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
Decision Boxes are summaries of the most important benefits and harms of health interventions provided to clinicians before they meet the patient, to prepare them to help patients make informed and value-based decisions. Our objective is to explore the barriers and facilitators to using Decision Boxes in clinical practice, more precisely factors stemming from (1) the Decision Boxes themselves, (2) the primary healthcare team (PHT), and (3) the primary care practice environment.
A two-phase mixed methods study will be conducted. Eight Decision Boxes relevant to primary care, and written in both English and in French, will be hosted on a website together with a tutorial to introduce the Decision Box. The Decision Boxes will be delivered as weekly emails over a span of eight weeks to clinicians of PHTs (family physicians, residents and nurses) in five primary care clinics located across two Canadian provinces. Using a web-questionnaire, clinicians will rate each Decision Box with the Information Assessment Method (cognitive impacts, relevance, usefulness, expected benefits) and with a questionnaire based on the Theory of Planned Behavior to study the determinants of clinicians’ intention to use what they learned from that Decision Box in their patient encounter (attitude, social norm, perceived behavioral control). Web-log data will be used to monitor clinicians’ access to the website. Following the 8-week intervention, we will conduct semi-structured group interviews with clinicians and individual interviews with clinic administrators to explore contextual factors influencing the use of the Decision Boxes. Data collected from questionnaires, focus groups and individual interviews will be combined to identify factors potentially influencing implementation of Decision Boxes in clinical practice by clinicians of PHTs.
This project will allow tailoring of Decision Boxes and their delivery to overcome the specific barriers identified by clinicians of PHTs to improve the implementation of shared decision making in this setting.
(3–10); Evidence-based practice; Continuing professional education; Risk communication; Patient-centered care; Counselling; Clinical topic summary; Decision support; Knowledge translation; Implementation science
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.
Evidence-based medicine; User experience; Risk communication; Usability; Patient-centered care; Counselling; Clinical topic summary; Decision support; Knowledge translation; Communication design
Objective. To assess the use of an electronic knowledge resource to document continuing education activities and reveal educational needs of practicing pharmacists.
Methods. Over a 38-week period, 67 e-mails were sent to 6,500 Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) members. Each e-mail contained a link to an e-Therapeutics+ Highlight, a factual excerpt of selected content from an online drug and therapeutic knowledge resource. Participants were then prompted to complete a pop-up questionnaire.
Results. Members completed 4,140 questionnaires. Participants attributed the information they learned in the Highlights to practice improvements (50.4%), learning (57.0%), and motivation to learn more (57.4%).
Conclusions. Reading Highlight excerpts and completing Web-based questionnaires is an effective method of continuing education that could be easily documented and tracked, making it an effective tool for use with e-portfolios.
continuing pharmacy education; electronic knowledge resource; e-portfolio; information assessment method; reflective learning
A synopsis of new clinical research highlights important aspects of one study in a brief structured format. When delivered as email alerts, synopses enable clinicians to become aware of new developments relevant for practice. Once read, a synopsis can become a known item of clinical information. In time-pressured situations, remembering a known item may facilitate information retrieval by the clinician. However, exactly how synopses first delivered as email alerts influence retrieval at some later time is not known.
We examined searches for clinical information in which a synopsis previously read as an email alert was retrieved (defined as a dyad). Our study objectives were to (1) examine whether family physicians retrieved synopses they previously read as email alerts and then to (2) explore whether family physicians purposefully retrieved these synopses.
We conducted a mixed-methods study in which a qualitative multiple case study explored the retrieval of email alerts within a prospective longitudinal cohort of practicing family physicians. Reading of research-based synopses was tracked in two contexts: (1) push, meaning to read on email and (2) pull, meaning to read after retrieval from one electronic knowledge resource. Dyads, defined as synopses first read as email alerts and subsequently retrieved in a search of a knowledge resource, were prospectively identified. Participants were interviewed about all of their dyads. Outcomes were the total number of dyads and their type.
Over a period of 341 days, 194 unique synopses delivered to 41 participants resulted in 4937 synopsis readings. In all, 1205 synopses were retrieved over an average of 320 days. Of the 1205 retrieved synopses, 21 (1.7%) were dyads made by 17 family physicians. Of the 1205 retrieved synopses, 6 (0.5%) were known item type dyads. However, dyads also occurred serendipitously.
In the single knowledge resource we studied, email alerts containing research-based synopses were rarely retrieved. Our findings help us to better understand the effect of push on pull and to improve the integration of research-based information within electronic resources for clinicians.
