Non-communicable diseases are a leading cause of death and can largely be prevented by healthy lifestyles. Health care organizations are encouraged to integrate healthy lifestyle promotion in routine care. This study evaluates the impact of a team initiative on healthy lifestyle promotion in primary care.
A quasi-experimental, cross-sectional design compared three intervention centres that had implemented lifestyle teams with three control centres that used a traditional model of care. Outcomes were defined using the RE-AIM framework: reach, the proportion of patients receiving lifestyle promotion; effectiveness, self-reported attitudes and competency among staff; adoption, proportion of staff reporting regular practice of lifestyle promotion; implementation, fidelity to the original lifestyle team protocol. Data collection methods included a patient questionnaire (n = 888), a staff questionnaire (n = 120) and structured interviews with all practice managers and, where applicable, team managers (n = 8). The chi square test and problem-driven content analysis was used to analyse the questionnaire and interview data, respectively.
Reach: patients at control centres (48%, n = 211) received lifestyle promotion significantly more often compared with patients at intervention centres (41%, n = 169). Effectiveness: intervention staff was significantly more positive towards the effectiveness of lifestyle promotion, shared competency and how lifestyle promotion was prioritized at their centre. Adoption: 47% of staff at intervention centres and 58% at control centres reported that they asked patients about their lifestyle on a daily basis. Implementation: all intervention centres had implemented multi-professional teams and team managers and held regular meetings but struggled to implement in-house referral structures for lifestyle promotion, which was used consistently among staff.
Intervention centres did not show higher rates than control centres on reach of patients or adoption among staff at this stage. All intervention centres struggled to implement working referral structures for lifestyle promotion. Intervention centres were more positive on effectiveness outcomes, attitudes and competency among staff, however. Thus, lifestyle teams may facilitate lifestyle promotion practice in terms of increased responsiveness among staff, illustrated by positive attitudes and perceptions of shared competency. More research is needed on lifestyle promotion referral structures in primary care regarding their configuration and implementation.
Healthy lifestyle promotion; Primary care; Implementation fidelity; Coordination of care; RE-AIM framework
Integration of lifestyle promotion in routine primary care has been suboptimal. Coordinated care models (e.g. screening, brief advice and referral to in-house specialized staff) could facilitate lifestyle promotion practice; they have been shown to increase the quality of services and reduce costs in other areas of care. This study evaluates the long-term impact of a coordinated lifestyle promotion intervention with a multidisciplinary team approach in a primary care setting.
A quasi-experimental, cross-sectional design was used to compare three intervention centres using a coordinated care model and three control centres using a traditional model of lifestyle promotion care. Outcomes were inspired by using the RE-AIM framework: reach, the proportion of patients receiving lifestyle promotion; effectiveness, self-reported attitudes and competency among staff; adoption, proportion of staff reporting daily practice of lifestyle promotion and referral; and implementation, of the coordinated care model. The impact was investigated after 3 and 5 years. Data collection involved a patient questionnaire (intervention, n = 433–497; control, n = 455–497), a staff questionnaire (intervention, n = 77–76; control, n = 43–56) and structured interviews with managers (n = 8). The χ2 test or Fisher exact test with adjustment for clustering by centre was used for the analysis. Problem-driven content analysis was used to analyse the interview data.
The findings were consistent over time. Intervention centres did not show higher rates for reach of patients or adoption among staff at the 3- or 5-year follow-up. Some conceptual differences between intervention and control staff remained over time in that the intervention staff were more positive on two of eight effectiveness outcomes (one attitude and one competency item) compared with control staff. The Lifestyle team protocol, which included structural opportunities for coordinated care, was implemented at all intervention centres. Lifestyle teams were perceived to have an important role at the centres in driving the lifestyle promotion work forward and being a forum for knowledge exchange. However, resources to refer patients to specialized staff were used inconsistently.
The Lifestyle teams may have offered opportunities for lifestyle promotion practice and contributed to enabling conditions at centre level but had limited impact on lifestyle promotion practices.
