Computerised therapies play an integral role in efforts to improve access to psychological treatment for patients with depression and anxiety. However, despite recognised problems with uptake, there has been a lack of investigation into the barriers and facilitators of engagement. We aimed to systematically review and synthesise findings from qualitative studies of computerised therapies, in order to identify factors impacting on engagement.
Systematic review and meta-synthesis of qualitative studies of user experiences of computer delivered therapy for depression and/or anxiety.
8 studies were included in the review. All except one were of desktop based cognitive behavioural treatments. Black and minority ethnic and older participants were underrepresented, and only one study addressed users with a co-morbid physical health problem. Through synthesis, we identified two key overarching concepts, regarding the need for treatments to be sensitive to the individual, and the dialectal nature of user experience, with different degrees of support and anonymity experienced as both positive and negative. We propose that these factors can be conceptually understood as the ‘non-specific’ or ‘common’ factors of computerised therapy, analogous to but distinct from the common factors of traditional face-to-face therapies.
Experience of computerised therapy could be improved through personalisation and sensitisation of content to individual users, recognising the need for users to experience a sense of ‘self’ in the treatment which is currently absent. Exploiting the common factors of computerised therapy, through enhancing perceived connection and collaboration, could offer a way of reconciling tensions due to the dialectal nature of user experience. Future research should explore whether the findings are generalisable to other patient groups, to other delivery formats (such as mobile technology) and other treatment modalities beyond cognitive behaviour therapy. The proposed model could aid the development of enhancements to current packages to improve uptake and support engagement.
Improved prevention and management of vascular disease is a global priority. Non-health care professionals (such as, ‘lay health workers’ and ‘peer support workers’) are increasingly being used to offer telephone support alongside that offered by conventional services, to reach disadvantaged populations and to provide more efficient delivery of care. However, questions remain over the impact of such interventions, particularly on a wider range of vascular related conditions (such as, chronic kidney disease), and it is unclear how different types of telephone support impact on outcome. This study assessed the evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of telephone self-management interventions led by ‘lay health workers’ and ‘peer support workers’ for patients with vascular disease and long-term conditions associated with vascular disease.
Systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Three electronic databases were searched. Two authors independently extracted data according to the Cochrane risk of bias tool. Random effects meta-analysis was used to pool outcome measures.
Ten studies were included, primarily based in community settings in the United States; with participants who had diabetes; and used ‘peer support workers’ that shared characteristics with patients. The included studies were generally rated at risk of bias, as many methodological criteria were rated as ‘unclear’ because of a lack of information.
Overall, peer telephone support was associated with small but significant improvements in self-management behaviour (SMD = 0.19, 95% CI 0.05 to 0.33, I2 = 20.4%) and significant reductions in HbA1c level (SMD = -0.26, 95% CI −0.41 to −0.11, I2 = 47.6%). There was no significant effect on mental health quality of life (SMD = 0.03, 95% CI −0.12 to 0.18, I2 = 0%). Data on health care utilisation were very limited and no studies reported cost effectiveness analyses.
Positive effects were found for telephone self-management interventions via ‘lay workers’ and ‘peer support workers’ for patients on diabetes control and self-management outcomes, but the overall evidence base was limited in scope and quality. Well designed trials assessing non-healthcare professional delivered telephone support for the prevention and management of vascular disease are needed to identify the content of effective components on health outcomes, and to assess cost effectiveness, to determine if such interventions are potentially useful alternatives to professionally delivered care.
Self-management support; Chronic care; Non-healthcare professional; Peer; Lay; Telephone; Vascular disease; Chronic kidney disease; Prevention; Management; Patients; Social disadvantage; Health services research; Randomised controlled trial; Review; Meta-analysis
Illness perceptions are beliefs about the cause, nature and management of illness, which enable patients to make sense of their conditions. These perceptions can predict adjustment and quality of life in patients with single conditions. However, multimorbidity (i.e. patients with multiple long-term conditions) is increasingly prevalent and a key challenge for future health care delivery. The objective of this research was to develop a valid and reliable measure of illness perceptions for multimorbid patients.
Candidate items were derived from previous qualitative research with multimorbid patients. Questionnaires were posted to 1500 patients with two or more exemplar long-term conditions (depression, diabetes, osteoarthritis, coronary heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Data were analysed using factor analysis and Rasch analysis. Rasch analysis is a modern psychometric technique for deriving unidimensional and intervally-scaled questionnaires.
