ResearchPad - health-services-administration-and-management https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Towards universal coverage for nutrition services in children under five years—A descriptive analysis of the capacity of level one hospitals to provide nutrition services in five provinces of Zambia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7846 Malnutrition continues to be a major public health challenge in Zambia. To effectively address this, health systems must be well strengthened to deliver an effective continuum of care. This paper examines health systems issues and services in relation to nutritional support to children under five years, in order to identify gaps and propose interventions towards universal coverage of essential nutrition services.MethodsThis analysis utilized data from a cross sectional mixed-methods study on factors associated with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in under-five children to assess health facility nutrition services on offer at select level-one hospitals in five out of ten provinces in Zambia. Stata version 13 was used for analysis. We conducted univariate analysis to assess nutrition services offered, functionality of equipment and tools, availability of human resource and human resource development, and availability of drugs used for assessment and management of nutrition-related health outcomes.ResultsWe found large variations in the level of nutrition services on offer across districts and provinces. Eighty-eight percent of all the hospitals sampled provided group nutrition counseling and 92% of the hospitals in our sample offered individual nutrition counseling to their clients. Overall, the existence of referral and counter-referral systems between the Community Based Volunteers and hospitals were the lowest among all services assessed at 48% and 58% respectively. We also found inadequate numbers of human resource across all cadres with an exception of nutritionists as recommended by the Ministry of Health.ConclusionsThis study has revealed a number of gaps in the health system and health service delivery that requires to be addressed; most notably, a lack of tools, policies and guidelines, drugs and health specialists to help care for malnourished infants and children. Our findings also reveal inadequate referral systems between the community and health facilities in the management of severe acute malnutrition. Achieving universal coverage for nutrition services in Zambia will require a lot more attention to the health systems issues found in this study. ]]> <![CDATA[Health promotion with physiolytics: What is driving people to subscribe in a data-driven health plan]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N67264028-7608-43f5-811f-a7ed2c904b8b

Data-driven health promotion programs and health plans try to harness the new possibilities of ubiquitous and pervasive physiolytics devices. In this paper we seek to explore what drives people to subscribe to such a data-driven health plan. Our study reveals that the decision to subscribe to a data-driven health plan is strongly influenced by the beliefs of seeing physiolytics as enabler for positive health behavior change and of perceiving health insurances as trustworthy organizations that are capable of securely and righteously manage the data collected by physiolytics.

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<![CDATA[Can mutual health organisations influence the quality and the affordability of healthcare provision? The case of the Democratic Republic of Congo]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nf97c5072-5c0f-45dc-b83f-09c75045dd0d

Background

In their mission to achieve better access to quality healthcare services, mutual health organisations (MHOs) are not limited to providing health insurance. As democratically controlled member organisations, MHOs aim to make people’s voices heard. At national level, they seek involvement in the design of social protection policies; at local level, they seek to improve responsiveness of healthcare services to members’ needs and expectations.

Methods

In this qualitative study, we investigated whether MHOs in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) succeed in defending members’ rights by improving healthcare quality while minimising expenses. The data originate from an earlier in-depth investigation conducted in the DRC in 2016 of the performance of 13 MHOs. We re-analysed this existing dataset and more specifically investigated actions that the MHOs undertook to improve quality and affordability of healthcare provision for their members, using a framework for analysis based on Hirschman’s exit-voice theory. This framework distinguishes four mechanisms for MHO members to use in influencing providers: (1) ‘exit’ or ‘voting with the feet’; (2) ‘co-producing a long voice route’ or imposing rules through strategic purchasing; (3) ‘guarding over the long voice route of accountability’ or pressuring authorities to regulate and enforce regulations; and (4) ‘strengthening the short voice route’ by transforming the power imbalance at the provider–patient interface.

Results

All studied MHOs used these four mechanisms to improve healthcare provision. Most healthcare providers, however, did not recognise their authority to do so. In the DRC, controlling quality and affordability of healthcare is firmly seen as a role for the health authorities, but the authorities only marginally take up this role. Under current circumstances, the power of MHOs in the DRC to enhance quality and affordability of healthcare is weak.

Conclusion

On their own, mutual health organisations in the DRC do not have sufficient power to influence the practices of healthcare providers. Greater responsiveness of the health services to MHO members requires cooperation of all actors involved in healthcare delivery to create an enabling environment where voices defending people’s rights are heard.

