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1.  A Systematic Review of Cost-Sharing Strategies Used within Publicly-Funded Drug Plans in Member Countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90434.
Background
Publicly-funded drug plans vary in strategies used and policies employed to reduce continually increasing pharmaceutical expenditures. We systematically reviewed the utilization of cost-sharing strategies and physician-directed prescribing regulations in publicly-funded formularies within member nations of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Methods & Findings
Using the OECD nations as the sampling frame, a search for cost-sharing strategies and physician-directed prescribing regulations was done using published and grey literature. Collected data was verified by a system expert within the prescription drug insurance plan in each country, to ensure the accuracy of key data elements across plans.
Significant variation in the use of cost-sharing mechanisms was seen. Copayments were the most commonly used cost-containment measure, though their use and amount varied for those with certain conditions, most often chronic diseases (in 17 countries), and by socio-economic status (either income or employment status), or with age (in 15 countries). Caps and deductibles were only used by five systems. Drug cost-containment strategies targeting physicians were also identified in 24 countries, including guideline-based prescribing, prescription monitoring and incentive structures.
Conclusions
There was variable use of cost-containment strategies to limit pharmaceutical expenditures in publicly funded formularies within OECD countries. Further research is needed to determine the best approach to constrain costs while maintaining access to pharmaceutical drugs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090434
PMCID: PMC3949707  PMID: 24618721
2.  Epidemiology and outcome of major postoperative infections following cardiac surgery: Risk factors and impact of pathogen type 
Background
Major postoperative infections (MPIs) are poorly understood complications of cardiac surgery. We examined the epidemiology, microbiology, and outcome of MPIs occurring after cardiac surgery.
Methods
The study cohort was drawn from the Society of Thoracic Surgeon National Cardiac Database and comprised adults who underwent cardiac surgery at 5 tertiary hospitals between 2000 and 2004. We studied the incidence, microbiology, and risk factors of MPI (bloodstream or chest wound infections within 30 days after surgery), as well as 30-day mortality. We used multivariate regression analyses to evaluate the risk of MPI and mortality.
Results
MPI was identified in 341 of 10,522 patients (3.2%). Staphylococci were found in 52.5% of these patients, gram-negative bacilli (GNB) in 24.3%, and other pathogens in 23.2%. High body mass index, previous coronary bypass surgery, emergency surgery, renal impairment, immunosuppression, cardiac failure, and peripheral/cerebrovascular disease were associated with the development of MPI. Median postoperative duration of hospitalization (15 days vs 6 days) and mortality (8.5% vs 2.2%) were higher in patients with MPIs. Compared with uninfected individuals, odds of mortality were higher in patients with S aureus MPIs (adjusted odds ratio, 3.7) and GNB MPIs (adjusted odds ratio, 3.0).
Conclusions
Staphylococci accounted for the majority of MPIs after cardiac surgery. Mortality was higher in patients with Staphylococcus aureus- and GNB-related MPIs than in patients with MPIs caused by other pathogens and uninfected patients. Preventive strategies should target likely pathogens and high-risk patients undergoing cardiac surgery.
doi:10.1016/j.ajic.2012.01.012
PMCID: PMC3535474  PMID: 22609237
Wound infection; Sepsis; Cardiac surgical procedures; Morbidity; Mortality
3.  Effect of Timing of Dialysis Commencement on Clinical Outcomes of Patients with Planned Initiation of Peritoneal Dialysis in the Ideal Trial 
♦ Background: Since the mid-1990s, early dialysis initiation has dramatically increased in many countries. The Initiating Dialysis Early and Late (IDEAL) study demonstrated that, compared with late initiation, planned early initiation of dialysis was associated with comparable clinical outcomes and increased health care costs. Because residual renal function is a key determinant of outcome and is better preserved with peritoneal dialysis (PD), the present pre-specified subgroup analysis of the IDEAL trial examined the effects of early-compared with late-start dialysis on clinical outcomes in patients whose planned therapy at the time of randomization was PD.
♦ Methods: Adults with an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) of 10 - 15 mL/min/1.73 m2 who planned to be treated with PD were randomly allocated to commence dialysis at an eGFR of 10 - 14 mL/min/1.73 m2 (early start) or 5 - 7 mL/min/1.73 m2 (late start). The primary outcome was all-cause mortality.
