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1.  Implementing the 2009 Institute of Medicine recommendations on resident physician work hours, supervision, and safety 
Long working hours and sleep deprivation have been a facet of physician training in the US since the advent of the modern residency system. However, the scientific evidence linking fatigue with deficits in human performance, accidents and errors in industries from aeronautics to medicine, nuclear power, and transportation has mounted over the last 40 years. This evidence has also spawned regulations to help ensure public safety across safety-sensitive industries, with the notable exception of medicine.
In late 2007, at the behest of the US Congress, the Institute of Medicine embarked on a year-long examination of the scientific evidence linking resident physician sleep deprivation with clinical performance deficits and medical errors. The Institute of Medicine’s report, entitled “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety”, published in January 2009, recommended new limits on resident physician work hours and workload, increased supervision, a heightened focus on resident physician safety, training in structured handovers and quality improvement, more rigorous external oversight of work hours and other aspects of residency training, and the identification of expanded funding sources necessary to implement the recommended reforms successfully and protect the public and resident physicians themselves from preventable harm.
Given that resident physicians comprise almost a quarter of all physicians who work in hospitals, and that taxpayers, through Medicare and Medicaid, fund graduate medical education, the public has a deep investment in physician training. Patients expect to receive safe, high-quality care in the nation’s teaching hospitals. Because it is their safety that is at issue, their voices should be central in policy decisions affecting patient safety. It is likewise important to integrate the perspectives of resident physicians, policy makers, and other constituencies in designing new policies. However, since its release, discussion of the Institute of Medicine report has been largely confined to the medical education community, led by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
To begin gathering these perspectives and developing a plan to implement safer work hours for resident physicians, a conference entitled “Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety: What will it take to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations?” was held at Harvard Medical School on June 17–18, 2010. This White Paper is a product of a diverse group of 26 representative stakeholders bringing relevant new information and innovative practices to bear on a critical patient safety problem. Given that our conference included experts from across disciplines with diverse perspectives and interests, not every recommendation was endorsed by each invited conference participant. However, every recommendation made here was endorsed by the majority of the group, and many were endorsed unanimously. Conference members participated in the process, reviewed the final product, and provided input before publication. Participants provided their individual perspectives, which do not necessarily represent the formal views of any organization.
In September 2010 the ACGME issued new rules to go into effect on July 1, 2011. Unfortunately, they stop considerably short of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations and those endorsed by this conference. In particular, the ACGME only applied the limitation of 16 hours to first-year resident physicans. Thus, it is clear that policymakers, hospital administrators, and residency program directors who wish to implement safer health care systems must go far beyond what the ACGME will require. We hope this White Paper will serve as a guide and provide encouragement for that effort.
Resident physician workload and supervision
By the end of training, a resident physician should be able to practice independently. Yet much of resident physicians’ time is dominated by tasks with little educational value. The caseload can be so great that inadequate reflective time is left for learning based on clinical experiences. In addition, supervision is often vaguely defined and discontinuous. Medical malpractice data indicate that resident physicians are frequently named in lawsuits, most often for lack of supervision. The recommendations are: The ACGME should adjust resident physicians workload requirements to optimize educational value. Resident physicians as well as faculty should be involved in work redesign that eliminates nonessential and noneducational activity from resident physician dutiesMechanisms should be developed for identifying in real time when a resident physician’s workload is excessive, and processes developed to activate additional providersTeamwork should be actively encouraged in delivery of patient care. Historically, much of medical training has focused on individual knowledge, skills, and responsibility. As health care delivery has become more complex, it will be essential to train resident and attending physicians in effective teamwork that emphasizes collective responsibility for patient care and recognizes the signs, both individual and systemic, of a schedule and working conditions that are too demanding to be safeHospitals should embrace the opportunities that resident physician training redesign offers. Hospitals should recognize and act on the potential benefits of work redesign, eg, increased efficiency, reduced costs, improved quality of care, and resident physician and attending job satisfactionAttending physicians should supervise all hospital admissions. Resident physicians should directly discuss all admissions with attending physicians. Attending physicians should be both cognizant of and have input into the care patients are to receive upon admission to the hospitalInhouse supervision should be required for all critical care services, including emergency rooms, intensive care units, and trauma services. Resident physicians should not be left unsupervised to care for critically ill patients. In settings in which the acuity is high, physicians who have completed residency should provide direct supervision for resident physicians. Supervising physicians should always be physically in the hospital for supervision of resident physicians who care for critically ill patientsThe ACGME should explicitly define “good” supervision by specialty and by year of training. Explicit requirements for intensity and level of training for supervision of specific clinical scenarios should be providedCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should use graduate medical education funding to provide incentives to programs with proven, effective levels of supervision. Although this action would require federal legislation, reimbursement rules would help to ensure that hospitals pay attention to the importance of good supervision and require it from their training programs
Resident physician work hours
Although the IOM “Sleep, supervision and safety” report provides a comprehensive review and discussion of all aspects of graduate medical education training, the report’s focal point is its recommendations regarding the hours that resident physicians are currently required to work. A considerable body of scientific evidence, much of it cited by the Institute of Medicine report, describes deteriorating performance in fatigued humans, as well as specific studies on resident physician fatigue and preventable medical errors.
The question before this conference was what work redesign and cultural changes are needed to reform work hours as recommended by the Institute of Medicine’s evidence-based report? Extensive scientific data demonstrate that shifts exceeding 12–16 hours without sleep are unsafe. Several principles should be followed in efforts to reduce consecutive hours below this level and achieve safer work schedules. The recommendations are: Limit resident physician work hours to 12–16 hour maximum shiftsA minimum of 10 hours off duty should be scheduled between shiftsResident physician input into work redesign should be actively solicitedSchedules should be designed that adhere to principles of sleep and circadian science; this includes careful consideration of the effects of multiple consecutive night shifts, and provision of adequate time off after night work, as specified in the IOM reportResident physicians should not be scheduled up to the maximum permissible limits; emergencies frequently occur that require resident physicians to stay longer than their scheduled shifts, and this should be anticipated in scheduling resident physicians’ work shiftsHospitals should anticipate the need for iterative improvement as new schedules are initiated; be prepared to learn from the initial phase-in, and change the plan as neededAs resident physician work hours are redesigned, attending physicians should also be considered; a potential consequence of resident physician work hour reduction and increased supervisory requirements may be an increase in work for attending physicians; this should be carefully monitored, and adjustments to attending physician work schedules made as needed to prevent unsafe work hours or working conditions for this group“Home call” should be brought under the overall limits of working hours; work load and hours should be monitored in each residency program to ensure that resident physicians and fellows on home call are getting sufficient sleepMedicare funding for graduate medical education in each hospital should be linked with adherence to the Institute of Medicine limits on resident physician work hours
Moonlighting by resident physicians
The Institute of Medicine report recommended including external as well as internal moonlighting in working hour limits. The recommendation is: All moonlighting work hours should be included in the ACGME working hour limits and actively monitored. Hospitals should formalize a moonlighting policy and establish systems for actively monitoring resident physician moonlighting
Safety of resident physicians
The “Sleep, supervision and safety” report also addresses fatigue-related harm done to resident physicians themselves. The report focuses on two main sources of physical injury to resident physicians impaired by fatigue, ie, needle-stick exposure to blood-borne pathogens and motor vehicle crashes. Providing safe transportation home for resident physicians is a logistical and financial challenge for hospitals. Educating physicians at all levels on the dangers of fatigue is clearly required to change driving behavior so that safe hospital-funded transport home is used effectively. Fatigue-related injury prevention (including not driving while drowsy) should be taught in medical school and during residency, and reinforced with attending physicians; hospitals and residency programs must be informed that resident physicians’ ability to judge their own level of impairment is impaired when they are sleep deprived; hence, leaving decisions about the capacity to drive to impaired resident physicians is not recommendedHospitals should provide transportation to all resident physicians who report feeling too tired to drive safely; in addition, although consecutive work should not exceed 16 hours, hospitals should provide transportation for all resident physicians who, because of unforeseen reasons or emergencies, work for longer than consecutive 24 hours; transportation under these circumstances should be automatically provided to house staff, and should not rely on self-identification or request
Training in effective handovers and quality improvement
Handover practice for resident physicians, attendings, and other health care providers has long been identified as a weak link in patient safety throughout health care settings. Policies to improve handovers of care must be tailored to fit the appropriate clinical scenario, recognizing that information overload can also be a problem. At the heart of improving handovers is the organizational effort to improve quality, an effort in which resident physicians have typically been insufficiently engaged. The recommendations are: Hospitals should train attending and resident physicians in effective handovers of careHospitals should create uniform processes for handovers that are tailored to meet each clinical setting; all handovers should be done verbally and face-to-face, but should also utilize written toolsWhen possible, hospitals should integrate hand-over tools into their electronic medical records (EMR) systems; these systems should be standardized to the extent possible across residency programs in a hospital, but may be tailored to the needs of specific programs and services; federal government should help subsidize adoption of electronic medical records by hospitals to improve signoutWhen feasible, handovers should be a team effort including nurses, patients, and familiesHospitals should include residents in their quality improvement and patient safety efforts; the ACGME should specify in their core competency requirements that resident physicians work on quality improvement projects; likewise, the Joint Commission should require that resident physicians be included in quality improvement and patient safety programs at teaching hospitals; hospital administrators and residency program directors should create opportunities for resident physicians to become involved in ongoing quality improvement projects and root cause analysis teams; feedback on successful quality improvement interventions should be shared with resident physicians and broadly disseminatedQuality improvement/patient safety concepts should be integral to the medical school curriculum; medical school deans should elevate the topics of patient safety, quality improvement, and teamwork; these concepts should be integrated throughout the medical school curriculum and reinforced throughout residency; mastery of these concepts by medical students should be tested on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) stepsFederal government should support involvement of resident physicians in quality improvement efforts; initiatives to improve quality by including resident physicians in quality improvement projects should be financially supported by the Department of Health and Human Services