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<![CDATA[Factors influencing performance of community-based health volunteers’ activities in the Kassena-Nankana Districts of Northern Ghana]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fe2ad5eed0c484e5b61f

Background

An increasing demand for health care services and getting health care closer to doorsteps of communities has made health managers to use trained community-based health volunteers to support in providing health services to people in rural communities. Community volunteerism in Ghana has been identified as an effective strategy in the implementation of Primary Health Care activities since 1970s. However, little is known about the performance of these volunteers engaged in health interventions activities at the community level. This study assessed the level of performance and factors that affect the performance of health volunteers’ activities in Northern Ghana.

Methods

This was a cross-sectional study using quantitative method of data collection. Two hundred structured interviews were conducted with health volunteers. Data collectors visited health volunteers at home and conducted the interviews after informed consent was obtained. STATA Version 11.2 was used to analyze the data. Descriptive statistics were used to assess the level of performance of the health volunteers. Multiple logistic regression models were then used to assess factors that influence the performance of health volunteers.

Results

About 45% of volunteers scored high on performance. In the multivariate analysis, educational status [OR = 4.64 95% CI (1.22–17.45)] and ethnicity [OR = 1.85 95% CI (1.00–3.41)] were the factors that influenced the performance of health volunteers. Other intermediary factors such as incentives and means of transport also affected the performance of health volunteers engaged in health intervention activities at the community level.

Conclusion

The results suggest that higher educational status of health volunteers is more likely to increase their performance. In addition, providing non-monetary incentives and logistics such as bicycles, raincoats, torch lights and wellington boots will enhance the performance of health volunteers and also motivate them to continue to provide health services to their own people at the community level.

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<![CDATA[The growing pains of physician-administration relationships in an academic medical center and the effects on physician engagement]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dc9c0d5eed0c48452a138

Background

Physician engagement has become a key metric for healthcare leadership and is associated with better healthcare outcomes. However, engagement tends to be low and difficult to measure and improve. This study sought to efficiently characterize the professional cultural dynamics between physicians and administrators at an academic hospital and how those dynamics affect physician engagement.

Materials and methods

A qualitative mixed methods analysis was completed in 6 weeks, consisting of a preliminary analysis of the hospital system’s history that was used to purposefully recruit 20 physicians across specialties and 20 healthcare administrators across management levels for semi-structured interviews and observation. Participation rates of 77% (20/26) and 83% (20/24) were achieved for physicians and administrators, respectively. Cohorts consisted of equal numbers of men and women with experience ranging from 1 to 35 years within the organization. Field notes and transcripts were systematically analyzed using an iterative inductive-deductive approach. Emergent themes were presented and discussed with approximately 400 physicians and administrators within the organization to assess validity and which results were most meaningful.

Results & discussion

This investigation indicated a professional cultural disconnect was undermining efforts to improve physician engagement. This disconnect was further complicated by a minority (10%) not believing an issue existed and conflicting connotations not readily perceived by participants who often offered similar solutions. Physicians and administrators felt these results accurately reflected their realities and used this information as a common language to plan targeted interventions to improve physician engagement. Limitations of the study included its cross-sectional nature with a modest sample size at a single institution.

Conclusions

A qualitative mixed methods analysis efficiently identified professional cultural barriers within an academic hospital to serve as an institution-specific guide to improving physician engagement.

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<![CDATA[District-level health management and health system performance]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5df34ad5eed0c4845810c0

Strengthening district-level management may be an important lever for improving key public health outcomes in low-income settings; however, previous studies have not established the statistical associations between better management and primary healthcare system performance in such settings. To explore this gap, we conducted a cross-sectional study of 36 rural districts and 226 health centers in Ethiopia, a country which has made ambitious investment in expanding access to primary care over the last decade. We employed quantitative measure of management capacity at both the district health office and health center levels and used multiple regression models, accounting for clustering of health centers within districts, to estimate the statistical association between management capacity and a key performance indicator (KPI) summary score based on antenatal care coverage, contraception use, skilled birth attendance, infant immunization, and availability of essential medications. In districts with above median district management capacity, health center management capacity was strongly associated (p < 0.05) with KPI performance. In districts with below median management capacity, health center management capacity was not associated with KPI performance. Having more staff at the district health office was also associated with better KPI performance (p < 0.05) but only in districts with above median management capacity. The results suggest that district-level management may provide an opportunity for improving health system performance in low-income country settings.

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<![CDATA[Development and validation of a questionnaire to assess the doctors and nurses knowledge of acute oxygen therapy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e924d5eed0c48496f865

Background

Prescription and administration of oxygen in emergencies by healthcare providers are reported to be inappropriate in most settings. There is a huge gap in the knowledge of health care providers on various aspects of oxygen therapy, and this may be a barrier to optimal oxygen administration. Hence, it is essential to ascertain providers’ knowledge of acute oxygen therapy so that appropriate educational interventions are instituted for better delivery. There is no available validated instrument to assess knowledge of acute oxygen therapy. The study aimed to develop, validate and evaluate the test-retest reliability of a questionnaire to determine the doctors and nurses understanding of acute oxygen therapy.