♦ Results: Of the 828 IDEAL trial participants, 466 (56%) planned to commence PD and were randomized to early start (n = 233) or late start (n = 233). The median times from randomization to dialysis initiation were, respectively, 2.03 months [interquartile range (IQR):1.67 - 2.30 months] and 7.83 months (IQR: 5.83 - 8.83 months). Death occurred in 102 early-start patients and 96 late-start patients [hazard ratio: 1.04; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.79 - 1.37]. No differences in composite cardiovascular events, composite infectious deaths, or dialysis-associated complications were observed between the groups. Peritonitis rates were 0.73 episodes (95% CI: 0.65 - 0.82 episodes) per patient-year in the early-start group and 0.69 episodes (95% CI: 0.61 - 0.78 episodes) per patient-year in the late-start group (incidence rate ratio: 1.19; 95% CI: 0.86 - 1.65; p = 0.29). The proportion of patients planning to commence PD who actually initiated dialysis with PD was higher in the early-start group (80% vs 70%, p = 0.01).
♦ Conclusion: Early initiation of dialysis in patients with stage 5 chronic kidney disease who planned to be treated with PD was associated with clinical outcomes comparable to those seen with late dialysis initiation. Compared with early-start patients, late-start patients who had chosen PD as their planned dialysis modality were less likely to commence on PD.
doi:10.3747/pdi.2012.00046
PMCID: PMC3524893  PMID: 23212859
Dialysis timing; mortality; outcomes; peritonitis
4.  Serious Mental Illness and Acute Hospital Readmission in Diabetic Patientsa 
Patients with serious mental illness (SMI), particularly those with other chronic illnesses, may be vulnerable to unplanned hospital readmission. We hypothesized that SMI would be associated with increased 30-day hospital readmission in a cohort of adult patients with comorbid diabetes admitted to a tertiary-care facility from 2005–2009. SMI was defined by ICD-9 discharge diagnosis codes for schizophrenia, schizo-affective, bipolar, manic, or major depressive disorders, or other psychosis. The primary outcome was 30-day readmission to the index hospital. Among 26,878 eligible admissions, prevalence of SMI was 6% and incidence of 30-day hospital admission was 16%. Among patients aged <35 years, SMI was significantly associated with decreased odds of 30-day hospital readmission (OR 0.39, 95% CI: 0.17, 0.91). However, among patients ≥35 years, SMI was not significantly associated with 30-day hospital readmission (OR 1.11, 95%CI: 0.86, 1.42). SMI may not be associated with increased odds of 30-day hospital readmission in this population.
doi:10.1177/1062860612436576
PMCID: PMC3677605  PMID: 22539798
5.  Does Nonpayment for Hospital-Acquired Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections Lead to Overtesting and Increased Antimicrobial Prescribing? 
This retrospective cohort study of 39 US hospitals found that Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services nonpayment for hospital-acquired catheter-associated urinary tract infections (UTIs) has not led to overtesting for UTI on admission or to increased antimicrobial prescribing.
Background. On 1 October 2008, in an effort to stimulate efforts to prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented a policy of not reimbursing hospitals for hospital-acquired CAUTI. Since any urinary tract infection present on admission would not fall under this initiative, concerns have been raised that the policy may encourage more testing for and treatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria.
Methods. We conducted a retrospective multicenter cohort study with time series analysis of all adults admitted to the hospital 16 months before and 16 months after policy implementation among participating Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America Research Network hospitals. Our outcomes were frequency of urine culture on admission and antimicrobial use.
Results. A total of 39 hospitals from 22 states submitted data on 2 362 742 admissions. In 35 hospitals affected by the CMS policy, the median frequency of urine culture performance did not change after CMS policy implementation (19.2% during the prepolicy period vs 19.3% during the postpolicy period). The rate of change in urine culture performance increased minimally during the prepolicy period (0.5% per month) and decreased slightly during the postpolicy period (–0.25% per month; P < .001). In the subset of 10 hospitals providing antimicrobial use data, the median frequency of fluoroquinolone antimicrobial use did not change substantially (14.6% during the prepolicy period vs 14.0% during the postpolicy period). The rate of change in fluoroquinolone use increased during the prepolicy period (1.26% per month) and decreased during the postpolicy period (–0.60% per month; P < .001).
Conclusions. We found no evidence that CMS nonpayment policy resulted in overtesting to screen for and document a diagnosis of urinary tract infection as present on admission.
doi:10.1093/cid/cis556
PMCID: PMC3657518  PMID: 22700826
6.  Assessing the Burden of Acinetobacter baumannii in Maryland: A Statewide Cross-Sectional Period Prevalence Survey 
OBJECTIVE
To determine the prevalence of Acinetobacter baumannii, an important healthcare-associated pathogen, among mechanically ventilated patients in Maryland.
DESIGN
The Maryland MDRO Prevention Collaborative performed a statewide cross-sectional active surveillance survey of mechanically ventilated patients residing in acute care and long-term care (LTC) facilities. Surveillance cultures (sputum and perianal) were obtained from all mechanically ventilated inpatients at participating facilities during a 2-week period.
SETTING
All healthcare facilities in Maryland that provide care for mechanically ventilated patients were invited to participate.
