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1.  The importance of illness duration, age at diagnosis and the year of diagnosis for labour participation chances of people with chronic illness: results of a nationwide panel-study in the Netherlands 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:803.
Background
Compared to participation rates among general populations, participation of people with chronic illness in the labour market lags behind. This is undesirable, both from the perspective of individuals’ well-being as from a macro-economic perspective for western countries where concerns exist about labour supply and sustainability of social security in the near future. To help develop successful policy measures to prevent early drop-out and support reintegration, we aimed to gain insight into the role of three age related characteristics that may relate to labour participation chances of people with chronic illness: the duration of their illness, how old they were when the chronic disease was diagnosed and the historical year in which the diagnosis was established.
Methods
We analyzed data of one (first) measurement of several cohorts of people diagnosed with a somatic chronic disease, who (had) participated in the Dutch ‘National Panel of people with Chronic illness or Disability’ since 1998 (N = 4634 in total). Multi-level logistic regression analyses were conducted to estimate random effects of the age at diagnosis and the year of diagnosis and fixed effects of illness duration on labour participation, while correcting for the effects of socio-demographic and disease characteristics and socio-economic indicators.
Results
A significant part of the variation in labour participation among people with chronic illness relates to the age they had when they were diagnosed. Furthermore, a longer illness duration is significantly associated with a lower chance of being economically active. This is more the case for men than for women. Labour participation of cancer survivors depends on the phase of the illness they find themselves in. No evidence was found that the year in which the diagnosis was established matters for employment chances later in life.
Conclusion
Age at diagnosis and illness duration relate to chronically ill people’s chances to participate in the labour market, but how and how strong they relate to labour participation depend on gender and the type of chronic disease at stake. Prospective studies are needed to assess illness trajectories of specific diagnostic groups along with the development of their school and work careers.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-803
PMCID: PMC3846917  PMID: 24007362
Chronic illness; Labour participation; Employment; Age; Illness duration
2.  Knowledge Claims, Jurisdictional Control and Professional Status: The Case of Nurse Prescribing 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77279.
Over the past decades, professional boundaries in health care have come under pressure, and the expansion of prescriptive authority to include nurses touches on issues of professional domains and interprofessional competition. Knowledge claims play an important role in achieving jurisdictional control. Knowledge can take on multiple forms, ranging from indeterminate to technical (I/T ratio) and from everyday to exclusive knowledge. To investigate the interrelatedness of jurisdiction, knowledge claims and professional status, we examine which knowledge claims were made by the medical and nursing professions in the Netherlands to secure or obtain, respectively, jurisdictional control over prescribing, and which form this knowledge took. The study is based on thirteen semi-structured stakeholder interviews and an extensive document analysis. We found that the nursing profession in its knowledge claims strongly emphasized the technicality and everyday knowledge character of the prescribing task, by asserting that nurses were already prescribing medicines, albeit on an illegal basis. Their second claim focused on the indeterminate knowledge skills of nurses and stated that nurse prescribing would do justice to nurses’ skills and expertise. This is a strong claim in a quest for (higher) professional status. Results showed that the medical profession initially proclaimed that prescribing should be reserved for doctors as it is a task requiring medical knowledge, i.e. indeterminate knowledge. Gradually, however, the medical profession adjusted its claims and tried to reduce nurse prescribing to a task almost exclusively based on technicality knowledge, among others by stating that nurses could prescribe in routine cases, which would generate little professional status. By investigating the form that professional knowledge claims took, this study was able to show the interconnectedness of jurisdictional control, knowledge claims and professional status. Knowledge claims are not mere rhetoric, but actively influence the everyday realities of professional status, interprofessional competition and jurisdictional division between professions.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077279
PMCID: PMC3790745  PMID: 24124613
3.  Acceptance of selective contracting: the role of trust in the health insurer 
Background
In a demand oriented health care system based on managed competition, health insurers have incentives to become prudent buyers of care on behalf of their enrolees. They are allowed to selectively contract care providers. This is supposed to stimulate competition between care providers and both increase the quality of care and contain costs in the health care system. However, health insurers are reluctant to implement selective contracting; they believe their enrolees will not accept this. One reason, insurers believe, is that enrolees do not trust their health insurer. However, this has never been studied. This paper aims to study the role played by enrolees’ trust in the health insurer on their acceptance of selective contracting.
Methods
An online survey was conducted among 4,422 people insured through a large Dutch health insurance company. Trust in the health insurer, trust in the purchasing strategy of the health insurer and acceptance of selective contracting were measured using multiple item scales. A regression model was constructed to analyse the results.
Results
Trust in the health insurer turned out to be an important prerequisite for the acceptance of selective contracting among their enrolees. The association of trust in the purchasing strategy of the health insurer with acceptance of selective contracting is stronger for older people than younger people. Furthermore, it was found that men and healthier people accepted selective contracting by their health insurer more readily. This was also true for younger people with a low level of trust in their health insurer.
