Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, Primary Care / 15.04.2018 Interview with: Anna Scandinaro Medical student Penn State College of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Dr. Usman Hameed, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, and Dr. Dellasega wrote a previous paper called "What is irritability?" which examined the idea and concept of what irritability in school aged children can encompass. After considering possible definitions of irritability, we wanted to see how the concept manifested in clinical practice, especially with the controversy around the new diagnosis of Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD) in the DSM 5. The main findings of this study are that primary care providers (PCP)​identified a need for more training and education in how to assess irritability in pediatric and adolescent populations. In contrast, the child and adolescent psychiatrists we interviewed thought more triage from PCPs who care for school aged children with irritability would be helpful.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Flu - Influenza, Infections, Mental Health Research, Primary Care, Roche / 14.03.2018 Interview with: James W. Antoon, MD, PhD, FAAP Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics University of Illinois at Chicago Associate Medical Director, Pediatric Inpatient Unit Children's Hospital, University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System Chicago, IL 60612 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Oseltamivir, commonly known as Tamiflu, is the only commercially available medication FDA approved to treat the flu.  Since the 2009 H1N1 flu epidemic pediatric prescriptions for Tamiflu have soared.  In the United States, about 40% of Tamiflu prescriptions are given to children less than 16 years of age.  Following reports of abnormal behavior, such as hallucinations, self-injury and suicide attempts in adolescents on Tamiflu, the FDA placed a new warning about these neuropsychiatric symptoms on the drug label.  Whenever the FDA puts out label warning about a drug, doctors and the public take notice. Whether Tamiflu truly causes these side effects is unclear.  For this study we chose to focus on the most consequential of those reports: suicide. The potential link between a drug and suicide is a particularly difficult topic to study for a number of reasons. There are things that happen together or at the same time that can influence someone to attempt suicide and it is very difficult to know which thing is actually having an affect. In our study, other things that can influence suicide are socioeconomic status, mental health, trauma, abuse, among others.  Separating the effects of these confounders can be difficult. It is also possible that the disease itself, which in this case is the flu, causes the effect of suicide. Finally, and luckily, suicide is rare. Our database had 12 million children per year and over five year 21,000 attempted suicide. Of those, only 251 were taking Tamiflu. To get past these issues, we took advantage of a growing drug safety research collaboration between the Departments of Pediatrics and Pharmacy at our institution.  Previous studies have compared those on Tamiflu to those not on Tamiflu to see if there are more side effects in the Tamiflu group.  Our team utilized a novel study method called a case-crossover design. What’s different about this study is that we used each patient as their own comparison.  In other words, we compared each patient to themselves rather than a different group of people.  We essentially studied how patients behaved when the Tamiflu was in their system compared to other l periods where they were not on Tamiflu.  This allowed use to account for the personal differences noted above like mental health and socioeconomic status.   We also compared those children with flu who got Tamiflu and those with flu who did not get Tamiflu to see if the infection itself could be associated with increased suicide. After accounting for all these variables, we did not find any an association between Tamiflu exposure and suicide. Our findings suggest that Tamiflu does NOT increase the risk of suicide in children or teenagers. (more…)
Author Interviews, Primary Care, Prostate Cancer / 14.03.2018 Interview with: Dr. Jason Profetto, MD, CCFP Family and Academic Medicine Chair, Clinical Skills Undergraduate Medical Education McMaster University What is the background for this study?  Response: The main reason that prompted me to investigate the issue of digital rectal exams in primary care for prostate screening was that it appeared to be rather dogmatic practice (continually practiced by many despite updated data suggesting a lack of benefit).  I was very curious to see if there was any data that suggested the digital rectal exams was indeed a useful indicator in primary practice (ie. Family Medicine) in detecting prostate cancer in asymptomatic men.  Intuitively, I didn’t believe the DRE was accurate mainly because in medical school it’s generally under-represented in clinical skills teaching and poorly taught and assessed (not just in Ontario, but also Canada).  As a result, it seemed bizarre to me that this specific clinical skills was being used as a routine measure in family medicine to screen for prostate cancer.  Also, for me this was a big issue as many men in my practice were used to having yearly “rectal exams” done and I thought it was time to really take a closer look at the research to see whether or not we can support this practice. What are the main findings? Response: The main findings suggest that the digital rectal exam is not helpful/accurate in detecting prostate cancer in asymptomatic men in family practice or primary care. (more…)