Questionnaires from 490 eligible patients (32.6% response) were returned. Exploratory factor analysis revealed five potential subscales ‘Emotional representations’, ‘Treatment burden’, ‘Prioritising conditions’, ‘Causal links’ and ‘Activity limitations’. Rasch analysis led to further item reduction and the generation of a summary scale comprising of items from all scales. All scales were unidimensional and free from differential item functioning or local independence of items. All scales were reliable, but for each subscale there were a number of patients who scored at the floor of the scale.
The MULTIPleS measure consists of five individual subscales and a 22-item summary scale that measures the perceived impact of multimorbidity. All scales showed good fit to the Rasch model and preliminary evidence of reliability and validity. A number of patients scored at floor of each subscale, which may reflect variation in the perception of multimorbidity. The MULTIPleS measure will facilitate research into the impact of illness perceptions on adjustment, clinical outcomes, quality of life, and costs in patients with multimorbidity.
Patient empowerment is viewed by policy makers and health care practitioners as a mechanism to help patients with long-term conditions better manage their health and achieve better outcomes. However, assessing the role of empowerment is dependent on effective measures of empowerment. Although many measures of empowerment exist, no measure has been developed specifically for patients with long-term conditions in the primary care setting. This study presents preliminary data on the development and validation of such a measure.
We conducted two empirical studies. Study one was an interview study to understand empowerment from the perspective of patients living with long-term conditions. Qualitative analysis identified dimensions of empowerment, and the qualitative data were used to generate items relating to these dimensions. Study two was a cross-sectional postal study involving patients with different types of long-term conditions recruited from general practices. The survey was conducted to test and validate our new measure of empowerment. Factor analysis and regression were performed to test scale structure, internal consistency and construct validity.
Sixteen predominately elderly patients with different types of long-term conditions described empowerment in terms of 5 dimensions (identity, knowledge and understanding, personal control, personal decision-making, and enabling other patients). One hundred and ninety seven survey responses were received from mainly older white females, with relatively low levels of formal education, with the majority retired from paid work. Almost half of the sample reported cardiovascular, joint or diabetes long-term conditions. Factor analysis identified a three factor solution (positive attitude and sense of control, knowledge and confidence in decision making and enabling others), although the structure lacked clarity. A total empowerment score across all items showed acceptable levels of internal consistency and relationships with other measures were generally supportive of its construct validity.
Initial analyses suggest that the new empowerment measure meets basic psychometric criteria. Reasons concerning the failure to confirm the hypothesized factor structure are discussed alongside further developments of the scale.
Patient empowerment; Long-term conditions; Primary care; Patients’ perspectives; Semi-structured interviews; Measurement; Scale development; Psychometrics; Health outcomes
Objective To determine the effectiveness of an intervention to enhance self management support for patients with chronic conditions in UK primary care.
Design Pragmatic, two arm, cluster randomised controlled trial.
Setting General practices, serving a population in northwest England with high levels of deprivation.
Participants 5599 patients with a diagnosis of diabetes (n=2546), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (n=1634), and irritable bowel syndrome (n=1419) from 43 practices (19 intervention and 22 control practices).
Intervention Practice level training in a whole systems approach to self management support. Practices were trained to use a range of resources: a tool to assess the support needs of patients, guidebooks on self management, and a web based directory of local self management resources. Training facilitators were employed by the health management organisation.
Main outcome measures Primary outcomes were shared decision making, self efficacy, and generic health related quality of life measured at 12 months. Secondary outcomes were general health, social or role limitations, energy and vitality, psychological wellbeing, self care activity, and enablement.
Results We randomised 44 practices and recruited 5599 patients, representing 43% of the eligible population on the practice lists. 4533 patients (81.0%) completed the six month follow-up and 4076 (72.8%) the 12 month follow-up. No statistically significant differences were found between patients attending trained practices and those attending control practices on any of the primary or secondary outcomes. All effect size estimates were well below the prespecified threshold of clinically important difference.
Conclusions An intervention to enhance self management support in routine primary care did not add noticeable value to existing care for long term conditions. The active components required for effective self management support need to be better understood, both within primary care and in patients’ everyday lives.
Trial registration Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN90940049.
The COINCIDE trial aims to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a collaborative care intervention for depression in people with diabetes and/or coronary heart disease attending English general practices.