Conclusion
This study provides insight into factors that influence people’s acceptance of selective contracting by their health insurer. This may help health insurers to implement selective contracting in a way their enrolees will accept and, thus, help systems of managed competition to develop.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-375
PMCID: PMC3850712  PMID: 24083663
Health insurer; Trust; Managed competition; Selective contracting
4.  Impact of remuneration on guideline adherence: Empirical evidence in general practice 
Abstract
Background and objective. Changes in the Dutch GP remuneration system provided the opportunity to study the effects of changes in financial incentives on the quality of care. Separate remuneration systems for publicly insured patients (capitation) and privately insured patients (fee-for-service) were replaced by a combined system of capitation and fee-for-service for all in 2006. The effects of these changes on the quality of care in terms of guideline adherence were investigated. Design and setting. A longitudinal study from 2002 to 2009 using data from patient electronic medical records in general practice. A multilevel (patient and practice) approach was applied to study the effect of changes in the remuneration system on guideline adherence. Subjects. 21 421 to 39 828 patients from 32 to 52 general practices (dynamic panel of GPs). Main outcome measures. Sixteen guideline adherence indicators on prescriptions and referrals for acute and chronic conditions. Results. Guideline adherence increased between 2002 and 2008 by 7% for (formerly) publicly insured patients and 10% for (formerly) privately insured patients. In general, no significant differences in the trends for guideline adherence were found between privately and publicly insured patients, indicating the absence of an effect of the remuneration system on guideline adherence. Adherence to guidelines involving more time investment in terms of follow-up contacts was affected by changes in the remuneration system. For publicly insured patients, GPs showed a higher trend for guideline adherence for guidelines involving more time investment in terms of follow-up contacts compared with privately insured patients. Conclusion. The change in the remuneration system had a limited impact on guideline adherence.
doi:10.3109/02813432.2012.757078
PMCID: PMC3587301  PMID: 23330604
General practice; guideline adherence; quality of care; remuneration system; The Netherlands
5.  Type II diabetes patients in primary care: profiles of healthcare utilization obtained from observational data 
Background
The high burden of diabetes for healthcare costs and their impact on quality of life and management of the disease have triggered the design and introduction of disease management programmes (DMPs) in many countries. The extent to which diabetes patients vary with regard to their healthcare utilisation and costs is largely unknown and could impact on the design of DMPs. The objectives of this study are to develop profiles based on both the diabetes-related healthcare utilisation and total healthcare utilisation in primary care, to investigate which patient and disease characteristics determine ‘membership’ of each profile, and to investigate the association between these profiles.
Methods
Data were used from electronic medical records of 6721 known type II diabetes patients listed in 48 Dutch general practices. Latent Class Analyses were conducted to identify profiles of healthcare and regression analyses were used to analyse the characteristics of the profiles.
Results
For both diabetes-related healthcare utilisation and total healthcare utilisation three profiles could be distinguished: for the diabetes-related healthcare utilisation these were characterised as ‘high utilisation and frequent home visits’ (n=393), ‘low utilisation, GP only’ (n=3231) and ‘high utilisation, GP and nurse’ (n=3097). Profiles differed with respect to the patients’ age and type of medication; the oldest patients using insulin were dominant in the ‘high utilisation, GP and nurse’ profile. High total healthcare utilisation was not associated with high diabetes-related healthcare utilisation.
Conclusions
Healthcare utilisation of diabetes patients is heterogeneous. This challenges the development of distinguishable DMPs.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-7
PMCID: PMC3570342  PMID: 23289605
Type II diabetes mellitus; Healthcare utilisation profiles; Primary care; Latent Class Analyses
6.  Minor surgery in general practice and effects on referrals to hospital care: Observational study 
Background
Strengthening primary care is the focus of many countries, as national healthcare systems with a strong primary care sector tend to have lower healthcare costs. However, it is unknown to what extent general practitioners (GPs) that perform more services generate fewer hospital referrals. The objective of this study was to examine the association between the number of surgical interventions and hospital referrals.
Methods
Data were derived from electronic medical records of 48 practices that participated in the Netherlands Information Network of General Practice (LINH) in 2006-2007. For each care-episode of benign neoplasm skin/nevus, sebaceous cyst or laceration/cut it was determined whether the patient was referred to a medical specialist and/or minor surgery was performed. Multilevel multinomial regression analyses were used to determine the relation between minor surgery and hospital referrals on the level of the GP-practice.
Results
Referral rates differed between diagnoses, with 1.0% of referrals for a laceration/cut, 8.2% for a sebaceous cyst and 10.2% for benign neoplasm skin/nevus. The GP practices performed minor surgery for a laceration/cut in 8.9% (SD:14.6) of the care-episodes, for a benign neoplasm skin/nevus in 27.4% (SD:14.4) of cases and for a sebaceous cyst in 26.4% (SD:13.8). GP practices that performed more minor surgery interventions had a lower referral rate for patients with a laceration/cut (-0.38; 95%CI:-0.60- -0.11) and those with a sebaceous cyst (-0.42; 95%CI:-0.63- -0.16), but not for people with benign neoplasm skin/nevus (-0.26; 95%CI:-0.51-0.03). However, the absolute difference in referral rate appeared to be relevant only for sebaceous cysts.
