PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-6 (6)
 

Clipboard (0)
None

Select a Filter Below

Journals
Authors
Year of Publication
Document Types
1.  The value of survival analyses for evidence-based rural medical workforce planning 
Background
Globally, abundant opportunities exist for policymakers to improve the accessibility of rural and remote populations to primary health care through improving workforce retention. This paper aims to identify and quantify the most important factors associated with rural and remote Australian family physician turnover, and to demonstrate how evidence generated by survival analysis of health workforce data can inform rural workforce policy making.
Methods
A secondary analysis of longitudinal data collected by the New South Wales (NSW) Rural Doctors Network for all family physicians working in rural or remote NSW between January 1st 2003 and December 31st 2012 was performed. The Prentice, Williams and Peterson statistical model for survival analysis was used to identify and quantify risk factors for rural NSW family physician turnover.
Results
Multivariate modelling revealed a higher (2.65-fold) risk of family physician turnover in small, remote locations compared to that in small closely settled locations. Family physicians who graduated from countries other than Australia, United Kingdom, United States of America, New Zealand, Ireland, and Canada also had a higher (1.45-fold) risk of turnover compared to Australian trained family physicians. This was after adjusting for the effects of conditional registration. Procedural skills and public hospital admitting rights were associated with a lower risk of turnover. These risks translate to a predicted median survival of 11 years for Australian-trained family physician non-proceduralists with hospital admitting rights working in small coastal closely settled locations compared to 3 years for family physicians in remote locations.
Conclusions
This study provides rigorous empirical evidence of the strong association between population size and geographical location and the retention of family physicians in rural and remote NSW. This has important policy ramifications since retention grants for rural and remote family physicians in Australia are currently based on a geographical ‘remoteness’ classification rather than population size. In addition, this study demonstrates how survival analysis assists health workforce planning, such as through generating evidence to assist in benchmarking ‘reasonable’ lengths of practice in different geographic settings that might guide service obligation requirements.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-11-65
PMCID: PMC4029435  PMID: 24330603
Australia; Cohort studies; Family physician; Family practice; General practitioner; Health manpower; Health policy; Health workforce; Personnel turnover; Policy making; Primary health care; Retention
2.  Spatial accessibility of primary health care utilising the two step floating catchment area method: an assessment of recent improvements 
Background
The two step floating catchment area (2SFCA) method has emerged in the last decade as a key measure of spatial accessibility, particularly in its application to primary health care access. Many recent ‘improvements’ to the original 2SFCA method have been developed, which generally either account for distance-decay within a catchment or enable the usage of variable catchment sizes. This paper evaluates the effectiveness of various proposed methods within these two improvement groups. Moreover, its assessment focuses on how well these improvements operate within and between rural and metropolitan populations over large geographical regions.
Results
Demonstrating these improvements to the whole state of Victoria, Australia, this paper presents the first comparison between continuous and zonal (step) decay functions and specifically their effect within both rural and metropolitan populations. Especially in metropolitan populations, the application of either type of distance-decay function is shown to be problematic by itself. Its inclusion necessitates the addition of a variable catchment size function which can enable the 2SFCA method to dynamically define more appropriate catchments which align with actual health service supply and utilisation.
Conclusion
This study assesses recent ‘improvements’ to the 2SFCA when applied over large geographic regions of both large and small populations. Its findings demonstrate the necessary combination of both a distance-decay function and variable catchment size function in order for the 2SFCA to appropriately measure healthcare access across all geographical regions.
doi:10.1186/1476-072X-11-50
PMCID: PMC3520708  PMID: 23153335
Spatial accessibility; Primary health care; Rural health; Access to health care; Service catchments; Medical geography
3.  Nature of association between rural background and practice location: A comparison of general practitioners and specialists 
Background
Rural and remote areas are characterised by a shortage of medical practitioners. Rural background has been shown to be a significant factor associated with medical graduates' intentions and decisions to practise within a rural area, though most studies have only used simple definitions of rural background and not previously looked at specialists. This paper aims to investigate in detail the nature of the association between rural background and practice location of Australian general practitioners (GPs) and specialists
Methods
Data for 3156 GPs and 2425 specialists were obtained from the Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL) study. Data on the number of childhood years resident in a rural location and population size of their rural childhood location were matched against current practice location. Logistic regression modelling was used to calculate adjusted associations between doctors in rural practice and rural background, sex and age.
Results
GPs with at least 6 years of their childhood spent in a rural area were significantly more likely than those with 0-5 years in a rural area to be practising in a rural location (OR 2.28, 95% CI 1.69-3.08), whilst only specialists with at least 11 years rural background were significantly more likely to be practising in a rural location (OR 2.27, 95% CI 1.77-2.91). However, for doctors with a rural background, the size of the community that they grew up in was not significantly associated with the size of the community in which they currently practise. Both female GPs and female specialists are similarly much less likely to be practising in a rural location compared with males (GPs: OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.45-0.62).
Conclusions