This update details changes to the cluster and patient recruitment strategy for the COINCIDE study. The original protocol was published in Trials (http://www.trialsjournal.com/content/pdf/1745-6215-13-139.pdf). Modifications were made to the recruitment targets in response to lower-than-expected patient recruitment at the first ten general practices recruited into the study. In order to boost patient numbers and retain statistical power, the number of general practices recruited was increased from 30 to 36. Follow-up period was shortened from 6 months to 4 months to ensure that patients recruited to the trial could be followed up by the end of the study.
Patient recruitment began on the 01/05/2012 and is planned to be completed by the 30/04/2013. Recruitment for general practices was completed on 31/10/2012, by which time the target of 36 practices had been recruited. The main trial results will be published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The data from the trial will provide evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of collaborative care for depression in people with diabetes and/or coronary heart disease.
Trial registration number: ISRCTN80309252
Depression; Diabetes; Coronary heart disease; Primary care; Collaborative care
Depression and anxiety are very common in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and are associated with excess morbidity and mortality. Patients prefer non-drug treatments and clinical guidelines promote non-pharmacological interventions as first line therapy for depression and anxiety in people with long term conditions. However the comparative effectiveness of psychological and lifestyle interventions among COPD patients is not known. We assessed whether complex psychological and/or lifestyle interventions are effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression in patients with COPD. We then determined what types of psychological and lifestyle interventions are most effective.
Methods and Findings
Systematic review of randomised controlled trials of psychological and/or lifestyle interventions for adults with COPD that measured symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. CENTRAL, Medline, Embase, PsychINFO, CINAHL, ISI Web of Science and Scopus were searched up to April 2012. Meta-analyses using random effects models were undertaken to estimate the average effect of interventions on depression and anxiety. Thirty independent comparisons from 29 randomised controlled trials (n = 2063) were included in the meta-analysis. Overall, psychological and/or lifestyle interventions were associated with small reductions in symptoms of depression (standardised mean difference −0.28, 95% confidence interval −0.41 to −0.14) and anxiety (standardised mean difference −0.23, 95% confidence interval −0.38 to −0.09). Multi-component exercise training was the only intervention subgroup associated with significant treatment effects for depression (standardised mean difference −0.47, 95% confidence interval −0.66 to −0.28), and for anxiety (standardised mean difference −0.45, 95% confidence interval −0.71 to −0.18).
Complex psychological and/or lifestyle interventions that include an exercise component significantly improve symptoms of depression and anxiety in people with COPD. Furthermore, multi-component exercise training effectively reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression in all people with COPD regardless of severity of depression or anxiety, highlighting the importance of promoting physical activity in this population.
Improving the quality of care for people with vascular disease is a key priority. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) has recently been included as a target condition for general practices to add to registers of chronic conditions as part of the Quality and Outcome Framework. This paper outlines the implementation and evaluation of a self-management intervention involving an information guidebook, tailored access to local resources and telephone support for people with stage 3 chronic kidney disease.
The study involves a multi-site, longitudinal patient-level randomized controlled trial. The study will evaluate the clinical use and cost-effectiveness of a complex self-management intervention for people with stage 3 chronic kidney disease in terms of self-management capacity, health-related quality of life and blood pressure control compared to care as usual. We describe the methods of the patient-level randomized controlled trial.
The management of chronic kidney disease is a developing area of research. The BRinging Information and Guided Help Together (BRIGHT) trial aims to provide evidence that a complementary package of support for people with vascular disease that targets both clinical and social need broadens the opportunities of self-management support by addressing problems related to social disadvantage.
Trial registration reference: ISRCTN45433299
Vascular disease; Chronic kidney disease; Self-management; Randomized controlled trial; Social disadvantage; Social networks; Social prescribing; Minimally disruptive medicine
To investigate organisational factors influencing the implementation challenges of redesigning services for people with long term conditions in three locations in England, using remote care (telehealth and telecare).
Case-studies of three sites forming the UK Department of Health’s Whole Systems Demonstrator (WSD) Programme. Qualitative research techniques were used to obtain data from various sources, including semi-structured interviews, observation of meetings over the course programme and prior to its launch, and document review. Participants were managers and practitioners involved in the implementation of remote care services.