Conclusions
The effects of minor surgery vary between diagnoses. Minor surgery in general practice appears to be a substitute for specialist medical care only in relation to sebaceous cysts. Measures to stimulate minor surgery for sebaceous cysts may induce substitution.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-2
PMCID: PMC3024924  PMID: 21205305
7.  Health-related behavior as a mechanism behind the relationship between neighborhood social capital and individual health - a multilevel analysis 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:116.
Background
Although various studies have found a positive association between neighborhood social capital and individual health, the mechanism explaining this direct effect is still unclear. Neighborhood social capital is the access to resources that are generated by relationships between people in a friendly, well-connected and tightly knit neighborhood community. We expect that the resources generated by cohesive neighborhoods support and influence health -improving behaviors in daily life. We identify five different health-related behaviors that are likely to be affected by neighborhood social capital and test these behaviors separately as mediators.
Methods
The data set pertaining to individual health was taken from the 'health interview' in the 'Second Dutch national survey of general practice' (DNSGP-2, 2002). We combine these individual-level data with data from the 'Dutch housing demand survey' (WBO, 1998 and WoON, 2002) and statistical register information (1995-1999). Per neighborhood 29 WBO respondents, on average, had answered questions regarding social capital in their neighborhood. These variables have been aggregated to the neighborhood level by an ecometric methodology. In the main analysis, in which we tested the mediation, multilevel (ordered) logistic regressions were used to analyze 9253 adults (from the DNSGP-2 data set) from 672 Dutch neighborhoods. In the Netherlands, on average, neighborhoods (4-digit postcodes) comprise 4,000 inhabitants at highly variable population densities. Individual- and neighborhood-level controls have been taken into account in the analyses.
Results
In neighborhoods with a high level of social capital, people are more physically active and more likely to be non-smokers. These behaviors have positive effects on their health. The direct effect of neighborhood social capital on health is significantly and strongly reduced by physical activity. This study does not support nutrition and sleep habits or moderate alcohol intake as possible explanations of the effects of neighborhoods on health.
Conclusions
This study is one of the first to test a mechanism explaining much of the direct effect of small-area social capital on individual health. Neighborhood interventions might be most successful at improving health if they stimulate both social interaction and physical activity.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-116
PMCID: PMC3347984  PMID: 22325740
8.  Exploring the black box of quality improvement collaboratives: modelling relations between conditions, applied changes and outcomes 
Introduction
Despite the popularity of quality improvement collaboratives (QICs) in different healthcare settings, relatively little is known about the implementation process. The objective of the current study is to learn more about relations between relevant conditions for successful implementation of QICs, applied changes, perceived successes, and actual outcomes.
Methods
Twenty-four Dutch hospitals participated in a dissemination programme based on QICs. A questionnaire was sent to 237 leaders of teams who joined 18 different QICs to measure changes in working methods and activities, overall perceived success, team organisation, and supportive conditions. Actual outcomes were extracted from a database with team performance indicator data. Multi-level analyses were conducted to test a number of hypothesised relations within the cross-classified hierarchical structure in which teams are nested within QICs and hospitals.
Results
Organisational and external change agent support is related positively to the number of changed working methods and activities that, if increased, lead to higher perceived success and indicator outcomes scores. Direct and indirect positive relations between conditions and perceived success could be confirmed. Relations between conditions and actual outcomes are weak. Multi-level analyses reveal significant differences in organisational support between hospitals. The relation between perceived successes and actual outcomes is present at QIC level but not at team level.
Discussion
Several of the expected relations between conditions, applied changes and outcomes, and perceived successes could be verified. However, because QICs vary in topic, approach, complexity, and promised advantages, further research is required: first, to understand why some QIC innovations fit better within the context of the units where they are implemented; second, to assess the influence of perceived success and actual outcomes on the further dissemination of projects over new patient groups.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-4-74
PMCID: PMC2784742  PMID: 19919685
9.  Differences between immigrant and non-immigrant groups in the use of primary medical care; a systematic review 
Background
Studies on differences between immigrant and non-immigrant groups in health care utilization vary with respect to the extent and direction of differences in use. Therefore, our study aimed to provide a systematic overview of the existing research on differences in primary care utilization between immigrant groups and the majority population.
Methods
For this review PubMed, PsycInfo, Cinahl, Sociofile, Web of Science and Current Contents were consulted. Study selection and quality assessment was performed using a predefined protocol by 2 reviewers independently of each other. Only original, quantitative, peer-reviewed papers were taken into account. To account for this hierarchical structure, logistic multilevel analyses were performed to examine the extent to which differences are found across countries and immigrant groups. Differences in primary care use were related to study characteristics, strength of the primary care system and methodological quality.
Results
A total of 37 studies from 7 countries met all inclusion criteria. Remarkably, studies performed within the US more often reported a significant lower use among immigrant groups as compared to the majority population than the other countries. As studies scored higher on methodological quality, the likelihood of reporting significant differences increased. Adjustment for health status and use of culture-/language-adjusted procedures during the data collection were negatively related to reporting significant differences in the studies.