Monitoring and oversight of the ACGME
While the ACGME is a key stakeholder in residency training, external voices are essential to ensure that public interests are heard in the development and monitoring of standards. Consequently, the Institute of Medicine report recommended external oversight and monitoring through the Joint Commission and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The recommendations are: Make comprehensive fatigue management a Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goal; fatigue is a safety concern not only for resident physicians, but also for nurses, attending physicians, and other health care workers; the Joint Commission should seek to ensure that all health care workers, not just resident physicians, are working as safely as possibleFederal government, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, should encourage development of comprehensive fatigue management programs which all health systems would eventually be required to implementMake ACGME compliance with working hours a “ condition of participation” for reimbursement of direct and indirect graduate medical education costs; financial incentives will greatly increase the adoption of and compliance with ACGME standards
Future financial support for implementation
The Institute of Medicine’s report estimates that $1.7 billion (in 2008 dollars) would be needed to implement its recommendations. Twenty-five percent of that amount ($376 million) will be required just to bring hospitals into compliance with the existing 2003 ACGME rules. Downstream savings to the health care system could potentially result from safer care, but these benefits typically do not accrue to hospitals and residency programs, who have been asked historically to bear the burden of residency reform costs. The recommendations are: The Institute of Medicine should convene a panel of stakeholders, including private and public funders of health care and graduate medical education, to lay down the concrete steps necessary to identify and allocate the resources needed to implement the recommendations contained in the IOM “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety” report. Conference participants suggested several approaches to engage public and private support for this initiativeEfforts to find additional funding to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations should focus more broadly on patient safety and health care delivery reform; policy efforts focused narrowly upon resident physician work hours are less likely to succeed than broad patient safety initiatives that include residency redesign as a key componentHospitals should view the Institute of Medicine recommendations as an opportunity to begin resident physician work redesign projects as the core of a business model that embraces safety and ultimately saves resourcesBoth the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should take the Institute of Medicine recommendations into consideration when promulgating rules for innovation grantsThe National Health Care Workforce Commission should consider the Institute of Medicine recommendations when analyzing the nation’s physician workforce needs
Recommendations for future research
Conference participants concurred that convening the stakeholders and agreeing on a research agenda was key. Some observed that some sectors within the medical education community have been reluctant to act on the data. Several logical funders for future research were identified. But above all agencies, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the only stakeholder that funds graduate medical education upstream and will reap savings downstream if preventable medical errors are reduced as a result of reform of resident physician work hours.
doi:10.2147/NSS.S19649
PMCID: PMC3630963  PMID: 23616719
resident; hospital; working hours; safety
2.  e-Health, m-Health and healthier social media reform: the big scale view 
Introduction
In the upcoming decade, digital platforms will be the backbone of a strategic revolution in the way medical services are provided, affecting both healthcare providers and patients. Digital-based patient-centered healthcare services allow patients to actively participate in managing their own care, in times of health as well as illness, using personally tailored interactive tools. Such empowerment is expected to increase patients’ willingness to adopt actions and lifestyles that promote health as well as improve follow-up and compliance with treatment in cases of chronic illness. Clalit Health Services (CHS) is the largest HMO in Israel and second largest world-wide. Through its 14 hospitals, 1300 primary and specialized clinics, and 650 pharmacies, CHS provides comprehensive medical care to the majority of Israel’s population (above 4 million members). CHS e-Health wing focuses on deepening patient involvement in managing health, through personalized digital interactive tools. Currently, CHS e-Health wing provides e-health services for 1.56 million unique patients monthly with 2.4 million interactions every month (August 2011). Successful implementation of e-Health solutions is not a sum of technology, innovation and health; rather it’s the expertise of tailoring knowledge and leadership capabilities in multidisciplinary areas: clinical, ethical, psychological, legal, comprehension of patient and medical team engagement etc. The Google Health case excellently demonstrates this point. On the other hand, our success with CHS is a demonstration that e-Health can be enrolled effectively and fast with huge benefits for both patients and medical teams, and with a robust business model.
CHS e-Health core components
They include:
1. The personal health record layer (what the patient can see) presents patients with their own medical history as well as the medical history of their preadult children, including diagnoses, allergies, vaccinations, laboratory results with interpretations in layman’s terms, medications with clear, straightforward explanations regarding dosing instructions, important side effects, contraindications, such as lactation etc., and other important medical information. All personal e-Health services require identification and authorization.
2. The personal knowledge layer (what the patient should know) presents patients with personally tailored recommendations for preventative medicine and health promotion. For example, diabetic patients are push notified regarding their yearly eye exam. The various health recommendations include: occult blood testing, mammography, lipid profile etc. Each recommendation contains textual, visual and interactive content components in order to promote engagement and motivate the patient to actually change his health behaviour.
3. The personal health services layer (what the patient can do) enables patients to schedule clinic visits, order chronic prescriptions, e-consult their physician via secured e-mail, set SMS medication reminders, e-consult a pharmacist regarding personal medications. Consultants’ answers are sent securely to the patients’ personal mobile device.
On December 2009 CHS launched secured, web based, synchronous medical consultation via video conference. Currently 11,780 e-visits are performed monthly (May 2011). The medical encounter includes e-prescription and referral capabilities which are biometrically signed by the physician. On December 2010 CHS launched a unique mobile health platform, which is one of the most comprehensive personal m-Health applications world-wide. An essential advantage of mobile devices is their potential to bridge the digital divide. Currently, CHS m-Health platform is used by more than 45,000 unique users, with 75,000 laboratory results views/month, 1100 m-consultations/month and 9000 physician visit scheduling/month.
4. The Bio-Sensing layer (what physiological data the patient can populate) includes diagnostic means that allow remote physical examination, bio-sensors that broadcast various physiological measurements, and smart homecare devices, such as e-Pill boxes that gives seniors, patients and their caregivers the ability to stay at home and live life to its fullest. Monitored data is automatically transmitted to the patient’s Personal Health Record and to relevant medical personnel.
The monitoring layer is embedded in the chronic disease management platform, and in the interactive health promotion and wellness platform. It includes tailoring of consumer-oriented medical devices and service provided by various professional personnel—physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dieticians and more.
5. The Social layer (what the patient can share). Social media networks triggered an essential change at the humanity ‘genome’ level, yet to be further defined in the upcoming years. Social media has huge potential in promoting health as it combines fun, simple yet extraordinary user experience, and bio-social-feedback. There are two major challenges in leveraging health care through social networks:
a. Our personal health information is the cornerstone for personalizing healthier lifestyle, disease management and preventative medicine. We naturally see our personal health data as a super-private territory. So, how do we bring the power of our private health information, currently locked within our Personal Health Record, into social media networks without offending basic privacy issues?
b. Disease management and preventive medicine are currently neither considered ‘cool’ nor ‘fun’ or ‘potentially highly viral’ activities; yet, health is a major issue of everybody’s life. It seems like we are missing a crucial element with a huge potential in health behavioural change—the Fun Theory. Social media platforms comprehends user experience tools that potentially could break current misconception, and engage people in the daily task of taking better care of themselves.
CHS e-Health innovation team characterized several break-through applications in this unexplored territory within social media networks, fusing personal health and social media platforms without offending privacy. One of the most crucial issues regarding adoption of e-health and m-health platforms is change management. Being a ‘hot’ innovative ‘gadget’ is far from sufficient for changing health behaviours at the individual and population levels.
CHS health behaviour change management methodology includes 4 core elements:
1. Engaging two completely different populations: patients, and medical teams. e-Health applications must present true added value for both medical teams and patients, engaging them through understanding and assimilating “what’s really in it for me”. Medical teams are further subdivided into physicians, nurses, pharmacists and administrative personnel—each with their own driving incentive. Resistance to change is an obstacle in many fields but it is particularly true in the conservative health industry. To successfully manage a large scale persuasive process, we treat intra-organizational human resources as “Change Agents”. Harnessing the persuasive power of ~40,000 employees requires engaging them as the primary target group. Successful recruitment has the potential of converting each patient-medical team interaction into an exposure opportunity to the new era of participatory medicine via e-health and m-health channels.
2. Implementation waves: every group of digital health products that are released at the same time are seen as one project. Each implementation wave leverages the focus of the organization and target populations to a defined time span. There are three major and three minor implementation waves a year.
3. Change-Support Arrow: a structured infrastructure for every implementation wave. The sub-stages in this strategy include:
Cross organizational mapping and identification of early adopters and stakeholders relevant to the implementation wave
Mapping positive or negative perceptions and designing specific marketing approaches for the distinct target groups
Intra and extra organizational marketing
Conducting intensive training and presentation sessions for groups of implementers
Running conflict-prevention activities, such as advanced tackling of potential union resistance
Training change-agents with resistance-management behavioural techniques, focused intervention for specific incidents and for key opinion leaders
Extensive presence in the clinics during the launch period, etc.
