Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Occupational Health, Outcomes & Safety / 30.04.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mishal Reja, MD,  MD Resident in Internal Medicine Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: World Trade Center first responders were exposed to environmental toxicants that have resulted in negative health consequences. Gastrointestinal aerodigestive disorders such as GERD and Barrett’s esophagus have been frequently reported in this population. Additionally, an increasing body of literature has shown that fatty liver disease is not only secondary to metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and obesity, as previously thought, but can also result from environmental and industrial toxicants. Chemicals such as Vinyl Chloride, Tetrachloroethylene, Perchloroethylene, and many others are frequently found in industrial occupations and have resulted in fatty liver disease, steatohepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Many of these chemicals were also present at ground zero, thus exposing many of first responders to the hepatotoxic effects of these chemicals. To date this is the first study to look at liver disease in World Trade Center first responders. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Outcomes & Safety, Stanford / 08.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel Tawfik, MD, MS Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Professional burnout is very common among health care providers and is frequently associated with poor quality of care in the published literature. However, we know that reporting biases are common in many fields of literature, and these biases typically result in exaggerated effects being published relative to the true effect. Research on burnout and quality of care appears especially vulnerable, because many studies are not pre-specified or have several potential methods of analysis. If the studies or analyses with more impressive results are more likely to be published, this would result in a skewed picture of the relationship between burnout and quality of care. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research, University of Michigan / 15.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kyle Sheetz, MD, MSc Research Fellow Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Various patient safety organizations and clinical societies continue to advocate for volume thresholds as a means to improve the short-term safety and overall effectiveness of high risk cancer surgeries in the United States. We asked two questions with this study: 1) What proportion of U.S. hospitals meet discretionary volume standards? 2) Do these standards differentiate hospitals based on short-term safety outcomes (mortality and complications)? We found that a relatively low proportion of hospitals meet even modest volume standards put forth by the Leapfrog Group. These standards did not differentiate hospitals based on outcomes for 3 of 4 high risk cancer operations reported by the Leapfrog Group. However, using higher thresholds, we were able to demonstrate a significant relationship between higher hospital volume and better outcomes, which has been reported numerous times. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research / 31.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ninh T. Nguyen, MD Department of Surgery University of California Irvine Medical Center Orange, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The US World & News Report publishes each year on top ranked hospitals for specific specialties. These ratings are promoted nationally and used by patients and physicians in making decisions about where to receive care for challenging conditions or common elective procedures. Bariatric, colorectal and hiatal hernia procedures are common gastrointestinal operations being performed at most hospitals. Seeking care for these operations specifically at top 50 ranked hospitals can pose significant logistic and financial constraints for most patients. The objective of this study was to determine whether top ranked hospitals (RHs) in Gastroenterology & GI Surgery (GGS) have improved outcomes for advanced laparoscopic abdominal surgery compared to non-ranked hospitals (NRHs). (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Outcomes & Safety / 16.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Regis Goulart Rosa, MD, PhD Responsabilidade Social - PROADI Hospital Moinhos de Vento MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The debate about visiting policies in adult ICUs is of broad and current interest in critical care, with strong advocacy in favour of flexible family visitation models in order to promote patient- and family-centred care. However, the proportion of adult ICUs with unrestricted visiting hours is very low. Data from the literature show that 80% of hospitals in the United Kingdom and USA adopt restrictive ICU visiting policies. Among ICUs with restrictive visiting hours, published studies show that the daily visiting time ranges from a median of 1 hour in Italy to a mean of 4.7 hours in France. In agreement with this scenario, most adult ICUs in Brazil follow a restrictive visitation model, in which family members are allowed to visit the critically ill patient from 30 minutes to 1 hour, once or twice a day. These restrictive visitation models have been justified by the theoretical risks associated with unrestricted visiting hours, mainly infectious complications, disorganization of care, and burnout. Controversially, these risks have not been consistently confirmed by the scarce literature on the subject, and flexible ICU visiting hours have been proposed as a means to prevent delirium among patients and improve family satisfaction. