To determine the diagnostic accuracy of physical examination by office based (general practice) paediatricians in the evaluation of heart murmurs.
Each of 30 office based paediatricians blindly examined a random sample of children with murmurs (43% of which were pathological). Sensitivity and specificity were calculated and were related to paediatricians' characteristics.
Mean (SD) sensitivity was 82 (24)% with a mean specificity of 72 (24)% in differentiating pathological from innocent murmurs, with further investigations requested for 54% of assessments. The addition of a referral strategy would have increased mean sensitivity to 87 (20)% and specificity to 98 (8)%. Diagnostic accuracy was not significantly related to the paediatricians' age, education or practice characteristics, but was related to referral practices and confidence in assessment.
Diagnostic accuracy of clinical assessment of heart murmurs by office based paediatricians is suboptimal, and educational strategies are needed to improve accuracy and reduce unnecessary referrals and misdiagnosis.
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Last year, a course in clinical medical ethics for paediatricians had to be cancelled owing to lack of interest. To find the reason for this, and to learn what ethical problems the physicians encountered in the course of their work, how they solved them, and their attitude towards education in medical ethics, a questionnaire was sent to all members of The Norwegian Paediatric Association, to be answered anonymously. The most frequent excuses for not attending the course were pressure of work and lack of time. 37% claimed that they very often or often encountered ethical problems during their work. 20% often solved these problems alone, and two out of three after discussing them with colleagues. 51% felt a need to improve their competence to solve ethical problems. Only 16% reported having no such need. The authors discuss the form and content of the education in medical ethics.
Although clinical bioethics teaching (CBT) is not a required component of the essential curriculum for pediatric surgery residency, ethical considerations often accompany surgical decision making for infants and children. This study was designed to quantitate CBT during pediatric surgery residency (PSR) and to determine preferences about formal bioethics instruction.
An 80-item questionnaire was mailed to 140 graduates of accredited PSR in the United States and Canada. Questions included demographic data, experience in CBT during and after PSR, preferred topics and teaching methods, and self-assessed and objective competency in bioethics.
The response rate was 78% (n = 109); 72% completed PSR between 1990 and 1995 (mean, 1991). Formal CBT within the curriculum of PSR was reported by 9% of respondents; lecture and consultation with an ethicist were the most frequent teaching methods. Informal CBT was noted by 88% of pediatric surgeons; observation of patient cases with ethical dilemmas was the primary mode of instruction. Quality of life, withholding/withdrawal of care, informed consent, child abuse, and economics ranked highest for most important CBT topics, while euthanasia, clinical research trials, and cultural diversity were given low priority. The preferred teaching methods were case-based discussions and consultation with an ethicist. Although 97% favored additional CBT in all postgraduate training, respondents who completed advanced study in medical ethics (P
To determine the future needs in manpower for pediatric care as it relates to pediatric specialists, a study was conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics to see the needs of manpower that will provide access of pediatric care to all. A pediatric plastic surgery survey was set in the form of a list of questions that was mailed to the respective societies with pediatric plastic surgeons as members. The survey was reviewed, and the results were studied. The outcome is presented in the form of findings related to the overall practice of plastic surgery. Based on the percentage of pediatric care that is provided, there were two types of pediatric plastic surgeons. Those with the high percentage of pediatric care tend to stay near health science centers; however, both groups tend to spend time (each to a different extent) tending to other plastic surgery problems. Today we have adequate access to care in the health system for pediatric plastic surgery problems despite the shift in the health care environment. Managed care continues to use the pediatrician as a "gatekeeper" in determining the overall access for patients with problems related to pediatric plastic surgery.
Viral respiratory infections (VRIs) are a common reason for ambulatory visits, and 35% are treated with an antibiotic. Antibiotic use for VRIs is not recommended, and it promotes antibiotic resistance. Effective patient-physician communication is critical to address this problem. Recognizing the importance of physician communication skills, licensure examinations were reformed in the United States and Canada to evaluate these skills.
To assess whether physician clinical and communication skills, as measured by the Canadian clinical skills examination (CSE), predict antibiotic prescribing for VRI in ambulatory care.
A total of 442 Quebec general practitioners and pediatricians who wrote the CSE in 1993-1996 were followed from 1993 to 2007, and their 159,456 VRI visits were identified from physician claims.
The outcome was an antibiotic prescription from a study physician dispensed within 7 days of the VRI visit. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to estimate the association between antibiotic prescribing for VRI and CSE score, adjusting for physician, patient, and encounter characteristics.
Better clinical and communication skills were associated with a reduction in the risk of antibiotic prescribing, but only for female physicians. Every 1-standard deviation increase in CSE score was associated with a 19% reduction in the risk of antibiotic prescribing (risk ratio, 0.81; 95% confidence interval, 0.68-0.97). Better clinical skills were associated with an even greater reduction in risk among female physicians with higher workloads (risk ratio, 0.48; 95% confidence interval, 0.29-0.79).
Physician clinical and communication skills are important determinants of antibiotic prescribing for VRI and should be targeted by future interventions.