The entire process is monitored and managed continuously by a review team.
4. Closing Phase: each wave is analyzed and a “lessons-learned” session concludes the changes required in the modus operandi of the e-health project team.
PMCID: PMC3571141
e-Health; mobile health; personal health record; online visit; patient empowerment; knowledge prescription
3.  Children's surgery: a national survey of consultant clinical practice 
BMJ Open  2012;2(5):e001639.
Objectives
To survey clinical practice and opinions of consultant surgeons and anaesthetists caring for children to inform the needs for training, commissioning and management of children's surgery in the UK.
Design
The National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) hosted an online survey to gather data on current clinical practice of UK consultant surgeons and anaesthetists caring for children.
Setting
The questionnaire was circulated to all hospitals and to Anaesthetic and Surgical Royal Colleges, and relevant specialist societies covering the UK and the Channel Islands and was mainly completed by consultants in District General Hospitals.
Participants
555 surgeons and 1561 anaesthetists completed the questionnaire.
Results
32.6% of surgeons and 43.5% of anaesthetists considered that there were deficiencies in their hospital's facilities that potentially compromised delivery of a safe children's surgical service. Almost 10% of all consultants considered that their postgraduate training was insufficient for current paediatric practice and 20% felt that recent Continued Professional Development failed to maintain paediatric expertise. 45.4% of surgeons and 39.2% of anaesthetists considered that the current specialty curriculum should have a larger paediatric component. Consultants in non-specialist paediatric centres were prepared to care for younger children admitted for surgery as emergencies than those admitted electively. Many of the surgeons and anaesthetists had <4 h/week in paediatric practice. Only 55.3% of surgeons and 42.8% of anaesthetists participated in any form of regular multidisciplinary review of children undergoing surgery.
Conclusions
There are significant obstacles to consultant surgeons and anaesthetists providing a competent surgical service for children. Postgraduate curricula must meet the needs of trainees who will be expected to include children in their caseload as consultants. Trusts must ensure appropriate support for consultants to maintain paediatric skills and provide the necessary facilities for a high-quality local surgical service.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001639
PMCID: PMC3488724  PMID: 23075572
Paediatric Surgery
4.  The Perioperative Surgical Home: how can it make the case so everyone wins? 
BMC Anesthesiology  2013;13:6.
Background
Varied and fragmented care plans undertaken by different practitioners currently expose surgical patients to lapses in expected care, increase the chance for operational mistakes and accidents, and often result in unnecessary care. The Perioperative Surgical Home has thus been proposed by the American Society of Anesthesiologists and other stakeholders as an innovative, patient-centered, surgical continuity of care model that incorporates shared decision making. Topics central to the debate about an anesthesiology-based Perioperative Surgical Home include: holding the gains made in anesthesia-related patient safety; impacting surgical morbidity and mortality, including failure-to-rescue; achieving healthcare outcome metrics; assimilating comparative effectiveness research into the model; establishing necessary audit and data collection; a comparison with the hospitalist model of perioperative care; the perspective of the surgeon; the benefits of the Perioperative Surgical Home to the specialty of anesthesiology; and its associated healthcare economic advantages.
Discussion
Improving surgical morbidity and mortality mandates a more comprehensive and integrated approach to the management of surgical patients. In their expanded capacity as the surgical patient’s “perioperativist,” anesthesiologists can play a key role in compliance with broader set of process measures, thus becoming a more vital and valuable provider from the patient, administrator, and payer perspective. The robust perioperative databases created within the Perioperative Surgical Home present new opportunities for health services and population-level research. The Perioperative Surgical Home is not intended to replace the surgeon’s patient care responsibility, but rather leverage the abilities of the entire perioperative care team in the service of the patient. To achieve this goal, it will be necessary to expand the core knowledge, skills, and experience of anesthesiologists. Anesthesiologists will need to view becoming perioperative physicians as an expansion of the specialty, rather than an abdication of their traditional intraoperative role. The Perioperative Surgical Home will need to create strategic added value for a health system and payers. This added value will strengthen the position of anesthesiologists as they navigate and negotiate in the face of finite, if not decreasing fiscal resources.
Summary
Broadening the anesthesiologist’s scope of practice via the Perioperative Surgical Home may promote standardization and improve clinical outcomes and decrease resource utilization by providing greater patient-centered continuity of care throughout the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative periods.
doi:10.1186/1471-2253-13-6
PMCID: PMC3605191  PMID: 23497277
Surgical home; Perioperative care; Healthcare outcomes; Comparative effectiveness; Healthcare economics; Patient satisfaction; Patient-centered care
5.  Eurocan plus report: feasibility study for coordination of national cancer research activities 
Summary
The EUROCAN+PLUS Project, called for by the European Parliament, was launched in October 2005 as a feasibility study for coordination of national cancer research activities in Europe. Over the course of the next two years, the Project process organized over 60 large meetings and countless smaller meetings that gathered in total over a thousand people, the largest Europe–wide consultation ever conducted in the field of cancer research.
Despite a strong tradition in biomedical science in Europe, fragmentation and lack of sustainability remain formidable challenges for implementing innovative cancer research and cancer care improvement. There is an enormous duplication of research effort in the Member States, which wastes time, wastes money and severely limits the total intellectual concentration on the wide cancer problem. There is a striking lack of communication between some of the biggest actors on the European scene, and there are palpable tensions between funders and those researchers seeking funds.
It is essential to include the patients’ voice in the establishment of priority areas in cancer research at the present time. The necessity to have dialogue between funders and scientists to establish the best mechanisms to meet the needs of the entire community is evident. A top priority should be the development of translational research (in its widest form), leading to the development of effective and innovative cancer treatments and preventive strategies. Translational research ranges from bench–to–bedside innovative cancer therapies and extends to include bringing about changes in population behaviours when a risk factor is established.
The EUROCAN+PLUS Project recommends the creation of a small, permanent and independent European Cancer Initiative (ECI). This should be a model structure and was widely supported at both General Assemblies of the project. The ECI should assume responsibility for stimulating innovative cancer research and facilitating processes, becoming the common voice of the cancer research community and serving as an interface between the cancer research community and European citizens, patients’ organizations, European institutions, Member States, industry and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), putting into practice solutions aimed at alleviating barriers to collaboration and coordination of cancer research activities in the European Union, and dealing with legal and regulatory issues. The development of an effective ECI will require time, but this entity should be established immediately. As an initial step, coordination efforts should be directed towards the creation of a platform on translational research that could encompass (1) coordination between basic, clinical and epidemiological research; (2) formal agreements of co–operation between comprehensive cancer centres and basic research laboratories throughout Europe and (3) networking between funding bodies at the European level.
The European Parliament and its instruments have had a major influence in cancer control in Europe, notably in tobacco control and in the implementation of effective population–based screening. To make further progress there is a need for novelty and innovation in cancer research and prevention in Europe, and having a platform such as the ECI, where those involved in all aspects of cancer research can meet, discuss and interact, is a decisive development for Europe.
Executive Summary
Cancer is one of the biggest public health crises facing Europe in the 21st century—one for which Europe is currently not prepared nor preparing itself. Cancer is a major cause of death in Europe with two million casualties and three million new cases diagnosed annually, and the situation is set to worsen as the population ages.
These facts led the European Parliament, through the Research Directorate-General of the European Commission, to call for initiatives for better coordination of cancer research efforts in the European Union. The EUROCAN+PLUS Project was launched in October 2005 as a feasibility study for coordination of national cancer research activities. Over the course of the next two years, the Project process organized over 60 large meetings and countless smaller meetings that gathered in total over a thousand people. In this respect, the Project became the largest Europe-wide consultation ever conducted in the field of cancer research, implicating researchers, cancer centres and hospitals, administrators, healthcare professionals, funding agencies, industry, patients’ organizations and patients.
The Project first identified barriers impeding research and collaboration in research in Europe. Despite a strong tradition in biomedical science in Europe, fragmentation and lack of sustainability remain the formidable challenges for implementing innovative cancer research and cancer care improvement. There is an enormous duplication of research effort in the Member States, which wastes time, wastes money and severely limits the total intellectual concentration on the wide cancer problem. There is a striking lack of communication between some of the biggest actors on the European scene, and there are palpable tensions between funders and those researchers seeking funds.
In addition, there is a shortage of leadership, a multiplicity of institutions each focusing on its own agenda, sub–optimal contact with industry, inadequate training, non–existent career paths, low personnel mobility in research especially among clinicians and inefficient funding—all conspiring against efficient collaboration in cancer care and research. European cancer research today does not have a functional translational research continuum, that is the process that exploits biomedical research innovations and converts them into prevention methods, diagnostic tools and therapies. Moreover, epidemiological research is not integrated with other types of cancer research, and the implementation of the European Directives on Clinical Trials 1 and on Personal Data Protection 2 has further slowed the innovation process in Europe. Furthermore, large inequalities in health and research exist between the EU–15 and the New Member States.
The picture is not entirely bleak, however, as the European cancer research scene presents several strengths, such as excellent basic research and clinical research and innovative etiological research that should be better exploited.
When considering recommendations, several priority dimensions had to be retained. It is essential that proposals include actions and recommendations that can benefit all Member States of the European Union and not just States with the elite centres. It is also essential to have a broader patient orientation to help provide the knowledge to establish cancer control possibilities when we exhaust what can be achieved by the implementation of current knowledge. It is vital that the actions proposed can contribute to the Lisbon Strategy to make Europe more innovative and competitive in (cancer) research.