Electronic mail; clinical email channels; information retrieval; physicians, family
Participatory Research (PR) entails the co-governance of research by academic researchers and end-users. End-users are those who are affected by issues under study (e.g., community groups or populations affected by illness), or those positioned to act on the knowledge generated by research (e.g., clinicians, community leaders, health managers, patients, and policy makers). Systematic reviews assessing the generalizable benefits of PR must address: the diversity of research topics, methods, and intervention designs that involve a PR approach; varying degrees of end-user involvement in research co-governance, both within and between projects; and the complexity of outcomes arising from long-term partnerships.
We addressed the above mentioned challenges by adapting realist review methodology to PR assessment, specifically by developing inductively-driven identification, selection, appraisal, and synthesis procedures. This approach allowed us to address the non-uniformity and complexity of the PR literature. Each stage of the review involved two independent reviewers and followed a reproducible, systematic coding and retention procedure. Retained studies were completed participatory health interventions, demonstrated high levels of participation by non-academic stakeholders (i.e., excluding studies in which end-users were not involved in co-governing throughout the stages of research) and contained detailed descriptions of the participatory process and context. Retained sets are being mapped and analyzed using realist review methods.
The librarian-guided search string yielded 7,167 citations. A total of 594 citations were retained after the identification process. Eighty-three papers remained after selection. Principle Investigators (PIs) were contacted to solicit all companion papers. Twenty-three sets of papers (23 PR studies), comprising 276 publications, passed appraisal and are being synthesized using realist review methods.
The systematic and stage-based procedure addressed challenges to PR assessment and generated our robust understanding of complex and heterogeneous PR practices. To date, realist reviews have focussed on evaluations of relatively uniform interventions. In contrast our PR search yielded a wide diversity of partnerships and research topics. We therefore developed tools to achieve conceptual clarity on the PR field, as a beneficial precursor to our theoretically-driven synthesis using realist methods. Findings from the ongoing review will be provided in forthcoming publications.
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.
In a prospective study to explore connections between clinical information delivery and information retrieval, 41 Canadian family physicians searched an Electronic Knowledge Resource as needed for practice. Research software, called the Information Assessment Method prompted family physicians to report on the situational relevance, perceived cognitive impact, and application of their retrieved information hits. Both the Information Assessment Method and the Electronic Knowledge Resource needed periodic updating to properly address our research questions.
To determine the frequency of software updates when manual or semi-automatic approaches are used by family physicians.
Each family physician received a handheld computer (PDA) that ran the Windows Mobile 6 operating system. For technical reasons, the Information Assessment Method and the Electronic Knowledge Resource were accessed offline on PDA. To update the Electronic Knowledge Resource and the Information Assessment Method, family physicians were asked to synchronize their PDA to their PC. Updating the Information Assessment Method was a manual process, whereas updating the Electronic Knowledge Resource was semi-automatic.
We found: (1) about 25% of family physicians never or rarely updated PDA software on their own (2) a large number of software updates were never installed, and (3) the semi-automatic method was associated with a small increase in the proportion of installed software updates (58.9% versus 48.6% for the manual method).
When a wireless Internet connection is not used to update PDA software, sociotechnical issues complicate mobile data collection and data transfer.
PMID: 20359400 CAMSID: cams799
Computers handheld; software; family practice
Formulating a clinical information need in terms of the four atomic parts which are Population/Problem, Intervention, Comparison and Outcome (known as PICO elements) facilitates searching for a precise answer within a large medical citation database. However, using PICO defined items in the information retrieval process requires a search engine to be able to detect and index PICO elements in the collection in order for the system to retrieve relevant documents.
In this study, we tested multiple supervised classification algorithms and their combinations for detecting PICO elements within medical abstracts. Using the structural descriptors that are embedded in some medical abstracts, we have automatically gathered large training/testing data sets for each PICO element.
Combining multiple classifiers using a weighted linear combination of their prediction scores achieves promising results with an f-measure score of 86.3% for P, 67% for I and 56.6% for O.
Our experiments on the identification of PICO elements showed that the task is very challenging. Nevertheless, the performance achieved by our identification method is competitive with previously published results and shows that this task can be achieved with a high accuracy for the P element but lower ones for I and O elements.
We conducted a prospective observational study to (1) determine usage and construct validity of a method to gauge the cognitive impact of information derived from daily e-mail, and (2) describe self-reported impacts of research-based synopses (InfoPOEMs) delivered as e-mail. Ratings of InfoPOEMs using an Impact assessment scale provided (a) data on usage of the impact assessment method, (b) reports of impact by InfoPOEM and by doctor and (c) data for analysis of construct validity of the scale. Participants were family physicians or general practitioners who rated at least five InfoPOEMs delivered on e-mail. For each InfoPOEM rated, 0.1 continuing education credit was awarded by the College of Family Physicians of Canada.
