Mobile phone text messaging is emerging as an important tool in the care of people living with HIV; however, reports diverge on its efficacy in improving adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART), and little is known about which patient groups may benefit most from phone-based adherence interventions. We will conduct an individual patient data meta-analysis to investigate the overall and subgroup effects of text messaging in three recently published text-messaging randomised controlled trials.
Methods and analysis
Data from two Kenyan and one Cameroonian trial will be verified, reformatted and merged. We will determine pooled effect sizes for text messaging versus standard care for improving adherence to ART using individual patient random-effects meta-analysis. We will test for the interaction effects of age, gender, level of education and duration on ART. Sensitivity analyses will be conducted with regard to thresholds for adherence, methods of handling missing data and fixed-effects meta-analysis. Only anonymised data will be collected from the individual studies.
Ethics and dissemination
Ethical approval was obtained for the individual studies. The results of this paper will be disseminated as peer-reviewed publications, at conferences and as part of a doctoral thesis. This individual patient data meta-analysis may provide important insights into the effects of text messaging on ART adherence in different subpopulations, with important implications for programme implementation involving such interventions and future research.
Statistics & Research Methods
The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality funded an evidence report to address seven questions on multiple aspects of the effectiveness of medication management information technology (MMIT) and its components (prescribing, order communication, dispensing, administering, and monitoring).
Materials and Methods
Medline and 11 other databases without language or date limitations to mid-2010. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) assessing integrated MMIT were selected by two independent reviewers. Reviewers assessed study quality and extracted data. Senior staff checked accuracy.
Most of the 87 RCTs focused on clinical decision support and computerized provider order entry systems, were performed in hospitals and clinics, included primarily physicians and sometimes nurses but not other health professionals, and studied process changes related to prescribing and monitoring medication. Processes of care improved for prescribing and monitoring mostly in hospital settings, but the few studies measuring clinical outcomes showed small or no improvements. Studies were performed most frequently in the USA (n=63), Europe (n=16), and Canada (n=6).
Many studies had limited description of systems, installations, institutions, and targets of the intervention. Problems with methods and analyses were also found. Few studies addressed order communication, dispensing, or administering, non-physician prescribers or pharmacists and their MMIT tools, or patients and caregivers. Other study methods are also needed to completely understand the effects of MMIT.
Almost half of MMIT interventions improved the process of care, but few studies measured clinical outcomes. This large body of literature, although instructive, is not uniformly distributed across settings, people, medication phases, or outcomes.
Clinical decision support; clinical decision support systems; communication; decision support; drug therapy; eHealth; electronic prescribing; evidence-based medicine; health information technology; informatics education; information retrieval; library science; machine learning; medical informatics; medication systems; predictive modeling; privacy technology; randomized trials; research methodology; safety; son's name; statistical learning; systematic reviews
The benefits of antiretroviral therapy (ART) cannot be experienced if they are not taken as prescribed. Yet, not all causes of non-adherence are dependent on the patient. Having to pay for medication reduces adherence rates. Non- adherence has severe public health implications which must be addressed locally and globally. This paper seeks to describe the trends in adherence rates reported in Cameroon and to investigate the determinants of adherence to ART in the Cameroon Mobile Phone SMS (CAMPS) trial.
We conducted a systematic review of electronic databases (PubMed, Google Scholar, Web of Science, CINAHL, EMBASE and PSYCINFO) for publications on adherence to ART in Cameroon (from January 1999 to May 2012) and described the trend in reported adherence rates and the factors associated with adherence. Data were extracted in duplicate. We used multivariable analyses on the baseline data for 200 participants in the CAMPS trial to determine the factors associated with adherence in four models using different measures of adherence (more than 90% or 95% on the visual analogue scale, no missed doses and a composite measure: 100% on the visual analogue scale, no missed doses and all pills taken on time).