The Project participants identified six areas for which consensus solutions should be implemented in order to obtain better coordination of cancer research activities. The required solutions are as follows. The proactive management of innovation, detection, facilitation of collaborations and maintenance of healthy competition within the European cancer research community.The establishment of an exchange portal of information for health professionals, patients and policy makers.The provision of guidance for translational and clinical research including the establishment of a translational research platform involving comprehensive cancer centres and cancer research centres.The coordination of calls and financial management of cancer research projects.The construction of a ‘one–stop shop’ as a contact interface between the industry, small and medium enterprises, scientists and other stakeholders.The support of greater involvement of healthcare professionals in translational research and multidisciplinary training.
In the course of the EUROCAN+PLUS consultative process, several key collaborative projects emerged between the various groups and institutes engaged in the consultation. There was a collaboration network established with Europe’s leading Comprehensive Cancer Centres; funding was awarded for a closer collaboration of Owners of Cancer Registries in Europe (EUROCOURSE); there was funding received from FP7 for an extensive network of leading Biological Resource Centres in Europe (BBMRI); a Working Group identified the special needs of Central, Eastern and South–eastern Europe and proposed a remedy (‘Warsaw Declaration’), and the concept of developing a one–stop shop for dealing with academia and industry including the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) was discussed in detail.
Several other dimensions currently lacking were identified. There is an absolute necessity to include the patients’ voice in the establishment of priority areas in cancer research at the present time. It was a salutary lesson when it was recognized that all that is known about the quality of life of the cancer patient comes from the experience of a tiny proportion of cancer patients included in a few clinical trials. The necessity to have dialogue between funders and scientists to establish the best mechanisms to meet the needs of the entire community was evident. A top priority should be the development of translational research (in its widest form) and the development of effective and innovative cancer treatments and preventative strategies in the European Union. Translational research ranges from bench-to-bedside innovative cancer therapies and extends to include bringing about changes in population behaviours when a risk factor is established.
Having taken note of the barriers and the solutions and having examined relevant examples of existing European organizations in the field, it was agreed during the General Assembly of 19 November 2007 that the EUROCAN+PLUS Project had to recommend the creation of a small, permanent and neutral ECI. This should be a model structure and was widely supported at both General Assemblies of the project. The proposal is based on the successful model of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), and its principal aims include providing a forum where researchers from all backgrounds and from all countries can meet with members of other specialities including patients, nurses, clinicians, funders and scientific administrators to develop priority programmes to make Europe more competitive in research and more focused on the cancer patient.
The ECI should assume responsibility for: stimulating innovative cancer research and facilitating processes;becoming the common voice of the cancer research community and serving as an interface between the cancer research community and European citizens, patients’ and organizations;European institutions, Member States, industry and small and medium enterprises;putting into practice the aforementioned solutions aimed at alleviating barriers and coordinating cancer research activities in the EU;dealing with legal and regulatory issues.
Solutions implemented through the ECI will lead to better coordination and collaboration throughout Europe, more efficient use of resources, an increase in Europe’s attractiveness to the biomedical industry and better quality of cancer research and education of health professionals.
The Project considered that European legal instruments currently available were inadequate for addressing many aspects of the barriers identified and for the implementation of effective, lasting solutions. Therefore, the legal environment that could shelter an idea like the ECI remains to be defined but should be done so as a priority. In this context, the initiative of the European Commission for a new legal entity for research infrastructure might be a step in this direction. The development of an effective ECI will require time, but this should be established immediately. As an initial step, coordination efforts should be directed towards the creation of a platform on translational research that could encompass: (1) coordination between basic, clinical and epidemiological research; (2) formal agreements of co-operation between comprehensive cancer centres and basic research laboratories throughout Europe; (3) networking between funding bodies at the European level. Another topic deserving immediate attention is the creation of a European database on cancer research projects and cancer research facilities.
Despite enormous progress in cancer control in Europe during the past two decades, there was an increase of 300,000 in the number of new cases of cancer diagnosed between 2004 and 2006. The European Parliament and its instruments have had a major influence in cancer control, notably in tobacco control and in the implementation of effective population–based screening. To make further progress there is a need for novelty and innovation in cancer research and prevention in Europe, and having a platform such as the ECI, where those involved in all aspects of cancer research can meet, discuss and interact, is a decisive development for Europe.
doi:10.3332/ecancer.2011.84
PMCID: PMC3234055  PMID: 22274749
6.  Identifying and training non-technical skills for teams in acute medicine 
Quality & safety in health care  2004;13(Suppl 1):i80-i84.
The aviation domain provides a better analogy for the "temporary" teams that are found in acute medical specialities than industrial or military teamwork research based on established teams. Crew resource management (CRM) training, which emphasises portable skills (for whatever crew a pilot is rostered to on a given flight), has been recognised to have potential application in medicine, especially for teams in the operating theatre, intensive care unit, and emergency room. Drawing on research from aviation psychology that produced the behavioural marker system NOTECHS for rating European pilots' non-technical skills for teamwork on the flightdeck, this paper outlines the Anaesthetists Non-Technical Skills behavioural rating system for anaesthetists working in operating theatre teams. This taxonomy was used as the design basis for a training course, Crisis Avoidance Resource Management for Anaesthetists used to develop these skills, based in an operating theatre simulator. Further developments of this training programme for teams in emergency medicine are outlined.
doi:10.1136/qshc.2004.009993
PMCID: PMC1765790  PMID: 15465960
7.  Validation of core competencies during residency training in anaesthesiology 
Background and goal: Curriculum development for residency training is increasingly challenging in times of financial restrictions and time limitations. Several countries have adopted the CanMEDS framework for medical education as a model into their curricula of specialty training. The purpose of the present study was to validate the competency goals, as derived from CanMEDS, of the Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine of the Berlin Charité University Medical Centre, by conducting a staff survey. These goals for the qualification of specialists stipulate demonstrable competencies in seven areas: expert medical action, efficient collaboration in a team, communications with patients and family, management and organisation, lifelong learning, professional behaviour, and advocacy of good health. We had previously developed a catalogue of curriculum items based on these seven core competencies. In order to evaluate the validity of this catalogue, we surveyed anaesthetists at our department in regard to their perception of the importance of each of these items. In addition to the descriptive acquisition of data, it was intended to assess the results of the survey to ascertain whether there were differences in the evaluation of these objectives by specialists and registrars.
Methods: The questionnaire with the seven adapted CanMEDS Roles included items describing each of their underlying competencies. Each anaesthetist (registrars and specialists) working at our institution in May of 2007 was asked to participate in the survey. Individual perception of relevance was rated for each item on a scale similar to the Likert system, ranging from 1 (highly relevant) to 5 (not at all relevant), from which ratings means were calculated. For determination of reliability, we calculated Cronbach’s alpha. To assess differences between subgroups, we performed analysis of variance.
Results: All seven roles were rated as relevant. Three of the seven competency goals (expert medical action, efficient collaboration in a team, and communication with patients and family) achieved especially high ratings. Only a few items differed significantly in their average rating between specialists and registrars.
Conclusions: We succeeded in validating the relevance of the adapted seven CanMEDS competencies for residency training within our institution. So far, many countries have adopted the Canadian Model, which indicates the great practicability of this competency-based model in curriculum planning. Roles with higher acceptance should be prioritised in existing curricula. It would be desirable to develop and validate a competency-based curriculum for specialty training in anaesthesiology throughout Germany by conducting a national survey to include specialists as well as registrars in curriculum development.
doi:10.3205/000146
PMCID: PMC3172723  PMID: 21921997
clinical competence; physicians; medical education; questionnaires; attitude of health personnel; curriculum
8.  Development of anesthesiology and medical service in KSA 1956-2011 
In this historical report, a new light is shed on details of the development of anesthesiology and medical service in Kingdom Saudi Arabia 1956-2011. What Dr. Al-khawashki has done between the period of 1956-1980 was commendable. He has found himself and few anesthetists from Egypt and Pakistan in the front of huge task. The shortage of anesthetists worldwide and the increasing surgical specialties in Saudi Arabia, imposed a huge dilemma on the service. In order to face this problem, there was only one way to cover the continuous expanding surgical services by establishing technical institutes to produce anesthesia technicians able to work under supervision of consultants. This was known as the technician's era. It continued for a long period, but the changes were introduced from 1980 onwards by me. This was the era of the development of an up-to-date anesthesia service from 1980-2011. the first, developing the-state-of- the-art anesthesia services in the university hospitals. Second, the Saudi Anaesthetic Association was established under the auspices of the King Saud University. Third, this period culminated by starting the residency training programmes in the country and the Arab world. Moreover the Saudi specialty of anaesthesia and intensive care graduated over 60 specialists and has 98 residents up till now in the programme. Finally three subspecialties fellowships in critical care, cardiac, and pediatric anesthesia were established. The total number of Saudi anaesthetists jumped from one or two anaesthetists in the seventies to almost 300 in 2011. The numbers of consultants or senior registrar are over 160 and the rest are residents in the training program nationally and internationally.
doi:10.4103/0259-1162.108317
PMCID: PMC4173470
Alexandria University; GalalAref; I. Al-Khawashki; Mohammed Abdulla Seraj; development of anesthesia practice; saudi arabia
9.  Wound Care Specialization: The Current Status and Future Plans to Move Wound Care into the Medical Community 
Advances in Wound Care  2012;1(5):184-188.