The implementation of remote care was nested within a large pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT), which formed a core element of the WSD programme. To produce robust benefits evidence, many aspect of the trial design could not be easily adapted to local circumstances. While remote care was successfully rolled-out, wider implementation lessons and levels of organisational learning across the sites were hindered by the requirements of the RCT.
The implementation of a complex innovation such as remote care requires it to organically evolve, be responsive and adaptable to the local health and social care system, driven by support from front-line staff and management. This need for evolution was not always aligned with the imperative to gather robust benefits evidence. This tension needs to be resolved if government ambitions for the evidence-based scaling-up of remote care are to be realised.
Telecare; Telehealth; Whole system redesign; Organisational change; Adoption; Implementation; Ethnographic methods
Two key elements to improve the quality of care for people with long-term conditions in primary care are improved clinical information systems to support delivery of evidence-based care, and enhanced self-management support. Although both elements are viewed as necessary, their interaction is not well understood.
To explore the use of computer-based ‘disease management’ templates and their relevance to self-management dialogue within clinical encounters.
Design and setting
Qualitative study of general practices located in three primary care trusts in the north of England.
A qualitative mixed methods study was conducted that included comparative analysis of (1) observations of general practice consultations (n = 86); and (2) interviews with health professionals in general practice (n = 17).
The analysis suggested that use of the computer templates reinforced a checklist approach to consultations, which included professionals working through several self-management topics framed as discrete behaviours. As a consequence, conversation tended to become focused on the maintenance of the professional-patient relationship at the expense of expansion in self-management dialogue. The computer templates also shaped how patient-initiated self-management dialogue was managed when it arose, with a shift towards discussion around medical agendas.
In order to enhance the management of long-term conditions in primary care, the design and implementation of clinical information systems to improve evidence-based care need to take into account their potential impact on supporting self-management.
consultation; chronic disease; doctor-patient relations; primary care; self-management
The Patient Assessment of Chronic Illness Care (PACIC) is a US measure of chronic illness quality of care, based on the influential Chronic Care Model (CCM). It measures a number of aspects of care, including patient activation; delivery system design and decision support; goal setting and tailoring; problem-solving and contextual counselling; follow-up and coordination. Although there is developing evidence of the utility of the scale, there is little evidence about its performance in the United Kingdom (UK). We present preliminary data on the psychometric performance of the PACIC in a large sample of UK patients with long-term conditions.
We collected PACIC, demographic, clinical and quality of care data from patients with long-term conditions across 38 general practices, as part of a wider longitudinal study. We assess rates of missing data, present descriptive and distributional data, assess internal consistency, and test validity through confirmatory factor analysis, and through associations between PACIC scores, patient characteristics and related measures.
There was evidence that rates of missing data were high on PACIC (9.6% - 15.9%), and higher than on other scales used in the same survey. Most PACIC sub-scales showed reasonable levels of internal consistency (alpha = 0.68 – 0.94), responses did not demonstrate high skewness levels, and floor effects were more frequent (up to 30.4% on the follow up and co-ordination subscale) than ceiling effects (generally <5%). PACIC demonstrated preliminary evidence of validity in terms of measures of long-term condition care. Confirmatory factor analysis suggested that the five factor PACIC structure proposed by the scale developers did not fit the data: reporting separate factor scores may not always be appropriate.
The importance of improving care for long-term conditions means that the development and validation of measures is a priority. The PACIC scale has demonstrated potential utility in this regard, but further assessment is required to assess low levels of completion of the scale, and to explore the performance of the scale in predicting outcomes and assessing the effects of interventions.
Long term conditions; Chronic disease; Patient assessments; Primary care; Quality improvement
Depression is up to two to three times as common in people with long-term conditions. It negatively affects medical management of disease and self-care behaviors, and leads to poorer quality of life and high costs in primary care. Screening and treatment of depression is increasingly prioritized, but despite initiatives to improve access and quality of care, depression remains under-detected and under-treated, especially in people with long-term conditions. Collaborative care is known to positively affect the process and outcome of care for people with depression and long-term conditions, but its effectiveness outside the USA is still relatively unknown. Furthermore, collaborative care has yet to be tested in settings that resemble more naturalistic settings that include patient choice and the usual care providers. The aim of this study was to test the effectiveness of a collaborative-care intervention, for people with depression and diabetes/coronary heart disease in National Health Service (NHS) primary care, in which low-intensity psychological treatment services are delivered by the usual care provider - Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. The study also aimed to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the intervention over 6 months, and to assess qualitatively the extent to which collaborative care was implemented in the intervention general practices.
