To describe the design and baseline population characteristics of an adapted lifestyle intervention trial aimed at reducing weight and increasing physical activity in people of Indian and Pakistani origin at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Cluster, randomised controlled trial.
Community-based in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland, UK.
156 families, comprising 171 people with impaired glycaemia, and waist sizes ≥90 cm (men) and ≥80 cm (women), plus 124 family volunteers.
Families were randomised into either an intensive intervention of 15 dietitian visits providing lifestyle advice, or a light (control) intervention of four visits, over a period of 3 years.
The primary outcome is a change in mean weight between baseline and 3 years. Secondary outcomes are changes in waist, hip, body mass index, plasma blood glucose and physical activity. The cost of the intervention will be measured. Qualitative work will seek to understand factors that motivated participation and retention in the trial and families’ experience of adhering to the interventions.
Between July 2007 and October 2009, 171 people with impaired glycaemia, along with 124 family volunteers, were randomised. In total, 95% (171/196) of eligible participants agreed to proceed to the 3-year trial. Only 13 of the 156 families contained more than one recruit with impaired glycaemia. We have recruited sufficient participants to undertake an adequately powered trial to detect a mean difference in weight of 2.5 kg between the intensive and light intervention groups at the 5% significance level. Over half the families include family volunteers. The main participants have a mean age of 52 years and 64% are women.
Prevention of Diabetes & Obesity in South Asians (PODOSA) is one of the first community-based, randomised lifestyle intervention trials in a UK South Asian population. The main trial results will be submitted for publication during 2013.
Current controlled trials ISRCTN25729565 (http://www.controlled-trials.com/isrctn/).
randomised controlled trial; Prevention; diabetes mellitus, Type 2; ethnic groups
Diabetes–related lower limb amputations are associated with considerable morbidity and mortality and are usually preceded by foot ulceration. The available systematic reviews of aggregate data are compromised because the primary studies report both adjusted and unadjusted estimates. As adjusted meta-analyses of aggregate data can be challenging, the best way to standardise the analytical approach is to conduct a meta-analysis based on individual patient data (IPD).
There are however many challenges and fundamental methodological omissions are common; protocols are rare and the assessment of the risk of bias arising from the conduct of individual studies is frequently not performed, largely because of the absence of widely agreed criteria for assessing the risk of bias in this type of review. In this protocol we propose key methodological approaches to underpin our IPD systematic review of prognostic factors of foot ulceration in diabetes.
1. What are the most highly prognostic factors for foot ulceration (i.e. symptoms, signs, diagnostic tests) in people with diabetes?
2. Can the data from each study be adjusted for a consistent set of adjustment factors?
3. Does the model accuracy change when patient populations are stratified according to demographic and/or clinical characteristics?
MEDLINE and EMBASE databases from their inception until early 2012 were searched and the corresponding authors of all eligible primary studies invited to contribute their raw data. We developed relevant quality assurance items likely to identify occasions when study validity may have been compromised from several sources. A confidentiality agreement, arrangements for communication and reporting as well as ethical and governance considerations are explained.
We have agreement from the corresponding authors of all studies which meet the eligibility criteria and they collectively possess data from more than 17000 patients. We propose, as a provisional analysis plan, to use a multi-level mixed model, using “study” as one of the levels. Such a model can also allow for the within-patient clustering that occurs if a patient contributes data from both feet, although to aid interpretation, we prefer to use patients rather than feet as the unit of analysis. We intend to only attempt this analysis if the results of the investigation of heterogeneity do not rule it out and the model diagnostics are acceptable.
This review is central to the development of a global evidence-based strategy for the risk assessment of the foot in patients with diabetes, ensuring future recommendations are valid and can reliably inform international clinical guidelines.
Second-hand smoke (SHS) exposure is estimated to kill 600 000 people worldwide annually. The WHO recommends that smoke-free indoor public environments are enforced through national legislation. Such regulations have been shown to reduce SHS exposure and, consequently, respiratory and cardiovascular morbidity. Evidence of particular health benefit in children is now emerging, including reductions in low birthweight deliveries, preterm birth and asthma exacerbations. We aim to comprehensively assess the impact of smoke-free legislation on fetal, infant and childhood outcomes. This can inform further development and implementation of global policy and strategies to reduce early life SHS exposure.
