Author Interviews, Compliance, Electronic Records, JAMA, University of Pennsylvania / 05.03.2020 Interview with: Alexander C. Fanaroff, MD, MHS Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine University of Pennsylvania What is the background for this study? Response: This is a secondary analysis of the ARTEMIS, a cluster randomized trial of copayment assistance for P2Y12 inhibitors in patients that had myocardial infarction. One of the primary endpoints of ARTEMIS was persistence with P2Y12 inhibitors: Did the patient continue to take a P2Y12 inhibitor over the entire 1 year following MI? In ARTEMIS, we captured persistence data in two ways, patient report and pharmacy fill records. What we did in this study was to look at the agreement between persistence as measured by these two methods. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Electronic Records, Lung Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 07.02.2019 Interview with: Samuel Cykert, MD Professor of Medicine and Director of the Program on Health and Clinical Informatics UNC School of Medicine, and Associate Director for Medical Education, NC AHEC Program Chapel Hill, NC What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Reports going as far back as the early 1990’s through reports published very recently show that Black patients with early stage, curable lung cancer are not treated with aggressive, curative treatments as often as White patients. These type of results have been shown in other cancers also. It’s particularly important for lung cancer because over 90% of these patients are  dead within 4 years if left untreated. In 2010, our group published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that showed that Black patients who had poor perceptions of communication (with their provider), who did not understand their prognosis with vs. without treatment, and who did not have a regular source of care ( a primary care doctor) were much less likely to get curative surgery. Also our results suggested that physicians who treated lung cancer seemed less willing to take the risk of aggressive treatments in treating Black patients (who they did not identify with as well) who had other significant illnesses. Because of the persisting disparities and our 2010 findings, we worked with a community group, the Greensboro Health Disparities Collaborative to consider potential solutions.  As these omissions were not overt or intentional because of race on the part of the patients or doctors, we came up with the idea that we needed transparency to shine light on treatment that wasn’t progressing and better communication to ensure that patients were deciding on good information and not acting on mistrust or false beliefs.  We also felt the need for accountability – the care teams needed to know how things were going with patients and they needed to know this according to race. To meet these specifications, we designed a system that received data from electronic health records about patients’ scheduled appointments and procedures. If a patient missed an appointment this umbrella system triggered a warning. When a warning was triggered, a nurse navigator trained specially on communication issues, re-engaged the patient to bring him/her back into care. In the system, we also programmed the timing of expected milestones in care, and if these treatment milestones were not reached in the designated time frame, a physician leader would re-engage the clinical team to consider the care options. Using this system that combined transparency through technology, essentially our real time warning registry, and humans who were accountable for the triggered warnings, care improved for both Black and White patients and the treatment disparity for Black patients was dramatically reduced. In terms of the numbers, at baseline, before the intervention, 79% of White patients completed treatment compared to 69% of Black patients. For the group who received the intervention, the rate of completed treatment for White patients was 95% and for Black patients 96.5%.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Electronic Records, JAMA, Ophthalmology / 18.12.2018 Interview with: Michael Vincent Boland, M.D., Ph.D. Glaucoma Center of Excellence Director of Information Technology, Wilmer Eye Institute Associate Professor of Ophthalmology Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, Maryland What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Effective medications are available to treat glaucoma and prevent or stop vision loss.
