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1.  Phylogenetic Relationships of American Willows (Salix L., Salicaceae) 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0121965.
Salix L. is the largest genus in the family Salicaceae (450 species). Several classifications have been published, but taxonomic subdivision has been under continuous revision. Our goal is to establish the phylogenetic structure of the genus using molecular data on all American willows, using three DNA markers. This complete phylogeny of American willows allows us to propose a biogeographic framework for the evolution of the genus. Material was obtained for the 122 native and introduced willow species of America. Sequences were obtained from the ITS (ribosomal nuclear DNA) and two plastid regions, matK and rbcL. Phylogenetic analyses (parsimony, maximum likelihood, Bayesian inference) were performed on the data. Geographic distribution was mapped onto the tree. The species tree provides strong support for a division of the genus into two subgenera, Salix and Vetrix. Subgenus Salix comprises temperate species from the Americas and Asia, and their disjunction may result from Tertiary events. Subgenus Vetrix is composed of boreo-arctic species of the Northern Hemisphere and their radiation may coincide with the Quaternary glaciations. Sixteen species have ambiguous positions; genetic diversity is lower in subg. Vetrix. A molecular phylogeny of all species of American willows has been inferred. It needs to be tested and further resolved using other molecular data. Nonetheless, the genus clearly has two clades that have distinct biogeographic patterns.
PMCID: PMC4399884  PMID: 25880993
2.  Feasibility of a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impact of decision boxes on shared decision-making processes 
Decision boxes (DBoxes) are two-page evidence summaries to prepare clinicians for shared decision making (SDM). We sought to assess the feasibility of a clustered Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) to evaluate their impact.
A convenience sample of clinicians (nurses, physicians and residents) from six primary healthcare clinics who received eight DBoxes and rated their interest in the topic and satisfaction. After consultations, their patients rated their involvement in decision-making processes (SDM-Q-9 instrument). We measured clinic and clinician recruitment rates, questionnaire completion rates, patient eligibility rates, and estimated the RCT needed sample size.
Among the 20 family medicine clinics invited to participate in this study, four agreed to participate, giving an overall recruitment rate of 20%. Of 148 clinicians invited to the study, 93 participated (63%). Clinicians rated an interest in the topics ranging 6.4-8.2 out of 10 (with 10 highest) and a satisfaction with DBoxes of 4 or 5 out of 5 (with 5 highest) for 81% DBoxes. For the future RCT, we estimated that a sample size of 320 patients would allow detecting a 9% mean difference in the SDM-Q-9 ratings between our two arms (0.02 ICC; 0.05 significance level; 80% power).
Clinicians’ recruitment and questionnaire completion rates support the feasibility of the planned RCT. The level of interest of participants for the DBox topics, and their level of satisfaction with the Dboxes demonstrate the acceptability of the intervention. Processes to recruit clinics and patients should be optimized.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12911-015-0134-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4350632  PMID: 25880757
Evidence-based practice; Continuing professional education; Shared decision making; Risk communication; Patient-centered care; Counseling; Clinical topic summary; Decision support; Knowledge translation
3.  Effectiveness of monetary incentives to recruit family physicians as study subjects: a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Research Notes  2015;8:15.
Recruiting family physicians to participate as subjects of clinical studies is challenging. Monetary incentives are often used to increase enrolment, but few studies have measured the impact of doing so. As part of a trial seeking to compare two formats of interactive activities within an online continuing medical education (CME) program, we compared family physicians’ recruitment rates with and without a monetary incentive. Recruitment took place by email.
Family physicians listed in the directory of the College of Physicians of the Province of Quebec (Canada) were emailed a one-page letter inviting them to participate in a randomized trial designed to evaluate a three-hour online CME program on rheumatology. Half of physicians were randomly allocated to receive a version of the letter that offered them $300 to participate (incentive group); the other half was not offered compensation (no-incentive group).
