The authors conducted a study of primary care physicians in the province of Quebec to ascertain their patterns of preventive practice with respect to cancer in four anatomic sites: breast, cervix, colon-rectum, and lung. They further explored the data set to elicit the determinants of the patterns of preventive practice. Scales were constructed encompassing practice behaviors for each type of cancer, continuing education intensity, knowledge, and belief. The content of these scales was delineated through factor analysis and their reliability assessed using Cronbach's alpha. Other variables were also considered in the conceptual model. Bivariate analysis and multivariate techniques were used. The models tested contained many significant interaction terms. A limited number of the first-order interactions was explored for each of the dependent variables. Different patterns emerged for each cancer type. Mode of reimbursement, continuing education, gender of physician, provider-related barriers to prevention, and knowledge were found to be the major predictors of prevention scores for the cancers studied, but their relative importance varied according to each cancer. The importance of better understanding the determinants of physician behaviors is emphasized and the existence of several possible explanatory models suggested.
Although oral replacement with high doses of vitamin B12 is both effective and safe for the treatment of B12 deficiency, little is known about patients' views concerning the acceptability and effectiveness of oral B12. We investigated patient perspectives on switching from injection to oral B12 therapy.
This study involved a quantitative arm using questionnaires and a qualitative arm using semi-structured interviews, both to assess patient views on injection and oral therapy. Patients were also offered a six-month trial of oral B12 therapy. One hundred and thirty-three patients who receive regular B12 injections were included from three family practice units (two hospital-based academic clinics and one community health centre clinic) in Toronto.
Seventy-three percent (63/86) of respondents were willing to try oral B12. In a multivariate analysis, patient factors associated with a "willingness to switch" to oral B12 included being able to get to the clinic in less than 30 minutes (OR 9.3, 95% CI 2.2-40.0), and believing that frequent visits to the health care provider (OR 5.4, 95% CI 1.1-26.6) or the increased costs to the health care system (OR 16.7, 95% CI 1.5-184.2) were disadvantages of injection B12. Fifty-five patients attempted oral therapy and 52 patients returned the final questionnaire. Of those who tried oral therapy, 76% (39/51) were satisfied and 71% (39/55) wished to permanently switch. Factors associated with permanently switching to oral therapy included believing that the frequent visits to the health care provider (OR 35.4, 95% CI 2.9-432.7) and travel/parking costs (OR 8.7, 95% CI 1.2-65.3) were disadvantages of injection B12. Interview participants consistently cited convenience as an advantage of oral therapy.
Switching patients from injection to oral B12 is both feasible and acceptable to patients. Oral B12 supplementation is well received largely due to increased convenience. Clinicians should offer oral B12 therapy to their patients who are currently receiving injections, and newly diagnosed B12-deficient patients who can tolerate and are compliant with oral medications should be offered oral supplementation.
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There is a gap between prescribed asthma medication and diagnosed asthma in children and adolescents. However, few studies have explored this issue among adults, where asthma medication is also used for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between prescribing of medications indicated for asthma and COPD and the recorded diagnosis for these conditions.
In a register-based study, individuals prescribed a medication indicated for asthma and COPD during 2004-2005 (Group A; n = 14 101) and patients with diagnoses of asthma or COPD recorded during 2000-2005 (Group B; n = 12 328) were identified from primary health care centers in Skaraborg, Sweden. From a 5% random sample of the medication users (n = 670), the written medical records were accessed.
prevalence of medication and diagnoses, reasons for prescription.
type and number of prescribed drugs and performance of peak expiratory flow or spirometry.
Medications indicated for asthma and COPD was prescribed to 5.6% of the population in primary care (n = 14 101). Among them, an asthma diagnosis was recorded for 5876 individuals (42%), 1116 (8%) were diagnosed with COPD and 545 (4%) had both diagnoses. The remaining 6564 individuals (46%) were lacking a recorded diagnosis. The gap between diagnosis and medication was present in all age-groups. Medication was used as a diagnostic tool among 30% of the undiagnosed patients and prescribed off-label for 54%. Missed recording of ICD-codes for existing asthma or COPD accounted for 16%.
