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1.  Practice guidelines for clinical prevention: Do patients, physicians and experts share common ground? 
BACKGROUND: Clinical practice guidelines, such as those of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care, although based on sound evidence, may conflict with the perceived needs and expectations of patients and physicians. This may jeopardize the implementation of such guidelines. This study was undertaken to explore patients' and family physicians' acceptance of the task force's recommendations and the values and criteria upon which the opinions of these 2 groups are based. METHODS: Focus groups were used to collect study data. In total, 35 physicians (in 7 groups) and 75 patient representatives (in 9 groups) participated in the focus groups. An inductive approach was used to develop coding grids and to generate themes from the transcripts of the interviews. RESULTS: Physicians expressed resistance to discontinuing the annual check-up, which they viewed as an organizational strategy to counteract the many barriers to preventive care that they encounter. They reported difficulties in explaining to their patients the recommendations of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care, which they found complex and inconsistent with popular wisdom. Both patients and physicians attributed high value to the detection of insidious diseases, even in the absence of proof of the effectiveness of such activity. INTERPRETATION: The patients and family physicians who participated in this study shared many opinions on the value of preventive activities that depart from the values used by "prevention experts" such as the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care in establishing their recommendations. A better understanding of the values of patients and physicians would help guideline developers to create better targeted communication strategies to take these discrepancies into account.
PMCID: PMC1230580  PMID: 10497607
2.  Medical team interdependence as a determinant of use of clinical resources. 
Health Services Research  1993;28(5):599-621.
OBJECTIVE. Our objective, based on organization theory, is to examine whether interdependence among physicians leads to coordination problems that in turn may explain variations observed in the use of clinical resources. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING. Secondary data about episodes of in-hospital care were collected over a 14-month period in two midsize acute care hospitals located in two suburbs of Montreal, Quebec. STUDY DESIGN. Hierarchical regression analysis was used to assess the marginal effect of medical team interdependence on clinical resource utilization after taking into account the effect attributable to the nature of several morbidities taken as specific and distinct tasks. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS. Medical team interdependence is found within medical specialties as well as between specialties. The largest portion of resource utilization was explained by morbidity characteristics, whereas team interdependence had a weaker, but systematic effect for all morbidities studied (15 regression models out of 18 performed). Task coordination was found to become more difficult as the number of physicians coming from different specialties increased in the context of teamwork. CONCLUSIONS. Results suggest that team practice does not entirely overcome coordination problems inherent to task (morbidity) interdependence. In considering the individual (especially the attending) physician as the main factor responsible for resource utilization, other factors related to team practice may too readily be overlooked.
PMCID: PMC1069966  PMID: 8270423
3.  Outcome of rationing access to open-heart surgery: effect of the wait for elective surgery on patient outcome. 
OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of the waiting period before elective open-heart surgery on patient outcomes. DESIGN: Retrospective analysis. SETTING: The Montreal Heart Institute, a referral centre in cardiology and cardiac surgery. PATIENTS: All 568 patients who underwent open-heart surgery on an elective basis or following urgent admission or interhospital transfer between October 1991 and February 1992. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: In-hospital death rate, incidence of postoperative complications, length of stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) and total length of hospital stay. RESULTS: A total of 206 patients (151 men and 55 women with an average age of 59.0 [standard error of the mean (SEM) 1] years) underwent elective surgery, and 362 patients (264 men and 98 women with an average age of 62.0 [SEM 1] years) underwent urgent surgery. The mean wait for elective surgery was 2.8 (SEM 0.2) months. There was no significant difference between the two groups in the in-hospital death rate (4% v. 4%), the average length of stay in the ICU (4.4 [SEM 0.2] days v. 5.8 [SEM 1] days) or the average total length of hospital stay (9.0 [SEM 0.4] days v. 9.1 [SEM 1] days). As would be expected, postoperative complications developed in significantly more patients in the urgent group (27%) than the elective group (18%) (p = 0.02). Eight patients were admitted on an urgent basis for surgery owing to worsening symptoms or acute myocardial infarction after a mean wait of 4.6 months. One patient died suddenly at home 1 month after medical investigation while awaiting repeat coronary artery bypass grafting. Among the 206 patients who underwent elective surgery there was no relation between waiting time and adverse clinical outcomes after surgery. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that the wait before elective open-heart surgery had no effect on patient outcome after surgery in our institution. A policy of a short waiting period before elective open-heart surgery for patients whose condition is stable is safe and acceptable only if rapid access to medical and surgical treatment is available should it become necessary.
PMCID: PMC1485481  PMID: 8221450
4.  Effects of patient, physician and hospital characteristics on the likelihood of vaginal birth after previous cesarean section in Quebec. 
Repeat cesarean section is a major factor contributing to the rising cesarean section rate. Although vaginal birth after a previous cesarean section (VBAC) is advocated in most cases, it has not yet been adopted as widespread policy. In a case-control study we compared 400 women in Quebec who underwent VBAC with 1600 women who had a repeat cesarean section from 1985 to 1987 in an attempt to identify factors that favour vaginal delivery. Using both simple and multiple logistic regression analyses we examined the effect of independent variables linked to the patients (two variables), the attending physicians (seven) and the hospitals (two) on the dependent variable (type of birth) with the use of odds ratios. We found that the physician characteristics related to type of practice and the degree of hospital specialization were significant factors in predicting the type of delivery. Women who gave birth vaginally were more likely than those who had a repeat cesarean section to be attended by a physician with a specialized practice and to give birth in a hospital providing an intermediate or high level of care. This suggests that VBAC is still perceived as a high-risk option and is managed by only a minority of specialized obstetricians.
PMCID: PMC1452488  PMID: 2224667

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