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1.  What are the barriers faced by patients using insulin? A qualitative study of Malaysian health care professionals’ views 
Background
Patients with type 2 diabetes often require insulin as the disease progresses. However, health care professionals frequently encounter challenges when managing patients who require insulin therapy. Understanding how health care professionals perceive the barriers faced by patients on insulin will facilitate care and treatment strategies.
Objective
This study explores the views of Malaysian health care professionals on the barriers faced by patients using insulin.
Methods
Semi-structured qualitative interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with health care professionals involved in diabetes care using insulin. Forty-one health care professionals participated in the study, consisting of primary care doctors (n = 20), family medicine specialists (n = 10), government policymakers (n = 5), diabetes educators (n = 3), endocrinologists (n = 2), and one pharmacist. We used a topic guide to facilitate the interviews, which were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using a thematic approach.
Results
Five themes were identified as barriers: side effects, patient education, negative perceptions, blood glucose monitoring, and patient adherence to treatment and follow-up. Patients perceive that insulin therapy causes numerous negative side effects. There is a lack of patient education on proper glucose monitoring and how to optimize insulin therapy. Cost of treatment and patient ignorance are highlighted when discussing patient self-monitoring of blood glucose. Finally, health care professionals identified a lack of a follow-up system, especially for patients who do not keep to regular appointments.
Conclusion
This study identifies five substantial barriers to optimizing insulin therapy. Health care professionals who successfully identify and address these issues will empower patients to achieve effective self-management. System barriers require government agency in establishing insulin follow-up programs, multidisciplinary diabetes care teams, and subsidies for glucometers and test strips.
doi:10.2147/PPA.S36791
PMCID: PMC3559078  PMID: 23378747
primary care; focus groups; noncommunicable disease; diabetes; insulin; qualitative study
2.  Exploring Patient Values in Medical Decision Making: A Qualitative Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80051.
Background
Patient decisions are influenced by their personal values. However, there is a lack of clarity and attention on the concept of patient values in the clinical context despite clear emphasis on patient values in evidence-based medicine and shared decision making. The aim of the study was to explore the concept of patient values in the context of making decisions about insulin initiation among people with type 2 diabetes.
Methods and Findings
We conducted individual in-depth interviews with people with type 2 diabetes who were making decisions about insulin treatment. Participants were selected purposively to achieve maximum variation. A semi-structured topic guide was used to guide the interviews which were audio-recorded and analysed using a thematic approach. We interviewed 21 participants between January 2011 and March 2012. The age range of participants was 28–67 years old. Our sample comprised 9 women and 12 men. Three main themes, ‘treatment-specific values’, ‘life goals and philosophies’, and ‘personal and social background’, emerged from the analysis. The patients reported a variety of insulin-specific values, which were negative and/or positive beliefs about insulin. They framed insulin according to their priorities and philosophies in life. Patients’ decisions were influenced by sociocultural (e.g. religious background) and personal backgrounds (e.g. family situations).
Conclusions
This study highlighted the need for expanding the current concept of patient values in medical decision making. Clinicians should address more than just values related to treatment options. Patient values should include patients’ priorities, life philosophy and their background. Current decision support tools, such as patient decision aids, should consider these new dimensions when clarifying patient values.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080051
PMCID: PMC3839918  PMID: 24282518
3.  An overview of patient involvement in healthcare decision-making: a situational analysis of the Malaysian context 
Background
Involving patients in decision-making is an important part of patient-centred care. Research has found a discrepancy between patients’ desire to be involved and their actual involvement in healthcare decision-making. In Asia, there is a dearth of research in decision-making. Using Malaysia as an exemplar, this study aims to review the current research evidence, practices, policies, and laws with respect to patient engagement in shared decision-making (SDM) in Asia.
Methods
In this study, we conducted a comprehensive literature review to collect information on healthcare decision-making in Malaysia. We also consulted medical education researchers, key opinion leaders, governmental organisations, and patient support groups to assess the extent to which patient involvement was incorporated into the medical curriculum, healthcare policies, and legislation.
Results
There are very few studies on patient involvement in decision-making in Malaysia. Existing studies showed that doctors were aware of informed consent, but few practised SDM. There was limited teaching of SDM in undergraduate and postgraduate curricula and a lack of accurate and accessible health information for patients. In addition, peer support groups and 'expert patient’ programmes were also lacking. Professional medical bodies endorsed patient involvement in decision-making, but there was no definitive implementation plan.