A total of 1314 (91%) physicians had a valid email address as listed in the directory. The response rate was 7.5% (54/724) in the incentive group and 2.6% (19/724) in the no-incentive group (absolute difference [AD] 4.8%, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 2.6 – 7.2%; risk ratio [RR] 2.8, 95% CI = 1.7 - 4.7). Recruitment rates were 3.5% (25/724) in the incentive group and 0.6% (4/724) in the no-incentive group (AD 2.9%, 95% CI = 1.5 - 4.5%; RR 6.3, 95% CI = 2.2 - 17.9).
Monetary incentives significantly increased recruitment, which nonetheless remained low. To reach recruitment targets, researchers are advised to plan for an extensive list of email contacts and to minimize restrictive eligibility criteria.
PMCID: PMC4318443  PMID: 25612788
Continuing medical education; e-learning; Compensation; Medical research methodology
4.  Evidence summaries (decision boxes) to prepare clinicians for shared decision-making with patients: a mixed methods implementation study 
Decision boxes (Dboxes) provide clinicians with research evidence about management options for medical questions that have no single best answer. Dboxes fulfil a need for rapid clinical training tools to prepare clinicians for clinician-patient communication and shared decision-making. We studied the barriers and facilitators to using the Dbox information in clinical practice.
We used a mixed methods study with sequential explanatory design. We recruited family physicians, residents, and nurses from six primary health-care clinics. Participants received eight Dboxes covering various questions by email (one per week). For each Dbox, they completed a web questionnaire to rate clinical relevance and cognitive impact and to assess the determinants of their intention to use what they learned from the Dbox to explain to their patients the advantages and disadvantages of the options, based on the theory of planned behaviour (TPB). Following the 8-week delivery period, we conducted focus groups with clinicians and interviews with clinic administrators to explore contextual factors influencing the use of the Dbox information.
One hundred clinicians completed the web surveys. In 54% of the 496 questionnaires completed, they reported that their practice would be improved after having read the Dboxes, and in 40%, they stated that they would use this information for their patients. Of those who would use the information for their patients, 89% expected it would benefit their patients, especially in that it would allow the patient to make a decision more in keeping with his/her personal circumstances, values, and preferences. They intended to use the Dboxes in practice (mean 5.6 ± 1.2, scale 1–7, with 7 being “high”), and their intention was significantly related to social norm, perceived behavioural control, and attitude according to the TPB (P < 0.0001). In focus groups, clinicians mentioned that co-interventions such as patient decision aids and training in shared decision-making would facilitate the use of the Dbox information. Some participants would have liked a clear “bottom line” statement for each Dbox and access to printed Dboxes in consultation rooms.
Dboxes are valued by clinicians. Tailoring of Dboxes to their needs would facilitate their implementation in practice.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13012-014-0144-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4201673  PMID: 25280742
Clinical practice guidelines; Knowledge translation; Decision support; Evidence-based practice; Barriers; Patient-centred care; User experience; Continuing professional development; Communication competency
5.  Electronic retrieval of health information by healthcare providers to improve practice and patient care 
The movement towards evidence-based practice makes explicit the need for access to current best evidence to improve health. Advances in electronic technologies have made health information more available, but does availability affect the rate of use of evidence in practice?
To assess the effectiveness of interventions intended to provide electronic retrieval (access to information) to health information by healthcare providers to improve practice and patient care.
Search methods
We obtained studies from computerized searches of multiple electronic bibliographic databases, supplemented by checking reference lists, and consultation with experts.
Selection criteria
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) including cluster randomized trials (CRCTs), controlled clinical trials (CCT), and interrupted time series analyses (ITS) of any language publication status examining interventions of effectiveness of electronic retrieval of health information by healthcare providers.
Data collection and analysis
Duplicate relevancy screening of searches, data abstraction and risk of bias assessment was undertaken.
Main results
We found two studies that examined this question. Neither study found any changes in professional behavior following an intervention that facilitated electronic retrieval of health information. There was some evidence of improvements in knowledge about the electronic sources of information reported in one study. Neither study assessed changes in patient outcomes or the costs of provision of the electronic resource and the implementation of the recommended evidence-based practices.