Healthy lifestyle promotion; Primary care; Implementation; Coordinated care; RE-AIM framework; Maintenance
Brief interventions can be efficacious in changing alcohol consumption and increasingly take advantage of the internet to reach high-risk populations such as students.
To evaluate the effectiveness of a brief online intervention, controlling for the possible effects of the research process.
A three-arm parallel groups design was used to explore the magnitude of the feedback and assessment component effects. The three groups were: alcohol assessment and feedback (group 1); alcohol assessment only without feedback (group 2); and no contact, and thus neither assessment nor feedback (group 3). Outcomes were evaluated after 3 months via an invitation to participate in a brief cross-sectional lifestyle survey. The study was undertaken in two universities randomising the email addresses of all 14 910 students (the AMADEUS-1 study, trial registration: ISRCTN28328154).
Overall, 52% (n = 7809) of students completed follow-up, with small differences in attrition between the three groups. For each of the two primary outcomes, there was one statistically significant difference between groups, with group 1 having 3.7% fewer risky drinkers at follow-up than group 3 (P = 0.006) and group 2 scoring 0.16 points lower than group 3 on the three alcohol consumption questions from the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C) (P = 0.039).
This study provides some evidence of population-level benefit attained through intervening with individual students.
Screening and brief interventions head the list of effective evidence-based interventions for the prevention and treatment of alcohol use disorders in healthcare settings. However, healthcare professionals have been reluctant to engage with this kind of activity both because of the sensitive nature of the subject and because delivery is potentially time-consuming. Digital technologies for behavioral change are becoming increasingly widespread and their low delivery costs make them highly attractive. Internet and mobile technologies have been shown to be effective for the treatment of depression, anxiety, and smoking cessation in healthcare settings, and have the potential to add substantial value to the delivery of brief intervention for alcohol. Online alcohol questionnaires have been shown to elicit reliable responses on alcohol consumption and compared with conventional prevention techniques, digital alcohol interventions delivered in various settings have been found to be as effective in preventing alcohol-related harms. The last decade has seen the emergence of a range of approaches to the implementation in health care settings of referral to Internet-based applications for screening and brief interventions (eSBI) for alcohol. Research in this area is in its infancy, but there is a small body of evidence providing early indications about implementation and sustainability, and a number of studies are currently underway. This paper examines some of the evidence emerging from these and other studies and assesses the implications for the future of eSBI delivery in primary care settings.
eSBI; online interventions; alcohol; health care setting; Internet; digital
In recent years, many electronic health behavior interventions have been developed in order to reach individuals with unhealthy behaviors, such as risky drinking. This is especially relevant for university students, many of whom are risky drinkers.
This study explored the acceptability and feasibility in a nontreatment-seeking group of university students (including both risk and nonrisk drinkers), of a fully automated, push-based, multiple-session, alcohol intervention, comparing two modes of delivery by randomizing participants to receive the intervention either by SMS text messaging (short message service, SMS) or by email.
A total of 5499 students at Luleå University in northern Sweden were invited to participate in a single-session alcohol assessment and feedback intervention; 28.04% (1542/5499) students completed this part of the study. In total, 29.44% (454/1542) of those participating in the single-session intervention accepted to participate further in the extended multiple-session intervention lasting for 4 weeks. The students were randomized to receive the intervention messages via SMS or email. A follow-up questionnaire was sent immediately after the intervention and 52.9% (240/454) responded.
No difference was seen regarding satisfaction with the length and frequency of the intervention, regardless of the mode of delivery. Approximately 15% in both the SMS (19/136) and email groups (15/104) would have preferred the other mode of delivery. On the other hand, more students in the SMS group (46/229, 20.1%) stopped participating in the intervention during the 4-week period compared with the email group (10/193, 5.2%). Most students in both groups expressed satisfaction with the content of the messages and would recommend the intervention to a fellow student in need of reducing drinking. A striking difference was seen regarding when a message was read; 88.2% (120/136) of the SMS group read the messages within 1 hour in contrast to 45.2% (47/104) in the email group. In addition, 83.1% (113/136) in the SMS group stated that they read all or almost all the messages, compared with only 63.5% (66/104) in the email group.