Methods

This study involved the development of the questionnaire contents by a literature review, assessment of face validity (n = 5), content validity, using a panel of experts (n = 10), item analysis and test-retest reliability among a sample (n = 121) of doctors and nurses.

Results

Face validity indicated that the questionnaire was quick to complete (10–15 min), most items were easy to follow and comprehensible. The global content validity index (S-CVI) was 0.85. The test-retest reliability statistics showed a kappa coefficient of 0.546–0.897 (all P<0.001) and percentage agreement of 80–98.3% indicating high temporal stability in the target population. In total, 90% of the items fulfilled the reliability acceptance criteria. Item discrimination analysis showed that most questions were at an acceptable level. The final questionnaire included 37 item questions and eight sections.

Conclusion

The designed questionnaire is a reliable and valid tool for assessing knowledge of acute oxygen therapy among doctors and nurses.

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<![CDATA[Who elects the weekend?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59ff10d5eed0c4841359e5

Chaim M. Bell and Lauren Lapointe-Shaw discuss the meaning of the "weekend effect" in outcomes for hospital admissions and surgeries, and comment on surprising new results published in PLOS Medicine this week.

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<![CDATA[Linkage to care of HIV positive clients in a community based HIV counselling and testing programme: A success story of non-governmental organisations in a South African district]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c50c48ad5eed0c4845e88ac

Introduction

Although current data projects South Africa potentially meeting the UN target to test 90% of all people living with HIV by 2020, linking them to HIV care remains a big challenge. In an effort to increase linkage to care (LTC) of HIV positive clients an innovative collaborative intervention between two non-governmental organisations was developed and implemented between 2016 and 2017. This paper investigated the outcome of this collaborative intervention.

Methods

We used a mixed methods approach to assess the outcome of the innovative relationship. This was done by analysing routine programmatic quantitative data on LTC between 2015 and 2017 and qualitatively interviewing five programme managers, four programme implementers and five HIV positive clients on their perceived success/failure factors. Qualitative data were analysed using thematic content analysis while LTC rates were descriptively analysed. Two consultative meetings presented draft findings to programme managers (n = 7) and implementers (n = 10) for feedback, results verification and confirmation.

Results

In 2015 cumulative LTC rate was 27% and it rose to 85% two years post-intervention in 2017. Six themes emerged as success factors at the health system and structural levels and these include: provision of client escort services, health facility human resource capacity strengthening, inter and intra-organisational teamwork, onsite LTC, facilitated and expedited jumping of queues and shifting administrative tasks to non-clinical staff to protect nurses’ time on ART initiation. These measures in turn ensured increased, affordable and swift ART initiation of clients while strengthening client support.

Conclusions

We concluded that multi-faceted interventions that target both health system challenges including staff shortages, efficiencies, and extended facility opening times, and structural inadequacies, including client time and resource limitations due to poverty or nature of jobs, can help to increase LTC.

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<![CDATA[Are Tanzanian health facilities ready to provide management of chronic respiratory diseases? An analysis of national survey for policy implications]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3d0177d5eed0c48403b9a9

Introduction

Chronic respiratory diseases in Tanzania are prevalent and a silent burden to the affected population, and healthcare system. We aimed to explore the availability of services and level of health facilities readiness to provide management of chronic respiratory diseases and its associated factors.

Methods

The current study is a secondary analysis of the 2014–2015 Tanzania Service Provision Assessment Survey data. Facilities were considered to have a high readiness to provide management of chronic respiratory diseases if they scored at least half (≥50%) of the indicators listed in each of the three domains (staff training and guideline, equipment, and basic medicines) as identified by World Health Organization-Service Availability and Readiness Assessment manual. Descriptive, unadjusted and adjusted logistic regression analyses were performed. A P value < 0.05 was taken to indicate statistical significance.

Results

Out of 723 facilities included in this analysis, approximately one-tenth had a high readiness to provide management of chronic respiratory diseases. Less than 10% of the facilities had at least one staff who received training for management of chronic respiratory diseases. In an adjusted model, privately owned facilities [AOR = 3.3; 95% CI, 1.5–7.5], hospitals [AOR = 11.6; 95% CI, 5.0–27.2], health centres [AOR = 5.0; 95% CI, 2.4–10.7], and performance of routine management meeting [AOR = 3.3; 95% CI, 1.4–7.8] were significantly associated with high readiness to provide management for chronic respiratory diseases.

