To present the results of a pilot study of an innovative methodology for translating best evidence about spinal cord injury (SCI) for family practice.
Review of Canadian and international peer-reviewed literature to develop SCI Actionable Nuggets, and a mixed qualitative-quantitative evaluation to determine Nuggets' effect on physician knowledge of and attitudes toward patients with SCI, as well as practice accessibility.
Ontario, Newfoundland, and Australia.
Forty-nine primary care physicians.
Twenty Actionable Nuggets (pertaining to key health issues associated with long-term SCI) were developed. Nugget postcards were mailed weekly for 20 weeks to participating physicians. Prior knowledge of SCI was self-rated by participants; they also completed an online posttest to assess the information they gained from the Nugget postcards. Participants' opinions about practice accessibility and accommodations for patients with SCI, as well as the acceptability and usefulness of Nuggets, were assessed in interviews.
With Actionable Nuggets, participants' knowledge of the health needs of patients with SCI improved, as knowledge increased from a self-rating of fair (58%) to very good (75%) based on posttest quiz results. The mean overall score for accessibility and accommodations in physicians' practices was 72%. Participants' awareness of the need for screening and disease prevention among this population also increased. The usefulness and acceptability of SCI Nugget postcards were rated as excellent.
Actionable Nuggets are a knowledge translation tool designed to provide family physicians with concise, practical information about the most prevalent and pressing primary care needs of patients with SCI. This evidence-based resource has been shown to be an excellent fit with information consumption processes in primary care. They were updated and adapted for distribution by the Canadian Medical Association to approximately 50,000 primary care physicians in Canada, in both English and French.
It has been estimated that up to one-third of patients with diabetes mellitus use some form of complementary and alternative medicine. Momordica charantia (bitter melon) is a popular fruit used for the treatment of diabetes and related conditions amongst the indigenous populations of Asia, South America, India and East Africa. Abundant pre-clinical studies have documented the anti-diabetic and hypoglycaemic effects of M. charantia through various postulated mechanisms. However, clinical trial data with human subjects are limited and flawed by poor study design and low statistical power. The present article reviews the clinical data regarding the anti-diabetic potentials of M. charantia and calls for better-designed clinical trials to further elucidate its possible therapeutic effects.
To evaluate the appropriateness of potential data sources for the population of performance indicators for primary care (PC) practices.
This project was a cross sectional study of 7 multidisciplinary primary care teams in Ontario, Canada. Practices were recruited and 5-7 physicians per practice agreed to participate in the study. Patients of participating physicians (20-30) were recruited sequentially as they presented to attend a visit. Data collection included patient, provider and practice surveys, chart abstraction and linkage to administrative data sets. Matched pairs analysis was used to examine the differences in the observed results for each indicator obtained using multiple data sources.
Seven teams, 41 physicians, 94 associated staff and 998 patients were recruited. The survey response rate was 81% for patients, 93% for physicians and 83% for associated staff. Chart audits were successfully completed on all but 1 patient and linkage to administrative data was successful for all subjects. There were significant differences noted between the data collection methods for many measures. No single method of data collection was best for all outcomes. For most measures of technical quality of care chart audit was the most accurate method of data collection. Patient surveys were more accurate for immunizations, chronic disease advice/information dispensed, some general health promotion items and possibly for medication use. Administrative data appears useful for indicators including chronic disease diagnosis and osteoporosis/ breast screening.
Multiple data collection methods are required for a comprehensive assessment of performance in primary care practices. The choice of which methods are best for any one particular study or quality improvement initiative requires careful consideration of the biases that each method might introduce into the results. In this study, both patients and providers were willing to participate in and consent to, the collection and linkage of information from multiple sources that would be required for such assessments.
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The development of a pan-Canadian network of primary care research networks for studying issues in primary care has been the vision of Canadian primary care researchers for many years. With the opportunity for funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada and the support of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, we have planned and developed a project to assess the feasibility of a network of networks of family medicine practices that exclusively use electronic medical records. The Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network will collect longitudinal data from practices across Canada to assess the primary care epidemiology and management of 5 chronic diseases: hypertension, diabetes, depression, chronic obstructive lung disease, and osteoarthritis. This article reports on the 7-month first phase of the feasibility project of 7 regional networks in Canada to develop a business plan, including governance, mission, and vision; develop memorandum of agreements with the regional networks and their respective universities; develop and obtain approval of research ethics board applications; develop methods for data extraction, a Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network database, and initial assessment of the types of data that can be extracted; and recruitment of 10 practices at each network that use electronic medical records. The project will continue in phase 2 of the feasibility testing until April 2010.
There continues be a problem with the proportion of treated hypertension patients who are actually at recommended blood pressure targets.
Is an intensive protocol-based strategy for achieving blood pressure control effective in family practice and will family physicians and their hypertensive patients adhere to such a protocol.
Design of the study is a cluster randomized controlled trial at the Centre for Studies in Primary Care, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. Participants were 19 family physicians and 156 (98 intervention group and 58 control group) of their patients in and around the Kingston area. Patients were eligible if they had a diagnosis of hypertension and had not yet achieved their target blood pressure. Patients in the intervention group were managed according to a protocol that involved seeing their family doctor every 2 weeks over a 16-week period and having their antihypertensive medication regimen adjusted at each visit if target was not achieved. This was compared to usual care. Main outcomes were primary effectiveness outcome measured at 12 months was the differences in blood pressure between baseline and 12 months in the two groups. Secondary effectiveness outcomes included rates of achieving BP target and compliance with protocol by physicians and patients. Adherence outcomes were assessed by determining the number of visits made during the 16-week intervention period and the increase in the number of drugs being used.