PATIENTS
Mechanically ventilated patients, known to be at high risk for colonization and infection with A. baumannii, were included.
RESULTS
Seventy percent (40/57) of all eligible healthcare facilities participated in the survey, representing both acute care (n = 30) and LTC (n = 10) facilities in all geographic regions of Maryland. Surveillance cultures were obtained from 92% (358/390) of eligible patients. A. baumannii was identified in 34% of all mechanically ventilated patients in Maryland; multidrug-resistant A. baumannii was found in 27% of all patients. A. baumannii was detected in at least 1 patient in 49% of participating facilities; 100% of LTC facilities had at least 1 patient with A. baumannii, compared with 31% of acute care facilities. A. baumannii was identified from all facilities in which 10 or more patients were sampled.
CONCLUSIONS
A. baumannii is common among mechanically ventilated patients in both acute care and LTC facilities throughout Maryland, with a high proportion of isolates demonstrating multidrug resistance.
doi:10.1086/667376
PMCID: PMC3720130  PMID: 22869261
7.  Brain imaging predictors and the international study to predict optimized treatment for depression: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2013;14:224.
Background
Approximately 50% of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) do not respond optimally to antidepressant treatments. Given this is a large proportion of the patient population, pretreatment tests that predict which patients will respond to which types of treatment could save time, money and patient burden. Brain imaging offers a means to identify treatment predictors that are grounded in the neurobiology of the treatment and the pathophysiology of MDD.
Methods/Design
The international Study to Predict Optimized Treatment in Depression is a multi-center, parallel model, randomized clinical trial with an embedded imaging sub-study to identify such predictors. We focus on brain circuits implicated in major depressive disorder and its treatment. In the full trial, depressed participants are randomized to receive escitalopram, sertraline or venlafaxine-XR (open-label). They are assessed using standardized multiple clinical, cognitive-emotional behavioral, electroencephalographic and genetic measures at baseline and at eight weeks post-treatment. Overall, 2,016 depressed participants (18 to 65 years old) will enter the study, of whom a target of 10% will be recruited into the brain imaging sub-study (approximately 67 participants in each treatment arm) and 67 controls. The imaging sub-study is conducted at the University of Sydney and at Stanford University. Structural studies include high-resolution three-dimensional T1-weighted, diffusion tensor and T2/Proton Density scans. Functional studies include standardized functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with three cognitive tasks (auditory oddball, a continuous performance task, and Go-NoGo) and two emotion tasks (unmasked conscious and masked non-conscious emotion processing tasks). After eight weeks of treatment, the functional MRI is repeated with the above tasks. We will establish the methods in the first 30 patients. Then we will identify predictors in the first half (n = 102), test the findings in the second half, and then extend the analyses to the total sample.
Trial registration
International Study to Predict Optimized Treatment - in Depression (iSPOT-D). ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT00693849.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-14-224
PMCID: PMC3729660  PMID: 23866851
Major depressive disorder; Antidepressant treatments; Imaging; Biomarker; iSPOT-D
8.  Association between Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Colonization and Infection May Not Differ by Age Group 
We assessed whether age modified the association between methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) anterior nares colonization and subsequent infection. Among 7,405 patients (9,511 admissions), MRSA colonization was significantly associated with infection (adjusted odds ratio, 13.7 [95% confidence interval, 7.3–25.7]) but did not differ significantly by age group.
doi:10.1086/668773
PMCID: PMC3677581  PMID: 23221199
9.  Healthcare-Associated Infection and Hospital Readmission 
OBJECTIVE
Hospital readmissions are a current target of initiatives to reduce healthcare costs. This study quantified the association between having a clinical culture positive for 1 of 3 prevalent hospital-associated organisms and time to hospital readmission.
DESIGN
Retrospective cohort study.
PATIENTS AND SETTING
Adults admitted to an academic, tertiary care referral center from January 1, 2001, through December 31, 2008.
METHODS
The primary exposure of interest was a clinical culture positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), or Clostridium difficile obtained more than 48 hours after hospital admission during the index hospital stay. The primary outcome of interest was time to readmission to the index facility. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were used to model the adjusted association between positive clinical culture result and time to readmission and to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
RESULTS
Among 136,513 index admissions, the prevalence of hospital-associated positive clinical culture result for 1 of the 3 organisms of interest was 3%, and 35% of patients were readmitted to the index facility within 1 year after discharge. Patients with a positive clinical culture obtained more than 48 hours after hospital admission had an increased hazard of readmission (HR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.33–1.46) after adjusting for age, sex, index admission length of stay, intensive care unit stay, Charlson comorbidity index, and year of hospital admission.