Conclusion
Our review underlined the need for careful design in studies of differences in health care use between immigrant groups and the majority population. The results from studies concerning differences between immigrant and the majority population in primary health care use performed within the US might be interpreted as a reflection of a weaker primary care system in the US compared to Europe and Canada.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-76
PMCID: PMC2689181  PMID: 19426567
10.  Do decision support systems influence variation in prescription? 
Background
Translating scientific evidence into daily practice is problematic. All kinds of intervention strategies, using educational and/or directive strategies, aimed at modifying behavior, have evolved, but have been found only partially successful. In this article the focus is on (computerized) decision support systems (DSSs). DSSs intervene in physicians' daily routine, as opposed to interventions that aim at influencing knowledge in order to change behavior. We examined whether general practitioners (GPs) are prescribing in accordance with the advice given by the DSS and whether there is less variation in prescription when the DSS is used.
Methods
Data were used from the Second Dutch National Survey of General Practice (DNSGP2), collected in 2001. A total of 82 diagnoses, 749811 contacts, 133 physicians, and 85 practices was included in the analyses. GPs using the DSS daily were compared to GPs who do not use the DSS. Multilevel analyses were used to analyse the data. Two outcome measures were chosen: whether prescription was in accordance with the advice of the DSS or not, and a measure of concentration, the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI).
Results
GPs who use the DSS daily prescribe more according to the advice given in the DSS than GPs who do not use the DSS. Contradictory to our expectation there was no significant difference between the HHIs for both groups: variation in prescription was comparable.
Conclusion
We studied the use of a DSS for drug prescribing in general practice in the Netherlands. The DSS is based on guidelines developed by the Dutch College of General Practitioners and implemented in the Electronic Medical Systems of the GPs. GPs using the DSS more often prescribe in accordance with the advice given in the DSS compared to GPs not using the DSS. This finding, however, did not mean that variation is lower; variation is the same for GPs using and for GPs not using a DSS. Implications of the study are that DSSs can be used to implement guidelines, but that it should not be expected that variation is limited.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-20
PMCID: PMC2662826  PMID: 19183464
11.  Is networking different with doctors working part-time? Differences in social networks of part-time and full-time doctors 
Background
Part-time working is a growing phenomenon in medicine, which is expected to influence informal networks at work differently compared to full-time working. The opportunity to meet and build up social capital at work has offered a basis for theoretical arguments.
Methods
Twenty-eight teams of medical specialists in the Netherlands, including 226 individuals participated in this study. Interviews with team representatives and individual questionnaires were used. Data were gathered on three types of networks: relationships of consulting, communication and trust. For analyses, network and multilevel applications were used. Differences between individual doctors and between teams were both analysed, taking the dependency structure of the data into account, because networks of individual doctors are not independent. Teams were divided into teams with and without doctors working part-time.
Results and Discussion
Contrary to expectations we found no impact of part-time working on the size of personal networks, neither at the individual nor at the team level. The same was found regarding efficient reachability. Whereas we expected part-time doctors to choose their relations as efficiently as possible, we even found the opposite in intended relationships of trust, implying that efficiency in reaching each other was higher for full-time doctors. But we found as expected that in mixed teams with part-time doctors the frequency of regular communication was less compared to full-time teams. Furthermore, as expected the strength of the intended relationships of trust of part-time and full-time doctors was equally high.
Conclusion
From these findings we can conclude that part-time doctors are not aiming at efficiency by limiting the size of networks or by efficient reachability, because they want to contact their colleagues directly in order to prevent from communication errors. On the other hand, together with the growth of teams, we found this strategy, focussed on reaching all colleagues, was diminishing. And our data confirmed that formalisation was increasing together with the growth of teams.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-8-204
PMCID: PMC2583974  PMID: 18834545
12.  Physical activity as a possible mechanism behind the relationship between green space and health: A multilevel analysis 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:206.
Background
The aim of this study was to investigate whether physical activity (in general, and more specifically, walking and cycling during leisure time and for commuting purposes, sports and gardening) is an underlying mechanism in the relationship between the amount of green space in people's direct living environment and self-perceived health. To study this, we first investigated whether the amount of green space in the living environment is related to the level of physical activity. When an association between green space and physical activity was found, we analysed whether this could explain the relationship between green space and health.
Methods
The study includes 4.899 Dutch people who were interviewed about physical activity, self-perceived health and demographic and socioeconomic background. The amount of green space within a one-kilometre and a three-kilometre radius around the postal code coordinates was calculated for each individual. Multivariate multilevel analyses and multilevel logistic regression analyses were performed at two levels and with controls for socio-demographic characteristics and urbanicity.
Results
No relationship was found between the amount of green space in the living environment and whether or not people meet the Dutch public health recommendations for physical activity, sports and walking for commuting purposes. People with more green space in their living environment walked and cycled less often and fewer minutes during leisure time; people with more green space garden more often and spend more time on gardening. Furthermore, if people cycle for commuting purposes they spend more time on this if they live in a greener living environment. Whether or not people garden, the time spent on gardening and time spent on cycling for commuting purposes did not explain the relationship between green space and health.
