PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-25 (52)
 

Clipboard (0)
None
Journals
Year of Publication
Document Types
1.  Chaperone use during intimate examinations in primary care: postal survey of family physicians 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:52.
Background
Physicians have long been advised to have a third party present during certain parts of a physical examination; however, little is known about the frequency of chaperone use for those specific intimate examinations regularly performed in primary care. We aimed to determine the frequency of chaperone use among family physicians across a variety of intimate physical examinations for both male and female patients, and also to identify the factors associated with chaperone use.
Methods
Questionnaires were mailed to a randomly selected sample of 500 Ontario members of the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Participants were asked about their use of chaperones when performing a variety of intimate examinations, namely female pelvic, breast, and rectal exams and male genital and rectal exams.
Results
276 of 500 were returned (56%), of which 257 were useable. Chaperones were more commonly used with female patients than with males (t = 9.09 [df = 249], p < 0.001), with the female pelvic exam being the most likely of the five exams to be attended by a chaperone (53%). As well, male physicians were more likely to use chaperones for examination of female patients than were female physicians for the examination of male patients. Logistic regression analyses identified two independent factors – sex of physician and availability of a nurse – that were significantly associated with chaperone use. For female pelvic exam, male physicians were significantly more likely to report using a chaperone (adjusted Odds Ratio [OR] 40.62, 95% confidence interval [CI] 16.91–97.52). Likewise, having a nurse available also significantly increased the likelihood of a chaperone being used (adjusted OR 6.92, 95% CI 2.74–17.46). This pattern of results was consistent across the other four exams. Approximately two-thirds of respondents reported using nurses as chaperones, 15% cited the use of other office staff, and 10% relied on the presence of a family member.
Conclusion
Clinical practice concerning the use of chaperones during intimate exams continues to be discordant with the recommendations of medical associations and medico-legal societies. Chaperones are used by only a minority of Ontario family physicians. Chaperone use is higher for examinations of female patients than of male patients and is highest for female pelvic exams. The availability of a nurse in the clinic to act as a chaperone is associated with more frequent use of chaperones.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-52
PMCID: PMC1360073  PMID: 16371153
2.  Difficulties associated with outpatient management of drug abusers by general practitioners. A cross-sectional survey of general practitioners with and without methadone patients in Switzerland 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:51.
Background
In Switzerland, general practitioners (GPs) manage most of the patients receiving methadone maintenance treatment (MMT).
Methods
Using a cross-sectional postal survey of GPs who treat MMT patients and GPs who do not, we studied the difficulties encountered in the out-patient management of drug-addicted patients. We sent a questionnaire to every GP with MMT patients (556) in the French-speaking part of Switzerland (1,757,000 inhabitants). We sent another shorter questionnaire to primary care physicians without MMT patients living in the Swiss Canton of Vaud.
Results
The response rate was 63.3%. The highest methadone dose given by GPs to MMT patients averaged 120.4 mg/day. When asked about help they would like to be given, GPs with MMT patients primarily mentioned the importance of receiving adequate fees for the care they provide. Secondly, they mentioned the importance of better training, better knowledge of psychiatric pathologies, and discussion groups on practical cases. GPs without MMT patients refuse to treat these patients mostly for emotional and relational reasons.
Conclusion
GPs encounter financial, relational and emotional difficulties with MMT patients. They desire better fees for services and better training.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-51
PMCID: PMC1351183  PMID: 16364176
3.  A rare case of disseminated cutaneous zoster in an immunocompetent patient 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:50.
Background
Disseminated cutaneous herpes zoster in healthy persons is uncommon, though it has been described in immunocompromised patients.
Case presentation
We describe a case of disseminated cutaneous herpes zoster in an elderly man with no apparent immunosuppressive condition. The patient was treated successfully with intravenous Acyclovir.
Conclusion
We suggest that disseminated zoster can occur in an immunocompetent host and should be promptly recognized and treated to prevent serious complications.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-50
PMCID: PMC1327670  PMID: 16351732
4.  Primary healthcare provision and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: a survey of patients' and General Practitioners' beliefs 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:49.
Background
The current study was conducted as part of a research project into the evaluation and assessment of healthcare provision and education in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). One aim of the study was the development of informative and educational literature for both General Practitioners (GP) and sufferers. Issues such as diagnosis, management and treatment of the syndrome should be included in information booklets written by healthcare professionals. It was important to begin the process by assessing the level of specialist knowledge that existed in typical GP surgeries. This data would then be compared to data from CFS patients.
Method
197 survey booklets were sent to CFS sufferers from an existing research panel. The patients approached for the purpose of the study had been recruited onto the panel following diagnosis of their illness at a specialised CFS outpatient clinic in South Wales. A further 120 booklets were sent to GP surgeries in the Gwent Health Authority region in Wales.
Results
Results from the study indicate that the level of specialist knowledge of CFS in primary care remains low. Only half the GP respondents believed that the condition actually exists.