Authors’ conclusions
Overall there was insufficient evidence to support or refute the use of electronic retrieval of healthcare information by healthcare providers to improve practice and patient care.
PMCID: PMC4164913  PMID: 19588361
Databases, Bibliographic [utilization]; Evidence-Based Medicine [*statistics & numerical data]; Health Personnel [*statistics & numerical data]; Information Storage and Retrieval [*utilization]; Patient Care; Professional Practice [*standards]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Humans
6.  Systematic Review of Factors Influencing the Adoption of Information and Communication Technologies by Healthcare Professionals 
Journal of medical systems  2010;36(1):241-277.
This systematic review of mixed methods studies focuses on factors that can facilitate or limit the implementation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in clinical settings. Systematic searches of relevant bibliographic databases identified studies about interventions promoting ICT adoption by healthcare professionals. Content analysis was performed by two reviewers using a specific grid. One hundred and one (101) studies were included in the review. Perception of the benefits of the innovation (system usefulness) was the most common facilitating factor, followed by ease of use. Issues regarding design, technical concerns, familiarity with ICT, and time were the most frequent limiting factors identified. Our results suggest strategies that could effectively promote the successful adoption of ICT in healthcare professional practices.
PMCID: PMC4011799  PMID: 20703721 CAMSID: cams382
Systematic review; Adoption factors; Information and communication technologies (ICTs); ICT adoption by healthcare professionals
7.  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
8.  Interventions for promoting information and communication technologies adoption in healthcare professionals 
Information and communication technologies (ICT) are defined as digital and analogue technologies that facilitate the capturing, processing, storage and exchange of information via electronic communication. ICTs have the potential to improve information management, access to health services, quality of care, continuity of services, and cost containment. Knowledge is lacking on conditions for successful ICT integration into practice.
To carry out a systematic review of the effectiveness of interventions to promote the adoption of ICT by healthcare professionals.
Search methods
Specific strategies, defined with the help of an information specialist, were used to search the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Group (EPOC) register and additional relevant databases. We considered studies published from January 1990 until October 2007.
Selection criteria
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), controlled clinical trials (CCTs), controlled before/after studies (CBAs), and interrupted time series (ITS) that reported objectively measured outcomes concerning the effect of interventions to promote adoption of ICT in healthcare professionals’ practices.
Data collection and analysis
Two reviewers independently assessed each potentially relevant study for inclusion. We resolved discrepancies by discussion or a third reviewer. Two teams of two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed the quality of included studies. A meta-analysis of study outcomes was not possible, given the small number of included studies and the heterogeneity of intervention and outcomes measures. We conducted qualitative analyses, and have presented the results in a narrative format.
Main results
Ten studies met the inclusion criteria. Nine of them were RCTs. All studies involved physicians as participants (including postgraduate trainees), and one study also included other participants. Only two studies measured patient outcomes. Searching skills and/or frequency of use of electronic databases, mainly MEDLINE, were targeted in eight studies. Use of Internet for audit and feedback, and email for provider-patient communication, were targeted in two studies. Four studies showed small to moderate positive effects of the intervention on ICT adoption. Four studies were unable to demonstrate significant positive effects, and the two others showed mixed effects. No studies looked at the long-term effect or sustainability of the intervention.
Authors’ conclusions
There is very limited evidence on effective interventions promoting the adoption of ICTs by healthcare professionals. Small effects have been reported for interventions targeting the use of electronic databases and digital libraries. The effectiveness of interventions to promote ICT adoption in healthcare settings remains uncertain, and more well designed trials are needed.