We identified nine studies meeting our inclusion criteria. Adherence to ART in Cameroon has risen steadily between 2000 and 2010, corresponding to reductions in the cost of medication. The factors associated with adherence to ART in Cameroon are grouped into patient, medication and disease related factors. We also identified factors related to the health system and the patient-provider relationship. In the CAMPS trial, education, side effects experienced and number of reminder methods were found to improve adherence, but only using multiple reminder methods was associated with better adherence in all the regression models (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] 4.11, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] 1.89, 8.93; p<0.001; model IV).
Reducing the cost of ART is an important aspect of ensuring adequate adherence rates. Using multiple reminder methods may have a cumulative effect on adherence to ART, but should be investigated further.
Adherence; Antiretroviral therapy; Cameroon; Reminder methods; CAMPS
Mobile phone technology is a novel way of delivering health care and improving health outcomes. This trial investigates the use of motivational mobile phone text messages (SMS) to improve adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) over six months.
CAMPS was a single-site randomized two-arm parallel design trial in Yaoundé, Cameroon. We enrolled and randomized HIV-positive adults on ART, aged 21 years and above to receive a weekly standardized motivational text message versus usual care alone. The primary outcome was adherence measured using a visual analogue scale (VAS), number of doses missed (in the week preceding the interview) and pharmacy refill data. Outcomes were measured at 3 and 6 months. Service providers and outcome assessors were blinded to allocation. Analysis was by intention-to-treat. Between November and December 2010, 200 participants were randomized, with 101 in the intervention group and 99 in the control group. At 6 months, overall retention was 81.5%. We found no significant effect on adherence by VAS>95% (risk ratio [RR] 1.06, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.89, 1.29; p = 0.542; reported missed doses (RR 1.01, 95% CI 0.87, 1.16; p>0.999) or number of pharmacy refills (mean difference [MD] 0.1, 95% CI: 0.23, 0.43; p = 0.617. One participant in the intervention arm reported a possible disclosure of status.
Standardized motivational mobile phone text messages did not significantly improve adherence to ART in this study. Other types of messaging or longer term studies are recommended.
1. Pan-African Clinical Trials Registry; PACTR201011000261458
2. Clinicaltrials.gov; NCT01247181
Decision Boxes are summaries of the most important benefits and harms of health interventions provided to clinicians before they meet the patient, to prepare them to help patients make informed and value-based decisions. Our objective is to explore the barriers and facilitators to using Decision Boxes in clinical practice, more precisely factors stemming from (1) the Decision Boxes themselves, (2) the primary healthcare team (PHT), and (3) the primary care practice environment.
A two-phase mixed methods study will be conducted. Eight Decision Boxes relevant to primary care, and written in both English and in French, will be hosted on a website together with a tutorial to introduce the Decision Box. The Decision Boxes will be delivered as weekly emails over a span of eight weeks to clinicians of PHTs (family physicians, residents and nurses) in five primary care clinics located across two Canadian provinces. Using a web-questionnaire, clinicians will rate each Decision Box with the Information Assessment Method (cognitive impacts, relevance, usefulness, expected benefits) and with a questionnaire based on the Theory of Planned Behavior to study the determinants of clinicians’ intention to use what they learned from that Decision Box in their patient encounter (attitude, social norm, perceived behavioral control). Web-log data will be used to monitor clinicians’ access to the website. Following the 8-week intervention, we will conduct semi-structured group interviews with clinicians and individual interviews with clinic administrators to explore contextual factors influencing the use of the Decision Boxes. Data collected from questionnaires, focus groups and individual interviews will be combined to identify factors potentially influencing implementation of Decision Boxes in clinical practice by clinicians of PHTs.
This project will allow tailoring of Decision Boxes and their delivery to overcome the specific barriers identified by clinicians of PHTs to improve the implementation of shared decision making in this setting.
(3–10); Evidence-based practice; Continuing professional education; Risk communication; Patient-centered care; Counselling; Clinical topic summary; Decision support; Knowledge translation; Implementation science
Metformin and a sulphonylurea are often used in combination for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the comparative safety and efficacy of all available classes of antihyperglycemic therapies in patients with type 2 diabetes inadequately controlled with metformin and sulphonylurea combination therapy.
MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, BIOSIS Previews, PubMed and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched for randomized controlled trials published in English from 1980 to November 2009. Additional citations were obtained from the grey literature and conference proceedings and through stakeholder feedback. Two reviewers independently selected the studies, extracted the data and assessed risk of bias. Key outcomes of interest were hemoglobin A1c, body weight, hypoglycemia, patients’ satisfaction with treatment, quality of life, long-term diabetes-related complications, withdrawals due to adverse events, serious adverse events and mortality. Mixed-treatment comparison meta-analyses were conducted to calculate mean differences between drug classes for changes in hemoglobin A1c and body weight. When appropriate, pairwise meta-analyses were used to estimate differences for other outcomes.
We identified 33 randomized controlled trials meeting the inclusion criteria. The methodologic quality of the studies was generally poor. Insulins (basal, biphasic, bolus), dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogues and thiazolidinediones (TZDs) all produced statistically significant reductions in hemoglobin A1c in combination with metformin and a sulphonylurea (–0.89% to –1.17%), whereas meglitinides and alpha-glucosidase inhibitors did not. Biphasic insulin, bolus insulin, and TZDs were associated with weight gain (1.85–5.00 kg), whereas DPP-4 inhibitors and alpha-glucosidase inhibitors were weight-neutral, and GLP-1 analogues were associated with modest weight loss. Treatment regimens containing insulin were associated with increased hypoglycemia relative to comparators, but severe hypoglycemia was rare across all treatments.
Third-line agents for the treatment of type 2 diabetes are similar in terms of glycemic control but differ in their propensity to cause weight gain and hypoglycemia. Longer-term studies with larger sample sizes are required to determine if any of the drug classes are superior with regard to reducing diabetes-related complications.
Knowledge translation (KT) research in long-term care (LTC) is still in its early stages. This protocol describes the evaluation of a multifaceted, interdisciplinary KT intervention aimed at integrating evidence-based osteoporosis and fracture prevention strategies into LTC care processes.
Methods and design
The Vitamin D and Osteoporosis Study (ViDOS) is underway in 40 LTC homes (n = 19 intervention, n = 21 control) across Ontario, Canada. The primary objectives of this study are to assess the feasibility of delivering the KT intervention, and clinically, to increase the percent of LTC residents prescribed ≥800 IU of vitamin D daily. Eligibility criteria are LTC homes that are serviced by our partner pharmacy provider and have more than one prescribing physician. The target audience within each LTC home is the Professional Advisory Committee (PAC), an interdisciplinary team who meets quarterly. The key elements of the intervention are three interactive educational sessions led by an expert opinion leader, action planning using a quality improvement cycle, audit and feedback reports, nominated internal champions, and reminders/point-of-care tools. Control homes do not receive any intervention, however both intervention and control homes received educational materials as part of the Ontario Osteoporosis Strategy. Primary outcomes are feasibility measures (recruitment, retention, attendance at educational sessions, action plan items identified and initiated, internal champions identified, performance reports provided and reviewed), and vitamin D (≥800 IU/daily) prescribing at 6 and 12 months. Secondary outcomes include the proportion of residents prescribed calcium supplements and osteoporosis medications, and falls and fractures. Qualitative methods will examine the experience of the LTC team with the KT intervention. Homes are centrally randomized to intervention and control groups in blocks of variable size using a computer generated allocation sequence. Randomization is stratified by home size and profit/nonprofit status. Prescribing data retrieval and analysis are performed by blinded personnel.
Our study will contribute to an improved understanding of the feasibility and acceptability of a multifaceted intervention aimed at translating knowledge to LTC practitioners. Lessons learned from this study will be valuable in guiding future research and understanding the complexities of translating knowledge in LTC.