Conclusion
Steps are recommended to increase the knowledge base by compiling helpful and informative material for GPs and patient groups.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-49
PMCID: PMC1325235  PMID: 16351714
5.  How and why community hospital clinicians document a positive screen for intimate partner violence: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:48.
Background
This two-part study examines primary care clinicians' chart documentation and attitudes when confronted by a positive waiting room screen for intimate partner violence (IPV).
Methods
Patients at community hospital-affiliated health centers completed a screening questionnaire in waiting rooms that primary care providers (PCPs) were subsequently given at the time of the visit. We first reviewed the medical records of patients who screened positive for IPV, evaluating the presence and quality of documentation. Next we administered a survey to PCPs that measured their knowledge, attitudes and practice regarding IPV.
Results
Seventy-two percent of charts contained some documentation of IPV, however only 10% contained both a referral and safety plan. PCPs were more likely to refer patients (p < .05) who screened positively for mood or anxiety disorders, disclosed that they feared for their safety or were economically disadvantaged. Those that feared for their safety or endorsed mood or anxiety disorders were more likely to have notation of a safety plan in their records. When surveyed, 81.6% of clinicians strongly agreed that it is their role to inquire about IPV, but only 68% expressed confidence in their ability to manage it. In contrast, 93% expressed confidence in managing depression. Sixty-seven percent identified time constraints as a barrier to care. Predictors of PCP confidence in treating patients who have experienced IPV (p < .05) included hours of recent training and clinical experience with IPV.
Conclusion
Mandatory waiting room screening for IPV does not result in high levels of referral or safety planning by PCPs. Despite the implementation of a screening process, clinicians lack confidence and time to address IPV in their patient populations suggesting that alternative methods of training and supporting PCPs need to be developed.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-48
PMCID: PMC1318461  PMID: 16297245
6.  Reasons for and consequences of missed appointments in general practice in the UK: questionnaire survey and prospective review of medical records 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:47.
Background
Missed appointments are a common occurrence in primary care in the UK, yet little is known about the reasons for them, or the consequences of missing an appointment. This paper aims to determine the reasons for missed appointments and whether patients who miss an appointment subsequently consult their general practitioner (GP). Secondary aims are to compare psychological morbidity, and the previous appointments with GPs between subjects and a comparison group.
Methods
Postal questionnaire survey and prospective medical notes review of adult patients missing an appointment and the comparison group who attended appointments over a three week period in seven general practices in West Yorkshire.
Results
Of the 386 who missed appointments 122 (32%) responded. Of the 386 in the comparison group 223 (58%) responded, resulting in 23 case-control matched pairs with complete data collection. Over 40% of individuals who missed an appointment and participated said that they forgot the appointment and a quarter said that they tried very hard to cancel the appointment or that it was at an inconvenient time. A fifth reported family commitments or being too ill to attend. Over 90% of the patients who missed an appointment subsequently consulted within three months and of these nearly 60% consulted for the stated problem that was going to be presented in the missed consultation. The odds of missing an appointment decreased with increasing age and were greater among those who had missed at least one appointment in the previous 12 months. However, estimates for comparisons between those who missed appointments and the comparison group were imprecise due to the low response rate.
Conclusion
Patients who miss appointments tend to cite practice factors and their own forgetfulness as the main reasons for doing so, and most attend within three months of a missed appointment. This study highlights a number of implications for future research. More work needs to be done to engage people who miss appointments into research in a meaningful way.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-47
PMCID: PMC1291364  PMID: 16274481
7.  The epidemiology of suicide and attempted suicide in Dutch general practice 1983–2003 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:45.
Background
Many patients attempting or committing suicide consult their general practitioner (GP) in the preceding period, indicating that GPs might play an important role in prevention. The aim of the present study was to analyse the epidemiology of suicidal behaviour in Dutch General Practice in order to find possible clues for prevention.
Method
Description of trends in suicide and suicide attempts occurring from 1983–2003 in the Dutch General Practice Sentinel Network, representing 1% of the Dutch population. The data were analysed with regard to: 1) suicidal behaviour trends and their association with household situation; 2) presence of depression, treatment of depression and referral rate by GPs; 3) contact with GP before suicide or suicide attempt and discussion of suicidal ideation.
Results
Between 1983 and 2003 the annual number of suicide and suicide attempts decreased by 50%. Sixty percent of the patients who committed or attempted suicide were diagnosed as depressed, of whom 91% were treated by their GP with an antidepressant. Living alone was a risk factor for suicide (odds ratio 1.99; 95% CI 1.50 to 2.64), whereas living in a household of 3 or more persons was a relative risk for a suicide attempt (odds ratio 1.81; 95% CI 1.34 to 2.46). Referral to a psychiatrist or other mental health professionals occurred in 65% of the cases. GPs recalled having discussed suicidal ideation in only 7% of the cases, and in retrospect estimated that they had foreseen suicide or suicide attempts in 31% and 22% of the cases, respectively, if there had been contact in the preceding month.