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: Disappointingly, studies evaluating the effectiveness and safety of flexible ICU visiting hours are scarce. To date, no large randomized trials have assessed the impact of a flexible visiting model on patients, family members, and ICU staff, and this evidence gap may constitute a barrier to the understanding of the best way to implement and improve ICU visiting policies. In the present pragmatic cluster-randomized crossover trial (The ICU Visits Study), we engaged 1,685 patients, 1,295 family members, and 826 ICU professionals from 36 adult ICUs in Brazil to compare a flexible visitation model (12 hours/day plus family education) vs. the standard restricted visitation model (median 90 minutes per day). We found that the flexible visitation did not significantly reduce the incidence of delirium among patients, but was associated with fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression and higher satisfaction with care among family members in comparison to the usual restricted visitation. Also, the flexible visitation did not increase the incidence of ICU-acquired infections and ICU staff burnout, which are major concerns when adopting this intervention. MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? Response: Considering the evidence suggesting that most adult ICUs restrict the presence of family members, our results provide useful and relevant information that may influence the debate about current ICU visitation policies around the world. First, a flexible visitation policy that permits flexible family visitation in ICU (up to 12 hour per day) is feasible, given the high adherence of participant ICUs to implementation in The ICU Visits Study. Second, the flexible family supported by family education is safe regarding the occurrence of infections, disorganization of care or staff burnout. Third, family members - a commonly missing piece of the critical care puzzle - seem to benefit from the flexible visitation model through higher satisfaction with care and less symptoms of anxiety and depression. MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? Response: Future research might focus on the following topics: 1) methods of implementation of flexible visiting models in ICUs; 2) Family support interventions in the context of flexible ICU visiting hours (e.g.: psychological and social support, support for shared decision making, peer support, and comfort); and 3) How flexible ICU visiting hours affects patient, family member and staff outcome at long-term. Disclosures: The ICU Visits study was funded by the Brazilian Ministry of Health through the Brazilian Unified Health System Institutional Development Program (PROADI-SUS). Citation: Effect of Flexible Family Visitation on Delirium Among Patients in the Intensive Care Unit [wysija_form id="3"] [last-modified] The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.Regis Goulart Rosa, MD, PhD Responsabilidade Social - PROADI Hospital Moinhos de Vento  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The debate about visiting policies in adult ICUs is of broad and current interest in critical care, with strong advocacy in favour of flexible family visitation models in order to promote patient- and family-centred care. However, the proportion of adult ICUs with unrestricted visiting hours is very low. Data from the literature show that 80% of hospitals in the United Kingdom and USA adopt restrictive ICU visiting policies. Among ICUs with restrictive visiting hours, published studies show that the daily visiting time ranges from a median of 1 hour in Italy to a mean of 4.7 hours in France. In agreement with this scenario, most adult ICUs in Brazil follow a restrictive visitation model, in which family members are allowed to visit the critically ill patient from 30 minutes to 1 hour, once or twice a day. These restrictive visitation models have been justified by the theoretical risks associated with unrestricted visiting hours, mainly infectious complications, disorganization of care, and burnout. Controversially, these risks have not been consistently confirmed by the scarce literature on the subject, and flexible ICU visiting hours have been proposed as a means to prevent delirium among patients and improve family satisfaction.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research, Yale / 12.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel Boffa, MD Professor of Surgery Yale School of Medicine  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We have previously demonstrated that top-ranked hospitals are significantly safer than their affiliates for complex cancer surgery (patients 1.4 times more likely to die after cancer surgery at affiliate hospitals).  A logical extension of this work was to compare affiliate hospitals to hospitals that were not affiliated with a top ranked hospital. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research / 19.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: William Cooper, M.D., M.P.H. Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor Pediatrics and Health Policy Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs Director, Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy Vanderbilt University Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: For surgical teams, high reliability and optimal performance are dependent on effective communication, mutual respect, and continuous situational awareness. Surgeons who model unprofessional behaviors may contribute to undermining a culture of safety, threaten teamwork, and thereby increase risk for medical errors and surgical complications. (more…)
