To compare the efficacy of chemoendocrine treatment with that of endocrine treatment (ET) alone for postmenopausal women with highly endocrine responsive breast cancer.
Patients and methods
In the International Breast Cancer Study Group (IBCSG) Trials VII and 12-93, postmenopausal women with node-positive, estrogen receptor (ER)-positive or ER-negative, operable breast cancer were randomized to receive either chemotherapy or endocrine therapy or combined chemoendocrine treatment. Results were analyzed overall in the cohort of 893 patients with endocrine-responsive disease, and according to prospectively-defined categories of ER, age and nodal status. STEPP analyses assessed chemotherapy effect. The median follow-up was 13 years.
Adding chemotherapy reduced the relative risk of a disease-free survival event by 19% (p=0.02) compared with ET alone. STEPP analyses showed little effect of chemotherapy for tumors with high levels of ER expression (p = 0.07), or for the cohort with one positive node (p = 0.03).
Chemotherapy significantly improves disease-free survival for postmenopausal women with endocrine-responsive breast cancer, but the magnitude of the effect is substantially attenuated if ER levels are high.
breast cancer; chemoendocrine therapy; estrogen receptors; postmenopausal
Sexual health education in the United Kingdom is of variable quality, typically focusing on the biological aspects of sex rather than on communication, relationships, and sexual pleasure. The Internet offers a unique opportunity to provide sexual health education to young people, since they can be difficult to engage but frequently use the Internet as a health information resource.
To explore through qualitative research young people’s views on what elements of a sexual health website would be appealing and engaging, and their views on the content, design, and interactive features of the Sexunzipped intervention website.
We recruited 67 young people aged 16–22 years in London, UK. We held 21 focus groups and 6 one-to-one interviews to establish sexual health priorities, views on website look and feel, and what features of a sexual heath website would attract and engage them. Two researchers facilitated the focus groups, using a semistructured topic guide to lead the discussions and asking open questions to elicit a range of views. The discussions and interviews were audio recorded and detailed notes were made on key topics from the audio recording. Young people’s views influenced design templates for the content and interactive features of Sexunzipped.
Young people particularly wanted straightforward information on sexual pleasure, sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, how to communicate with partners, how to develop skills in giving pleasure, and emotions involved in sex and relationships. Focus group participants wanted social interaction with other young people online and wanted to see themselves reflected in some way such as through images or videos.
While it is challenging to meet all of young people’s technological and design requirements, consultation with the target audience is valuable and necessary in developing an online sexual health intervention. Young people are willing to talk about sensitive issues, enjoy the discussions, and can offer key insights that influence intervention development.
Sex education; adolescents; young adults; qualitative research
Patterns of cerebral asymmetry related to visuospatial functions may change with age. The typical leftward bias on a line bisection task may reflect cerebral asymmetry. With age, such leftward bias decreases. This study demonstrated that the age-related decrease of leftward bias may actually be sex-specific. In addition, previous research suggests that young adults’ deviation in line bisection may reflect asymmetric hemispheric activation of perceptual–attentional “where” spatial systems, rather than motor-intentional “aiming” spatial systems; thus, we specifically fractionated “where” and “aiming” bias of men and women ranging in age from 22 to 93 years old. We observed that older men produced greater rightward line bisection errors, of primarily “where” spatial character. However, women’s errors remained leftward biased, and did not significantly change with age. “Where” spatial systems may be linked to cortico-cortical processing networks involving the posterior part of the dorsal visuospatial processing stream. Thus, the current results are consistent with the conclusion that reduced right dorsal spatial activity in aging may occur in the male, but not female, adult spatial system development.
Attention; Perception; Adult development; Hemispheric asymmetry; Pseudoneglect; Brain lateralization; Right hemisphere; Aging; Gender differences
Childhood Apraxia of Speech is an impairment of speech motor planning that manifests as difficulty producing the sounds (articulation) and melody (prosody) of speech. These difficulties may persist through life and are detrimental to academic, social, and vocational development. A number of published single subject and case series studies of speech treatments are available. There are currently no randomised control trials or other well designed group trials available to guide clinical practice.