Conclusion
With regard to the prescription of antidepressants and referral of suicidal patients to a psychiatrist, Dutch GPs fulfil their role as gatekeeper satisfactorily. However, since few patients discuss their suicidal ideation with their GP, there is room for improvement. GPs should take the lead to make this subject debatable. It may improve early recognition of depressed patients at risk and accelerate their referral to mental health professionals.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-45
PMCID: PMC1291363  PMID: 16271136
8.  Effects of screening and brief intervention training on resident and faculty alcohol intervention behaviours: a pre- post-intervention assessment 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:46.
Background
Many hazardous and harmful drinkers do not receive clinician advice to reduce their drinking. Previous studies suggest under-detection and clinician reluctance to intervene despite awareness of problem drinking (PD). The Healthy Habits Project previously reported chart review data documenting increased screening and intervention with hazardous and harmful drinkers after training clinicians and implementing routine screening. This report describes the impact of the Healthy Habits training program on clinicians' rates of identification of PD, level of certainty in identifying PD and the proportion of patients given advice to reduce alcohol use, based on self-report data using clinician exit questionnaires.
Methods
28 residents and 10 faculty in a family medicine residency clinic completed four cycles of clinician exit interview questionnaires before and after screening and intervention training. Rates of identifying PD, level of diagnostic certainty, and frequency of advice to reduce drinking were compared across intervention status (pre vs. post). Findings were compared with rates of PD and advice to reduce drinking documented on chart review.
Results
1,052 clinician exit questionnaires were collected. There were no significant differences in rates of PD identified before and after intervention (9.8% vs. 7.4%, p = .308). Faculty demonstrated greater certainty in PD diagnoses than residents (p = .028) and gave more advice to reduce drinking (p = .042) throughout the program. Faculty and residents reported higher levels of diagnostic certainty after training (p = .039 and .030, respectively). After training, residents showed greater increases than faculty in the percentage of patients given advice to reduce drinking (p = .038), and patients felt to be problem drinkers were significantly more likely to receive advice to reduce drinking by all clinicians (50% vs. 75%, p = .047). The number of patients receiving advice to reduce drinking after program implementation exceeded the number of patients felt to be problem drinkers. Recognition rates of PD were four to eight times higher than rates documented on chart review (p = .028).
Conclusion
This program resulted in greater clinician certainty in diagnosing PD and increases in the number of patients with PD who received advice to reduce drinking. Future programs should include booster training sessions and emphasize documentation of PD and brief intervention.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-46
PMCID: PMC1310533  PMID: 16271146
9.  A framework to evaluate research capacity building in health care 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:44.
Background
Building research capacity in health services has been recognised internationally as important in order to produce a sound evidence base for decision-making in policy and practice. Activities to increase research capacity for, within, and by practice include initiatives to support individuals and teams, organisations and networks. Little has been discussed or concluded about how to measure the effectiveness of research capacity building (RCB)
Discussion
This article attempts to develop the debate on measuring RCB. It highlights that traditional outcomes of publications in peer reviewed journals and successful grant applications may be important outcomes to measure, but they may not address all the relevant issues to highlight progress, especially amongst novice researchers. They do not capture factors that contribute to developing an environment to support capacity development, or on measuring the usefulness or the 'social impact' of research, or on professional outcomes.
The paper suggests a framework for planning change and measuring progress, based on six principles of RCB, which have been generated through the analysis of the literature, policy documents, empirical studies, and the experience of one Research and Development Support Unit in the UK. These principles are that RCB should: develop skills and confidence, support linkages and partnerships, ensure the research is 'close to practice', develop appropriate dissemination, invest in infrastructure, and build elements of sustainability and continuity. It is suggested that each principle operates at individual, team, organisation and supra-organisational levels. Some criteria for measuring progress are also given.
Summary
This paper highlights the need to identify ways of measuring RCB. It points out the limitations of current measurements that exist in the literature, and proposes a framework for measuring progress, which may form the basis of comparison of RCB activities. In this way it could contribute to establishing the effectiveness of these interventions, and establishing a knowledge base to inform the science of RCB.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-44
PMCID: PMC1289281  PMID: 16253133
10.  Satisfaction is not all – patients' perceptions of outcome of general practice consultations, a qualitative study 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:43.
Background
Evaluation of outcome in general practice can be seen from different viewpoints. In this study we focus on the concepts patients use to describe the outcome of a consultation with a GP.
Method
Patients were interviewed within a week after a consultation with a GP. The interviews were made with 20 patients in 5 focus groups and 8 individually. They were analysed with a phenomenographic research approach.
Results
From the patient's perspective, the outcome of a consultation is about cure or symptom relief, understanding, confirmation, reassurance, change in self-perception and satisfaction.
Conclusion
General practice consultations are often more important for patients than generally supposed. Understanding is the most basic concept.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-43
PMCID: PMC1276792  PMID: 16242048
11.  Frequent attenders in general practice: problem solving treatment provided by nurses [ISRCTN51021015] 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:42.