Based on the feedback from the students, an extended, multiple-session, push-based intervention seems to be a feasible option for students interested in additional support after a single-session alcohol intervention. SMS as a mode of delivery seems to have some advantages over email regarding when a message is read and the proportion of messages read. However, more students in the SMS group stopped the intervention than in the email group. Based on these promising findings, further studies comparing the effectiveness of single-session interventions with extended multiple-session interventions delivered separately or in combination are warranted.
alcohol intervention; text messages; SMS; email; students; multiple-session intervention; push-based intervention
Injuries constitute a major public health problem. Millions of people are injured each year and acute drinking is a well-known risk factor for injuries. Research suggests that acknowledgment of alcohol as a factor in an injury enhances willingness to change drinking behavior, possibly because the patient becomes aware of the negative consequences of their drinking.
To investigate the prevalence of acute alcohol consumption (drinking prior to the event) among injury patients and to examine the importance of factors potentially associated with motivation to reduce alcohol consumption among these patients.
All patients aged 18–69 years were requested to answer alcohol-related questions on a touch-screen computer.
Fifteen percent of injured patients were categorized as acute drinkers and, of these, 64% reported that their injury was connected to alcohol. There were significant differences for all sociodemographic and drinking characteristics between acute drinkers and non-acute drinkers. Acute drinkers were categorized as risky drinkers to a much higher extent than non-acute drinkers. Acute drinkers had a considerably higher average weekly alcohol consumption and engaged far more frequently in heavy episodic drinking than non-acute drinkers. Acute drinkers were motivated to reduce their alcohol intake to a greater extent than non-acute drinkers; 51% were in the action, preparation, and contemplation stages, compared with 19% of the non-acute drinkers.
Acute drinkers had considerably more detrimental alcohol consumption than non-acute drinkers and the acute drinkers were more motivated to reduce their drinking than the non-acute drinkers.
alcohol consumption; acute drinking; motivation to change; injured patients; emergency department
Alcohol is responsible for a large and growing proportion of the global burden of disease, as well as being the cause of social problems. Brief interventions are one component of comprehensive policy measures necessary to reduce these harms. Brief interventions increasingly take advantage of the Internet to reach large numbers of high risk groups such as students. The research literature on the efficacy and effectiveness of online interventions is developing rapidly. Although many studies show benefits in the form of reduced consumption, other intervention studies show no effects, for reasons that are unclear. Sweden became the first country in the world to implement a national system in which all university students are offered a brief online intervention via an e-mail.
This randomized controlled trial (RCT) aims to evaluate the effectiveness of this national system comprising a brief online intervention among university students who are hazardous and harmful drinkers. This study employs a conventional RCT design in which screening to determine eligibility precedes random allocation to immediate or delayed access to online intervention. The online intervention evaluated comprises three main components; assessment, normative feedback and advice on reducing drinking. Screening is confined to a single question in order to minimise assessment reactivity and to prevent contamination. Outcomes will be evaluated after 2 months, with total weekly alcohol consumption being the primary outcome measure. Invitations to participate are provided by e-mail to approximately 55,000 students in 9 Swedish universities.
This RCT evaluates routine service provision in Swedish universities via a delay in offer of intervention to the control group. It evaluates effects in the key population for whom this intervention has been designed. Study findings will inform the further development of the national service provision.
The European level of alcohol consumption, and the subsequent burden of disease, is high compared to the rest of the world. While screening and brief interventions in primary healthcare are cost-effective, in most countries they have hardly been implemented in routine primary healthcare. In this study, we aim to examine the effectiveness and efficiency of three implementation interventions that have been chosen to address key barriers for improvement: training and support to address lack of knowledge and motivation in healthcare providers; financial reimbursement to compensate the time investment; and internet-based counselling to reduce workload for primary care providers.
