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1.  Sexual behaviour, sexually transmitted infections and attitudes to chlamydia testing among a unique national sample of young Australians: baseline data from a randomised controlled trial 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:12.
Background
Chlamydia infection is the most common notifiable sexually transmitted infection (STI) in Australia and mostly affects young people (15 – 25 years). This paper presents baseline data from a randomised controlled trial that aimed to increase chlamydia testing among sexually active young people. The objectives were to identify associations between sexual behaviour, substance use and STI history and explore attitudes to chlamydia testing.
Methods
This study was conducted in cyberspace. Study recruitment, allocation, delivery of interventions and baseline and follow up data collection all took place online. Participants were 16 – 25 years old and resided in Australia. Substance use correlates of sexual activity; predictors of history of STIs; barriers to and facilitators of chlamydia testing were analysed.
Results
Of 856 participants (79.1% female), 704 had experienced penetrative intercourse. Sexually active participants were more likely to smoke regularly or daily, to drink alcohol, or to have binge drunk or used marijuana or other illicit substances recently. Risk factors for having a history of any STI were 3 or more sexual partners ever, 6 or more partners in the past 12 months, condom non-use and being 20 years or older. Almost all sexually active participants said that they would have a chlamydia test if their doctor recommended it.
Conclusions
Sexually active young people are at risk of STIs and may engage in substance use risk behaviours. Where one health risk behaviour is identified, it is important to seek information about others. Chlamydia testing can be facilitated by doctors and nurses recommending it. Primary care providers have a useful role in chlamydia control.
Trial Registration
Australian and New Zealand Trials Registry ACTRN12607000582459
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-12
PMCID: PMC3909293  PMID: 24400743
Adolescents; Young people; Chlamydia; Sexually transmitted infections; Health risk behaviour
2.  A patient-centred approach to health service delivery: improving health outcomes for people with chronic illness 
Background
The Wagner Model provides a framework that can help to facilitate health system transition towards a chronic care oriented model. Drawing on elements of this framework as well as health policy related to patient centred care, we describe the health needs of patients with chronic illness and compare these with services which should ideally be provided by a patient-centred health system. This paper aims to increase understanding of the challenges faced by chronically ill patients and family carers in relation to their experiences with the health care system and health service providers.
Method
We interviewed patients, carers and health care professionals (HCPs) about the challenges faced by people living with complicated diabetes, chronic heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Results
Patients indicated that they had a range of concerns related to the quality of health care encounters with health care professionals (HCPs), with these concerns being expressed as needs or wants. These included: 1) the need for improved communication and information delivery on the part of HCPs; 2) well organised health services and reduced waiting times to see HCPs; 3) help with self care; 4) greater recognition among professionals of the need for holistic and continuing care; and 5) inclusion of patients and carers in the decision making processes.
Conclusions
In order to address the challenges faced by people with chronic illness, health policy must be more closely aligned with the identified needs and wants of people affected by chronic illness than is currently the case.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-251
PMCID: PMC3706210  PMID: 23819721
3.  The Treatment of cardiovascular Risk in Primary care using Electronic Decision suppOrt (TORPEDO) study: intervention development and protocol for a cluster randomised, controlled trial of an electronic decision support and quality improvement intervention in Australian primary healthcare 
BMJ Open  2012;2(6):e002177.
Background
Large gaps exist in the implementation of guideline recommendations for cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk management. Electronic decision support (EDS) systems are promising interventions to close these gaps but few have undergone clinical trial evaluation in Australia. We have developed HealthTracker, a multifaceted EDS and quality improvement intervention to improve the management of CVD risk.
Methods/design
It is hypothesised that the use of HealthTracker over a 12-month period will result in: (1) an increased proportion of patients receiving guideline-indicated measurements of CVD risk factors and (2) an increased proportion of patients at high risk will receive guideline-indicated prescriptions for lowering their CVD risk. Sixty health services (40 general practices and 20 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) will be randomised in a 1:1 allocation to receive either the intervention package or continue with usual care, stratified by service type, size and participation in existing quality improvement initiatives. The intervention consists of point-of-care decision support; a risk communication interface; a clinical audit tool to assess performance on CVD-related indicators; a quality improvement component comprising peer-ranked data feedback and support to develop strategies to improve performance. The control arm will continue with usual care without access to these intervention components. Quantitative data will be derived from cross-sectional samples at baseline and end of study via automated data extraction. Detailed process and economic evaluations will also be conducted.
Ethics and dissemination
The general practice component of the study is approved by the University of Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) and the ACCHS component is approved by the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council HREC. Formal agreements with each of the participating sites have been signed. In addition to the usual scientific forums, results will be disseminated via newsletters, study websites, face-to-face feedback forums and workshops.
Trial registration
The trial is registered with the Australian Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN 12611000478910.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002177
PMCID: PMC3533097  PMID: 23166140
Primary Care; Cardiology
4.  What determines adherence to treatment in cardiovascular disease prevention? Protocol for a mixed methods preference study 
BMJ Open  2011;1(2):e000372.