This study elucidates the association between rural background and rural practice for both GPs and specialists. It follows that increased take-up of rural practice by new graduates requires an increased selection of students with strong rural backgrounds. However, given the considerable under-representation of rural background students in medical schools and the reluctance of females to practise in rural areas, the selection of rural background students is only part of the solution to increasing the supply of rural doctors.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-63
PMCID: PMC3074548  PMID: 21429224
4.  Routine resite of peripheral intravenous devices every 3 days did not reduce complications compared with clinically indicated resite: a randomised controlled trial 
BMC Medicine  2010;8:53.
Background
Peripheral intravenous device (IVD) complications were traditionally thought to be reduced by limiting dwell time. Current recommendations are to resite IVDs by 96 hours with the exception of children and patients with poor veins. Recent evidence suggests routine resite is unnecessary, at least if devices are inserted by a specialised IV team. The aim of this study was to compare the impact of peripheral IVD 'routine resite' with 'removal on clinical indication' on IVD complications in a general hospital without an IV team.
Methods
A randomised, controlled trial was conducted in a regional teaching hospital. After ethics approval, 362 patients (603 IVDs) were randomised to have IVDs replaced on clinical indication (185 patients) or routine change every 3 days (177 patients). IVDs were inserted and managed by the general hospital medical and nursing staff; there was no IV team. The primary endpoint was a composite of IVD complications: phlebitis, infiltration, occlusion, accidental removal, local infection, and device-related bloodstream infection.
Results
IVD complication rates were 68 per 1,000 IVD days (clinically indicated) and 66 per 1,000 IVD days (routine replacement) (P = 0.86; HR 1.03; 95% CI, 0.74-1.43). Time to first complication per patient did not differ between groups (KM with log rank, P = 0.53). There were no local infections or IVD-related bloodstream infections in either group. IV therapy duration did not differ between groups (P = 0.22), but more (P = 0.004) IVDs were placed per patient in the routine replacement (mean, 1.8) than the clinical indication group (mean, 1.5), with significantly higher hospital costs per patient (P < 0.001).
Conclusions
Resite on clinical indication would allow one in two patients to have a single cannula per course of IV treatment, as opposed to one in five patients managed with routine resite; overall complication rates appear similar. Clinically indicated resite would achieve savings in equipment, staff time and patient discomfort. There is growing evidence to support the extended use of peripheral IVDs with removal only on clinical indication.
Registration number
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) Number ACTRN12608000421336.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-8-53
PMCID: PMC2944158  PMID: 20831782
5.  Geographical classifications to guide rural health policy in Australia 
The Australian Government's recent decision to replace the Rural Remote and Metropolitan Area (RRMA) classification with the Australian Standard Geographical Classification - Remoteness Areas (ASGC-RA) system highlights the ongoing significance of geographical classifications for rural health policy, particularly in relation to improving the rural health workforce supply. None of the existing classifications, including the government's preferred choice, were designed specifically to guide health resource allocation, and all exhibit strong weaknesses when applied as such. Continuing reliance on these classifications as policy tools will continue to result in inappropriate health program resource distribution. Purely 'geographical' classifications alone cannot capture all relevant aspects of rural health service provision within a single measure. Moreover, because many subjective decisions (such as the choice of algorithm and breakdown of groupings) influence a classification's impact and acceptance from its users, policy-makers need to specify explicitly the purpose and role of their different programs as the basis for developing and implementing appropriate decision tools such as 'rural-urban' classifications. Failure to do so will continue to limit the effectiveness that current rural health support and incentive programs can have in achieving their objective of improving the provision of health care services to rural populations though affirmative action programs.
doi:10.1186/1743-8462-6-28
PMCID: PMC2796649  PMID: 19995449
6.  The index of rural access: an innovative integrated approach for measuring primary care access 
Background
The problem of access to health care is of growing concern for rural and remote populations. Many Australian rural health funding programs currently use simplistic rurality or remoteness classifications as proxy measures of access. This paper outlines the development of an alternative method for the measurement of access to primary care, based on combining the three key access elements of spatial accessibility (availability and proximity), population health needs and mobility.
Methods
The recently developed two-step floating catchment area (2SFCA) method provides a basis for measuring primary care access in rural populations. In this paper, a number of improvements are added to the 2SFCA method in order to overcome limitations associated with its current restriction to a single catchment size and the omission of any distance decay function. Additionally, small-area measures for the two additional elements, health needs and mobility are developed. By utilising this improved 2SFCA method, the three access elements are integrated into a single measure of access. This index has been developed within the state of Victoria, Australia.
Results
The resultant index, the Index of Rural Access, provides a more sensitive and appropriate measure of access compared to existing classifications which currently underpin policy measures designed to overcome problems of limited access to health services. The most powerful aspect of this new index is its ability to identify access differences within rural populations at a much finer geographical scale. This index highlights that many rural areas of Victoria have been incorrectly classified by existing measures as homogenous in regards to their access.
Conclusion
The Index of Rural Access provides the first truly integrated index of access to primary care. This new index can be used to better target the distribution of limited government health care funding allocated to address problems of poor access to primary health care services in rural areas.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-124
PMCID: PMC2720961  PMID: 19624859

Results 1-6 (6)