CONCLUSIONS
Patients with healthcare-associated infections may be at increased risk of hospital readmission. These findings may be used to impact health outcomes after discharge from the hospital and to encourage better infection prevention efforts.
doi:10.1086/665725
PMCID: PMC3677598  PMID: 22561707
10.  Comparison of the Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Acquisition among Rehabilitation and Nursing Home Residents 
OBJECTIVE
To assess risk factors for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) acquisition among extended care residents focusing on level of care (residential vs rehabilitation) and room placement with an MRSA-positive resident.
DESIGN
Prospective cohort study.
SETTING
Extended care units at 2 healthcare systems in Maryland.
PARTICIPANTS
Four hundred forty-three residents with no history of MRSA and negative MRSA surveillance cultures of the anterior nares and areas of skin breakdown at enrollment.
METHODS
Follow-up cultures were collected every 4 weeks and/or at discharge for a period of 12 weeks. Study data were collected by a research nurse from the medical staff and the electronic medical records. Cox proportional hazards modeling was used to calculate adjusted hazards ratios (aHRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
RESULTS
. Residents in rehabilitation care had 4-fold higher risk of MRSA acquisition compared with residents in residential care (hazard ratio [HR], 4. [95% CI, 2.2–8.8]). Being bedbound was significantly associated with MRSA acquisition in both populations (residential care, aHR, 4.3 [95% CI, 1.5–12.2]; rehabilitation care, aHR, 4.8 [95% CI, 1.2–18.7]). Having an MRSA-positive roommate was not significantly associated with acquisition in either population (residential care, aHR, 1.4 [95% CI, 0.5–3.9]; rehabilitation care, aHR, 0.5 [95% CI, 0.1–2.2]); based on concordant spa typing, only 2 of 8 residents who acquired MRSA and had room placement with an MRSA-positive resident acquired their MRSA isolate from their roommate.
CONCLUSION
Residents in rehabilitation care appear at higher risk and have different risk factors for MRSA acquisition compared to those in residential care.
doi:10.1086/658667
PMCID: PMC3677603  PMID: 21460509
11.  Risk of Acquiring Extended-Spectrum β-Lactamase–Producing Klebsiella Species and Escherichia coli from Prior Room Occupants in the Intensive Care Unit 
OBJECTIVE
To quantify the association between admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) room most recently occupied by a patient positive for extended-spectrum β-lactamase (EBSL)–producing gram-negative bacteria and acquisition of infection or colonization with that pathogen.
DESIGN
Retrospective cohort study.
SETTING AND PATIENTS
The study included patients admitted to medical and surgical ICUs of an academic medical center between September 1, 2001, and June 30, 2009.
METHODS
Perianal surveillance cultures were obtained at admission to the ICU, weekly, and at discharge from the ICU. Patients were included if they had culture results that were negative for ESBL-producing gram-negative bacteria at ICU admission and had an ICU length of stay longer than 48 hours. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was performed on ESBL-positive isolates from patients who acquired the same bacterial species (eg, Klebsiella species or Escherichia coli) as the previous room occupant.
RESULTS
Among 9,371 eligible admissions (7,651 unique patients), 267 (3%) involved patients who acquired an ESBL-producing pathogen in the ICU; of these patients, 32 (12%) were hospitalized in a room in which the prior occupant had been positive for ESBL. Logistic regression results suggested that the prior occupant's ESBL status was not significantly associated with acquisition of an ESBL-producing pathogen (adjusted odds ratio, 1.39 [95% confidence interval, 0.94–2.08]) after adjusting for colonization pressure and antibiotic exposure in the ICU. PFGE results suggested that 6 (18%) of 32 patients acquired a bacterial strain that was the same as or closely related to the strain obtained from the prior occupant.
CONCLUSIONS
These data suggest that environmental contamination may not play a substantial role in the transmission of ESBL-producing pathogens among ICU patients. Intensifying environmental decontamination may be less effective than other interventions in preventing transmission of ESBL-producing pathogens.
doi:10.1086/670216
PMCID: PMC3660030  PMID: 23571360
12.  Recovery of Gram-Negative Bacilli in Stored Endotracheal Aspirates 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(8):2791-2792.
This study assessed the recovery rates of Gram-negative bacilli from stored endotracheal aspirates frozen with and without glycerol. Samples frozen with glycerol showed a significant difference in isolate recovery, 89.7% versus 69.2% (P = 0.02). This study demonstrates that it is possible to achieve high recovery rates of potentially pathogenic organisms from endotracheal aspirates when stored with glycerol, thus broadening the scope of active surveillance cultures for both clinical and research purposes.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01338-12
PMCID: PMC3421506  PMID: 22649011
13.  Association between Contact Precautions and Delirium at a Tertiary Care Center 
OBJECTIVE
To investigate the relationship between contact precautions and delirium among inpatients, adjusting for other factors.