Author Interviews, Primary Care, Pulmonary Disease / 15.12.2017 Interview with: Dr Jennifer K Quint MSc PhD FHEA FRCP Clinical Senior Lecturer Respiratory Epidemiology Respiratory Epidemiology, Occupational Medicine and Public Health National Heart and Lung Institute Imperial College London What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We were commissioned by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy in the UK to undertake a piece of work to show the value of pulmonary rehabilitation in reducing exacerbations in COPD patients so that they could create a web based tool that would show cost savings if GPs actually referred people for pulmonary rehabilitation. Previous systematic reviews have found that pulmonary rehab can reduce hospital admissions but those groups are often small and not very generalizable so we decided to look at what happens in a primary care COPD population. Our main finding is that people who are eligible for referral are not being referred  - less than 10% eligible were actually referred. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Primary Care, University of Pennsylvania / 14.11.2017 Interview with: Molly Candon, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research University of Pennsylvania What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We conducted a secret shopper study in 2012, 2014, and 2016 in which simulated Medicaid patients called primary care practices and attempted to schedule an appointment. When Medicaid fees were increased to Medicare levels in 2013 and 2014, primary care appointment availability increased. Once the federally-funded program ended in 2015, most states returned to lower fees. As expected, provider participation in Medicaid declined as well. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Emergency Care, Health Care Systems, Hospital Readmissions, Primary Care / 03.10.2017 Interview with: Roberta Capp MD Assistant Professor Director for Care Transitions in the Department of Emergency Medicine University of Colorado School of Medicine Medical Director of Colorado Access Medicaid Aurora Colorado What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Medicaid clients are at highest risk for utilizing the hospital system due to barriers in accessing outpatient services and social determinants. We have found that providing care management services improves primary care utilization, which leads to better chronic disease management and reductions in emergency department use and hospital admissions. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Geriatrics, Primary Care / 19.09.2017 Interview with: Matthew L. Maciejewski, PhD Professor in Medicine Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine Center for Health Services Research Primary Care Durham VA Medical Center Duke University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Treating diabetes requires balancing the risks of long-term harm from under-treatment with the short-term and long-term harm from potential over-treatment. Randomized trials have shown that the benefits of aggressive glycemic control only begin after at least 8 years of treatment. Yet, the harms of aggressive glycemic control –  hypoglycemia, cardiovascular events, cognitive impairment, fractures, and death – can happen at any time. In some older people, “deintensification” of diabetes treatment may be the safer route, because of the risks that come with too-low blood sugar. The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) specifically states that medications other than metformin should be avoided when an older patient’s hemoglobin A1c is less than 7.5%, because the risks of hypoglycemia are larger and the potential benefits of treatment are smaller for older adults with diabetes.  Most attention in prior work has focused on undertreatment of diabetes and there has been only limited investigation of patient characteristics associated with overtreatment of diabetes or severe hypoglycemia. Since the elderly are therefore at greatest risk of overtreatment and Medicare is the primary source of care of the elderly, we examined rates of overtreatment and deintensification of therapy for Medicare beneficiaries, and whether there were any disparities in these rates.  We found that almost 11 percent of Medicare participants with diabetes had very low blood sugar levels that suggested they were being over-treated. But only 14 percent of these patients had a reduction in blood sugar medication refills in the next six months. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Heart Disease, JAMA, Lifestyle & Health, Primary Care, UCLA / 28.07.2017 Interview with: Carol M. Mangione, MD, MSPH, FACP Barbara A. Levey, MD, and Gerald S. Levey, MD Endowed chair in medicine David Geffen School of Medicine University of California, Los Angeles Professor of public health at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health What is the background for this study? Response: Americans can experience several health benefits from consuming healthy foods and engaging in physical activity. The Task Force recommends that primary care professionals work together with their patients when making the decision to offer or refer adults who are not obese and do not have hypertension, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, or diabetes to behavior counseling to promote healthful diet and physical activity. Our focus was on the impact of a healthful diet and physical activity on cardiovascular risk because this condition is the leading cause of premature morbidity and mortality. The Task Force evaluates what the science tells us surrounding the potential benefits and harms of a particular preventive service. In this case, the Task Force found high quality evidence focusing on the impact a healthful diet and physical activity can have on a patient’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Relying on this evidence, the Task Force was able to conclude that there is a positive but small benefit of behavioral counseling to prevent cardiovascular disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, General Medicine, Primary Care / 26.07.2017 Interview with: Christine D. Jones, MD, MS Assistant professor Director of Care Transitions, Hospital Medicine Group University of Colorado School of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background for this study is that referrals to home health care at hospital discharge have increased over recent years.  