Conclusion
Our study indicates that the amount of green space in the living environment is scarcely related to the level of physical activity. Furthermore, the amount of physical activity undertaken in greener living environments does not explain the relationship between green space and health.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-206
PMCID: PMC2438348  PMID: 18544169
13.  Communication, advice exchange and job satisfaction of nursing staff: a social network analyses of 35 long-term care units 
Background
The behaviour of individuals is affected by the social networks in which they are embedded. Networks are also important for the diffusion of information and the influence of employees in organisations. Yet, at the moment little is known about the social networks of nursing staff in healthcare settings. This is the first study that investigates informal communication and advice networks of nursing staff in long-term care. We examine the structure of the networks, how they are related to the size of units and characteristics of nursing staff, and their relationship with job satisfaction.
Methods
We collected social network data of 380 nursing staff of 35 units in group projects and psychogeriatric units in nursing homes and residential homes in the Netherlands. Communication and advice networks were analyzed in a social network application (UCINET), focusing on the number of contacts (density) between nursing staff on the units. We then studied the correlation between the density of networks, size of the units and characteristics of nursing staff. We used multilevel analyses to investigate the relationship between social networks and job satisfaction of nursing staff, taking characteristics of units and nursing staff into account.
Results
Both communication and advice networks were negatively related to the number of residents and the number of nursing staff of the units. Communication and advice networks were more dense when more staff worked part-time. Furthermore, density of communication networks was positively related to the age of nursing staff of the units. Multilevel analyses showed that job satisfaction differed significantly between individual staff members and units and was influenced by the number of nursing staff of the units. However, this relationship disappeared when density of communication networks was added to the model.
Conclusions
Overall, communication and advice networks of nursing staff in long-term care are relatively dense. This fits with the high level of cooperation that is needed to provide good care to residents. Social networks are more dense in small units and are also shaped by characteristics of staff members. The results furthermore show that communication networks are important for staff's job satisfaction.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-140
PMCID: PMC3133544  PMID: 21631936
14.  Nurse prescribing of medicines in Western European and Anglo-Saxon countries: a systematic review of the literature 
Background
A growing number of countries are introducing some form of nurse prescribing. However, international reviews concerning nurse prescribing are scarce and lack a systematic and theoretical approach. The aim of this review was twofold: firstly, to gain insight into the scientific and professional literature describing the extent to and the ways in which nurse prescribing has been realised or is being introduced in Western European and Anglo-Saxon countries; secondly, to identify possible mechanisms underlying the introduction and organisation of nurse prescribing on the basis of Abbott's theory on the division of professional labor.
Methods
A comprehensive search of six literature databases and seven websites was performed without any limitation as to date of publication, language or country. Additionally, experts in the field of nurse prescribing were consulted. A three stage inclusion process, consisting of initial sifting, more detailed selection and checking full-text publications, was performed independently by pairs of reviewers. Data were synthesized using narrative and tabular methods.
Results
One hundred and twenty-four publications met the inclusion criteria. So far, seven Western European and Anglo-Saxon countries have implemented nurse prescribing of medicines, viz., Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, the UK and the USA. The Netherlands and Spain are in the process of introducing nurse prescribing. A diversity of external and internal forces has led to the introduction of nurse prescribing internationally. The legal, educational and organizational conditions under which nurses prescribe medicines vary considerably between countries; from situations where nurses prescribe independently to situations in which prescribing by nurses is only allowed under strict conditions and supervision of physicians.
Conclusions
Differences between countries are reflected in the jurisdictional settlements between the nursing and medical professions concerning prescribing. In some countries, nurses share (full) jurisdiction with the medical profession, whereas in other countries nurses prescribe in a subordinate position. In most countries the jurisdiction over prescribing remains predominantly with the medical profession. There seems to be a mechanism linking the jurisdictional settlements between professions with the forces that led to the introduction of nurse prescribing. Forces focussing on efficiency appear to lead to more extensive prescribing rights.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-127
PMCID: PMC3141384  PMID: 21619565
15.  The incidence, root-causes, and outcomes of adverse events in surgical units: implication for potential prevention strategies 
Background
We need to know the scale and underlying causes of surgical adverse events (AEs) in order to improve the safety of care in surgical units. However, there is little recent data. Previous record review studies that reported on surgical AEs in detail are now more than ten years old. Since then surgical technology and quality assurance have changed rapidly. The objective of this study was to provide more recent data on the incidence, consequences, preventability, causes and potential strategies to prevent AEs among hospitalized patients in surgical units.
Methods
A structured record review study of 7,926 patient records was carried out by trained nurses and medical specialist reviewers in 21 Dutch hospitals. The aim was to determine the presence of AEs during hospitalizations in 2004 and to consider how far they could be prevented. Of all AEs, the consequences, responsible medical specialty, causes and potential prevention strategies were identified. Surgical AEs were defined as AEs attributable to surgical treatment and care processes and were selected for analysis in detail.
