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1.  Ethnic Disparities in Diabetes Management and Pay-for-Performance in the UK: The Wandsworth Prospective Diabetes Study 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(6):e191.
Background
Pay-for-performance rewards health-care providers by paying them more if they succeed in meeting performance targets. A new contract for general practitioners in the United Kingdom represents the most radical shift towards pay-for-performance seen in any health-care system. The contract provides an important opportunity to address disparities in chronic disease management between ethnic and socioeconomic groups. We examined disparities in management of people with diabetes and intermediate clinical outcomes within a multiethnic population in primary care before and after the introduction of the new contract in April 2004.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a population-based longitudinal survey, using electronic general practice records, in an ethnically diverse part of southwest London. Outcome measures were prescribing levels and achievement of national treatment targets (HbA1c ≤ 7.0%; blood pressure [BP] < 140/80 mm Hg; total cholesterol ≤ 5 mmol/l or 193 mg/dl). The proportion of patients reaching treatment targets for HbA1c, BP, and total cholesterol increased significantly after the implementation of the new contract. The extents of these increases were broadly uniform across ethnic groups, with the exception of the black Caribbean patient group, which had a significantly lower improvement in HbA1c (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.75, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.57–0.97) and BP control (AOR 0.65, 95% CI 0.53–0.81) relative to the white British patient group. Variations in prescribing and achievement of treatment targets between ethnic groups present in 2003 were not attenuated in 2005.
Conclusions
Pay-for-performance incentives have not addressed disparities in the management and control of diabetes between ethnic groups. Quality improvement initiatives must place greater emphasis on minority communities to avoid continued disparities in mortality from cardiovascular disease and the other major complications of diabetes.
Based on a population-based longitudinal survey, Christopher Millett and colleagues concluded that pay-for-performance incentives for UK general practitioners had not addressed disparities in the management and control of diabetes between ethnic groups.
Editors' Summary
Background.
When used in health care, the term “pay-for-performance” means rewarding health-care providers by paying them more if they succeed in meeting performance targets set by the government and other commissioners of health care. It is an approach to health service management that is becoming common, particularly in the US and the UK. For example, the UK's general practitioners (family doctors) agreed with the government in 2004 that they would receive increases to their income that would depend on how well they were judged to be performing according to 146 quality indicators that cover clinical care for ten chronic diseases, as well as “organization of care,” and “patient experience.” One of the chronic diseases is diabetes, a condition that has reached epidemic proportions in the UK, as it has also in many other countries.
  Ethnic minorities often suffer more from health problems than the majority population of the country they live in. They are also likely to be served less well by the health services. Diabetes is a case in point; in many countries—including the US and UK—the condition is much more common in minority groups. In addition, their diabetes is usually less well “managed”—i.e., it becomes more severe more rapidly and there are more complications. In the UK, the government recognizes the need to ensure that its health policies are applied to all sectors of the population, including minority ethnic communities. Nevertheless, the advances that have been made in the management of diabetes have not benefited the UK's ethnic minorities to the same extent as they have the majority population. It is hoped that the use of pay-for-performance management by the UK National Health Service will lead to more efficient delivery of health care, and that one consequence will be that different communities will be more equally served.
Why Was This Study Done?
The researchers wanted to find out whether the introduction of pay-for-performance management in general medical practice in the UK was leading to a reduction in the gap in the quality of care provided to people with diabetes who belonged to ethnic minorities and other people with diabetes.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The research was carried out in Wandsworth, an area of southwest London that is considered to be “ethnically diverse.” Over 4,200 people with diabetes are registered with general practitioners in this area. The researchers used the electronic records kept by these doctors and they focused on diabetes “treatment targets” set by the government, according to which the blood pressure and cholesterol levels of people with diabetes should be kept below defined levels. There is also a target level for glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), which is a substance that can be used to measure the extent to which a patient's diabetes is under control. The researchers calculated the percentage of patients who were meeting these treatment targets. Overall, more patients met their treatment targets after the introduction of pay-for-performance management than were doing so before. All ethnic groups seemed to have benefited, but the black Caribbean group did not benefit as much as the other groups; the number of these patients who met the targets did improve, but the gap between them and patients with diabetes from other ethnic groups remained about the same.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The researchers concluded that, while the introduction of pay-for-performance did seem to have been beneficial, it had not addressed disparities in the management and control of diabetes between ethnic groups. They say that, in all initiatives to improve the quality of health care, special efforts must be made to reduce such gaps. The UK's use of pay-for-performance in general practice is regarded internationally as a very bold step, but, as other countries are also considering moving in this direction, the lessons from the study will be relevant in many other parts of the world.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040191.
Wikipedia has an entry on pay-for-performance in health care (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
Information about how the NHS works in England
Diabetes UK is the largest organization in the UK working for people with diabetes and its website includes a useful Guide to Diabetes
The London Health Observatory is one of nine health observatories set up by the NHS to monitor health and health care in England. There is a page devoted to “ethnic health intelligence”
Introductory information about diabetes as a medical condition may be found on the MedlinePlus website; there are several MedlinePlus pages on diabetes as well
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040191
PMCID: PMC1891316  PMID: 17564486
2.  Adolescents perception of reproductive health care services in Sri Lanka 
Background
Adolescent health needs, behaviours and expectations are unique and routine health care services are not well geared to provide these services. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceived reproductive health problems, health seeking behaviors, knowledge about available services and barriers to reach services among a group of adolescents in Sri Lanka in order to improve reproductive health service delivery.
Methods
This qualitative study was conducted in a semi urban setting in Sri Lanka. A convenient sample of 32 adolescents between 17–19 years of age participated in four focus group discussions. Participants were selected from four midwife areas. A pre-tested focus group guide was used for data collection. Male and female facilitators conducted discussions separately with young males and females. All tape-recorded data was fully transcribed and thematic analysis was done.
Results
Psychological distresses due to various reasons and problems regarding menstrual cycle and masturbation were reported as the commonest health problems. Knowledge on existing services was very poor and boys were totally unaware of youth health services available through the public health system. On reproductive Health Matters, girls mainly sought help from friends whereas boys did not want to discuss their problems with anyone. Lack of availability of services was pointed out as the most important barrier in reaching the adolescent needs. Lack of access to reproductive health knowledge was an important reason for poor self-confidence among adolescents to discuss these matters. Lack of confidentiality, youth friendliness and accessibility of available services were other barriers discussed. Adolescents were happy to accept available services through public clinics and other health infrastructure for their services rather than other organizations. A demand was made for separate youth friendly services through medical practitioners.
Conclusions and recommendations
Adolescent health services are inadequate and available services are not being delivered in an acceptable manner. Proper training of health care providers on youth friendly service provision is essential. A National level integrated health care program is needed for the adolescents.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-8-98
PMCID: PMC2386785  PMID: 18454869
3.  Placement, support, and retention of health professionals: national, cross-sectional findings from medical and dental community service officers in South Africa 
Background
In South Africa, community service following medical training serves as a mechanism for equitable distribution of health professionals and their professional development. Community service officers are required to contribute a year towards serving in a public health facility while receiving supervision and remuneration. Although the South African community service programme has been in effect since 1998, little is known about how placement and practical support occur, or how community service may impact future retention of health professionals.