PMCID: PMC3973635  PMID: 19160265 CAMSID: cams377
Databases, Bibliographic [utilization]; Health Personnel [*statistics & numerical data]; Information Storage and Retrieval [*utilization]; Professional Practice [*statistics & numerical data]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
9.  Core Competencies for Shared Decision Making Training Programs: Insights From an International, Interdisciplinary Working Group 
Shared decision making is now making inroads in health care professionals’ continuing education curriculum, but there is no consensus on what core competencies are required by clinicians for effectively involving patients in health-related decisions. Ready-made programs for training clinicians in shared decision making are in high demand, but existing programs vary widely in their theoretical foundations, length, and content. An international, interdisciplinary group of 25 individuals met in 2012 to discuss theoretical approaches to making health-related decisions, compare notes on existing programs, take stock of stakeholders concerns, and deliberate on core competencies. This article summarizes the results of those discussions. Some participants believed that existing models already provide a sufficient conceptual basis for developing and implementing shared decision making competency-based training programs on a wide scale. Others argued that this would be premature as there is still no consensus on the definition of shared decision making or sufficient evidence to recommend specific competencies for implementing shared decision making. However, all participants agreed that there were 2 broad types of competencies that clinicians need for implementing shared decision making: relational competencies and risk communication competencies. Further multidisciplinary research could broaden and deepen our understanding of core competencies for shared decision making training.
PMCID: PMC3911960  PMID: 24347105 CAMSID: cams3819
shared decision making; education; patient-centered care; implementation science; theory; risk communication
11.  Impact of DECISION + 2 on patient and physician assessment of shared decision making implementation in the context of antibiotics use for acute respiratory infections 
DECISION + 2, a training program for physicians, is designed to implement shared decision making (SDM) in the context of antibiotics use for acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs). We evaluated the impact of DECISION + 2 on SDM implementation as assessed by patients and physicians, and on physicians’ intention to engage in SDM.
From 2010 to 2011, a multi-center, two-arm, parallel randomized clustered trial appraised the effects of DECISION + 2 on the decision to use antibiotics for patients consulting for ARTIs. We randomized 12 family practice teaching units (FPTUs) to either DECISION + 2 or usual care. After the consultation, both physicians and patients independently completed questionnaires based on the D-Option scale regarding SDM behaviors during the consultation. Patients also answered items assessing the role they assumed during the consultation (active/collaborative/passive). Before and after the intervention, physicians completed a questionnaire based on the Theory of Planned Behavior to measure their intention to engage in SDM. To account for the cluster design, we used generalized estimating equations and generalized linear mixed models to assess the impact of DECISION + 2 on the outcomes of interest.
A total of 270 physicians (66% women) participated in the study. After DECISION + 2, patients’ D-Option scores were 80.1 ± 1.1 out of 100 in the intervention group and 74.9 ± 1.1 in the control group (p = 0.001). Physicians’ D-Option scores were 79.7 ± 1.8 in the intervention group and 76.3 ± 1.9 in the control group (p = 0.2). However, subgroup analyses showed that teacher physicians D-Option scores were 79.7 ± 1.5 and 73.0 ± 1.4 respectively (p = 0.001). More patients reported assuming an active or collaborative role in the intervention group (67.1%), than in the control group (49.2%) (p = 0.04). There was a significant relation between patients’ and physicians’ D-Option scores (p < 0.01) and also between patient-reported assumed roles and both D-Option scores (as assessed by patients, p < 0.01; and physicians, p = 0.01). DECISION + 2 had no impact on the intention of physicians to engage in SDM.
DECISION + 2 positively influenced SDM behaviors as assessed by patients and teacher physicians. Physicians’ intention to engage in SDM was not affected by DECISION + 2.
Trial registration trials register no. NCT01116076.
PMCID: PMC3879432  PMID: 24369771
Shared decision making; Implementation; Theory of planned behavior; Training
12.  Providing information about options in patient decision aids 
Legal, ethical, and psychological arguments indicate that patients need to receive information about their health situations before their care decisions are made. Patient decision aids (PtDAs) are designed to help patients make decisions; therefore, they should provide information that results in patients understanding their health situation. We reviewed studies that assessed the impact of PtDAs on patient knowledge and on their feeling of being uninformed.