This is a cluster randomized controlled trial of 30 general practices allocated to either collaborative care or usual care. Fifteen patients per practice will be recruited after a screening exercise to detect patients with recognized depression (≥10 on the nine-symptom Patient Health Questionnaire; PHQ-9). Patients in the collaborative-care arm with recognized depression will be offered a choice of evidence-based low-intensity psychological treatments based on cognitive and behavioral approaches. Patients will be case managed by psychological well-being practitioners employed by IAPT in partnership with a practice nurse and/or general practitioner. The primary outcome will be change in depressive symptoms at 6 months on the 90-item Symptoms Checklist (SCL-90). Secondary outcomes include change in health status, self-care behaviors, and self-efficacy. A qualitative process evaluation will be undertaken with patients and health practitioners to gauge the extent to which the collaborative-care model is implemented, and to explore sustainability beyond the clinical trial.
COINCIDE will assess whether collaborative care can improve patient-centered outcomes, and evaluate access to and quality of care of co-morbid depression of varying intensity in people with diabetes/coronary heart disease. Additionally, by working with usual care providers such as IAPT, and by identifying and evaluating interventions that are effective and appropriate for routine use in the NHS, the COINCIDE trial offers opportunities to address translational gaps between research and implementation.
Trial Registration Number
Depression; Diabetes; Coronary heart disease; Primary care; Collaborative care
In the United Kingdom and worldwide, there is significant policy interest in improving the quality of care for patients with mental health disorders and distress. Improving quality of care means addressing not only the effectiveness of interventions but also the issue of limited access to care. Research to date into improving access to mental health care has not been strongly rooted within a conceptual model, nor has it systematically identified the different elements of the patient journey from identification of illness to receipt of care. This paper set out to review core concepts underlying patient access to mental health care, synthesise these to develop a conceptual model of access, and consider the implications of the model for the development and evaluation of interventions for groups with poor access to mental health care such as older people and ethnic minorities.
Narrative review of the literature to identify concepts underlying patient access to mental health care, and synthesis into a conceptual model to support the delivery and evaluation of complex interventions to improve access to mental health care.
The narrative review adopted a process model of access to care, incorporating interventions at three levels. The levels comprise (a) community engagement (b) addressing the quality of interactions in primary care and (c) the development and delivery of tailored psychosocial interventions.
The model we propose can form the basis for the development and evaluation of complex interventions in access to mental health care. We highlight the key methodological challenges in evaluating the overall impact of access interventions, and assessing the relative contribution of the different elements of the model.
Telehealth (TH) and telecare (TC) interventions are increasingly valued for supporting self-care in ageing populations; however, evaluation studies often report high rates of non-participation that are not well understood. This paper reports from a qualitative study nested within a large randomised controlled trial in the UK: the Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) project. It explores barriers to participation and adoption of TH and TC from the perspective of people who declined to participate or withdrew from the trial.
Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with 22 people who declined to participate in the trial following explanations of the intervention (n = 19), or who withdrew from the intervention arm (n = 3). Participants were recruited from the four trial groups (with diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, or social care needs); and all came from the three trial areas (Cornwall, Kent, east London). Observations of home visits where the trial and interventions were first explained were also conducted by shadowing 8 members of health and social care staff visiting 23 people at home. Field notes were made of observational visits and explored alongside interview transcripts to elicit key themes.
Barriers to adoption of TH and TC associated with non-participation and withdrawal from the trial were identified within the following themes: requirements for technical competence and operation of equipment; threats to identity, independence and self-care; expectations and experiences of disruption to services. Respondents held concerns that special skills were needed to operate equipment but these were often based on misunderstandings. Respondents’ views were often explained in terms of potential threats to identity associated with positive ageing and self-reliance, and views that interventions could undermine self-care and coping. Finally, participants were reluctant to risk potentially disruptive changes to existing services that were often highly valued.
These findings regarding perceptions of potential disruption of interventions to identity and services go beyond more common expectations that concerns about privacy and dislike of technology deter uptake. These insights have implications for health and social care staff indicating that more detailed information and time for discussion could be valuable especially on introduction. It seems especially important for potential recipients to have the opportunity to discuss their expectations and such views might usefully feed back into design and implementation.