There was a large discrepancy between prescribing of medication and the prevalence of diagnosed asthma and COPD. Consequently, the prevalence of prescriptions of medications indicated for asthma and COPD should not be used to estimate the prevalence of these conditions. Medication was used both as a diagnostic tool and in an off-label manner. Therefore, the prescribing of medications for asthma and COPD does not adhere to national clinical guidelines. More efforts should be made to improve the prescribing of medication indicated for asthma and COPD so that they align with current guidelines.
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Patient safety has gained less attention in primary care in comparison to specialised care. We explore how local medical centres (LMCs) can play a role in strengthening patient safety, both locally and in transitions between care levels. LMCs represent a form of intermediate care organisation in Norway that is increasingly used as a strategy for integrated care policies. The analysis is based on institutional theory and general safety theories.
A qualitative design was applied, involving 20 interviews of nursing home managers, managers at local medical centres and administrative personnel.
The LMCs mediate important information between care levels, partly by means of workarounds, but also as a result of having access to the different information and communications technology (ICT) systems in use. Their knowledge of local conditions is found to be a key asset. LMCs are providers of competence and training for the local level, as well as serving as quality assurers.
As a growing organisational form in Norway, LMCs have to legitimise their role in the health care system. They represent an asset to the local level in terms of information, competence and quality assurance. As they have overlapping competencies, tasks and responsibilities with other parts of the health care system, they add to organisational redundancy and strengthen patient safety.
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Underdiagnosis of osteoporosis is common. This study investigated Swedish district nurses' perceptions of osteoporosis management. They perceived the condition as having low priority, and the consequences of this perception were insufficient awareness of the condition and perceptions of bone-specific medication as unsafe. They perceived, though, competency when working with fall prevention.
Undertreatment of patients with osteoporosis is common. Sweden's medical care strategy dictates prioritisation of various conditions; while guidelines exist, osteoporosis is not prioritised. The aim of this study was to investigate district nurses' perceptions of osteoporosis management within Sweden's primary health care system.
Four semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted with 13 female district nurses. The interviews were analysed using thematic analysis.
The overall theme was perceiving osteoporosis management as ambiguous. The themes were perceiving barriers and perceiving opportunities. These subthemes were linked to perceiving barriers: (i) insufficient procedures, lack of time and not aware of the condition; (ii) insufficient knowledge about diagnosis and about fracture risk assessment tools; (iii) low priority condition and unclear responsibility for osteoporosis management; and (iv) bone-specific medication was sometimes perceived to be unsafe. These subthemes were linked to perceiving opportunities: (i) professional competency when discussing fall prevention in home visit programs, (ii) willingness to learn more about osteoporosis management, (iii) collaboration with other professionals and (iv) willingness to identify individuals at high risk of fracture.
Osteoporosis was reported, by the district nurses, to be a low-priority condition with consequences being unawareness of the condition, insufficient knowledge about bone-specific medications, fracture risk assessment tools and procedures. These may be some of the explanations for the undertreatment of osteoporosis. At the same time, the district nurses described competency performing the home visits, which emerged as an optimal opportunity to discuss fall prevention and to introduce FRAX with the aim to identify individuals at high risk of fracture.
To analyse the technical quality of electronic patient records in relation to legislation and to evaluate their quality associated with the quality of consultations as rated by patients and GPs.
Cross-sectional study of electronic patient records.
Four primary healthcare (PHC) centres in Finland using three different electronic patient record systems.
Patient records of 175 PHC consultations by 50 GPs, rated as the best (n=86) and the worst (n=89) of a total of 2191 consultations.
Documentation of records compared with legislation, the general informative value of records, and its relation to the experienced quality of consultations and to the electronic system employed.
Reason for encounter was mentioned in 79% of cases and patient history in 32%. An acute problem was described moderately well or well in 84%, examination findings in 62%, medical problem or diagnosis in 90%, and treatment in 95% of cases. Medication was documented adequately in 38% of the cases where medication was documented. Concerning general informative value, 18% were assessed as poor, 62% as moderate, and 20% as good. No correspondence was found between experienced quality of consultation and general informative value in the patient records. The quality of patient records was found to change according to the electronic system employed.
Finnish patient records are inadequate documents of consultations and below the standard of that country's legislation. Developing better models of recording would guarantee a higher quality of work.
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