In a cluster randomized factorial trial, data from Catalan, English, Netherlands, Polish, and Swedish primary healthcare units will be collected on screening and brief advice rates for hazardous and harmful alcohol consumption. The three implementation strategies will be provided separately and in combination in a total of seven intervention groups and compared with a treatment as usual control group. Screening and brief intervention activities will be measured at baseline, during 12 weeks and after six months. Process measures include health professionals’ role security and therapeutic commitment of the participating providers (SAAPPQ questionnaire). A total of 120 primary healthcare units will be included, equally distributed over the five countries. Both intention to treat and per protocol analyses are planned to determine intervention effectiveness, using random coefficient regression modelling.
Effective interventions to implement screening and brief interventions for hazardous alcohol use are urgently required. This international multi-centre trial will provide evidence to guide decision makers.
ClinicalTrials.gov. Trial identifier: NCT01501552
Alcohol; Screening; Brief interventions; Primary healthcare; Training and support; Financial reimbursement; Internet; Implementation
University students in Sweden routinely receive proactive mail-based alcohol Internet interventions sent from student health services. This intervention provides personalized normative feedback on alcohol consumption with suggestions on how to decrease drinking. Earlier feasibility trials by our group and others have examined effectiveness in simple parallel-groups designs.
To evaluate the effectiveness of electronic screening and brief intervention, using a randomized controlled trial design that takes account of baseline assessment reactivity (and other possible effects of the research process) due to the similarity between the intervention and assessment content. The design of the study allowed for exploration of the magnitude of the assessment effects per se.
This trial used a dismantling design and randomly assigned 5227 students to 3 groups: (1) routine practice assessment and feedback, (2) assessment-only without feedback, and (3) neither assessment nor feedback. At baseline all participants were blinded to study participation, with no contact being made with group 3. We approached students 2 months later to participate in a cross-sectional alcohol survey. All interventions were fully automated and did not have any human involvement. All data used in the analysis were based on self-assessment using questionnaires. The participants were unaware that they were participating in a trial and thus were also blinded to which group they were randomly assigned.
Overall, 44.69% (n = 2336) of those targeted for study completed follow-up. Attrition was similar in groups 1 (697/1742, 40.01%) and 2 (737/1742, 42.31% retained) and lower in group 3 (902/1743, 51.75% retained). Intention-to-treat analyses among all participants regardless of their baseline drinking status revealed no differences between groups in all alcohol parameters at the 2-month follow-up. Per-protocol analyses of groups 1 and 2 among those who accepted the email intervention (36.2% of the students who were offered the intervention in group 1 and 37.3% of the students in group2 ) and who were risky drinkers at baseline (60.7% follow-up rate in group 1 and 63.5% in group 2) suggested possible small beneficial effects on weekly consumption attributable to feedback.
This approach to outcome evaluation is highly conservative, and small benefits may follow the actual uptake of feedback intervention in students who are risky drinkers, the precise target group.
International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN): 24735383; http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN24735383 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6Awq7gjXG)
Alcohol drinking; Web-based intervention; proactive intervention; university students
Alcohol causes huge problems for population health and for society, which require interventions with individuals as well as populations to prevent and reduce harms. Brief interventions can be effective and increasingly take advantage of the internet to reach high-risk groups such as students. The research literature on the effectiveness of online interventions is developing rapidly and is confronted by methodological challenges common to other areas of e-health including attrition and assessment reactivity and in the design of control conditions.
The study aim is to evaluate the effectiveness of a brief online intervention, employing a randomized controlled trial (RCT) design that takes account of baseline assessment reactivity, and other possible effects of the research process. Outcomes will be evaluated after 3 months both among student populations as a whole including for a randomized no contact control group and among those who are risky drinkers randomized to brief assessment and feedback (routine practice) or to brief assessment only. A three-arm parallel groups trial will also allow exploration of the magnitude of the feedback and assessment component effects. The trial will be undertaken simultaneously in 2 universities randomizing approximately 15,300 students who will all be blinded to trial participation. All participants will be offered routine practice intervention at the end of the study.