Results
Surgical AEs occurred in 3.6% of hospital admissions and represented 65% of all AEs. Forty-one percent of the surgical AEs was considered to be preventable. The consequences of surgical AEs were more severe than for other types of AEs, resulting in more permanent disability, extra treatment, prolonged hospital stay, unplanned readmissions and extra outpatient visits. Almost 40% of the surgical AEs were infections, 23% bleeding, and 22% injury by mechanical, physical or chemical cause. Human factors were involved in the causation of 65% of surgical AEs and were considered to be preventable through quality assurance and training.
Conclusions
Surgical AEs occur more often than other types of AEs, are more often preventable and their consequences are more severe. Therefore, surgical AEs have a major impact on the burden of AEs during hospitalizations. These findings concur with the results from previous studies. However, evidence-based solutions to reduce surgical AEs are increasingly available. Interventions directed at human causes are recommended to improve the safety of surgical care. Examples are team training and the surgical safety checklist. In addition, specific strategies are needed to improve appropriate use of antibiotic prophylaxis and sustainable implementation of hygiene guidelines to reduce infections.
doi:10.1186/1754-9493-5-13
PMCID: PMC3127749  PMID: 21599915
16.  Understanding organisational development, sustainability, and diffusion of innovations within hospitals participating in a multilevel quality collaborative 
Background
Between 2004 and 2008, 24 Dutch hospitals participated in a two-year multilevel quality collaborative (MQC) comprised of (a) a leadership programme for hospital executives, (b) six quality-improvement collaboratives (QICs) for healthcare professionals and other staff, and (c) an internal programme organisation to help senior management monitor and coordinate team progress. The MQC aimed to stimulate the development of quality-management systems and the spread of methods to improve patient safety and logistics. The objective of this study is to describe how the first group of eight MQC hospitals sustained and disseminated improvements made and the quality methods used.
Methods
The approach followed by the hospitals was described using interview and questionnaire data gathered from eight programme coordinators.
Results
MQC hospitals followed a systematic strategy of diffusion and sustainability. Hospital quality-management systems are further developed according to a model linking plan-do-study-act cycles at the unit and hospital level. The model involves quality norms based on realised successes, performance agreements with unit heads, organisational support, monitoring, and quarterly accountability reports.
Conclusions
It is concluded from this study that the MQC contributed to organisational development and dissemination within participating hospitals. Organisational learning effects were demonstrated. System changes affect the context factors in the theory of organisational readiness: organisational culture, policies and procedures, past experience, organisational resources, and organisational structure. Programme coordinator responses indicate that these factors are utilised to manage spread and sustainability. Further research is needed to assess long-term effects.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-6-18
PMCID: PMC3065434  PMID: 21385467
17.  Striking variations in consultation rates with general practice reveal family influence 
Background
The reasons why patients decide to consult a general practitioner vary enormously. While there may be individual reasons for this variation, the family context has a significant and unique influence upon the frequency of individuals' visits. The objective of this study was to explore which family factors can explain the differences between strikingly high, and correspondingly low, family consultation rates in families with children aged up to 21.
Methods
Data were used from the second Dutch national survey of general practice. This survey extracted from the medical records of 96 practices in the Netherlands, information on all consultations with patients during 2001. We defined, through multilevel analysis, two groups of families. These had respectively, predominantly high, and low, contact frequencies due to a significant family influence upon the frequency of the individual's first contacts. Binomial logistic regression analyses were used to analyse which of the family factors, related to shared circumstances and socialisation conditions, can explain the differences in consultation rates between the two groups of families.
Results
In almost 3% of all families, individual consultation rates decrease significantly due to family influence. In 11% of the families, individual consultation rates significantly increase due to family influence. While taking into account the health status of family members, family factors can explain family consultation rates. These factors include circumstances such as their economic status and number of children, as well as socialisation conditions such as specific health knowledge and family beliefs. The chance of significant low frequencies of contact due to family influences increases significantly with factors such as, paid employment of parents in the health care sector, low expectations of general practitioners' care for minor ailments and a western cultural background.
Conclusion
Family circumstances can easily be identified and will add to the understanding of the health complaints of the individual patient in the consulting room. Family circumstances related to health risks often cannot be changed but they can illuminate the reasons for a visit, and mould strategies for prevention, treatment or recovery. Health beliefs, on the other hand, may be influenced by providing specific knowledge.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-8-4
PMCID: PMC1784094  PMID: 17233891
18.  Towards an organisation-wide process-oriented organisation of care: A literature review 
Background
Many hospitals have taken actions to make care delivery for specific patient groups more process-oriented, but struggle with the question how to deal with process orientation at hospital level. The aim of this study is to report and discuss the experiences of hospitals with implementing process-oriented organisation designs in order to derive lessons for future transitions and research.
Methods
A literature review of English language articles on organisation-wide process-oriented redesigns, published between January 1998 and May 2009, was performed.
Results
Of 329 abstracts identified, 10 articles were included in the study. These articles described process-oriented redesigns of five hospitals. Four hospitals tried to become process-oriented by the implementation of coordination measures, and one by organisational restructuring. The adoption of the coordination mechanism approach was particularly constrained by the functional structure of hospitals. Other factors that hampered the redesigns in general were the limited applicability of and unfamiliarity with process improvement techniques.