Telehealth; Telecare; Patients’ perspectives; Non-adoption; Non-participation; Barriers; Qualitative research; Whole System Demonstrator
The prevalence and impact of long term conditions continues to rise. Care planning for people with long term conditions has been a policy priority in England for chronic disease management. However, it is not clear how care planning is currently understood, translated and implemented in primary care. This study explores experience of care planning in patients with long term conditions in three areas in England.
We conducted semi-structured interviews with 23 predominantly elderly patients with multiple long term conditions. The interviews were designed to explore variations in and emergent experiences of care planning. Qualitative analysis of interview transcripts involved reflexively coding and re-coding data into categories and themes.
No participants reported experiencing explicit care planning discussions or receiving written documentation setting out a negotiated care plan and they were unfamiliar with the term ‘care planning’. However, most described some components of care planning which occurred over a number of contacts with health care professionals which we term”reactive” care planning. Here, key elements of care planning including goal setting and action planning were rare. Additionally, poor continuity and coordination of care, lack of time in consultations, and patient concerns about what was legitimate to discuss with the doctor were described.
Amongst this population, elements of care planning were present in their accounts, but a structured, comprehensive process and consequent written record (as outlined in English Department of Health policy) was not evident. Further research needs to explore the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to care planning for different patient groups.
Aged; Chronic disease; Chronic illness; Patient care planning; Primary health care
Patients with long-term conditions are increasingly the focus of quality improvement activities in health services to reduce the impact of these conditions on quality of life and to reduce the burden on care utilisation. There is significant interest in the potential for self-management support to improve health and reduce utilisation in these patient populations, but little consensus concerning the optimal model that would best provide such support. We describe the implementation and evaluation of self-management support through an evidence-based 'whole systems' model involving patient support, training for primary care teams, and service re-organisation, all integrated into routine delivery within primary care.
The evaluation involves a large-scale, multi-site study of the implementation, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of this model of self-management support using a cluster randomised controlled trial in patients with three long-term conditions of diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The outcome measures include healthcare utilisation and quality of life. We describe the methods of the cluster randomised trial.
If the 'whole systems' model proves effective and cost-effective, it will provide decision-makers with a model for the delivery of self-management support for populations with long-term conditions that can be implemented widely to maximise 'reach' across the wider patient population.
Trial registration number
In the United Kingdom, clinical guidelines recommend that services for depression and anxiety should be structured around a stepped care model, where patients receive treatment at different 'steps,' with the intensity of treatment (i.e., the amount and type) increasing at each step if they fail to benefit at previous steps. There are very limited data available on the implementation of this model, particularly on the intensity of psychological treatment at each step. Our objective was to describe patient pathways through stepped care services and the impact of this on patient flow and management.
We recorded service design features of four National Health Service sites implementing stepped care (e.g., the types of treatments available and their links with other treatments), together with the actual treatments received by individual patients and their transitions between different treatment steps. We computed the proportions of patients accessing, receiving, and transiting between the various steps and mapped these proportions visually to illustrate patient movement.
We collected throughput data on 7,698 patients referred. Patient pathways were highly complex and very variable within and between sites. The ratio of low (e.g., self-help) to high-intensity (e.g., cognitive behaviour therapy) treatments delivered varied between sites from 22:1, through 2.1:1, 1.4:1 to 0.5:1. The numbers of patients allocated directly to high-intensity treatment varied from 3% to 45%. Rates of stepping up from low-intensity treatment to high-intensity treatment were less than 10%.
When services attempt to implement the recommendation for stepped care in the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines, there were significant differences in implementation and consequent high levels of variation in patient pathways. Evaluations driven by the principles of implementation science (such as targeted planning, defined implementation strategies, and clear activity specification around service organisation) are required to improve evidence on the most effective, efficient, and acceptable stepped care systems.
It is expected that increased demands on services will result from expanding numbers of older people with long-term conditions and social care needs. There is significant interest in the potential for technology to reduce utilisation of health services in these patient populations, including telecare (the remote, automatic and passive monitoring of changes in an individual's condition or lifestyle) and telehealth (the remote exchange of data between a patient and health care professional). The potential of telehealth and telecare technology to improve care and reduce costs is limited by a lack of rigorous evidence of actual impact.