Methods
National, cross-sectional data were collected from community service officers who served during 2009 using a structured self-report questionnaire. A Supervision Satisfaction Scale (SSS) was created by summing scores of five questions rated on a three-point Likert scale (orientation, clinical advising, ongoing mentorship, accessibility of clinic leadership, and handling of community service officers’ concerns). Research endpoints were guided by community service programmatic goals and analysed as dichotomous outcomes. Bivariate and multivariate logistical regressions were conducted using Stata 12.
Results
The sample population comprised 685 doctors and dentists (response rate 44%). Rural placement was more likely among unmarried, male, and black practitioners. Rates of self-reported professional development were high (470 out of 539 responses; 87%). Participants with higher scores on the SSS were more likely to report professional development. Although few participants planned to continue work in rural, underserved communities (n = 171 out of 657 responses, 25%), those serving in a rural facility during the community service year had higher intentions of continuing rural work. Those reporting professional development during the community service year were twice as likely to report intentions to remain in rural, underserved communities.
Conclusions
Despite challenges in equitable distribution of practitioners, participant satisfaction with the compulsory community service programme appears to be high among those who responded to a 2009 questionnaire. These data offer a starting point for designing programmes and policies that better meet the health needs of the South African population through more appropriate human resource management. An emphasis on professional development and supervision is crucial if South Africa is to build practitioner skills, equitably distribute health professionals, and retain the medical workforce in rural, underserved areas.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-12-14
PMCID: PMC3975958  PMID: 24571826
Community service; Placement; Public sector; Rural; South Africa
4.  Changes in general practice organization: survey of general practitioners' views on the 1990 contract and fundholding. 
BACKGROUND: General practitioners' views on two major changes in the organization of general practice--the 1990 contract for general practitioners and fundholding, introduced in 1991--have not been researched in any great detail. AIM: A study in 1993 sought to investigate the views of general practitioners from group practices and of single-handed general practitioners, in family health services authority areas with different socioeconomic characteristics, on the 1990 contract for general practitioners, fundholding and the effects of these two changes in general practice organization. METHOD: One general practitioner partner from each of 323 group practices in six family health services authority areas of England was invited for interview and 142 single-handed general practitioners in the study areas were sent a postal questionnaire. The interview and questionnaire sought general practitioners' views on the 1990 contract and fundholding, reasons for their opinions, and views on the effects of these reforms on workload and the quality of service. Other information was recorded on fundholding status, workload pressures, outreach clinics, budget surpluses, retirement plans, and opinions on a salaried service. RESULTS: A total of 260 group practice general practitioners (80%) participated in the study and 80 single-handed general practitioners (56%) returned questionnaires, 78 of which could be analysed. Over half of all respondents were opposed or strongly opposed to both the 1990 contract and fundholding. However, despite this opposition, a sizeable minority of group practice practitioners (38%) agreed that the quality of services provided had improved or considerably improved since the 1990 contract. Workload appeared to have increased, with the proportion of respondents who reported being always under pressure increasing from 12% in 1987 to 41% in 1993. All but one respondent considered administration to have increased. Some respondents were considering early retirement. One of the solutions proposed to alleviate problems in inner city general practice, a salaried service, received little support, even from those general practitioners working in areas which might be expected to benefit. CONCLUSION: Dissatisfaction of general practitioners with the National Health Service reforms was expressed in continued opposition, in concerns about workload and levels of administration, and in a desire to retire early. Suitable ways of improving general practitioner morale must be sought.
PMCID: PMC1239538  PMID: 8855016
5.  Use of general practice, diagnostic investigations and hospital services before and after cancer diagnosis - a population-based nationwide registry study of 127,000 incident adult cancer patients 
Background
Knowledge of patterns in cancer patients’ health care utilisation around the time of diagnosis may guide health care resource allocation and provide important insights into this groups’ demand for health care services. The health care need of patients with comorbid conditions far exceeds the oncology capacity and it is therefore important to elucidate the role of both primary and secondary care. The aim of this paper is to describe the use of health care services amongst incident cancer patients in Denmark one year before and one year after cancer diagnosis.
Methods
The present study is a national population-based case–control (1:10) registry study. All incident cancer patients (n = 127,210) diagnosed between 2001 and 2006 aged 40 years or older were identified in the Danish Cancer Registry. Data from national health registries were provided for all cancer patients and for 1,272,100 controls. Monthly consultation frequencies, monthly proportions of persons receiving health services and three-month incidence rate ratios for one year before and one year after the cancer diagnosis were calculated. Data were analysed separately for women and men.
Results
Three months before their diagnosis, cancer patients had twice as many general practitioner (GP) consultations, ten to eleven times more diagnostic investigations and five times more hospital contacts than the reference population. The demand for GP services peaked one month before diagnosis, the demand for diagnostic investigations one month after diagnosis and the number of hospital contacts three months after diagnosis. The proportion of cancer patients receiving each of these three types of health services remained more than 10% above that of the reference population from two months before diagnosis until the end of the study period.
Conclusions
Cancer patients’ health service utilisation rose dramatically three months before their diagnosis. This increase applied to all services in general throughout the first year after diagnosis and to the patients’ use of hospital contacts in particular. Cancer patients’ heightened demand for GP services one year after their diagnosis highlights the importance of close coordination and communication between the primary and the secondary healthcare sector.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-224
PMCID: PMC3507912  PMID: 22838741
Cancer; General practice; Diagnostic; Hospital admission; Outpatient visit; Health services; Consultation; Registry study; Aftercare; Denmark
6.  Early outreach to survivors of the shootings in Norway on the 22nd of July 2011 
European Journal of Psychotraumatology  2014;5:10.3402/ejpt.v5.23523.
Background
Under-treatment and unmet needs among survivors have been documented years after terror attacks. Improved early and proactive outreach strategies, including targeted interventions for individuals in need, are required. After the terrorist attacks in Norway on 22 July 2011, a national, proactive outreach strategy was developed and implemented to help those who were directly affected.
Objectives
The aims of this study were threefold: (1) to investigate whether the survivors at the island of Utøya had received proactive outreach from the municipalities, (2) to examine the relationships between received health services and the survivors’ level of exposure and post-trauma health problems, and (3) to explore the level of unmet needs among survivors 5 months post-terror.
Methods
Three hundred and twenty five survivors (M age=19.4, SD=4.6, 47.1% females, response rate 66%) of the 2011 massacre on Utøya Island, Norway, were interviewed face-to-face 4–5 months post-terror. The survivors were asked if they had received proactive outreach from their municipality, and what type of health services they had received. Survivors’ level of peri-trauma exposure, loss and injury, posttraumatic stress reactions, symptoms of anxiety and depression, somatic health problems, and sick leave, were assessed.
Results
Most participants (87%) reported that they had received early and proactive outreach, and most (84%) had a contact person. In addition a majority of the survivors has received support from their general practitioner (63%), or other municipal help services (66%). Specialized mental health services by psychiatrists or psychologists had been provided to 73.1% of the survivors. Survivors who had been referred to specialized mental health services reported higher levels of exposure to trauma, posttraumatic stress reactions, depression and anxiety, and somatic health problems, compared to non-receivers of such services. Forty-three survivors (14%) reported unmet needs for services.
