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1.  Cost-effectiveness of Identification and Referral to Improve Safety (IRIS), a domestic violence training and support programme for primary care: a modelling study based on a randomised controlled trial 
BMJ Open  2012;2(3):e001008.
Objective
The Identification and Referral to Improve Safety (IRIS) cluster randomised controlled trial tested the effectiveness of a training and support intervention to improve the response of primary care to women experiencing domestic violence (DV). The aim of this study is to estimate the cost-effectiveness of this intervention.
Design
Markov model-based cost-effectiveness analysis.
Setting
General practices in two urban areas in the UK.
Participants
Simulated female individuals from the general UK population who were registered at general practices, aged 16 years and older.
Intervention
General practices received staff training, prompts to ask women about DV embedded in the electronic medical record, a care pathway including referral to a specialist DV agency and continuing contact from that agency. The trial compared the rate of referrals of women with specialist DV agencies from 24 general practices that received the IRIS programme with 24 general practices not receiving the programme. The trial did not measure outcomes for women beyond the intermediate outcome of referral to specialist agencies. The Markov model extrapolated the trial results to estimate the long-term healthcare and societal costs and benefits using data from other trials and epidemiological studies.
Results
The intervention would produce societal cost savings per woman registered in the general practice of UK£37 (95% CI £178 saved to a cost of £136) over 1 year. The incremental quality-adjusted life-year was estimated to be 0.0010 (95% CI −0.0157 to 0.0101) per woman. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis found 78% of model replications under a willingness to pay threshold of £20 000 per quality-adjusted life-year.
Conclusions
The IRIS programme is likely to be cost-effective and possibly cost saving from a societal perspective. Better data on the trajectory of abuse and the effect of advocacy are needed for a more robust model.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials, ISRCTN74012786.
Article summary
Article focus
The aim of this study was to assess the cost-effectiveness of the IRIS training and support intervention for primary care clinicians from the UK societal and NHS perspectives.
Key messages
The intervention is likely to be cost saving from a societal perspective with a high likelihood of being under a £20 000 per quality-adjusted life-year willingness to pay threshold.
Strengths and limitations of this study
We have minimised bias in estimating the effect size of the IRIS programme by basing it on a randomised controlled trial.
By using epidemiological and cost data external to the trial, we were able to extrapolate from directly measured trial outcomes (DV disclosure and referral rates) to quality of life, health and economic outcomes.
The uncertainty of the transition probabilities based on assumptions was addressed by probabilistic sensitivity analysis, contributing to the robustness of the model.
Important limitations of that data are the paucity of longitudinal studies measuring the trajectory of abuse and uncertainty about the effect of DV advocacy for women not living in a refuge or shelter.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001008
PMCID: PMC3383977  PMID: 22730555
2.  Is access to specialist assessment of chest pain equitable by age, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status? An enhanced ecological analysis 
BMJ Open  2012;2(3):e001025.
Objectives
To determine whether access to rapid access chest pain clinics of people with recent onset symptoms is equitable by age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity and gender, according to need.
Design
Retrospective cohort study with ecological analysis.
Setting
Patients referred from primary care to five rapid access chest pain clinics in secondary care, across England.
Participants
Of 8647 patients aged ≥35 years referred to chest pain clinics with new-onset stable chest pain but no known cardiac history, 7570 with documented census ward codes, age, gender and ethnicity comprised the study group. Patients excluded were those with missing date of birth, gender or ethnicity (n=782) and those with missing census ward codes (n=295).
Outcome measures
Effects of age, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status on clinic attendance were calculated as attendance rate ratios, with number of attendances as the outcome and resident population-years as the exposure in each stratum, using Poisson regression. Attendance rate ratios were then compared with coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality ratios to determine whether attendance was equitable according to need.
Results
Adjusted attendance rate ratios for patients aged >65 years were similar to younger patients (1.1, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.16), despite population CHD mortality rate ratios nearly 15 times higher in the older age group. Women had lower attendance rate ratios (0.81, 95% CI 0.77 to 0.84) and also lower population CHD mortality rate ratios compared with men. South Asians had higher attendance rates (1.67, 95% CI 1.57 to 1.77) compared with whites and had a higher standardised CHD mortality ratio of 1.46 (95% CI 1.41 to 1.51). Although univariable analysis showed that the most deprived patients (quintile 5) had an attendance rate twice that of less deprived quintiles, the adjusted analysis showed their attendance to be 13% lower (0.87, 95% CI 0.81 to 0.94) despite a higher population CHD mortality rate.