Background
There has been an explosion of basic science results in the field of wound care over the past 20 years. Initially, wound dressings were the only therapeutic option available to the wound practitioner. With advanced basic science knowledge, technical innovation, and the recent participation of pharmaceutical companies, the wound clinician now has an arsenal of dressings, biological tissue replacements, gene therapy, and cell-based treatment options. What has not, however, kept pace with these changes is the education and practical training for those treating nonhealing wounds. The pace of innovation in wound diagnostic tools has also lagged, creating even more pressure on the clinician to use experience, skill, and training to properly diagnose the root cause for the nonhealing wound. As wound healing is not considered a medical specialty, there is no formal training process for physicians, and subsequently, allied health practitioners are often the only ones available to provide care for these complex patients. Wound care training, however, is also not part of any formal curriculum for these healthcare providers as well, creating confusion for patients, payors, regulators, researchers, and product manufacturers.
The Problem
In all other fields of medicine there is a formal process in place for physicians to train, certify, and credential. Medicine is constantly evolving and there have been several new fields of specialty care created over the past two decades that can serve as examples for the wound care field to follow. Without academic-based, clinical residency/fellowship training in wound healing ultimately leading to formal certification, the field will be unable to achieve an appropriate status in the medical establishment. Achieving this goal will impact product innovation, payment, and the sustainability of the field.
Basic/Clinical Science Advances
The enhanced understanding of normal and dysregulated wound healing processes, which have been uncovered by basic scientists, has translated to the bedside through the creation of multiple advanced biological solutions for patients with nonhealing wounds.
Clinical Care Relevance
These advanced wound care therapeutics will require physician involvement in a way not previously seen in wound care. It will no longer be possible to practice wound care “part time” in the near future. The amount of new information and massive base of core knowledge required will mandate a full-time commitment. The increase in patients with this condition because of an aging population, increased numbers of diabetic patients, and the ever growing epidemic of obesity will mandate that all clinicians providing wound care will need to increase their skill sets through formal training. In addition, underserved patient populations are disproportionately affected and their outcomes are comparatively worse, further complicating the problem at a healthcare structural and policy level.
Conclusion
The American College of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair was founded in Illinois as a nonprofit organization whose express function is to organize university-based medical school programs around a common curriculum for physicians who want to specialize in wound healing. Currently, two wound care fellows have graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago and other programs are under development. The ultimate process will be achieved when certification is accredited by an organization such as the American Board of Medical Specialties. This article outlines the current process in place to achieve this goal within 10 years.
doi:10.1089/wound.2011.0346
PMCID: PMC3839023  PMID: 24527303
10.  Perioperative risks and their management in patients with sleep-related breathing disorders 
Patients with sleep apnea syndromes pose several challenges to the anaesthetist. These are resulting from comorbidity, but mainly from special requirements for pre-, intra- and postoperative management.
Frequently, the diagnosis is not known or not diagnosed adequately, making careful preoperative evaluation of the patient by the anaesthetist imperative to identify patients at risk. Besides cardiovascular complications, problems with airway maintenance must be expected, calling for adequate planning. Several general considerations for anaesthesiologic management should be taken into account. The use of short acting pharmacologic agents is recommended to reduce the risk of postoperative episodes of hypoxia following general anaesthesia.
Close cooperation of anaesthesia and the surgical specialties involved is the basis for safe management of patients with sleep related syndromes.
PMCID: PMC3199802  PMID: 22073074
sleep apnea syndrome; anaesthesia; airway management; hypoxia
11.  Clinical Benefits, Costs, and Cost-Effectiveness of Neonatal Intensive Care in Mexico 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(12):e1000379.
Joshua Salomon and colleagues performed a cost-effectiveness analysis using health and economic outcomes following preterm birth in Mexico and showed that neonatal intensive care provided high value for the money in this setting.
Background
Neonatal intensive care improves survival, but is associated with high costs and disability amongst survivors. Recent health reform in Mexico launched a new subsidized insurance program, necessitating informed choices on the different interventions that might be covered by the program, including neonatal intensive care. The purpose of this study was to estimate the clinical outcomes, costs, and cost-effectiveness of neonatal intensive care in Mexico.
Methods and Findings
A cost-effectiveness analysis was conducted using a decision analytic model of health and economic outcomes following preterm birth. Model parameters governing health outcomes were estimated from Mexican vital registration and hospital discharge databases, supplemented with meta-analyses and systematic reviews from the published literature. Costs were estimated on the basis of data provided by the Ministry of Health in Mexico and World Health Organization price lists, supplemented with published studies from other countries as needed. The model estimated changes in clinical outcomes, life expectancy, disability-free life expectancy, lifetime costs, disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) for neonatal intensive care compared to no intensive care. Uncertainty around the results was characterized using one-way sensitivity analyses and a multivariate probabilistic sensitivity analysis. In the base-case analysis, neonatal intensive care for infants born at 24–26, 27–29, and 30–33 weeks gestational age prolonged life expectancy by 28, 43, and 34 years and averted 9, 15, and 12 DALYs, at incremental costs per infant of US$11,400, US$9,500, and US$3,000, respectively, compared to an alternative of no intensive care. The ICERs of neonatal intensive care at 24–26, 27–29, and 30–33 weeks were US$1,200, US$650, and US$240, per DALY averted, respectively. The findings were robust to variation in parameter values over wide ranges in sensitivity analyses.
Conclusions
Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios for neonatal intensive care imply very high value for money on the basis of conventional benchmarks for cost-effectiveness analysis.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Most pregnancies last about 40 weeks but increasing numbers of babies are being born preterm, before they reach 37 weeks of gestation (the period during which a baby develops in its mother). In developed countries and some middle-income countries such as Mexico, improvements in the care of newborn babies (neonatal intensive care) mean that more preterm babies survive now than in the past. Nevertheless, preterm birth is still a major cause of infant death worldwide that challenges attainment of Target 5 of Millennium Development Goal 4—the reduction of the global under-five mortality rate by two-thirds of the 1990 rate by 2015 (the Millennium Development Goals, which were agreed by world leaders in 2000, aim to reduce world poverty). Furthermore, many preterm babies who survive have long-term health problems and disabilities such as cerebral palsy, deafness, or learning difficulties. The severity of these disabilities and their long-term costs to families and to society depend on the baby's degree of prematurity.
Why Was This Study Done?
Mexico recently reformed its health system in an effort to improve access to care, particularly for the poorest sections of its population, and to improve the quality of its health care. The central component of this health care reform is the System of Social Protection of Health (SSPH). The SSPH contains a family health insurance program—Seguro Popular—that aims to provide the 50 million uninsured people living in Mexico with free access to an explicit set of health care interventions. As with any insurance program, decisions have to be made about which interventions Seguro Poplar should cover. Should neonatal intensive care be covered, for example? Do the benefits of this intervention (increased survival of babies) outweigh the costs of neonatal care and of long-term care for survivors with disabilities? In other words, is neonatal intensive care cost-effective? In this study, the researchers investigate this question by estimating the clinical benefits, costs, and cost-effectiveness of neonatal intensive care in Mexico.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers built a decision analytic model, a mathematical model that combines evidence on the outcomes and costs of alternative treatments to help inform decisions about health care policy. They gathered data about the health outcomes of preterm births in Mexico from registers of births and deaths and from hospital discharge databases, and estimated the costs of neonatal intensive care and long-term care for disabled survivors using data from the Mexican Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization. They then applied their model, which estimates changes in parameters such as life expectancy, lifetime costs, disability-adjusted life years (DALYs; one DALY represents the loss of a year of healthy life), and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs; the additional cost expended for each DALY averted) for neonatal intensive care compared to no intensive care, to a group of 2 million infants. Neonatal intensive care for infants born at 24–26, 27–29, and 30–33 weeks gestation prolonged life expectancy by 28, 43, and 34 years and averted 9, 15, and 12 DALYs at incremental costs of US$11,000, US$10,000, and US$3000, respectively, compared to no intensive care. The ICERs of neonatal intensive care for babies born at these times were US$1200, US$700, and US$300 per DALY averted, respectively.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Interventions with ICERs of less than a country's per capita gross domestic product (GDP) are highly cost-effective; those with ICERs of 1–3 times the per capita GDP are potentially cost-effective. Mexico's per capita GDP in 2005 was approximately US$8,200. Thus, neonatal intensive care could provide exceptional value for money in Mexico (and maybe in other middle-income countries), even for very premature babies. The accuracy of these findings inevitably depends on the assumptions used to build the decision analytic model and on the accuracy of the data fed into it, but the findings were little changed by a wide range of alterations that the researchers made to the model. Importantly, however, this cost-effectiveness analysis focuses on health and economic consequences of different intervention choices, and does not capture all aspects of well-being. Decisions regarding neonatal intensive care will need to be based on a full consideration of all relevant factors, including ethical issues, and cost-effectiveness analyses should continue to be updated as new data emerge on health outcomes and costs associated with neonatal intensive care.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000379.
The March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health, provides information on preterm birth (in English and Spanish)
The Nemours Foundation, another nonprofit organization for child health, also provides information on premature babies (in English and Spanish)
MedlinePlus provides links to other information on premature babies (in English and Spanish)
The United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) works for children's rights, survival, development and protection around the world; it provides information on Millennium Development Goal 4 and its Childinfo website provides detailed statistics about child survival and health (some information in several languages)
A PLoS Medicine Policy Forum by Núria Homedes and Antonio Ugalde discusses health care reforms in Mexico
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000379
PMCID: PMC3001895  PMID: 21179496
12.  Job satisfaction and stress levels among anaesthesiologists of south India 
Indian Journal of Anaesthesia  2011;55(5):513-517.