Background
There is a need for assistance from primary care mental health workers in general practice in the Netherlands. General practitioners (GPs) experience an overload of frequent attenders suffering from psychological problems. Problem Solving Treatment (PST) is a brief psychological treatment tailored for use in a primary care setting. PST is provided by nurses, and earlier research has shown that it is a treatment at least as effective as usual care. However, research outcomes are not totally satisfying. This protocol describes a randomized clinical trial on the effectiveness of PST provided by nurses for patients in general practice. The results of this study, which currently being carried out, will be presented as soon as they are available.
Methods/design
This study protocol describes the design of a randomized controlled trial to investigate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of PST and usual care compared to usual care only.
Patients, 18 years and older, who present psychological problems and are frequent attenders in general practice are recruited by the research assistant. The participants receive questionnaires at baseline, after the intervention, and again after 3 months and 9 months. Primary outcome is the reduction of symptoms, and other outcomes measured are improvement in problem solving skills, psychological and physical well being, daily functioning, social support, coping styles, problem evaluation and health care utilization.
Discussion
Our results may either confirm that PST in primary care is an effective way of dealing with emotional disorders and a promising addition to the primary care in the UK and USA, or may question this assumption. This trial will allow an evaluation of the effects of PST in practical circumstances and in a rather heterogeneous group of primary care patients. This study delivers scientific support for this use and therefore indications for optimal treatment and referral.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-42
PMCID: PMC1260018  PMID: 16221299
12.  The future prospects of Lithuanian family physicians: a 10-year forecasting study 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:41.
Background
When health care reform was started in 1991, the physician workforce in Lithuania was dominated by specialists, and the specialty of family physician (FP) did not exist at all. During fifteen years of Lithuania's independence this specialty evolved rapidly and over 1,900 FPs were trained or retrained. Since 2003, the Lithuanian health care sector has undergone restructuring to optimize the network of health care institutions as well as the delivery of services; specific attention has been paid to the development of services provided by FPs, with more health care services shifted from the hospital level to the primary health care level. In this paper we analyze if an adequate workforce of FPs will be available in the future to take over new emerging tasks.
Methods
A computer spreadsheet simulation model was used to project the supply of FPs in 2006–2015. The supply was projected according to three scenarios, which took into account different rates of retirement, migration and drop out from training. In addition different population projections and enrolment numbers in residency programs were also considered. Three requirement scenarios were made using different approaches. In the first scenario we used the requirement estimated by a panel of experts using the Delphi technique. The second scenario was based on the number of visits to FPs in 2003 and took into account the goal to increase the number of visits. The third scenario was based on the determination that one FP should serve no more than 2,000 inhabitants. The three scenarios for the projection of supply were compared with the three requirement scenarios.
Results
The supply of family physicians will be higher in 2015 compared to 2005 according to all projection scenarios. The largest differences in the supply scenarios were caused by different migration rates, enrolment numbers to training programs and the retirement age. The second supply scenario, which took into account 1.1% annual migration rate, stable enrolment to residency programs and later retirement, appears to be the most probable. The first requirement scenario, which was based on the opinion of well-informed key experts in the field, appears to be the best reflection of FP requirements; however none of the supply scenarios considered would satisfy these requirements.
Conclusion
Despite the rapid expansion of the FP workforce during the last fifteen years, ten-year forecasts of supply and requirement indicate that the number of FPs in 2015 will not be sufficient. The annual enrolment in residency training programs should be increased by at least 20% for the next three years. Accurate year-by-year monitoring of the workforce is crucial in order to prevent future shortages and to maintain the desired family physician workforce.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-41
PMCID: PMC1262706  PMID: 16202148
13.  Length of patient-physician relationship and patients' satisfaction and preventive service use in the rural south: a cross-sectional telephone study 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:40.
Background
Physicians and patients highly value continuity in health care. Continuity can be measured in several ways but few studies have examined the specific association between the duration of the patient-doctor relationship and patient outcomes. This study (1) examines characteristics of rural adults who have had longer relationships with their physicians and (2) assesses if the length of relationship is associated with patients' satisfaction and likelihood of receiving recommended preventive services.
Methods
Cross-sectional telephone survey of health care access indicators of adults in selected non-metropolitan counties of eight U.S. predominantly southern states. Analyses were restricted to adults who see a particular physician for their care and weighted for demographics and county sampling probabilities.
Results
Of 3176 eligible respondents, 10.8% saw the same physician for the past 12 months, 11.8% for the previous 13–24 months, 20.7% for the past 25–60 months and 56.7% for more than 60 months. Compared to persons with one year or less continuity with the same physician, respondents with over five years continuity more often were Caucasian, insured, a high school graduate, and more often reported good to excellent health and an income above $25,000. Compared to those with more than five years of continuity, participants with either less than one year or one to two years of continuity with the same physician were more often not satisfied with their overall health care (OR 2.34; OR 1.78), participants with less than one year continuity were more often not satisfied with the concern shown them by their physician (O.R. 1.90) and having their health questions answered, and those with one to two years continuity were more often not satisfied with the quality of their care (OR 2.37). No significant associations were found between physician continuity and use rates of any of the queried preventive services.