Use of the impact assessment scale linked to a daily InfoPOEM was sustained during the 150-day study period. 1,007 participants submitted 61,493 reports of ‘cognitive impact’ by rating on average 61 InfoPOEMs (range 5–111). ‘I learned something new’ was most frequently reported. ‘I was frustrated as there was not enough information or nothing useful’ was the most frequently reported negative type of impact. The proportion of reports of ‘No Impact’ varied substantially across individual InfoPOEMs. Impact patterns suggested an 8 or 9-factor solution.
Our Impact assessment method facilitates knowledge transfer by promoting two-way exchange between providers of health information and family doctors. Providers of health information can use this method to better understand the impact of research-based synopses. Sustaining current practice and increasing knowledge about new developments in medicine are important outcomes arising from research-based synopses delivered as e-mail, in addition to practice change.
Electronic Knowledge Resources (EKRs) are increasingly used by physicians, but their situational relevance has not been systematically examined.
Systematically scrutinize the situational relevance of EKR-derived information items in and outside clinical settings.
Physicians use EKRs to accomplish four cognitive objectives (C1-4), and three organizational objectives (O1-3): (C1) Answer questions/solve problems/support decision-making in a clinical context; (C2) fulfill educational-research objectives; (C3) search for personal interest or curiosity; (C4) overcome limits of human memory; (O1) share information with patients, families, or caregivers; (O2) exchange information with other health professionals; (O3) plan-manage-monitor tasks with other health professionals.
Longitudinal mixed methods multiple case study: Cases were 17 residents’ critical searches for information, using a commercial EKR, during a 2-month block of family practice. Usage data were automatically recorded. Each “opened” item of information was linked to an impact assessment questionnaire, and 1,981 evaluations of items were documented. Interviews with residents were guided by log files, which tracked use and impact of EKR-derived information items. Thematic analysis identified 156 critical searches linked to 877 information items. For each case, qualitative data were assigned to one of the seven proposed objectives.
Residents achieved their search objectives in 85.9% of cases (situational relevance). Additional sources of information were sought in 52.6% of cases. Results support the seven proposed objectives, levels of comparative relevance (less, equally, more), and levels of stimulation of learning and knowledge (individual, organizational).
Our method of systematic assessment may contribute to user-based evaluation of EKRs.
Shared decision-making (SDM) is defined as a process by which a healthcare choice is made by practitioners together with the patient. Although many diagnostic and therapeutic processes in primary care integrate more than one type of health professional, most SDM conceptual models and theories appear to be limited to the patient-physician dyad. The objectives of this study are to develop a conceptual model and propose a set of measurement tools for enhancing an interprofessional approach to SDM in primary healthcare.
An inventory of SDM conceptual models, theories and measurement tools will be created. Models will be critically assessed and compared according to their strengths, limitations, acknowledgement of interprofessional roles in the process of SDM and relevance to primary care. Based on the theory analysis, a conceptual model and a set of measurements tools that could be used to enhance an interprofessional approach to SDM in primary healthcare will be proposed and pilot-tested with key stakeholders and primary healthcare teams.
This study protocol is informative for researchers and clinicians interested in designing and/or conducting future studies and educating health professionals to improve how primary healthcare teams foster active participation of patients in making health decisions using a more coordinated approach.
We recently proposed a new method to systematically assess the cognitive impact of knowledge resources on health professionals.
To describe promises and shortcomings of a handheld computer prototype of this method.
We developed an impact scale, and combined this scale with a Computerized Ecological Momentary Assessment technique.
We conducted a mixed methods evaluation study using a 7-item scale within a questionnaire linked to a commercial knowledge resource. Over two months of Family Medicine training, 17 residents assessed the impact of 1,981 information hits retrieved on handheld computer. From observations, log-reports, archives of hits and interviews, we examined issues associated with hardware, software and the questionnaire.
Fifteen residents found the questionnaire clearly written, and only one pointed to the questionnaire as a major reason for their low level of use of the resource. Residents reported technical problems (e.g. screen trouble) or limitations (e.g. limited tracking function) and socio-technical issues (e.g. software dependency).
Lessons from this study suggest improvements to guide future implementation of our method for assessing the cognitive impact of knowledge resources on health professionals.