Author Interviews, Outcomes & Safety, Primary Care / 28.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Janice D. Walker, RN, MBA Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In 2010-2011, we launched a pilot intervention in which a limited number of primary care doctors shared the notes they wrote about an office visit with their patients via secure online portals they accessed through their health systems; this practice became known as open notes (our program is called “OpenNotes”). We then surveyed patients and their primary care providers to get feedback on their experiences and published the results in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2012. After the study, the three large health systems that participated—Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, University of Washington Medicine in Seattle, and Geisinger in rural Pennsylvania—made open notes available across ambulatory specialties. In this paper, “OpenNotes After 7 Years: Patient Experiences with Ongoing Access to their Clinicians’ Outpatient Visit Notes," we wanted to examine the ongoing experiences and perceptions of patients who read ambulatory notes written by a broad range of doctors, nurses and other clinicians. We did this by surveying patients who had been seen in a hospital or community based practice, were registered on their patient portal, and had at least one note available to read in a recent 12-month period. The main measures include patient-reported behaviors and their perceptions concerning the benefits and risks of reading their visit notes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Neurology, Outcomes & Safety, University of Pennsylvania / 20.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sameed Khatana, MD Fellow, Cardiovascular Medicine, Perleman School of Medicine Associate Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics University of Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There has been a growing use of quality metrics and indices in the US healthcare system. Much attention has been paid to quality measurement programs used by public payors, however, the use of such programs by commercial payors is much less studied. "Centers of excellence" are one type of quality designation program that is growing in use by commercial payors where certain hospitals are determined to be "high quality" for a certain disease state or procedure based on meeting certain criteria. For some people, this is even impacting the choice of providers and hospitals they can use by payors. We evaluated centers of excellence programs from three large commercial payors, Aetna, Cigna and Blue Cross Blue Shield, targeted at cardiovascular diseases and interventions and examined publicly reported outcomes for all hospitals performing percutaneous coronary interventions (cardiac stenting) in New York State.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Outcomes & Safety / 08.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Veronica Toffolutti PhD Postdoctoral researcher working with Professor David Stuckler Department of Sociology Bocconi University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Openness has been linked with better patient safety and better understanding of patients’ care goals. In addition, more open environments appear to be linked with positively ranked quality of teamwork, which in turns lead to better health care. Yet if the expected benefits are to be achieved, it is necessary to show that greater openness actually corresponds to improvements in performance or lower mortality rates. To the best of our knowledge our is the first study to show an association between hospital mortality and openness and more precisely one point increase in the standardized openness score leads to a decrease of 6.48% in the hospital mortality rates. With the term openness we refer to an environment in which communication among patients, staff members and managers is open and transparent.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Outcomes & Safety, Pediatrics, Pediatrics / 06.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John P. Galiote, M.D. Neonatologist at Children’s National-Virginia Hospital Center NICU Michelande Ridoré, MS, NICU Quality improvement lead at Children’s National   Lamia Soghier, M.D., MEd, Children’s National NICU Medical Director MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our study emphasizes the importance of team work and real-time communication in a quality-improvement project within the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) setting. Through bedside huddles, weekly reviews of apparent cause analysis reports reducing the frequency of X-rays and the creation of an Airway Safety Protection Team, we were able to focus not only on  reducing unintended extubations, but also on the quality-improvement project’s effect on our staff. Adhering to simple quality principles enabled us to ensure that all members of our staff were heard and had a positive effect on the progress of our project. This allowed us to implement and sustain a series of simple changes that standardized steps associated with securing and maintaining an endotracheal tube (ET). Unintended extubations are the fourth-most common adverse event in the nation’s NICUs. Continual monitoring via this quality-improvement project allowed us to intervene when our rates increased and further pushed our unintended extubation rate downward. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety / 16.