Background:
Stress being high among practicing anaesthesiologists has effects on the quality of life. Methods to mitigate the stress have to be ensured to achieve job satisfaction.
Methods:
A survey was conducted through a questionnaire to know the various aspects of job satisfaction and job stress. The results of the data obtained were analyzed.
Results:
An anaesthetists work area may vary from a small private hospital to a large tertiary centre.Depending on the number of anaesthetists in a particular hospital, the working hours and on call duties would be distributed. Overworked anaesthetists are prone to burnout due to sleep deprivation. This could lead to fatigue related error. Lesser the number of anaesthetists would mean less support from colleagues in the event of complications. Having a good rapport with surgical colleagues also helps to prevent stress.Anaesthesiologists should have adequate monitors to avoid error in judgement. Chronic stress has serious health hazards. Keeping updated with latest developments in our field helps to improve the quality of care provided. Anaesthetists should also receive the recognition and remuneration due to them.
Conclusion:
To improve the quality of care provided to a patient,anaesthesiologists must cope with job stress. An anaesthetist must enjoy the work rather than be burdened by it.
doi:10.4103/0019-5049.89891
PMCID: PMC3237154  PMID: 22174471
Anaesthesiologists; burnout; job satisfaction; quality of life; stress
13.  Views regarding the training of ethics consultants: a survey of physicians caring for patients in ICU 
Journal of Medical Ethics  2007;33(6):320-324.
Background
Despite the expansion of ethics consultation services, questions remain about the aims of clinical ethics consultation, its methods and the expertise of those who provide such services.
Objective
To describe physicians' expectations regarding the training and skills necessary for ethics consultants to contribute effectively to the care of patients in intensive care unit (ICU).
Design
Mailed survey.
Participants
Physicians responsible for the care of at least 10 patients in ICU over a 6‐month period at a 921‐bed private teaching hospital with an established ethics consultation service. 69 of 92 (75%) eligible physicians responded.
Measurements
Importance of specialised knowledge and skills for ethics consultants contributing to the care of patients in ICU; need for advanced disciplinary training; expectations regarding formal‐training programmes for ethics consultants.
Results
Expertise in ethics was described most often as important for ethics consultants taking part in the care of patients in ICU, compared with expertise in law (p<0.03), religious traditions (p<0.001), medicine (p<0.001) and conflict‐mediation techniques (p<0.001). When asked about the formal training consultants should possess, however, physicians involved in the care of patients in ICU most often identified advanced medical training as important.
Conclusions
Although many physicians caring for patients in ICU believe ethics consultants must possess non‐medical expertise in ethics and law if they are to contribute effectively to patient care, these physicians place a very high value on medical training as well, suggesting a “medicine plus one” view of the training of an ideal ethics consultant. As ethics consultation services expand, clear expectations regarding the training of ethics consultants should be established.
doi:10.1136/jme.2006.016287
PMCID: PMC2598279  PMID: 17526680
14.  In their own words: Patients and families define high-quality palliative care in the intensive care unit* 
Critical Care Medicine  2010;38(3):808-818.
Objective
Although the majority of hospital deaths occur in the intensive care unit and virtually all critically ill patients and their families have palliative needs, we know little about how patients and families, the most important “stakeholders,” define high-quality intensive care unit palliative care. We conducted this study to obtain their views on important domains of this care.
Design
Qualitative study using focus groups facilitated by a single physician.
Setting
A 20-bed general intensive care unit in a 382-bed community hospital in Oklahoma; 24-bed medical–surgical intensive care unit in a 377-bed tertiary, university hospital in urban California; and eight-bed medical intensive care unit in a 311-bed Veterans’ Affairs hospital in a northeastern city.
Patients
Randomly-selected patients with intensive care unit length of stay ≥5 days in 2007 to 2008 who survived the intensive care unit, families of survivors, and families of patients who died in the intensive care unit.
Interventions
None.
Measurements and Main Results
Focus group facilitator used open-ended questions and scripted probes from a written guide. Three investigators independently coded meeting transcripts, achieving consensus on themes. From 48 subjects (15 patients, 33 family members) in nine focus groups across three sites, a shared definition of high-quality intensive care unit palliative care emerged: timely, clear, and compassionate communication by clinicians; clinical decision-making focused on patients’ preferences, goals, and values; patient care maintaining comfort, dignity, and personhood; and family care with open access and proximity to patients, interdisciplinary support in the intensive care unit, and bereavement care for families of patients who died. Participants also endorsed specific processes to operationalize the care they considered important.
Conclusions
Efforts to improve intensive care unit palliative care quality should focus on domains and processes that are most valued by critically ill patients and their families, among whom we found broad agreement in a diverse sample. Measures of quality and effective interventions exist to improve care in domains that are important to intensive care unit patients and families.
PMCID: PMC3267550  PMID: 20198726
intensive care; critical care; palliative care; quality assessment; health care; quality indicators; qualitative research
15.  Bridging theory and practice: design and implementation of the NORC-SSP linkage evaluation 
Purpose
Despite the substantial progress that has been made in the development of community-based service systems for seniors, effective linkages with the health care system remain elusive. Supportive service programs operating in naturally occurring retirement communities (NORCs) where large numbers of seniors reside have begun to address this critical gap in the health and social service system; however, linkages with the health care system are neither fluid nor systematic. To address this problem, two New York city-based funders established the NORC-Health Care Linkage Project to foster the development and testing of new models of collaborative and coordinated problem-solving between community-based social service providers and key health providers. This paper reports on an innovative evaluation design and implementation strategies that build organizational capacity while effectively assessing multiple levels of outcomes.
Conceptual framework
Randomized controlled designs which compare intervention communities with controls are unfeasible, unmanageable and inappropriate for many community-based initiatives that have multiple sites and varied goals and interventions. Theories of action (TOAs) refer to specification of the underlying assumptions about how a program is expected to get from conditions at baseline to a desired future. In this way, TOAs bridge strategic planning and evaluation. To be effective TOAs should be co-generated by evaluators and those being evaluated. Working collaboratively fosters ownership to the components of the theory and enables individual organizations to develop their own theories. Such collaboration between evaluators and practitioners builds organizational capacity for applied outcomes research and encourages evidence-based program planning.
Methods
All four funded linkage partnerships worked with the evaluation team to co-create action plans and logic maps that built upon TOAs articulated by the participating partnerships. Specific interventions focused on falls, discharge planning, depression, and, diabetes. Using a case study approach, process, impact and distal outcomes were tracked from 2002 to 2006 using tracking forms, client surveys, stakeholder interviews and period site visits. Intensive technical assistance enabled the participating sites to take an active role in data collection and analysis.
Findings
Findings suggest that internal capacity to collect, analyze and utilize data increased at all four participating partnerships, with the greatest improvement seen among the community-based organizations. Interventions were successfully implemented and comprehensively monitored. Theory-based predictions of multiple levels of outcomes were demonstrated across a number of domains, including improved shared care planning and continuity of care.
Discussion
Most published community health promotion programs have targeted a single disease and have been initiated ‘top-down,’ often with a university or consulting firm in charge. This innovative initiative aimed to build capacity for program design, implementation and evaluation within organizations so that participants could continue to apply the new skills after the funder and external consultants had gone back to their respective professional homes. This approach was successful in that participating organizations found value in tracking their own progress, both for accountability purposes but also for future programming.
PMCID: PMC2807090
older people; integrated care models; linkage
16.  High dependency units in the UK: variable size, variable character, few in number. 
Postgraduate Medical Journal  1995;71(834):217-221.
An exploratory descriptive survey was conducted to determine the size and character of high dependency units (HDUs) in the UK. A telephone survey and subsequent postal questionnaire was sent to the 39 general HDUs in the UK determined by a recent survey from the Royal College of Anaesthetists; replies were received from 28. Most HDUs (82%, n = 23) were geographically distinct from the intensive care unit and varied in size from three to 13 beds, although only 64% (n = 18) reported that all beds were currently open. Nurse: patient ratios were at least 1:3. Fifty per cent of units had one or more designated consultants in charge, although only 11% (n = 3) had specifically designated consultant sessions. Junior medical cover was provided mainly by the on-call speciality term. Twenty units acted as a step-down facility for discharged intensive care unit patients and 21 offered a step-up facility for patients from general wards. Provision of facilities and levels of monitoring varied between these units. Few HDUs exist in the UK and they are variable in size and in the facilities and monitoring procedures which they provide. Future studies are urgently required to determine cost-effectiveness and outcome benefit of this intermediate care facility.
Images
PMCID: PMC2398078  PMID: 7784281
17.  Provision of services for the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease in England and Wales. Third report of a Joint Cardiology Committee. Royal College of Physicians of London and the Royal College of Surgeons of England. 
British Heart Journal  1985;53(5):477-482.