Knowledge translation; Long-term care; Nursing home; Osteoporosis; Fractures; Vitamin D; Multifaceted; Interdisciplinary; Feasibility; Audit and feedback; Reminders; Interactive; Educational meeting; Opinion leader
Pharmacists have expanded their roles and responsibilities as a result of primary health care reform. There is currently no consensus on the core competencies for pharmacists working in these evolving practices. The aim of this study was to develop and validate competencies for pharmacists' effective performance in these roles, and in so doing, document the perceived contribution of pharmacists providing collaborative primary health care services.
Using a modified Delphi process including assessing perception of the frequency and criticality of performing tasks, we validated competencies important to primary health care pharmacists practising across Canada.
Ten key informants contributed to competency drafting; thirty-three expert pharmacists replied to a second round survey. The final primary health care pharmacist competencies consisted of 34 elements and 153 sub-elements organized in seven CanMeds-based domains. Highest importance rankings were allocated to the domains of care provider and professional, followed by communicator and collaborator, with the lower importance rankings relatively equally distributed across the manager, advocate and scholar domains.
Expert pharmacists working in primary health care estimated their most important responsibilities to be related to direct patient care. Competencies that underlie and are required for successful fulfillment of these patient care responsibilities, such as those related to communication, collaboration and professionalism were also highly ranked. These ranked competencies can be used to help pharmacists understand their potential roles in these evolving practices, to help other health care professionals learn about pharmacists' contributions to primary health care, to establish standards and performance indicators, and to prioritize supports and education to maximize effectiveness in this role.
Primary health care; Pharmacy; Pharmacists; Competencies; Scope of practice
Obesity is today’s principal neglected public health problem, as a rising proportion of adults will succumb to the medical complications of obesity. However, little is known about the burden of obesity in adults living in Ontario.
To present an overview of the human and economic burden associated with BMI categories in Ontario, Canada, in terms of socio-demographics, comorbidities, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and costs associated with hospitalization, same day procedures and physician visits.
The records of all Ontarians who participated in the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), cycle 1.1 and provided consent to data linkage were linked to three administrative databases. Socio-demographic variables, medical characteristics, HRQoL, one year hospitalization, day procedure and physician costs were described per BMI category. Regression analyses were conducted to identify predictors of medical characteristics, HRQoL and costs.
More than 50% of adult participants were either overweight or obese in 2000/2001. Obese adults, and to a lesser extent overweight adults, were more likely to report physician-diagnosed comorbid conditions, to use medications, and to have a lower HRQoL. After covariate adjustment, the hospitalization and physician costs were respectively 40% and 22% higher among obese and overweight adults than among normal-weight adults. No statistical cost differences were observed between normal and underweight individuals or between normal and overweight individuals. HRQoL was significantly lower in underweight and obese adults when compared to normal-weight individuals.
Due to the large human and economic burden associated with under- or excess-weight, policies promoting healthy weight should remain a priority for governments and employers.
health-related quality of life; costs; body mass index categories; Ontario
Mentoring is associated with positive professional and personal outcomes. However, there are few published data on mentoring programs for pharmacists.
To develop and evaluate a mentorship program for hospital pharmacists that was implemented at St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, in Hamilton, Ontario, by identifying the benefits and challenges that participants experienced and determining whether the program provided the necessary skills for a successful mentoring relationship.
A descriptive pilot study was performed between June 2007 and November 2008. Focus groups and self-administered questionnaires were conducted at two time points (after 3–4 months and at the end of the study period). The focus groups were conducted separately for mentors and mentees. Data were summarized by predefined categories. Quantitative data from the questionnaires were summarized as medians, minimums, and maximums, and qualitative survey data were transcribed and reviewed.
Three mentors were each paired with a mentee. The mentees identified an average of 4 learning objectives. All of the mentees reported improvements in their self-perceived level of competency and skill within the mentoring relationship and their confidence in their ability to perform the functions of a hospital pharmacist. The job satisfaction of both mentors and mentees improved. Reported challenges were related to scheduling and documentation. Mentors and mentees reported high levels of overall satisfaction with the program, at both of the evaluation time points. Participants spent less than 60 min/week each on mentoring activities.
