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1.  Integrating Scientific Evidence to Support Telehomecare Development in a Remote Region 
This study aimed to understand how different types of knowledge have influenced the decision making process regarding the implementation of telehomecare in the organization of regional healthcare services in the Province of Quebec (Canada). A case study was conducted in order to explore how scientific evidence was integrated in the decision-making processes regarding the implementation of a telehomecare system in the Gaspésie–Magdalene Islands Health Region. A total of 14 semistructured interviews were completed with key organizational decision makers (regional managers, organization managers, healthcare professionals, and technological managers). Two researchers independently carried out data analysis, encouraging iterations and validation with study participants. The Gaspésie–Magdalene Islands Telehomecare Project is based on a technological solution named Intelligent Distance Patient Monitoring and constitutes a relevant example of the evolution of an e-health solution. Indeed, the first reports of the experiment influenced decision makers to continue the deployment of the solution. Decision makers from all groups agreed on the importance of using past experience to avoid pitfalls and ensure an optimal decision-making process. They highlighted the importance of knowledge translation between sites as well as within sites. Knowledge translation played an important part in the success of the project. Efficient strategies to transfer evidence to organizational decision making have been identified such as an end-users forum, where researchers provide support by sharing evidence with end-users and actively participate in knowledge translation.
PMCID: PMC4005789  PMID: 19292630 CAMSID: cams380
telehomecare; scientific evidence; Intelligent Distance Patient Monitoring
2.  Dabigatran versus warfarin under standard or pharmacogenetic-guided management for the prevention of stroke and systemic thromboembolism in patients with atrial fibrillation: a cost/utility analysis using an analytic decision model 
Thrombosis Journal  2013;11:14.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common form of heart arrhythmia and a leading cause of stroke and systemic embolism. Chronic anticoagulation is recommended for preventing those complications. Our study aimed to compare the cost/utility (CU) of three main anticoagulation options: 1) standard warfarin dosing (SD-W) 2) warfarin dosage under the guidance of CYP2C9 and VKORC1 genotyping (GT-W) and 3) dabigatran 150 mg twice a day.
A Markov state transition model was built to simulate the expected C/U of dabigatran, SD-W and GT-W anticoagulation therapy for the prevention of stroke and systemic thromboembolism in patients with atrial fibrillation over a period of 5 years under the perspective of the public health care system. Model inputs were derived from extensive literature search and government’s data bases. Outcomes considered were the number of total major events (thromboembolic and hemorrhagic events), total costs in Canadian dollars (1CAD$ = 1$US), total quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), costs/QALYs and incremental costs/QALYs gained (ICUR).
Raw base case results show that SD-W has the lowest C/U ratio. However, the dabigatran option might be considered as an alternative, as its cost per additional QALY gained compared to SD-W is CAD $ 4 765, i.e. less than 50 000, the ICUR threshold generally accepted to adopt an intervention. At the same threshold, GT-W doesn’t appear to be an alternative to SD-W. Our results were robust to one-way and multi-way sensitivity analyses.
SD-W has the lowest C/U ratio among the 3 options. However, dabigatran might be considered as an alternative. GT-W is not C/U and should not currently be recommended for the routine anticoagulotherapy management of AF patients.
PMCID: PMC3765702  PMID: 23866305
Atrial fibrillation; Simulation; Cost-utility; Dabigatran etexilate; Warfarin; Anticoagulation; CYP2C9; VKORC1
3.  Users’ perspectives of key factors to implementing electronic health records in Canada: a Delphi study 
Interoperable electronic health record (EHR) solutions are currently being implemented in Canada, as in many other countries. Understanding EHR users’ perspectives is key to the success of EHR implementation projects. This Delphi study aimed to assess in the Canadian context the applicability, the importance, and the priority of pre-identified factors from a previous mixed-methods systematic review of international literature.
A three-round Delphi study was held with representatives of 4 Canadian EHR user groups defined as partners of the implementation process who use or are expected to use EHR in their everyday activity. These groups are: non-physician healthcare professionals, health information professionals, managers, and physicians. Four bilingual online questionnaire versions were developed from factors identified by the systematic review. Participants were asked to rate the applicability and the importance of each factor. The main outcome measures were consensus and priority. Consensus was defined a priori as strong (≥ 75%) or moderate (≥ 60-74%) according to user groups’ level of agreement on applicability and importance, partial (≥ 60%) when participants agreed only on applicability or importance, or as no consensus (< 60%). Priority for decision-making was defined as factors with strong consensus with scores of 4 or 5 on a five-point Likert scale for applicability and importance.