Two authors will search online databases (1975–present; no language restrictions) of published and unpublished/in-progress studies, and references and citations to articles of interest. We will consult experts in the field to identify additional studies. Studies should describe associations between comprehensive or partial smoking bans in public places and health outcomes among children (0–12 years): stillbirth, preterm birth, low birth weight, small for gestational age, perinatal mortality, congenital anomalies, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, upper and lower respiratory infections and wheezing disorders including asthma. The Cochrane Effectiveness Practice and Organisational Care (EPOC)-defined study designs are eligible. Study quality will be assessed using the Cochrane 7-domain-based evaluation for randomised and clinical trials, and EPOC criteria for quasiexperimental studies. Data will be extracted by two reviewers and presented in tabular and narrative form. Meta-analysis will be undertaken using random-effects models, and generic inverse variance analysis for adjusted effect estimates. We will report sensitivity analyses according to study quality and design characteristics, and subgroup analyses according to coverage of ban, age group and parental/maternal smoking status. Publication bias will be assessed.
Ethics and dissemination
Ethics assessment is not required.
Will be presented in one manuscript. The protocol is registered with PROSPERO, registration number CRD42013003522.
The transition to adulthood can be particularly challenging for young people with severe allergies, who must learn to balance personal safety with independent living. Information and support for young people and their families are crucial to successfully managing this transition. We sought to: gather insights into the impact of severe allergies on the lives of young people; explore where young people go for information about anaphylaxis and what information they want and need; identify areas where further support is needed.
An online questionnaire survey of young people aged 15–25 years with severe allergies in the United Kingdom (UK) was conducted on behalf of the Anaphylaxis Campaign, the main patient support organisation. Participants were recruited mainly from the Anaphylaxis Campaign membership database and also via allergy clinics and social media. The study was funded by the Anaphylaxis Campaign’s In Memoriam Fund.
A total of 520 young people responded to the survey. The majority had lived with severe allergies since they were young children; 59% reported having attended Accident and Emergency units as a consequence of their allergies. Only 66% of respondents reported always carrying their epinephrine auto-injectors; only 23% had ever used these. Few were currently receiving specialist allergy care; younger respondents were more likely to be under specialist care (34%) than those 18 years and above (23%). Respondents wanted more information about eating out (56%), travelling (54%) and food labelling (43%). Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) reported needing more information on managing their allergies independently without parental help. Managing allergies in the context of social relationships was a concern for 22% of respondents.
This survey has identified the information and support needs and gaps in service provision for young people with severe allergies. Healthcare professionals and patient support organisations, with the support of the food industry, can help to meet these needs.
Allergy; Anaphylaxis; Young people
ePrescribing systems have significant potential to improve the safety and efficiency of healthcare, but they need to be carefully selected and implemented to maximise benefits. Implementations in English hospitals are in the early stages and there is a lack of standards guiding the procurement, functional specifications, and expected benefits. We sought to provide an updated overview of the current picture in relation to implementation of ePrescribing systems, explore existing strategies, and identify early lessons learned.
A descriptive questionnaire-based study, which included closed and free text questions and involved both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the data generated.
We obtained responses from 85 of 108 NHS staff (78.7% response rate). At least 6% (n = 10) of the 168 English NHS Trusts have already implemented ePrescribing systems, 2% (n = 4) have no plans of implementing, and 34% (n = 55) are planning to implement with intended rapid implementation timelines driven by high expectations surrounding improved safety and efficiency of care. The majority are unclear as to which system to choose, but integration with existing systems and sophisticated decision support functionality are important decisive factors. Participants highlighted the need for increased guidance in relation to implementation strategy, system choice and standards, as well as the need for top-level management support to adequately resource the project. Although some early benefits were reported by hospitals that had already implemented, the hoped for benefits relating to improved efficiency and cost-savings remain elusive due to a lack of system maturity.
Whilst few have begun implementation, there is considerable interest in ePrescribing systems with ambitious timelines amongst those hospitals that are planning implementations. In order to ensure maximum chances of realising benefits, there is a need for increased guidance in relation to implementation strategy, system choice and standards, as well as increased financial resources to fund local activities.
In contrast to the acute hospital sector, there have been relatively few implementations of integrated electronic health record (EHR) systems into specialist mental health settings. The National Programme for Information Technology (NPfIT) in England was the most expensive IT-based transformation of public services ever undertaken, which aimed amongst other things, to implement integrated EHR systems into mental health hospitals. This paper describes the arrival, the process of implementation, stakeholders’ experiences and the local consequences of the implementation of an EHR system into a mental health hospital.
Longitudinal, real-time, case study-based evaluation of the implementation and adoption of an EHR software (RiO) into an English mental health hospital known here as Beta. We conducted 48 in-depth interviews with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders, undertook 26 hours of on-site observations, and obtained 65 sets of relevant documents from various types relating to Beta. Analysis was both inductive and deductive, the latter being informed by the ‘sociotechnical changing’ theoretical framework.