Our data sources were a published Cochrane Collaboration review that included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published before 2010 and a systematic review we conducted of RCTs published in 2010. We included trials that compared 1) PtDAs to usual care, and 2) PtDAs with simple information to PtDAs with more detailed information. Outcomes included patients' knowledge and their feeling of being uninformed. Data were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. Meta-analyses of similar studies estimated the size of differences.
Thirty-nine RCTs compared a PtDA to usual care and all showed higher knowledge scores for patients in the PtDA groups; a meta-analysis estimated the advantage at 14 (of 100) points. Sixteen (of 39) studies used the Feeling Uninformed subscale; a meta-analysis estimated a reduction of 7 (of 100) points in the PtDA group over usual care. Twenty-one studies compared simple- to more-detailed information in PtDAs. There was a small overall advantage for more detailed information on knowledge scores; a meta-analysis estimated the advantage at 5 (of 100) points. Only one study found higher mean knowledge scores for simpler information. Nine (of 21) studies reported using the Feeling Uninformed subscale and a meta-analysis suggested a reduction of 3 (of 100) points for the more-detailed PtDAs over those with simpler information. Only one study found that simpler information resulted in patients feeling more informed.
It appears that PtDAs result in patients having higher knowledge scores and in reduced feelings of being uninformed over patients who receive usual care. It also appears that PtDAs with more detailed information generally result in slightly higher knowledge and lower “Feeling Uninformed” scores than those with simpler information, but the differences are small and can be reversed under some circumstances.
PMCID: PMC4042380  PMID: 24625127
17.  Decision making in family medicine 
Canadian Family Physician  2013;59(10):1084-1094.
To compare the ability of users of 2 medical search engines, InfoClinique and the Trip database, to provide correct answers to clinical questions and to explore the perceived effects of the tools on the clinical decision-making process.
Randomized trial.
Three family medicine units of the family medicine program of the Faculty of Medicine at Laval University in Quebec city, Que.
Fifteen second-year family medicine residents.
Residents generated 30 structured questions about therapy or preventive treatment (2 questions per resident) based on clinical encounters. Using an Internet platform designed for the trial, each resident answered 20 of these questions (their own 2, plus 18 of the questions formulated by other residents, selected randomly) before and after searching for information with 1 of the 2 search engines. For each question, 5 residents were randomly assigned to begin their search with InfoClinique and 5 with the Trip database.
Main outcome measures
The ability of residents to provide correct answers to clinical questions using the search engines, as determined by third-party evaluation. After answering each question, participants completed a questionnaire to assess their perception of the engine’s effect on the decision-making process in clinical practice.
Of 300 possible pairs of answers (1 answer before and 1 after the initial search), 254 (85%) were produced by 14 residents. Of these, 132 (52%) and 122 (48%) pairs of answers concerned questions that had been assigned an initial search with InfoClinique and the Trip database, respectively. Both engines produced an important and similar absolute increase in the proportion of correct answers after searching (26% to 62% for InfoClinique, for an increase of 36%; 24% to 63% for the Trip database, for an increase of 39%; P = .68). For all 30 clinical questions, at least 1 resident produced the correct answer after searching with either search engine. The mean (SD) time of the initial search for each question was 23.5 (7.6) minutes with InfoClinique and 22.3 (7.8) minutes with the Trip database (P = .30). Participants’ perceptions of each engine’s effect on the decision-making process were very positive and similar for both search engines.
Family medicine residents’ ability to provide correct answers to clinical questions increased dramatically and similarly with the use of both InfoClinique and the Trip database. These tools have strong potential to increase the quality of medical care.
PMCID: PMC3796978  PMID: 24130286
18.  Use and teaching of pneumatic otoscopy in a family medicine residency program 
Canadian Family Physician  2013;59(9):972-979.