Three Delphi rounds were completed by 64 participants. Levels of consensus of 100%, 64%, 64%, and 44% were attained on factors submitted to non-physician healthcare professionals, health information professionals, managers, and physicians, respectively. While agreement between and within user groups varied, key factors were prioritized if they were classified as strong (≥ 75% from questionnaire answers of user groups), for decision-making concerning EHR implementation. The10 factors that were prioritized are perceived usefulness, productivity, motivation, participation of end-users in the implementation strategy, patient and health professional interaction, lack of time and workload, resources availability, management, outcome expectancy, and interoperability.
Amongst all factors influencing EHR implementation identified in a previous systematic review, ten were prioritized through this Delphi study. The varying levels of agreement between and within user groups could mean that users’ perspectives of each factor are complex and that each user group has unique professional priorities and roles in the EHR implementation process. As more EHR implementations in Canada are completed it will be possible to corroborate this preliminary result with a larger population of EHR users.
PMCID: PMC3470948  PMID: 22967231
Delphi technique; Adoption factors; Implementation factors; Electronic health record; Health information technology; Health communication technology; Medical informatics
4.  Comparison of user groups' perspectives of barriers and facilitators to implementing electronic health records: a systematic review 
BMC Medicine  2011;9:46.
Electronic health record (EHR) implementation is currently underway in Canada, as in many other countries. These ambitious projects involve many stakeholders with unique perceptions of the implementation process. EHR users have an important role to play as they must integrate the EHR system into their work environments and use it in their everyday activities. Users hold valuable, first-hand knowledge of what can limit or contribute to the success of EHR implementation projects. A comprehensive synthesis of EHR users' perceptions is key to successful future implementation. This systematic literature review was aimed to synthesize current knowledge of the barriers and facilitators influencing shared EHR implementation among its various users.
Covering a period from 1999 to 2009, a literature search was conducted on nine electronic databases. Studies were included if they reported on users' perceived barriers and facilitators to shared EHR implementation, in healthcare settings comparable to Canada. Studies in all languages with an empirical study design were included. Quality and relevance of the studies were assessed. Four EHR user groups were targeted: physicians, other health care professionals, managers, and patients/public. Content analysis was performed independently by two authors using a validated extraction grid with pre-established categorization of barriers and facilitators for each group of EHR users.
Of a total of 5,695 potentially relevant publications identified, 117 full text publications were obtained after screening titles and abstracts. After review of the full articles, 60 publications, corresponding to 52 studies, met the inclusion criteria. The most frequent adoption factors common to all user groups were design and technical concerns, ease of use, interoperability, privacy and security, costs, productivity, familiarity and ability with EHR, motivation to use EHR, patient and health professional interaction, and lack of time and workload. Each user group also identified factors specific to their professional and individual priorities.
This systematic review presents innovative research on the barriers and facilitators to EHR implementation. While important similarities between user groups are highlighted, differences between them demonstrate that each user group also has a unique perspective of the implementation process that should be taken into account.
PMCID: PMC3103434  PMID: 21524315
5.  Supporting work practices through telehealth: impact on nurses in peripheral regions 
In Canada, workforce shortages in the health care sector constrain the ability of the health care system to meet the needs of its population and of its health care professionals. This issue is of particular importance in peripheral regions of Quebec, where significant inequalities in workforce distribution between regions has lead to acute nursing shortages and increased workloads. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are innovative solutions that can be used to develop strategies to optimise the use of available resources and to design new nursing work practices. However, current knowledge is still limited about the real impact of ICTs on nursing recruitment and retention. Our aim is to better understand how work practice reorganization, supported by ICTs, and particularly by telehealth, may influence professional, educational, and organizational factors relating to Quebec nurses, notably those working in peripheral regions.
First, we will conduct a descriptive study on the issue of nursing recruitment. Stratified sampling will be used to select approximately twenty innovative projects relating to the reorganization of work practices based upon ICTs. Semi-structured interviews with key informants will determine professional, educational, and organizational recruitment factors. The results will be used to create a questionnaire which, using a convenience sampling method, will be mailed to 600 third year students and recent graduates of two Quebec university nursing faculties. Descriptive, correlation, and hierarchical regression analyses will be performed to identify factors influencing nursing graduates' intentions to practice in peripheral regions. Secondly, we will conduct five case studies pertaining to the issue of nursing retention. Five ICT projects in semi-urban, rural, and isolated regions have been identified. Qualitative data will be collected through field observation and approximately fifty semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders.
