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Journal: BMC health services research


Initial management decisions following a new episode of low back pain (LBP) are thought to have profound implications for health care utilization and costs. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of early and guideline adherent physical therapy for low back pain on utilization and costs within the Military Health System (MHS).

Concepts: Health care, Health economics, Medicine, Spinal disc herniation, Low back pain, Back pain, Acupuncture, Massage


Mitigating or reducing the risk of harm associated with the delivery of healthcare is a policy priority. While the risk of harm can be reduced in some instances (i.e. preventable), what constitutes preventable harm remains unclear. A standardized and clear definition of preventable harm is the first step towards safer and more efficient healthcare delivery system. We aimed to summarize the definitions of preventable harm and its conceptualization in healthcare.

Concepts: Medicine, Philosophy of language, Definitionism


Employment is associated with better quality of life and wellbeing in people with mental illness. Unemployment is associated with greater levels of psychological illnessand is viewed as a core part of the social exclusion faced by people with mental illness. Social Firms offer paid employment to people with mental illness but are under-investigated in the UK. The aims of this phase of the Social Firms A Route to Recovery (SoFARR) project were to describe the availability and spread of Social Firms across the UK, to outline the range of opportunities Social Firms offer people with severe mental illness and to understand the extent to which they are employed within these firms.

Concepts: Quality, Sociology, Mental disorder, Jobless recovery, Mental illness, Recovery model, Unemployment, Further education


BACKGROUND: Although oral hypoglycemic agents (OHAs) are an essential element of therapy for the management of type 2 diabetes, OHA adherence is often suboptimal. Pharmacists are increasingly being integrated into primary care as part of the move towards a patient-centered medical home and may have a positive influence on medication use. We examined whether the presence of pharmacists in primary care clinics was associated with higher OHA adherence. METHODS: This retrospective cohort study analyzed 280,603 diabetes patients in 196 primary care clinics within the Veterans Affairs healthcare system. Pharmacists presence, number of pharmacist full-time equivalents (FTEs), and the degree to which pharmacy services are perceived as a bottleneck in each clinic were obtained from the 2007 VA Clinical Practice Organizational Survey—Primary Care Director Module. Patient-level adherence to OHAs using medication possession ratios (MPRs) were constructed using refill data from administrative pharmacy databases after adjusting for patient characteristics. Clinic-level OHA adherence was measured as the proportion of patients with MPR >= 80%. We analyzed associations between pharmacy measures and clinic-level adherence using linear regression. RESULTS: We found no significant association between pharmacist presence and clinic-level OHA adherence. However, adherence was lower in clinics where pharmacy services were perceived as a bottleneck. CONCLUSIONS: Pharmacist presence, regardless of the amount of FTE, was not associated with OHA medication adherence in primary care clinics. The exact role of pharmacists in clinics needs closer examination in order to determine how to most effectively use these resources to improve patient-centered outcomes including medication adherence.

Concepts: Cohort study, Diabetes mellitus, Anti-diabetic drug, Metformin


Oral anticoagulant therapy is used to prevent thrombosis in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), venous thrombosis and prosthetic heart valves. The introduction of new therapies emphasizes the need to discern the best practice for the patients remaining on warfarin treatment. This study compares patient characteristics and therapeutic control in two settings managing warfarin treatment: Swedish primary health care centers (PHCC) and specialized anticoagulation clinics (ACC).

Concepts: Medicine, Stroke, Atrial fibrillation, Thrombosis, Warfarin, Anticoagulant, Heparin, Prothrombin time


BACKGROUND: Validation of administrative data is important to assess potential sources of bias in outcome evaluation and to prevent dissemination of misleading or inaccurate information. The purpose of the study was to determine the completeness and accuracy of endoscopy data in several administrative data sources in the year prior to colorectal cancer diagnosis as part of a larger project focused on evaluating the quality of pre-diagnostic care. Methods: Primary and secondary data sources for endoscopy were collected from the Alberta Cancer Registry, cancer medical charts and three different administrative data sources. 1672 randomly sampled patients diagnosed with invasive colorectal cancer in years 2000-2005 in Alberta, Canada were included. A retrospective validation study of administrative data for endoscopy in the year prior to colorectal cancer diagnosis was conducted. A gold standard dataset was created by combining all the datasets. Number and percent identified, agreement and percent unique to a given data source were calculated and compared across each dataset and to the gold standard with respect to identifying all patients who underwent endoscopy and all endoscopies received by those patients. Results: The combined administrative data and physician billing data identified as high or higher percentage of patients who had one or more endoscopy (84% and 78%, respectively) and total endoscopy procedures (89% and 81%, respectively) than the chart review (78% for both). Conclusions: Endoscopy data has a high level of completeness and accuracy in physician billing data alone. Combined with hospital in/outpatient data it is more complete than chart review alone.