Background
Significant gaps exist between guidelines-recommended therapies for cardiovascular disease prevention and current practice. Fixed-dose combination pills (‘polypills’) potentially improve adherence to therapy. This study is a preference study undertaken in conjunction with a clinical trial of a polypill and seeks to examine the underlying reasons for variations in treatment adherence to recommended therapy.
Methods/design
A preference study comprising: (1) Discrete Choice Experiment for patients; and (2) qualitative study of patients and providers. Both components will be conducted on participants in the trial. A joint model combining the observed adherence in the clinical trial (revealed preference) and the Discrete Choice Experiment data (stated preference) will be estimated. Estimates will be made of the marginal effect (importance) of each attribute on overall choice, the extent to which respondents are prepared to trade-off one attribute for another and predicted values of the level of adherence given a fixed set of attributes, and contextual and socio-demographic characteristics. For the qualitative study, a thematic analysis will be used as a means of exploring in depth the preferences and ultimately provide important narratives on the experiences and perspectives of individuals with regard to adherence behaviour.
Ethics and dissemination
Primary ethics approval was received from Sydney South West Area Health Service Human Research Ethics Committee (Royal Prince Alfred Hospital zone). In addition to usual scientific forums, the findings will be reported back to the communities involved in the studies through site-specific reports and oral presentations.
Article summary
Article focus
To assess patient choices with regard to adherence to long-term therapy for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in indigenous and non-indigenous populations.
To understand, from the perspective of patients and providers, the factors that influence how well guidelines-recommended therapy for cardiovascular disease in indigenous and non-indigenous populations are implemented.
Key messages
This is an innovative study using a mixed methods approach to assess patient medications adherence that combines data on patients' stated preferences and their observed behaviour.
The study will examine underlying reasons why adherence outcomes were (or were not) achieved within the context of a clinical trial of a cardiovascular polypill-based strategy and, as such, serves as a process evaluation.
The findings will extrapolate the level of adherence observed in the trial to different ‘real-world’ settings.
Strengths and limitations of this study
The strengths of the study are that it involves the innovative application of a preference study alongside a clinical trial, provides insights into how patients may respond to factors that influence adherence but not necessarily encounter in a clinical trial setting and addresses an important public-health issue—namely treatment gaps in relation to cardiovascular-disease prevention.
The limitation is that it is a conducted in one country, Australia, and thus its generalisability may be limited by prevailing institutional arrangements.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000372
PMCID: PMC3211054  PMID: 22080542
5.  Rationale and design of the Kanyini guidelines adherence with the polypill (Kanyini-GAP) study: a randomised controlled trial of a polypill-based strategy amongst Indigenous and non Indigenous people at high cardiovascular risk 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:458.
Background
The Kanyini Guidelines Adherence with the Polypill (Kanyini-GAP) Study aims to examine whether a polypill-based strategy (using a single capsule containing aspirin, a statin and two blood pressure-lowering agents) amongst Indigenous and non-Indigenous people at high risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event will improve adherence to guideline-indicated therapies, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Methods/Design
The study is an open, randomised, controlled, multi-centre trial involving 1000 participants at high risk of cardiovascular events recruited from mainstream general practices and Aboriginal Medical Services, followed for an average of 18 months. The participants will be randomised to one of two versions of the polypill, the version chosen by the treating health professional according to clinical features of the patient, or to usual care. The primary study outcomes will be changes, from baseline measures, in serum cholesterol and systolic blood pressure and self-reported current use of aspirin, a statin and at least two blood pressure lowering agents. Secondary study outcomes include cardiovascular events, renal outcomes, self-reported barriers to indicated therapy, prescription of indicated therapy, occurrence of serious adverse events and changes in quality-of-life. The trial will be supplemented by formal economic and process evaluations.
Discussion
The Kanyini-GAP trial will provide new evidence as to whether or not a polypill-based strategy improves adherence to effective cardiovascular medications amongst individuals in whom these treatments are indicated.
Trial Registration
This trial is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry ACTRN126080005833347.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-458
PMCID: PMC2923109  PMID: 20687931
6.  An Electronic Clinical Decision Support Tool to Assist Primary Care Providers in Cardiovascular Disease Risk Management: Development and Mixed Methods Evaluation 
Background
Challenges remain in translating the well-established evidence for management of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk into clinical practice. Although electronic clinical decision support (CDS) systems are known to improve practitioner performance, their development in Australian primary health care settings is limited.
Objectives
Study aims were to (1) develop a valid CDS tool that assists Australian general practitioners (GPs) in global CVD risk management, and (2) preliminarily evaluate its acceptability to GPs as a point-of-care resource for both general and underserved populations.
Methods
CVD risk estimation (based on Framingham algorithms) and risk-based management advice (using recommendations from six Australian guidelines) were programmed into a software package. Tool validation: Data from 137 patients attending a physician’s clinic were analyzed to compare the tool’s risk scores with those obtained from an independently programmed algorithm in a separate statistics package. The tool’s management advice was compared with a physician’s recommendations based on a manual review of the guidelines. Field test: The tool was then tested with 21 GPs from eight general practices and three Aboriginal Medical Services. Customized CDS-based recommendations were generated for 200 routinely attending patients (33% Aboriginal) using information extracted from the health record by a research assistant. GPs reviewed these recommendations during each consultation. Changes in CVD risk factor measurement and management were recorded. In-depth interviews with GPs were conducted.
