recommendations are often conflicting. Medical institutions, as well as individual clinicians, can help solve these dilemmas. Authors and journal editors can make a commitment to report and publish well-referenced evidence-based guidelines. Organizations such as the Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination and the US Preventive Services Task Force can develop balanced, evidence-based patient-information material. Faculty at all levels of medical education can increase their emphasis on the ethics of prevention. Individual clinicians should avoid making clinical decisions on the basis of relative reductions of morbidity or mortality, should use evidence-based clinical practice guidelines rather than those based on authority whenever possible, should make use of patient-information material and, most important, should have a consistent policy of obtaining informed consent from patients before they participate in potentially harmful preventive programs.
OBJECTIVES: To compare the current practice of preventive medicine in British Columbia with the recommendations of the Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination. Four common, preventable forms of cancer (cervical, breast, lung and colorectal) were used as sentinel conditions. DESIGN: Random sample mailed survey. SETTING: Private primary care practices in British Columbia. PARTICIPANTS: A sample of 300 primary care physicians in 1991; of 285 eligible physicians 185 (65%) responded. OUTCOME MEASURE: Compliance with preventive practices recommended by the task force. RESULTS: Preventive practice complied with the task force's recommendations for breast examinations, mammography, cervical smears and initial counselling against smoking; over 90% of the physicians performed these manoeuvres in all or most cases. However, less than half performed two recommended manoeuvres for all or most patients who smoke: advice to follow a diet high in beta-carotene (reported by 10%) and scheduling of follow-up visits to reinforce antismoking counselling (by 46%). Most of the physicians stated that they perform preventive manoeuvres in the context of an annual general physical examination rather than integrating them into routine patient care. CONCLUSIONS: The task force's carefully constructed recommendations are incompletely followed. Overall, there appears to be a high level of compliance with traditional and recommended manoeuvres but also widespread persistence in performing traditional manoeuvres no longer recommended and failure to adopt new recommendations.
OBJECTIVE: To assess whether female primary care physicians' reported coverage of patients eligible for certain preventive care strategies differs from male physicians' reported coverage. DESIGN: A mailed survey. SETTING: Primary care practices in southern Ontario. PARTICIPANTS: All primary care physicians who graduated between 1972 and 1988 and practised in a defined geographic area of Ontario were selected from the Canadian Medical Association's physician resource database. Response rate was 50%. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Answers to questions on sociodemographic and practice characteristics, attitudes toward preventive care, and perceptions about preventive care behaviour and practices. RESULTS: In general, reported coverage for Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination's (CTFPHE) A and B class recommendations was low. However, more female than male physicians reported high coverage of women patients for female-specific preventive care measures (i.e., Pap smears, breast examinations, and mammography) and for blood pressure measurement. Female physicians appeared to question more patients about a greater number of health risks. Often, sex of physician was the most salient factor affecting whether preventive care services thought effective by the CTFPHE were offered. However, when evidence for effectiveness of preventive services was equivocal or lacking, male and female physicians reported similar levels of coverage. CONCLUSION: Female primary care physicians are more likely than their male colleagues to report that their patients eligible for preventive health measures as recommended by the CTFPHE take advantage of these measures.
To investigate whether Canadian family practitioners routinely teach breast
self-examination (BSE) after publication of the 2001 Canadian Preventive
Health Task Force guideline advising them to exclude teaching BSE from
periodic health examinations.
Self-administered cross-sectional mailed survey.
A random sample of English-speaking general practitioners and physicians
certified by the College of Family Physicians of Canada.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Current and past BSE practices and opinions on the value of BSE.
Response rate was 47.4%. Most respondents (88%) were aware of the new
recommendations, yet only 16% had changed their usual practice of routinely
teaching BSE. Most physicians agreed that before the recommendation they
almost always taught BSE (74.3%). Only 9.5% agreed that physicians should
follow the recommendation and not routinely teach BSE. A few also agreed
that they now spend less time discussing BSE (25.7%) and that the
recommendation has influenced them to stop teaching (12.4%) and encouraging
(12.9%) women to practise BSE. Physicians who had changed their BSE
practices were less likely to agree that BSE increases early detection of
breast cancer and more likely to agree that BSE increases benign breast
biopsies. They were also more likely to agree that screening mammography in
women older than 50 decreases mortality from breast cancer.