To determine to what extent FPs teach and use pneumatic otoscopy and to identify the chief influences on this behaviour.
Mixed-methods descriptive study conducted between March and May 2011.
The family medicine residency program at Laval University in Quebec city, Que.
Directors of the family medicine teaching units (FMTUs), teachers, and residents.
We used questionnaires to assess the availability of pneumatic otoscopy equipment in 12 FMTUs, current behaviour and behavioural intention among physicians (residents and teachers) to use or teach pneumatic otoscopy, and facilitators and barriers to these practices. We also conducted 2 focus groups to further explore the facilitators of and barriers to using pneumatic otoscopy. We used descriptive statistics for quantitative data, transcribed the qualitative material, and performed content analysis.
Main findings
Eight of the 12 FMTUs reported having pneumatic otoscopy equipment. Four had it in all of their consulting rooms, and 2 formally taught it. Nine (4%) of 211 physicians reported regular use of pneumatic otoscopy. Mean (SD) intention to teach or use pneumatic otoscopy during the next year was low (2.4 [1.0] out of 5). Teachers identified improved diagnostic accuracy as the main facilitator both for use and for teaching, while residents identified recommendation by practice guidelines as the main facilitator for use. All physicians reported lack of availability of equipment as the main barrier to use. The main barrier to teaching pneumatic otoscopy reported by teachers was that they did not use it themselves. In focus groups, themes of consequences, capabilities, and socioprofessional influences were most dominant. Residents clearly identified role modeling by teachers as facilitating the use of pneumatic otoscopy.
Pneumatic otoscopy is minimally used and taught in the family medicine residency program studied. Interventions to increase its use should target identified underlying beliefs and facilitators of and barriers to its use and teaching.
PMCID: PMC3771728  PMID: 24029515
19.  Shared Decision Making Does Not Influence Physicians against Clinical Practice Guidelines 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e62537.
While shared decision making (SDM) and adherence to clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) are important, some believe they are incompatible. This study explored the mutual influence between physicians’ intention to engage in SDM and their intention to follow CPGs.
Embedded within a clustered randomized trial to assess the impact of training physicians in SDM about using antibiotics to treat acute respiratory tract infections, this study evaluated physicians’ intentions to both engage in SDM and follow CPGs. A self-administered questionnaire based on the theory of planned behavior evaluated both behavioral intentions and their respective determinants (attitude, subjective norm and perceived behavioral control) at study entry and exit. We used path analysis to explore the relationships between the intentions. We conducted statistical analyses using the maximum likelihood method and the variance-covariance matrix. Goodness of fit indices encompassed the chi-square statistic, the comparative fit index and the root mean square error of approximation.
We analyzed 244 responses at entry and 236 at exit. In the control group, at entry we observed that physicians’ intention to engage in SDM (r = 0, t = 0.03) did not affect their intention to follow CPGs; however, their intention to follow CPGs (r = −0.31 t = −2.82) did negatively influence their intention to engage in SDM. At exit, neither behavioral intention influenced the other. In the experimental group, at entry neither behavioral intention influenced the other; at exit, the intention to engage in SDM still did not influence the intention to use CPGs, although the intention to follow CPGs (r = −0.15 t = −2.02) slightly negatively influenced the intention to engage in SDM, but this was not clinically significant.
Physicians’ intention to engage in SDM does not affect their intention to adopt CPGs even after SDM training. Physicians’ intention to adopt CPGs had no clinically significant influence on intention to engage in SDM.
Trial Registration NCT01116076
PMCID: PMC3634782  PMID: 23638111
20.  Training family physicians in shared decision-making to reduce the overuse of antibiotics in acute respiratory infections: a cluster randomized trial 
Few interventions have proven effective in reducing the overuse of antibiotics for acute respiratory infections. We evaluated the effect of DECISION+2, a shared decision-making training program, on the percentage of patients who decided to take antibiotics after consultation with a physician or resident.
