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1.  Hypoglycemia Associated With Hospitalization and Adverse Events in Older People 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(11):3585-3590.
OBJECTIVE
Little is known about the prognostic impact of hypoglycemia associated with hospitalization. We hypothesized that hospitalized hypoglycemia would be associated with increased long-term morbidity and mortality, irrespective of diabetes status.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We undertook a cohort study using linked administrative health care and laboratory databases in Alberta, Canada. From 1 January 2004 to 31 March 2009, we included all outpatients 66 years of age and older who had at least one serum creatinine and one A1C measured. To examine the independent association between hospitalized hypoglycemia and all-cause mortality, we used time-varying Cox proportional hazards (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR]), and for all-cause hospitalizations, we used Poisson regression (adjusted incidence rate ratio [aIRR]).
RESULTS
The cohort included 85,810 patients: mean age 75 years, 51% female, and 50% had diabetes defined by administrative data. Overall, 440 patients (0.5%) had severe hypoglycemia associated with hospitalization and most (93%) had diabetes. During 4 years of follow-up, 16,320 (19%) patients died. Hospitalized hypoglycemia was independently associated with increased mortality (60 vs. 19% mortality for no hypoglycemia; aHR 2.55 [95% CI 2.25–2.88]), and this increased in a dose-dependent manner (aHR no hypoglycemia = 1.0 vs. one episode = 2.49 vs. one or more = 3.78, P trend <0.001). Hospitalized hypoglycemia was also independently associated with subsequent hospitalizations (aIRR no hypoglycemia = 1.0 vs. one episode = 1.90 vs. one or more = 2.61, P trend <0.001) and recurrent hypoglycemia (aHR no hypoglycemia = 1.0 vs. one episode = 2.45 vs. one or more = 9.66, P trend <0.001).
CONCLUSIONS
Older people who have an episode of hospitalized hypoglycemia are easily identified and at substantially increased risk of morbidity and mortality.
doi:10.2337/dc13-0523
PMCID: PMC3816904  PMID: 24089536
2.  Health Care Costs in People With Diabetes and Their Association With Glycemic Control and Kidney Function 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(5):1172-1180.
OBJECTIVE
To determine the association between laboratory-derived measures of glycemic control (HbA1c) and the presence of renal complications (measured by proteinuria and estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR]) with the 5-year costs of caring for people with diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We estimated the cumulative 5-year cost of caring for people with diabetes using a province-wide cohort of adults with diabetes as of 1 May 2004. Costs included physician visits, hospitalizations, ambulatory care (emergency room visits, day surgery, and day medicine), and drug costs for people >65 years of age. Using linked laboratory and administrative clinical and costing data, we determined the association between baseline glycemic control (HbA1c), proteinuria, and kidney function (eGFR) and 5-year costs, controlling for age, socioeconomic status, duration of diabetes, and comorbid illness.
RESULTS
We identified 138,662 adults with diabetes. The mean 5-year cost of diabetes in the overall cohort was $26,978 per patient, excluding drug costs. The mean 5-year cost for the subset of people >65 years of age, including drug costs, was $44,511 (Canadian dollars). Cost increased with worsening kidney function, presence of proteinuria, and suboptimal glycemic control (HbA1c >7.9%). Increasing age, Aboriginal status, socioeconomic status, duration of diabetes, and comorbid illness were also associated with increasing cost.
CONCLUSIONS
The cost of caring for people with diabetes is substantial and is associated with suboptimal glycemic control, abnormal kidney function, and proteinuria. Future studies should assess if improvements in the management of diabetes, assessed with laboratory-derived measurements, result in cost reductions.
doi:10.2337/dc12-0862
PMCID: PMC3631826  PMID: 23238665
3.  Identifying strategies to improve diabetes care in Alberta, Canada, using the knowledge-to-action cycle 
CMAJ Open  2013;1(4):E142-E150.
Background
Strategic clinical networks, a recent development in the health system in Alberta, have been charged with bringing together front-line clinicians, researchers and policy-makers to identify variation in clinical care, and to propose standards, pathways and innovative solutions to improve access and quality of care. Here, we describe a collaborative workshop held between researchers and the Obesity, Diabetes and Nutrition Strategic Clinical Network to describe barriers to and facilitators of care for people with diabetes and to identify quality improvement interventions that should be prioritized.
Methods
Through collaboration between health researchers and the strategic clinical network, and using principles of the knowledge-to-action cycle, we identified barriers to and facilitators of diabetes care using data from a patient survey and a provider focus group (5 primary care physicians and 1 diabetes educator). In addition, we identified best evidence from a systematic review of quality improvement initiatives in diabetes. This information was reviewed at a multistakeholder workshop where potential quality improvement initiatives were considered at various service levels.