Many interviewees perceived the implementation of the EHR system as challenging and cumbersome. During the early stages of the implementation, some clinicians felt that using the software was time-consuming leading to the conclusion that the EHR was not fit for purpose. Most interviewees considered the chain of deployment of the EHR–which was imposed by NPfIT–as bureaucratic and obstructive, which restricted customization and as a result limited adoption and use. The low IT literacy among users at Beta was a further barrier to the implementation of the EHR. This along with inadequate training in using the EHR software led to resistance to the significant cultural and work environment changes initiated by EHR. Despite the many challenges, Beta achieved some early positive results. These included: the ability to check progress notes and monitor staff activities; improving quality of care as a result of real-time, more accurate and shared patient records across the hospital; and potentially improving the safety of care through increasing the legibility of the clinical record.
Notwithstanding what was seen as a turbulent, painful and troublesome implementation of the EHR system, Beta achieved some early clinical and managerial benefits from implementing EHRs. The ‘sociotechnical changing’ framework helped us go beyond the dichotomy of success versus failure, when conducting the evaluation and interpreting findings. Given the scope for continued development, there are good reasons, we argue, to scale up the intake of EHR systems by mental health care settings. Software customization and appropriate support are essential to work EHR out in such organizations.
Electronic health records (EHR); Mental health; ‘Sociotechnical changing’; Implementation; Adoption
Long-standing randomised controlled trial (RCT) evidence indicates that asthma action plans can improve patient outcomes. Internationally, however, these plans are seldom issued by professionals or used by patients/carers. To understand how the benefits of such plans might be realised clinically, we previously investigated barriers and facilitators to their implementation in a systematic review of relevant RCTs and synthesised qualitative studies exploring professional and patient/carer views. Our final step was to integrate these two separate studies.
First, a theoretical model of action plan implementation was proposed, derived from our synthesis of 19 qualitative studies, identifying elements which, if incorporated into future interventions, could promote their use. Second, 14 RCTs included in the quantitative synthesis were re-analysed to assess the extent to which these elements were present within their interventions (that is, ‘strong’, ‘weak’ or ‘no’ presence) and with what effect. Matrices charted each element’s presence and strength, facilitating analysis of element presence and action plan implementation.
Four elements (professional education, patient/carer education, (patient/carer and professional) partnership working and communication) were identified in our model as likely to promote asthma plan use. Thirteen interventions reporting increased action plan implementation contained all four elements, with two or more strongly present. One intervention reporting no effect on action plan implementation contained only weakly present elements. Intervention effectiveness was reported using a narrow range of criteria which did not fully reflect the four elements. For example, no study assessed whether jointly developed action plans increased use. Whilst important from the professional and patient/carer perspectives, the integral role of these elements in intervention delivery and their effect on study outcomes was under-acknowledged in these RCTs.
Our novel approach provides an evidence-base for future action plan interventions. Such interventions need to ensure all elements in our implementation model (patient/carer and professional education to support development of effective partnership working and communication) are strongly present within them and a wider range of criteria better reflecting the realities of clinical practice and living with asthma are used to measure their effectiveness. We now intend to test such a complex intervention using a cluster trial design.
Asthma action plans; Cross-study synthesis; Intervention development; Intervention reporting; Qualitative synthesis; Integration
Asthma has the potential to adversely affect children's school examination performance, and hence longer term life chances. Asthma morbidity is especially high amongst UK ethnic minority children and those experiencing social adversity, populations which also have poor educational outcomes. We tested the hypothesis that asthma adversely affects performance in national school examinations in a large cohort from an area of ethnic diversity and social deprivation.
Methods and Findings
With a novel method (using patient and address-matching algorithms) we linked administrative and clinical data for 2002–2005 for children in east London aged 5–14 years to contemporaneous education and social care datasets. We modelled children's performance in school examinations in relation to socio-demographic and clinical variables.
The dataset captured examination performance for 12,136 children who sat at least one national examination at Key Stages 1–3. For illustration, estimates are presented as percentage changes in Key Stage 2 results. Having asthma was associated with a 1.1% increase in examination scores (95%CI 0.4 to 1.7)%,p = 0.02. Worse scores were associated with Bangladeshi ethnicity −1.3%(−2.5 to −0.1)%,p = 0.03; special educational need −14.6%(−15.7 to −13.5)%,p = 0.02; mental health problems −2.5%(−4.1 to −0.9)%,p = 0.003, and social adversity: living in a smoking household −1.2(−1.7 to −0.6)%,p<0.001; living in social housing −0.8%(−1.3 to −0.2)% p = 0.01, and entitlement to free school meals −0.8%(−1.5 to −0.1)%,p<0.001.