Of the patients enrolled, 72 (74%) from the intervention group and 41 (71%) in the control group were available for analysis. Improvement between baseline and 12-month follow-up was significantly better for the intervention group than the control for diastolic mean daytime BP on 24 hours ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (4.5 mmHg reduction versus 0.5 mmHg reduction) and for both systolic (14.7 mmHg reduction versus 2.7 mmHg reduction) and diastolic (7.4 mmHg reduction versus 0.6 mmHg increase) blood pressure on BpTRU. Of the 98 patients in the intervention, 80% attended four or more of the eight visits and 25% attended all eight visits; physicians increased the number or dosage of drugs the patient was taking in 52% of the visits. Conclusions. An intensive, protocol-based, management approach to achieving blood pressure control in hypertensive patients in family practice is effective and works even when there is flexibility built into the algorithm to allow family physicians to use their judgement in individual patients.
To describe the challenges the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN) experienced with institutional research ethics boards (IREBs) when seeking approvals across jurisdictions and to provide recommendations for overcoming challenges of ethical review for multisite and multijurisdictional surveillance and research.
The CPCSSN project collects and validates longitudinal primary care health information (relating to hypertension, diabetes, depression, chronic obstructive lung disease, and osteoarthritis) from electronic medical records across Canada. Privacy and data storage security policies and processes have been developed to protect participants' privacy and confidentiality, and IREB approval is obtained in each participating jurisdiction. Inconsistent interpretation and application of privacy and ethical issues by IREBs delays and impedes research programs that could better inform us about chronic disease.
The CPCSSN project's experience with gaining approval from IREBs highlights the difficulty of conducting pan-Canadian health surveillance and multicentre research. Inconsistent IREB approvals to waive explicit individual informed consent produced particular challenges for researchers.
The CPCSSN experience highlights the need to develop a better process for researchers to obtain timely and consistent IREB approvals for multicentre surveillance and research. We suggest developing a specialized, national, centralized IREB responsible for approving multisite studies related to population health research.
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To study the beliefs of a group of Canadian men regarding the risks, effectiveness, and importance of routine prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing when used as a screening tool for prostate cancer.
A 1-page questionnaire designed to gauge patient beliefs about PSA screening.
Two primary care clinics in Kingston, Ont.
Seventy-two men aged 41 to 80.
Whether men believed that the PSA blood test was not risky when used as a screening test for prostate cancer, was effective at preventing death from prostate cancer, and was important for their health.
Fifteen men reported having visited their physicians because of difficulty urinating in the past 2 years, or a personal history of prostate cancer, and were excluded; for these men, the use of the PSA blood test would not be for screening. Of the 57 men considered in the study, 54 (95%) believed that using the PSA blood test as a screening tool for prostate cancer was not risky, 39 (68%) believed that the PSA blood test was good or very good at preventing death from prostate cancer, and 45 (79%) believed that the routine use of the PSA blood test was important or very important for their health. Men in the suggested screening age group of 51 to 70 years (n = 32) had an equally positive impression of PSA screening.
Despite a limited body of evidence showing its effectiveness, Canadian men continue to have a favourable impression of PSA screening and remain largely unaware of potential adverse events associated with PSA testing.
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Major initiatives are underway in Canada which are designed to increase electronic medical record (EMR) implementation and maximise its use in primary health care. These developments need to be supported by sufficient evidence from the literature, particularly relevant research conducted in the Canadian context.
This study sought to quantify this lack of research by: (1) identifying and describing the primary health care EMR literature; and (2) comparing the Canadian and international primary healthcare EMR literature on the basis of content and publication levels.
Seven bibliographic databases were searched using primary health care and EMR keywords. Publication abstracts were reviewed and categorised. First author affiliation was used to identify country of origin. Proportions of Canadian- and non-Canadian-authored publications were compared using Fisher's exact test. For countries having 10 or more primary healthcare EMR publications, publications per 10 000 researchers were calculated.
After exclusions, 750 publications were identified. More than one-third used primary healthcare EMRs as a study data source. Twenty-two (3%) were Canadian-authored. There were significantly different publication levels in three categories between Canadian- and non-Canadian-authored publications. Based on publications per researchers, the Netherlands ranked first, while Canada ranked eighth of nine countries with 10 or more publications.
A relatively small body of literature focused on EMRs in primary health care exists; publications by Canadian authors were low. This study highlights the need to develop a strong evidence base to support the effective implementation and use of EMRs in Canadian primary health care.
To identify and explore areas where responsibilities may overlap between family health teams (FHTs) and public health units (PHUs); to identify facilitators or barriers to collaboration; and to identify priority areas for increased collaboration. DESIGN AND CONTEXT: Cross-sectional mixed-methods study of FHTs and PHUs in Ontario, Canada, consisting of a postal survey, key informant interviews and a roundtable meeting.
The survey response rate was 46%. Direct client-based services such as giving immunizations, promoting prenatal health and nutrition, and counselling related to smoking cessation were identified as the top three areas of perceived overlap. The greatest interest in collaboration was expressed in the areas of emergency planning and preparedness, immunization, and prenatal health and nutrition. Good communication with a clear understanding of roles and functions was the most important facilitator, and lack of resources and absence of a clear provincial mandate and direction to collaborate were identified as significant barriers.
Small, simple client-based projects of interest to both kinds of organization would be the best way to move forward in the short term. Improving communication between FHTs and PHUs, understanding of roles and functions, the use of shared or interoperable information systems and greater clarity from government on the ways in which these two key sectors of the healthcare system are intended to work together were identified as important for the success of increased collaboration.