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1.  Resilient Actions in the Diagnostic Process and System Performance 
BMJ quality & safety  2013;22(12):10.1136/bmjqs-2012-001661.
Objectives
Systemic issues can adversely affect the diagnostic process. Many system-related barriers can be masked by ‘resilient’ actions of frontline providers (ie, actions supporting the safe delivery of care in the presence of pressures that the system cannot readily adapt to). We explored system barriers and resilient actions of primary care providers (PCPs) in the diagnostic evaluation of cancer.
Methods
We conducted a secondary data analysis of interviews of PCPs involved in diagnostic evaluation of 29 lung and colorectal cancer cases. Cases covered a range of diagnostic timeliness and were analyzed to identify barriers for rapid diagnostic evaluation, and PCPs’ actions involving elements of resilience addressing those barriers. We rated these actions according to whether they were usual or extraordinary for typical PCP work.
Results
Resilient actions and associated barriers were found in 59% of the cases, in all ranges of timeliness, with 40% involving actions rated as beyond typical. Most of the barriers were related to access to specialty services and coordination with patients. Many of the resilient actions involved using additional communication channels to solicit cooperation from other participants in the diagnostic process.
Discussion
Diagnostic evaluation of cancer involves several resilient actions by PCPs targeted at system deficiencies. PCPs’ actions can sometimes mitigate system barriers to diagnosis, and thereby impact the sensitivity of ‘downstream’ measures (eg, delays) in detecting barriers. While resilient actions might enable providers to mitigate system deficiencies in the short run, they can be resource intensive and potentially unsustainable. They complement, rather than substitute for, structural remedies to improve system performance. Measures to detect and fix system performance issues targeted by these resilient actions could facilitate diagnostic safety.
doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2012-001661
PMCID: PMC3833904  PMID: 23813210
patient safety; systems resilience; quality and safety measurements; test results; care delays
2.  Primary care practitioners’ views on test result management in EHR-enabled health systems: a national survey 
Context
Failure to notify patients of test results is common even when electronic health records (EHRs) are used to report results to practitioners. We sought to understand the broad range of social and technical factors that affect test result management in an integrated EHR-based health system.
Methods
Between June and November 2010, we conducted a cross-sectional, web-based survey of all primary care practitioners (PCPs) within the Department of Veterans Affairs nationwide. Survey development was guided by a socio-technical model describing multiple inter-related dimensions of EHR use.
Findings
Of 5001 PCPs invited, 2590 (51.8%) responded. 55.5% believed that the EHRs did not have convenient features for notifying patients of test results. Over a third (37.9%) reported having staff support needed for notifying patients of test results. Many relied on the patient's next visit to notify them for normal (46.1%) and abnormal results (20.1%). Only 45.7% reported receiving adequate training on using the EHR notification system and 35.1% reported having an assigned contact for technical assistance with the EHR; most received help from colleagues (60.4%). A majority (85.6%) stayed after hours or came in on weekends to address notifications; less than a third reported receiving protected time (30.1%). PCPs strongly endorsed several new features to improve test result management, including better tracking and visualization of result notifications.
Conclusions
Despite an advanced EHR, both social and technical challenges exist in ensuring notification of test results to practitioners and patients. Current EHR technology requires significant improvement in order to avoid similar challenges elsewhere.
doi:10.1136/amiajnl-2012-001267
PMCID: PMC3721157  PMID: 23268489
missed test results; medical errors; diagnostic errors; lack of follow-up; health information technology; electronic health records
3.  The cost effectiveness of teriparatide as a first-line treatment for glucocorticoid-induced and postmenopausal osteoporosis patients in Sweden 
Background
This paper presents the model and results to evaluate the use of teriparatide as a first-line treatment of severe postmenopausal osteoporosis (PMO) and Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis (GIOP). The study’s objective was to determine if teriparatide is cost effective against oral bisphosphonates for two large and high risk cohorts.
Methods
A computer simulation model was created to model treatment, osteoporosis related fractures, and the remaining life of PMO and GIOP patients. Natural mortality and additional mortality from osteoporosis related fractures were included in the model. Costs for treatment with both teriparatide and oral bisphosphonates were included. Drug efficacy was modeled as a reduction to the relative fracture risk for subsequent osteoporosis related fractures. Patient health utilities associated with age, gender, and osteoporosis related fractures were included in the model. Patient costs and utilities were summarized and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) for teriparatide versus oral bisphosphonates and teriparatide versus no treatment were estimated.
For each of the PMO and GIOP populations, two cohorts differentiated by fracture history were simulated. The first contained patients with both a historical vertebral fracture and an incident vertebral fracture. The second contained patients with only an incident vertebral fracture. The PMO cohorts simulated had an initial Bone Mineral Density (BMD) T-Score of −3.0. The GIOP cohorts simulated had an initial BMD T-Score of −2.5.
Results
The ICERs for teriparatide versus bisphosphonate use for the one and two fracture PMO cohorts were €36,995 per QALY and €19,371 per QALY. The ICERs for teriparatide versus bisphosphonate use for the one and two fracture GIOP cohorts were €20,826 per QALY and €15,155 per QALY, respectively.
Conclusions
The selection of teriparatide versus oral bisphosphonates as a first-line treatment for the high risk PMO and GIOP cohorts evaluated is justified at a cost per QALY threshold of €50,000.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-213
PMCID: PMC3545974  PMID: 23110626
Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis; Postmenopausal osteoporosis; Cost-effectiveness; Fractures; Teriparatide; Bisphosphonate
4.  Improving the Effectiveness of Electronic Health Record-Based Referral Processes 
Electronic health records are increasingly being used to facilitate referral communication in the outpatient setting. However, despite support by technology, referral communication between primary care providers and specialists is often unsatisfactory and is unable to eliminate care delays. This may be in part due to lack of attention to how information and communication technology fits within the social environment of health care. Making electronic referral communication effective requires a multifaceted “socio-technical” approach. Using an 8-dimensional socio-technical model for health information technology as a framework, we describe ten recommendations that represent good clinical practices to design, develop, implement, improve, and monitor electronic referral communication in the outpatient setting. These recommendations were developed on the basis of our previous work, current literature, sound clinical practice, and a systems-based approach to understanding and implementing health information technology solutions. Recommendations are relevant to system designers, practicing clinicians, and other stakeholders considering use of electronic health records to support referral communication.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-12-107
PMCID: PMC3492108  PMID: 22973874

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