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karen Joynt Maddox, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Medicine Washington University Brown School of Social Work  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Medicare’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program has been controversial, in part because until 2019 it did not take social risk into account when judging hospitals’ performance. In the 21st Century Cures Act, Congress required that CMS change the program to judge hospitals only against other hospitals in their “peer group” based on the proportion of their patients who are poor. As a result, starting with fiscal year 2019, the HRRP divides hospitals into five peer groups and then assesses performance and assigns penalties.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Health Care Systems, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research, Yale / 12.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel J. Boffa, MD Associate Professor of Thoracic Surgery Yale School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Prominent cancer hospitals have been sharing their brands with smaller hospitals in the community.  We conducted a series of nationally representative surveys and found that a significant proportion of the U.S. public assumes that the safety of care is the same at all hospitals that share the same respected brand.  In an effort to determine if safety was in fact the same, we examined complex surgical procedures in the Medicare database. We compared the chance of dying within 90 days of surgery between top-ranked hospitals, and the affiliate hospitals that share their brands.  When taking into account differences in patient age, health, and type of procedure, Medicare patients were 1.4 times more likely to die after surgery at the affiliate hospitals, compared to those having surgery at the top-ranked cancer hospitals. (more…)
Author Interviews, Health Care Systems, Outcomes & Safety, University of Pennsylvania / 01.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kira L. Ryskina  MD MS Assistant Professor Of Medicine Division of General Internal Medicine Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Post-acute care in skilled nursing facilities (SNF or sometimes called subacute rehab) is a very common discharge destination after a hospital stay. Patients discharged to these facilities represent more clinically complex and high-need patients than patients discharged home. We wanted to understand how soon after discharge from the hospital to a skilled nursing facility are patients seen by a physician. We found that first visits by a physician or advanced practitioner (a nurse practitioner or physician assistant) for initial medical assessment occurred within four days of SNF admission in 71.5 percent of the stays. However, there was considerable variation in days to first visit at the regional, facility, and patient levels. One in five initial physician visits occurred more than 4 days after admission to skilled nursing facilities.  In 10.4 percent of stays there was no physician or advanced practitioner visit. Much of the variability in visit timing had to do with SNF characteristics and geography compared to patient clinical or demographic characteristics. Patients who did not receive a physician visit had nearly double the rates of readmissions or deaths compared to patients who were seen.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Health Care Systems, Outcomes & Safety, University of Pennsylvania / 07.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jeffrey H. Silber, MD, PhD Director, Center for Outcomes Research Nancy Abramson Wolfson Endowed Chair Health Services Research Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology and Critical Care Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Professor of Health Care Management Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This was a year-long randomized trial that involved 63 internal medicine residency programs from around the US.  In 2015-2016, about half of the programs were randomized to follow the existing rules about resident duty hours that included restrictions on the lengths of shifts and the rest time required between shifts (the standard arm of the trial) and the other half of the programs didn’t have those shift length or rest period rules (the flexible arm of the trial).  We measured what happened to the patients cared for in those programs (the safety study), and other studies examined how much sleep the residents received, and how alert they were at the end of shifts (the sleep study), and previously we published on the educational outcomes of the interns. To measure the impact on patient outcomes when allowing program directors the ability to use a flexible shift length for their interns, we compared patient outcomes after the flexible regimen went into place to outcomes the year before in the same program. We did the same comparison for the standard arm. Then we compared the difference between these comparisons. Comparing before and after the implementation of the trial within the same program allowed us to be more confident that a particularly strong or weak program, or a program with especially sick or healthy patients, would not throw off the results of the study. The trial was designed to determine, with 95% confidence, if the flexible arm did not do more than 1% worse than the standard arm. If this were true for the flexible arm, we could say the flexible regimen was “non-inferior” to the standard regimen. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety / 01.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mr. Tim Badgery-Parker ELS, BSc(Hons), MBiostat Research Fellow,Value in Health Care Division Menzies Centre for Health Policy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This is part of a large program of work at the Menzies Centre for Health Policy on low-value care in the Australian health system. We have previously published rates of low-value care in public hospitals in Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, and a report on rates in the Australian private health insurance population is due for publication shortly. We have also done similar analyses for other Australian state health systems. This particular paper extends the basic measurement work to focus on what we call the ‘cascade’ effects. That is, looking beyond how much low-value care occurs to examine the consequence for patients and the health system of providing these low-value procedures. (more…)