Conclusion
Over half of this rural population has seen the same physician for more than five years. Longer continuity of care was associated with greater patient satisfaction and confidence in one's physician, but not with a greater likelihood of receiving recommended preventive services.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-40
PMCID: PMC1262705  PMID: 16202146
14.  A qualitative study of the impact of the implementation of advanced access in primary healthcare on the working lives of general practice staff 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:39.
Background
The North American model of 'advanced access' has been emulated by the National Primary Care Collaborative in the UK as a way of improving patients' access in primary care. The aim of this study was to explore the impact of the implementation of advanced access on the working lives of general practice staff.
Methods
A qualitative study design, using semi-structured interviews, was conducted with 18 general practice staff: 6 GPs, 6 practice managers and 6 receptionists. Two neighbouring boroughs in southeast England were used as the study sites. NUD*IST computer software assisted in data management to identify concepts, categories and themes of the data. A framework approach was used to analyse the data.
Results
Whilst practice managers and receptionists saw advanced access as having a positive effect on their working lives, the responses of general practitioners (GPs) were more ambivalent. Receptionists reported improvements in their working lives with a change in their role from gatekeepers for appointments to providing access to appointments, fewer confrontations with patients, and greater job satisfaction. Practice managers perceived reductions in work stress from fewer patient complaints, better use of time, and greater flexibility for contingency planning. GPs recognised benefits in terms of improved consultations, but had concerns about the impact on workload and continuity of care.
Conclusion
AA has improved working conditions for receptionists, converting their perceived role from gatekeeper to access facilitator, and for practice managers as patients were more satisfied. GP responses were more ambivalent, as they experienced both positive and negative effects.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-39
PMCID: PMC1249563  PMID: 16188036
15.  Avoidance as a strategy of (not) coping: qualitative interviews with carers of Huntington's Disease patients 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:38.
Background
Since Huntington's Disease (HD) is a familial disease with an average onset in the mid-thirties, one might expect that spousal carers are concerned with providing care for off-spring who may turn out to be affected.
Methods
This study involved ten face-to-face interviews with carers of spouses affected by HD in Northeast Scotland. Carers were recruited through two channels: a genetic clinic and the Scottish Huntington's Association (SHA). Interviews were conducted in carers' own homes. A thematic analysis of the transcripts was conducted.
Results
Although carers did worry about their children, they did not envisage being involved in their care. Many avoided talking about the disease, both within and outwith their family; this may have greatly reduced the level of support provided by family members. Conversely, avoidance was often accompanied by symptom-spotting. For example, several people had given up driving, before they were incapable of doing so. The explanation appears to be that they avoided getting into situations in which HD may express itself.
Support meetings seem to be valued amongst patients with other serious diseases and their carers, however, although all participants had had contact with the SHA, only one regularly attended meetings. It was felt that seeing others with HD provided a constant reminder of the possible effect of HD on the wider family, which seemed to outweigh the benefit of attending. Overall, the analysis highlighted 'avoidance' as a key theme.
Conclusion
Many denied symptoms of HD in their spouses, pre-diagnosis. All had pretended at some point that it was not happening, through ignoring early signs and 'obvious' symptoms. Some partners had refused to go to the doctor until it was no longer possible to deny symptoms. Formal health and social care seemed to play a very small role compared to informal care arrangements.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-38
PMCID: PMC1236919  PMID: 16162290
16.  Implementing evidence-based medicine in general practice: a focus group based study 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:37.
Background
Over the past years concerns are rising about the use of Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) in health care. The calls for an increase in the practice of EBM, seem to be obstructed by many barriers preventing the implementation of evidence-based thinking and acting in general practice. This study aims to explore the barriers of Flemish GPs (General Practitioners) to the implementation of EBM in routine clinical work and to identify possible strategies for integrating EBM in daily work.
Methods
We used a qualitative research strategy to gather and analyse data. We organised focus groups between September 2002 and April 2003. The focus group data were analysed using a combined strategy of 'between-case' analysis and 'grounded theory approach'. Thirty-one general practitioners participated in four focus groups. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit participants.
Results
A basic classification model documents the influencing factors and actors on a micro-, meso- as well as macro-level. Patients, colleagues, competences, logistics and time were identified on the micro-level (the GPs' individual practice), commercial and consumer organisations on the meso-level (institutions, organisations) and health care policy, media and specific characteristics of evidence on the macro-level (policy level and international scientific community). Existing barriers and possible strategies to overcome these barriers were described.
Conclusion
In order to implement EBM in routine general practice, an integrated approach on different levels needs to be developed.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-37
PMCID: PMC1253510  PMID: 16153300
17.  Signs and symptoms in children with a serious infection: a qualitative study 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:36.
Background
Early diagnosis of serious infections in children is difficult in general practice, as incidence is low, patients present themselves at an early stage of the disease and diagnostic tools are limited to signs and symptoms from observation, clinical history and physical examination. Little is known which signs and symptoms are important in general practice. With this qualitative study, we aimed to identify possible new important diagnostic variables.
Methods
Semi-structured interviews with parents and physicians of children with a serious infection. We investigated all signs and symptoms that were related to or preceded the diagnosis. The analysis was done according to the grounded theory approach. Participants were recruited in general practice and at the hospital.