Unfortunately, patients frequently do not use the eye drops as prescribed, oftentimes simply
because they forget to. Since patient medications are now managed via electronic health
records (EHRs), we built a system to deliver automated reminders to patients using the patient
portal to our EHR. We found that the majority (75%, 66 of 88) of participants that received these reminders found them to be useful, and about half (47%, 41 of 88) the participants wanted to
continue using the reminders after the study ended
Author Interviews, Compliance, JAMA / 01.12.2018 Interview with: Dr. Andrea Gurmankin Levy, PhD MBE Department of Social Sciences Middlesex Community College, Middletown, Connecticut What is the background for this study? Response: It is so important for clinicians to get accurate information from their patients so that they can make accurate diagnoses and appropriate recommendations. But we know that people tend to withhold information from others, and that this is especially true when it comes to sensitive information. And in fact, in medicine, there is a long-standing conventional wisdom that clinicians need to adjust patients’ answers (e.g., doubling patients’ report of alcohol consumption) to get a more accurate picture. So we wanted to explore this. How many patients withhold medically-relevant information from their clinicians, and why do they do so?  There have been surprisingly few studies looking at this question in a comprehensive way. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, JAMA, Macular Degeneration, Ophthalmology / 25.08.2018 Interview with: Jason Hsu, MD Retina Service, Wills Eye Hospital Associate Professor of Ophthalmology Thomas Jefferson University Mid Atlantic Retina Anthony Obeid MD MPH School of Public Health The University of Sydney · What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) is a vision-threatening disease that often afflicts elderly patients. The introduction of intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor treatment drastically improved the prognosis of eyes with nAMD. Despite its efficacy, patients require consistent follow-up (sometimes as often as monthly), with ongoing injections to maintain the visual benefits of the drug. Unfortunately, few studies have reported the number of patients that do not follow-up with recommended guidelines. Moreover, there remains limited evidence on the risk factors associated with loss to follow-up. Our study, consisting of 9007 patients with a history of nAMD receiving treatment between 2012 and 2016, evaluated both these parameters. We defined loss to follow-up as having at least one injection without a subsequent follow-up visit within 12 months post-treatment. Using this definition, we found that over 20% of patients are lost to follow-up over the entire study period. We further identified key risk factors associated with loss to follow-up, which included patients of older age, race, patients residing in a region of a lower average adjusted gross income, patients living at greater distances from clinic, patients with active nAMD in only one eye, and patients with worse visual acuity. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Cost of Health Care, University of Michigan / 05.08.2018 Interview with: A. Mark Fendrick, M.D. Professor, Division of General Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Department of Health Management and Policy Director, University of Michigan Center for Value-Based Insurance Design Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2800 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As Americans are being asked to pay more for the medical care, in terms of copayments and deductibles, one in four Americans reports having difficulty paying for their prescription drugs. One potential solution is “value-based insurance design,” or V-BID. V-BID, is built on the principle of lowering or removing financial barriers to essential, high-value clinical services. V-BID plans align patients’ out-of-pocket costs, such as copayments and deductibles, with the value of services to the patient. They are designed with the tenet of “clinical nuance” in mind— in that the clinical benefit derived from a specific service depends on the consumer using it, as well as when, where, and by whom the service is provided. According to a literature review published in the July 2018 issue of Health Affairs,  The researchers found that value-based insurance design programs which reduced consumer cost-sharing for clinically indicated medications resulted in increased adherence at no change in total spending. In other words, decreasing consumer cost-sharing meant better medication adherence for the same total cost to the insurer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Kidney Disease, Transplantation / 27.03.2018 Interview with: Bethany J. Foster, MD MSCE Montreal Children’s Hospital Department of Pediatrics, Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada What is the background for this study? Response: Adolescent and young adult kidney transplant recipients have the highest risk of graft loss of any age group. One of the main reasons for this is not taking their anti-rejection medications as prescribed. Our study had the goal of testing an intervention to try to improve young patients' adherence to their strict medication schedule. The intervention included feedback of how well they were taking their medications (which was monitored electronically), text message reminders for medication doses, and individualized coaching to address their personal barriers to taking their medications. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Compliance / 13.02.2018 Interview with: “Alcohol” by zeevveez is licensed under CC BY 2.0Sarah Dermody PhD Assistant professor School of Psychological Science College of Liberal Art Oregon State University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Naltrexone is an FDA-approved medication to treat alcohol use disorder. We know that people have difficulty adhering to the prescribed daily medication regimen, and that people who do not adhere to the medication tend not to fair as well in treatment as people who take the medication regularly. This particular study attempted to address the question of why do people with alcohol use disorder have difficulty taking the medication daily? What we found was that people were less likely to take naltrexone after days of heavy drinking or strong alcohol craving versus typical drinking and craving levels. Furthermore, individuals were less likely to take the medication on weekends versus weekdays, which is particularly worrisome because heaviest drinking episodes tend to happen on the weekends. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Diabetes / 16.11.2017 Interview with: Saeid Shahraz, MD, PhD Heller School of Social Policy and Management Brandeis University Waltham, Massachusetts What is the background for this study? Response: Previous researchers had shown a significant improvement in diabetes control in the US between the years 1998 and 2010. We wanted to show if the betterment in diabetes control continued after then. As previously, we measured hemoglobin A1C that shows the extent to which blood glucose level is under control. Our main finding was that this upward improving trend plateaued for years after 2007 up to 2014, the last year for which we had data. We examined both genders, white and non-white populations as well as three age groups; young, middle age, and elderly population and results were the same: no change. Overall, in 2007, 14% of patients with diabetes showed a poor diabetes control (Hemoglobin A1C more than 9%) ; in 2014, 15% of patients with diabetes fell within the category of poor diabetes control. 55% of the patients had a Good control of diabetes (Hemoglobin A1C less than 7%) in 2007; this measure was 54% in 2014. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Compliance, HIV, JAMA / 16.11.2017 Interview with: Ryan Sanford, MEng Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery Montreal Neurological Institute McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: With the introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) the outlook for HIV+ individuals has dramatically shifted from a fatal disease to a chronic manageable condition. However, HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders are still prevalent. The etiology of this dysfunction remains unknown. Previous work has reported progressive brain atrophy in HIV+ individuals with advanced disease and poor viral suppression, but it is unclear whether stable treatment and effective viral suppression can mitigate the progression of brain atrophy. To examine this issue, we followed well-treated HIV+ individuals with good viral suppression and well-matched controls, and assessed whether ongoing brain atrophy occurs over time. The main finding in this study was the HIV+ participants had reduced brain volumes and poorer cognitive performance compared to the control group, but the changes in brain volumes and cognitive performance were similar between the groups. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Diabetes / 15.09.2017 Interview with: Alexander Turchin, MD, MS Director of Quality in Diabetes in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension Brigham and Women's Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Anecdotally, many clinicians report that their patients with diabetes frequently decline recommendations to start treatment with insulin. However, until now, there was no systematic information available on this phenomenon. Our study has found that 30% of patients initially decline their healthcare providers’ recommendation to start insulin therapy. Patients who do ultimately start treatment with insulin, do it on average more than two years after initially declining it. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Compliance, Cost of Health Care, University Texas / 31.05.2017 Interview with: Kalyani B. Sonawane, PhD Assistant Professor/ PhD Program Director Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy College of Public Health and Health Professions University of Florida Gainesville, FL 32610 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Almost one-third of Americans have high blood pressure. Of those patients who are prescribed medication to control their blood pressure, about 30 percent have problems with side effects and nearly 50 percent will not have their blood pressure controlled within the first year of taking medication. In such scenarios, physicians have the option to either add a medication, such as fixed-dose combination, to the patient’s regimen or gradually increase a patient’s dose of their current drug to achieve blood pressure control; and gradually decrease the dose of their current drug or switch to a different drug to resolve side effects. Using healthcare claims data, we compared the economic impact of these alternative treatment modification strategies. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Compliance, Infections / 26.05.2017 Interview with: Dr. Jorge Salinas MD Epidemic intelligence service officer Division of Tuberculosis Elimination Centers for Disease Control and Prevention What is the background for this study? Response: Because multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB) treatment regimens are less effective, more complex, and are more likely to have side effects that are difficult to tolerate than regimens for drug-susceptible TB, patients with MDR TB are at a higher risk of dying. Directly observed therapy (a therapy by which patients meet with a healthcare worker at a regularly scheduled time and place so the healthcare worker can observe the patient taking their TB medication) is recommended to treat all forms of TB disease, including MDR TB. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Compliance / 15.05.2017 Interview with: Dr. Gupta Pankaj Consultant Metabolic Physician/Chemical Pathologist Dr. Patel Prashanth - Consultant Metabolic Physician/Chemical Pathologist Department of Metabolic Medicine and Chemical Pathology University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, UK What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Non-adherence or patients not taking their medications as prescribed is known since the time of Hippocrates. It is the key reason why blood pressure is well controlled in only around 50% of patients with hypertension, despite the availability of good medicines. Non-adherence leads to poorer cardiovascular outcomes and is thought to cost $100 billion to the US health economy. A crucial reason for the lack of progress in improving adherence has been the previous lack of a clinically useful objective measure. We and others have developed a robust and reliable biochemical screening method to assess for non- adherence to antihypertensive medications in urine or blood using a technique called liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.  We have previously reported a single centre study that demonstrated high rates of non-adherence in patients attending a hypertension clinic. Since, then we have set up a National Centre for Adherence Testing (NCAT, [email protected]) in the Department of Metabolic Medicine and Chemical Pathology, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) and receive samples from around 25 hypertension clinics across UK. This study analysed data from~1400 patients consisting of samples received in UHL and also from a cohort of patients in the Czech Republic. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Heart Disease, JAMA / 20.04.2017 Interview with: Robert Rosenson, MD Professor of Medicine and Cardiology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: High intensity statin therapy is underutilized in patients with acute coronary syndromes. In 2011, 27% of patients were discharged on a high intensity statin (Rosenson RS, et al. J Am Coll Cardiol). In this report, we investigate the factors associated with high adherence to high intensity statin. High adherence to high intensity statins was more common among patients who took high intensity statin prior to their hospitalization, had fewer comorbidities, received a low-income subsidy, attended cardiac rehabilitation and more visits with a cardiologist. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Primary Care, Stroke / 09.04.2017 Interview with: Anna De Simoni NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer in Primary Care Research Centre for Primary Care and Public Health Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry London E1 2AB What is the background for this study? Response: Three in 10 stroke survivors will go on to have a further stroke, which causes greater disability or even death. Secondary prevention medications, including antihypertensives, blood thinning and lipid lowering agents, such as statins, can reduce risk of stroke recurrence by up to 75 per cent. However, patients’ persistence with these medications decreases over time because a minority of people experience side effects, which are mild in most cases. The analysis, involving Queen Mary University of London and the University of Cambridge and published in the journal Family Practice, was performed on the archives from TalkStroke, a UK online forum hosted by the Stroke Association. The forum is used by patients with stroke and their carers, and generated 21,596 posts during 2004-2011. 50 participants were found to discuss GP advice on prevention medications in 43 discussion threads. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Lancet, Mental Health Research, Schizophrenia / 27.02.2017 Interview with: Ernst L Noordraven MSc, PhD student Department of Psychiatry Epidemiological and Social Psychiatric Research institute Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam Netherlands What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Provision of financial incentives is a promising intervention for improving adherence in patients taking antipsychotic medication. We aimed to assess the effectiveness of this intervention for improving adherence to antipsychotic depot medication in patients with psychotic disorders, irrespective of their previous compliance. Our 12-month randomized controlled trial showed that financial incentives improved adherence to antipsychotic depot medications in patients with psychotic disorders, regardless of their level of compliance at study entrance. Patients received either treatment as usual plus a financial reward for each depot of medication received (€30 per month if fully compliant; intervention group) or treatment as usual alone (control group). Based on the use of depot registrations from 155 patients (92%), the adjusted difference in adherence was 14·9% (95% CI 8·9–20·9%; p<0·0001) in favour of the intervention group. Our study is also the first to demonstrate that the effects on medication adherence persist after monetary rewards are discontinued, for at least a 6-month follow-up period (adjusted difference 6·5%, 95% CI 2·0–10·9; p=0·047). (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Compliance, Gastrointestinal Disease, Pharmacology, Technology / 18.11.2016 Interview with: C. Giovanni Traverso, MB, BChir, PhD Gastroenterologist and biomedical engineer Division of Gastroenterology at BWH Instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We developed a drug delivery system capable of safely residing in the stomach for 2 weeks. Furthermore we demonstrated the capacity of the novel dosage form, in the shape of a star, to protect the drug from the acidic stomach environment and also slowly release drug over the course of 14 days. We applied this new technology towards efforts targeting the elimination of malaria. Specifically, we focused on a drug called ivermectin that has been used to treat parasites but also has the benefit of being toxic to malaria-carrying mosquitos when they bite someone who has ivermectin in their system. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Dermatology, JAMA / 27.10.2016 Interview with: Adewole S. Adamson, MD, MPP Department of Dermatology The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC What is the background for this study? Response: As the United States has moved to increasing levels of electronic medical record keeping, electronic prescribing has become an important part of improving the quality of care and patient experience. E-prescribing increases co-ordination between pharmacist and physician and decreases prescription errors. However, it is less certain whether e-prescribing affects patient primary adherence to medications, meaning whether or not a patient will fill and pick up their medication at the pharmacy. Although it may seem intuitive that primary adherence would increase by removing the patient from the prescription-to-pharmacy routing process, there have been few studies directly comparing primary adherence of patients given traditional paper prescriptions versus e-prescriptions. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Outcomes & Safety, Pharmacology / 12.10.2016 Interview with: Neil Smiley Founder and CEO of Loopback Analytics Editor's note: Loopback Analytics mission is to "integrate data across a myriad of healthcare information systems to bridge the expanding gaps within the care continuum". CEO Neil Smiley discusses the problem of medication adherence and possible means to address the issue. What is meant by medication "adherence"? How big a problem does this represent in term of health care outcomes and costs? Response: Medication adherence is the degree to which a patient is taking medications as prescribed. Poor medication adherence takes the lives of 125,000 Americans annually, and costs the health care system nearly $300 billion a year in additional doctor visits, emergency department visits and hospitalizations. What can be done by health care providers, systems and pharmacists to improve medication adherence? Response: There are many potential failure points after a prescription is written, that range from affordability, transportation, literacy, confusion over brand vs. generics, duplication of therapy. Many patients simply stop taking medications when they start feeling better or fail to refill chronic maintenance medications. Healthcare providers can improve adherence by anticipating and eliminating potential points of failure before they become problems. For example, high risk patients leaving the hospital are less likely to be readmitted if they get their prescriptions before they are discharged. Follow-up consultations by pharmacists can assist patients with side effects that may otherwise cause patients to abandon their treatment plan and provide patients with education on how to take medications correctly. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, CDC, Compliance, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 19.09.2016 Interview with: Matthew Ritchey, DPT, PT, OCS, MPH Epidemiologist Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion What is the background for this study? Response: High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and death. Unfortunately, almost one in three U.S. adults (around 75 million) has high blood pressure, and nearly half of that group (about 34 million) doesn’t have it under control. As part of CDC’s ongoing efforts to monitor trends and risk factors contributing to cardiovascular disease, we collaborated with colleagues at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to look at blood pressure medicine nonadherence among Medicare Part D enrollees ages 65 and over. Being nonadherent means that patients skip doses of their medicine or stop taking it altogether. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Cost of Health Care / 29.08.2016 Interview with: Elizabeth Geneva Wood, MHPA Department of Health Policy and Administration College of Nursing Washington State University Spokane What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Many people don’t fill prescriptions because they can’t afford them, which is risky for their health. The problem of cost-related nonadherence to prescriptions (CRN) was increasing in prevalence over time until several major policy changes in the 2000s that were intended to help prescription affordability and/or access to health insurance. We observed that each of these major policy changes corresponded with a decrease in CRN among the policy’s target population. For seniors, CRN dropped in 2006, when Medicare Part D came into effect. For younger adults (19-25), CRN dropped in 2010, when the Affordable Care Act began allowing them to stay on their parents’ insurance. Cost-related nonadherence rates also dropped for all non-elderly adults (including the younger ones) in 2014 and 2015, when the Medicaid expansion and the introduction of the health insurance marketplaces offered coverage to many previously-uninsured adults. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Compliance, Opiods, Pharmacology / 23.08.2016 Interview with: F. Leland McClure III, MSci, PhD, F-ABFT Medical science liaison director Quest Diagnostics What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Many physicians associate Quest Diagnostics with their lab service needs because of our leadership in laboratory testing. But Quest is more than a lab, which is why we refer to ourselves as a diagnostic information services provider. This means that we help providers, health plans and even patients use the insights we derive from our lab testing data to deliver better care, quality and outcomes, both for the patient and the managed population. Our 2016 Quest Diagnostics Health Trends(TM) Prescription Drug Monitoring Report is an example of how we provide important health insights from Quest's laboratory data. Prescription drug misuse is a major epidemic in the United States. Laboratory testing can help identify if a patient is using or misusing prescribed medications. For instance, lab tests can show evidence of additional medications and other drugs in a patient’s urine specimen, suggesting potentially dangerous drug combinations. Earlier this year, the CDC issued guidelines that call for laboratory testing for patients prescribed certain medications, such as opioids, that carry a risk of abuse. Quest's prescription drug monitoring services help the physician identify if a patient is taking or not taking up to about four dozen drugs, such as oxycodone, Adderall XR® and Percocet®. For the Quest analysis, we analyzed more than 3 million de-identified lab test results. In this report, we found that 54 percent of patients’ results tested in 2015 showed evidence of drug misuse, slightly above the 53 percent misuse rate in 2014. That is certainly unacceptably high, but it’s a significant decline from the high of 63 percent we observed in 2011. We also found that an increasing proportion of patients who misuse medications combine their prescription medication with non-prescribed drugs. Among patients with inconsistent test results, forty-five percent of these patients showed evidence of one or more other drug(s) in addition to their prescribed drug regimen. That’s much higher than our findings of 35 percent in 2014 and 2013, 33 percent in 2012, and 32 percent in 2011. Finally, we were alarmed by the data showing the connection between heroin and benzodiazepines misuse. Our data showed one in three heroin users combine their drug use with benzodiazepines, the vast majority of which were unprescribed. This is an extremely dangerous practice given that benzodiazepines can have strong respiratory depressant effects when combined with other substances. Drug combinations, but particularly of heroin with benzodiazepines, can be potentially very dangerous, leading to coma and even death in some cases. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Hospital Readmissions / 13.07.2016 Interview with: Jennifer Polinski, Senior Director Enterprise Evaluation and Population Health Analytics CVS Health Woonsocket, Rhode Island What is the background for this study? Response: Unnecessary and often preventable hospital readmissions are a growing and costly issue. An estimated one in seven patients discharged from a hospital is readmitted within 30 days, and startlingly, readmissions are associated with more than $41 billion in additional health care costs per year. In addition, evidence suggests that approximately 66 percent of hospital readmissions are the result of adverse health events related to medication non-adherence. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Columbia, Compliance, Heart Disease / 17.06.2016 Interview with: Ian Kronish, MD, MPH Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Medicine Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health Columbia University Medical Center What is the background for this study? Dr. Kronish: Prior studies have shown that adherence to statins is suboptimal both in patients prescribed statins for primary prevention and in high-risk patients who are prescribed statins to prevent recurrent events. But, to our knowledge, prior studies had not examined the impact of a hospitalization for a myocardial infarction (MI) on subsequent adherence to statins. We wondered whether the hospitalization would serve as a wake-up call that led patients to become more adherent after the MI. At the same time, we were concerned that the physical and psychological distress that arises after a hospitalization for an MI may lead to a decline in statin adherence. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Compliance / 04.06.2016 Interview with: Dr Prashanth Patel MSc, FRCP, FRCPath Consultant Metabolic Physician/ Chemical Pathologist and Head of Service Department of Chemical Pathology and Metabolic Diseases Honorary Senior Lecturer Dept of Cardiovascular Sciences University of Leicester What is the background for this study? Dr. Patel: Hypertension (HTN) is one of the most important and common chronic treatable condition. It affects nearly one third of the adult population. Nearly one fifth of patients treated for hypertension are thought to be resistant to treatment and these patients have a high mortality from cardiovascular diseases. Percutaneous radiofrequency catheter-based renal sympathetic denervation (renal denervation, RD) may be a potential treatment for resistant hypertension. Although RD is a safe procedure, it is irreversible and expensive. It is important that patients’ suitability for renal denervation is carefully assessed to maximise the potential benefits of the procedure. Therefore causes of pseudo-resistant hypertension namely white-coat hypertension, suboptimal pharmacological antihypertensive treatment and non-adherence to antihypertensive medications and secondary hypertension are needed to be robustly ruled out before considering a patient as suitable for renal denervation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Heart Disease, JACC / 05.05.2016 Interview with: Dr. Kevin Curl, MD Sidney Kimmel Medical College Jefferson University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Curl: If left untreated, half of coronary bypass vein grafts will become occluded within 10 years of surgery.  