Conclusions
Due to the limitations of the evidence, it is not known which approach, implementation of coordination measures or organisational restructuring (with additional coordination measures), produces the best results in which situation. Therefore, more research is needed. For this research, the use of qualitative methods in addition to quantitative measures is recommended to contribute to a better understanding of preconditions and contingencies for an effective application of approaches to become process-oriented. Hospitals are advised to take the factors for failure described into account and to take suitable actions to counteract these obstacles on their way to become process-oriented organisations.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-6-8
PMCID: PMC3035025  PMID: 21247491
19.  Ethnic minorities and prescription medication; concordance between self-reports and medical records 
Background
Ethnic differences in health care utilisation are frequently reported in research. Little is known about the concordance between different methods of data collection among ethnic minorities. The aim of this study was to examine to which extent ethnic differences between self-reported data and data based on electronic medical records (EMR) from general practitioners (GPs) might be a validity issue or reflect a lower compliance among minority groups.
Methods
A cross-sectional, national representative general practice study, using EMR data from 195 GPs. The study population consisted of Dutch, Turks, Surinamese, Antilleans and Morrocans. Self-reported data were collected through face-to-face interviews and could be linked to the EMR of GPs. The main outcome measures were the level of agreement between annual prescribing rate based on the EMRs of GPs and the self-reported receipt and use of prescriptions during the preceding 14 days.
Results
The pattern of ethnic differences in receipt and use of prescription medication depended on whether self-reported data or EMR data were used. Ethnic differences based on self-reports were not consistently reflected in EMR data. The percentage of agreement above chance between EMR data and self-reported receipt was in general relative low.
Conclusion
Ethnic differences between self-reported data and EMR data might not be fully perceived as a cross-cultural validity issue. At least for Moroccans and Turks, compliance with the prescribed medication by the GP is suggested not to be optimal.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-6-115
PMCID: PMC1578560  PMID: 16970807
20.  Primary care nurses: effects on secondary care referrals for diabetes 
Background
Primary care nurses play an important role in diabetes care, and were introduced in GP-practice partly to shift care from hospital to primary care. The aim of this study was to assess whether the referral rate for hospital treatment for diabetes type II (T2DM) patients has changed with the introduction of primary care nurses, and whether these changes were related to the number of diabetes-related contacts in a general practice.
Methods
Healthcare utilisation was assessed for a period of 365 days for 301 newly diagnosed and 2124 known T2DM patients in 2004 and 450 and 3226 patients in 2006 from general practices that participated in the Netherlands Information Network of General Practice (LINH). Multilevel logistic and linear regression analyses were used to analyse the effect of the introduction of primary care nurses on referrals to internists, ophthalmologists and cardiologists and diabetes-related contact rate. Separate analyses were conducted for newly diagnosed and known T2DM patients.
Results
Referrals to internists for newly diagnosed T2DM patients decreased between 2004 and 2006 (OR:0.44; 95%CI:0.22-0.87) in all practices. For known T2DM patients no overall decrease in referrals to internists was found, but practices with a primary care nurse had a lower trend (OR:0.59). The number of diabetes-related contacts did not differ between practices with and without primary care nurses. Cardiologists' and ophthalmologists' referral rate did not change.
Conclusions
The introduction of primary care nurses seems to have led to a shift of care from internists to primary care for known diabetes patients, while the diabetes-related contact rate seem to have remained unchanged.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-230
PMCID: PMC2924333  PMID: 20691051
21.  The Dutch Consumer Quality Index: an example of stakeholder involvement in indicator development 
Background
Like in several other Western countries, in the Dutch health care system regulated competition has been introduced. In order to make this work, comparable information is required about the performance of health care providers in terms of effectiveness, safety and patient experiences. Without further coordination, external actors will all try to force health care providers to be transparent. For health care providers this might result in a situation in which they have to deliver data for several sets of indicators, defined by different actors. Therefore, in the Netherlands an effort is made to define national sets of performance indicators and related measuring instruments. In this article, the following questions are addressed, using patient experiences as an example:
- When and how are stakeholders involved in the development of indicators and instruments that measure the patients' experiences with health care providers?
- Does this involvement lead to indicators and instruments that match stakeholders' information needs?
Discussion
The Dutch experiences show that it is possible to implement national indicator sets and to reach consensus about what needs to be measured. Preliminary evaluations show that for health care providers and health insurers the benefits of standardization outweigh the possible loss of tailor-made information. However, it has also become clear that particular attention should be given to the participation of patient/consumer organisations.
Summary
Stakeholder involvement is complex and time-consuming. However, it is the only way to balance the information needs of all the parties that ask for and benefit from transparency, without frustrating the health care system.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-88
PMCID: PMC2864255  PMID: 20370925
22.  The breadth of primary care: a systematic literature review of its core dimensions 
Background
Even though there is general agreement that primary care is the linchpin of effective health care delivery, to date no efforts have been made to systematically review the scientific evidence supporting this supposition. The aim of this study was to examine the breadth of primary care by identifying its core dimensions and to assess the evidence for their interrelations and their relevance to outcomes at (primary) health system level.
