Access to community-based primary health care (hereafter, ‘primary care’) is a priority in many countries. Health care systems have emphasized policies that help the community ‘get the right service in the right place at the right time’. However, little is known about organizational interventions in primary care that are aimed to improve access for populations in situations of vulnerability (e.g., socioeconomically disadvantaged) and how successful they are. The purpose of this scoping review was to map the existing evidence on organizational interventions that improve access to primary care services for vulnerable populations. Scoping review followed an iterative process. Eligibility criteria: organizational interventions in Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries; aiming to improve access to primary care for vulnerable populations; all study designs; published from 2000 in English or French; reporting at least one outcome (avoidable hospitalization, emergency department admission, or unmet health care needs). Sources: Main bibliographic databases (Medline, Embase, CINAHL) and team members’ personal files. Study selection: One researcher selected relevant abstracts and full text papers. Theory-driven synthesis: The researcher classified included studies using (i) the ‘Patient Centered Access to Healthcare’ conceptual framework (dimensions and outcomes of access to primary care), and (ii) the classification of interventions of the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organization of Care. Using pattern analysis, interventions were mapped in accordance with the presence/absence of ‘dimension-outcome’ patterns. Out of 8,694 records (title/abstract), 39 studies with varying designs were included. The analysis revealed the following pattern. Results of 10 studies on interventions classified as ‘Formal integration of services’ suggested that these interventions were associated with three dimensions of access (approachability, availability and affordability) and reduction of hospitalizations (four/four studies), emergency department admissions (six/six studies), and unmet healthcare needs (five/six studies). These 10 studies included seven non-randomized studies, one randomized controlled trial, one quantitative descriptive study, and one mixed methods study. Our results suggest the limited breadth of research in this area, and that it will be feasible to conduct a full systematic review of studies on the effectiveness of the formal integration of services to improve access to primary care services for vulnerable populations.
Delivery of Health Care; Accessibility to Health Services; Vulnerable populations; Underserved populations; Organizational Interventions; Improve Access; Canada; Australia
Collaborative mental healthcare (CMHC) has garnered worldwide interest as an effective, team-based approach to managing common mental disorders in primary care. However, questions remain about how CMHC works and why it works in some circumstances but not others. In this study, we will review the evidence on one understudied but potentially critical component of CMHC, namely the engagement of patients and families in care. Our aims are to describe the strategies used to engage people with depression or anxiety disorders and their families in CMHC and understand how these strategies work, for whom and in what circumstances.
Methods and analysis
We are conducting a review with systematic and realist review components. Review part 1 seeks to identify and describe the patient and family engagement strategies featured in CMHC interventions based on systematic searches and descriptive analysis of these interventions. We will use a 2012 Cochrane review of CMHC as a starting point and perform new searches in multiple databases and trial registers to retrieve more recent CMHC intervention studies. In review part 2, we will build and refine programme theories for each of these engagement strategies. Initial theory building will proceed iteratively through content expert consultations, electronic searches for theoretical literature and review team brainstorming sessions. Cluster searches will then retrieve additional data on contexts, mechanisms and outcomes associated with engagement strategies, and pairs of review authors will analyse and synthesise the evidence and adjust initial programme theories.
Ethics and dissemination
Our review follows a participatory approach with multiple knowledge users and persons with lived experience of mental illness. These partners will help us develop and tailor project outputs, including publications, policy briefs, training materials and guidance on how to make CMHC more patient-centred and family-centred.
PROSPERO registration number
Collaborative mental health care; Patient and family engagement; Realist review; Depression and Anxiety; Protocol
Mixed studies reviews include empirical studies with diverse designs. Given that identifying relevant studies for such reviews is time consuming, a mixed filter was developed.
The filter was used for six journals from three disciplines. For each journal, database records were coded “empirical” (relevant) when they mentioned a research question or objective, data collection, analysis, and results. We measured precision (proportion of retrieved documents being relevant), sensitivity (proportion of relevant documents retrieved), and specificity (proportion of nonrelevant documents not retrieved).