Conclusion
In accordance with the national strategy, the vast majority of the participants in this study had received an early and proactive outreach and targeted responses from specialized mental health services had been provided to survivors in need of more extensive help. However, an important minority of the participants had not been reached as planned. The knowledge from this study may guide professionals and decision makers in planning for future disasters and improve the levels of care.
doi:10.3402/ejpt.v5.23523
PMCID: PMC4082194  PMID: 25018858
Posttraumatic stress reactions; PTSD; youth; terror; shootings; early intervention
7.  The role of counsellors in general practice. A qualitative study. 
Counselling services in general practice are now widespread but little is known about their nature or role. We therefore carried out in-depth telephone interviews with a representative sample of 72 general practitioners and 60 of their counsellors who had participated in a previous national survey of counselling services in England and Wales. Our aim was to gain greater insight into the functioning of these services in order to determine the most appropriate focus for future research and development. Interviews were semi-structured and focused on service initiation and duration; counsellors' background and training; working arrangements including sources of funding; types of clients; communication between general practitioners and counsellors; perceived advantages and disadvantages to general practitioners, counsellors, and clients; goals, barriers, and proposed changes. Approximately two thirds of counsellors were employed by district health authorities and attached to practices. One third were employed by the practice with the financial assistance of family health services authorities. Practice-employed counsellors appeared a relatively new service innovation whose growth was facilitated by the general practitioner contract of 1991. Practice-employed counsellors were preferred to practice-attached staff in that general practitioners had greater control over the selection of counsellors and their working arrangements. Problems with interprofessional communication were noted in relation to counsellors' wishes to maintain patient confidentiality by not exchanging information about patients with general practitioners. Counsellors received referrals principally from general practitioners and occasionally from other primary health care staff. Self-referral by patients was rare. The problems for which patients were most commonly referred were: stress/anxiety, relationship problems, depression, and bereavement. The principal therapeutic styles were Rogerian counselling, behavioural therapy, and psychodynamic psychotherapy. A quarter described their style as 'eclectic'. Individual, not group, therapy was the norm. Sessions were usually 50 minutes in duration. However, waiting list times, the frequency of sessions, and overall duration of therapy varied enormously. Overall 28% of counsellors held no formal qualification in counselling or in any of the psychotherapies. Counsellors and general practitioners were generally satisfied with the service and identified a wide range of benefits with few disadvantages. The principal problem was said to be that demand exceeded capacity and the principal change proposed was expansion of the service. The findings provide the most comprehensive account to date of the present state and likely future direction of counselling services in general practice and point to the need to: 1. Evaluate the cost-effectiveness of counselling in the management of common psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression 2. Establish a national policy for the training and accreditation of counsellors working in general practice settings 3. Educate general practitioners about the organization and role of counselling services with particular attention to interprofessional communication and the maintenance of patient confidentiality.
PMCID: PMC2560396  PMID: 9080766
8.  A self-evaluation tool for integrated care services: the Development Model for Integrated Care applied in practice 
Purpose
The purpose of the workshop is to show the applications of the Development Model for Integrated Care (DMIC) in practice. This relatively new and validated model, can be used by integrated care practices to evaluate their integrated care, to assess their phase of development and reveal improvement areas. In the workshop the results of the use of the model in three types of integrated care settings in the Netherlands will be presented. Participants are offered practical instruments based on the validated DMIC to use in their own setting and will be introduced to the webbased tool.
Context
To integrate care from multiple providers into a coherent and streamlined client-focused service, a large number of activities and agreements have to be implemented like streamlining information flows and adequate transfers of clients. In the large range of possible activities it is often not clear what essential activities are and where to start or continue. Also, knowledge about how to further develop integrated care services is needed. The Development Model for Integrated Care (DMIC), based on PhD research of Mirella Minkman, describes nine clusters containing in total 89 elements that contribute to the integration of care. The clusters are named: ‘client-centeredness’, ‘delivery system’, ‘performance management’, ‘quality of care’, ‘result-focused learning’, ‘interprofessional teamwork’, ‘roles and tasks’, ‘commitment’, and ‘transparant entrepreneurship’ [1–3]. In 2011 a new digital webbased self-evolution tool which contains the 89 elements grouped in nine clusters was developed. The DMIC also describes four phases of development [4]. The model is empirically validated in practice by assessing the relevance and implementation of the elements and development phases in 84 integrated care services in The Netherlands: in stroke, acute myocardial infarct (AMI), and dementia services. The validation studies are recently published [5, 6]. In 2011 also other integrated care services started using the model [7]. Vilans developed a digital web-based self-evaluation tool for integrated care services based on the DMIC. A palliative care network, four diabetes services, a youth care service and a network for autism used the self-evaluation tool to evaluate the development of their integrated care service. Because of its generic character, the model and tool are believed to be also interesting internationally.
Data sources
In the workshop we will present the results of three studies in integrated diabetes, youth and palliative care. The three projects consist of multiple steps, see below. Workshop participants could also work with the DMIC following these steps.
One: Preparation of the digital self-evolution tool for integrated care services
Although they are very different, the three integrated care services all wanted to gain insight in their development and improvement opportunities. We tailored the digital self-evaluation tool for each specific integrated care services, but for all the basis was the DMIC. Personal accounts for the digital DMIC self-evalution survey were sent to multiple partners working in each integrated care service (4–16 partners).
Two: Use of the online self-evaluation tool each partner of the local integrated care setting evaluated the integrated care by filling in the web-based questionnaire. The tool consists of three parts (A-C) named: general information about the integrated care practice (A); the clusters and elements of the DMIC (B); and the four phases of development (C). The respondents rated the relevance and presence of each element in their integrated care practice. Respondents were asked to estimate in which phase of development their thought their service was.
Three: Analysing the results
Advisers from Vilans, the Centre of excellence for long-term care in the Netherlands, analysed the self-evolution results in cooperation with the integrated care coordinators. The results show the total amount of implemented integrated care elements per cluster in spider graphs and the development phase as calculated by the DMIC model. Suggestions for further development of the integrated care services were analysed and reported.
Four: Discussing the implications for further development
In a workshop with the local integrated care partners the results of the self-evaluation were presented and discussed. We noticed remarkable results and highlight elements for further development. In addition, we gave advice for further development appropriate to the development phase of the integrated care service. Furthermore, the professionals prioritized the elements and decided which elements to start working on. This resulted in a (quality improvement) plan for the further development of the integrated care service.
Five: Reporting results
In a report all the results of the survey (including consensus scores) and the workshops came together. The integrated care coordinators stated that the reports really helped them to assess their improvement strategy. Also, there was insight in the development phase of their service which gave tools for further development.
Case description
The three cases presented are a palliative network, an integrated diabetes services and an integrated care network for youth in the Netherlands. The palliative care network wanted to reflect on their current development, to build a guiding framework for further development of the network. About sixteen professionals within the network worked with the digital self-evaluation tool and the DMIC: home care organisations, welfare organizations, hospice centres, health care organisations, community organizations.