Results
A pilot survey involving 59 patients with diabetes and a focus group of primary care and allied health care providers identified several important barriers to optimal outcomes in diabetes care, including patient-level financial barriers to care and difficulty navigating the health system. Our collaborative discussion using the knowledge-to-action cycle prioritized feasible, evidence-based interventions to improve outcomes for patients with diabetes, including enabling care by allied health care providers and creating clear care maps and processes for system navigation.
Interpretation
We identified important barriers to achieving optimal outcomes in diabetes that may be overcome through the use of evidence-based quality improvement interventions. As recommended within the knowledge-to-action cycle, future research is required to determine whether program implementation improves outcomes and is cost-effective.
doi:10.9778/cmajo.20130024
PMCID: PMC3985932  PMID: 25077116
4.  Approach to economic evaluation in primary care 
Canadian Family Physician  2013;59(6):619-627.
Abstract
Objective
To present an overview of the methods of economic evaluation in health care, using examples of studies applicable to primary care.
Sources of information
The main concepts discussed in this article were derived from expert opinion and substantiated with well respected textbooks and comprehensive Canadian guidelines. Examples of cost-effectiveness estimates were taken from the published literature.
Main message
We describe the basic principles of economic evaluation and provide an introduction to its interpretation, using examples of studies applicable to primary care.
Conclusion
A basic understanding of health economics will allow primary care practitioners to begin to incorporate economic data, including that from economic evaluations when they are available, into resource planning for their practices.
PMCID: PMC3681445  PMID: 23766042
5.  Enrolment in primary care networks: impact on outcomes and processes of care for patients with diabetes 
Background:
Primary care networks are a newer model of primary care that focuses on improved access to care and the use of multidisciplinary teams for patients with chronic disease. We sought to determine the association between enrolment in primary care networks and the care and outcomes of patients with diabetes.
Methods:
We used administrative health care data to study the care and outcomes of patients with incident and prevalent diabetes separately. For patients with prevalent diabetes, we compared those whose care was managed by physicians who were or were not in a primary care network using propensity score matching. For patients with incident diabetes, we studied a cohort before and after primary care networks were established. Each cohort was further divided based on whether or not patients were cared for by physicians enrolled in a network. Our primary outcome was admissions to hospital or visits to emergency departments for ambulatory care sensitive conditions specific to diabetes.
Results:
Compared with patients whose prevalent diabetes is managed outside of primary care networks, patients in primary care networks had a lower rate of diabetes-specific ambulatory care sensitive conditions (adjusted incidence rate ratio 0.81, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.75 to 0.87), were more likely to see an ophthalmologist or optometrist (risk ratio 1.19, 95% CI 1.17 to 1.21) and had better glycemic control (adjusted mean difference −0.067, 95% CI −0.081 to −0.052).
Interpretation:
Patients whose diabetes was managed in primary care networks received better care and had better clinical outcomes than patients whose condition was not managed in a network, although the differences were very small.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.110755
PMCID: PMC3273535  PMID: 22143232
6.  Use of outcomes to evaluate surveillance systems for bioterrorist attacks 
Background
Syndromic surveillance systems can potentially be used to detect a bioterrorist attack earlier than traditional surveillance, by virtue of their near real-time analysis of relevant data. Receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curve analysis using the area under the curve (AUC) as a comparison metric has been recommended as a practical evaluation tool for syndromic surveillance systems, yet traditional ROC curves do not account for timeliness of detection or subsequent time-dependent health outcomes.
Methods
Using a decision-analytic approach, we predicted outcomes, measured in lives, quality adjusted life years (QALYs), and costs, for a series of simulated bioterrorist attacks. We then evaluated seven detection algorithms applied to syndromic surveillance data using outcomes-weighted ROC curves compared to simple ROC curves and timeliness-weighted ROC curves. We performed sensitivity analyses by varying the model inputs between best and worst case scenarios and by applying different methods of AUC calculation.
Results
The decision analytic model results indicate that if a surveillance system was successful in detecting an attack, and measures were immediately taken to deliver treatment to the population, the lives, QALYs and dollars lost could be reduced considerably. The ROC curve analysis shows that the incorporation of outcomes into the evaluation metric has an important effect on the apparent performance of the surveillance systems. The relative order of performance is also heavily dependent on the choice of AUC calculation method.
Conclusions
This study demonstrates the importance of accounting for mortality, morbidity and costs in the evaluation of syndromic surveillance systems. Incorporating these outcomes into the ROC curve analysis allows for more accurate identification of the optimal method for signaling a possible bioterrorist attack. In addition, the parameters used to construct an ROC curve should be given careful consideration.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-10-25
PMCID: PMC2876990  PMID: 20459679

Results 1-6 (6)