This trial informs the development of routine service delivery in Swedish universities and more broadly contributes a new approach to the study of the effectiveness of online interventions in student populations, with relevance to behaviors other than alcohol consumption. The use of blinding and deception in this study raise ethical issues that warrant further attention.
To analyse patients’ self-reported reasons for not adhering to physical activity referrals (PARs).
Design and setting
Data on 1358 patients who did not adhere to PARs were collected at 38 primary health care (PHC) centres in Sweden.
PHC providers issued formal physical activity prescriptions for home-based activities or referrals for facility-based activities.
Ordinary PHC patients whom regular staff believed would benefit from increased physical activity.
Main outcome measure
Reasons for non-adherence to PARs: “sickness”, “pain”, “low motivation”, “no time”, “economic factors”, and “other”.
Sickness and pain were the most common motives for non-adherence among older patients. The youngest patients blamed economic factors and lack of time more frequently than those in the oldest age group. Economic factors was a more common reason for non-adherence among those referred for facility-based activities compared with those prescribed home-based activities. Low motivation was a more frequent cause of non-adherence among those prescribed home-based activities compared with those referred for facility-based activities. Furthermore, lack of time was a more common reason for non-adherence among patients issued with PARs due to high blood pressure than other patients, while low motivation was a more common reason among patients issued with PARs because of a BMI of > 25.
The reasons for non-adherence differ between patients prescribed home-based activities and referred for facility-based activities, as well as between patients with different specific characteristics. The information obtained may be valuable not only for the professionals working in PHC, but also for those who work to develop PARs for use in different contexts.
Adherence; exercise; lifestyle; health promotion; prescription; primary prevention
Interactive behavior change technology (eg, computer programs, Internet websites, and mobile phones) may facilitate the implementation of lifestyle behavior interventions in routine primary health care. Effective, fully automated solutions not involving primary health care staff may offer low-cost support for behavior change.
We explored the effectiveness of an electronic screening and brief intervention (e-SBI) deployed through a stand-alone information kiosk for promoting physical activity among sedentary patients in routine primary health care. We further tested whether its effectiveness differed between patients performing the e-SBI on their own initiative and those referred to it by primary health care staff.
The e-SBI screens for the physical activity level, motivation to change, attitudes toward performing the test, and physical characteristics and provides tailored feedback supporting behavior change. A total of 7863 patients performed the e-SBI from 2007 through 2009 in routine primary health care in Östergötland County, Sweden. Of these, 2509 were considered not sufficiently physically active, and 311 of these 2509 patients agreed to participate in an optional 3-month follow-up. These 311 patients were included in the analysis and were further divided into two groups based on whether the e-SBI was performed on the patient´s own initiative (informed by posters in the waiting room) or if the patient was referred to it by staff. A physical activity score representing the number of days being physically active was compared between baseline e-SBI and the 3-month follow-up. Based on physical activity recommendations, a score of 5 was considered the cutoff for being sufficiently physically active.
In all, 137 of 311 patients (44%) were sufficiently physically active at the 3-month follow-up. The proportion becoming sufficiently physically active was 16/55 (29%), 40/101 (40%), and 81/155 (52%) for patients with a physical activity score at baseline of 0, 1 to 2, and 3 to 4, respectively. The patient-initiated group and staff-referred group had similar mean physical activity scores at baseline (2.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.8-2.3, versus 2.3, 95% CI 2.1-2.5) and at follow-up, (4.1, 95% CI 3.4-4.7, vs 4.2, 95% CI 3.7-4.8).