Records were coded with and without the filter, and descriptive statistics were performed, suggesting the mixed filter has high sensitivity.
Database, Bibliographic; Review, Systematic; Information Retrieval Systems; Empirical Research; Medical Informatics
Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) is an approach in which researchers and community stakeholders form equitable partnerships to tackle issues related to community health improvement and knowledge production. Our 2012 realist review of CBPR outcomes reported long-term effects that were touched upon but not fully explained in the retained literature. To further explore such effects, interviews were conducted with academic and community partners of partnerships retained in the review. Realist methodology was used to increase the understanding of what supports partnership synergy in successful long-term CBPR partnerships, and to further document how equitable partnerships can result in numerous benefits including the sustainability of relationships, research and solutions.
Building on our previous realist review of CBPR, we contacted the authors of longitudinal studies of academic-community partnerships retained in the review. Twenty-four participants (community members and researchers) from 11 partnerships were interviewed. Realist logic of analysis was used, involving middle-range theory, context-mechanism-outcome configuration (CMOcs) and the concept of the ‘ripple effect’.
The analysis supports the central importance of developing and strengthening partnership synergy through trust. The ripple effect concept in conjunction with CMOcs showed that a sense of trust amongst CBPR members was a prominent mechanism leading to partnership sustainability. This in turn resulted in population-level outcomes including: (a) sustaining collaborative efforts toward health improvement; (b) generating spin-off projects; and (c) achieving systemic transformations.
These results add to other studies on improving the science of CBPR in partnerships with a high level of power-sharing and co-governance. Our results suggest sustaining CBPR and achieving unanticipated benefits likely depend on trust-related mechanisms and a continuing commitment to power-sharing. These findings have implications for building successful CBPR partnerships to address challenging public health problems and the complex assessment of outcomes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12889-015-1949-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Community-based participatory research; Public health; Realist synthesis; Realist analysis; Sustainability; Partnership synergy; Trust; Spin-off projects; Systemic transformations; Ripple effect
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have been steadily increasing in popularity since their introduction to US markets in 2007. Debates surrounding the proper regulatory mechanisms needed to mitigate potential harms associated with their use have focused on youth access, their potential for nicotine addiction, and the renormalization of a smoking culture. The objective of this study was to describe the enacted and planned regulations addressing this novel public health concern in the US.
We searched LexisNexis Academic under Federal Regulations and Registers, as well as State Administrative Codes and Registers. This same database was also used to find information about planned regulations in secondary sources. The search was restricted to US documents produced between January 1st, 2004, and July 14th, 2014.
We found two planned regulations at the federal level, and 74 enacted and planned regulations in 44 states. We identified six state-based regulation types, including i) access, ii) usage, iii) marketing and advertisement, iv) packaging, v) taxation, and vi) licensure. These were further classified into 10 restriction subtypes: sales, sale to minors, use in indoor public places, use in limited venues, use by minors, licensure, marketing and advertising, packaging, and taxation. Most enacted restrictions aimed primarily to limit youth access, while few regulations enforced comprehensive restrictions on product use and availability.
Current regulations targeting e-cigarettes in the US are varied in nature and scope. There is greater consensus surrounding youth protection (access by minors and/or use by minors, and/or use in limited venues), with little consensus on multi-level regulations, including comprehensive use bans in public spaces.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12916-015-0370-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
E-cigarette regulation; Public health policy; United States
STATISTICS & RESEARCH METHODS
Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death (63%) worldwide. A key behavioral risk factor is unhealthy eating. New strategies must be identified and evaluated to improve dietary habits. Social media, such as blogs, represent a unique opportunity for improving knowledge translation in health care through interactive communication between health consumers and health professionals. Despite the proliferation of food and lifestyle blogs, no research has been devoted to understanding potential blog readers’ perceptions of healthy eating blogs written by dietitians.