Both mentors and mentees benefited from the mentoring relationship.
mentoring; professional development; job satisfaction; professional relationship; mentorat; perfectionnement professionnel; satisfaction au travail; relation professionnelle
Attrition, which leads to missing data, is a common problem in cluster randomized trials (CRTs), where groups of patients rather than individuals are randomized. Standard multiple imputation (MI) strategies may not be appropriate to impute missing data from CRTs since they assume independent data. In this paper, under the assumption of missing completely at random and covariate dependent missing, we compared six MI strategies which account for the intra-cluster correlation for missing binary outcomes in CRTs with the standard imputation strategies and complete case analysis approach using a simulation study.
We considered three within-cluster and three across-cluster MI strategies for missing binary outcomes in CRTs. The three within-cluster MI strategies are logistic regression method, propensity score method, and Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method, which apply standard MI strategies within each cluster. The three across-cluster MI strategies are propensity score method, random-effects (RE) logistic regression approach, and logistic regression with cluster as a fixed effect. Based on the community hypertension assessment trial (CHAT) which has complete data, we designed a simulation study to investigate the performance of above MI strategies.
The estimated treatment effect and its 95% confidence interval (CI) from generalized estimating equations (GEE) model based on the CHAT complete dataset are 1.14 (0.76 1.70). When 30% of binary outcome are missing completely at random, a simulation study shows that the estimated treatment effects and the corresponding 95% CIs from GEE model are 1.15 (0.76 1.75) if complete case analysis is used, 1.12 (0.72 1.73) if within-cluster MCMC method is used, 1.21 (0.80 1.81) if across-cluster RE logistic regression is used, and 1.16 (0.82 1.64) if standard logistic regression which does not account for clustering is used.
When the percentage of missing data is low or intra-cluster correlation coefficient is small, different approaches for handling missing binary outcome data generate quite similar results. When the percentage of missing data is large, standard MI strategies, which do not take into account the intra-cluster correlation, underestimate the variance of the treatment effect. Within-cluster and across-cluster MI strategies (except for random-effects logistic regression MI strategy), which take the intra-cluster correlation into account, seem to be more appropriate to handle the missing outcome from CRTs. Under the same imputation strategy and percentage of missingness, the estimates of the treatment effect from GEE and RE logistic regression models are similar.
Objective To evaluate the effectiveness of the community based Cardiovascular Health Awareness Program (CHAP) on morbidity from cardiovascular disease.
Design Community cluster randomised trial.
Setting 39 mid-sized communities in Ontario, Canada, stratified by location and population size.
Participants Community dwelling residents aged 65 years or over, family physicians, pharmacists, volunteers, community nurses, and local lead organisations.
Intervention Communities were randomised to receive CHAP (n=20) or no intervention (n=19). In CHAP communities, residents aged 65 or over were invited to attend volunteer run cardiovascular risk assessment and education sessions held in community based pharmacies over a 10 week period; automated blood pressure readings and self reported risk factor data were collected and shared with participants and their family physicians and pharmacists.
Main outcome measure Composite of hospital admissions for acute myocardial infarction, stroke, and congestive heart failure among all community residents aged 65 and over in the year before compared with the year after implementation of CHAP.
Results All 20 intervention communities successfully implemented CHAP. A total of 1265 three hour long sessions were held in 129/145 (89%) pharmacies during the 10 week programme. 15 889 unique participants had a total of 27 358 cardiovascular assessments with the assistance of 577 peer volunteers. After adjustment for hospital admission rates in the year before the intervention, CHAP was associated with a 9% relative reduction in the composite end point (rate ratio 0.91, 95% confidence interval 0.86 to 0.97; P=0.002) or 3.02 fewer annual hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease per 1000 people aged 65 and over. Statistically significant reductions favouring the intervention communities were seen in hospital admissions for acute myocardial infarction (rate ratio 0.87, 0.79 to 0.97; P=0.008) and congestive heart failure (0.90, 0.81 to 0.99; P=0.029) but not for stroke (0.99, 0.88 to 1.12; P=0.89).
