AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, NYU, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 16.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aisha T. Langford, PhD, MPH Assistant Professor Department of Population Health Co-Director, CTSI Recruitment and Retention Core NYU Grossman School of Medicine NYU Langone Health New York, NY 10016 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In 2018, the American Heart Association (AHA) published an updated Scientific Statement on Resistant Hypertension. The term apparent treatment-resistant hypertension (aTRH) is used when pseudoresistance (e.g., white coat effect, medication nonadherence) cannot be excluded. The current study was designed to investigate if Black adults with aTRH, a group disproportionately affected by cardiovascular disease, receive evidence-based approaches to lower blood pressure as recommended in the 2018 AHA Scientific Statement. Specifically, we studied healthy lifestyle factors including not smoking, not consuming alcohol, ≥75 minutes of vigorous-intensity or ≥150 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity per week, and body mass index <25 kg/m2; and recommended antihypertensive medication classes among US Black adults. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Electronic Records, Lung Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 07.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com 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 MedicalResearch.com: 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

MedicalResearch.com 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 MedicalResearch.com: 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

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Andrea Gurmankin Levy, PhD MBE Department of Social Sciences Middlesex Community College, Middletown, Connecticut MedicalResearch.com: 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

MedicalResearch.com 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 · MedicalResearch.com: 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, Kidney Disease, Transplantation / 27.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com 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 MedicalResearch.com: 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…)
Author Interviews, Electronic Records, Emergency Care / 09.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shannon Toohey, MD, MAEd Associate Residency Director, Emergency Medicine Assistant Clinical Professor, Emergency Medicine University of California, Irvine Editor-in-Chief Journal of Education and Teaching in Emergency Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Electronic prescriptions (e-prescriptions) are now the predominant form of prescription used in the US. Concern has been raised that this form of prescription may be more difficult for emergency department (ED) patients to utilize than traditional printed prescriptions, given the unplanned nature of most ED visits at all times of day. While there are disincentives for physicians who choose not to use them, many emergency physicians are still concerned that it could decrease compliance in their patients. This study evaluated prescription compliance in insured patients at a single center. In our studied population, we found that patients were as equally likely to fill paper and e-Prescriptions. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Diabetes / 15.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alexander Turchin, MD, MS Director of Quality in Diabetes in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension Brigham and Women's Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: 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

MedicalResearch.com 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 MedicalResearch.com: 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

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jorge Salinas MD Epidemic intelligence service officer Division of Tuberculosis Elimination Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  MedicalResearch.com: 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, Compliance, Heart Disease, JAMA / 20.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Robert Rosenson, MD Professor of Medicine and Cardiology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York MedicalResearch.com: 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, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Compliance, Gastrointestinal Disease, Pharmacology, Technology / 18.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: C. Giovanni Traverso, MB, BChir, PhD Gastroenterologist and biomedical engineer Division of Gastroenterology at BWH Instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: 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

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Adewole S. Adamson, MD, MPP Department of Dermatology The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC MedicalResearch.com: 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

MedicalResearch.com 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. MedicalResearch.com: 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. MedicalResearch.com: 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, Compliance, Electronic Records, Kaiser Permanente, Technology / 12.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shayna L. Henry, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Department of Research & Evaluation Kaiser Permanente Southern California Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Henry: In this study, we analyzed the electronic health records of 838,638 Kaiser Permanente members in Southern California. We decided to conduct this study because Kaiser Permanente always strives to advance standards of excellence for care, and even with all the outreach resources available to health care providers and staff, gaps in preventive care still arise. It can be hard to get patients engaged in managing their preventive care, because there are so many tasks for them to keep track of – many of which don’t happen on a very regular basis. Online patient portals have been very useful at helping patients get more engaged in their care, but patients still have to make the first move, and put all the pieces together. Our tool, the Online Personal Action Plan (oPAP), puts our members’ health status and preventive and chronic care tasks in a single dashboard, and alerts them via email to their upcoming care needs, prompting them to log in, view their upcoming health care tasks such as annual vaccinations, tests and blood draws for chronic conditions, and routine cancer screenings, and make the necessary medical appointments to close those gaps in care. We wanted to better understand if having access to the oPAP tools was associated with a higher likelihood of taking care of those outstanding health care tasks in a timely manner. We found that members who used oPAP were more likely to get a mammogram, Pap smear, receive colorectal cancer screenings, and more likely to complete HbA1c testing for diabetes within 90 days of their coming due compared to members who were not registered on our patient portal.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, HIV, NYU / 06.04.2015