DESIGN
Retrospective cohort study.
SETTING
A 662-bed tertiary care center.
PATIENTS
All nonpyschiatric adult patients admitted to a tertiary care center from 2007 through 2009.
METHODS
Generalized estimating equations were used to estimate the association between contact precautions and delirium in a retrospective cohort of 2 years of admissions to a tertiary care center.
RESULTS
During the 2-year period, 60,151 admissions occurred in 45,266 unique nonpsychiatric patients. After adjusting for comorbid conditions, age, sex, intensive care unit status, and length of hospitalization, contact precautions were significantly associated with delirium (as defined by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision), medication, or restraint exposure (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.40 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.24–1.51]). The association between contact precautions and delirium was seen only in patients who were newly placed under contact precautions during the course of their stay (adjusted OR, 1.75 [95% CI, 1.60–1.92]; P < .01) and was not seen in patients who were already under contact precautions at admission (adjusted OR, 0.97 [95% CI, 0.86–1.09]; P=.60).
CONCLUSIONS
Although delirium was more common in patients who were newly placed under contact precautions during the course of their hospital admission, delirium was not associated with contact precautions started at hospital admission. Patients newly placed under contact precautions after admission but during hospitalization appear to be at a higher risk and may benefit from proven delirium-prevention strategies.
doi:10.1086/663340
PMCID: PMC3544005  PMID: 22173520
14.  Transfer of multidrug-resistant bacteria to healthcare workers’ gloves and gowns after patient contact increases with environmental contamination 
Critical care medicine  2012;40(4):1045-1051.
Objective
To assess the role of environmental contamination in the transmission of multidrug-resistant bacteria to healthcare workers’ clothing.
Design
Prospective cohort.
Setting
Six intensive care units at a tertiary care hospital.
Subjects
Healthcare workers including registered nurses, patient care technicians, respiratory therapists, occupational/physical therapists, and physicians.
Interventions
None.
Measurements and Main Results
One hundred twenty of 585 (20.5%) healthcare worker/patient interactions resulted in contamination of healthcare workers’ gloves or gowns. Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii contamination occurred most frequently, 55 of 167 observations (32.9%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 25.8% to 40.0%), followed by multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, 15 of 86 (17.4%; 95% CI 9.4% to 25.4%), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, 25 of 180 (13.9%, 95% CI 8.9, 18.9%) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, 21 of 152 (13.8%; 95% CI 8.3% to 19.2%). Independent risk factors associated with healthcare worker contamination with multidrug-resistant bacteria were positive environmental cultures (odds ratio [OR] 4.2; 95% CI 2.7–6.5), duration in room for >5 mins (OR 2.0; 95% CI 1.2–3.4), performing physical examinations (OR 1.7; 95% CI 1.1–2.8), and contact with the ventilator (OR 1.8; 95% CI, 1.1–2.8). Pulsed field gel electrophoresis determined that 91% of healthcare worker isolates were related to an environmental or patient isolate.
Conclusions
The contamination of healthcare workers’ protective clothing during routine care of patients with multidrug- resistant organisms is most frequent with A. baumannii. Environmental contamination was the major determinant of transmission to healthcare workers’ gloves or gowns. Compliance with contact precautions and more aggressive environmental cleaning may decrease transmission.
doi:10.1097/CCM.0b013e31823bc7c8
PMCID: PMC3534819  PMID: 22202707
Acinetobacter; contact precautions; contamination; environment; MRSA; VRE
15.  Survival of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus spp. for an Extended Period of Transport 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(7):2466-2468.
This study determined the survivability of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) for extended periods of time and temperatures using a standard swab for assessment. Our study showed that transportation in Liquid Amies medium could be performed at room temperature or 4°C for up to 14 days without a decrease in recovery of MRSA or VRE.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00911-12
PMCID: PMC3405567  PMID: 22535993
16.  Addition of telephone coaching to a physiotherapist-delivered physical activity program in people with knee osteoarthritis: A randomised controlled trial protocol 
Background
Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common and costly chronic musculoskeletal conditions world-wide and is associated with substantial pain and disability. Many people with knee OA also experience co-morbidities that further add to the OA burden. Uptake of and adherence to physical activity recommendations is suboptimal in this patient population, leading to poorer OA outcomes and greater impact of associated co-morbidities. This pragmatic randomised controlled trial will investigate the clinical- and cost-effectiveness of adding telephone coaching to a physiotherapist-delivered physical activity intervention for people with knee OA.