For diabetes care, a Dutch health care insurance company wished to gain insight in the development of the contracted integrated care services to stimulate further development of the services. Professionals of three diabetes integrated care services were invited to fill in the digital self-evaluation tool. Of each integrated care service professionals like a general practitioner, a diabetes nurse, a medical specialist, a dietician and a podiatrist were invited. In youth care, a local health organisation wondered whether the DMIC could be helpful to visualize the results of youth integrated care services at process- and organisational level. The goal of the project was to define indicators at a process- and organisational level for youth care services based on the DMIC. In the future, these indicators might be used to evaluate youth care integrated care services and improve the quality of youth care within the Netherlands.
Conclusions and discussion
It is important for the quality of integrated care services that the involved coordinators, managers and professionals are aware of the development process of the integrated care service and that they focus on elements which can further develop and improve their integrated care. However, we noticed that integrated care services in the Netherlands experience difficulties in developing their integrated care service. It is often not clear what essential activities are to work on and how to further develop the integrated care service. A guiding framework for the development of integrated care was missing. The DMIC model has been developed for that reason and offers a useful tool for assessment, self-evaluation or improvement of integrated care services in practice. The model has been validated for AMI, dementia and stroke services. The latest new studies in diabetes, palliative care and youth care gave further insight in the generic character of the DMIC. Based on these studies it can be assumed that the DMIC can be used for multiple types of integrated care services. The model is assumed to be interesting for an international audience. Improving integrated care is a complex topic in a large number of countries; the DMIC is also based on the international literature. Dutch integrated care coordinators stated that the DMIC helped them to assess their integrated care development in practice and supported them in obtaining ideas for expanding and improving their integrated care activities.
The web-based self-evaluation tool focuses on a process- and organisational level of integrated care. Also, the self assessed development phase can be compared to the development phase as calculated by the DMIC tool. The cases showed this is fruitful input for discussions. When using the tool, the results can also be used in quality policy reports and improvement plans. The web-based tool is being tested at this moment in practice, but in San Marino we can present the latest webversion and demonstrate with a short video how to use the tool and model. During practical exercises in the workshop the participants will experience how the application of the DMIC can work for them in practice or in research. For integrated care researchers and policy makers, the DMIC questionnaire and tool is a promising method for further research and policy plans in integrated care.
PMCID: PMC3617779
development model for integrated care; development of integrated care services; implementation and improvement of integrated care; self evaluation
9.  Better together? a naturalistic qualitative study of inter-professional working in collaborative care for co-morbid depression and physical health problems 
Background
Mental-physical multi-morbidities pose challenges for primary care services that traditionally focus on single diseases. Collaborative care models encourage inter-professional working to deliver better care for patients with multiple chronic conditions, such as depression and long-term physical health problems. Successive trials from the United States have shown that collaborative care effectively improves depression outcomes, even in people with long-term conditions (LTCs), but little is known about how to implement collaborative care in the United Kingdom. The aim of the study was to explore the extent to which collaborative care was implemented in a naturalistic National Health Service setting.
Methods
A naturalistic pilot study of collaborative care was undertaken in North West England. Primary care mental health professionals from IAPT (Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies) services and general practice nurses were trained to collaboratively identify and manage patients with co-morbid depression and long-term conditions. Qualitative interviews were performed with health professionals at the beginning and end of the pilot phase. Normalization Process Theory guided analysis.
Results
Health professionals adopted limited elements of the collaborative care model in practice. Although benefits of co-location in primary care practices were reported, including reduced stigma of accessing mental health treatment and greater ease of disposal for identified patients, existing norms around the division of mental and physical health work in primary care were maintained, limiting integration of the mental health practitioners into the practice setting. Neither the mental health practitioners nor the practice nurses perceived benefits to joint management of patients.
Conclusions
Established divisions between mental and physical health may pose particular challenges for multi-morbidity service delivery models such as collaborative care. Future work should explore patient perspectives about whether greater inter-professional working enhances experiences of care. The study demonstrates that research into implementation of novel treatments must consider how the introduction of innovation can be balanced with the need for integration into existing practice.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-8-110
PMCID: PMC3848572  PMID: 24053257
Depression; Mental health; Co-morbidity; Implementation; Qualitative; Collaborative care; Chronic care; Primary care
10.  Appropriate place of death for cancer patients: views of general practitioners and hospital doctors. 
BACKGROUND. The majority of cancer patients in the United Kingdom die in a National Health Service hospital, a setting that is contrary to the wishes of those patients expressing a preference to die elsewhere, for example at home or in a hospice. AIM. A study was undertaken to determine clinicians' views of the appropriate place of death for cancer patients and to examine factors leading to patients being admitted to a hospital specialist services unit where they died. METHOD. A questionnaire was sent to all general practitioners and hospital doctors who had cared for cancer patients who had died between May 1991 and April 1992 in a single health district. The appropriateness of the place of death, whether the patient was terminally ill, reasons for hospital admission and effect on management had different resources been available were determined. RESULTS. A total of 1022 deaths attributable to cancer were recorded for patients registered with general practitioners in the study area. Questionnaires were returned by general practitioners for 951 of the deaths (93%); hospital doctors returned questionnaires for 216 out of 268 patients (81%) who had been admitted to hospital under the care of a consultant. For deaths which had occurred at home, in a community hospital, residential/nursing home or Marie Curie hospice, the place of death was considered appropriate by general practitioners in over 92% of cases. For deaths in the hospital specialist services unit the place of death was considered probably or definitely appropriate by general practitioners in 83% of the 212 cases, but not appropriate in 17% of cases (P < 0.001 compared with all other settings). Hospital doctors considered 27% of deaths in the unit inappropriate. Significantly fewer cases fulfilled the criteria for terminal illness (death expected and palliative treatment commenced) according to general practitioners among those dying in the specialist services unit compared with deaths elsewhere (P < 0.001). The most common main reasons for admission to the specialist services unit were for investigation, because of difficult symptom control (apart from pain) and for curative/active treatment. General practitioners reported that management of between a sixth and a quarter of patients admitted to the specialist services unit would have been affected by the availability of 24-hour home cover, community hospital beds and a city-based hospice. Among the group of patients fulfilling the study criteria for terminal illness, the effect of other services on patient management would have been considerably higher. CONCLUSION. A greater proportion of cases where patients died from cancer in settings other than a specialist services unit were considered appropriate by general practitioners compared with deaths in a specialist services unit. For a considerable minority of patients, death in a specialist services unit was not considered appropriate by the general practitioners or by the hospital doctors. Improvements in local hospice facilities, community hospitals and community support would mean that a substantial proportion of hospital admissions could be avoided and thus cancer patients could die in more appropriate settings.
PMCID: PMC1239299  PMID: 7612340
11.  Admission to child health surveillance lists: the views of FHSA general managers and general practitioners. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1991;303(6796):229-232.