A parallel group, fixed size randomised control trial will be conducted in Sydney, Australia to determine the efficacy of two treatments for Childhood Apraxia of Speech: 1) Rapid Syllable Transition Treatment and the 2) Nuffield Dyspraxia Programme – Third edition. Eligible children will be English speaking, aged 4–12 years with a diagnosis of suspected CAS, normal or adjusted hearing and vision, and no comprehension difficulties or other developmental diagnoses. At least 20 children will be randomised to receive one of the two treatments in parallel. Treatments will be delivered by trained and supervised speech pathology clinicians using operationalised manuals. Treatment will be administered in 1-hour sessions, 4 times per week for 3 weeks. The primary outcomes are speech sound and prosodic accuracy on a customised 292 item probe and the Diagnostic Evaluation of Articulation and Phonology inconsistency subtest administered prior to treatment and 1 week, 1 month and 4 months post-treatment. All post assessments will be completed by blinded assessors. Our hypotheses are: 1) treatment effects at 1 week post will be similar for both treatments, 2) maintenance of treatment effects at 1 and 4 months post will be greater for Rapid Syllable Transition Treatment than Nuffield Dyspraxia Programme treatment, and 3) generalisation of treatment effects to untrained related speech behaviours will be greater for Rapid Syllable Transition Treatment than Nuffield Dyspraxia Programme treatment. This protocol was approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee, University of Sydney (#12924).
This will be the first randomised control trial to test treatment for CAS. It will be valuable for clinical decision-making and providing evidence-based services for children with CAS.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12612000744853
Childhood apraxia of speech; Treatment; Effectiveness; Randomised control trial; Intervention; Rapid syllable transition treatment; Nuffield dyspraxia programme
The prevalence of obesity is over 25 % in many developed countries. Obesity is strongly associated with an increased risk of fatal and chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Therefore it has become a major public health concern for many economies. E-learning devices are a relatively novel approach to promoting dietary change. The new generation of devices are ‘adaptive’ and use interactive electronic media to facilitate teaching and learning. E-Learning has grown out of recent developments in information and communication technology, such as the Internet, interactive computer programmes, interactive television and mobile phones. The aim of this study is to assess the cost-effectiveness of e-learning devices as a method of promoting weight loss via dietary change.
An economic evaluation was performed using decision modelling techniques. Outcomes were expressed in terms of Quality-Adjusted Life-Years (QALYs) and costs were estimated from a health services perspective. All parameter estimates were derived from the literature. A systematic review was undertaken to derive the estimate of relative treatment effect.
The base case results from the e-Learning Economic Evaluation Model (e-LEEM) suggested that the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was approximately £102,000 per Quality-Adjusted Life-Year (QALY) compared to conventional care. This finding was robust to most alternative assumptions, except a much lower fixed cost of providing e-learning devices. Expected value of perfect information (EVPI) analysis showed that while the individual level EVPI was arguably negligible, the population level value was between £37 M and £170 M at a willingness to pay between £20,000 to £30,000 per additional QALY.
The current economic evidence base suggests that e-learning devices for managing the weight of obese individuals are unlikely to be cost-effective unless their fixed costs are much lower than estimated or future devices prove to be much more effective.
Economic evaluation; e-learning; cost-utility analysis; obesity and weight management.
To evaluate the association between time from breast-conserving surgery (BCS) to radiotherapy and clinical outcome among patients treated with adjuvant endocrine therapy.
Patient information was obtained from three International Breast Cancer Study Group trials. Analysis was restricted to 964 patients treated with BCS and adjuvant endocrine therapy. Patients were divided into two groups based on the median number of days between BCS and radiotherapy and into 4 groups based on the quartile of time between BCS and radiotherapy. Endpoints were time to local recurrence (TLR), disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS). Proportional hazards regression analysis was used to perform comparisons after adjustment for baseline factors.
The median time between BCS and radiotherapy was 77 days. Radiotherapy timing was significantly associated with age, menopausal status, and estrogen receptor status. After adjustment for these factors no significant effect of radiotherapy delay of up to 20 weeks was found. Adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) (radiotherapy within 77 days vs. after 77 days) were 0.94 (95% CI 0.47–1.87) for TLR, 1.05 (95% CI 0.82–1.34) for DFS and 1.07 (95% CI 0.77–1.49) for OS. For TLR the adjusted HRs for ≤48 days, 49–77 days, and 78–112 days were 0.90 (CI 95% 0.34–2.37), 0.89 (95% CI, 0.33–2.25), and 0.89 (95% CI, 0.33–2.41), respectively relative to ≥ 113 days.