This survey, which assessed routine teaching of BSE, revealed poor adherence
by Canadian family physicians to a well publicized evidence-based guideline
update. Resistance to change could in part be attributed to a lack of
knowledge of the supporting evidence, a lack of confidence in the evidence
to date, and personal experiences with patients within their practices.
Although the benefits of prostate cancer screening are uncertain and guidelines recommend that physicians share the screening decision with their patients, most U.S. men over age 50 are routinely screened, often without counseling.
To develop an instrument for assessing physicians' knowledge related to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations on prostate cancer screening.
Seventy internists, family physicians, and general practitioners in the Los Angeles area who deliver primary care to adult men.
We assessed knowledge related to prostate cancer screening (natural history, test characteristics, treatment effects, and guideline recommendations), beliefs about the net benefits of screening, and prostate cancer screening practices for men in different age groups, using an online survey. We constructed a knowledge scale having 15 multiple-choice items.
Participants' mean knowledge score was 7.4 (range 3 to 12) of 15 (Cronbach's α=0.71). Higher knowledge scores were associated with less belief in a mortality benefit from prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing (r=−.49, P <.001). Participants could be categorized as low, age-selective, and high users of routine PSA screening. High users had lower knowledge scores than age-selective or low users, and they believed much more in mortality benefits from PSA screening.
Based on its internal consistency and its correlations with measures of physicians' net beliefs and self-reported practices, the knowledge scale developed in this study holds promise for measuring the effects of professional education on prostate cancer screening. The scale deserves further evaluation in broader populations.
physicians' attitudes and practices; knowledge evaluation; continuing medical education; prostate cancer screening
To examine whether Palm Prevention, a free software tool for Palm OS personal
digital assistants (PDAs) that provides quick access to preventive
guidelines in a patient-specific manner at the point of care, improved
adherence to five preventive measures in primary care.
Prospective intervention pilot study.
Vancouver, BC, and surrounding area.
Eight general practitioners.
Each physician used Palm Prevention for five preventive measures during
routine preventive health visits with 10 patients
(n = 80). Charts of consenting patients were reviewed
for documentation of recommended maneuvers.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Rates of adherence to five evidence-based guidelines selected from the
Canadian and American task forces on preventive care and incorporated into
Intervention and control physicians were similar in their familiarity with
and use of PDAs, and they recruited similar patients for the study.
Intervention and control groups had similar rates of screening for
hypertension. Intervention improved adherence to the remaining four
guidelines: cervical cancer screening increased 22% (only absolute increases
are reported); hyperlipidemia screening increased 30%; colorectal cancer
screening increased 27%; and prophylaxis with acetylsalicylic acid in
high-risk patients increased 38%. Participants were surveyed after the
study; all reported that they found the software helpful and would continue
using Palm Prevention. Usage statistics showed that study participants used
the tool outside the trial: users entered between 28 and 68 unique patients
into the program during the 2-month intervention.
