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Pregnant women have been called therapeutic orphans because data supporting common interventions, medications, health teaching, and models of care are meager. The generation of quality evidence benefits from proactive approaches that ensure ethical standards are met to protect participants. The purpose of this article is to differentiate among health care, quality improvement, and research and to discuss ethical involvement of women who are pregnant and potentially childbearing in these initiatives. Health care is provided to protect and improve individual health. Quality improvement aims to enhance delivery of care for all those receiving care in particular settings. Research, whether retrospective or prospective, is designed to contribute to generalizable knowledge. This review includes vignettes to distinguish between research, quality improvement, and case study dissemination and to highlight the value of publication of information with applicability beyond a single site. As a community, perinatal care providers will be able to contribute more evidence to guide care if they err on the side of seeking institutional review board approval for activities that examine the care and outcomes of pregnant women and the fetus. Traditional research activities, including clinical trials, remain crucial. However, to fill gaps in knowledge, we must expedite our ability to report informative cases, examine clinical data, share lessons learned during quality improvement campaigns, and publish and disseminate these findings. Accelerating improvements in care demands expansion of the evidence base.
© 2017 by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
OBJECTIVE - The traditional fee-for-service approach to healthcare can lead to the management of a patient's conditions in a siloed manner, inducing various negative consequences. It has been recognized that a bundled approach to healthcare - one that manages a collection of health conditions together - may enable greater efficacy and cost savings. However, it is not always evident which sets of conditions should be managed in a bundled manner. In this study, we investigate if a data-driven approach can automatically learn potential bundles.
METHODS - We designed a framework to infer health condition collections (HCCs) based on the similarity of their clinical workflows, according to electronic medical record (EMR) utilization. We evaluated the framework with data from over 16,500 inpatient stays from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. The plausibility of the inferred HCCs for bundled care was assessed through an online survey of a panel of five experts, whose responses were analyzed via an analysis of variance (ANOVA) at a 95% confidence level. We further assessed the face validity of the HCCs using evidence in the published literature.
RESULTS - The framework inferred four HCCs, indicative of (1) fetal abnormalities, (2) late pregnancies, (3) prostate problems, and (4) chronic diseases, with congestive heart failure featuring prominently. Each HCC was substantiated with evidence in the literature and was deemed plausible for bundled care by the experts at a statistically significant level.
CONCLUSIONS - The findings suggest that an automated EMR data-driven framework conducted can provide a basis for discovering bundled care opportunities. Still, translating such findings into actual care management will require further refinement, implementation, and evaluation.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Surgical resection of extrahepatic biliary malignancies has been increasingly centralized at high-volume tertiary care centers. While this has improved outcomes overall, increased travel burden has been associated with worse survival for many other malignancies. We hypothesized that longer travel distances are associated with worse outcomes for these patients as well.
STUDY DESIGN - Data was analyzed from the US Extrahepatic Biliary Consortium database, which retrospectively reviewed patients who received resection of extrahepatic biliary malignancies at 10 high-volume centers. Driving distance to the patient's treatment center was measured for 1025 patients. These were divided into four quartiles for analysis: < 24.5, 24.5-57.2, 57.2-117, and < 117 mi. Cox proportional hazard models were then used to measure differences in overall survival.
RESULTS - No difference was found between the groups in severity of disease or post-operative complications. The median overall survival in each quartile was as follows: 1st = 1.91, 2nd = 1.60, 3rd = 1.30, and 4th = 1.39 years. Patients in the 3rd and 4th quartile had a significantly lower median household income (p = 0.0001) and a greater proportion Caucasian race (p = 0.0001). However, neither of these was independently associated with overall survival. The two furthest quartiles were found to have decreased overall survival (HR = 1.39, CI = 1.12-1.73 and HR = 1.3, CI = 1.04-1.62), with quartile 3 remaining significant after multivariate analysis (HR = 1.45, CI = 1.04-2.0, p = 0.028).
CONCLUSIONS - Longer travel distances were associated with decreased overall survival, especially in the 3rd quartile of our study. Patients traveling longer distances also had a lower household income, suggesting that these patients have significant barriers to care.
BACKGROUND - Patient portals are online applications that allow patients to interact with healthcare organizations and view information. Portal messages exchanged between patients and providers contain diverse types of communications, including delivery of medical care. The types of communications and complexity of medical decision-making in portal messages sent to surgeons have not been studied.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - We obtained all message threads initiated by patients and exchanged with surgical providers through the Vanderbilt University Medical Center patient portal from June 1 to December 31, 2014. Five hundred randomly selected messages were manually analyzed by two research team members to determine the types of communication (i.e., informational, medical, logistical, or social), whether medical care was delivered, and complexity of medical decision-making as defined for outpatient billing in each message thread.
RESULTS - A total of 9408 message threads were sent to 401 surgical providers during the study period. In the 500 threads selected for detailed analysis, 1293 distinct issues were communicated, with an average of 2.6 issues per thread. Medical needs were communicated in 453 message threads (90.6%). Further, 339 message threads (67.8%) contained medical decision-making. Overall complexity of medical decision-making was straightforward in 210 messages (62%), low in 102 messages (30%), and moderate in 27 messages (8%). No highly complex decisions were made over portal messaging.