Results
Validation testing: The tool’s risk assessment algorithm correlated very highly with the independently programmed version in the separate statistics package (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.999). For management advice, there were only two cases of disagreement between the tool and the physician. Field test: GPs found 77% (153/200) of patient outputs easy to understand and agreed with screening and prescribing recommendations in 72% and 64% of outputs, respectively; 26% of patients had their CVD risk factor history updated; 73% had at least one CVD risk factor measured or tests ordered. For people assessed at high CVD risk (n = 82), 10% and 9%, respectively, had lipid-lowering and BP-lowering medications commenced or dose adjustments made, while 7% newly commenced anti-platelet medications. Three key qualitative findings emerged: (1) GPs found the tool enabled a systematic approach to care; (2) the tool greatly influenced CVD risk communication; (3) successful implementation into routine care would require integration with practice software, minimal data entry, regular revision with updated guidelines, and a self-auditing feature. There were no substantive differences in study findings for Aboriginal Medical Services GPs, and the tool was generally considered appropriate for use with Aboriginal patients.
Conclusion
A fully-integrated, self-populating, and potentially Internet-based CDS tool could contribute to improved global CVD risk management in Australian primary health care. The findings from this study will inform a large-scale trial intervention.
doi:10.2196/jmir.1258
PMCID: PMC2802562  PMID: 20018588
Decision support systems; clinical; cardiovascular diseases; physicians, family; Aborigines, Australian
7.  Challenges for co-morbid chronic illness care and policy in Australia: a qualitative study 
Background
In response to the escalating burden of chronic illness in Australia, recent health policies have emphasised the promotion of patient self-management and better preventive care. A notable omission from these policies is the acknowledgment that patients with chronic illness tend to have co-morbid conditions. Our objectives were: to identify the common challenges co-morbidity poses to patients and carers in their experiences of self-management; to detail the views and perceptions of health professionals about these challenges; and to discuss policy options to improve health care for people with co-morbid chronic illness. The method included semi-structured interviews and focus groups with 129 purposively sampled participants. Participants were people with Type 2 diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and/or chronic heart failure as well as carers and health care professionals. Content analysis of the interview data was conducted using NVivo7 software.
Results
Patients and their carers found co-morbidity influenced their capacity to manage chronic illness in three ways. First, co-morbidity created barriers to patients acting on risk factors; second, it complicated the process of recognising the early symptoms of deterioration of each condition, and third, it complicated their capacity to manage medication.
Conclusion
Findings highlight challenges that patients with multiple chronic conditions face in relation to preventive care and self-management. Future clinical policy initiatives need to move away from single illness orientation toward strategies that meet the needs of people with co-morbid conditions and strengthen their capacity to self-manage. These patients will benefit directly from specialised education and services that cater to the needs of people with clusters of co-morbidities.
doi:10.1186/1743-8462-6-22
PMCID: PMC2745419  PMID: 19735576
8.  Access to primary health care for Australian young people: service provider perspectives. 
BACKGROUND: To adequately address the complex health needs of young people, their access to services, and the quality of services received, must be improved. AIMS: To explore the barriers to service provision for young people and to identify the training needs of primary healthcare service providers in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. DESIGN OF STUDY: A cross-sectional, qualitative study of the perspectives of a range of health service providers. SETTING: A range of primary healthcare organisations across NSW. METHODS: Samples of general practitioners (GPs), youth health workers, youth health coordinators, and community health centre staff were drawn from urban and rural clusters across NSW. Focus groups and interviews were used to identify barriers to service provision and the training needs of service providers. Data were tape recorded, transcribed, and analysed. RESULTS: Barriers to service provision among GPs and community health centre staff included inadequate time, flexibility, skills, and confidence in working with young people, and poor linkages with other relevant services. Training needs included better knowledge of and skills in adolescent health requirements, working with adolescents, and working with other services. Barriers to service provision for youth health workers and coordinators included lack of financial resources and infrastructure. There were few linkages between groups of service providers. CONCLUSION: Models of service provision that allow stronger linkages between service providers, sufficient time for consultation with young people, adequate training and support of health professionals, and flexibility of service provision, including outreach, should be explored and evaluated.
PMCID: PMC1314748  PMID: 14960219
9.  The consultation 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2002;324(7353):1567-1569.
PMCID: PMC1123505  PMID: 12089097
10.  Difficult Asthma 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1999;319(7217):1141.
PMCID: PMC1116924  PMID: 10531126
11.  What to do in a general practice emergency 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1998;317(7170):1460.
PMCID: PMC1114316  PMID: 9822423
13.  Sex biased language 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1992;304(6843):1692.
PMCID: PMC1882336

Results 1-15 (15)