Methods
A systematic review of the primary care literature was carried out, restricted to English language journals reporting original research or systematic reviews. Studies published between 2003 and July 2008 were searched in MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, King's Fund Database, IDEAS Database, and EconLit.
Results
Eighty-five studies were identified. This review was able to provide insight in the complexity of primary care as a multidimensional system, by identifying ten core dimensions that constitute a primary care system. The structure of a primary care system consists of three dimensions: 1. governance; 2. economic conditions; and 3. workforce development. The primary care process is determined by four dimensions: 4. access; 5. continuity of care; 6. coordination of care; and 7. comprehensiveness of care. The outcome of a primary care system includes three dimensions: 8. quality of care; 9. efficiency care; and 10. equity in health. There is a considerable evidence base showing that primary care contributes through its dimensions to overall health system performance and health.
Conclusions
A primary care system can be defined and approached as a multidimensional system contributing to overall health system performance and health.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-65
PMCID: PMC2848652  PMID: 20226084
23.  Determinants of public trust in complementary and alternative medicine 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:128.
Background
In the Netherlands, public trust in conventional medicine is relatively high. There is reason to believe that public trust in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is rated lower. The aim of this study is to gain insight into public trust in CAM and the determinants that lie at the root of it. We hypothesized that public trust in CAM is related to (perceived) institutional guarantees, media information on CAM, information from people's social network, personal experiences, the role of general practitioners (GPs) and trust in conventional medicine.
Methods
A postal questionnaire on public trust in CAM was mailed to 1358 members of the Health Care Consumer Panel. 65% of the questionnaires were returned. Data were analysed using frequencies, ANOVA, post hoc testing and linear regression analyses.
Results
In the total sample, the level of public trust in CAM was a 5.05 on average on a scale of 1-10. 40.7% was CAM user (current or past) and displayed significantly higher levels of trust toward CAM than CAM non users. In the total sample, public trust in CAM was related to institutional guarantees, negative media information, positive and negative information reported by their social network and people's personal experiences with CAM. For non users, trust is mostly associated with institutional guarantees. For users, personal experiences are most important. For both users and non users, trust levels in CAM are affected by negative media information. Public trust in CAM is for CAM users related to positive information and for non users to negative information from their network.
Conclusions
In the Netherlands, CAM is trusted less than conventional medicine. The hypotheses on institutional guarantees, media information, information from the network and people's personal experiences are confirmed by our study for the total sample, CAM non users and users. The other hypotheses are rejected.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-128
PMCID: PMC2848199  PMID: 20226015
24.  How do healthcare consumers process and evaluate comparative healthcare information? A qualitative study using cognitive interviews 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:423.
Background
To date, online public healthcare reports have not been effectively used by consumers. Therefore, we qualitatively examined how healthcare consumers process and evaluate comparative healthcare information on the Internet.
Methods
Using semi-structured cognitive interviews, interviewees (n = 20) were asked to think aloud and answer questions, as they were prompted with three Dutch web pages providing comparative healthcare information.
Results
We identified twelve themes from consumers' thoughts and evaluations. These themes were categorized under four important areas of interest: (1) a response to the design; (2) a response to the information content; (3) the use of the information, and (4) the purpose of the information.
Conclusion
Several barriers to an effective use of comparative healthcare information were identified, such as too much information and the ambiguity of terms presented on websites. Particularly important for future research is the question of how comparative healthcare information can be integrated with alternative information, such as patient reviews on the Internet. Furthermore, the readability of quality of care concepts is an issue that needs further attention, both from websites and communication experts.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-423
PMCID: PMC2785792  PMID: 19930564
25.  The nature and causes of unintended events reported at ten emergency departments 
Background
Several studies on patient safety have shown that a substantial number of patients suffer from unintended harm caused by healthcare management in hospitals. Emergency departments (EDs) are challenging hospital settings with regard to patient safety. There is an increased sense of urgency to take effective countermeasures in order to improve patient safety. This can only be achieved if interventions tackle the dominant underlying causes. The objectives of our study are to examine the nature and causes of unintended events in EDs and the relationship between type of event and causal factor structure.
Methods
Study at EDs of 10 hospitals in the Netherlands. The study period per ED was 8 to 14 weeks, in which staff were asked to report unintended events. Unintended events were broadly defined as all events, no matter how seemingly trivial or commonplace, that were unintended and could have harmed or did harm a patient. Reports were analysed with a Root Cause Analysis tool (PRISMA) by an experienced researcher.
Results
522 unintended events were reported. Of the events 25% was related to cooperation with other departments and 20% to problems with materials/equipment. More than half of the events had consequences for the patient, most often resulting in inconvenience or suboptimal care. Most root causes were human (60%), followed by organisational (25%) and technical causes (11%). Nearly half of the root causes was external, i.e. attributable to other departments in or outside the hospital.
Conclusion
Event reporting gives insight into diverse unintended events. The information on unintended events may help target research and interventions to increase patient safety. It seems worthwhile to direct interventions on the collaboration between the ED and other hospital departments.
doi:10.1186/1471-227X-9-16
PMCID: PMC2753307  PMID: 19765275

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