Radiotherapy delay of up to 20 weeks was significantly associated with baseline factors such as age, menopausal status, and estrogen-receptor status. After adjustment for these factors, timing of radiotherapy was not significantly associated with TLR, DFS, or OS.
breast cancer; radiotherapy; radiotherapy timing; breast-conserving surgery; endocrine therapy
Although empirical and theoretical understanding of processes of implementation in health care is advancing, translation of theory into structured measures that capture the complex interplay between interventions, individuals and context remain limited. This paper aimed to (1) describe the process and outcome of a project to develop a theory-based instrument for measuring implementation processes relating to e-health interventions; and (2) identify key issues and methodological challenges for advancing work in this field.
A 30-item instrument (Technology Adoption Readiness Scale (TARS)) for measuring normalisation processes in the context of e-health service interventions was developed on the basis on Normalization Process Theory (NPT). NPT focuses on how new practices become routinely embedded within social contexts. The instrument was pre-tested in two health care settings in which e-health (electronic facilitation of healthcare decision-making and practice) was used by health care professionals.
The developed instrument was pre-tested in two professional samples (N = 46; N = 231). Ratings of items representing normalisation ‘processes’ were significantly related to staff members’ perceptions of whether or not e-health had become ‘routine’. Key methodological challenges are discussed in relation to: translating multi-component theoretical constructs into simple questions; developing and choosing appropriate outcome measures; conducting multiple-stakeholder assessments; instrument and question framing; and more general issues for instrument development in practice contexts.
To develop theory-derived measures of implementation process for progressing research in this field, four key recommendations are made relating to (1) greater attention to underlying theoretical assumptions and extent of translation work required; (2) the need for appropriate but flexible approaches to outcomes measurement; (3) representation of multiple perspectives and collaborative nature of work; and (4) emphasis on generic measurement approaches that can be flexibly tailored to particular contexts of study.
Implementation researchers have attempted to overcome the research-practice gap in e-health by developing tools that summarize and synthesize research evidence of factors that impede or facilitate implementation of innovation in healthcare settings. The e-Health Implementation Toolkit (e-HIT) is an example of such a tool that was designed within the context of the United Kingdom National Health Service to promote implementation of e-health services. Its utility in international settings is unknown.
We conducted a qualitative evaluation of the e-HIT in use across four countries--Finland, Norway, Scotland, and Sweden. Data were generated using a combination of interview approaches (n = 22) to document e-HIT users' experiences of the tool to guide decision making about the selection of e-health pilot services and to monitor their progress over time.
e-HIT users evaluated the tool positively in terms of its scope to organize and enhance their critical thinking about their implementation work and, importantly, to facilitate discussion between those involved in that work. It was easy to use in either its paper- or web-based format, and its visual elements were positively received. There were some minor criticisms of the e-HIT with some suggestions for content changes and comments about its design as a generic tool (rather than specific to sites and e-health services). However, overall, e-HIT users considered it to be a highly workable tool that they found useful, which they would use again, and which they would recommend to other e-health implementers.
The use of the e-HIT is feasible and acceptable in a range of international contexts by a range of professionals for a range of different e-health systems.
There has been limited study of factors influencing response rates and attrition in online research. Online experiments were nested within the pilot (study 1, n = 3780) and main trial (study 2, n = 2667) phases of an evaluation of a Web-based intervention for hazardous drinkers: the Down Your Drink randomized controlled trial (DYD-RCT).
The objective was to determine whether differences in the length and relevance of questionnaires can impact upon loss to follow-up in online trials.
A randomized controlled trial design was used. All participants who consented to enter DYD-RCT and completed the primary outcome questionnaires were randomized to complete one of four secondary outcome questionnaires at baseline and at follow-up. These questionnaires varied in length (additional 23 or 34 versus 10 items) and relevance (alcohol problems versus mental health). The outcome measure was the proportion of participants who completed follow-up at each of two follow-up intervals: study 1 after 1 and 3 months and study 2 after 3 and 12 months.
