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1.  Impact of Pay for Performance on Prescribing of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception in Primary Care: An Interrupted Time Series Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e92205.
Background
The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), a major pay-for-performance programme in the United Kingdom, on prescribing of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) in primary care.
Methods
Negative binomial interrupted time series analysis using practice level prescribing data from April 2007 to March 2012. The main outcome measure was the prescribing rate of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC), including hormonal and non hormonal intrauterine devices and systems (IUDs and IUSs), injectable contraceptives and hormonal implants.
Results
Prescribing rates of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) were stable before the introduction of contraceptive targets to the QOF and increased afterwards by 4% annually (rate ratios  = 1.04, 95% CI = 1.03, 1.06). The increase in LARC prescribing was mainly driven by increases in injectables (increased by 6% annually), which was the most commonly prescribed LARC method. Of other types of LARC, the QOF indicator was associated with a step increase of 20% in implant prescribing (RR =  1.20, 95% CI =  1.09, 1.32). This change is equivalent to an additional 110 thousand women being prescribed with LARC had QOF points not been introduced.
Conclusions
Pay for performance incentives for contraceptive counselling in primary care with women seeking contraceptive advice has increased uptake of LARC methods.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092205
PMCID: PMC3973652  PMID: 24694949
2.  Can we reduce costs and prevent more unintended pregnancies? A cost of illness and cost-effectiveness study comparing two methods of EHC 
BMJ Open  2013;3(12):e003815.
Objectives
To calculate the cost of an unintended pregnancy in 2011 and use this cost in a cost-effectiveness model comparing ulipristal acetate (UPA) with levonorgestrel (LNG) for emergency hormonal contraception (EHC).
Design
Retrospective analysis of published data sources and published cost-effectiveness model.
Setting
Women presenting in primary care in England for EHC within 24 or 72 h of unprotected sexual intercourse (UPSI).
Interventions
EHC of either LNG (1.5 mg) or UPA (30 mg).
Primary and secondary outcome measures
The primary outcome measure is the number and direct and indirect costs of an unintended pregnancy. The secondary outcome measure is the consequence of unintended pregnancy: miscarriage, abortion, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or live birth.
Results
From the comparative clinical studies of EHC we observe that if 125 women receive either LNG or UPA within 72 h of UPSI, there will be one less pregnancy due to method failure in the UPA group than in the LNG group. We calculate the cost of an unintended pregnancy to be £1663 in direct healthcare costs rising to £2922 with the inclusion of social costs. Using these costs in the comparative cost-effectiveness model shows that it costs £194 less in direct health costs alone to prevent one more pregnancy with UPA than with LNG. The inclusion of social costs of pregnancy increases this cost-saving potential to £1453 for each extra pregnancy avoided with UPA compared with LNG.
Conclusions
Clinical trials have demonstrated the superior efficacy of UPA compared with LNG as a method of EHC. Given that it costs less overall in health and social costs of pregnancy while preventing more pregnancies, UPA is said to be the dominant treatment, and primary care services should shift to offering UPA as the preferred oral option to women presenting within 24 and 72 h of UPSI.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003815
PMCID: PMC3884700  PMID: 24353255
Health Economics; Public Health; Sexual Medicine
3.  Mechanisms for an effect of acetylcysteine on renal function after exposure to radio-graphic contrast material: study protocol 
Background
Contrast-induced nephropathy is a common complication of contrast administration in patients with chronic kidney disease and diabetes. Its pathophysiology is not well understood; similarly the role of intravenous or oral acetylcysteine is unclear. Randomized controlled trials to date have been conducted without detailed knowledge of the effect of acetylcysteine on renal function. We are conducting a detailed mechanistic study of acetylcysteine on normal and impaired kidneys, both with and without contrast. This information would guide the choice of dose, route, and appropriate outcome measure for future clinical trials in patients with chronic kidney disease.
Methods/Design
We designed a 4-part study. We have set up randomised controlled cross-over studies to assess the effect of intravenous (50 mg/kg/hr for 2 hrs before contrast exposure, then 20 mg/kg/hr for 5 hrs) or oral acetylcysteine (1200 mg twice daily for 2 days, starting the day before contrast exposure) on renal function in normal and diseased kidneys, and normal kidneys exposed to contrast. We have also set up a parallel-group randomized controlled trial to assess the effect of intravenous or oral acetylcysteine on patients with chronic kidney disease stage III undergoing elective coronary angiography. The primary outcome is change in renal blood flow; secondary outcomes include change in glomerular filtration rate, tubular function, urinary proteins, and oxidative balance.
Discussion
Contrast-induced nephropathy represents a significant source of hospital morbidity and mortality. Over the last ten years, acetylcysteine has been administered prior to contrast to reduce the risk of contrast-induced nephropathy. Randomized controlled trials, however, have not reliably demonstrated renoprotection; a recent large randomized controlled trial assessing a dose of oral acetylcysteine selected without mechanistic insight did not reduce the incidence of contrast-induced nephropathy. Our study should reveal the mechanism of effect of acetylcysteine on renal function and identify an appropriate route for future dose response studies and in time randomized controlled trials.
Trial registration
Clinical Trials.gov: NCT00558142; EudraCT: 2006-003509-18.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-12-3
PMCID: PMC3293780  PMID: 22305183
Contrast-induced nephropathy; acetylcysteine; prevention; kidney; contrast media

Results 1-3 (3)