Conclusion
In summary, there appears to be little training or research on SDM in Malaysia. More research needs to be done in this area, including baseline information on the preferred and actual decision-making roles. The authors have provided a set of recommendations on how SDM can be effectively implemented in Malaysia.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-408
PMCID: PMC3852442  PMID: 24119237
4.  Health innovations in patient decision support: Bridging the gaps and challenges 
Patient decision aids (PDAs) help to support patients in making an informed and value-based decision. Despite advancement in decision support technologies over the past 30 years, most PDAs are still inaccessible and few address individual needs. Health innovation may provide a solution to bridge these gaps. Information and computer technology provide a platform to incorporate individual profiles and needs into PDAs, making the decision support more personalised. Health innovation may enhance accessibility by using mobile, tablet and Internet technologies; make risk communication more interactive; and identify patient values more effectively. In addition, using databases to capture patient data and the usage of PDAs can help: developers to improve PDAs’ design; clinicians to facilitate the decisionmaking process more effectively; and policy makers to make shared decision making more feasible and cost-effective. Health innovation may hold the key to advancing PDAs by creating a more personalised and effective decision support tool for patients making healthcare decisions.
doi:10.4066/AMJ.2013.1655
PMCID: PMC3593527  PMID: 23483776
Patient decision aids; shared decision making; health innovation
5.  A qualitative study on healthcare professionals’ perceived barriers to insulin initiation in a multi-ethnic population 
BMC Family Practice  2012;13:28.
Background
Nationwide surveys have shown that the prevalence of diabetes rates in Malaysia have almost doubled in the past ten years; yet diabetes control remains poor and insulin therapy is underutilized. This study aimed to explore healthcare professionals’ views on barriers to starting insulin therapy in people with type 2 diabetes.
Methods
Healthcare professionals consisting of general practitioners (n = 11), family medicine specialists (n = 10), medical officers (n = 8), government policy makers (n = 4), diabetes educators (n = 3) and endocrinologists (n = 2) were interviewed. A semi-structured topic guide was used to guide the interviews by trained facilitators. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using a thematic analysis approach.
Results
Insulin initiation was found to be affected by patient, healthcare professional and system factors. Patients’ barriers include culture-specific barriers such as the religious purity of insulin, preferred use of complementary medication and perceived lethality of insulin therapy. Healthcare professionals’ barriers include negative attitudes towards insulin therapy and the ‘legacy effect’ of old insulin guidelines; whilst system barriers highlight the lack of resources, language and communication challenges.
Conclusions
Tackling the issue of insulin initiation should not only happen during clinical consultations. It requires health education to emphasise the progressive nature of diabetes and the eventuality of insulin therapy at early stage of the illness. Healthcare professionals should be trained how to initiate insulin and communicate effectively with patients from various cultural and religious backgrounds.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-13-28
PMCID: PMC3389339  PMID: 22469132
6.  How can insulin initiation delivery in a dual-sector health system be optimised? A qualitative study on healthcare professionals’ views 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:313.
Background
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate in developing countries. However, glycaemia control remains suboptimal and insulin use is low. One important barrier is the lack of an efficient and effective insulin initiation delivery approach. This study aimed to document the strategies used and proposed by healthcare professionals to improve insulin initiation in the Malaysian dual-sector (public–private) health system.
Methods
In depth interviews and focus group discussions were conducted in Klang Valley and Seremban, Malaysia in 2010–11. Healthcare professionals consisting of general practitioners (n = 11), medical officers (n = 8), diabetes educators (n = 3), government policy makers (n = 4), family medicine specialists (n = 10) and endocrinologists (n = 2) were interviewed. We used a topic guide to facilitate the interviews, which were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using a thematic approach.
Results
Three main themes emerged from the interviews. Firstly, there was a lack of collaboration between the private and public sectors in diabetes care. The general practitioners in the private sector proposed an integrated system for them to refer patients to the public health services for insulin initiation programmes. There could be shared care between the two sectors and this would reduce the disproportionately heavy workload at the public sector. Secondly, besides the support from the government health authority, the healthcare professionals wanted greater involvement of non-government organisations, media and pharmaceutical industry in facilitating insulin initiation in both the public and private sectors. The support included: training of healthcare professionals; developing and disseminating patient education materials; service provision by diabetes education teams; organising programmes for patients’ peer group sessions; increasing awareness and demystifying insulin via public campaigns; and subsidising glucose monitoring equipment. Finally, the healthcare professionals proposed the establishment of multidisciplinary teams as a strategy to increase the rate of insulin initiation. Having team members from different ethnic backgrounds would help to overcome language and cultural differences when communicating with patients.
Conclusion
The challenges faced by a dual-sector health system in delivering insulin initiation may be addressed by greater collaborations between the private and public sectors and governmental and non-government organisations, and among different healthcare professionals.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-313
PMCID: PMC3533841  PMID: 22545648
Insulin initiation; Dual-sector health system; Malaysia; Diabetes; Public sector; Private sector

Results 1-6 (6)