At all four follow-up intervals there were no significant effects of additional questionnaire length on follow-up. Randomization to the less relevant questionnaire resulted in significantly lower rates of follow-up in two of the four assessments made (absolute difference of 4%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0%-8%, in both study 1 after 1 month and in study 2 after 12 months). A post hoc pooled analysis across all four follow-up intervals found this effect of marginal statistical significance (unadjusted difference, 3%, range 1%-5%, P = .01; difference adjusted for prespecified covariates, 3%, range 0%-5%, P = .05).
Apparently minor differences in study design decisions may have a measurable impact on attrition in trials. Further investigation is warranted of the impact of the relevance of outcome measures on follow-up rates and, more broadly, of the consequences of what we ask participants to do when we invite them to take part in research studies.
ISRCTN Register 31070347; http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN31070347/31070347 Archived by WebCite at (http://www.webcitation.org/62cpeyYaY)
Attrition; retention; missing data; response rates; alcohol; online
Normalization Process Theory (NPT) can be used to explain implementation processes in health care relating to new technologies and complex interventions. This paper describes the processes by which we developed a simplified version of NPT for use by clinicians, managers, and policy makers, and which could be embedded in a web-enabled toolkit and on-line users manual.
Between 2006 and 2010 we undertook four tasks. (i) We presented NPT to potential and actual users in multiple workshops, seminars, and presentations. (ii) Using what we discovered from these meetings, we decided to create a simplified set of statements and explanations expressing core constructs of the theory (iii) We circulated these statements to a criterion sample of 60 researchers, clinicians and others, using SurveyMonkey to collect qualitative textual data about their criticisms of the statements. (iv) We then reconstructed the statements and explanations to meet users' criticisms, embedded them in a web-enabled toolkit, and beta tested this 'in the wild'.
On-line data collection was effective: over a four week period 50/60 participants responded using SurveyMonkey (40/60) or direct phone and email contact (10/60). An additional nine responses were received from people who had been sent the SurveyMonkey form by other respondents. Beta testing of the web enabled toolkit produced 13 responses, from 327 visits to http://www.normalizationprocess.org. Qualitative analysis of both sets of responses showed a high level of support for the statements but also showed that some statements poorly expressed their underlying constructs or overlapped with others. These were rewritten to take account of users' criticisms and then embedded in a web-enabled toolkit. As a result we were able translate the core constructs into a simplified set of statements that could be utilized by non-experts.
Normalization Process Theory has been developed through transparent procedures at each stage of its life. The theory has been shown to be sufficiently robust to merit formal testing. This project has provided a user friendly version of NPT that can be embedded in a web-enabled toolkit and used as a heuristic device to think through implementation and integration problems.
Interventions delivered via the Internet have the potential to address the problem of hazardous alcohol consumption at minimal incremental cost, with potentially major public health implications. It was hypothesised that providing access to a psychologically enhanced website would result in greater reductions in drinking and related problems than giving access to a typical alcohol website simply providing information on potential harms of alcohol. DYD-RCT Trial registration: ISRCTN 31070347.
A two-arm randomised controlled trial was conducted entirely on-line through the Down Your Drink (DYD) website. A total of 7935 individuals who screened positive for hazardous alcohol consumption were recruited and randomized. At entry to the trial, the geometric mean reported past week alcohol consumption was 46.0 (SD 31.2) units. Consumption levels reduced substantially in both groups at the principal 3 month assessment point to an average of 26.0 (SD 22.3) units. Similar changes were reported at 1 month and 12 months. There were no significant differences between the groups for either alcohol consumption at 3 months (intervention: control ratio of geometric means 1.03, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.10) or for this outcome and the main secondary outcomes at any of the assessments. The results were not materially changed following imputation of missing values, nor was there any evidence that the impact of the intervention varied with baseline measures or level of exposure to the intervention.
Findings did not provide support for the hypothesis that access to a psychologically enhanced website confers additional benefit over standard practice and indicate the need for further research to optimise the effectiveness of Internet-based behavioural interventions. The trial demonstrates a widespread and potentially sustainable demand for Internet based interventions for people with hazardous alcohol consumption, which could be delivered internationally.