Social adversity and ethnicity, but not asthma, are associated with poorer performance in national school examinations. Policies to improve educational attainment in socially deprived areas should focus on these factors.
Benign diseases of the prostate are common in the general male population, and prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Uncertaintyastothe nature of the association between benign and malignant disease is a source of concern for patients and clinicians.
To determine the likelihood of men with benign prostate disease developing prostate cancer compared with men without disease.
Incident matched case-control study
All incident cases of prostate cancer (n = 984) were identified in a nationally representative community-based population, and each was matched by age with two controls with no prostate cancer (n = 1968). Participants' records of the previous 5 years were searched for diagnoses of benign prostate disease. Analyses investigated an a priori hypothesis that clinicians may record disease as benign until proven to be malignant, causing misleading significant associations between benign and malignant diagnoses.
There was a significant association between a diagnosis of prostate cancer and a benign diagnosis at any time in the previous 5 years: odds ratio (OR) 1.57 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.32 to 1.88). However, there was no significant association when benign diagnoses within 6 months and within 12 months of cancer diagnoses were excluded: OR 1.19 (95% CI = 0.97 to 1.46) and OR 1.00 (95% CI = 0.79 to 1.27) respectively.
Findings from this study suggest that unless prostate cancer is detected within 6 months, men diagnosed for the first time with benign disease are at no greater risk of prostate cancer than those with no recorded prostate disease.
primary health care; prognosis; prostatic hyperplasia; prostatic neoplasms; prostate-specific antigen
Allergy today is a public health concern of pandemic proportions, affecting more than 150 million people in Europe alone. In view of epidemiological trends, the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) predicts that within the next few decades, more than half of the European population may at some point in their lives experience some type of allergy.
Not only do allergic patients suffer from a debilitating disease, with the potential for major impact on their quality of life, career progression, personal development and lifestyle choices, but they also constitute a significant burden on health economics and macroeconomics due to the days of lost productivity and underperformance. Given that allergy triggers, including urbanization, industrialization, pollution and climate change, are not expected to change in the foreseeable future, it is imperative that steps are taken to develop, strengthen and optimize preventive and treatment strategies.
Allergen specific immunotherapy is the only currently available medical intervention that has the potential to affect the natural course of the disease. Years of basic science research, clinical trials, and systematic reviews and meta-analyses have convincingly shown that allergen specific immunotherapy can achieve substantial results for patients, improving the allergic individuals’ quality of life, reducing the long-term costs and burden of allergies, and changing the course of the disease. Allergen specific immunotherapy not only effectively alleviates allergy symptoms, but it has a long-term effect after conclusion of the treatment and can prevent the progression of allergic diseases.
Unfortunately, allergen specific immunotherapy has not yet received adequate attention from European institutions, including research funding bodies, even though this could be a most rewarding field in terms of return on investments, translational value and European integration and, a field in which Europe is recognized as a worldwide leader. Evaluation and surveillance of the full cost of allergic diseases is still lacking and further progress is being stifled by the variety of health systems across Europe. This means that the general population remains unaware of the potential use of allergen specific immunotherapy and its potential benefits.
We call upon Europe’s policy-makers to coordinate actions and improve individual and public health in allergy by:
Promoting awareness of the effectiveness of allergen specific immunotherapy
Updating national healthcare policies to support allergen specific immunotherapy
Prioritising funding for allergen specific immunotherapy research
Monitoring the macroeconomic and health economic parameters of allergy
Reinforcing allergy teaching in medical disciplines and specialties
The effective implementation of the above policies has the potential for a major positive impact on European health and well-being in the next decade.
Allergy; Asthma; Rhinitis; Immunotherapy; Health economics; Quality of life
Despite a well-recognised burden of disabling physical symptoms compounded by co-morbidities, psychological distress and social isolation, the needs of people with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are typically poorly addressed.
To assess the effectiveness of interventions designed to deliver holistic care for people with severe COPD.
We searched 11 biomedical databases, three trial repositories (January 1990-March 2012; no language restrictions) and contacted international experts to locate published, unpublished and in-progress randomised controlled trials (RCTs), quasi-RCTs and controlled clinical trials (CCTs) that investigated holistic interventions to support patients with severe COPD in any healthcare context. The primary outcome was health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Quality assessment and data extraction followed Cochrane Collaboration methodology. We used a piloted data extraction sheet and undertook narrative synthesis.