This pilot study suggests PDAs are useful in improving preventive care and
facilitating translation of knowledge into practice. This was particularly
apparent with newer guidelines.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the relation between physician, training and practice characteristics and the provision of preventive care as described in the guidelines of the Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: Family practices open to new patients within 1 hour's drive of Hamilton, Ont. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 125 family physicians were randomly selected from respondents to an earlier preventive care survey. Of the 125, 44 (35.2%) declined to participate, and an additional 19 (15.2%) initially consented but later withdrew when they closed their practices to new patients. Sixty-two physicians thus participated in the study. INTERVENTION: Unannounced standardized patients posing as new patients to the practice visited study physicians' practices between September 1994 and August 1995, portraying 4 scenarios: 48-year-old man, 70-year-old man, 28-year-old woman and 52-year-old woman. OUTCOME MEASURES: Proportion of preventive care manoeuvres carrying grade A, B, C, D and E recommendations from the Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination that were performed, offered or advised. A standard score was computed based on the performance of grade A and B manoeuvres (good or fair evidence for inclusion in the periodic health examination) and the non-performance of grade D and E manoeuvres (fair or good evidence for exclusion from the periodic health examination). RESULTS: Study physicians performed or offered 65.6% of applicable grade A manoeuvres, 31.0% of grade B manoeuvres, 22.4% of grade C manoeuvres, 21.8% of grade D manoeuvres and 4.9% of grade E manoeuvres. The provision of evidence-based preventive care was associated with solo (v. group) practice and capitation or salary (v. fee-for-service) payment method. Preventive care performance was unrelated to physician's sex, certification in family medicine or problem-based (v. traditional) medical school curriculum. CONCLUSIONS: Preventive care guidelines of the Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination have been incompletely integrated into clinical practice. Research is needed to identify and reduce barriers to the provision of preventive care and to develop and apply effective processes for the creation, dissemination and implementation of clinical practice guidelines.
The present position paper on the use of portable monitoring (PM) as a diagnostic tool for obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea (OSAH) in adults was based on consensus and expert opinion regarding best practice standards from stakeholders across Canada. These recommendations were prepared to guide appropriate clinical use of this new technology and to ensure that quality assurance standards are adhered to. Clinical guidelines for the use of PM for the diagnosis and management of OSAH as an alternative to in-laboratory polysomnography published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Portable Monitoring Task Force were used to tailor our recommendations to address the following: indications; methodology including physician involvement, physician and technical staff qualifications, and follow-up requirements; technical considerations; quality assurance; and conflict of interest guidelines. When used appropriately under the supervision of a physician with training in sleep medicine, and in conjunction with a comprehensive sleep evaluation, PM may expedite treatment when there is a high clinical suspicion of OSAH.
Guidelines; Home sleep testing; Obstructive sleep apnea; Portable monitoring
To explore the challenges Canadian family physicians face in providing dementia care.
Qualitative study using focus groups.
Academic family practice clinics in Calgary, Alta, Ottawa, Ont, and Toronto, Ont.
Eighteen family physicians.
We conducted 4 qualitative focus groups of 4 to 6 family physicians whose practices we had audited in a previous study. Focus group transcripts were analyzed using the principles of thematic analysis.
Five major themes related to the provision of dementia care by family physicians emerged: 1) diagnostic uncertainty; 2) the complexity of dementia; 3) time as a paradox in the provision of dementia care; 4) the importance of patients’ families; 5) and familiarity with patients. Participants expressed uncertainty about diagnosing dementia and a strong need for expert verification of diagnoses owing to the complexity of dementia. Time, patients’ family members, and familiarity with patients were seen as both barriers and enablers in the provision of dementia care.
Family physicians face many challenges in providing dementia care. The results of this study and the views of family physicians should be considered in the development and dissemination of future dementia guidelines, as well as by specialist colleagues, policy makers, and those involved in developing continuing physician education about dementia.
While physicians are key to primary preventive care, their delivery rate is sub-optimal. Assessment of physician beliefs is integral to understanding current behavior and the conceptualization of strategies to increase delivery.
A focus group with regional primary care physician (PCP) Opinion Leaders was conducted as a formative step towards regional assessment of attitudes and barriers regarding preventive care delivery in primary care. Following the PRECEDE-PROCEED model, the focus group aim was to identify conceptual themes that characterize PCP beliefs and practices regarding preventive care. Seven male and five female PCPs (family medicine, internal medicine) participated in the audiotaped discussion of their perceptions and behaviors in delivery of primary preventive care. The transcribed audiotape was qualitatively analyzed using grounded theory methodology.
The PCPs' own perceived role in daily practice was a significant barrier to primary preventive care. The prevailing PCP model was the "one-stop-shop" physician who could provide anything from primary to tertiary care, but whose provision was dominated by the delivery of immediate diagnoses and treatments, namely secondary care.