We reviewed the health records of over 350 patients who had a previous coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) a minimum of three years prior.  Our goal was to identify the long-term trends with medication adherence in this high risk population, namely aspirin and statin medications.  The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend both statins and aspirin medications unless they are unsafe for the individual patient. The mean age of the study population was 69 years, most patients had previously undergone "triple bypass" with 3 grafts, and the mean time from surgery was 11 years.  We found that only 52 percent of patients were taking both aspirin and a statin medication. In addition, patients not taking a statin had higher (22 percent) low-density lipid or “bad” cholesterol. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Gender Differences, Heart Disease / 28.04.2016 Interview with: Sherry L. Grace, PhD Professor, School of Kinesiology and Health Science York University Sr. Scientist, Cardiorespiratory Fitness Team Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network Toronto Western Hospital Toronto, ON What is the background for this study? Dr. Grace: Cardiac rehabilitation is an outpatient chronic disease management program. It is a standardized model of care, comprised of risk factor assessment and management, exercise training, patient education, as well and dietary and psychosocial counseling. Patients generally attend two times a week for several months. Participation in cardiac rehab has been shown to reduce death and disability. This is a dose-response association, such that more cardiac rehab participation is associated with even less death, etc. Therefore, it is important that patients adhere to the program, or participate in all the prescribed sessions. No one has ever reviewed patient adherence to cardiac rehab in a systematic way. It has always been assumed that patients only attend about half of prescribed sessions. Also, many studies have shown that women attend fewer sessions than men. However, this has been known for some time, so we would hope that in the current era, this sex difference would not exist. No study has ever aggregated and analyzed sex differences in program adherence, so we set out to do this. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Compliance, Genetic Research, Mammograms / 27.04.2016 Interview with: Stamatia Destounis, MD, FSBI, FACR Elizabeth Wende Breast Care, LLC, Clinical Professor of Imaging Sciences University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry  Rochester NY 14620 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Destounis: Identification of women who have an increased risk of breast cancer is important, as they are often eligible for additional screening methods, such as breast MRI. One criterion for eligibility for screening breast MRI is >20% lifetime risk of breast cancer, as determined by risk assessment models through genetic counseling. At my facility, we have incorporated a genetics program. Through the program we are flagging and identifying a large volume of patients who are potentially eligible for additional services. This study was conducted to determine the value of screening MRI in the patient subgroup who have undergone genetic counseling at my facility. In this group we found 50% of patients who were referred for counseling were also recommended to have screening MRI. However, only 21.3% of those recommended actually pursued the exam. Of those patients who did have a screening MRI, 4 were diagnosed with breast cancer, all of which were invasive and node negative. We ultimately had a 10% biopsy rate and 50% cancer detection rate in this subgroup. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Infections / 01.04.2016 Interview with: Loren G. Miller, M.D., M.P.H. Professor of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Division of Infectious Diseases Los Angeles BioMedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Torrance CA 90502 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Miller: We know that medication adherence (compliance) by patients to all sort of treatments for a variety of diseases is suboptimal. Adherence to medication varies a lot by disease state (e.g. it is typically high in cancer and low in hypertension), but adherence to antibiotics for skin infection is unstudied. We wanted to find out what adherence is to antibiotics for patients with skin infections is and whether it was associated with important clinical outcomes. We measured patients adherence to antibiotic dosing by using medication containers fitted with electronic caps that reported when the patient opened the antibiotic container. We followed 87 patients who had been hospitalized and suffered S. aureus associated skin and soft tissue infections We found that patients with S. aureus skin and soft tissue infections, on average, took just 57% of their prescribed antibiotic doses after leaving the hospital. Lower antibiotic adherence was associated with a higher chance of skin infection relapse or recurrence. Interestingly, we also found a large discrepancy in patient reports and the electronic measurement. Patients reported taking, on average, 96% of their medication, or nearly twice the 57% reported by the electronic caps. This suggests that asking patients how well they took their medication is highly problematic as non-adherent patients will typically vastly overstate their medication adherence. We also found higher rates of non-adherence to antibiotic regimens among patients who were prescribed more than one antibiotic after leaving the hospital, didn’t see the same healthcare provider for follow-up visits or felt they didn’t have a regular healthcare provider (more…)