Methods/Design
168 people with clinically diagnosed knee OA will be recruited from the community in metropolitan and regional areas and randomly allocated to physiotherapy only, or physiotherapy plus nurse-delivered telephone coaching. Physiotherapy involves five treatment sessions over 6 months, incorporating a home exercise program of 4–6 exercises (targeting knee extensor and hip abductor strength) and advice to increase daily physical activity. Telephone coaching comprises 6–12 telephone calls over 6 months by health practitioners trained in applying the Health Change Australia (HCA) Model of Health Change to provide behaviour change support. The telephone coaching intervention aims to maximise adherence to the physiotherapy program, as well as facilitate increased levels of participation in general physical activity. The primary outcomes are pain measured by an 11-point numeric rating scale and self-reported physical function measured by the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index subscale after 6 months. Secondary outcomes include physical activity levels, quality-of-life, and potential moderators and mediators of outcomes including self-efficacy, pain coping and depression. Relative cost-effectiveness will be determined from health service usage and outcome data. Follow-up assessments will also occur at 12 and 18 months.
Discussion
The findings will help determine whether the addition of telephone coaching sessions can improve sustainability of outcomes from a physiotherapist-delivered physical activity intervention in people with knee OA.
Trial Registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry reference: ACTRN12612000308897
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-246
PMCID: PMC3552972  PMID: 23231928
17.  Genome Sequence of Klebsiella oxytoca 11492-1, a Nosocomial Isolate Possessing a FOX-5 AmpC β-Lactamase 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(11):3028-3029.
Klebsiella oxytoca strain 11492-1 was isolated from a perianal swab culture from a patient at the University of Maryland Medical Center in 2005. The K. oxytoca 11492-1 draft genome contains multiple antibiotic resistance genes, including a FOX-5 AmpC β-lactamase encoded on a large IncA/C plasmid.
doi:10.1128/JB.00391-12
PMCID: PMC3370625  PMID: 22582383
18.  Comparison of Swab and Sponge Methodologies for Identification of Acinetobacter baumannii from the Hospital Environment 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(6):2140-2141.
The ideal sampling method for identification of Acinetobacter baumannii from the health care environment is unknown. In this study, we sampled 145 surfaces in the rooms of patients with known A. baumannii colonization/infection, comparing two methods: swab and sponge. The sensitivity of the swab method was 87%, while the sensitivity of the sponge method was 75%. Given the comparable results, use of the cheaper and less laborious swab technique is acceptable and may be preferable.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00448-12
PMCID: PMC3372128  PMID: 22461673
19.  Environmental Contamination due to Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii surrounding Colonized or Infected Patients 
BACKGROUND
Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (MDR-AB) is an important nosocomial pathogen associated with significant morbidity and mortality.
METHODS
We conducted a prospective cohort study of intensive care unit patients colonized or infected with MDR-AB at a tertiary-care hospital from October 2008 to January 2009. For each patient, 10 surfaces in the patient room were sampled and evaluated for the presence of A. baumannii. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was performed on all environmental isolates and a clinical isolate if available.
RESULTS
50 rooms were sampled; 48% (24/50) were positive at one or more environmental sites. Supply carts (10/50, 20%); floors (8/50, 16%); infusion pumps (7/50, 14%); and ventilator touch pads (5/44, 11.4%) were most commonly contaminated. Patients with a recent history of MDR-AB were no more likely to contaminate their environment than patients with a remote history (51% vs. 36%, p-value = 0.50). In 85% (17/20) of cases the environmental isolate was classified as genetically similar to the patient isolate.
CONCLUSIONS
For patients with MDR-AB, the surrounding environment is frequently contaminated, even among patients with a remote history of MDR-AB. Surfaces often touched by healthcare workers during routine patient care are commonly contaminated and may be a source of nosocomial spread.
doi:10.1016/j.ajic.2010.09.005
PMCID: PMC3206296  PMID: 22041290
20.  Efficacy of acupuncture for chronic knee pain: protocol for a randomised controlled trial using a Zelen design 
Background
Chronic knee pain is a common and disabling condition in people over 50 years of age, with knee joint osteoarthritis being a major cause. Acupuncture is a popular form of complementary and alternative medicine for treating pain and dysfunction associated with musculoskeletal conditions. This pragmatic Zelen-design randomised controlled trial is investigating the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of needle and laser acupuncture, administered by medical practitioners, in people with chronic knee pain.
Methods/Design
Two hundred and eighty two people aged over 50 years with chronic knee pain have been recruited from metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, Australia. Participants originally consented to participate in a longitudinal natural history study but were then covertly randomised into one of four treatment groups. One group continued as originally consented (ie natural history group) and received no acupuncture treatment. The other three were treatment groups: i) laser acupuncture, ii) sham laser or, iii) needle acupuncture. Acupuncture treatments used a combined Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine style, were delivered by general practitioners and comprised 8–12 visits over 12 weeks. Follow-up is currently ongoing. The primary outcomes are pain measured by an 11-point numeric rating scale (NRS) and self-reported physical function measured by the Western Ontario and McMaster (WOMAC) Universities Osteoarthritis Index subscale at the completion of treatment at 12 weeks. Secondary outcomes include quality of life, global rating of change scores and additional measures of pain (other NRS and WOMAC subscale) and physical function (NRS). Additional parameters include a range of psychosocial measures in order to evaluate potential relationships with acupuncture treatment outcomes. Relative cost-effectiveness will be determined from health service usage and outcome data. Follow-up assessments will also occur at 12 months.