Marya Viorst Gwadz, Ph.D Senior Research Scientist Director, Transdisciplinary Methods Core Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR) New York University College of Nursing New York, NY 10010 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marya Viorst Gwadz, Ph.D Senior Research Scientist Director, Transdisciplinary Methods Core Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR) New York University College of Nursing New York, NY 10010 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Gwadz: HIV is a major success story in that the tolerability, convenience, and efficacy of antiretroviral medications have improved dramatically over the last decade. A number of years ago in the course of another research study with vulnerable individuals infected with HIV in New York City, and we noticed that a substantial proportion of study participants were medically eligible for HIV medications, and had access to medications, but had declined or stopped taking them. We then turned our attention to understanding why this is the case, that is, to identify the individual, social, and structural barriers that persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) experience to antiretroviral therapy. We focused in particular on African American/Black and Latino/Hispanic PLHA, because the overall emphasis of our research group at the NYU College of Nursing is the development and evaluation of culturally targeted intervention approaches to address health disparities. Around 2011, studies of the “HIV cascade of care” began to emerge, which highlighted the problem of poor engagement in HIV care and antiretroviral therapy nationally. The ultimate goal of HIV treatment is viral suppression, but at present, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that we have achieved that goal with only 30% of PLHA. Medical Research: What kind of intervention approach that emerged from these background findings? Dr. Gwadz: We found that barriers to HIV medication are complex and multi-faceted for PLHA from African American/Black and Latino/Hispanic backgrounds. In particular, PLHA experience serious emotional barriers to the uptake of HIV medications, such as fear of side effects, stigma, and disclosure of HIV status. Further, high rates of substance use and mental health distress, and barriers to accessing services for these concerns, impede medication uptake. Moreover, PLHA who are wary of HIV medication tend to avoid HIV primary care, often because they do not want to feel pressured to take medications, or explain to their providers why they are not taking them. So poor engagement in HIV care, which is very common among PLHA, and low uptake of HIV medication are actually related problems. With funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (grant #R34MH093352), and in collaboration with Mount Sinai Beth Israel and Mount Sinai St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, we developed a multi-component culturally targeted intervention grounded in the Motivational Interviewing approach that included three individual sessions, 12-24 weeks of patient navigation (as needed), up to five support groups with other PLHA who had declined medication, which were co-led by a “successful” peer who was engaged in HIV care and were taking HIV medication with good adherence. One novel aspect of the intervention was its focus on emotional barriers to HIV medication, and the program’s “no pressure, no judgment” stance, congruent with the Motivational Interviewing approach, was key to engaging participants into the study to talk about these difficult issues. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Diabetes, Heart Disease / 17.03.2015

Sameer Bansilal, MD, MS Asst. Prof.- Medicine and Cardiology Clinical Trials & Global Health Studies Icahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sameer Bansilal, MD, MS Asst. Prof.- Medicine and Cardiology Clinical Trials & Global Health Studies Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bansilal: Our group has previously published data from FREEDOM, COURAGE and BARI showing that adherence to recommended therapies are low in diabetic (DM) patients. We have spent the last decade developing a potential solution to this- the Fuster-Ferrer polypill. This study was done to better inform the association between levels of medication adherence and long term major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) in high risk diabetic patients. We analyzed a U.S. health insurers’ claims data for 19,962 high risk diabetic subjects. Using proportion of days covered (PDC) for 1 year after first refill, we stratified patients as fully adherent (FA≥80%), partially adherent (PA ≥40- ≤79%) or non-adherent (NA <40%) and examined the associations with a primary cardiovascualr outcome measure of death, myocardial infarction, stroke and coronary revascularization. We found that only 34% participants were fully adherent to therapy. When compared to being non-adherent at 2 yrs follow up,, being fully adherent was associated with a 28% lower rate of MACE; being partially adherent was associated with a 21% lower rate of MACE. Efforts towards improving adherence in diabetic subjects may lead to substantial reductions in MACE. (more…)