Results
18 children who were hospitalised because of a serious infection were included. On average, parents and paediatricians were interviewed 3 days after admittance of the child to hospital, general practitioners between 5 and 8 days after the initial contact.
The most prominent diagnostic signs in seriously ill children were changed behaviour, crying characteristics and the parents' opinion. Children either behaved drowsy or irritable and cried differently, either moaning or an inconsolable, loud crying. The parents found this illness different from previous illnesses, because of the seriousness or duration of the symptoms, or the occurrence of a critical incident. Classical signs, like high fever, petechiae or abnormalities at auscultation were helpful for the diagnosis when they were present, but not helpful when they were absent.
Conclusion
behavioural signs and symptoms were very prominent in children with a serious infection. They will be further assessed for diagnostic accuracy in a subsequent, quantitative diagnostic study.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-36
PMCID: PMC1215482  PMID: 16124874
18.  A randomized trial of mail vs. telephone invitation to a community-based cardiovascular health awareness program for older family practice patients [ISRCTN61739603] 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:35.
Background
Family physicians can play an important role in encouraging patients to participate in community-based health promotion initiatives designed to supplement and enhance their in-office care. Our objectives were to determine effective approaches to invite older family practice patients to attend cardiovascular health awareness sessions in community pharmacies, and to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a program incorporating invitation by physicians and feedback to physicians.
Methods
We conducted a prospective randomized trial with 1 family physician practice and 5 community pharmacies in Dundas, Ontario. Regular patients 65 years or older (n = 235) were randomly allocated to invitation by mail or telephone to attend pharmacy cardiovascular health awareness sessions led by volunteer peer health educators. A health record review captured blood pressure status, monitoring and control. At the sessions, volunteers helped patients to measure blood pressure using in-store machines and a validated portable device (BPM-100), and recorded blood pressure readings and self-reported cardiovascular risk factors. We compared attendance rates in the mail and telephone invitation groups and explored factors potentially associated with attendance.
Results
The 119 patients invited by mail and 116 patients contacted by telephone had a mean age of 75.7 (SD, 6.4) years and 46.8% were male. Overall, 58.3% (137/235) of invitees attended a pharmacy cardiovascular health awareness session. Patients invited by telephone were more likely to attend than those invited by mail (72.3% vs. 44.0%, OR 3.3; 95%CI 1.9–5.7; p < 0.001).
Conclusion
While the attendance in response to a telephone invitation was higher, response to a single letter was substantial. Attendance rates indicated considerable interest in community-based cardiovascular health promotion activities. A large-scale trial of a pharmacy cardiovascular health awareness program for older primary care patients is feasible.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-35
PMCID: PMC1208877  PMID: 16111487
19.  Procalcitonin-guided antibiotic use versus a standard approach for acute respiratory tract infections in primary care: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial and baseline characteristics of participating general practitioners [ISRCTN73182671] 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:34.
Background
Acute respiratory tract infections (ARTI) are among the most frequent reasons for consultations in primary care. Although predominantly viral in origin, ARTI often lead to the prescription of antibiotics for ambulatory patients, mainly because it is difficult to distinguish between viral and bacterial infections. Unnecessary antibiotic use, however, is associated with increased drug expenditure, side effects and antibiotic resistance. A novel approach is to guide antibiotic therapy by procalcitonin (ProCT), since serum levels of ProCT are elevated in bacterial infections but remain lower in viral infections and inflammatory diseases.
The aim of this trial is to compare a ProCT-guided antibiotic therapy with a standard approach based on evidence-based guidelines for patients with ARTI in primary care.
Methods/Design
This is a randomised controlled trial in primary care with an open intervention. Adult patients judged by their general practitioner (GP) to need antibiotics for ARTI are randomised in equal numbers either to standard antibiotic therapy or to ProCT-guided antibiotic therapy. Patients are followed-up after 1 week by their GP and after 2 and 4 weeks by phone interviews carried out by medical students blinded to the goal of the trial.
Exclusion criteria for patients are antibiotic use in the previous 28 days, psychiatric disorders or inability to give written informed consent, not being fluent in German, severe immunosuppression, intravenous drug use, cystic fibrosis, active tuberculosis, or need for immediate hospitalisation.
The primary endpoint is days with restrictions from ARTI within 14 days after randomisation. Secondary outcomes are antibiotic use in terms of antibiotic prescription rate and duration of antibiotic treatment in days, days off work and days with side-effects from medication within 14 days, and relapse rate from the infection within 28 days after randomisation.
Discussion
We aim to include 600 patients from 50 general practices in the Northwest of Switzerland. Data from the registry of the Swiss Medical Association suggests that our recruited GPs are representative of all eligible GPs with respect to age, proportion of female physicians, specialisation, years of postgraduate training and years in private practice.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-34
PMCID: PMC1190167  PMID: 16107222
20.  The definition of disabling fatigue in children and adolescents 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:33.