To identify women’s salient beliefs and perceptions regarding the use of healthy eating blogs written by dietitians promoting the improvement of their dietary habits.
We conducted a qualitative study with female Internet users living in the Quebec City, QC, area with suboptimal dietary habits. First, the women explored 4 existing healthy eating blogs written in French by qualified dietitians. At a focus group 2-4 weeks later, they were asked to discuss their experience and perceptions. Focus group participants were grouped by age (18-34, 35-54, and 55-75 years) and by their use of social media (users/nonusers). Using a questionnaire based on the Theory of Planned Behavior, participants were asked to identify salient beliefs underlying their attitudes (advantages/disadvantages), subjective norms (what people important to them would think), and perceptions of control (facilitators/barriers) regarding the use of a healthy eating blog written by a dietitian to improve dietary habits. Discussion groups were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, coded, and a deductive content analysis was performed independently by 2 individuals using the NVivo software (version 10).
All participants (N=33) were Caucasian women aged between 22 to 73 year. Main advantages perceived of using healthy eating blogs written by a dietitian were that they provided useful recipe ideas, improved lifestyle, were a credible source of information, and allowed interaction with a dietitian. Disadvantages included increased time spent on the Internet and guilt if recommendations were not followed. Important people who would approve were family, colleagues, and friends. Important people who could disapprove were family and doctors. Main facilitators were visually attractive blogs, receiving an email notification about new posts, and finding new information on the blog. Main barriers were too much text, advertising on the blog, and lack of time.
The women in this study valued the credibility of healthy eating blogs written by dietitians and the contact with dietitians they provided. Identifying salient beliefs underlying women’s perceptions of using such blogs provides an empirically supported basis for the design of knowledge translation interventions to help prevent chronic diseases.
blog; health behavior; nutrition; qualitative research; social media; knowledge translation
Objectives. To undertake a critical review describing key strategies supporting development of participatory research (PR) teams to engage partners for creation and translation of action-oriented knowledge. Methods. Sources are four leading PR practitioners identified via bibliometric analysis. Authors' publications were identified in January 1995–October 2009 in PubMed, Embase, ISI Web of Science and CAB databases, and books. Works were limited to those with a process description describing a research project and practitioners were first, second, third, or last author. Results. Adapting and applying the “Reliability Tested Guidelines for Assessing Participatory Research Projects” to retained records identified five key strategies: developing advisory committees of researchers and intended research users; developing research agreements; using formal and informal group facilitation techniques; hiring co-researchers/partners from community; and ensuring frequent communication. Other less frequently mentioned strategies were also identified. Conclusion. This review is the first time these guidelines were used to identify key strategies supporting PR projects. They proved effective at identifying and evaluating engagement strategies as reported by completed research projects. Adapting these guidelines identified gaps where the tool was unable to assess fundamental PR elements of power dynamics, equity of resources, and member turnover. Our resulting template serves as a new tool to measure partnerships.
Electronic knowledge resources constitute an important channel for accredited Continuing Medical Education (CME) activities. However, email usage for educational purposes is controversial. On the one hand, family physicians become aware of new information, confirm what they already know, and obtain reassurance by reading educational email alerts. Email alerts can also encourage physicians to search Web-based resources. On the other hand, technical difficulties and privacy issues are common obstacles.
The purpose of this discussion paper, informed by a literature review and a small qualitative study, was to understand family physicians’ knowledge, attitudes, and behavior in regard to email in general and educational emails in particular, and to explore the advantages and disadvantages of educational email alerts. In addition, we documented participants’ suggestions to improve email alert services for CME.
We conducted a qualitative descriptive study using the “Knowledge, Attitude, Behavior” model. We conducted semi-structured face-to-face interviews with 15 family physicians. We analyzed the collected data using inductive-deductive thematic qualitative data analysis.
All 15 participants scanned and prioritized their email, and 13 of them checked their email daily. Participants mentioned (1) advantages of educational email alerts such as saving time, convenience and valid information, and (2) disadvantages such as an overwhelming number of emails and irrelevance. They offered suggestions to improve educational email.