The secondary-tertiary prevention PCP model sustained the expectation of immediacy of corrective action, cure, and satisfaction sought by patients and physicians alike, and, thereby, de-prioritized primary prevention in practice. Multiple barriers beyond the immediate control of PCP must be surmounted for the full integration of primary prevention in primary care practice. However, independent of other barriers, physician cognitive value of primary prevention in practice, a base mediator of physician behavior, will need to be increased to frame the likelihood of such integration.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:
A Canadian group, consisting of six physicians and an HIV researcher with significant experience and knowledge in HIV management, reviewed the available data and developed guidelines for Canadian health care providers (who treat HIV infection) on the appropriate use of maraviroc (UK-427,857) in HIV-infected adults.
Evidence from the published literature and conference presentations, as well as the expert opinions of the group members were considered and evaluated to develop the recommendations. Feedback on the draft recommendations was obtained from this core group, as well as from four other physicians across Canada with expertise in HIV treatment and experience with the use of maraviroc. The final recommendations represent the core group’s consensus agreement once all feedback was considered.
Recommendations were developed to guide physicians and other health care providers in the optimal use of maraviroc. The recommendations were considered in light of the fact that the decision to include maraviroc in an antiretroviral regimen depends not only on issues that concern all antiretroviral agents, such as efficacy, safety, resistance and drug interactions, but also on the issue of viral tropism, which is unique to maraviroc and other CCR5 inhibitors.
CCR5 receptor antagonist; Entry inhibitors; HIV; Maraviroc; Recommendations; Resistance; Treatment; Tropism
A practice intervention must have its basis in an understanding of the physician and practice to secure its benefit and relevancy. We used a formative process to characterize primary care physician attitudes, needs, and practice obstacles regarding primary prevention. The characterization will provide the conceptual framework for the development of a practice tool to facilitate routine delivery of primary preventive care.
A focus group of primary care physician Opinion Leaders was audio-taped, transcribed, and qualitatively analyzed to identify emergent themes that described physicians' perceptions of prevention in daily practice.
The conceptual worth of primary prevention, including behavioral counseling, was high, but its practice was significantly countered by the predominant clinical emphasis on and rewards for secondary care. In addition, lack of health behavior training, perceived low self-efficacy, and patient resistance to change were key deterrents to primary prevention delivery. Also, the preventive focus in primary care is not on cancer, but on predominant chronic nonmalignant conditions.
The success of the future practice tool will be largely dependent on its ability to "fit" primary prevention into the clinical culture of diagnoses and treatment sustained by physicians, patients, and payers. The tool's message output must be formatted to facilitate physician delivery of patient-tailored behavioral counseling in an accurate, confident, and efficacious manner. Also, the tool's health behavior messages should be behavior-specific, not disease-specific, to draw on shared risk behaviors of numerous diseases and increase the likelihood of perceived salience and utility of the tool in primary care.
Dementia can now be accurately diagnosed through clinical evaluation, cognitive screening, basic laboratory evaluation and structural imaging. A large number of ancillary techniques are also available to aid in diagnosis, but their role in the armamentarium of family physicians remains controversial. In this article, we provide physicians with practical guidance on the diagnosis of dementia based on recommendations from the Third Canadian Consensus Conference on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Dementia, held in March 2006.
We developed evidence-based guidelines using systematic literature searches, with specific criteria for study selection and quality assessment, and a clear and transparent decision-making process. We selected studies published from January 1996 to December 2005 that pertained to key diagnostic issues in dementia. We graded the strength of evidence using the criteria of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care.
Of the 1591 articles we identified on all aspects of dementia diagnosis, 1095 met our inclusion criteria; 620 were deemed to be of good or fair quality. From a synthesis of the evidence in these studies, we made 32 recommendations related to the diagnosis of dementia. There are clinical criteria for diagnosing most forms of dementia. A standard diagnostic evaluation can be performd by family physicians over multiple visits. It involves a clinical history (from patient and caregiver), a physical examination and brief cognitive testing. A list of core laboratory tests is recommended. Structural imaging with computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging is recommended in selected cases to rule out treatable causes of dementia or to rule in cerebrovascular disease. There is insufficient evidence to recommend routine functional imaging, measurement of biomarkers or neuropsychologic testing.