From 2,866 potentially relevant papers, we identified three trials: two RCTs (from United States and Australia), and one CCT (from Thailand): total 216 patients. Risk of bias was assessed as moderate in two studies and high in the third. All the interventions were led by nurses acting in a co-ordinating role (e.g. facilitating community support in Thailand, providing case-management in the USA, or co-ordinating inpatient care in Australia). HRQoL improved significantly in the Thai CCT compared to the (very limited) usual care (p<0.001), in two sub-domains in the American trial, but showed no significant changes in the Australian trial. Exercise tolerance, dyspnoea, and satisfaction with care also improved in the Thai trial.
Some 15 years after reports first highlighted the unmet needs of people with severe COPD, we have been unable to find robust trial evidence about interventions that can address those needs. There is an urgent need to develop and evaluate holistic care interventions designed improve HRQoL for people with severe COPD.
Systematic Review Registration
People of South Asian backgrounds living in the UK have a five-fold increased risk of diabetes and a two-fold increased risk of heart disease when compared to the general population. Physical activity can reduce the risk of premature death from a range of conditions. The aim of the study was to explore the motivating and facilitating factors likely to increase physical activity for South Asian adults and their families, in order to develop successful interventions and services.
This was a qualitative study using focus groups and in-depth interviews. Participants were 59 purposively selected Bangladeshi-, Indian- and Pakistani-origin men and women with an additional 10 key informants. The setting was three urban areas of Scotland: Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh. We undertook a theoretically informed thematic analysis of data. Study participants described engaging in a range of physical activities, particularly football and the gym for men, and walking and swimming for women. The main motivators for taking part in physical activity were external motivators – i.e. undertaking physical activity as a means to an end, which included the opportunities that physical activity provided for social activity and enjoyment. The goals of weight reduction and improving mental and physical health and were also mentioned. Role models were seen as important to inspire and motivate people to undertake activities that they may otherwise lack confidence in. Few people undertook physical activity for its own sake (intrinsic motivation).
Attempts at promoting physical activity in people of South Asian origin need to take account of the social context of people's lives and the external motivators that encourage them to engage in physical activity. Undertaking group based physical activity is important and can be facilitated through religious, community, friendship or family networks. Role models may also prove particularly helpful.
We sought to understand how clinical information relating to the management of depression is routinely coded in different clinical settings and the perspectives of and implications for different stakeholders with a view to understanding how these may be aligned.
Materials and Methods
Qualitative investigation exploring the views of a purposefully selected range of healthcare professionals, managers, and clinical coders spanning primary and secondary care.
Our dataset comprised 28 semi-structured interviews, a focus group, documents relating to clinical coding standards and participant observation of clinical coding activities. We identified a range of approaches to coding clinical information including templates and order entry systems. The challenges inherent in clearly establishing a diagnosis, identifying appropriate clinical codes and possible implications of diagnoses for patients were particularly prominent in primary care. Although a range of managerial and research benefits were identified, there were no direct benefits from coded clinical data for patients or professionals. Secondary care staff emphasized the role of clinical coders in ensuring data quality, which was at odds with the policy drive to increase real-time clinical coding.
There was overall no evidence of clear-cut direct patient care benefits to inform immediate care decisions, even in primary care where data on patients with depression were more extensively coded. A number of important secondary uses were recognized by healthcare staff, but the coding of clinical data to serve these ends was often poorly aligned with clinical practice and patient-centered considerations. The current international drive to encourage clinical coding by healthcare professionals during the clinical encounter may need to be critically examined.
Anaphylaxis is an important, potentially life-threatening paediatric emergency. It is responsible for considerable morbidity and, in some cases, death. Poor outcomes may be associated with an inability to differentiate between milder and potentially more severe reactions and an associated reluctance to administer self-injectable adrenaline. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of a 24-h telephone access to specialist paediatric allergy expert advice in improving the quality of life of children and their families with potentially life-threatening food allergy (ie, anaphylaxis) compared with usual clinical care.
Methods and analysis
Children aged less than 16 years with food allergy and who carry an adrenaline autoinjector will be recruited from the Paediatric Allergy Clinic at Cork University Hospital, Ireland and baseline disease-specific quality of life will be ascertained using the validated Food Allergy Quality of Life Questionnaire (FAQLQ). Participants will be randomised for a period of 6 months to the 24-h telephone specialist support line or usual care. The primary outcome measure of interest is a change in FAQLQ scores, which will be assessed at 0, 1 and 6 months postrandomisation. Analysis will be on an intention-to-treat basis using a 2×3 repeated measures within-between analysis of variance. Although lacking power, we will in addition assess the impact of the intervention on a range of relevant process and clinical endpoints.
Ethics and dissemination
This trial protocol has been approved by the Clinical Research Ethics Committee of the Cork Teaching Hospitals. The findings will be presented at international scientific conferences and will be reported on in the peer-reviewed literature in early 2013.