Background
Disabling fatigue is the main illness related reason for prolonged absence from school. Although there are accepted criteria for diagnosing chronic fatigue in adults, it remains uncertain as to how best to define disabling fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) in children and adolescents. In this population-based study, the aim was to identify children who had experienced an episode of disabling fatigue and examine the clinical and demographic differences between those individuals who fulfilled a narrow definition of disabling fatigue and those who fulfilled broader definitions of disabling fatigue.
Methods
Participants (aged 8–17 years) were identified from a population-based twin register. Parent report was used to identify children who had ever experienced a period of disabling fatigue. Standardised telephone interviews were then conducted with the parents of these affected children. Data on clinical and demographic characteristics, including age of onset, gender, days per week affected, hours per day spent resting, absence from school, comorbidity with depression and a global measure of impairment due to the fatigue, were examined. A narrow definition was defined as a minimum of 6 months disabling fatigue plus at least 4 associated symptoms, which is comparable to the operational criteria for CFS in adults. Broader definitions included those with at least 3 months of disabling fatigue and 4 or more of the associated symptoms and those with simply a minimum of 3 months of disabling fatigue. Groups were mutually exclusive.
Results
Questionnaires were returned by 1468 families (65% response rate) and telephone interviews were completed on 99 of the 129 participants (77%) who had experienced fatigue. There were no significant differences in demographic and clinical characteristics or levels of impairment between those who fulfilled the narrower definition and those who fulfilled the broader definitions. The only exception was the reported number of days per week that the child was affected by the fatigue. All groups demonstrated evidence of substantial impairment associated with the fatigue.
Conclusion
Children and adolescents who do not fulfil the current narrow definition of CFS but do suffer from disabling fatigue show comparable and substantial impairment. In primary care settings, a broader definition of disabling fatigue would improve the identification of impaired children and adolescents who require support.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-33
PMCID: PMC1192794  PMID: 16091130
21.  Assessing, treating and preventing community acquired pneumonia in older adults: findings from a community-wide survey of emergency room and family physicians 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:32.
Background
Respiratory infections, like pneumonia, represent an important threat to the health of older Canadians. Our objective was to determine, at a community level, family and emergency room physicians' knowledge and beliefs about community acquired pneumonia (CAP) in older adults and to describe their self-reported assessment, management and prevention strategies.
Methods
All active ER and family physicians in Brant County received a mailed questionnaire. An advance notification letter and three follow-up mailings were used to maximize physician participation rate. The questionnaire collected information about physicians' assessment, management, and prevention strategies for CAP in older adults (≥60 years of age) plus demographic, training, and practice characteristics. The analysis highlights differences in approaches between office-based and emergency department physicians.
Results
Seventy-seven percent of physicians completed and returned the survey. Although only 16% of physicians were very confident in assessing CAP in older adults, more than half reported CAP to be a very important health concern in their practices. In-service training for family physicians was associated with increased confidence in CAP assessment and more frequent use of diagnostic tests. Family physicians who reported always requesting chest x-rays were also more likely to request pulse oximetry (OR 5.6, 95% CI 1.40 to 22.5) and recommend both follow-up x-rays (OR 5.4, 95% CI 1.7 to 16.6) and pneumococcal vaccination (OR 3.4, 95% CI 1.1 to 10.0).
Conclusion
The findings of this study provide a snapshot of how non-specialists from a non-urban Ontario community assess, manage and prevent CAP in older adults and highlight differences between office-based and emergency department physicians. This information can guide researchers and clinicians in their efforts to improve the management and prevention of CAP in older adults.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-32
PMCID: PMC1184068  PMID: 16076387
22.  Preconception care by family physicians and general practitioners in Japan 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:31.
Background
Preconception care provided by family physicians/general practitioners (FP/GPs) can provide predictable benefits to mothers and infants. The objective of this study was to elucidate knowledge of, attitudes about, and practices of preconception care by FP/GPs in Japan.
Methods
A survey was distributed to physician members of the Japanese Academy of Family Medicine. The questionnaire addressed experiences of preconception education in medical school and residency, frequency of preconception care in clinical practice, attitudes about providing preconception care, and perceived need for preconception education to medical students and residents.
Results
Two hundred and sixty-eight of 347 (77%) eligible physicians responded. The most common education they reported receiving was about smoking cessation (71%), and the least was about folic acid supplementation (12%). Many participants reported providing smoking cessation in their practice (60%), though only about one third of respondents advise restricting alcohol intake. Few reported advising calcium supplementation (10%) or folic acid supplementation (4%). About 70% reported their willingness to provide preconception care. Almost all participants believe medical students and residents should have education about preconception care.
Conclusion
FP/GPs in Japan report little training in preconception care and few currently provide it. With training, most participants are willing to provide preconception care themselves and think medical students and residents should receive this education.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-31
PMCID: PMC1184067  PMID: 16050958
23.  Patients' views on outcome following head injury: a qualitative study 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:30.
Background
Head injuries are a common occurrence, with continuing care in the years following injury being provided by primary care teams and a variety of speciality services. The literature on outcome currently reflects areas considered important by health-care professionals, though these may differ in some respects from the views of head injured individuals themselves. Our study aimed to identify aspects of outcome considered important by survivors of traumatic head injury.