The principal conclusions of the report are as follows. Cardiology continues to change rapidly. In the five years since the issue of the Second Report of the Joint Cardiology Committee in 1980 the specialty has been affected principally by the increase in coronary artery surgery and the increasing importance of non-invasive techniques of diagnosis, particularly echocardiography. The burden of heart disease in Britain shows some decline recently, but this falls short of that which has occurred in other countries. The vital role of the initial assessment of patients to ensure the efficient use of limited resources falls upon physicians and paediatricians in district general hospitals. Each district general hospital should have at least one physician, practising general medicine but having a special expertise and training in cardiology. He should undertake echocardiography, stress testing, ambulatory monitoring, emergency pacing, rehabilitation, and cardiac intensive care, with the necessary facilities and staff. He will also play an important part in the follow up of patients assessed and treated at cardiac centres. Paediatricians should continue to evaluate children with heart disease and their training should include periods at cardiac centres. Cardiac centres currently undertaking invasive investigations and cardiac surgery need to expand to cope with demand. A target figure of 750-1000 coronary artery bypass operations annually is suggested. This implies three or four surgeons and six cardiologists per centre. Other staffing should be based on these figures. Smaller centres are not necessarily non-viable but should be encouraged to expand or merge. Funding should be clarified so that regional contributions to regional services are identified and not lost in district budgets. Expensive capital equipment should be regionally funded whether sited in cardiac centres of district general hospitals. (7) Supraregional centres for the cardiac problems of infants under the age of one year have been identified ans should receive supraregional funding. Their staffing and equipment should be appropriate to the exceptional demands of this work. If such a centre is sited within an existing cardiac centre the staff will be additional to those needed for the adult work. Facilities for older children should continue to be provided, as at present, at all cardiac centres. (8) Cardiac transplantation should be funded supraregionally. (9) The medical audit of cardiac work should be supported by the Department of Health and Social Security (DHSS). (10) Research remains a high priority, and cardiac centres should be provided with the facilities, and staff with the contracts and time, to undertake it. (11) A revision of this report is recommended within five years.
PMCID: PMC481796  PMID: 3994860
18.  Professional Uncertainty and Disempowerment Responding to Ethnic Diversity in Health Care: A Qualitative Study 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(11):e323.
Background
While ethnic disparities in health and health care are increasing, evidence on how to enhance quality of care and reduce inequalities remains limited. Despite growth in the scope and application of guidelines on “cultural competence,” remarkably little is known about how practising health professionals experience and perceive their work with patients from diverse ethnic communities. Using cancer care as a clinical context, we aimed to explore this with a range of health professionals to inform interventions to enhance quality of care.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a qualitative study involving 18 focus groups with a purposeful sample of 106 health professionals of differing disciplines, in primary and secondary care settings, working with patient populations of varying ethnic diversity in the Midlands of the UK. Data were analysed by constant comparison and we undertook processes for validation of analysis. We found that, as they sought to offer appropriate care, health professionals wrestled with considerable uncertainty and apprehension in responding to the needs of patients of ethnicities different from their own. They emphasised their perceived ignorance about cultural difference and were anxious about being culturally inappropriate, causing affront, or appearing discriminatory or racist. Professionals' ability to think and act flexibly or creatively faltered. Although trying to do their best, professionals' uncertainty was disempowering, creating a disabling hesitancy and inertia in their practice. Most professionals sought and applied a knowledge-based cultural expertise approach to patients, though some identified the risk of engendering stereotypical expectations of patients. Professionals' uncertainty and disempowerment had the potential to perpetuate each other, to the detriment of patient care.
Conclusions
This study suggests potential mechanisms by which health professionals may inadvertently contribute to ethnic disparities in health care. It identifies critical opportunities to empower health professionals to respond more effectively. Interventions should help professionals acknowledge their uncertainty and its potential to create inertia in their practice. A shift away from a cultural expertise model toward a greater focus on each patient as an individual may help.
From a qualitative study, Joe Kai and colleagues have identified opportunities to empower health professionals to respond more effectively to challenges in their work with patients from diverse ethnic communities.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Communities are increasingly diverse in terms of ethnicity (belonging to a group of people defined by social characteristics such as cultural tradition or national origin) and race (belonging to a group identified by inherited physical characteristics). Although health professionals and governments are striving to ensure that everybody has the same access to health care, there is increasing evidence of ethnic inequalities in health-care outcomes. Some of these inequalities reflect intrinsic differences between groups of people—Ashkenazi Jews, for example, often carry an altered gene that increases their chance of developing aggressive breast cancer. Often, however, these differences reflect inequalities in the health care received by different ethnic groups. To improve this situation, “cultural competence” has been promoted over recent years. Cultural competence is the development of skills by individuals and organizations that allow them to work effectively with people from different cultures. Health professionals are now taught about ethnic differences in health beliefs and practices, religion, and communication styles to help them provide the best service to all their patients.
Why Was This Study Done?
Numerous guidelines aim to improve cultural competency but little is known about how health professionals experience and perceive their work with patients from diverse ethnic groups. Is their behavior influenced by ethnicity in ways that might contribute to health care disparities? For example, do doctors sometimes avoid medical examinations for fear of causing offence because of cultural differences? If more were known about how health professionals handle ethnic diversity (a term used here to include both ethnicity and race) it might be possible to reduce ethnic inequalities in health care. In this qualitative study, the researchers have explored how health professionals involved in cancer care are affected by working with ethnically diverse patients. A qualitative study is one that collects nonquantitative data such as how doctors “feel” about treating people of different ethnic backgrounds; a quantitative study might compare clinical outcomes in different ethnic groups.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers enrolled 106 doctors, nurses, and other health-related professionals from different health-service settings in the Midlands, an ethnically diverse region of the UK. They organized 18 focus groups in which the health professionals described their experiences of caring for people from ethnic minority backgrounds. The participants were encouraged to recall actual cases and to identify what they saw as problems and strengths in their interactions with these patients. The researchers found that the health professionals wrestled with many challenges when providing health care for patients from diverse ethnic backgrounds. These challenges included problems with language and with general communication (for example, deciding when it was acceptable to touch a patient to show empathy). Health professionals also worried they did not know enough about cultural differences. As a result, they said they often felt uncertain of their ability to avoid causing affront or appearing racist. This uncertainty, the researchers report, disempowered the health professionals, sometimes making them hesitate or fail to do what was best for their patient.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings reveal that health professionals often experience considerable uncertainty when caring for ethnically diverse patients, even after training in cultural competency. They also show that this uncertainty can lead to hesitancy and inertia, which might contribute to ethnic health care inequalities. Because the study participants were probably already interested in ethnic diversity and health care, interviews with other health professionals (and investigations of patient experiences) are needed to confirm these findings. Nevertheless, the researchers suggest several interventions that might reduce health care inequalities caused by ethnic diversity. For example, health professionals should be encouraged to recognize their uncertainty and should have access to more information and training about ethnic differences. In addition, there should be a shift in emphasis away from relying on knowledge-based cultural information towards taking an “ethnographic” approach. In other words, health professionals should be helped to feel able to ask their patients about what matters most to them as individuals about their illness and treatment.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040323.
Information on cultural competence and health care is available from the US National Center for Cultural Competence (in English and Spanish) and DiversityRx
PROCEED (Professionals Responding to Cancer in Ethnic Diversity) is a multimedia training tool for educators within the health and allied professions developed from the results of this study; a press release on PROCEED is available from the University of Nottingham
Transcultural Health Care Practice: An educational resource for nurses and health care practitioners is available on the web site of the UK Royal College of Nursing
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040323
PMCID: PMC2071935  PMID: 18001148
19.  Multiparameter Intelligent Monitoring in Intensive Care II (MIMIC-II): A public-access intensive care unit database 
Critical care medicine  2011;39(5):952-960.
Objective
We sought to develop an intensive care unit research database applying automated techniques to aggregate high-resolution diagnostic and therapeutic data from a large, diverse population of adult intensive care unit patients. This freely available database is intended to support epidemiologic research in critical care medicine and serve as a resource to evaluate new clinical decision support and monitoring algorithms.
Design
Data collection and retrospective analysis.
Setting
All adult intensive care units (medical intensive care unit, surgical intensive care unit, cardiac care unit, cardiac surgery recovery unit) at a tertiary care hospital.
Patients
Adult patients admitted to intensive care units between 2001 and 2007.
Interventions
None.
Measurements and Main Results
The Multiparameter Intelligent Monitoring in Intensive Care II (MIMIC-II) database consists of 25,328 intensive care unit stays. The investigators collected detailed information about intensive care unit patient stays, including laboratory data, therapeutic intervention profiles such as vasoactive medication drip rates and ventilator settings, nursing progress notes, discharge summaries, radiology reports, provider order entry data, International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision codes, and, for a subset of patients, high-resolution vital sign trends and waveforms. Data were automatically deidentified to comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act standards and integrated with relational database software to create electronic intensive care unit records for each patient stay. The data were made freely available in February 2010 through the Internet along with a detailed user’s guide and an assortment of data processing tools. The overall hospital mortality rate was 11.7%, which varied by critical care unit. The median intensive care unit length of stay was 2.2 days (interquartile range, 1.1–4.4 days). According to the primary International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision codes, the following disease categories each comprised at least 5% of the case records: diseases of the circulatory system (39.1%); trauma (10.2%); diseases of the digestive system (9.7%); pulmonary diseases (9.0%); infectious diseases (7.0%); and neoplasms (6.8%).
