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1.  Reinforcing outpatient medical student learning using brief computer tutorials: the Patient-Teacher-Tutorial sequence 
BMC Medical Education  2012;12:70.
Background
At present, what students read after an outpatient encounter is largely left up to them. Our objective was to evaluate the education efficacy of a clinical education model in which the student moves through a sequence that includes immediately reinforcing their learning using a specifically designed computer tutorial.
Methods
Prior to a 14-day Pediatric Emergency rotation, medical students completed pre-tests for two common pediatric topics: Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS) and Fever Without Source (FWS). After encountering a patient with either FWS or a patient needing ORS, the student logged into a computer that randomly assigned them to either a) completing a relevant computer tutorial (e.g. FWS patient + FWS tutorial = “in sequence”) or b) completing the non-relevant tutorial (e.g. FWS patient + ORS tutorial = “out of sequence”). At the end of their rotation, they were tested again on both topics. Our main outcome was post-test scores on a given tutorial topic, contrasted by whether done in- or out-of-sequence.
Results
Ninety-two students completed the study protocol with 41 in the ‘in sequence’ group. Pre-test scores did not differ significantly. Overall, doing a computer tutorial in sequence resulted in significantly greater post-test scores (z-score 1.1 (SD 0.70) in sequence vs. 0.52 (1.1) out-of-sequence; 95% CI for difference +0.16, +0.93). Students spent longer on the tutorials when they were done in sequence (12.1 min (SD 7.3) vs. 10.5 (6.5)) though the difference was not statistically significant (95% CI diff: -1.2 min, +4.5).
Conclusions
Outpatient learning frameworks could be structured to take best advantage of the heightened learning potential created by patient encounters. We propose the Patient-Teacher-Tutorial sequence as a framework for organizing learning in outpatient clinical settings.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-70
PMCID: PMC3517358  PMID: 22873635
2.  Parent-mediated communication-focused treatment in children with autism (PACT): a randomised controlled trial 
Lancet  2010;375(9732):2152-2160.
Summary
Background
Results of small trials suggest that early interventions for social communication are effective for the treatment of autism in children. We therefore investigated the efficacy of such an intervention in a larger trial.
Methods
Children with core autism (aged 2 years to 4 years and 11 months) were randomly assigned in a one-to-one ratio to a parent-mediated communication-focused (Preschool Autism Communication Trial [PACT]) intervention or treatment as usual at three specialist centres in the UK. Those assigned to PACT were also given treatment as usual. Randomisation was by use of minimisation of probability in the marginal distribution of treatment centre, age (≤42 months or >42 months), and autism severity (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Generic [ADOS-G] algorithm score 12–17 or 18–24). Primary outcome was severity of autism symptoms (a total score of social communication algorithm items from ADOS-G, higher score indicating greater severity) at 13 months. Complementary secondary outcomes were measures of parent-child interaction, child language, and adaptive functioning in school. Analysis was by intention to treat. This study is registered as an International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial, number ISRCTN58133827.
Results
152 children were recruited. 77 were assigned to PACT (London [n=26], Manchester [n=26], and Newcastle [n=25]); and 75 to treatment as usual (London [n=26], Manchester [n=26], and Newcastle [n=23]). At the 13-month endpoint, the severity of symptoms was reduced by 3·9 points (SD 4·7) on the ADOS-G algorithm in the group assigned to PACT, and 2·9 (3·9) in the group assigned to treatment as usual, representing a between-group effect size of −0·24 (95% CI −0·59 to 0·11), after adjustment for centre, sex, socioeconomic status, age, and verbal and non-verbal abilities. Treatment effect was positive for parental synchronous response to child (1·22, 0·85 to 1·59), child initiations with parent (0·41, 0·08 to 0·74), and for parent-child shared attention (0·33, −0·02 to 0·68). Effects on directly assessed language and adaptive functioning in school were small.
Interpretation
On the basis of our findings, we cannot recommend the addition of the PACT intervention to treatment as usual for the reduction of autism symptoms; however, a clear benefit was noted for parent-child dyadic social communication.
Funding
UK Medical Research Council, and UK Department for Children, Schools and Families.
doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60587-9
PMCID: PMC2890859  PMID: 20494434
3.  Promoting patient engagement with self-management support information: a qualitative meta-synthesis of processes influencing uptake 
Background
Patient information has been viewed as a key component of self-management. However, little attention has been given to methods of dissemination or implementation of effective information strategies. Previous problems identified with the use and implementation of patient information point to the need to explore the way in which patients engage with and use information to support self-management for chronic conditions.
Methods
Four published qualitative studies from a programme of research about self-management were analysed as a group; these included studies of the management of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); self-help in anxiety and depression (SHADE); menorrhagia, treatment, information, and preference (MENTIP) study; and self-help for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). For the analysis, we used an adapted meta-ethnographic approach to the synthesis of qualitative data in order to develop an evidence base.
Results
The ontological status and experience of the condition in everyday life was the most dominant theme to emerge from this synthesis. This, coupled with access to and experience of traditional health services responses, shaped the engagement with and use of information to support self-management. Five key elements were found which were likely to influence this: the perception and awareness of alternative self-management possibilities; the prior extent and nature of engagement with information; the extent of and ability to self-manage; opportunities for use of the information and the stage of the illness career; and congruence and synergy with the professional role.
Conclusion
People with chronic conditions need support from providers in both supply and engagement with information, in a way which gives legitimacy to the person's own self-management strategies and possible alternatives. Thus, a link could usefully be made between information offered, as well as patients' past experiences of self-management and engagement with services for their condition. The timeliness of the information should be considered, both in terms of the illness career and the type of condition (i.e., before depression gets too bad or time to reflect on existing knowledge about a condition and how it is to be managed) and in terms of the pre-existing relationship with services (i.e., options explored and tried).
More considered use of information (how it is provided, by whom, and at what point it should be introduced) is key to facilitating patients' engagement with and therefore use of information to support self-management.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-3-44
PMCID: PMC2575203  PMID: 18851743
4.  A qualitative study of GPs' attitudes to self-management of chronic disease 
Background
Improving the quality of care for patients living with a chronic illness is a key policy goal. Alongside systems to ensure care is delivered according to evidence-based guidelines, an essential component of these new models of care is the facilitation of self-management. However, changes to the way professionals deliver care is complex, and it is important to understand the key drivers and barriers that may operate in the primary care setting.
Aim
To explore GPs' perspectives on their involvement in the facilitation of chronic disease self-management.
Design of study
Qualitative study.
Setting
General practices located in two primary care trusts in northern England.
Method
Data were collected through in-depth, semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of GPs. During analysis, categories of response were organised into themes that relate to Howie's theoretical model for understanding general practice consultations: content, values, context.
Results
The GPs' responses highlighted tensions and trade-offs regarding their role in facilitating self-management. Although GPs valued increased patient involvement in their health care, this was in conflict with other values concerning professional responsibility. Furthermore, contextual factors also limited the degree to which they could assist in encouraging self-management.
Conclusions
Providing GPs with training in consultation skills is required in order to encourage the delivery of effective self-management. In addition, the context in which GPs work also needs to be modified for this to be achieved.
PMCID: PMC1839014  PMID: 16762121
chronic disease; family practice; self-care

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