Methods
Thirty-two individuals were interviewed, each of whom had suffered head injury between one and ten years previously from which they still had residual difficulties. Purposive sampling was used in order to ensure that views were represented from individuals of differing age, gender and level of disability. These interviews were fully transcribed and analysed qualitatively by a psychologist, a sociologist and a psychiatrist with regular meetings to discuss the coding.
Results
Aspects of outcome mentioned by head injury survivors which have received less attention previously included: specific difficulties with group conversations; changes in physical appearance due to scarring or weight change; a sense of loss for the life and sense of self that they had before the injury; and negative reactions of others, often due to lack of understanding of the consequences of injury amongst both family and general public.
Conclusion
Some aspects of outcome viewed as important by survivors of head injury may be overlooked by health professionals. Consideration of these areas of outcome and the development of suitable interventions should help to improve functional outcome for patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-30
PMCID: PMC1192793  PMID: 16048645
24.  Pragmatic application of a clinical prediction rule in primary care to identify patients with low back pain with a good prognosis following a brief spinal manipulation intervention 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:29.
Background
Patients with low back pain are frequently encountered in primary care. Although a specific diagnosis cannot be made for most patients, it is likely that sub-groups exist within the larger entity of nonspecific low back pain. One sub-group that has been identified is patients who respond rapidly to spinal manipulation. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between two factors (duration and distribution of symptoms) and prognosis following a spinal manipulation intervention.
Methods
Data were taken from two previously published studies. Patients with low back pain underwent a standardized examination, including assessment of duration of the current symptoms in days, and the distal-most distribution of symptoms. Based on prior research, patients with symptoms of <16 days duration and no symptoms distal to the knee were considered to have a good prognosis following manipulation. All patients underwent up to two sessions of spinal manipulation treatment and a range of motion exercise. Oswestry disability scores were recorded before and after treatment. If ≥ 50% improvement on the Oswestry was achieved, the intervention was considered a success. Sensitivity, specificity, and positive likelihood ratio were calculated for the association of the two criteria with the outcome of the treatment.
Results
141 patients (49% female, mean age = 35.5 (± 11.1) years) participated. Mean pre- and post-treatment Oswestry scores were 41.9 (± 10.9) and 24.1 (± 14.2) respectively. Sixty-three subjects (45%) had successful treatment outcomes. The sensitivity of the two criteria was 0.56 (95% CI: 0.43, 0.67), specificity was 0.92 (95% CI: 0.84, 0.96), and the positive likelihood ratio was 7.2 (95% CI: 3.2, 16.1).
Conclusion
The results of this study demonstrate that two factors; symptom duration of less than 16 days, and no symptoms extending distal to the knee, were associated with a good outcome with spinal manipulation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-29
PMCID: PMC1180432  PMID: 16018809
25.  Correlation of same-visit HbA1c test with laboratory-based measurements: A MetroNet study 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:28.
Background
Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) results vary by analytical method. Use of same-visit HbA1c testing methodology holds the promise of more efficient patient care, and improved diabetes management. Our objective was to test the feasibility of introducing a same-visit HbA1c methodology into busy family practice centers (FPC) and to calculate the correlation between the same-visit HbA1c test and the laboratory method that the clinical site was currently using for HbA1c testing.
Methods
Consecutive diabetic patients 18 years of age and older having blood samples drawn for routine laboratory analysis of HbA1c were asked to provide a capillary blood sample for same-visit testing with the BIO-RAD Micromat II. We compared the results of the same-visit test to three different laboratory methods (one FPC used two different laboratories).
Results
147 paired samples were available for analysis (73 from one FPC; 74 from the other). The Pearson correlation of Micromat II and ion-exchange HPLC was 0.713 (p < 0.001). The Micromat II mean HbA1c was 6.91%, which was lower than the 7.23% from the ion-exchange HPLC analysis (p < 0.001). The correlation of Micromat II with boronate-affinity HPLC was 0.773 (p < 0.001); Micromat II mean HbA1c 6.44%, boronate-affinity HPLC mean 7.71% (p < 0.001). Correlation coefficient for Micromat II and immuno-turbidimetric analysis was 0.927 (p < 0.001); Micromat II mean HbA1c was 7.15% and mean HbA1c from the immuno-turbidimetric analysis was 7.99% (p = 0.002). Medical staff found the same-visit measurement difficult to perform due to the amount of dedicated time required for the test.
Conclusion
For each of the laboratory methods, the correlation coefficient was lower than the 0.96 reported by the manufacturer. This might be due to variability introduced by the multiple users of the Micromat II machine. The mean HbA1c results were also consistently lower than those obtained from laboratory analysis. Additionally, the amount of dedicated time required to perform the assay may limit its usefulness in a busy clinical practice. Before introducing a same-visit HbA1c methodology, clinicians should compare the rapid results to their current method of analysis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-28
PMCID: PMC1185531  PMID: 16014170

Results 1-25 (52)