Discussion
The findings from this study will help determine whether laser and/or needle acupuncture is efficacious, and cost-effective, in the management of chronic knee pain in older people.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry reference: ACTRN12609001001280
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-161
PMCID: PMC3493360  PMID: 22992309
21.  A physiotherapist-delivered integrated exercise and pain coping skills training intervention for individuals with knee osteoarthritis: a randomised controlled trial protocol 
Background
Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a prevalent chronic musculoskeletal condition with no cure. Pain is the primary symptom and results from a complex interaction between structural changes, physical impairments and psychological factors. Much evidence supports the use of strengthening exercises to improve pain and physical function in this patient population. There is also a growing body of research examining the effects of psychologist-delivered pain coping skills training (PCST) particularly in other chronic pain conditions. Though typically provided separately, there are symptom, resource and personnel advantages of exercise and PCST being delivered together by a single healthcare professional. Physiotherapists are a logical choice to be trained to deliver a PCST intervention as they already have expertise in administering exercise for knee OA and are cognisant of the need for a biopsychosocial approach to management. No studies to date have examined the effects of an integrated exercise and PCST program delivered solely by physiotherapists in this population. The primary aim of this multisite randomised controlled trial is to investigate whether an integrated 12-week PCST and exercise treatment program delivered by physiotherapists is more efficacious than either program alone in treating pain and physical function in individuals with knee OA.
Methods/design
This will be an assessor-blinded, 3-arm randomised controlled trial of a 12-week intervention involving 10 physiotherapy visits together with home practice. Participants with symptomatic and radiographic knee OA will be recruited from the community in two cities in Australia and randomized into one of three groups: exercise alone, PCST alone, or integrated PCST and exercise. Randomisation will be stratified by city (Melbourne or Brisbane) and gender. Primary outcomes are overall average pain in the past week measured by a Visual Analogue Scale and physical function measured by the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index subscale. Secondary outcomes include global rating of change, muscle strength, functional performance, physical activity levels, health related quality of life and psychological factors. Measurements will be taken at baseline and immediately following the intervention (12 weeks) as well as at 32 weeks and 52 weeks to examine maintenance of any intervention effects. Specific assessment of adherence to the treatment program will also be made at weeks 22 and 42. Relative cost-effectiveness will be determined from health service usage and outcome data.
Discussion
The findings from this randomised controlled trial will provide evidence for the efficacy of an integrated PCST and exercise program delivered by physiotherapists in the management of painful and functionally limiting knee OA compared to either program alone.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry reference number: ACTRN12610000533099
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-129
PMCID: PMC3524463  PMID: 22828288
22.  Decreased mortality resulting from a multicomponent intervention in a tertiary care medical intensive care unit 
Critical Care Medicine  2011;39(2):284-293.
Objective
To evaluate whether a multicomponent intervention, particularly increasing staff, can achieve reductions in patient mortality in an already high-intensity, Leapfrog-compliant medical intensive care unit.
Design
Retrospective, observational study.
Setting
Medical intensive care unit of a tertiary care, academic medical center.
Patients
A total of 1,263 patients admitted between April 19, 2004 and April 18, 2006 (before the organizational change) were compared with 2,424 patients admitted between September 5, 2006 and September 4, 2008.
Interventions
A multicomponent intervention including the physical move from a 10-bed to a 29-bed medical intensive care unit with larger patient rooms, the initiation of 24-hr critical care specialist coverage in the medical intensive care unit, an increase in the respiratory therapist:patient ratio, and the addition of a clinical pharmacist to the multidisciplinary team.