Author Interviews, Health Care Systems, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research / 22.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alexis G. Antunez MS University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer is implementing a National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC), aiming to improve and standardize the quality of rectal cancer care in the United States. While this is a commendable goal, previous accreditation programs in other specialties have faced controversy around their uncertain impact on access to care. Furthermore, it is well established that the quality of rectal cancer care is associated with patients’ socioeconomic position. So, the NAPRC could have the unintended consequence of widening disparities and limiting access to high quality rectal cancer care for certain patient populations.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Outcomes & Safety / 17.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Teryl K. Nuckols, MD Vice Chair, Clinical Research Director, Division of General Internal Medicine Cedars Sinai Los Angeles, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) penalizes hospitals with increased 30-day readmission rates among seniors admitted with heart failure (HF).  Heart failure readmission rates declined markedly following the implementation of this policy. Two facts have raised concerns about whether the HRRP might have also inadvertently increased 30-day heart failure mortality rates. First, before the policy was implemented, hospitals with higher heart failure readmission rates had lower 30-day HF mortality rates, suggesting that readmissions are often necessary and beneficial in this population. Second, 30-day HF mortality rose nationally after the HRRP was implemented, and the timing of the increase has suggested a possible link to the policy. Are hospitals turning patients away, putting them at risk of death, or is the increase in heart failure mortality just a coincidence? To answer this question, we compared trends in 30-day HF mortality rates between penalized hospitals and non-penalized hospitals because 30-day HF readmissions declined much more at hospitals subject to penalties under this policy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Electronic Records, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety / 06.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Portable Information station, nurse, computer, hand wipes, 9th floor, Virginia Mason Hospital, Seattle, Washington, USA" by Wonderlane is licensed under CC BY 2.0Timothy Ryan PhD This work was performed while Dr. Ryan was at Precera Biosciences, 393 Nichol Mill Lane Frankluin, Tennessee  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The study design is quite simple.  We measured medication concentrations in patients, then compared empirically detected medications with prescribed medications in each patient’s medical record.  We used this information to estimate how many prescribed medications patients had actually taken and how often they took medications that were not in their medical record.  The later comparison is a particularly novel measure of the number and types of medications taken by patients unbeknownst to healthcare providers who use the medical record as a guide to patient care. Further, the test was performed in blood and not urine, so we could obtain an estimate of how often patients were in range for medications that they did take – at least for medications where the therapeutic range for blood concentrations are well established. In sum, we found that patients do not take all of their medications, the medical records are not an accurate indicator of the medications that patients ingest, and that even when taken as prescribed, medications are often out of therapeutic range.  The majority of out-of-range medications were present at subtherapeutic levels.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Neurology, Outcomes & Safety, Parkinson's, Pharmacology, University of Pennsylvania / 04.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Allison W. Willis, MD, MS Assistant Professor of Neurology Assistant Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute Senior Scholar, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study was motivated by my own experiences as a neurologist-neuroscientist. I care for Parkinson disease patients, and over the year, have had numerous instances in which a person was taking a medication that could interact with their Parkinson disease medications, or could worsen their PD symptoms. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research / 14.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tanya L. Zakrison, MHSc MD FRCSC FACS MPH Associate Professor of Surgery University of Miami Miller School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Over 2 million people in the United States are incarcerated, the highest rate in the entire world.  To date no national statistics on surgical outcomes have been reported in this vulnerable patient population.  