Data from both parts of this research project will be jointly analysed using triangulation of researchers, theoretical approaches, methods, and results. Continuous exchanges with decision makers and periodic knowledge transfer activities are planned to facilitate the dissemination and utilization of research results in policies regarding the nursing recruitment and retention.
PMCID: PMC3040127  PMID: 21294882
6.  Users' perspectives of barriers and facilitators to implementing EHR in Canada: A study protocol 
In Canada, federal, provincial, and territorial governments are developing an ambitious project to implement an interoperable electronic health record (EHR). Benefits for patients, healthcare professionals, organizations, and the public in general are expected. However, adoption of an interoperable EHR remains an important issue because many previous EHR projects have failed due to the lack of integration into practices and organizations. Furthermore, perceptions of the EHR vary between end-user groups, adding to the complexity of implementing this technology. Our aim is to produce a comprehensive synthesis of actual knowledge on the barriers and facilitators influencing the adoption of an interoperable EHR among its various users and beneficiaries.
First, we will conduct a comprehensive review of the scientific literature and other published documentation on the barriers and facilitators to the implementation of the EHR. Standardized literature search and data extraction methods will be used. Studies' quality and relevance to inform decisions on EHR implementation will be assessed. For each group of EHR users identified, barriers and facilitators will be categorized and compiled using narrative synthesis and meta-analytical techniques. The principal factors identified for each group of EHR users will then be validated for its applicability to various Canadian contexts through a two-round Delphi study, involving representatives from each end-user groups. Continuous exchanges with decision makers and periodic knowledge transfer activities are planned to facilitate the dissemination and utilization of research results in policies regarding the implementation of EHR in the Canadian healthcare system.
Given the imminence of an interoperable EHR in Canada, knowledge and evidence are urgently needed to prepare this major shift in our healthcare system and to oversee the factors that could affect its adoption and integration by all its potential users. This synthesis will be the first to systematically summarize the barriers and facilitators to EHR adoption perceived by different groups and to consider the local contexts in order to ensure the applicability of this knowledge to the particular realities of various Canadian jurisdictions. This comprehensive and rigorous strategy could be replicated in other settings.
PMCID: PMC2673204  PMID: 19358739
7.  An integrated strategy of knowledge application for optimal e-health implementation: A multi-method study protocol 
E-health is increasingly valued for supporting: 1) access to quality health care services for all citizens; 2) information flow and exchange; 3) integrated health care services and 4) interprofessional collaboration. Nevertheless, several questions remain on the factors allowing an optimal integration of e-health in health care policies, organisations and practices. An evidence-based integrated strategy would maximise the efficacy and efficiency of e-health implementation. However, decisions regarding e-health applications are usually not evidence-based, which can lead to a sub-optimal use of these technologies. This study aims at understanding factors influencing the application of scientific knowledge for an optimal implementation of e-health in the health care system.
A three-year multi-method study is being conducted in the Province of Quebec (Canada). Decision-making at each decisional level (political, organisational and clinical) are analysed based on specific approaches. At the political level, critical incidents analysis is being used. This method will identify how decisions regarding the implementation of e-health could be influenced or not by scientific knowledge. Then, interviews with key-decision-makers will look at how knowledge was actually used to support their decisions, and what factors influenced its use. At the organisational level, e-health projects are being analysed as case studies in order to explore the use of scientific knowledge to support decision-making during the implementation of the technology. Interviews with promoters, managers and clinicians will be carried out in order to identify factors influencing the production and application of scientific knowledge. At the clinical level, questionnaires are being distributed to clinicians involved in e-health projects in order to analyse factors influencing knowledge application in their decision-making. Finally, a triangulation of the results will be done using mixed methodologies to allow a transversal analysis of the results at each of the decisional levels.
This study will identify factors influencing the use of scientific evidence and other types of knowledge by decision-makers involved in planning, financing, implementing and evaluating e-health projects.
These results will be highly relevant to inform decision-makers who wish to optimise the implementation of e-health in the Quebec health care system. This study is extremely relevant given the context of major transformations in the health care system where e-health becomes a must.
PMCID: PMC2390530  PMID: 18435853
8.  Exploring the effects of telehealth on medical human resources supply: a qualitative case study in remote regions 
The availability of medical human resource supply is a growing concern for rural and remote communities in many countries. In the last decade, various telehealth experiences in Canada have highlighted the potential impact of this technology on professional practice. The purpose of this study was to explore physicians' and managers' perceptions regarding the potential of telehealth to support recruitment and retention of physicians in remote and rural regions.