Attrition from follow-up is a major methodological challenge in randomized trials. Incentives are known to improve response rates in cross-sectional postal and online surveys, yet few studies have investigated whether they can reduce attrition from follow-up in online trials, which are particularly vulnerable to low follow-up rates.
Our objective was to determine the impact of incentives on follow-up rates in an online trial.
Two randomized controlled trials were embedded in a large online trial of a Web-based intervention to reduce alcohol consumption (the Down Your Drink randomized controlled trial, DYD-RCT). Participants were those in the DYD pilot trial eligible for 3-month follow-up (study 1) and those eligible for 12-month follow-up in the DYD main trial (study 2). Participants in both studies were randomly allocated to receive an offer of an incentive or to receive no offer of an incentive. In study 1, participants in the incentive arm were randomly offered a £5 Amazon.co.uk gift voucher, a £5 charity donation to Cancer Research UK, or entry in a prize draw for £250. In study 2, participants in the incentive arm were offered a £10 Amazon.co.uk gift voucher. The primary outcome was the proportion of participants who completed follow-up questionnaires in the incentive arm(s) compared with the no incentive arm.
In study 1 (n = 1226), there was no significant difference in response rates between those participants offered an incentive (175/615, 29%) and those with no offer (162/611, 27%) (difference = 2%, 95% confidence interval [CI] –3% to 7%). There was no significant difference in response rates among the three different incentives offered. In study 2 (n = 2591), response rates were 9% higher in the group offered an incentive (476/1296, 37%) than in the group not offered an incentive (364/1295, 28%) (difference = 9%, 95% CI 5% to 12%, P < .001). The incremental cost per extra successful follow-up in the incentive arm was £110 in study 1 and £52 in study 2.
Whereas an offer of a £10 Amazon.co.uk gift voucher can increase follow-up rates in online trials, an offer of a lower incentive may not. The marginal costs involved require careful consideration.
ISRCTN31070347; http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN31070347 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/5wgr5pl3s)
Nonresponse; attrition; Internet; alcohol drinking; randomized controlled trial
Government policy is to encourage self-help among patients. The internet is increasingly being used for health information. The literature on the role of the internet in the doctor–patient consultation remains sparse.
To determine the perceived responses of GPs to internet-informed patients in consultations and the strategies GPs use for dealing with information from the internet being brought into consultations.
Design of study
A qualitative study design was used, with semi-structured interviews.
GPs based in North Central London.
Analysis was conducted by a multidisciplinary team of researchers. Participants were 11 GPs: five partners, three locums, and three salaried doctors; seven were white, three were Asian, and one was of Chinese origin. The median year of General Medical Council (GMC) registration was 1989. There were six women and five men; five participants worked in training practices.
GPs experienced considerable anxiety in response to patients bringing information from the internet to a consultation but were able to resolve this anxiety. The study participants learned to distance themselves from their emotional response, and used cognitive and behavioural techniques to assist them in responding appropriately to patients. These techniques included buying time in a consultation, learning from previous consultations, and using the internet as an ally, by directing patients to particular websites. The importance for doctors of feeling valued by patients was apparent, as was the effect of the prior doctor–patient relationship.
GPs interviewed used sophisticated mechanisms for dealing with their emotions. GPs struggling with internet-informed patients can use the mechanisms described to alleviate the difficulties.
general practice; internet; physician–patient relations
The use of information and communication technologies in healthcare is seen as essential for high quality and cost-effective healthcare. However, implementation of e-health initiatives has often been problematic, with many failing to demonstrate predicted benefits. This study aimed to explore and understand the experiences of implementers -- the senior managers and other staff charged with implementing e-health initiatives and their assessment of factors which promote or inhibit the successful implementation, embedding, and integration of e-health initiatives.
We used a case study methodology, using semi-structured interviews with implementers for data collection. Case studies were selected to provide a range of healthcare contexts (primary, secondary, community care), e-health initiatives, and degrees of normalization. The initiatives studied were Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) in secondary care, a Community Nurse Information System (CNIS) in community care, and Choose and Book (C&B) across the primary-secondary care interface. Implementers were selected to provide a range of seniority, including chief executive officers, middle managers, and staff with 'on the ground' experience. Interview data were analyzed using a framework derived from Normalization Process Theory (NPT).