Accident & Emergency medicine; Immunology; Paediatrics; Paediatric A&E and ambulatory care
The prevalence of atopic eczema has been found to have increased greatly in some parts of the world. Building on a systematic review of global disease trends in asthma, our objective was to study trends in incidence and prevalence of atopic eczema. Disease trends are important for health service planning and for generating hypotheses regarding the aetiology of chronic disorders. We conducted a systematic search for high quality reports of cohort, repeated cross-sectional and routine healthcare database-based studies in seven electronic databases. Studies were required to report on at least two measures of the incidence and/or prevalence of atopic eczema between 1990 and 2010 and needed to use comparable methods at all assessment points. We retrieved 2,464 citations, from which we included 69 reports. Assessing global trends was complicated by the use of a range of outcome measures across studies and possible changes in diagnostic criteria over time. Notwithstanding these difficulties, there was evidence suggesting that the prevalence of atopic eczema was increasing in Africa, eastern Asia, western Europe and parts of northern Europe (i.e. the UK). No clear trends were identified in other regions. There was inadequate study coverage worldwide, particularly for repeated measures of atopic eczema incidence. Further epidemiological work is needed to investigate trends in what is now one of the most common long-term disorders globally. A range of relevant measures of incidence and prevalence, careful use of definitions and description of diagnostic criteria, improved study design, more comprehensive reporting and appropriate interpretation of these data are all essential to ensure that this important field of epidemiological enquiry progresses in a scientifically robust manner.
The 2004 introduction of the pay-for-performance contract has increased the proportion of income that GPs are able to earn by targeting quality care to patients with chronic diseases such as hypertension.
To investigate the impact of pay for performance on the management of patients with hypertension in Scottish primary care.
Design and setting
A population-based repeated cross-sectional study in Scottish primary care practices (n = 315) contributing to the Primary Care Clinical Informatics Unit database.
A dataset was extracted on 826 973 patients aged ≥40 years including, age, sex, socioeconomic deprivation status, hypertension diagnosis, recorded blood pressure measurement, attainment of target blood pressure levels, and provision of hypertension-related prescribing for each year from 2001 until 2006.
Increasing treatment for hypertension (absolute difference [AD] 9.2%; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 9.0 to 9.5) occurred throughout the study period. The majority of increases found in blood pressure measurement (AD 46.8%; 95% CI = 46.5 to 47.1) and recorded hypertension (AD 5.9%; 95% CI = 5.7 to 6.0) occurred prior to 2004. Blood pressure control increased throughout the study period (absolute increase ≤140/90 mmHg; 18.9%; 95% CI = 18.5 to 19.4). After 2004, the oldest female, as well as the male and female patients with the greatest socioeconomic deprivation status, became less likely than their youngest (<40 years) and most affluent counterparts to have a blood pressure measurement recorded (P<0.05). Patients not prescribed therapy were younger and had higher blood pressure levels (P<0.001).
It is likely that the continued efforts of general practice to improve hypertension diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment will reduce future cardiovascular events and mortality in those with hypertension. However, there is a need to follow up patients who are older and more socioeconomically deprived once they are diagnosed, as well as prescribing antihypertensive therapy to younger patients, who are likely to benefit from early intervention.
disease management; epidemiology; hypertension; pay for performance; prescriptions; primary care
There is a need to shed light on the pathways through which complex interventions mediate their effects in order to enable critical reflection on their transferability. We sought to explore and understand key stakeholder accounts of the acceptability, likely impact and strategies for optimizing and rolling-out a successful pharmacist-led information technology-enabled (PINCER) intervention, which substantially reduced the risk of clinically important errors in medicines management in primary care.
Data were collected at two geographical locations in central England through a combination of one-to-one longitudinal semi-structured telephone interviews (one at the beginning of the trial and another when the trial was well underway), relevant documents, and focus group discussions following delivery of the PINCER intervention. Participants included PINCER pharmacists, general practice staff, researchers involved in the running of the trial, and primary care trust staff. PINCER pharmacists were interviewed at three different time-points during the delivery of the PINCER intervention. Analysis was thematic with diffusion of innovation theory providing a theoretical framework.
We conducted 52 semi-structured telephone interviews and six focus group discussions with 30 additional participants. In addition, documentary data were collected from six pharmacist diaries, along with notes from four meetings of the PINCER pharmacists and feedback meetings from 34 practices. Key findings that helped to explain the success of the PINCER intervention included the perceived importance of focusing on prescribing errors to all stakeholders, and the credibility and appropriateness of a pharmacist-led intervention to address these shortcomings. Central to this was the face-to-face contact and relationship building between pharmacists and a range of practice staff, and pharmacists’ explicitly designated role as a change agent. However, important concerns were identified about the likely sustainability of this new model of delivering care, in the absence of an appropriate support network for pharmacists and career development pathways.