Yet, care coordination including information exchange and communication is often suboptimal between the hospital and home health care and may contribute to medication list discrepancies and even hospital readmissions. We spoke with focus groups of home health nurses and our main findings were that improvements in key areas could care coordination after hospital discharge. Specific solutions included: 1) Clearly defining the accountability for home health orders after discharge between hospitalists and primary care providers 2) Changes to insurance requirements that currently only allow physicians to write home health orders so that nurse practitioners and physician assistants can also write home health orders 3) Enhancing access for home health agencies to hospital electronic health records and direct phone lines 4) Encouraging liaisons from home health agencies to meet patients in the hospital to align clinician and patient expectations 5) Direct coordination between home health nurses and clinicians or pharmacists to resolve medication discrepancies 6) Ensuring that detailed information about cognitive and behavioral health is included in information provided to home health from referring hospitals (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Opiods, Pain Research, Primary Care / 17.07.2017 Interview with: Jane M. Liebschutz, MD, MPH Associate Professor of Medicine Section of General Internal Medicine Boston University School of Medicine Boston, Massachusetts What is the background for this study? Response: The number of patients receiving opioids for chronic pain has risen over the past 2 decades in the US, in parallel with an increase in opioid use disorder. The CDC and professional medical societies have created clinical guidelines to improve the safety of opioid prescribing, yet individual prescribers can find them onerous to implement. We developed an intervention to change clinical practice to support primary care physicians who prescribe the majority of opioids for chronic pain. The intervention included 4 elements- a nurse care manager to help assess, educate and monitor patients, an electronic registry to keep track of patient data and produce physician level reports, an individualized educational session for the physician by an opioid prescribing expert based on the physician-specific practice information and online resources to help with decision-making for opioid prescribing ( We tested whether the intervention would improve adherence to guidelines, decrease opioid doses and decrease early refills, as a marker of potential prescription opioid misuse among 985 patients of 53 primary care clinicians in four primary care practices. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Primary Care, Vaccine Studies / 14.07.2017 Interview with: S. Hughes Melton, MD, MBA, FAAFP AAFP Foundation president MedicalResearch: What is the background for this initiative? What are the main vaccinations that teens should have?  Response: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adolescents receive four immunizations – two of which are administered as multi-dose series – to help protect against meningococcal meningitis caused by serogroups A, C, W and Y; human papillomavirus (HPV); tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap); and influenza (flu).1 Despite these recommendations, millions of teens remain vulnerable to serious infectious disease.2,3 Family physicians are well equipped to immunize their patients against a host of common infectious diseases and improve public health. However, discussing teen vaccinations during annual appointments may present challenges due to other issues teens and their parents/guardians may be focused on at this age. The American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation (AAFP Foundation) launched Highlight on VACCINATIONS 4 TEENS to help remind family physicians and their care teams to make immunization a priority at these key appointments for teens. (more…)
Author Interviews, Geriatrics, JAMA, NYU, Primary Care / 22.05.2017 Interview with: Benjamin Han, MD, MPH Assistant professor Departments of Medicine-Division of Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Care, and Population Health NYU Langone Medical Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are an increasing number of older adults being prescribed statins for primary prevention, but the evidence for the benefit for older adults is unclear. Our study finds that in the ALLHAT-LLT clinical trial, there were no benefits in either all-cause mortality or cardiovascular outcomes for older adults who did not have any evidence of cardiovascular disease at baseline. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Macular Degeneration, Ophthalmology, Primary Care / 01.05.2017 Interview with: David C Neely, MD The University of Alabama at Birmingham What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study examined the prevalence of eyes with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in patients seen in primary eye care clinics who purportedly have normal macular health. Approximately 25.0% of eyes deemed to be normal based on dilated eye examination by primary eye care providers had macular characteristics that indicated age-related macular degeneration. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Primary Care, UCLA / 10.04.2017 Interview with: John N. Mafi, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Medicine Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine Los Angeles, CA 90024 Affiliated Natural Scientist in Health Policy RAND Corporation 1776 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90401 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Between 10-30% of healthcare costs are due to low value care, or patient care that provides little to no benefit to patients, and can sometimes cause harm (e.g., radiation exposure from diagnostic imaging tests). In this study, we found that hospital-based primary care practice provide more low value care than community-based primary care practices across the United States. Understanding where and why low value care occurs is going to be essential if we want to get serious about eliminating it. (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, Cost of Health Care, Primary Care / 28.02.2017 Interview with: Molly Candon, PhD Fellow Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, The Wharton School Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research, Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Primary care practices are less likely to schedule appointments with Medicaid patients compared to the privately insured, largely due to lower reimbursement rates for providers. Given the gap in access, concerns have been raised that Medicaid enrollees may struggle to translate their coverage into care. Despite the substantial increase in demand for care resulting from provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), our 10-state audit study recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine finds that primary care appointment availability for new patients with Medicaid increased 5.4 percentage points between 2012 and 2016, while appointment availability for patients with private coverage did not change. Over the same time period, both Medicaid patients and the privately insured experienced slight increases in wait times. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cost of Health Care, Primary Care / 09.12.2016 Interview with: Dr. Ateev Mehrotra MD Associate professor, Department of Health Care Policy Harvard Medical School and a hospitalist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Boston, Massachusetts What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: More people in the US are using price transparency websites to shop for care. Some have wondered whether using the information on these websites to choose a doctor will help them actually save money. A relatively small difference in price for visits on the website translated into hundreds of dollars. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lancet, Primary Care, Weight Research / 26.10.2016 Interview with: Paul Aveyard PhD MRCP FRCGP FFPH Professor of Behavioural Medicine Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences University of Oxford Radcliffe Primary Care Building Radcliffe Observatory Quarter Oxford What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We know that opportunistic brief interventions by physicians can be effective, but there is no evidence that they are so for obesity. Physicians worry that broaching this topic will be offensive, time-consuming, and ineffective. We needed a randomised trial to assess whether physicians’ fears were justified, or in fact brief interventions could be as effective for patients who are overweight as they are for smoking or problem drinking and that’s what we did. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Primary Care, Yale / 26.10.2016 Interview with: Ann Kurth, Ph.D., C.N.M., R.N. USPSTF Task Force member Dean of the Yale School of Nursing What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Breastfeeding is beneficial for both mothers and their babies, with the evidence showing that babies who are breastfed are less likely to get infections such as ear infections, or to develop chronic conditions such as asthma, obesity, and diabetes. For mothers, breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk for breast and ovarian cancer and type 2 diabetes. While breastfeeding rates have been rising in recent decades—with 80 percent of women starting to breastfeed and just over half still doing so at six months—they are still lower than the Healthy People 2020 targets and the Task Force wanted to review the latest evidence around how clinicians can best support breastfeeding.” After balancing the potential benefits and harms, the Task Force found sufficient evidence to continue to recommend interventions during pregnancy and after birth to support breastfeeding. This recommendation includes the same types of interventions the Task Force recommended in 2008, such as education about the benefits of breastfeeding, guidance and encouragement, and practical help for how to breastfeed. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, PLoS, Primary Care / 22.09.2016 Interview with: Dr. Adam Shardlow Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust UK What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is common in the general population, and many people are managed in primary care rather than by specialist nephrologists. This study was designed to investigate 5 year outcomes in people with mild to moderate CKD (CKD stage 3). The main findings were that the majority of participants were stable, and progression to end stage renal disease was a rarity. Interestingly, and contrary to common thinking about CKD, we found that a significant minority no longer had evidence of CKD stage 3 at 5 years, which we have termed ‘CKD remission’. (more…)
Author Interviews, Primary Care / 25.08.2016 interview with: Diane Hayes, Ph.D., President and co-founder, InCrowd Areal time market intelligence service to the life sciences What is the background for this survey? Response: Physician burnout is a significant concern across the healthcare continuum, as Affordable Care Act (ACA) measures change the nature of doctoring, and as at least 30 major teaching hospitals at least 30 major teaching hospitals undertake initiatives aimed at reducing burnout ahead of its potential impact on patient safety and quality outcomes. Numerous studies have documented the issue. We thought it would be instructive to use InCrowd’s mobile microsurvey platform for a mid-year snapshot of burnout sentiment. The microsurvey used the Maslach Burnout Inventory of symptoms to determine respondents who could be considered to be experiencing burnout—the same index as used by the widely cited Mayo Clinic and MedScape studies. We also asked if facilities are addressing the issue, a topic not always covered. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Electronic Records, Heart Disease, Primary Care / 18.08.2016 Interview with: Tom Marshall, PhD, MRCGP, FFPH Professor of public health and primary care Institute of Applied Health Research University of Birmingham Edgbaston, Birmingham What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Shortly before the Health Checks programme began, a programme of targeted case finding was set up in Sandwell in the West Midlands. In general practices in the area a programme nurse searched electronic medical records to identify untreated patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease. The nurse then invited high risk patients for assessment in the practice and those who needed treatment were referred to their GP for further action. This was implemented in stages across 26 general practices, allowing it to be evaluated as a stepped wedge randomised controlled trial. The programme was successful, resulting in a 15.5% increase in the number of untreated high risk patients started on either antihypertensives or statins. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Mental Health Research, Primary Care / 09.08.2016 Interview with: David S. Kroll, MD Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry Brigham and Women's Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our primary care clinic has the capacity to provide 9 psychiatry evaluations per week, but before we started this project nearly half of the evaluation appointments went unused due to no-shows, and meanwhile the waiting time was two months. We had tried appointment reminders but this had very little impact on the problem—it turns out that forgetting is only a small part of why patients miss their appointments and that instead they have competing obligations—family, housing, legal, etc. Since the traditional model of scheduling and keeping appointments wasn’t working for so many patients, we implemented a referral-based walk-in clinic instead and found that this significantly increased the number of patients who were seen while virtually eliminating our wait list. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Opiods, Primary Care / 04.08.2016 Interview with: Richard A. Deyo MD, MPH Kaiser Permanente Professor of Evidence-Based Family Medicine Department of Family Medicine Department of Medicine Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences Oregon Health and Science University Portland, OR 97239 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Doctors and other prescribers often wonder how much and for how long they can prescribe opioids before inadvertently promoting long-term use. Unfortunately, few data are available to guide initial prescribing. Long-term opioid use is problematic because of substantial rates of dependence and misuse, and because the efficacy of long-term therapy remains unproven. Development of drug tolerance and increasing sensitivity to pain may limit long-term efficacy. Several factors may explain the emergence of inadvertent long-term use, including opioid dependence, recreational use, addiction, and illicit diversion to other users. We studied the risk of long-term use (defined as filling 6 or more opioid prescriptions in the subsequent year) with data from Oregon's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which captures all opioid prescriptions filled in Oregon pharmacies, regardless of who wrote the prescription or who paid for the prescription. We identified patients who had not received opioid medication in the previous year, but now received an initial prescription. There were over half a million such patients during the one-year study. Our most informative analysis was among people under age 45, which excluded most patients with a diagnosis of cancer, who were near the end of life, or who had chronic painful conditions such as arthritis. In this group, a patient who received just a three day supply of a moderate dose of opioids (For example, 10 mg. of hydrocodone plus acetaminophen 4 times daily for 3 days) had about a 2% risk of becoming a long term user. Someone who filled two prescriptions jumped to a 7% risk. Patients receiving a long-acting opioid as the first prescription had a higher risk of becoming long term users than those receiving short-acting opioids. Patients receiving a single prescription for such medications had almost a 16% likelihood of becoming long-term users compared to just 2% for those receiving short-term opioids. In some cases, long-term use may have been intended, but our exclusion of patients with cancer and end-of-life care made this less likely. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, PLoS, Primary Care, Telemedicine / 26.07.2016 Interview with: Brian McKinstry MD Professor of primary care e-health and General practitioner MacKenzie Medical Centre EdinburghBrian McKinstry MD Professor of primary care e-health and General practitioner MacKenzie Medical Centre Edinburgh What is the background for this study?  Response: The prevalence of diabetes is rising as the population ages and becomes more obese. Clinical services are increasingly stretched, so much so that it will be difficult for doctors and nurses to continue to look after patients using the same service delivery they have used in the past. Increasingly patients are being asked to self-manage long-term illnesses, but particularly with type 2 diabetes they find this stressful. One solution is to encourage self-management but with monitoring at a distance through telehealth. We performed a randomised controlled trial in family practices in four regions of the United Kingdom among 321 people with type 2 diabetes and glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) ( a measure of control over the previous three months) >58 mmol/mol. The supported telemonitoring intervention involved self-measurement and transmission to a secure website of twice weekly morning and evening glucose for review by family practice clinicians. The control group received usual care, with at least annual review and more frequent reviews for people with poor glycaemic or blood pressure control in the context of incentives in family practice based on a sliding scale of financial rewards for achieving glycaemic and blood pressure control targets. HbA1c assessed at nine months was the primary outcome. Intention-to-treat analyses were performed. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA, Primary Care / 28.06.2016 Interview with: Jochen Gensichen, MD, MSc, MPH Institute of General Practice and Family Medicine Konrad Reinhart, MD Center of Sepsis Control and Care Jena University Hospital Friedrich-Schiller-University School of Medicine Jena, Germany What are the main findings? Response: Sepsis survivors face multiple long-term sequelae which result in increased primary care needs as a basic support in medication, physiotherapy or mental health. Process of care after discharge from the intensive care unit often is fragmented. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Primary Care, UCLA / 21.06.2016 Interview with: John N. Mafi, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Medicine Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine Los Angeles, CA 90024 Affiliated Adjunct in Health Policy RAND Corporation Santa Monica, CA 90401 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mafi: The U.S. healthcare system faces a looming shortage of primary care physicians, with some estimates as high as 20,000 physicians by the year 2020. In addition, fewer and fewer trainees enter primary care careers because of the harder work and lower salaries. Combine this with the passage of the Affordable Care Act and the millions of newly insured patients looking for a primary care provider, and you have created a perfect storm where timely access to primary care becomes essentially unachievable. Many advocate for expanding the role of nurse practitioners and physician assistants to mitigate the physician shortage. But this is controversial as most doctors believe nurse practitioners provide inferior care to doctors and many feel that expanding their role would worsen the value and efficiency of the U.S. healthcare system. While studies suggest they provide similar quality of care to physicians, few have actually evaluated whether they provide greater amounts of inefficient or low value care. Low value care is important because it can harm patients (antibiotics for colds don’t help patients and have harmful side effects) and they can raise healthcare costs. In this context, we used a large national database on ambulatory visits to compare the quality and efficiency of care among nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and physicians in the U.S. primary care setting. In our 15 year analysis of nearly 29,000 patients who saw either a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or a physician, we found similar rates of inappropriate antibiotic use for colds, unnecessary imaging (such as x-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans) for back pain and headache, and potentially necessary referrals to specialists for these same three conditions. (more…)
Author Interviews, Primary Care, Vitamin K / 20.06.2016 Interview with: Michael Allan, MD CCFP Professor of Family Medicine and Director of Evidence Based Medicine Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry University of Alberta What is the background for this study? Dr. Allan: A large volume of observational (lower-level) research links lower Vitamin D levels with a long list of health concerns. Other non-clinical studies show the biochemical and physiological actions of Vitamin D could impact many health states. These factors have led many clinicians and scientists to advocate strongly for Vitamin D supplementation. However, this type of research can draw false connections. Therefore, we must examine high-quality randomized studies to determine if Vitamin D supplement can help people live longer, have improved health or avoid negative health outcomes. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Dermatology, Journal Clinical Oncology, Melanoma, Primary Care, University of Pittsburgh / 07.06.2016 Interview with: Laura Ferris, M.D., Ph.D. Associate professor, Department of Dermatology University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Member of the Melanoma Program University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute What is the background for this study? Dr. Ferris: Rates of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, are on the rise, and skin cancer screenings are one of the most important steps for early detection and treatment. Typically, patients receive skin checks by setting up an appointment with a dermatologist. UPMC instituted a new screening initiative, which was modeled after a promising German program, the goal being to improve the detection of melanomas by making it easier for patients to get screened during routine office visits with their primary care physicians (PCPs). PCPs completed training on how to recognize melanomas and were asked to offer annual screening during office visits to all patients aged 35 and older. In 2014, during the first year of the program, 15 percent of the 333,788 eligible UPMC patients were screened in this fashion. (more…)
Author Interviews, Electronic Records, JAMA, Primary Care / 16.03.2016 Interview with: Daniel R. Murphy MD MBA Assistant Professor - Interim Director of GIM at Baylor Clinic Department of Medicine Health Svc Research & General Internal Medicine Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX, US What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Murphy: Electronic health records (EHRs) have enabled a large number of messages to be transmitted to physicians each day, including new types of messages that were not present in the pre-EHR era. Lack of support and policies to assist physicians with this workload creates opportunities for important information, such as abnormal tests results, to be missed among the vast amount of other information. We found that primary care physicians (PCPs) at three clinics using commercial EHRs received an average of 77 messages per day, of which only about 20% were test results. Specialists received an average of 29 total messages per day. Extrapolating time needed to process these messages from prior work suggests that PCPs would require an average of 67 minutes per day to process these messages. (more…)