OBJECTIVES--To find out the sources of advice that were helpful to managers of family health services authorities in drawing up the criteria for admission of general practitioners to the child health surveillance lists; to determine the criteria used for admission of general practitioners to the family health services authorities' child health surveillance lists; to find out the changes general practitioners have made in child health surveillance in their practices; to determine the experiences of general practitioners relating to admission to the child health surveillance lists and to training in child health surveillance. DESIGN--Survey by postal questionnaire. SUBJECTS--General managers of all family health services authorities in England and Wales; all general practitioners in Yorkshire and Humberside. RESULTS--Managers of 80 of 93 family health services authorities replied (86%). A total of 62 (78%) found local community paediatricians helpful in compiling criteria for admission to child health surveillance lists, and 46 (57%) found national guidelines helpful. Fifty seven (71%) accepted general practitioners who had completed an approved course, and 45 (56%) accepted those with three or more years' experience of child health surveillance. Of the 1966 questionnaires sent to general practitioners, 1233 were satisfactorily completed (63%). Of the 919 respondents who had applied to be put on child health surveillance lists, 673 (73%) had been permanently accepted; of these, 441 (65%) had done an approved course and 375 (56%) had had three or more years' experience of child health surveillance. Of the 145 (16%) not accepted, 57 (39%) had done an approved course and 71 (49%) had three or more years' experience. Respondents reported variable quality and availability of courses in child health. CONCLUSIONS--Acceptance of general practitioners on to child surveillance lists has not been carried out consistently despite national guidelines setting out criteria for acceptance.
PMCID: PMC1670549  PMID: 1884061
12.  Quality indicators for primary care mental health services 
Quality & safety in health care  2003;12(2):100-106.
Objectives: To identify a generic set of face valid quality indicators for primary care mental health services which reflect a multi-stakeholder perspective and can be used for facilitating quality improvement.
Design: Modified two-round postal Delphi questionnaire.
Setting: Geographical spread across Great Britain.
Participants: One hundred and fifteen panellists representing 11 different stakeholder groups within primary care mental health services (clinical psychologist, health and social care commissioner, community psychiatric nurse, counsellor, general practitioner, practice nurse/district nurse/health visitor, psychiatrist, social worker, carer, patient and voluntary organisations).
Main outcome measures: Face validity (median rating of 8 or 9 on a nine point scale with agreement by all panels) for assessing quality of care.
Results: A maximum of 334 indicators were rated by panels in the second round; 26% were rated valid by all panels. These indicators were categorised into 21 aspects of care, 11 relating to general practices and 10 relating to health authorities or primary care groups/trusts. There was variation in the total number of indicators rated valid across the different panels. Overall, GPs rated the lowest number of indicators as valid (41%, n=138) and carers rated the highest number valid (91%, n=304).
Conclusions: The quality indicators represent consensus among key stakeholder groups in defining quality of care within primary care mental health services. These indicators could provide a guide for primary care organisations embarking on quality improvement initiatives in mental health care when addressing national targets and standards relating to primary care set out in the National Service Framework for Mental Health for England. Although many of the indicators relate to parochial issues in UK service delivery, the methodology used in the development of the indicators could be applied in other settings to produce locally relevant indicators.
doi:10.1136/qhc.12.2.100
PMCID: PMC1743692  PMID: 12679505
13.  A Purchaser’s Guide to Clinical Preventive Services: A Tool to Improve Health Care Coverage for Prevention 
Preventing Chronic Disease  2008;5(2):A59.
Introduction
In 2005, representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention partnered with the National Business Group on Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to form a work group for developing A Purchaser's Guide to Clinical Preventive Services: Moving Science into Coverage. This guide, designed as a tool for employers, describes recommended clinical preventive services for 46 conditions. The guide includes the scientific evidence and benefits language that employers need to include comprehensive clinical preventive services in their medical benefit plans.
Methods
The work group determined that the guide would address conditions that 1) affected a large percentage of the working population, 2) were costly to control, and 3) had well-defined and accepted recommendations for preventive services. Subject matter experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Business Group on Health, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality developed or reviewed statements of scientific evidence for 46 diseases and conditions.
Results
The Purchaser's Guide, written for an employer audience, includes descriptions for recommended clinical preventive services and their cost savings, syntheses of supporting evidence, strategies for prioritization, and recommendations to improve the delivery and use of preventive services. Twelve hundred copies were sent to more than 275 members of the National Business Group on Health and other purchasers of health care; training sessions on the Guide were held for 228 business leaders, health benefit consultants, and health plan administrators; and an online version was created through the Web sites of the National Business Group on Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The online version has received more than 260,000 hits since its release.
Conclusion
In 2007, the National Business Group on Health reported that some Fortune 500 companies will be using the Purchaser's Guide when negotiating their health benefit contracts and developing their health care strategies. Further research is under way to determine whether the Guide influences employers to purchase recommended clinical preventive services.
PMCID: PMC2396996  PMID: 18341794
14.  Use of the out-of-hours emergency dental service at two south-east London hospitals 
BMC Oral Health  2009;9:19.
Background
Prior to the introduction of the 2006 NHS dental contract in England and Wales, general dental practitioners (GDPs) were responsible for the provision of out-of-hours (OOH) emergency dental services (EDS); however there was great national variation in service provision. Under the contractual arrangements introduced 1st April 2006, local commissioning agencies became formally responsible for the provision of out-of-hours emergency dental services. This study aimed to examine patients' use of an out-of-hours emergency dental service and to determine whether the introduction of the 2006 national NHS dental contract had resulted in a change in service use, with a view to informing future planning and commissioning of care.
Methods
A questionnaire was administered to people attending the out-of-hours emergency dental service at two inner city London hospitals over two time periods; four weeks before and six months after the introduction of the dental contract in April 2006. The questionnaire explored: reasons for attending; dental registration status and attendance; method of access; knowledge and use of NHS Direct; satisfaction with the service; future preferences for access and use of out-of-hours dental services. Data were compared to determine any impact of the new contract on how and why people accessed the emergency dental service.
Results
The response rate was 73% of attendees with 981 respondents for the first time period and 546 for the second. There were no significant differences between the two time periods in the gender, age, ethnic distribution or main language of service users accessing the service. Overall, the main dental problem was toothache (72%) and the main reason for choosing this service was due to the inability to access another emergency dental service (42%). Significantly fewer service users attended the out-of-hours emergency dental service during the second period because they could not get an appointment with their own dentist (p = 0.002 from 28% to 20%) and significantly more service users in the second period felt the emergency dental service was easier to get to than their own dentist (P = 0.003 from 8% to 14%). Service users found out about the service from multiple sources, of which family and friends were the most common source (30%). In the second period fewer service users were obtaining information about the service from dental receptionists (P = 0.002 from 14% to 9%) and increased use of NHS Direct for a dental problem was reported (P = 0.002 from 16% to 22%) along with more service users being referred to the service by NHS Direct (P = 0.02 from 19% to 24%). The most common preference for future emergency dental care was face-to-face with a dentist (79%).
Conclusion
This study has provided an insight into how and why people use an out-of-hours emergency dental service and has helped to guide future commissioning of these services. Overall, the service was being used in much the same way both before and after the 2006 dental contract. Significantly more use was being made of NHS Direct after April 2006; however, informal information networks such as friends and family remain an important source of information about accessing emergency dental services.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-9-19
PMCID: PMC2729730  PMID: 19630986
15.  The domiciliary consultation service: time to take stock. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1991;302(6774):449-451.