We are conducting a large scale, multi-site study of the implementation, impact and acceptability of these new technologies. A major part of the evaluation is a cluster-randomised controlled trial of telehealth and telecare versus usual care in patients with long-term conditions or social care needs. The trial involves a number of outcomes, including health care utilisation and quality of life. We describe the broad evaluation and the methods of the cluster randomised trial
If telehealth and telecare technology proves effective, it will provide additional options for health services worldwide to deliver care for populations with high levels of need.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN43002091
Increasing the effective targeting and promotion of self-care support for long-term conditions requires more of a focus on patient contexts and networks. The aim of this paper is to describe how within a programme of research and implementation, social networks are viewed as being centrally involved in the mobilisation and deployment of resources in the management of a chronic condition. This forms the basis of a novel approach to understanding, designing, and implementing new forms of self-management support.
Drawing on evidence syntheses about social networks and capital and the role of information in self-management, we build on four conceptual approaches to inform the design of our research on the implementation of self-care support for people with long-term conditions. Our approach takes into consideration the form and content of social networks, notions of chronic illness work, normalisation process theory (NPT), and the whole systems informing self-management engagement (WISE) approach to self-care support.
The translation and implementation of a self-care agenda in contemporary health and social context needs to acknowledge and incorporate the resources and networks operating in patients' domestic and social environments and everyday lives. The latter compliments the focus on healthcare settings for developing and delivering self-care support by viewing communities and networks, as well as people suffering from long-term conditions, as a key means of support for managing long-term conditions. By focusing on patient work and social-network provision, our aim is to open up a second frontier in implementation research, to translate knowledge into better chronic illness management, and to shift the emphasis towards support that takes place outside formal health services.
Patients with diabetes suffer high rates of mental health problems, and this combination is associated with poor outcomes. Although effective treatments exist for both diabetes and mental health problems, delivering services for physical and mental health problems separately ignores their interaction and may be inefficient. This systematic review sought to identify psychosocial interventions that could improve both the physical and mental health of patients with diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Studies were identified from the following databases: CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Excerpta Medica (EMBASE), Psychinfo, and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL). The review included randomized controlled trials in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who received psychosocial interventions and where both mental health and physical health outcomes were reported. Data were extracted on study quality, the content and process of interventions, and outcomes.
Eighty-five eligible comparisons were identified, of which 49 reported sufficient data for analysis. Psychosocial interventions modestly improved A1C (standardized mean difference −0.29 [95% CI −0.37 to −0.21]) and mental health outcomes (−0.16 [−0.25 to −0.07]). However, there was a limited association between the effects on A1C and mental health, and no intervention characteristics predicted benefit on both outcomes.
Managing physical and mental health in long-term conditions are increasingly important. The review did not identify types of interventions that consistently provide benefits for both physical and mental health. Developing such interventions remains an important challenge. The findings have implications for understanding the interaction between physical and mental health problems and for the coordination of care.
Anne Kennedy, Anne Rogers, and Peter Bower argue that effective self care requires fundamental changes in professional attitudes and the way health care is delivered
There is worldwide interest in managing the global burden of long-term conditions. Current health policy places emphasis on self-management and supporting patient participation as ways of improving patient outcomes and reducing costs. However, achieving genuine participation is difficult. This paper describes the development of an intervention designed to promote participation in the consultation and facilitate self-management in long-term conditions. In line with current guidance on the development of complex interventions, our aim was to develop and refine the initial intervention using qualitative methods, prior to more formal evaluation.
We based the intervention on published evidence on effective ways of improving participation. The intervention was developed, piloted and evaluated using a range of qualitative methods. Firstly, focus groups with stakeholders (5 patients and 3 clinicians) were held to introduce the prototype and elucidate how it could be improved. Then individual 'think aloud' and qualitative interviews (n = 10) were used to explore how patients responded to and understood the form and provide further refinement.
The literature highlighted that effective methods of increasing participation include the use of patient reported outcome measures and values clarification exercises. The intervention (called PRISMS) integrated these processes, using a structured form which required patients to identify problems, rate their magnitude and identify their priority. PRISMS was well received by patients and professionals. In the individual qualitative interviews the main themes that emerged from the data related to (a) the content of the PRISMS (b) the process of completing PRISMS and how it could be operationalised in practice and (c) the outcomes of completing PRISMS for the patient. A number of different functions of PRISMS were identified by patients including its use as an aide-memoire, to provide a focus to consultations, to give permission to discuss certain issues, and to provide greater tailoring for the patient.