The advantages of email alerts seem to compensate for their disadvantages. Suggestions proposed by family physicians can help to improve educational email alerts.
theory of planned behavior; continuing medical education; educational email alerts; electronic knowledge resources; family physicians; health informatics; knowledge translation; primary health care
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.
Evidence-based practice; Continuing professional education; Shared decision making; Risk communication; Patient-centered care; Counseling; Clinical topic summary; Decision support; Knowledge translation
Case management allows us to respond to the complex needs of a vulnerable clientele through a structured approach that promotes enhanced interaction between partners. Syntheses on the subject converge towards a need for a better description of the relationships between programmes and their local context, as well as the characteristics of the clienteles and programmes that contribute to positive impacts. The purpose of this project is thus to describe and evaluate the case management programmes of four health and social services centres in the Saguenay-Lac- Saint-Jean region of Québec, Canada, in order to inform their improvement while creating knowledge on case management that can be useful in other contexts.
Methods and analysis
This research relies on a multiple embedded case study design based on a developmental evaluation approach. We will work with the case management programme for high users of hospital services of each centre. Three different units of analysis will be interwoven to obtain an in-depth understanding of each case, that is: (1) health and social services centre and local services network, (2) case management programme and (3) patients who are high users of services. Two strategies for programme evaluation (logic models and implementation analysis) will guide the mixed data collection based on qualitative and quantitative methods. This data collection will rely on: (1) individual interviews and focus groups; (2) participant observation; (3) document analysis; (4) clinical and administrative data and (5) questionnaires. Description and comparison of cases, and integration of qualitative and quantitative data will be used to guide the data analysis.
Ethics and dissemination
The study protocol was approved by the Ethics Research Boards of the four health and social services centres (HSSCs) involved. Findings will be disseminated by publications in peer-reviewed journals, conferences, and policy and practice partners in local and national government.
Frequent users; Case 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.
Clinical practice guidelines; Knowledge translation; Decision support; Evidence-based practice; Barriers; Patient-centred care; User experience; Continuing professional development; Communication competency
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.
We obtained studies from computerized searches of multiple electronic bibliographic databases, supplemented by checking reference lists, and consultation with experts.
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.
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.
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.
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
The purpose of this study was to examine factors associated with the implementation of case management (CM) interventions in primary health care (PHC) and to develop strategies to enhance its adoption by PHC practices.
This study was designed as a systematic mixed studies review (including quantitative and qualitative studies) with synthesis based on the diffusion of innovation model. A literature search was performed using MEDLINE, PsycInfo, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Database (1995 to August 2012) to identify quantitative (randomized controlled and nonrandomized) and qualitative studies describing the conditions limiting and facilitating successful CM implementation in PHC. The methodological quality of each included study was assessed using the validated Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool.
Twenty-three studies (eleven quantitative and 12 qualitative) were included. The characteristics of CM that negatively influence implementation are low CM intensity (eg, infrequent follow-up), large caseload (more than 60 patients per full-time case manager), and approach, ie, reactive rather than proactive. Case managers need specific skills to perform their role (eg, good communication skills) and their responsibilities in PHC need to be clearly delineated.
Our systematic review supports a better understanding of factors that can explain inconsistent evidence with regard to the outcomes of dementia CM in PHC. Lastly, strategies are proposed to enhance implementation of dementia CM in PHC.
systematic mixed studies review; dementia; case management; primary health care; implementation; diffusion of innovation
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.
PMID: 20703721 CAMSID: cams382
Systematic review; Adoption factors; Information and communication technologies (ICTs); ICT adoption by healthcare professionals
Although e-learning programs are popular and access to electronic knowledge resources has improved, raising awareness about updated therapeutic recommendations in practice continues to be a challenge.
Objective of program
To raise awareness about and document the use of therapeutic recommendations.