Conclusion
There is evidence of underutilisation of chest pain clinics by older people and those from lower socioeconomic status. More robust and patient focused administrative pathways need to be developed to detect inequity, correction of which has the potential to substantially reduce coronary mortality.
Article summary
Article focus
Is access to chest pain clinics of people with recent onset symptoms equitable according to local need and consistent with national policy.
Key messages
Need for evaluation in chest pain clinics will vary according to the variable incidence of heart disease in different age, gender, socioeconomic and ethnic groups.
There is evidence of underutilisation of chest pain clinics by older people and those from lower socioeconomic status.
Strengths and limitations of this study
Large, diverse and unselected patient population with uniformly collected patient-level data, allowing robust comparisons between demographic and clinical groups.
Ecological fallacy with respect to age and sex has been avoided by applying an enhanced ecological analysis.
Need to use census wards, not postcodes, as the smallest geographical areas for which mortality and demographic data were available.
Ethnicity was not based on self-ascription.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001025
PMCID: PMC3378943  PMID: 22700834
3.  Treading carefully: a qualitative ethnographic study of the clinical, social and educational uses of exercise ECG in evaluating stable chest pain 
BMJ Open  2012;2(1):e000508.
Objective
To examine functions of the exercise ECG in the light of the recent National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines recommending that it should not be used for the diagnosis or exclusion of stable angina.
Design
Qualitative ethnographic study based on interviews and observations of clinical practice.
Setting
3 rapid access chest pain clinics in England.
Participants
Observation of 89 consultations in chest pain clinics, 18 patient interviews and 12 clinician interviews.
Main outcome measure
Accounts and observations of consultations in chest pain clinics.
Results
The exercise ECG was observed to have functions that extended beyond diagnosis. It was used to clarify a patient's story and revise the initial account. The act of walking on the treadmill created an additional opportunity for dialogue between clinician and patient and engagement of the patient in the diagnostic process through precipitation of symptoms and further elaboration of symptoms. The exercise ECG facilitated reassurance in relation to exercise capacity and tolerance, providing a platform for behavioural advice particularly when exercise was promoted by the clinician.
Conclusions
Many of the practices that have been built up around the use of the exercise ECG are potentially beneficial to patients and need to be considered in the re-design of services without that test. Through its contribution to the patient's history and to subsequent advice to the patient, the exercise ECG continues to inform the specialist assessment and management of patients with new onset stable chest pain, beyond its now marginalised role in diagnosis.
Article summary
Article focus
Given the widespread use of the exercise ECG in assessments of patients with stable chest pain, this paper seeks to understand its role in the light of emerging evidence about its poor performance as a diagnostic test.
This paper reports on the functions of the exercise ECG in UK chest pain clinics, highlighting those uses that go beyond its diagnostic function.
This paper is part of an international debate about the appropriate initial tests for patients with new onset stable chest pain.
Key messages
The exercise ECG has additional functions that transcend its technical contribution to diagnosis: it can help clarify symptoms and other aspects of the clinical history, engage the patient in the diagnostic process, provide a context for guidance on reversible cardiovascular risk factors, be used to better involve and reassure patients and has the potential use for tailored lifestyle advice.
Through its contribution to the patient's history and to subsequent advice to the patient, the exercise ECG continues to inform the specialist assessment and management of patients with new onset stable chest pain, beyond its now marginalised role in diagnosis.
Many of the practices that have been built up around the use of the exercise ECG are potentially beneficial to patients. As chest pain clinic services are re-configured without the test, in line with UK national (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)) guidance, these practices need to be integrated into new diagnostic pathways.
Strengths and limitations of this study
A strength of our study is its ethnographic design incorporating the observation of patient–clinician consultations and combining these data with interviews: we knew what participants did as well as said.
The fieldwork was undertaken at a key time just before the introduction of the UK's 2010 NICE guidelines and therefore provides an understanding of current practice that can inform their implementation.
A limitation of our study is that data were collected largely from two chest pain clinics, potentially limiting the transferability of the findings, although the clinicians in the research team thought that the clinics were not atypical compared to others they had experienced.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000508
PMCID: PMC3277903  PMID: 22318662

Results 1-3 (3)