We performed a randomized trial, clustered at the level of family practice teaching unit, with 2 study arms: DECISION+2 and control. The DECISION+2 training program included a 2-hour online tutorial followed by a 2-hour interactive seminar about shared decision-making. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients who decided to use antibiotics immediately after consultation. We also recorded patients’ perception that shared decision-making had occurred. Two weeks after the initial consultation, we assessed patients’ adherence to the decision, repeat consultation, decisional regret and quality of life.
We compared outcomes among 181 patients who consulted 77 physicians in 5 family practice teaching units in the DECISION+2 group, and 178 patients who consulted 72 physicians in 4 family practice teaching units in the control group. The percentage of patients who decided to use antibiotics after consultation was 52.2% in the control group and 27.2% in the DECISION+2 group (absolute difference 25.0%, adjusted relative risk 0.48, 95% confidence interval 0.34–0.68). DECISION+2 was associated with patients taking a more active role in decision-making (Z = 3.9, p < 0.001). Patient outcomes 2 weeks after consultation were similar in both groups.
The shared decision-making program DECISION+2 enhanced patient participation in decision-making and led to fewer patients deciding to use antibiotics for acute respiratory infections. This reduction did not have a negative effect on patient outcomes 2 weeks after consultation. trial register no. NCT01116076.
PMCID: PMC3447039  PMID: 22847969
21.  Barriers and facilitators to implementing Decision Boxes in primary healthcare teams to facilitate shared decisionmaking: a study protocol 
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.
PMCID: PMC3472191  PMID: 22867107
(3–10); Evidence-based practice; Continuing professional education; Risk communication; Patient-centered care; Counselling; Clinical topic summary; Decision support; Knowledge translation; Implementation science
22.  Decision boxes for clinicians to support evidence-based practice and shared decision making: the user experience 
This project engages patients and physicians in the development of Decision Boxes, short clinical topic summaries covering medical questions that have no single best answer. Decision Boxes aim to prepare the clinician to communicate the risks and benefits of the available options to the patient so they can make an informed decision together.
Seven researchers (including four practicing family physicians) selected 10 clinical topics relevant to primary care practice through a Delphi survey. We then developed two one-page prototypes on two of these topics: prostate cancer screening with the prostate-specific antigen test, and prenatal screening for trisomy 21 with the serum integrated test. We presented the prototypes to purposeful samples of family physicians distributed in two focus groups, and patients distributed in four focus groups. We used the User Experience Honeycomb to explore barriers and facilitators to the communication design used in Decision Boxes. All discussions were transcribed, and three researchers proceeded to thematic content analysis of the transcriptions. The coding scheme was first developed from the Honeycomb’s seven themes (valuable, usable, credible, useful, desirable, accessible, and findable), and included new themes suggested by the data. Prototypes were modified in light of our findings.
Three rounds were necessary for a majority of researchers to select 10 clinical topics. Fifteen physicians and 33 patients participated in the focus groups. Following analyses, three sections were added to the Decision Boxes: introduction, patient counseling, and references. The information was spread to two pages to try to make the Decision Boxes less busy and improve users’ first impression. To try to improve credibility, we gave more visibility to the research institutions involved in development. A statement on the boxes’ purpose and a flow chart representing the shared decision-making process were added with the intent of clarifying the tool’s purpose. Information about the risks and benefits according to risk levels was added to the Decision Boxes, to try to ease the adaptation of the information to individual patients.
Results will guide the development of the eight remaining Decision Boxes. A future study will evaluate the effect of Decision Boxes on the integration of evidence-based and shared decision making principles in clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC3533695  PMID: 22862935
Evidence-based medicine; User experience; Risk communication; Usability; Patient-centered care; Counselling; Clinical topic summary; Decision support; Knowledge translation; Communication design
23.  How can continuing professional development better promote shared decision-making? Perspectives from an international collaboration 
Shared decision-making is not widely implemented in healthcare. We aimed to set a research agenda about promoting shared decision-making through continuing professional development.
