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1.  Do practice characteristics explain differences in morbidity estimates between electronic health record based general practice registration networks? 
BMC Family Practice  2014;15(1):176.
General practice based registration networks (GPRNs) provide information on population health derived from electronic health records (EHR). Morbidity estimates from different GPRNs reveal considerable, unexplained differences. Previous research showed that population characteristics could not explain this variation. In this study we investigate the influence of practice characteristics on the variation in incidence and prevalence figures between general practices and between GPRNs.
We analyzed the influence of eight practice characteristics, such as type of practice, percentage female general practitioners, and employment of a practice nurse, on the variation in morbidity estimates of twelve diseases between six Dutch GPRNs. We used multilevel logistic regression analysis and expressed the variation between practices and GPRNs in median odds ratios (MOR). Furthermore, we analyzed the influence of type of EHR software package and province within one large national GPRN.
Hardly any practice characteristic showed an effect on morbidity estimates. Adjusting for the practice characteristics did also not alter the variation between practices or between GPRNs, as MORs remained stable. The EHR software package ‘Medicom’ and the province ‘Groningen’ showed significant effects on the prevalence figures of several diseases, but this hardly diminished the variation between practices.
Practice characteristics do not explain the differences in morbidity estimates between GPRNs.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12875-014-0176-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4231185  PMID: 25358247
Family practice; Incidence; Electronic medical records; Practice characteristics; Population health; Prevalence
2.  A proactive approach to migraine in primary care: a pragmatic randomized controlled trial 
Migraine is a common, disabling headache disorder that leads to lost quality of life and productivity. We investigated whether a proactive approach to patients with migraine, including an educational intervention for general practitioners, led to a decrease in headache and associated costs.
We conducted a pragmatic randomized controlled trial. Participants were randomized to one of two groups: practices receiving the intervention and control practices. Participants were prescribed two or more doses of triptan per month. General practitioners in the intervention group received training on treating migraine and invited participating patients for a consultation and evaluation of the therapy they were receiving. Physicians in the control group continued with usual care. Our primary outcome was patients’ scores on the Headache Impact Test (HIT-6) at six months. We considered a reduction in score of 2.3 points to be clinically relevant. We used the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) questionnaire to determine if such distress was a possible effect modifier. We also examined the interventions’ cost-effectiveness.
We enrolled 490 patients in the trial (233 to the intervention group and 257 to the control group). Of the 233 patients in the intervention group, 192 (82.4%) attended the consultation to evaluate the treatment of their migraines. Of these patients, 43 (22.3%) started prophylaxis. The difference in change in score on the HIT-6 between the intervention and control groups was 0.81 (p = 0.07, calculated from modelling using generalized estimating equations). For patients with low levels of psychological distress (baseline score on the K10 ≤ 20) this change was −1.51 (p = 0.008), compared with a change of 0.16 (p = 0.494) for patients with greater psychological distress. For patients who were not using prophylaxis at baseline and had two or more migraines per month, the mean HIT-6 score improved by 1.37 points compared with controls (p = 0.04). We did not find the intervention to be cost-effective.
An educational intervention for general practitioners and a proactive approach to patients with migraine did not result in a clinically relevant improvement of symptoms. Psychological distress was an important confounder of success. (Current Controlled Trials registration no. ISRCTN72421511.)
PMCID: PMC3291695  PMID: 22231680
3.  The influence of population characteristics on variation in general practice based morbidity estimations 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:887.
General practice based registration networks (GPRNs) provide information on morbidity rates in the population. Morbidity rate estimates from different GPRNs, however, reveal considerable, unexplained differences. We studied the range and variation in morbidity estimates, as well as the extent to which the differences in morbidity rates between general practices and networks change if socio-demographic characteristics of the listed patient populations are taken into account.
The variation in incidence and prevalence rates of thirteen diseases among six Dutch GPRNs and the influence of age, gender, socio economic status (SES), urbanization level, and ethnicity are analyzed using multilevel logistic regression analysis. Results are expressed in median odds ratios (MOR).
We observed large differences in morbidity rate estimates both on the level of general practices as on the level of networks. The differences in SES, urbanization level and ethnicity distribution among the networks' practice populations are substantial. The variation in morbidity rate estimates among networks did not decrease after adjusting for these socio-demographic characteristics.
Socio-demographic characteristics of populations do not explain the differences in morbidity estimations among GPRNs.
PMCID: PMC3280203  PMID: 22111707
Family practice; Incidence; Medical records; Population characteristics; Public health; Prevalence
4.  Diabetes mellitus type II as a risk factor for depression: a lower than expected risk in a general practice setting 
European Journal of Epidemiology  2009;24(10):641-648.
The aim of the present study was to determine whether a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus (DM) in a primary setting is associated with an increased risk of subsequent depression. A retrospective cohort design was used based on the Registration Network Family Practice (RNH) database. Patients diagnosed with diabetes mellitus at or after the age of 40 and who were diagnosed between 01-01-1980 and 01-01-2007 (N = 6,140), were compared with age-matched controls from a reference group (N = 18,416) without a history of diabetes. Both groups were followed for an emerging first diagnosis of depression (and/or depressive feelings) until January 1, 2008. 2.0% of the people diagnosed with diabetes mellitus developed a depressive disorder, compared to 1.6% of the reference group. After statistical correction for confounding factors diabetes mellitus was associated with an increased risk of developing subsequent depression (HR 1.26; 95% CI: 1.12–1.42) and/or depressive feelings (HR 1.33; 95% CI: 1.18–1.46). After statistical adjustment practice identification code, age and depression preceding diabetes, were significantly related to a diagnosis of depression. Patients with diabetes mellitus are more likely to develop subsequent depression than persons without a history of diabetes. Results from this large longitudinal study based on a general practice population indicate that this association is weaker than previously found in cross-sectional research using self-report surveys. Several explanations for this dissimilarity are discussed.
PMCID: PMC2762524  PMID: 19718502
Depressive disorder; Depressive feelings; Diabetes mellitus; General practice

Results 1-4 (4)