OBJECTIVE--To review the use of the domiciliary consultation service in modern clinical practice in the Northern region. DESIGN--Retrospective study of data on domiciliary consultations from claim forms for payment submitted to the regional health authority by consultants during 1984-5 and prospective study during 1985-9. Peer review of patterns of practice by consultants. SETTING--15 Of the 16 health districts in the Northern region, comprising a mixed urban and rural population of about 2.8 million. PARTICIPANTS--760 Consultants in 28 specialties and 1666 general practitioners who were eligible to perform or request domiciliary consultations. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Numbers of domiciliary consultations, general practitioners' requests for consultations, and consultants performing consultations and expenditure on the service by the region. RESULTS--Use of the domiciliary consultation service in the Northern region declined by 53% between 1984-5 and 1988-9, considerably in excess of the national rate of decline of 27%, and expenditure on the service was reduced, after allowing for inflation, by 604,000 pounds, or 38%, in real terms. Most consultants and general practitioners used the service sparingly whereas a small proportion used it heavily; a few specific consultants and general practitioners were responsible for a relatively high rate of domiciliary consultations. Contrary to the original definition of domiciliary consultation, the general practitioner accompanied the consultant on only one occasion in 17 and, in one specialty examined (paediatrics) patients who received domiciliary consultations seemed to have minor medical problems. CONCLUSIONS--Peer review examination of the pattern of practice in the domiciliary consultation service proved effective in rationalising use of the service, although a substantial minority of consultants and general practitioners continued to use the service heavily. The place of the service in modern clinical practice would benefit from a national review.
PMCID: PMC1669373  PMID: 2004173
16.  Characteristics of practitioners in a private managed behavioral health plan 
Background
Little is known about the practitioners in managed behavioral healthcare organization (MBHO) networks who are treating mental and substance use disorders among privately insured patients in the United States. It is likely that the role of the private sector in treating behavioral health will increase due to the recent implementation of federal parity legislation and the inclusion of behavioral health as a required service in the insurance exchange plans created under healthcare reform. Further, the healthcare reform legislation has highlighted the need to ensure a qualified workforce in order to improve access to quality healthcare, and provides an additional focus on the behavioral health workforce. To expand understanding of treatment of mental and substance use disorders among privately insured patients, this study examines practitioner types, experience, specialized expertise, and demographics of in-network practitioners providing outpatient care in one large national MBHO.
Methods
Descriptive analyses used 2004 practitioner credentialing and other administrative data for one MBHO. The sample included 28,897 practitioners who submitted at least one outpatient claim in 2004. Chi-square and t-tests were used to compare findings across types of practitioners.
Results
About half of practitioners were female, 12% were bilingual, and mean age was 53, with significant variation by practitioner type. On average, practitioners report 15.3 years of experience (SD = 9.4), also with significant variation by practitioner type. Many practitioners reported specialized expertise, with about 40% reporting expertise for treating children and about 60% for treating adolescents.
Conclusions
Overall, these results based on self-report indicate that the practitioner network in this large MBHO is experienced and has specialized training, but echo concerns about the aging of this workforce. These data should provide us with a baseline of practitioner characteristics as we enter an era that anticipates great change in the behavioral health workforce.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-283
PMCID: PMC3577445  PMID: 22929051
Health plans; Managed care; Treatment providers; Demographics; Substance abuse; Mental health
17.  Developing standards for institutional ethics committees: lessons from the Netherlands 
Journal of Medical Ethics  2001;27(Suppl 1):i36-i40.
This article presents standards for setting up and educating institutional ethics committees (IECs). These standards are based on experiences in the Netherlands, where IECs have been established in a large number of health care institutions. Though the IEC has become a generally accepted institution within Dutch health care, there are concerns over its effectiveness regarding the improving of the moral quality of clinical decision making. Health care practitioners and members of IECs too, experience a gap between the IEC and the reality of the clinical environment. At this moment, there is interest in developing programmes which educate practitioners in moral issues and how to deal with them, using the method of a structured debate on the ward. The IEC will not be made obsolete by this development, but can play a guiding role in the implementation of such programmes. Current concerns are the lack of patient representation in the Dutch IEC, and the loss of contact with the local community of health care practitioners because of the merger of hospitals into bodies similar to UK National Health Service (NHS) trusts.
Key Words: Institutional ethics committee • ethics education • moral debate
doi:10.1136/jme.27.suppl_1.i36
PMCID: PMC1765540  PMID: 11314611
18.  Use of general practitioner beds in Leicestershire community hospitals. 
BACKGROUND. The shift in care from secondary to primary services is likely to place greater demands on community hospitals. Before changes in the provision of community hospitals can occur, baseline data are needed, outlining their current use. AIM. A study was undertaken to obtain baseline data describing the use of general practitioner beds in Leicestershire community hospitals. METHOD. A three-month prospective, observational study was carried out between February and May 1992 using data from a questionnaire completed by nurses and general practitioners and from patient hospital records. Study patients comprised all patients admitted to general practitioner beds in all eight Leicestershire community hospitals. RESULTS. A 100% questionnaire response rate was obtained giving data on 685 hospital admissions. Around 70% of admissions were of patients aged 75 years and over. Of admissions, 35% were for acute care, 31% for respite care, 22% for rehabilitation, 7% for terminal/palliative care and 5% for other reasons. Fifteen per cent of patients had been transferred from a consultant bed. Of those not transferred, 91% were admitted by their usual general practitioner or practice partner and for 96% of these patients this was the general practitioner's first choice for care. There was significant variation in both the age mix and care category mix of patients between individual hospitals. Medical deterioration in an underlying condition and family pressure on the general practitioner or carers' inability to cope each contributed to around half of all admissions. Of all admissions, 38% lived alone, and 18% of carers were disabled. Incontinence was reported for 35% of patients, and 26% of all patients were of a high nursing dependency. There was low utilization of community services before admission and 33% received none. There was variation between individual hospitals in use of local and district general hospital investigations, specialist referral and types of therapy. Of 685 admissions 11% died during their stay. Of those discharged, 76% went to their own or a relative's home, 10% to a residential or nursing home and 9% were transferred to an acute bed. Nine percent of discharges were postponed and 10% were brought forward. On discharge to non-residential care, 26% of patients received no community services. CONCLUSION. Shifting resources from secondary to primary care is a priority for purchasers. Both the introduction of the National Health Service and community care act 1990, and acute units having increasing incentives for earlier discharge, are likely to place greater demands on community hospital beds. Not all general practitioners have the option of community hospital beds. Before access to general practitioner beds can be broadened, existing beds should be used appropriately and shown to be cost-effective. Purchasers therefore require criteria for the appropriateness of admissions to general practitioner beds, and the results of a general practitioner bed cost-benefit analysis.
PMCID: PMC1239332  PMID: 7576843
19.  Detection of a Swine Erysipelas Outbreak Using Enhanced Passive Surveillance 
Objective
To describe detection and response for an erysipelas outbreak in market swine in the United States (U.S.) using Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) slaughter condemnation data, and coordination with the swine industry in an Enhanced Passive Surveillance (EPS) pilot project.
Introduction
EPS is a comprehensive effort to complement other types of surveillance and provide early detection and situational awareness of significant endemic, zoonotic, and emerging diseases of livestock. The concept for EPS involves gathering syndromic and observational data from multiple animal health surveillance sources, including private practitioners, livestock markets, livestock harvest facilities, and veterinary diagnostic laboratories. A signal indicating a potential animal health event in one data stream can be corroborated in the other streams. For swine surveillance in the U.S., USDA-APHIS monitors the number of swine condemned for specific reasons. Likewise, industry practitioners share front-line clinical information within their practitioner network to detect anomalies. This case summary demonstrates the successful outcome of implementing an EPS pilot program through Federal and industry partnership.