Twenty-three interviews were completed across the three case studies. There were wide differences in experiences of implementation and embedding across these case studies; these differences were well explained by collective action components of NPT. New technology was most likely to 'normalize' where implementers perceived that it had a positive impact on interactions between professionals and patients and between different professional groups, and fit well with the organisational goals and skill sets of existing staff. However, where implementers perceived problems in one or more of these areas, they also perceived a lower level of normalization.
Implementers had rich understandings of barriers and facilitators to successful implementation of e-health initiatives, and their views should continue to be sought in future research. NPT can be used to explain observed variations in implementation processes, and may be useful in drawing planners' attention to potential problems with a view to addressing them during implementation planning.
Existing initiatives to support patient self-management of heart disease do not appear to be reaching patients most in need. Providing self-management programs over the Internet (web-based interventions) might help reduce health disparities by reaching a greater number of patients. However, it is unclear whether they can achieve this goal and whether their effectiveness might be limited by the digital divide.
To explore the effectiveness of a web-based intervention in decreasing inequalities in access to self-management support in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD).
Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to explore use made of a web-based intervention over a period of 9 months. Patients with CHD, with or without home Internet access or previous experience using the Internet, were recruited from primary care centers in diverse socioeconomic and ethnic areas of North London, UK. Patients without home Internet were supported in using the intervention at public Internet services.
Only 10.6% of eligible patients chose to participate (N=168). Participants were predominantly Caucasian well-educated men, with greater proportions of male and younger CHD patients among participants than were registered at participating primary care practices. Most had been diagnosed with CHD a number of years prior to the study. Relatively few had been newly diagnosed or had experienced a cardiac event in the previous 5 years. Most had home Internet access and prior experience using the Internet. A greater use of the intervention was observed in older participants (for each 5-year age increase, OR 1.25 for no, low or high intervention use, 95% CI, 1.06-1.47) and in those that had home Internet access and prior Internet experience (OR 3.74, 95% CI, 1.52-9.22). Less use was observed in participants that had not recently experienced a cardiac event or diagnosis (≥ 5 years since cardiac event or diagnosis; OR 0.69, 95% CI, 0.50-0.95). Gender and level of education were not statistically related to level of use of the intervention. Data suggest that a recent cardiac event or diagnosis increased the need for information and advice in participants. However, participants that had been diagnosed several years ago showed little need for information and support. The inconvenience of public Internet access was a barrier for participants without home Internet access. The use of the intervention by participants with little or no Internet experience was limited by a lack of confidence with computers and discomfort with asking for assistance. It was also influenced by the level of participant need for information and by their perception of the intervention.
The availability of a web-based intervention, with support for use at home or through public Internet services, did not result in a large number or all types of patients with CHD using the intervention for self-management support. The effectiveness of web-based interventions for patients with chronic diseases remains a significant challenge.
Internet; Coronary disease; Heart diseases; Primary health care; Self care; Selective enrolment; Digital divide; Healthcare disparities
The past decade has seen considerable interest in the development and evaluation of complex interventions to improve health. Such interventions can only have a significant impact on health and health care if they are shown to be effective when tested, are capable of being widely implemented and can be normalised into routine practice. To date, there is still a problematic gap between research and implementation. The Normalisation Process Theory (NPT) addresses the factors needed for successful implementation and integration of interventions into routine work (normalisation).
In this paper, we suggest that the NPT can act as a sensitising tool, enabling researchers to think through issues of implementation while designing a complex intervention and its evaluation. The need to ensure trial procedures that are feasible and compatible with clinical practice is not limited to trials of complex interventions, and NPT may improve trial design by highlighting potential problems with recruitment or data collection, as well as ensuring the intervention has good implementation potential.
The NPT is a new theory which offers trialists a consistent framework that can be used to describe, assess and enhance implementation potential. We encourage trialists to consider using it in their next trial.
The use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) or e-Health is seen as essential for a modern, cost-effective health service. However, there are well documented problems with implementation of e-Health initiatives, despite the existence of a great deal of research into how best to implement e-Health (an example of the gap between research and practice). This paper reports on the development and formative evaluation of an e-Health Implementation Toolkit (e-HIT) which aims to summarise and synthesise new and existing research on implementation of e-Health initiatives, and present it to senior managers in a user-friendly format.