Conclusions
MIMIC-II documents a diverse and very large population of intensive care unit patient stays and contains comprehensive and detailed clinical data, including physiological waveforms and minute-by-minute trends for a subset of records. It establishes a new public-access resource for critical care research, supporting a diverse range of analytic studies spanning epidemiology, clinical decision-rule development, and electronic tool development.
doi:10.1097/CCM.0b013e31820a92c6
PMCID: PMC3124312  PMID: 21283005
databases; clinical decision support; hemodynamic instability; information technology; patient monitoring
20.  COMPETENCE AND CERTIFICATION OF REGISTERED NURSES AND SAFETY OF PATIENTS IN INTENSIVE CARE UNITS 
Background
Adverse events that place patients at risk for harm are common in intensive care units. Clinicians’ level of knowledge and judgment appear to play a role in the prevention, mitigation, and creation of adverse advents. Research suggests a possible association between nurses’ specialty certification and clinical expertise. The relationship between specialty certification and clinical competence of registered nurses and safety of patients is a relatively new area of inquiry in nursing.
Objective
To explore the relationship between the proportion of certified staff nurses in a unit and risk of harm to patients.
Methods
Hierarchical linear modeling was used in a secondary data analysis of 48 intensive care units from a random sample of 29 hospitals to examine the relationships between unit certification rates, organizational nursing characteristics (magnet status, staffing, education, and experience), and rates of medication administration errors, falls, skin breakdown, and 3 types of nosocomial infections. Medicare case mix index was used to adjust for patient risk.
Results
Unit proportion of certified staff registered nurses was inversely related to rate of falls, and total hours of nursing care was positively related to medication administration errors. The mean number of years of experience of registered nurses in the unit was inversely related to frequency of urinary tract infections; however, the small sample size requires that caution be exercised when interpreting results.
Conclusions
Specialty certification and competence of registered nurses are related to patients’ safety. Further research on this relationship is needed.
doi:10.4037/ajcc2009487
PMCID: PMC2717746  PMID: 19255100
21.  Application of airline pilots' hours to junior doctors. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1989;299(6702):779-781.
OBJECTIVE--To determine the staff required if the rules for airline pilots' hours of work are applied to junior doctors. DESIGN--Junior anaesthetists recorded their workload from 1 March 1988 to May 31 1988. SETTING--District general hospital. SUBJECTS--Two groups of three junior anaesthetists sharing a one in three rota to provide continuous emergency cover. INTERVENTIONS--By using the guidelines published by the Civil Aviation Authority in The Avoidance of Excessive Fatigue in Aircrews schedules were drawn up to cover the hours that junior doctors had been on duty. RESULTS--Each anaesthetist provided emergency and routine cover for 48-112 (mean 75) hours each week. To cover the work of six junior anaesthetists on an annual basis would require 26 doctors if they were working within the Civil Aviation Authority's guidelines. CONCLUSIONS--Junior anaesthetists' hours are much longer than those of airline pilots. Both professions entail considerable periods of monitoring interspersed with episodes of high demands on physical and cognitive skills. Errors induced by fatigue made by anaesthetists and pilots could result in death. The medical profession should define rules similar to those of the aviation authority to prevent junior doctors having to work unsafe numbers of hours.
PMCID: PMC1837606  PMID: 2508922
22.  Grown-up congenital heart (GUCH) disease: current needs and provision of service for adolescents and adults with congenital heart disease in the UK 
Heart  2002;88(Suppl 1):i1-i14.
The size of the national population of patients with grown-up congenital heart disease (GUCH) is uncertain, but since 80–85% of patients born with congenital heart disease now survive to adulthood (age 16 years), an annual increase of 2500 can be anticipated according to birth rate. Organisation of medical care is haphazard with only three of 18 cardiac surgical centres operating on over 30 cases per annum and only two established specialised units fully equipped and staffed.
Not all grown-ups with congenital heart disease require the same level of expertise; 20–25% are complex, rare, etc, and require life long expert supervision and/or intervention; a further 35–40% require access to expert consultation. The rest, about 40%, have simple or cured diseases and need little or no specialist expertise. The size of the population needing expertise is small in comparison to coronary and hypertensive disease, aging, and increasing in complexity. It requires expert cardiac surgery and specialised medical cardiology, intensive care, electrophysiology, imaging and interventions, "at risk" pregnancy services, connection to transplant services familiar with their basic problem, clinical nurse specialist advisors, and trained nurses.
An integrated national service is described with 4–6 specialist units established within adult cardiology, ideally in relation or proximity to university hospital/departments in appropriate geographic location, based in association with established paediatric cardiac surgical centres with designated inpatient and outpatient facilities for grown-up patients with congenital heart disease. Specialist units should accept responsibility for educating the profession, training the specialists, cooperative research, receiving patients "out of region", sharing particular skills between each other, and they must liaise with other services and trusts in the health service, particularly specified outpatient clinics in district and regional centres. Not every regional cardiac centre requires a full GUCH specialised service since there are too few patients. Complex patients need to be concentrated for expertise, experience, and optimal management. Transition of care from paediatric to adult supervision should be routine, around age 16 years, flexibly managed, smooth, and explained to patient and family. Each patient should be entered into a local database and a national registry needs to be established. The Department of Health should accept responsibility of dissemination of information on special needs of such patients. The GUCH Patients' Association is active in helping with lifestyle and social problems.
Easy access to specialised care for those with complex heart disease is crucial if the nation accepts, as it should, continued medical responsibility to provide optimal medical care for GUCH patients.
doi:10.1136/heart.88.suppl_1.i1
PMCID: PMC1876264  PMID: 12181200
23.  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
24.  Successful transitioning is a matter of the Heart: Integrated Care for Grown-Up Congenital Heart Disease 
Purpose
This study offers a comprehensive overview over the existing guidelines for GUCH/ACHD care and synthesises the recommendations made over the past decade, developing them into an integrated care concept for GUCH/ACHD patients. Its aim is to emphasise the need for more coordinated action of paediatric and adult specialists, professional and patients organisations to lobby for a concerted implementation of the guidelines for GUCH/ACHD management and an organised transitioning process.
Context
More than a decade ago, discussions picked up on the adequate management of a challenging new patient group: persons with ‘Grown-Up Congenital Heart Disease’ (GUCH), also known as ‘Adult Congenital Heart Disease’ (ACHD) in North America. The various authors acknowledged the demand for highly specialised and trained professionals who could provide the wide array of services needed for this patient group, with a systematic and multi-disciplinary approach. First experiences have already been gathered throughout the 1990s in Canada and the UK. Since then, the technological and medical advances in paediatric cardiology, cardiac surgery and related medical fields have improved the health outcomes even further, to the extent that 85%–95% of children with congenital heart disease (CHD) survive into adulthood. However, the efforts to implement the necessary managerial, transitioning and vocational training requirements have not been afforded equal focus.
Data sources
A literature review of the existing guidelines for the management of GUCH patients from national and international cardiology associations, expert interviews.
Case description
The key problem in the management of GUCH patients is a lack of understanding the importance of a coordinated transitioning process from paediatric to adult care services. Neither the paediatric nor the adult specialists have the proper training for the care of these patients, the former lacking experience with adult patients the latter not knowing the complex indication of congenital heart disease. In the different guidelines (e.g. from the American Heart Association or the European Society of Cardiology), it is acknowledged that cooperation and communication between specialists and settings and a managed transitioning process are paramount. In this case, the focus is laid on developing an integrated care model based on the existing medical guidelines and the requirements a transition process demands. Adolescents with CHD and their parents need to be prepared to adapt to the demands of an adult life. They need information on working and educational options, family planning, and what complications may be expected. Also, the adolescents need to learn to take over the responsibility for their own life and health—independent of their parents. These are just the most pressing of the challenges GUCH patients face.
(Preliminary) conclusions
Even though specialised GUCH/ACHD centres exist in many countries, they are too few in numbers to effectively and adequately service the whole population and provide high quality training. A lack of coordination and communication between paediatric and adult health care service providers results in patients being lost in transition from paediatric to adult care settings. This counteracts the excellent services children with congenital heart disease receive nowadays, and which have lead to the need of specialised adult service in the first place. It is a waste of time and resources if the efforts made in the paediatric care setting are not followed up adequately once the patients are grown up. This is a classic setting for implementing integrated care and this study offers a model, based on the available medical guidelines to do so.
PMCID: PMC3617751
transition from paediatric to adult services; GUCH; implementation of guidelines; integrated care centres
25.  Clinical Informatics Board Certification: History, Current Status, and Predicted Impact on the Clinical Informatics Workforce 
Applied Clinical Informatics  2010;1(1):11-18.
Within health and health care, medical informatics and its subspecialties of biomedical, clinical, and public health informatics have emerged as a new discipline with increasing demands for its own work force. Knowledge and skills in medical informatics are widely acknowledged as crucial to future success in patient care, research relating to biomedicine, clinical care, and public health, as well as health policy design. The maturity of the domain and the demand on expertise necessitate standardized training and certification of professionals. The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) embarked on a major effort to create professional level education and certification for physicians of various professions and specialties in informatics. This article focuses on the AMIA effort in the professional structure of medical specialization, e.g., the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and the related Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). This report summarizes the current progress to create a recognized sub-certificate of competence in Clinical Informatics and discusses likely near term (three to five year) implications on training, certification, and work force with an emphasis on clinical applied informatics.
doi:10.4338/ACI-2009-11-R-0016
PMCID: PMC3631890  PMID: 23616825
Education; Professional training; Clinical informatics; Training and education requirements; General healthcare providers; Informatics specialists; Strategies for health IT training; Continuing professional development and continuing education

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