There was evidence that patients found the PRISMS form acceptable and potentially useful. The challenge encountered by patients in completing PRISMS may encourage exploration of these issues within the consultation, complementing the more 'task focussed' aspects of consultations resulting from introduction of clinical guidelines and financial incentives. Further research is required to provide a rigorous assessment of the ability of tools like PRISMS to achieve genuine change in the process and outcome of consultations.
Trials frequently encounter difficulties in recruitment, but evidence on effective recruitment methods in primary care is sparse. A robust test of recruitment methods involves comparing alternative methods using a randomized trial, 'nested' in an ongoing 'host' trial. There are potential scientific, logistical and ethical obstacles to such studies.
Telephone interviews were undertaken with four groups of stakeholders (funders, principal investigators, trial managers and ethics committee chairs) to explore their views on the practicality and acceptability of undertaking nested trials of recruitment methods. These semi-structured interviews were transcribed and analysed thematically.
Twenty people were interviewed. Respondents were familiar with recruitment difficulties in primary care and recognised the case for 'nested' studies to build an evidence base on effective recruitment strategies. However, enthusiasm for this global aim was tempered by the challenges of implementation. Challenges for host studies included increasing complexity and management burden; compatibility between the host and nested study; and the impact of the nested study on trial design and relationships with collaborators. For nested recruitment studies, there were concerns that host study investigators might have strong preferences, limiting the nested study investigators' control over their research, and also concerns about sample size which might limit statistical power. Nested studies needed to be compatible with the main trial and should be planned from the outset. Good communication and adequate resources were seen as important.
Although research on recruitment was welcomed in principle, the issue of which study had control of key decisions emerged as critical. To address this concern, it appeared important to align the interests of both host and nested studies and to reduce the burden of hosting a recruitment trial. These findings should prove useful in devising a programme of research involving nested studies of recruitment interventions.
Supporting patients' self care could have a major effect on the management of long‐term conditions, which has led to worldwide interest in effective self care interventions. In England, self care support is being developed through the “Expert Patients Programme”, which provides lay‐led generic courses to improve patients' self care skills. However, the clinical and cost effectiveness of such courses remains unclear.
Two‐arm pragmatic randomised controlled trial design with waiting list control in community settings in England. 629 patients with a wide range of self‐defined long‐term conditions were studied. The lay‐led self care support group involved 6‐weekly sessions to teach self care skills. Primary outcomes were self‐efficacy, reported energy and routine health services utilisation at 6 months. A cost‐effectiveness analysis was also conducted.
Patients receiving immediate course access reported considerably greater self‐efficacy and energy at 6‐month follow‐up, but reported no statistically significant reductions in routine health services utilisation over the same time period. The cost‐effectiveness analysis showed that patients receiving immediate course access reported considerably greater health related quality of life, and a small reduction in costs. If a quality adjusted life year was valued at £20 000 ($39 191; €30 282), there was a 70% probability that the intervention was cost effective.
Lay‐led self care support groups are effective in improving self‐efficacy and energy levels among patients with long‐term conditions, and are likely to be cost effective over 6 months at conventional values of a decision‐maker's willingness to pay. They may be a useful addition to current services in the management of long‐term conditions.
There is a considerable evidence base for 'collaborative care' as a method to improve quality of care for depression, but an acknowledged gap between efficacy and implementation. This study utilises the Normalisation Process Model (NPM) to inform the process of implementation of collaborative care in both a future full-scale trial, and the wider health economy.
Application of the NPM to qualitative data collected in both focus groups and one-to-one interviews before and after an exploratory randomised controlled trial of a collaborative model of care for depression.
Findings are presented as they relate to the four factors of the NPM (interactional workability, relational integration, skill-set workability, and contextual integration) and a number of necessary tasks are identified. Using the model, it was possible to observe that predictions about necessary work to implement collaborative care that could be made from analysis of the pre-trial data relating to the four different factors of the NPM were indeed borne out in the post-trial data. However, additional insights were gained from the post-trial interview participants who, unlike those interviewed before the trial, had direct experience of a novel intervention. The professional freedom enjoyed by more senior mental health workers may work both for and against normalisation of collaborative care as those who wish to adopt new ways of working have the freedom to change their practice but are not obliged to do so.
The NPM provides a useful structure for both guiding and analysing the process by which an intervention is optimized for testing in a larger scale trial or for subsequent full-scale implementation.