Thirty-six participants met for two days.
Participants suggested ways to improve an environmental scan that had inventoried 53 shared decision-making training programs from 14 countries. Their proposed research agenda included reaching an international consensus on shared decision-making competencies and creating a framework for accrediting continuing professional development initiatives in shared decision-making.
Variability in shared decision-making training programs showcases the need for quality assurance frameworks.
PMCID: PMC3154854  PMID: 21729310
24.  Developing and user-testing Decision boxes to facilitate shared decision making in primary care - a study protocol 
Applying evidence is one of the most challenging steps of evidence-based clinical practice. Healthcare professionals have difficulty interpreting evidence and translating it to patients. Decision boxes are summaries of the most important benefits and harms of diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive health interventions provided to healthcare professionals before they meet the patient. Our hypothesis is that Decision boxes will prepare clinicians to help patients make informed value-based decisions. By acting as primers, the boxes will enhance the application of evidence-based practices and increase shared decision making during the clinical encounter. The objectives of this study are to provide a framework for developing Decision boxes and testing their value to users.
We will begin by developing Decision box prototypes for 10 clinical conditions or topics based on a review of the research on risk communication. We will present two prototypes to purposeful samples of 16 family physicians distributed in two focus groups, and 32 patients distributed in four focus groups. We will use the User Experience Model framework to explore users' perceptions of the content and format of each prototype. All discussions will be transcribed, and two researchers will independently perform a hybrid deductive/inductive thematic qualitative analysis of the data. The coding scheme will be developed a priori from the User Experience Model's seven themes (valuable, usable, credible, useful, desirable, accessible and findable), and will include new themes suggested by the data (inductive analysis). Key findings will be triangulated using additional publications on the design of tools to improve risk communication. All 10 Decision boxes will be modified in light of our findings.
This study will produce a robust framework for developing and testing Decision boxes that will serve healthcare professionals and patients alike. It is the first step in the development and implementation of a new tool that should facilitate decision making in clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC3060840  PMID: 21385470
25.  Developing a theory-based instrument to assess the impact of continuing professional development activities on clinical practice: a study protocol 
Continuing professional development (CPD) is one of the principal means by which health professionals (i.e. primary care physicians and specialists) maintain, improve, and broaden the knowledge and skills required for optimal patient care and safety. However, the lack of a widely accepted instrument to assess the impact of CPD activities on clinical practice thwarts researchers' comparisons of the effectiveness of CPD activities. Using an integrated model for the study of healthcare professionals' behaviour, our objective is to develop a theory-based, valid, reliable global instrument to assess the impact of accredited CPD activities on clinical practice.
Phase 1: We will analyze the instruments identified in a systematic review of factors influencing health professionals' behaviours using criteria that reflect the literature on measurement development and CPD decision makers' priorities. The outcome of this phase will be an inventory of instruments based on social cognitive theories. Phase 2: Working from this inventory, the most relevant instruments and their related items for assessing the concepts listed in the integrated model will be selected. Through an e-Delphi process, we will verify whether these instruments are acceptable, what aspects need revision, and whether important items are missing and should be added. The outcome of this phase will be a new global instrument integrating the most relevant tools to fit our integrated model of healthcare professionals' behaviour. Phase 3: Two data collections are planned: (1) a test-retest of the new instrument, including item analysis, to assess its reliability and (2) a study using the instrument before and after CPD activities with a randomly selected control group to explore the instrument's mere-measurement effect. Phase 4: We will conduct individual interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders to identify anticipated barriers and enablers for implementing the new instrument in CPD practice. Phase 5: Drawing on the results from the previous phases, we will use consensus-building methods to develop with the decision makers a plan to implement the new instrument.
This project proposes to give stakeholders a theory-based global instrument to validly and reliably measure the impacts of CPD activities on clinical practice, thus laying the groundwork for more targeted and effective knowledge-translation interventions in the future.
PMCID: PMC3063813  PMID: 21385369

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