Conclusions A collaborative, multi-pronged, community based health promotion and prevention programme targeted at older adults can reduce cardiovascular morbidity at the population level.
Trial registration Current controlled trials ISRCTN50550004.
Clostridium difficile is a major cause of antibioticassociated diarrhea within the hospital setting. The yeast Saccharomyces boulardii has been found to have some effect in reducing the risk of C difficile infection (CDI); however, its role in preventive therapy has yet to be firmly established.
To review the effectiveness of S boulardii in the prevention of primary and recurrent CDI. Benefit was defined as a reduction of diarrhea associated with C difficile. Risk was defined as any adverse effects of S boulardii.
A literature search in MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and the Cochrane Library was performed. Included studies were English language, randomized, double-blind placebo controlled trials evaluating S boulardii in CDI prevention.
Four studies were reviewed. Two studies investigated the prevention of recurrence in populations that were experiencing CDI at baseline. One trial showed a reduction of relapses in patients experiencing recurrent CDI (RR=0.53; P<0.05). The other demonstrated a trend toward reduction of CDI relapse in the recurrent treatment group of patients receiving high-dose vancomycin (RR=0.33; P=0.05). Two other studies examined primary prevention of CDI in populations that had been recently prescribed antibiotics. These studies lacked the power to detect statistically significant differences. Patients on treatment experienced increased risk for thirst and constipation.
S boulardii seems to be well tolerated and may be effective for secondary prevention in some specific patient populations with particular concurrent antibiotic treatment. Its role in primary prevention is poorly defined and more research is required before changes in practice are recommended.
C difficile infection; Saccharomyces boulardii; Probiotic
Osteoporosis-related fractures are a significant public health concern. Interventions that increase detection and treatment of osteoporosis are underutilized. This pragmatic randomised study was done to evaluate the impact of a multifaceted community-based care program aimed at optimizing evidence-based management in patients at risk for osteoporosis and fractures.
This was a 12-month randomized trial performed in Ontario, Canada. Eligible patients were community-dwelling, aged ≥55 years, and identified to be at risk for osteoporosis-related fractures. Two hundred and one patients were allocated to the intervention group or to usual care. Components of the intervention were directed towards primary care physicians and patients and included facilitated bone mineral density testing, patient education and patient-specific recommendations for osteoporosis treatment. The primary outcome was the implementation of appropriate osteoporosis management.
101 patients were allocated to intervention and 100 to control. Mean age of participants was 71.9 ± 7.2 years and 94% were women. Pharmacological treatment (alendronate, risedronate, or raloxifene) for osteoporosis was increased by 29% compared to usual care (56% [29/52] vs. 27% [16/60]; relative risk [RR] 2.09, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.29 to 3.40). More individuals in the intervention group were taking calcium (54% [54/101] vs. 20% [20/100]; RR 2.67, 95% CI 1.74 to 4.12) and vitamin D (33% [33/101] vs. 20% [20/100]; RR 1.63, 95% CI 1.01 to 2.65).
A multi-faceted community-based intervention improved management of osteoporosis in high risk patients compared with usual care.
This trial has been registered with clinicaltrials.gov (ID: NCT00465387)
To determine the feasibility and usefulness of collecting 9 previously described quality indicators of cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention in primary care.
Retrospective chart audit.
Family health team in Hamilton, Ont, comprising approximately 30 000 patients and 25 physicians over 2 sites.
A random sample of community-dwelling men who were 40 to 80 years of age and women who were 50 to 80 years of age on January 1, 2003, and who had complete physical examinations in 2003.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
The frequency with which quality indicators were collected during the complete physical examination, whether the collection of these indicators predicted subsequent collection of the same indicators, and physician or patient behavioural changes to reduce the risk of CVD.