Among the sedentary patients in primary health care who participated in the follow-up, the e-SBI appeared effective at promoting short-term improvement of physical activity for about half of them. The results were similar when the e-SBI was patient-initiated or staff-referred. The e-SBI may be a low-cost complement to lifestyle behavior interventions in routine primary health care and could work as a stand-alone technique not requiring the involvment of primary health care staff.
Computer-tailored; eHealth; lifestyle behavior; exercise; automated
The aim of this paper was to evaluate whether primary health care staff's referral of patients to perform an electronic screening and brief intervention (e-SBI) for alcohol use had a greater impact on change in alcohol consumption after 3 month, compared to patients who performed the test on their own initiative. Staff-referred responders reported reduced weekly alcohol consumption with an average decrease of 8.4 grams. In contrast, self-referred responders reported an average increase in weekly alcohol consumption of 2.4 grams. Staff-referred responders reported a 49% reduction of average number of heavy episodic drinking (HED) occasions per month. The corresponding reduction for self-referred responders was 62%. The differences between staff- and self-referred patient groups in the number who moved from risky drinking to nonrisky drinking at the followup were not statistically significant. Our results indicate that standalone computers with touchscreens that provide e-SBIs for risky drinking have the same effect on drinking behaviour in both staff-referred patients and self-referred patients.
Bridging the knowledge-to-practice gap in health care is an important issue that has gained interest in recent years. Implementing new methods, guidelines or tools into routine care, however, is a slow and unpredictable process, and the factors that play a role in the change process are not yet fully understood. There is a number of theories concerned with factors predicting successful implementation in various settings, however, this issue is insufficiently studied in primary health care (PHC). The objective of this article was to apply implementation theory to identify key factors influencing the adoption of an innovation being introduced in PHC in Sweden.
A qualitative study was carried out with staff at six PHC units in Sweden where a computer-based test for lifestyle intervention had been implemented. Two different implementation strategies, implicit or explicit, were used. Sixteen focus group interviews and two individual interviews were performed. In the analysis a theoretical framework based on studies of implementation in health service organizations, was applied to identify key factors influencing adoption.
The theoretical framework proved to be relevant for studies in PHC. Adoption was positively influenced by positive expectations at the unit, perceptions of the innovation being compatible with existing routines and perceived advantages. An explicit implementation strategy and positive opinions on change and innovation were also associated with adoption. Organizational changes and staff shortages coinciding with implementation seemed to be obstacles for the adoption process.
When implementation theory obtained from studies in other areas was applied in PHC it proved to be relevant for this particular setting. Based on our results, factors to be taken into account in the planning of the implementation of a new tool in PHC should include assessment of staff expectations, assessment of the perceived need for the innovation to be implemented, and of its potential compatibility with existing routines. Regarding context, we suggest that implementation concurrent with other major organizational changes should be avoided. The choice of implementation strategy should be given thorough consideration.
Written prescriptions of physical activity have increased in popularity. Such schemes have mostly been evaluated in terms of efficacy in clinical trials. This study reports on a physical activity prescription referral scheme implemented in routine primary health care (PHC) in Sweden. The aim of this study was to evaluate patients' self-reported adherence to physical activity prescriptions at 3 and 12 months and to analyse different characteristics associated with adherence to these prescriptions.
Prospective prescription data were obtained for the general population in 37 of 42 PHC centres in Östergötland County, during 2004. The study population consisted of 3300.
The average adherence rate to the prescribed activity was 56% at 3 months and 50% at 12 months. In the multiple logistic regression models, higher adherence was associated with higher activity level at baseline and with prescriptions including home-based activities.
Prescription from ordinary PHC staff yielded adherence in half of the patients in this PAR scheme follow-up.
Health care providers in many countries have delivered interventions to improve physical activity levels among their patients. Thus far, less is known about the population's interest to increase their physical activity levels and their opinion about the health care provider's role in physical activity promotion. The aims of this paper were to investigate the self-reported physical activity levels of the population and intention to increase physical activity levels, self-perceived need for support, and opinions about the responsibilities of both individuals and health care providers to promote physical activity.