Methods
FSIS Animal Disposition Reporting System swine condemnation data are monitored by USDA-APHIS Veterinary Services (VS) for several condemn conditions, including erysipelas, a bacterial disease of swine. Typically, slaughter condemnations for erysipelas are rare. The monitored data represent 83 market swine harvest facilities throughout the U.S. A modification of the ‘C3’CUSUM aberration detection method from the Early Aberration Reporting System (EARS) is applied to the data at both the slaughter plant level and at a larger multi-plant swine catchment basin level which represents separate swine production areas. The National Pork Board (NPB), a U.S. swine producer association, hosts a quarterly conference call with a sentinel network of swine veterinarians to exchange information about anomalies in swine health observed by practitioners. During mid-February 2012, several practitioners suspected a local increase in erysipelas in finishing swine. Absent baseline data on erysipelas occurrence nationally, the scope of the problem was uncertain. Following the call, the NPB in collaboration with VS attempted to validate the information reported by swine practitioners.
Results
Beginning the week of January 8, 2012, VS analysts noted a slight increase in erysipelas CUSUM signaling activity in the greater Iowa catchment basin slaughter plants. During the seven-week period between January 8 and February 25, eight weekly plant-level CUSUM signals were observed, while the previous 36-week period yielded only fourteen plant-level signals. On average, 0.39 signals per week were noted in the weeks prior to the outbreak period while the corresponding average for the seven-week outbreak period was 1.14 plant signals per week. Seven of the eight plants that signaled during the outbreak period did not report large weekly spikes; however, the weekly accumulation of condemns were sufficient to trigger concern. Since the erysipelas signals were not large compared to the background noise, there was uncertainty whether the increased signaling activity truly represented a disease event. After cross validating the slaughter surveillance data with front line practitioner information, a swine health alert regarding the increase in erysipelas cases was issued by the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. Intervention measures were initiated as deemed appropriate by each private veterinarian.
Conclusions
This example of an Enhanced Passive Surveillance Program demonstrates use of independent streams of information from government and private industry to detect an outbreak of erysipelas in market swine. The communication process was facilitated by the NPB and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, and coordinated with the industry resulting in an appropriate response to prevent swine losses at very early stages of the outbreak. Corroboration and validation between the two data streams (slaughter and practitioner) provided confidence that an outbreak was beginning and assisted the swine industry in decision making to enhance disease prevention activities. This type of early warning and response can reduce the cost of disease outbreaks to swine producers as well as provide confidence in the national disease status for swine in the United States.
PMCID: PMC3692889
animal health surveillance; Federal and industry partnership; enhanced passive surveillance; swine erysipelas
20.  The Comparison of Models of Primary Care in Ontario (COMP-PC) study: methodology of a multifaceted cross-sectional practice-based study 
Open Medicine  2009;3(3):165-173.
Background
Many industrialized nations have initiated reforms in the organization and delivery of primary care. In Ontario, Canada, salaried and capitation models have been introduced in an attempt to address the deficiencies of the traditional fee-for-service model. The Ontario setting therefore provides an opportunity to compare these funding models within a region that is largely homogeneous with respect to other factors that influence care delivery. We sought to compare the performance of the models across a broad array of dimensions and to understand the underlying practice factors associated with superior performance. We report on the methodology grounding this work.
Methods
Between 2004 and 2006 we conducted a cross-sectional mixed-methods study of the fee-for-service model, including family health groups, family health networks, community health centres and health service organizations. The study was guided by a conceptual framework for primary care organizations. Performance across a large number of primary care attributes was evaluated through surveys and chart abstractions. Nested case studies generated qualitative provider and patient data from 2 sites per model along with insights from key informants and policy-makers familiar with all models.
Results
The study recruited 137 practices. We conducted 363 provider surveys and 5361 patient surveys, and we performed 4108 chart audits. We also conducted interviews with 40 family physicians, 6 nurse practitioners, 24 patients and 8 decision-makers. The practice recruitment rate was 45%; it was lowest in fee-for-service practices (23%) and in family health networks (37%). A comparison with all Ontario practices in these models using health administrative data demonstrated that our sample was adequately representative. The patient participation (82%) and survey scale completion (93%) rates were high.
Conclusions
This article details our approach to performing a comprehensive evaluation of primary care models and may be a useful resource for researchers interested in primary care evaluation.
PMCID: PMC3090123  PMID: 21603051
21.  General practitioner reaccreditation: use of performance indicators. 
There has been increasing debate about reaccreditation of general practitioners over the last few years with contributions from the General Medical Services Committee, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the National Association of Health Authorities and Trusts. The implications of proposals in terms of cost, logistics and organization are discussed in this paper, in light of experience with the introduction of summative assessment for general practitioner registrars (trainees) and a programme of training practice visits in West Midlands Region. A model for reaccreditation for all general practitioners is proposed which is professionally led and sensitive to the needs of patients and health service managers. The basic proposition is that publicly owned family health services authority data could be used as initial performance indicators for professional competence. The model is dependent on the rebuttal of the null hypothesis: there is no link between the competence of a general practitioner and his or her achievements in the suggested performance indicators. If the performance indicators (educational commitments, prescribing data, health promotion activity and immunization targets, and service elements) can be shown to correlate with possession of the attributes for independent practice as defined by the General Medical Council, then a relatively inexpensive and simple system of reaccreditation could be envisaged. General practitioners who are recorded as achieving set performance indicator targets would be accorded automatic reaccreditation. Only substandard practitioners would be required to be assessed further by a visiting team of local general practitioner peers and, if appropriate, a remedial education strategy introduced. This method would complement the General Medical Council scheme for assessing an individual doctor's persistent poor performance, which could then be invoked as a last resort.
PMCID: PMC1239474  PMID: 8745868
22.  Priority setting in developing countries health care institutions: the case of a Ugandan hospital 
Background
Because the demand for health services outstrips the available resources, priority setting is one of the most difficult issues faced by health policy makers, particularly those in developing countries. However, there is lack of literature that describes and evaluates priority setting in these contexts. The objective of this paper is to describe priority setting in a teaching hospital in Uganda and evaluate the description against an ethical framework for fair priority setting processes – Accountability for Reasonableness.
Methods
A case study in a 1,500 bed national referral hospital receiving 1,320 out patients per day and an average budget of US$ 13.5 million per year. We reviewed documents and carried out 70 in-depth interviews (14 health planners, 40 doctors, and 16 nurses working at the hospital). Interviews were recorded and transcribed. Data analysis employed the modified thematic approach to describe priority setting, and the description was evaluated using the four conditions of Accountability for Reasonableness: relevance, publicity, revisions and enforcement.