This embedded qualitative inquiry has helped to understand the complex organizational and social environment in which the trial was undertaken and the PINCER intervention was delivered. The longitudinal element has given insight into the dynamic changes and developments over time. Medication errors and ways to address these are high on stakeholders’ agendas. Our results further indicate that pharmacists were, because of their professional standing and skill-set, able to engage with the complex general practice environment and able to identify and manage many clinically important errors in medicines management. The transferability of the PINCER intervention approach, both in relation to other prescribing errors and to other practices, is likely to be high.
Qualitative evaluation; Randomized controlled trial; Pharmacist intervention; Primary care
Medication errors are an important source of potentially preventable morbidity and mortality. The PINCER study, a cluster randomised controlled trial, is one of the world’s first experimental studies aiming to reduce the risk of such medication related potential for harm in general practice. Bayesian analyses can improve the clinical interpretability of trial findings.
Experts were asked to complete a questionnaire to elicit opinions of the likely effectiveness of the intervention for the key outcomes of interest - three important primary care medication errors. These were averaged to generate collective prior distributions, which were then combined with trial data to generate Bayesian posterior distributions. The trial data were analysed in two ways: firstly replicating the trial reported cohort analysis acknowledging pairing of observations, but excluding non-paired observations; and secondly as cross-sectional data, with no exclusions, but without acknowledgement of the pairing. Frequentist and Bayesian analyses were compared.
Bayesian evaluations suggest that the intervention is able to reduce the likelihood of one of the medication errors by about 50 (estimated to be between 20% and 70%). However, for the other two main outcomes considered, the evidence that the intervention is able to reduce the likelihood of prescription errors is less conclusive.
Clinicians are interested in what trial results mean to them, as opposed to what trial results suggest for future experiments. This analysis suggests that the PINCER intervention is strongly effective in reducing the likelihood of one of the important errors; not necessarily effective in reducing the other errors. Depending on the clinical importance of the respective errors, careful consideration should be given before implementation, and refinement targeted at the other errors may be something to consider.
There are limited data on the epidemiology of allergic disorders in Saudi Arabia. Such data are needed for, amongst other things, helping to plan service provision at a time when there is considerable investment taking place in national healthcare development. We sought to estimate the prevalence of atopic eczema, allergic rhinitis and asthma in primary school children in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a two-stage cross-sectional survey of schoolchildren in Madinah. Children were recruited from 38 randomly selected schools. Questionnaires were sent to the parents of all 6,139 6–8 year old children in these schools. These parental-completed questionnaires incorporated questions from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC), which had previously been validated for use in Arab populations. We undertook descriptive analyses, using the Generalized Estimating Equation (GEE) to calculate 95% confidence intervals. The overall response rate was 85.9% (n = 5,188), 84.6% for girls and 86.2% for boys, respectively. Overall, parents reported symptoms suggestive of a history of eczema in 10.3% (95%CI 9.4, 11.4), rhinitis in 24.2% (95%CI 22.3, 26.2) and asthma in 23.6% (95%CI 21.3, 26.0) of children. Overall, 41.7% (95%CI 39.1, 44.4) of children had symptoms suggestive of at least one allergic disorder, with a substantial minority manifesting symptoms indicative of co-morbid allergic disease. Comparison of these symptom-based prevalence estimates with reports of clinician-diagnosed disease suggested that the majority of children with eczema and asthma had been diagnosed, but only a minority (17.4%) of children had been diagnosed with rhinitis. International comparisons indicated that children in Madinah have amongst the highest prevalence of allergic problems in the world.
Symptoms indicative of allergic disease are very common in primary school-aged children in Madinah, Saudi Arabia, with figures comparable to the highest risk regions in the world.
To investigate the independent contributions of waist circumference, physical activity, and sedentary behavior on glycemia in South Asians living in Scotland.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Participants were 1,228 (523 men and 705 women) adults of Indian or Pakistani origin screened for the Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity in South Asians (PODOSA) trial. All undertook an oral glucose tolerance test, had physical activity and sitting time assessed by International Physical Activity Questionnaire, and had waist circumference measured.