The content of the e-HIT was derived by combining data from a systematic review of reviews of barriers and facilitators to implementation of e-Health initiatives with qualitative data derived from interviews of "implementers", that is people who had been charged with implementing an e-Health initiative. These data were summarised, synthesised and combined with the constructs from the Normalisation Process Model. The software for the toolkit was developed by a commercial company (RocketScience). Formative evaluation was undertaken by obtaining user feedback.
There are three components to the toolkit - a section on background and instructions for use aimed at novice users; the toolkit itself; and the report generated by completing the toolkit. It is available to download from http://www.ucl.ac.uk/pcph/research/ehealth/documents/e-HIT.xls
The e-HIT shows potential as a tool for enhancing future e-Health implementations. Further work is needed to make it fully web-enabled, and to determine its predictive potential for future implementations.
The practical and methodological challenges inherent in online behaviour change studies are both novel and complex. We relate our experiences of estimating and managing information technology (IT) research and intervention costs in an ongoing internet trial in the hope that others will find this information useful.
Actual IT costs were approximately twice those that had been originally estimated by external contractors. These original estimates for IT costs allowed little scope for the identification of new needs, which was intrinsic to the iterative nature of the research enterprise.
Making greater provision for the uncertain nature of these costs in future studies is a key practical lesson for the planning of future online behaviour change studies.
The composition of habitual diets is associated with adverse or protective effects on aspects of health. Consequently, UK public health policy strongly advocates dietary change for the improvement of population health and emphasises the importance of individual empowerment to improve health. A new and evolving area in the promotion of dietary behavioural change is e-Learning, the use of interactive electronic media to facilitate teaching and learning on a range of issues, including diet and health. The aims of this systematic review are to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of adaptive e-Learning for improving dietary behaviours.
The research will consist of a systematic review and a cost-effectiveness analysis. Studies will be considered for the review if they are randomised controlled trials, involving participants aged 13 or over, which evaluate the effectiveness or efficacy of interactive software programmes for improving dietary behaviour. Primary outcome measures will be those related to dietary behaviours, including estimated intakes of energy, nutrients and dietary fibre, or the estimated number of servings per day of foods or food groups. Secondary outcome measures will be objective clinical measures that are likely to respond to changes in dietary behaviours, such as anthropometry or blood biochemistry. Knowledge, self-efficacy, intention and emotion will be examined as mediators of dietary behaviour change in order to explore potential mechanisms of action. Databases will be searched using a comprehensive four-part search strategy, and the results exported to a bibliographic database. Two review authors will independently screen results to identify potentially eligible studies, and will independently extract data from included studies, with any discrepancies at each stage settled by a third author. Standardised forms and criteria will be used.
A descriptive analysis of included studies will describe study design, participants, the intervention, and outcomes. Statistical analyses appropriate to the data extracted, and an economic evaluation using a cost-utility analysis, will be undertaken if sufficient data exist, and effective components of successful interventions will be investigated.
This review aims to provide comprehensive evidence of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of adaptive e-Learning interventions for dietary behaviour change, and explore potential psychological mechanisms of action and the effective components of effective interventions. This can inform policy makers and healthcare commissioners in deciding whether e-Learning should be part of a comprehensive response to the improvement of dietary behaviour for health, and if so which components should be present for interventions to be effective.
Determining the effectiveness of complex interventions can be difficult and time consuming. Neil C Campbell and colleagues explain the importance of ground work in getting usable results
Regulating gene expression at the translational level controls a wide variety of biological events such as development, long-term memory, stress response, transport and storage of certain nutrients, and viral infection. Protein synthesis at steady-state level can be directly measured with western blot or using an easy-to-detect reporter like luciferase. However, these methods do not measure the association of mRNA with ribosomes, which is more meaningful in understanding the mechanism and dynamics of translation. This chapter describes the use of sucrose density gradients for analysis of polysome profiles. RNA or protein samples extracted from gradient fractions are commonly used for further analysis of their association with translating ribosomes. We also describe an in vitro translation system prepared from HeLa S3 cell cytoplasmic extract that shows dependency on the mRNA cap and length of the poly(A) length tail, both features of translation in vivo. This is particularly useful to study the cis- and transacting factors involved in translational control. Lastly we describe a method for transfecting cells with an in vitro prepared RNA to study the impact of poly(A) length on translation. This approach is particularly useful for characterizing cis-acting elements that work in conjunction with poly(A) in regulating translation.