A regional public health survey was mailed to 13 440 adults (aged 18-84 years) living in Östergötland County (Sweden) in 2006. The survey was part of the regular effort by the regional Health Authorities.
About 25% of the population was categorised as physically active, 38% as moderately active, 27% as somewhat active, and 11% as low active. More than one-third (37%) had no intentions to increase their physical activity levels, 36% had thought about change, while 27% were determined to change. Lower intention to change was mainly associated with increased age and lower education levels. 28% answered that physical activity was the most important health-related behaviour to change "right now" and 15% of those answered that they wanted or needed support to make this change. Of respondents who might be assumed to be in greatest need of increased activity (i.e. respondents reporting poor general health, BMI>30, and inactivity) more than one-quarter wanted support to make improvements to their health. About half of the respondents who wanted support to increase their physical activity levels listed health care providers as a primary source for support.
These findings suggest that there is considerable need for physical activity interventions in this population. Adults feel great responsibility for their own physical activity levels, but also attribute responsibility for promoting increased physical activity to health care practitioners.
Electronic-based alcohol screening and brief interventions for university students with problem drinking behaviours forms an important means by which to identify risky drinkers.
In this study an e-SBI project was implemented to assess drinking patterns, and to provide personalised feedback about alcohol consumption and related health problems, to students in a Swedish university. In this study, third semester university students (n = 2858) from all faculties (colleges) at the University were invited to participate in e-SBI screenings. This study employed a randomised controlled trial, with respondents having a equal chance of being assigned to a limited, or full-feedback response.
The study shows that high risk drinkers tend to underestimate their own consumption compared to others, and that these high risk drinkers experience more negative consequences after alcohol intake, than other respondents. There was a strong belief, for both high- and low-risk drinkers, that alcohol helped celebrations be more festive. This study also confirms findings from other study locations that while males drank more than females in our study population; females reached the same peak alcohol blood concentrations as males.
Obtaining clear and current information on drinking patterns demonstrated by university students can help public health officials, university administration, and local health care providers develop appropriate prevention and treatment strategies.
Assessment of health-related quality of life is so far mainly used in specific research settings and not widely accepted in the routine care of patients. Lack of trust in accuracy and reliability and lack of knowledge concerning the questionnaires used, methods, terminology, are just some of the perceived barriers for a more widespread dissemination of these instruments into routine health care. The present study was undertaken in order to test the feasibility of a computerised system for collecting and analysing health-related quality of life in a routine clinical setting and to examine the thoughts and attitudes among physicians concerning the value of these measurements.
Seventy-four patients with chronic pulmonary lung disease were asked to assess their health-related quality of life with a computerised version of the SF-36 questionnaire before a regular the visit to a physician. The results were immediately available for the physician during the consultation for comparison of information given by the patients and the physician's evaluation of the patients overall health status. A focus group interview with the physicians was performed before and after the implementation of routine measurements of health-related quality of life.
The systematic assessment concept worked satisfactorily. All patients approached agreed to participate and completed the assessment on the touch screen computer. A weak correlation was found between patients' self-rated health and pulmonary function and between physicians' evaluation and pulmonary function. The physicians appreciated the SF-36 assessments and the value of the patients' perspective although only a few could pinpoint new clinical decisions based upon this new information.
Physicians' clinical evaluation and patients' self-rating of health status offer unique and important information that are complementary.
Health-related quality of life; routine care; and physicians' perceived value
Some public health behavioral intervention research studies involve deception. A methodological imperative to minimize bias can be in conflict with the ethical principle of informed consent. As a case study, we examine the specific forms of deception used in three online randomized controlled trials evaluating brief alcohol interventions. We elaborate our own decision making about the use of deception in these trials, and present our ongoing findings and uncertainties. We discuss the value of the approach of pragmatism for examining these kinds of ethical issues that can arise in research on public health interventions.
public health; research ethics