We examined 301 medical examiner’s reports from prisoner deaths in Miami-Dade County.  Excluding those with confounding medical conditions such as cirrhosis and cancer, we still found that one in five deaths were being attributed to trauma and reversible surgical diseases.    (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, NEJM, Outcomes & Safety / 07.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Bruce Guthrie PhD Head of Population Health Sciences Division Professor of Primary Care Medicine and Honorary Consultant NHS Fife  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The UK Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF)) is a primary care pay for performance programme (P4P) implemented in 2004. QOF was and still is the largest healthcare P4P programme in the world, initially having ~150 indicators and accounting for ~20% of practice income. QOF has been reduced in scale and scope over time, with 40 indicators retired in 2014. It was abolished in Scotland in 2016 and is due to be further reformed in England. There is some evidence that P4P (and QOF itself) is associated with modest improvements in quality when introduced, but little evidence about what happens when financial incentives are withdrawn. Our study examined what happened when incentives were withdrawn in 2014 for 12 indicators where there is good before and after data. There were immediate reductions in documented quality of care, which were similar in size to improvements observed when incentives were introduced. These reductions were small to modest (~10%) for indicators relating to care that is already systematically delivered (eg routine diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease) and large for indicators which has historically been less systematically delivered (eg lifestyle advice). (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety / 07.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Maria Panagioti, Senior Research Fellow Division of Population Health Health Services Research & Primary Care University of Manchester Manchester  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Several studies have shown that the demanding work environment has alarming consequences on the well-being of physicians. Over 50 percent of physicians experience significant signs of burnout across medical specialities. However, the consequences of burnout on patient care are less well-known. This is the largest meta-analysis to date which pooled data from 43,000 doctors to examine the relationship between burnout in physicians and patient safety, professionalism and patient satisfaction. We found that burnout in physicians is associated with two times increased risk for patient safety incidents, reduced professionalism and lower patient satisfaction. Particularly in residents and early career physicians, burnout was associated with almost 4 times increased risk for reduced professionalism.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Hospital Readmissions, JACC, Outcomes & Safety / 17.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Mamas Mamas (BM BCh, MA, DPhil, MRCP) Professor of Cardiology at Keele University and an Honorary Professor of Cardiology at the University of Manchester MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Discharge against medical advice occurs in 1 to 2% of all medical admissions but little / no data around how frequently this occurs in the context of PCI or the outcomes associated with such a course of action. We undertook this study to understand both how commonly discharge against medical advice occurs, the types of patients it occurs in and outcomes in terms of both readmission rates and causes of readmisison.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Health Care Systems, Infections, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety / 13.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sarah L. Krein, PhD, RN Research Career Scientist VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System Ann Arbor, MI  Sarah L. Krein, PhD, RN Research Career Scientist VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System Ann Arbor, MI MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We conducted this study to better understand the challenges faced by health care personnel when trying to follow transmission based precaution practices while providing care for hospitalized patients.  We already know from other studies that there are breaches in practice but our team was interested in better understanding why and how those breaches (or failures) occur so we can develop better strategies to ensure the safety of patients and health care personnel. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Diabetes, Education, Outcomes & Safety / 12.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bradley Gray, PhD Senior Health Services Researcher American Board of Internal Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This study is part of an ongoing effort to improve and validate ABIM’s MOC process through the use of real data that is ongoing here at ABIM. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?  Response: The paper examines the association between MOC status and a set of HEDIS process quality measures for internists twenty years past the time they initially certified. An example of one HEDIS performance measure we looked at was percentage of patients with diabetes that had twice annual HbA1c testing. The key findings of the paper are that physicians who maintained their certification had better scores on 5 of 6 HEDIS performance measures than similar physicians who did not maintain their certification. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research, UCLA / 03.