In 2010, family physicians evaluated e-Therapeutics (e-T) Highlights with a Web-based tool called the Information Assessment Method (IAM). The e-T Highlights consisted of information found in the primary care reference e-Therapeutics+. Each week, family physicians received an e-mail containing a link to 1 Highlight from a different chapter of e-Therapeutics+. Family physicians received continuing medical education credits for each Highlight they rated with the IAM. Of the 5346 participants, 85% of them were full-time or part-time practitioners. A total of 31 429 Highlights ratings were received in 2010 (median of 2 ratings per participant, range 1 to 49). Among participants who rated more than 2 Highlights, the median number of ratings was 7 (mean 11.9). The relevance of the information from individual Highlights varied widely; however, for 90% of the rated Highlights participants indicated total or partial relevance of the information for at least 1 patient. For 41% of rated Highlights, participants expected patient health benefits to result from implementing the recommendation, such as avoiding an unnecessary or inappropriate treatment, or a preventive intervention.
This continuing medical education program stimulated family physicians to rate therapeutic recommendations that were delivered weekly via e-mail. The process of rating e-T Highlights with the IAM raised awareness about treatment recommendations and documented self-reported use of this information in practice.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Online consumer health information addresses health problems, self-care, disease prevention, and health care services and is intended for the general public. Using this information, people can improve their knowledge, participation in health decision-making, and health. However, there are no comprehensive instruments to evaluate the value of health information from a consumer perspective.
We collaborated with information providers to develop and validate the Information Assessment Method for all (IAM4all) that can be used to collect feedback from information consumers (including patients), and to enable a two-way knowledge translation between information providers and consumers.
Content validation steps were followed to develop the IAM4all questionnaire. The first version was based on a theoretical framework from information science, a critical literature review and prior work. Then, 16 laypersons were interviewed on their experience with online health information and specifically their impression of the IAM4all questionnaire. Based on the summaries and interpretations of interviews, questionnaire items were revised, added, and excluded, thus creating the second version of the questionnaire. Subsequently, a panel of 12 information specialists and 8 health researchers participated in an online survey to rate each questionnaire item for relevance, clarity, representativeness, and specificity. The result of this expert panel contributed to the third, current, version of the questionnaire.
The current version of the IAM4all questionnaire is structured by four levels of outcomes of information seeking/receiving: situational relevance, cognitive impact, information use, and health benefits. Following the interviews and the expert panel survey, 9 questionnaire items were confirmed as relevant, clear, representative, and specific. To improve readability and accessibility for users with a lower level of literacy, 19 items were reworded and all inconsistencies in using a passive or active voice have been solved. One item was removed due to redundancy. The current version of the IAM4all questionnaire contains 28 items.
We developed and content validated the IAM4all in partnership with information providers, information specialists, researchers and representatives of information consumers. This questionnaire can be integrated within electronic knowledge resources to stimulate users’ reflection (eg, their intention to use information). We claim that any organization (eg, publishers, community organizations, or patient associations), can evaluate and improve their online consumer health information from a consumers’ perspective using this method.
information use; information retrieval; push technology; consumer health information; consumer-centered outcomes; content validity
The Information Assessment Method (IAM) is a popular tool for continuing education and knowledge translation. After a search for information, the IAM allows the health professional to report what was the search objective, its cognitive impact, as well as any use and patient health benefit associated with the retrieved health information. In continuing education programs, professionals read health information, rate it using the IAM, and earn continuing education credit for this brief individual reflective learning activity. IAM items have been iteratively developed using literature reviews and qualitative studies. Thus, our research question was: what is the content validity of IAM items from the users’ perspective?
A two-step content validation study was conducted. In Step 1, we followed a mixed methods research design, and assessed the relevance and representativeness of IAM items. In this step, data from a longitudinal quantitative study and a qualitative multiple case study involving 40 family physicians were analyzed. In Step 2, IAM items were analyzed and modified based on a set of guiding principles by a multi-disciplinary expert panel.