CONCLUSIONS - Through patient portal messages, surgeons deliver substantial medical care with varied levels of medical complexity. Models for compensation of online care must be developed as consumer and surgeon adoption of these technologies increases.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
INTRODUCTION - In children with sickle cell disease (SCD), concomitant asthma is associated with increased morbidity and mortality when compared with children with SCD without asthma. Despite the well-established burden of asthma in children with SCD, no paradigm of care exists for the co-management of these two diseases.
METHODS - To address this gap, an integrated SCD and asthma clinic was created in a community health center that included (1) a dual respiratory therapist/asthma case manager; (2) an SCD nurse practitioner with asthma educator certification; (3) an onsite pulmonary function test laboratory; (4) a pediatric hematologist with expertise in managing SCD and asthma; and (5) application of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program guidelines. A before (2010-2012) and after (2013-2014) study design was used to assess for improved quality of care with implementation of an integrative care model among 61 children with SCD and asthma followed from 2010 to 2014.
RESULTS - Asthma action plan utilization after initial diagnosis increased with the integrative care model (n=16, 56% before, 100% after, p=0.003), as did the use of spirometry in children aged ≥5 years (n=41, 65% before, 95% after, p<0.001) and correction of lower airway obstruction (n=10, 30% before, 80% after, p=0.03).
CONCLUSIONS - Although the use of an integrative care model for SCD and asthma improved evidence-based asthma care, longer follow-up and evaluation will be needed to determine the impact on SCD-related morbidity.
Copyright © 2016 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
AIM - To identify factors that may serve as facilitators and barriers to self-management described by adults living with chronic illness by conducting a qualitative metasynthesis.
BACKGROUND - Self-management is an individuals' active management of a chronic illness in collaboration with their family members and clinicians.
DESIGN - Qualitative metasynthesis.
DATA SOURCES - We analysed studies (N = 53) published between January 2000-May 2013 that described factors affecting self-management in chronic illness as reported by adults aged over 18 years with chronic illness.
REVIEW METHODS - Sandelowsi and Barroso approach to qualitative metasynthesis: literature search; quality appraisal; analysis and synthesis of findings.
RESULTS - Collectively, article authors reported on sixteen chronic illnesses, most commonly diabetes (N = 28) and cardiovascular disease (N = 20). Participants included men and women (mean age = 57, range 18-94) from 20 countries representing diverse races and ethnicities. We identified five categories of factors affecting self-management: Personal/Lifestyle Characteristics; Health Status; Resources; Environmental Characteristics; and Health Care System. Factors may interact to affect self-management and may exist on a continuum of positive (facilitator) to negative (barrier).
CONCLUSION - Understanding factors that influence self-management may improve assessment of self-management among adults with chronic illness and may inform interventions tailored to meet individuals' needs and improve health outcomes.
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 mandates the development and implementation of electronic health record (EHR) systems across the country. While a primary goal is to improve the care of individual patients, EHRs are also key enabling resources for a vision of individualized (or personalized or precision) medicine: the aggregation of multiple EHRs within or across healthcare systems should allow discovery of patient subsets that have unusual and definable clinical trajectories that deviate importantly from the expected response in a "typical" patient. The spectrum of such personalized care can then extend from prevention to choice of medication to intensity or nature of follow-up.
© 2015 American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
OBJECTIVE - Patient portals are online applications that allow patients to interact with healthcare organizations. Portal adoption is increasing, and secure messaging between patients and healthcare providers is an emerging form of outpatient interaction. Research about portals and messaging has focused on medical specialties. We characterized adoption of secure messaging and the contribution of messaging to outpatient interactions across diverse clinical specialties after broad portal deployment.
METHODS - This retrospective cohort study at Vanderbilt University Medical Center examined use of patient-initiated secure messages and clinic visits in the three years following full deployment of a patient portal across adult and pediatric specialties. We measured the proportion of outpatient interactions (i.e., messages plus clinic visits) conducted through secure messaging by specialty over time. Generalized estimating equations measured the likelihood of message-based versus clinic outpatient interaction across clinical specialties.
RESULTS - Over the study period, 2,422,114 clinic visits occurred, and 82,159 unique portal users initiated 948,428 messages to 1,924 recipients. Medicine participated in the most message exchanges (742,454 messages; 78.3% of all messages sent), followed by surgery (84,001; 8.9%) and obstetrics/gynecology (53,424; 5.6%). The proportion of outpatient interaction through messaging increased from 12.9% in 2008 to 33.0% in 2009 and 39.8% in 2010 (p<0.001). Medicine had the highest proportion of outpatient interaction conducted through messaging in 2008 (23.3% of outpatient interactions in medicine). By 2010, this proportion was highest for obstetrics/gynecology (83.4%), dermatology (71.6%), and medicine (56.7%). Growth in likelihood of message-based interaction was greater for anesthesiology, dermatology, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics, and psychiatry than for medicine (p<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS - This study demonstrates rapid adoption of secure messaging across diverse clinical specialties, with messaging interactions exceeding face-to-face clinic visits for some specialties. As patient portal and secure messaging adoption increase beyond medicine and primary care, research is needed to understand the implications for provider workload and patient care.