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Untitled” by Marcin Wichary is licensed under CC BY 2.0Yusuke Tsugawa, MD, MPH, PhD Assistant professor Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research David Geffen School of Medicine at UCL Los Angeles, CA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We studied whether patients’ mortality rate differ based on age and sex of surgeons who performed surgical procedures. Using a nationally representative data of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65-99 years who underwent one of 20 major non-elective surgeries, we found that patients treated by older surgeons have lower mortality than those cared for by younger surgeons, whereas there was no difference in patient mortality between male and female surgeons. When we studied age and sex together, we found that female surgeons at their 50s had the lowest patient mortality across all groups. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Surgical Research / 03.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr-Hillary-J-Mull Hillary J. Mull, PhD, MPP Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System Department of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine Boston, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Little is known about outpatient procedures that can be considered invasive but are not conducted in a surgical operating room. These procedures are largely neglected by quality or patient safety surveillance programs, yet they are increasingly performed as technology improves and the U.S. population gets older. We assessed the rate of invasive procedures across five specialties, urology, podiatry, cardiology, interventional radiology and gastroenterology in the Veterans Health Administration between fiscal years 2012 and 2015. Our analysis included examining the rates of post procedure emergency department visits and hospitalizations within 14 days and the key patient, procedure or facility characteristics associated with these outcomes. We found varying rates of post procedure ED visits and hospitalizations across the specialties with podiatry accounting for a high volume of invasive outpatient care but the lowest rate of postoperative utilization (1.8%); in contrast, few of the procedures were in interventional radiology, but the postoperative utilization rate was the highest at 4.7%. In a series of logistic regression models predicting post procedure healthcare utilization for each specialty, we observed significantly higher odds of post procedural outcomes for African American patients compared to white patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research, University of Michigan / 12.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Donald Likosky, Ph.D., M.S. Associate Professor Head of the Section of Health Services Research and Quality Department of Cardiac Surgery. University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Michigan was one of several states to expand Medicaid. Current evaluations of the Michigan Medicaid expansion program have noted increases in primary care services and health risk assessments, but less work has evaluated its role within a specialty service line. There has been concern among some that Medicaid patients, who have traditionally lacked access to preventive services, may be at high risk for poor clinical outcomes if provided increased access to cardiovascular interventions. Using data from two physician-led quality collaboratives, we evaluated the volume and outcomes of percutaneous coronary interventions and coronary artery bypass grafting 24mos before and 24mos after expansion. We noted large-scale increased access to both percutaneous coronary interventions (44.5% increase) and coronary artery bypass grafting (103.8% increase) among patients with Medicaid insurance. There was a decrease in access for patients with private insurance in both cohorts. Nonetheless, outcomes (clinical and resource utilization) were not adversely impacted by expansion.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Outcomes & Safety / 16.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Furman S. McDonald MD MPH Lead author of the research and Senior Vice President for Academic and Medical Affairs American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain how the MOC examination works? Response: To earn Board Certification from the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), doctors take an exam after completing a medical education training program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to demonstrate they have the knowledge to practice in a specialty. Previously, ABIM conducted research that showed that physicians who passed a certification exam were five times less likely to be disciplined by a state licensing board than those who do not become certified. After becoming board certified, physicians can participate in ABIM’s Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program, which involves periodic assessments and learning activities to support doctors in staying current with medical knowledge through their careers. ABIM has been in conversations across the medical community and many people have expressed interest in whether performance on the MOC exams doctors take is also associated with important outcomes relevant to patients. For this study, my ABIM colleagues and I studied whether there was any association between Internal Medicine MOC exam performance and disciplinary actions by state licensing boards. We studied MOC exam results and any reported disciplinary actions for nearly 48,000 general internists who initially certified between 1990 and 2003.  (more…)