Measurements and Main Results
Measurements were made based on mortality in the intensive care unit and in-hospital. Patient comorbidity as measured by the Charlson score did not change after the intervention (2.7 ± 2.7 vs. 2.8 ± 2.6, p = .62), nor did the acuity of illness as measured by the case mix index (3.0 ± 3.7 vs. 3.1 ± 3.8, p = .69). The unadjusted medical intensive care unit mortality decreased from 18.4% to 14.9% (p = .006), as did in-hospital mortality (from 25.8% to 21.7%, p = .005). The reduction in medical intensive care unit mortality was consistent in the multivariable regression with adjustment for multiple possible confounders (odds ratio = 0.74, 95% confidence interval: 0.61– 0.91, p = .003), as was the reduction in hospital mortality (odds ratio = 0.74, 95% confidence interval: 0.62– 0.88, p = .001). In mechanically ventilated patients, there was an increase in median 28-day ventilator-free days (21, interquartile range 0 –25 vs. 22, interquartile range 0 –26, p = .04). An increase in median medical intensive care unit (2.4, interquartile range 1.1–5.2 vs. 2.7, interquartile range 1.3–5.9), p = .009) but not hospital (8.3, interquartile range 4.1–17.0 vs. 8.2, interquartile range 4.0 –16.8; p = .851) length of stay in days occurred with the intervention. The mean daily dosing of fentanyl and lorazepam decreased after the intervention.
Conclusions
A multicomponent reorganization of medical intensive care unit services was associated with important reductions in mortality for medical intensive care unit patients, as well as an increased number of ventilator-free days. Substantial and sustained changes in clinically important outcomes may be obtained from organizational changes.
doi:10.1097/CCM.0b013e3181ffdd2f
PMCID: PMC3383659  PMID: 21076286
critical care; health care quality assessment; quality indicators; health care; personnel staffing and scheduling; organizational innovation; outcomes and process assessment; health care
23.  Systematic Review of Measurement and Adjustment for Colonization Pressure in Studies of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci, and Clostridium difficile Acquisition 
OBJECTIVE
Colonization pressure is an important infection control metric. The aim of this study was to describe the definition and measurement of and adjustment for colonization pressure in nosocomial-acquisition risk factor studies of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), and Clostridium difficile.
METHODS
We performed a computerized search of studies of nosocomial MRSA, VRE, and C. difficile acquisition published before July 1, 2009, through MEDLINE. Studies were included if a study outcome was MRSA, VRE, or C. difficile acquisition; the authors identified risk factors associated with MRSA, VRE, or C. difficile acquisition; and the study measured colonization pressure.
RESULTS
The initial MEDLINE search yielded 505 articles. Sixty-six of these were identified as studies of nosocomial MRSA, VRE, or C. difficile acquisition; of these, 18 (27%) measured colonization pressure and were included in the final review. The definition of colonization pressure varied considerably between studies: the proportion of MRSA- or VRE-positive patients (5 studies), the proportion of MRSA- or VRE-positive patient-days (6 studies), or the total or mean number of MRSA-, VRE-, or C. difficile–positive patients or patient-days (7 studies) in the unit over periods of varying length. In 10 of 13 studies, colonization pressure was independently associated with MRSA, VRE, or C. difficile acquisition.
CONCLUSION
There is a need for a simple and consistent method to quantify colonization pressure in both research and routine clinical care to accurately assess the effect of colonization pressure on cross-transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
doi:10.1086/659403
PMCID: PMC3383663  PMID: 21515979
24.  Contribution of Interfacility Patient Movement to Overall Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Prevalence Levels 
Objectives
The effect of patient movement between hospitals and long-term care facilities (LTCFs) on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) prevalence levels is unknown. We investigated these effects to identify scenarios that may lead to increased prevalence in either facility type.
Methods
We used a hybrid simulation model to simulate MRSA transmission among hospitals and LTCFs. Transmission within each facility was determined by mathematical model equations. The model predicted the long-term prevalence of each facility and was used to assess the effects of facility size, patient turnover, and decolonization.
Results
Analyses of various healthcare networks suggest that the effect of patients moving from a LTCF to a hospital is negligible unless the patients are consistently admitted to the same unit. In such cases, MRSA prevalence can increase significantly regardless of the endemic level. Hospitals can cause sustained increases in prevalence when transferring patients to LTCFs, where the population size is smaller and patient turnover is less frequent. For 1 particular scenario, the steady-state prevalence of a LTCF increased from 6.9% to 9.4% to 13.8% when the transmission rate of the hospital increased from a low to a high transmission rate.
Conclusions
These results suggest that the relative facility size and the patient discharge rate are 2 key factors that can lead to sustained increases in MRSA prevalence. Consequently, small facilities or those with low turnover rates are especially susceptible to sustaining increased prevalence levels, and they become more so when receiving patients from larger, high-prevalence facilities. Decolonization is an infection-control strategy that can mitigate these effects.
doi:10.1086/662375
PMCID: PMC3331707  PMID: 22011533
25.  Web-Based Training Improves Knowledge about Central Line Bloodstream Infections 
A Web-based training course with embedded video clips for reducing central line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) was evaluated and shown to improve clinician knowledge and retention of knowledge over time. To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate Web-based CLABSI training as a stand-alone intervention.
doi:10.1086/662585
PMCID: PMC3331708  PMID: 22080663

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