A case study in Eastern Quebec was performed to explore this complex phenomenon. The analytical framework was based on two literature reviews and a Delphi study. Data were collected from semi-structured interviews with 41 physicians and 22 managers. Transcripts were produced and interview content was coded independently by two judges and validated by an expert panel.
Interviews have highlighted the potential impact of telehealth on several factors influencing the recruitment and retention of physicians in rural and remote regions. The potential effects of telehealth on physicians' choice of practice location could be seen at the professional, organizational, educational and individual levels. For instance, telehealth could improve work satisfaction by allowing a regional on-call duty system and a better follow-up of patients. However, there are also certain limits related to telehealth, such as the fear that it would eventually replace all continuing medical education activities and onsite specialists in remoteregions.
Telehealth is likely to have an impact on several factors related to medical workforce supply in remote and rural regions. However, the expected benefits will materialize if and only if this technology is properly integrated into organizations as a support to professional practice.
PMCID: PMC1781442  PMID: 17217534
9.  Implementing telehealth to support medical practice in rural/remote regions: what are the conditions for success? 
Telehealth, as other information and communication technologies (ICTs) introduced to support the delivery of health care services, is considered as a means to answer many of the imperatives currently challenging health care systems. In Canada, many telehealth projects are taking place, mostly targeting rural, remote or isolated populations. So far, various telehealth applications have been implemented and have shown promising outcomes. However, telehealth utilisation remains limited in many settings, despite increased availability of technology and telecommunication infrastructure.
A qualitative field study was conducted in four remote regions of Quebec (Canada) to explore perceptions of physicians and managers regarding the impact of telehealth on clinical practice and the organisation of health care services, as well as the conditions for improving telehealth implementation. A total of 54 respondents were interviewed either individually or in small groups. Content analysis of interviews was performed and identified several effects of telehealth on remote medical practice as well as key conditions to ensure the success of telehealth implementation.
According to physicians and managers, telehealth benefits include better access to specialised services in remote regions, improved continuity of care, and increased availability of information. Telehealth also improves physicians' practice by facilitating continuing medical education, contacts with peers, and access to a second opinion. At the hospital and health region levels, telehealth has the potential to support the development of regional reference centres, favour retention of local expertise, and save costs. Conditions for successful implementation of telehealth networks include the participation of clinicians in decision-making, the availability of dedicated human and material resources, and a planned diffusion strategy. Interviews with physicians and managers also highlighted the importance of considering telehealth within the broader organisation of health care services in remote and rural regions.
This study identified core elements that should be considered when implementing telehealth applications with the purpose of supporting medical practice in rural and remote regions. Decision-makers need to be aware of the specific conditions that could influence telehealth integration into clinical practices and health care organisations. Thus, strategies addressing the identified conditions for telehealth success would facilitate the optimal implementation of this technology.
PMCID: PMC1560157  PMID: 16930484
10.  An economic evaluation: Simulation of the cost-effectiveness and cost-utility of universal prevention strategies against osteoporosis-related fractures 
A patient-level Markov decision model was used to simulate a virtual cohort of 500,000 women 40 years old and over, in relation to osteoporosis-related hip, clinical vertebral, and wrist bone fractures events. Sixteen different screening options of three main scenario groups were compared: (1) the status quo (no specific national prevention program); (2) a universal primary prevention program; and (3) a universal screening and treatment program based on the 10-year absolute risk of fracture. The outcomes measured were total directs costs from the perspective of the public health care system, number of fractures, and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs). Results show that an option consisting of a program promoting physical activity and treatment if a fracture occurs is the most cost-effective (CE) (cost/fracture averted) alternative and also the only cost saving one, especially for women 40 to 64 years old. In women who are 65 years and over, bone mineral density (BMD)-based screening and treatment based on the 10-year absolute fracture risk calculated using a Canadian Association of Radiologists and Osteoporosis Canada (CAROC) tool is the best next alternative. In terms of cost-utility (CU), results were similar. For women less than 65 years old, a program promoting physical activity emerged as cost-saving but BMD-based screening with pharmacological treatment also emerged as an interesting alternative. In conclusion, a program promoting physical activity is the most CE and CU option for women 40 to 64 years old. BMD screening and pharmacological treatment might be considered a reasonable alternative for women 65 years old and over because at a healthcare capacity of $50,000 Canadian dollars ($CAD) for each additional fracture averted or for one QALY gained its probabilities of cost-effectiveness compared to the program promoting physical activity are 63% and 75%, respectively, which could be considered socially acceptable. Consideration of the indirect costs could change these findings.
PMCID: PMC3580046  PMID: 22991210

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