Mean ± SD age and waist circumference were 49.8 ± 10.1 years and 99.2 ± 10.2 cm, respectively. One hundred ninety-one participants had impaired fasting glycemia or impaired glucose tolerance, and 97 had possible type 2 diabetes. In multivariate regression analysis, age (0.012 mmol ⋅ L−1 ⋅ year−1 [95% CI 0.006–0.017]) and waist circumference (0.018 mmol ⋅ L−1 ⋅ cm−1 [0.012–0.024]) were significantly independently associated with fasting glucose concentration, and age (0.032 mmol ⋅ L−1 ⋅ year−1 [0.016–0.049]), waist (0.057 mmol ⋅ L−1 ⋅ cm−1 [0.040–0.074]), and sitting time (0.097 mmol ⋅ L−1 ⋅ h−1 ⋅ day−1 [0.036–0.158]) were significantly independently associated with 2-h glucose concentration. Vigorous activity time had a borderline significant association with 2-h glucose concentration (−0.819 mmol ⋅ L−1 ⋅ h−1 ⋅ day−1 [−1.672 to 0.034]) in the multivariate model.
These data highlight an important relationship between sitting time and 2-h glucose levels in U.K. South Asians, independent of physical activity and waist circumference. Although the data are cross-sectional and thus do not permit firm conclusions about causality to be drawn, the results suggest that further study investigating the effects of sitting time on glycemia and other aspects of metabolic risk in South Asian populations is warranted.
A commitment to Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems now constitutes a core part of many governments’ healthcare reform strategies. The resulting politically-initiated large-scale or national EHR endeavors are challenging because of their ambitious agendas of change, the scale of resources needed to make them work, the (relatively) short timescales set, and the large number of stakeholders involved, all of whom pursue somewhat different interests. These initiatives need to be evaluated to establish if they improve care and represent value for money.
Critical reflections on these complexities in the light of experience of undertaking the first national, longitudinal, and sociotechnical evaluation of the implementation and adoption of England’s National Health Service’s Care Records Service (NHS CRS).
We advance two key arguments. First, national programs for EHR implementations are likely to take place in the shifting sands of evolving sociopolitical and sociotechnical and contexts, which are likely to shape them in significant ways. This poses challenges to conventional evaluation approaches which draw on a model of baseline operations → intervention → changed operations (outcome). Second, evaluation of such programs must account for this changing context by adapting to it. This requires careful and creative choice of ontological, epistemological and methodological assumptions.
New and significant challenges are faced in evaluating national EHR implementation endeavors. Based on experiences from this national evaluation of the implementation and adoption of the NHS CRS in England, we argue for an approach to these evaluations which moves away from seeing EHR systems as Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) projects requiring an essentially outcome-centred assessment towards a more interpretive approach that reflects the situated and evolving nature of EHR seen within multiple specific settings and reflecting a constantly changing milieu of policies, strategies and software, with constant interactions across such boundaries.
Electronic health record (EHR); Evaluation; Methodology; Sociotechnical; Changing; NHS CRS; Adaptation; Reflexivity
Medication errors are common in primary care and are associated with considerable risk of patient harm. We tested whether a pharmacist-led, information technology-based intervention was more effective than simple feedback in reducing the number of patients at risk of measures related to hazardous prescribing and inadequate blood-test monitoring of medicines 6 months after the intervention.
In this pragmatic, cluster randomised trial general practices in the UK were stratified by research site and list size, and randomly assigned by a web-based randomisation service in block sizes of two or four to one of two groups. The practices were allocated to either computer-generated simple feedback for at-risk patients (control) or a pharmacist-led information technology intervention (PINCER), composed of feedback, educational outreach, and dedicated support. The allocation was masked to general practices, patients, pharmacists, researchers, and statisticians. Primary outcomes were the proportions of patients at 6 months after the intervention who had had any of three clinically important errors: non-selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) prescribed to those with a history of peptic ulcer without co-prescription of a proton-pump inhibitor; β blockers prescribed to those with a history of asthma; long-term prescription of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or loop diuretics to those 75 years or older without assessment of urea and electrolytes in the preceding 15 months. The cost per error avoided was estimated by incremental cost-effectiveness analysis. This study is registered with Controlled-Trials.com, number ISRCTN21785299.
72 general practices with a combined list size of 480 942 patients were randomised. At 6 months' follow-up, patients in the PINCER group were significantly less likely to have been prescribed a non-selective NSAID if they had a history of peptic ulcer without gastroprotection (OR 0·58, 95% CI 0·38–0·89); a β blocker if they had asthma (0·73, 0·58–0·91); or an ACE inhibitor or loop diuretic without appropriate monitoring (0·51, 0·34–0·78). PINCER has a 95% probability of being cost effective if the decision-maker's ceiling willingness to pay reaches £75 per error avoided at 6 months.
The PINCER intervention is an effective method for reducing a range of medication errors in general practices with computerised clinical records.
Patient Safety Research Portfolio, Department of Health, England.