Concepts: Evaluation, Colorectal cancer, Physician, Data, Data set, Endoscopy, Sigmoidoscopy, Percentage point


BACKGROUND: Healthcare claims databases have been used in several studies to characterize the risk and burden of chemotherapy-induced febrile neutropenia (FN) and effectiveness of colony-stimulating factors against FN. The accuracy of methods previously used to identify FN in such databases has not been formally evaluated. METHODS: Data comprised linked electronic medical records from Geisinger Health System and healthcare claims data from Geisinger Health Plan. Subjects were classified into subgroups based on whether or not they were hospitalized for FN per the presumptive “gold standard” (ANC <1.0x109/L, and body temperature >=38.30C or receipt of antibiotics) and claims-based definition (diagnosis codes for neutropenia, fever, and/or infection). Accuracy was evaluated principally based on positive predictive value (PPV) and sensitivity. RESULTS: Among 357 study subjects, 82 (23%) met the gold standard for hospitalized FN. For the claims-based definition including diagnosis codes for neutropenia plus fever in any position (n=28), PPV was 100% and sensitivity was 34% (95% CI: 24–45). For the definition including neutropenia in the primary position (n=54), PPV was 87% (78–95) and sensitivity was 57% (46–68). For the definition including neutropenia in any position (n=71), PPV was 77% (68–87) and sensitivity was 67% (56–77). CONCLUSIONS: Patients hospitalized for chemotherapy-induced FN can be identified in healthcare claims databases–with an acceptable level of mis-classification–using diagnosis codes for neutropenia, or neutropenia plus fever.

Concepts: Medicine, Health insurance, Positive predictive value, Negative predictive value, Thermoregulation, Hyperthermia, Fever, Febrile neutropenia


BACKGROUND: Evidence-based practice (EBP) is emphasized to increase the quality of care and patient safety. EBP is often described as a process consisting of distinct activities including, formulating questions, searching for information, compiling the appraised information, implementing evidence, and evaluating the resulting practice. To increase registered nurses' (RNs') practice of EBP, variables associated with such activities need to be explored. The aim of the study was to examine individual and organizational factors associated with EBP activities among RNs 2 years post graduation. METHODS: A cross-sectional design based on a national sample of RNs was used. Data were collected in 2007 from a cohort of RNs, included in the Swedish Longitudinal Analyses of Nursing Education/Employment study. The sample consisted of 1256 RNs (response rate 76%). Of these 987 RNs worked in healthcare at the time of the data collection. Data was self-reported and collected through annual postal surveys. EBP activities were measured using six single items along with instruments measuring individual and work-related variables. Data were analyzed using logistic regression models. RESULTS: Associated factors were identified for all six EBP activities. Capability beliefs regarding EBP was a significant factor for all six activities (OR = 2.6 - 7.3). Working in the care of older people was associated with a high extent of practicing four activities (OR = 1.7 - 2.2). Supportive leadership and high collective efficacy were associated with practicing three activities (OR = 1.4 - 2.0). CONCLUSIONS: To be successful in enhancing EBP among newly graduated RNs, strategies need to incorporate both individually and organizationally directed factors.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Logistic regression, Longitudinal study, Research methods, Epidemiology, Cross-sectional study, Nursing, Cross-sectional analysis


Prospective Hazard Analysis techniques such as Healthcare Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (HFMEA) and Structured What If Technique (SWIFT) have the potential to increase safety by identifying risks before an adverse event occurs. Published accounts of their application in healthcare have identified benefits, but the reliability of some methods has been found to be low. The aim of this study was to examine the validity of SWIFT and HFMEA by comparing their outputs in the process of risk assessment, and comparing the results with risks identified by retrospective methods.

Concepts: Risk, Psychometrics, Risk management, Probability, Hazard, Risk assessment, Failure mode and effects analysis, Safety engineering


The gap between research and practice or policy is often described as a problem. To identify new barriers of and facilitators to the use of evidence by policymakers, and assess the state of research in this area, we updated a systematic review.

Concepts: Evaluation