The diagnosis of dementia remains clinically integrative based on history, physical examination and brief cognitive testing. A number of core laboratory tests are also recommended. Structural neuroimaging is advised in selected cases. Other diagnostic approaches, including functional neuroimaging, neuropsychological testing and measurement of biomarkers, have shown promise but are not yet recommended for routine use by family physicians.
The work of the Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination is described in the historical context of its creation and of its evolution. The initial mandate of the task force is presented and the methodology it created to examine scientific information and formulate practice recommendations is reviewed. The complexity of the implementation of practice guidelines in preventive care is examined by reviewing the several determinants of implementation: cognitive, sociodemographic and organizational factors. The actions taken in Canada to implement the guidelines since the publication of the first task force report are described. The importance of better coordinated clinical and population-based approaches to prevention is emphasized.
The management of HIV-infected patients with cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease has changed significantly with the availability of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
These updated guidelines are intended to provide practical help to physicians managing HIV-positive patients with or at risk for CMV disease.
The 10 members of the Canadian CMV Disease in HIV/AIDS Consensus Group were infectious disease specialists, a primary care physician and ophthalmologists with expertise in HIV and CMV infection. Financial support by Hoffmann-La Roche Canada Ltd was unrestricted, and was limited to travel expenses and honoraria. The consensus group met in June and October 2002. Key areas to be considered were identified, and group members selected, reviewed and presented relevant recent literature for their assigned section for the group's consideration. Evidence was assessed based on established criteria, which were expert opinions of the members. Draft documents were circulated to the entire group and modified until consensus was reached. The final guidelines represent the group's consensus agreement. The guidelines were approved by the Canadian Infectious Disease Society.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS:
The guidelines address symptom monitoring, screening for early detection and prevention, and treatment using oral, intravenous and intraocular anti-CMV therapies in conjunction with HAART.
Cytomegalovirus disease; Diagnosis; Guidelines; HIV/AIDS; Screening; Treatment
To assist women and their physicians in making decisions regarding the prevention of breast cancer with tamoxifen and raloxifene.
Systematic review of English-language literature published from 1966 to August 2000 retrieved from MEDLINE, HealthSTAR, Current Contents and Cochrane Library.
The strength of evidence was evaluated using the methods of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care and the Steering Committee on Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Care and Treatment of Breast Cancer.
· Women at low or normal risk of breast cancer (Gail risk assessment index < 1.66% at 5 years): There is fair evidence to recommend against the use of tamoxifen to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women at low or normal risk of the disease (grade D recommendation).
· Women at higher risk of breast cancer (Gail index ≥ 1.66% at 5 years): Evidence supports counselling women at high risk on the potential benefits and harms of breast cancer prevention with tamoxifen (grade B recommendation). The cutoff for defining high risk is arbitrary, but the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project P-1 Study included women with a 5-year projected risk of at least 1.66% according to the Gail index, and the average risk of patients entered in the trial was 3.2%. Examples of high-risk clinical situations are 2 first-degree relatives with breast cancer, a history of lobular carcinoma in situ or a history of atypical hyperplasia. As the risk of breast cancer increases above 5% and the benefits outweigh the harms, a woman may choose to take tamoxifen. The duration of tamoxifen use in such situations is 5 years based on the results from trials of tamoxifen involving women with early breast cancer. If a woman raises concerns or has already been evaluated and is calculated to be at high risk, then individuals experienced and skilled in counselling may discuss the potential benefits and harms of tamoxifen use.
Important additional issues
· Prevention of breast cancer with raloxifene: Current evidence does not support recommending chemoprevention of breast cancer with raloxifene outside of a clinical trial setting.