Of the 237 patient charts reviewed, 142 were of men and 95 were of women. Collection of most of the quality indicators was high (> 50%). Results were adjusted for age, sex, and family health team site. Measurements to check for obesity were collected more frequently in women, while blood pressure measurements and follow-up when required were completed more frequently in men. The relationship between the collection of an indicator and the subsequent times the same indicator was collected was not significant for any of the variables except excess alcohol consumption, in that collection of the excess alcohol consumption indicator led to a significant increase in subsequent collection of that same indicator (P = .0091). Age significantly predicted the number of times cholesterol and blood pressure were repeatedly checked (P = .0074 and P = .0077, respectively). The collection of these indicators was significantly associated with behavioural changes related to CVD prevention on the part of the patient or physician, with collection of the alcohol consumption indicator being the most likely to encourage subsequent behavioural changes. The only indicator to not reach statistical significance for subsequent changes was the cholesterol indicator (P = .08).
The collection of previously described quality indicators for the primary prevention of CVD in Canada is feasible. Collection of the indicators does not generally predict short-term outcomes; however, collection of most indicators increased the odds of patient or physician behavioural changes for the primary prevention of CVD.
Previous studies in long-term care (LTC) have demonstrated that warfarin management is suboptimal with preventable adverse events often occurring as a result of poor International Normalized Ratio (INR) control. To assist LTC teams with the challenge of maintaining residents on warfarin in the therapeutic range (INR of 2.0 to 3.0), we developed an electronic decision support system that was based on a validated algorithm for warfarin dosing. We evaluated the MEDeINR system in a pre-post implementation design by examining the impact on INR control, testing frequency, and experiences of staff in using the system.
For this feasibility study, we piloted the MEDeINR system in six LTC homes in Ontario, Canada. All128 residents (without a prosthetic valve) who were taking warfarin were included. Three-months of INR data prior to MEDeINR was collected via a retrospective chart audit, and three-months of INR data after implementation of MEDeINR was captured in the central computer database. The primary outcomes compared in a pre-post design were time in therapeutic range (TTR) and time in sub/supratherapeutic ranges based on all INR measures for every resident on warfarin. Secondary measures included the number of monthly INR tests/resident and survey/focus-group feedback from the LTC teams.
LTC homes in our study had TTR's that were higher than past reports prior to the intervention. Overall, the TTR increased during the MEDeINR phase (65 to 69%), but was only significantly increased for one home (62% to 71%, p < 0.05). The percentage of time in supratherapeutic decreased from 14% to 11%, p = 0.08); there was little change for the subtherapeutic range (21% to 20%, p = 0.66). Overall, the average number of INR tests/30 days decreased from 4.2 to 3.1 (p < 0.0001) per resident after implementation of MEDeINR. Feedback received from LTC clinicians and staff was that the program decreased the work-load, improved confidence in management and decisions, and was generally easy to use.
Although LTC homes in our sample had TTR's that were relatively high prior to the intervention, the MEDeINR program represented a useful tool to promote optimal TTR, decrease INR venipunctures, streamline processes, and increase nurse and physician confidence around warfarin management. We have demonstrated that MEDeINR was a practical, usable clinical information system that can be incorporated into the LTC environment.
The new family health teams (FHTs) in Ontario were designed to enable interprofessional collaborative practice in primary care; however, many health professionals have not been trained in an interprofessional environment.
OBJECTIVE OF PROGRAM
To provide health professional learners with an interprofessional practice experience in primary care that models teamwork and collaborative practice skills.
The 2 academic teaching units of the FHT at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont, employ 6 types of health professionals and provide learning environments for family medicine residents and students in a variety of health care professions. Learners engage in formal interprofessional education activities and mixed professional and learner clinical consultations. They are immersed in an established interprofessional practice environment, where all team members are valued and contribute collaboratively to patient care and clinic administration. Other contributors to the success of the program include the physical layout of the clinics, the electronic medical record communications system, and support from leadership for the additional clinical time commitment of delivering interprofessional education.
This academic FHT has developed a program of interprofessional education based partly on planned activities and logistic enablers, and largely on immersing learners in a culture of long-standing interprofessional collaboration.