Results
Senior managers, guided by the hospital strategic plan make the hospital budget allocation decisions. Frontline practitioners expressed lack of knowledge of the process. Relevance: Priority is given according to a cluster of factors including need, emergencies and patient volume. However, surgical departments and departments whose leaders "make a lot of noise" are also prioritized. Publicity: Decisions, but not reasons, are publicized through general meetings and circulars, but this information does not always reach the frontline practitioners. Publicity to the general public was through ad hoc radio programs and to patients who directly ask. Revisions: There were no formal mechanisms for challenging the reasoning. Enforcement: There were no mechanisms to ensure adherence to the four conditions of a fair process.
Conclusion
Priority setting decisions at this hospital do not satisfy the conditions of fairness. To improve, the hospital should: (i) engage frontline practitioners, (ii) publicize the reasons for decisions both within the hospital and to the general public, and (iii) develop formal mechanisms for challenging the reasoning. In addition, capacity strengthening is required for senior managers who must accept responsibility for ensuring that the above three conditions are met.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-6-127
PMCID: PMC1609114  PMID: 17026761
23.  National data system on near miss and maternal death: shifting from maternal risk to public health impact in Nigeria 
Background
The lack of reliable and up-to-date statistics on maternal deaths and disabilities remains a major challenge to the implementation of Nigeria's Road Map to Accelerate the Millennium Development Goal related to Maternal Health (MDG-5). There are currently no functioning national data sources on maternal deaths and disabilities that could serve as reference points for programme managers, health advocates and policy makers. While awaiting the success of efforts targeted at overcoming the barriers facing establishment of population-based data systems, referral institutions in Nigeria can contribute their quota in the quest towards MDG-5 by providing good quality and reliable information on maternal deaths and disabilities on a continuous basis. This project represents the first opportunity to initiate a scientifically sound and reliable quantitative system of data gathering on maternal health profile in Nigeria.
Objective
The primary objective is to create a national data system on maternal near miss (MNM) and maternal mortality in Nigerian public tertiary institutions. This system will conduct periodically, both regionally and at country level, a review of the magnitude of MNM and maternal deaths, nature of events responsible for MNM and maternal deaths, indices for the quality of care for direct obstetric complications and the health service events surrounding these complications, in an attempt to collectively define and monitor the standard of comprehensive emergency obstetric care in the country.
Methods
This will be a nationwide cohort study of all women who experience MNM and those who die from pregnancy, childbirth and puerperal complications using uniform criteria among women admitted in tertiary healthcare facilities in the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria. This will be accomplished by establishing a network of all public tertiary obstetric referral institutions that will prospectively collect specific information on potentially fatal maternal complications. For every woman enrolled, the health service events (care pathways) within the facility will be evaluated to identify areas of substandard care/avoidable factors through clinical audit by the local research team. A summary estimate of the frequencies of MNM and maternal deaths will be determined at intervals and indicators of quality of care (case fatality rate, both total and cause-specific and mortality index) will be evaluated at facility, regional and country levels.
Management
Overall project management will be from the Centre for Research in Reproductive Health (CRRH), Sagamu, Nigeria. There will be at least two meetings and site visits for efficient coordination of the project by regional coordinators and central coordinating staff. Data will be transferred electronically by hospital and regional coordinators and managed at the Data Management Unit of CRRH, Sagamu, Nigeria.
Expected outcomes
The outcome of the study would provide useful information to the health practitioners, policy-makers and international partners on the strengths and weaknesses of the infrastructures provided for comprehensive emergency obstetric care in Nigeria. The successful implementation of this project will pave way for the long-awaited Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths that would guide the formulation and or revision of obstetric policies and practices in Nigeria. Lessons learnt from the establishment of this data system can also be used to set up similar structures at lower levels of healthcare delivery in Nigeria.
doi:10.1186/1742-4755-6-8
PMCID: PMC2702364  PMID: 19508717
24.  Devolution and public perceptions and experience of health services in Pakistan: linked cross sectional surveys in 2002 and 2004 
BMC Health Services Research  2011;11(Suppl 2):S4.
Background
The government of Pakistan introduced devolution in 2001. Responsibility for delivery of most health services passed from provincial to district governments. Two national surveys examined public opinions, use, and experience of health services in 2001 and 2004, to assess the impact of devolution on these services from the point of view of the public.
Methods
A stratified random cluster sample drawn in 2001 and revisited in 2004 included households in all districts. Field teams administered a questionnaire covering views about available health services, use of government and private health services, and experience and satisfaction with the service. Focus groups in each community discussed reasons behind the findings, and district nazims (elected mayors) and administrators commented about implementation of devolution. Multivariate analysis, with an adjustment for clustering, examined changes over time, and associations with use and satisfaction with services in 2004.
Results
Few of 57,321 households interviewed in 2002 were satisfied with available government health services (23%), with a similar satisfaction (27%) among 53,960 households in 2004. Less households used government health services in 2004 (24%) than in 2002 (29%); the decrease was significant in the most populous province. In 2004, households were more likely to use government services if they were satisfied with the services, poorer, or less educated. The majority of users of government health services were satisfied; the increase from 63% to 67% between 2002 and 2004 was significant in two provinces. Satisfaction in 2004 was higher among users of private services (87%) or private unqualified practitioners (78%). Users of government services who received all medicines from the facility or who were given an explanation of their condition were more likely to be satisfied. Focus groups explained that people avoid government health services particularly because of bad treatment from staff, and unavailable or poor quality medicines. District nazims and administrators cited problems with implementation of devolution, especially with transfer of funds.
Conclusions
Under devolution, the public did not experience improved government health services, but devolution was not fully implemented as intended. An ongoing social audit process could provide a basis for local and national accountability of health services.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-S2-S4
PMCID: PMC3332563  PMID: 22375682
25.  The contribution of demographic and morbidity factors to self-reported visit frequency of patients: a cross-sectional study of general practice patients in Australia 
BMC Family Practice  2004;5:17.
Background
Understanding the factors that affect patients' utilisation of health services is important for health service provision and effective patient management. This study aimed to investigate the specific morbidity and demographic factors related to the frequency with which general practice patients visit a general practitioner/family physician (GP) in Australia.
Methods
A sub-study was undertaken as part of an ongoing national study of general practice activity in Australia. A cluster sample of 10,755 general practice patients were surveyed through a random sample of 379 general practitioners. The patient reported the number of times he/she had visited a general practitioner in the previous twelve months. The GP recorded all the patient's major health problems, including those managed at the current consultation.
Results
Patients reported an average of 8.8 visits to a general practitioner per year. After adjusting for other patient demographics and number of health problems, concession health care card holders made on average 2.6 more visits per year to a general practitioner than did non-card holders (p < .001). After adjustment, patients from remote/very remote locations made 2.3 fewer visits per year than patients from locations where services were highly accessible (p < .001). After adjustment for patient demographics, patients with diagnosed anxiety made on average 2.7 more visits per year (p = 0.003), those with diagnosed depression 2.2 more visits than average (p < .0001), and those with back problems 2.4 more visits (p = 0.009) than patients without the respective disorders.
Conclusions
Anxiety, back pain and depression are associated with greater patient demand for general practice services than other health problems. The effect of sociodemographic factors on patient utilisation of general practice services is complex. Equity of access to general practice services remains an issue for patients from remote areas, while concession health care card holders are attending general practice more frequently than other patients relative to their number of health problems.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-5-17
PMCID: PMC516032  PMID: 15318948

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