· Screening using the Gail risk assessment index: This index was the main eligibility criterion for enrolling women in the one study that showed potential benefit from chemoprevention. However, it has not been evaluated for use as a routine screening or case-finding instrument; validation of the index is required. Overall, current evidence does not support a shift to its routine use in physicians' offices for screening or case finding. However, when a woman or her physician is concerned about the woman's increased risk of breast cancer, the index can be a useful tool in deciding whether to pursue an in-depth discussion of the potential benefits and harms of chemoprevention. Hence, the approach to identifying women at higher risk who warrant counselling and shared decision-making will vary across practices. (The risk assessment index is available online at http://bcra.nci.nih.gov/brc/).
[A patient version of these guidelines appears in Appendix 2.]
The authors' original text was revised by both the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care and the Steering Committee on Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Care and Treatment of Breast Cancer. The final document reflects a consensus of these contributors.
Evaluation of the older driver is a difficult task for primary care physicians. We investigated the physician-perceived barriers to assessing older drivers in primary care practice.
Twenty family physicians whose patients had completed a clinical questionnaire and neuropsychological tests participated in one of 2 focus groups. Physicians were asked about barriers to assessing older drivers in primary care and the usefulness of neuropsychological tests for assessing driving ability.
A number of themes emerged related to barriers in the assessment of the older driver. Major themes included concerns about being liable for the results of driving related screening and about patients reacting unfavorably to a driving assessment including cognitive tests. Physicians uniformly agreed that a protocol to guide driving assessment would be useful.
Physicians encounter a number of barriers to assessing older drivers but recognize the importance of driving within the context of geriatric functional assessment.
Multiple professional societies have issued practice guidelines that provide up-to-date evidence-based recommendations and expert opinions on patient care in the field of gastroenterology (GI). While most physicians are aware that formal guidelines exist, these GI guidelines have not been integrated into academic training curricula in most of the top-ranked GI fellowship programs.
Two fellows in the Ochsner GI fellowship program (the control group) reviewed 14 current American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy guidelines deemed essential for GI fellowship training and wrote 200 questions based on these guidelines. Four additional fellows (the experimental group) had no knowledge of which articles would be tested. A 14-week curriculum focused on reviewing the guidelines. All 6 fellows took a pretest before the guideline review and then took a postreview test. All of the participating GI fellows completed a survey evaluating the perceived effectiveness of the formal guideline testing.
The experimental group had a 33% improvement in test scores between the pre- and posttest, while the control group had a 7% improvement. The survey showed that 100% of the fellows felt more secure in their knowledge of the guidelines and would recommend that this learning format be implemented into the annual academic curriculum. All also agreed that this format provided evidence-based knowledge to improve patient safety and provide optimal patient care.
We plan to continue formal practice guideline reviews in our fellowship and believe this format would benefit other medical training programs as well.
Graduate medical education; patient safety; practice guidelines as topic
Previous studies have shown racial/ethnic differences in preferences for end-of-life (EOL) care. We aimed to describe values and beliefs guiding physicians' EOL decision-making and explore the relationship between physicians' race/ethnicity and their decision-making.
Seven focus groups (3 Caucasian, 2 African American, 2 Hispanic) with internists and subspecialists (n=26) were conducted. Investigators independently analyzed transcripts, assigned codes, compared findings, reconciled differences, and developed themes.
Four themes appeared to transcend physicians' race/ethnicity: (1) strong support for the physician's role; (2) responding to “unreasonable” requests; (3) organizational factors; and (4) physician training and comfort with discussing EOL care. Five themes physicians seemed to manage differently based on race/ethnicity: (1) preventing and reducing the burden of surrogate decision-making; (2) responding to requests for “doing everything;” (3) influence of physician-patient racial/ethnic concordance/discordance; (4) cultural differences concerning truth-telling; and (5) spirituality and religious beliefs.
Physicians in our multi-racial/ethnic sample emphasized their commitment to their professional role in EOL decision-making. Implicitly invoking the professional virtue of self-effacement, they were able to identify racially/ethnically common and diverse ethical challenges of EOL decision-making.
Physicians should use professional virtues to tailor the EOL decision-making process in response to patients' race/ethnicity, based on patients' preferences.
end-of-life decision making; physicians; race/ethnicity