The content validity of 16 IAM items was supported, and these items were not changed. Nine other items were modified. Three new items were added, including two that were extensions of an existing item.
A content validated version of the IAM (IAM 2011) is available for the continuing education of health professionals.
Content validity; Continuing medical education; Health informatics; Information assessment method; Primary health care; Knowledge translation
Participatory research (PR) is the co-construction of research through partnerships between researchers and people affected by and/or responsible for action on the issues under study. Evaluating the benefits of PR is challenging for a number of reasons: the research topics, methods, and study designs are heterogeneous; the extent of collaborative involvement may vary over the duration of a project and from one project to the next; and partnership activities may generate a complex array of both short- and long-term outcomes.
Our review team consisted of a collaboration among researchers and decision makers in public health, research funding, ethics review, and community-engaged scholarship. We identified, selected, and appraised a large-variety sample of primary studies describing PR partnerships, and in each stage, two team members independently reviewed and coded the literature. We used key realist review concepts (middle-range theory, demi-regularity, and context-mechanism-outcome configurations [CMO]) to analyze and synthesize the data, using the PR partnership as the main unit of analysis.
From 7,167 abstracts and 591 full-text papers, we distilled for synthesis a final sample of twenty-three PR partnerships described in 276 publications. The link between process and outcome in these partnerships was best explained using the middle-range theory of partnership synergy, which demonstrates how PR can (1) ensure culturally and logistically appropriate research, (2) enhance recruitment capacity, (3) generate professional capacity and competence in stakeholder groups, (4) result in productive conflicts followed by useful negotiation, (5) increase the quality of outputs and outcomes over time, (6) increase the sustainability of project goals beyond funded time frames and during gaps in external funding, and (7) create system changes and new unanticipated projects and activities. Negative examples illustrated why these outcomes were not a guaranteed product of PR partnerships but were contingent on key aspects of context.
We used a realist approach to embrace the heterogeneity and complexity of the PR literature. This theory-driven synthesis identified mechanisms by which PR may add value to the research process. Using the middle-range theory of partnership synergy, our review confirmed findings from previous PR reviews, documented and explained some negative outcomes, and generated new insights into the benefits of PR regarding conflicts and negotiation between stakeholders, program sustainability and advancement, unanticipated project activity, and the generation of systemic change.
Participatory research; action research; realist review; systematic review; partnership synergy theory; community-based participatory research
Ensuring access to timely and appropriate primary healthcare for people living in poverty is an issue facing all countries, even those with universal healthcare systems. The transformation of healthcare practices and organization could be improved by involving key stakeholders from the community and the healthcare system in the development of research interventions. The aim of this project is to stimulate changes in healthcare organizations and practices by encouraging collaboration between care teams and people living in poverty. Our objectives are twofold: 1) to identify actions required to promote the adoption of professional practices oriented toward social competence in primary care teams; and 2) to examine factors that would encourage the inclusion of people living in poverty in the process of developing social competence in healthcare organizations.
This study will use a participatory action research design applied in healthcare organizations. Participatory research is an increasingly recognized approach that is helpful for involving the people for whom the research results are intended. Our research team consists of 19 non-academic researchers, 11 academic researchers and six partners. A steering committee composed of academic researchers and stakeholders will have a decision-making role at each step, including knowledge dissemination and recommendations for new interventions. In this project we will adopt a multiphase approach and will use a variety of methods, including photovoice, group discussions and interviews.
The proposed study will be one of only a few using participatory research in primary care to foster changes aimed at enhancing quality and access to care for people living in poverty. To our knowledge this will be the first study to use photovoice in healthcare organizations to promote new interventions. Our project includes partners who are targeted for practice changes and improvements in delivering primary care to persons living in poverty. By involving knowledge users, including service recipients, our study is more likely to produce a transformation of professional practices and encourage healthcare organizations to take into account the needs of persons living in poverty.
Participatory research; Poverty; Primary care; Photovoice; Knowledge transfer