translation; sucrose density gradient; polysome; HeLa cytoplasmic extract; in vitro translation; poly(A) tail
This chapter describes several methods for measuring the length of the mRNA poly(A) tail and a novel method for measuring mRNA decay. Three methods for measuring the length of a poly(A) tail are presented: the poly(A) length assay, the ligation-mediated poly(A) test (LM-PAT) and the RNase H assay. The first two methods are PCR-based assays involving cDNA synthesis from an oligo(dT) primer. The third method involves removing the poly(A) tail from the mRNA of interest. A major obstacle to studying the enzymatic step of mammalian mRNA decay has been the inability to capture mRNA decay intermediates with structural impediments such as the poly(G) tract used in yeast. To overcome this we combined a standard kinetic analysis of mRNA decay using a tetracycline repressor-controlled reporter with an Invader® RNA assay. The Invader RNA assay is a simple, elegant assay for the quantification of mRNA. It is based on signal amplification, not target amplification, so it is less prone to artifacts than other methods for nucleic acid quantification. It is also very sensitive, able to detect attomolar levels of target mRNA. Finally, it requires only a short sequence for target recognition and quantitation, therefore it can be applied to determining the decay polarity of a mRNA by measuring the decay rates of different portions of that mRNA.
The inability of structural elements within a reporter mRNA to impede processive decay by the major 5′ and 3′ exonucleases has been a major obstacle to understanding mechanisms of vertebrate mRNA decay. We present here a new approach to this problem focused on quantifying the decay of individual portions of a reporter mRNA. Our approach entails two parts. The first involves the use of a regulated promoter, such as one controlled by tetracycline, to allow reporter gene transcription to be turned off when needed. Cells stably expressing the tetracycline repressor protein are transiently or stably transfected with tetracycline-regulated beta-globin genes in which the sequence element under study is cloned into the 3′-UTR. The second involves the quantification of beta-globin mRNA using the Invader RNA assay, a sensitive and quantitative approach that relies on signal amplification instead of target amplification. Because the Invader RNA assay does not depend on downstream primer binding the use of multiple probes across the reporter beta-globin mRNA allows for quantification of the decay of individual portions of the mRNA independent of events acting at other sites.
mRNA decay; Invader RNA assay; invasive cleavage assay; transcriptional pulse; transcriptional turn-off
Theories are important tools in the social and natural sciences. The methods by which they are derived are rarely described and discussed. Normalization Process Theory explains how new technologies, ways of acting, and ways of working become routinely embedded in everyday practice, and has applications in the study of implementation processes. This paper describes the process by which it was built.
Between 1998 and 2008, we developed a theory. We derived a set of empirical generalizations from analysis of data collected in qualitative studies of healthcare work and organization. We developed an applied theoretical model through analysis of empirical generalizations. Finally, we built a formal theory through a process of extension and implication analysis of the applied theoretical model.
Each phase of theory development showed that the constructs of the theory did not conflict with each other, had explanatory power, and possessed sufficient robustness for formal testing. As the theory developed, its scope expanded from a set of observed regularities in data with procedural explanations, to an applied theoretical model, to a formal middle-range theory.
Normalization Process Theory has been developed through procedures that were properly sceptical and critical, and which were opened to review at each stage of development. The theory has been shown to merit formal testing.
Health care and health care services are increasingly being delivered over the Internet. There is a strong argument that interventions delivered online should also be evaluated online to maximize the trial’s external validity. Conducting a trial online can help reduce research costs and improve some aspects of internal validity. To date, there are relatively few trials of health interventions that have been conducted entirely online. In this paper we describe the major methodological issues that arise in trials (recruitment, randomization, fidelity of the intervention, retention, and data quality), consider how the online context affects these issues, and use our experience of one online trial evaluating an intervention to help hazardous drinkers drink less (DownYourDrink) to illustrate potential solutions. Further work is needed to develop online trial methodology.
Internet; randomized controlled trial; research design; alcohol drinking