Conclusion

Majority of Tanzanian health facilities have low readiness to provide management for chronic respiratory diseases. There is a need for the Tanzanian government to increase the availability of diagnostic equipment, medication, and to provide refresher training specifically in the lower-level and public health facilities for better management of chronic respiratory diseases and other non-communicable diseases.

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<![CDATA[Engaging community leaders to improve male partner participation in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1ab85ed5eed0c484027c16

Background

Male partner participation improves uptake, retention and outcomes of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) services. However, in patriarchal settings few men accompany their partners to antenatal care (ANC) and PMTCT services. We explored whether community leaders can improve male partner participation in ANC and PMTCT.

Methods

We integrated initiatives to increase male partner participation in routine ANC care in six health facilities (attending about 4,500 new pregnant women per quarter) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 2015/16. These initiatives were adapted from a best performing health facility, on male partner participation in ANC and PMTCT, referred to as the “best practice site”. At the six purposively selected intervention sites, we sensitized and garnered commitment from healthcare providers to provide couple friendly services. We then worked with the providers to sensitize and engage community leaders to integrate and promote male partner participation initiatives in their routine community activities. We assessed change in male partner participation in ANC and PMTCT using the proportion of women testing for HIV together with their partners (i.e. couple HIV testing) by quarter. We used 203 ANC facilities (attending about 31,000 new pregnant women per quarter) in the same area as control sites.

Results

After one year, couple HIV testing in the six intervention sites had tripled from 11.9% at baseline to 36.0% (p<0.001) while there was very little change (from 17.7% to 18.3%) in the 203 control sites (p = 0.07). Statistically significant improvements in couple testing were observed in four of the six intervention sites (6.7% to 19.1%; 9.3% to 74.6%; 46.2% to 95.2%; and 4.7% to 15.1% respectively. p<0.001 for all sites). Two of these four sites, located in the same administrative district as the best practice site, achieved remarkably high couple HIV testing (95.2% and 74.6%). This may be attributable to the greater engagement and active participation of the community leaders in these two sites compared to the other four.

Conclusion

Effective engagement and functional partnerships between healthcare providers and community leaders can contribute to improve male partner participation in ANC and PMTCT services. PMTCT programs should capitalize on community leaders, in addressing low male partner participation in ANC and PMTCT, in order to improve effective uptake, retention and outcomes of HIV prevention and treatment services among pregnant and breastfeeding women, their partners, infants and families.

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<![CDATA[Health seeking for chronic lung disease in central Malawi: Adapting existing models using insights from a qualitative study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c215166d5eed0c4843fa025

Background

Chronic lung diseases contribute to the growing non-communicable disease (NCD) burden and are increasing, particularly in many low and middle-income countries (LMIC) in sub-Saharan African. Early engagement with health systems in chronic lung disease management is critical to maintain quality of life and prevent further damage. Our study sought to understand health seeking behaviour in relation to chronic lung disease and TB in a rural district in Malawi.

Methods

Qualitative data was collected between March-May 2015, exploring patterns of health seeking for lung disease amongst residents of two districts in rural Malawi. Participants included those with and without lung disease, health workers and village leaders. Participants with a history of TB were included in the sample due to similarities in clinical presentation and in view of potential to cause long-term damage to lung tissue.

Results

Our findings are ordered around a specific model of health seeking devised by adapting previous models. The model and findings span three broad areas that were found to influence health seeking: understandings of health and disease which shaped whether, when and where to seek care; the care seeking decision which was influenced by social and structural factors; and the care seeking experience which impacted future care decisions creating ‘feedback loops’.

Discussion

Efforts to improve effective and accessible healthcare provision for chronic lung disease need to address all the determinants of health seeking behaviour identified. This may include: enhancing the structural and financial accessibility of health services, through the strengthening of community linkages; improving communication between formal health providers, patients and communities around symptoms, diagnosis and management of chronic lung diseases; and improving the quality of diagnostic and management services through the strengthening of health systems ‘hardware’ (equipment availability) and ‘software’ (development of trusting and respectful relationships between providers and patients).

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<![CDATA[Standardization of medical service indicators: A useful technique for hospital administration]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c23ffa8d5eed0c484093084

Background

Many comparability problems appear in the process of the performance assessment of medical service. When comparing medical evaluation indicators across hospitals, or even within the same hospital, over time, the differences in the population composition such as types of diseases, comorbidities, demographic characteristics should be taken into account. This study aims to introduce a standardization technique for medical service indicators and provide a new insight on the comparability of medical data.

Methods

The medical records of 142592 inpatient from three hospitals in 2017 were included in this study. Chi-square and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to explore the compositions of confounding factors among populations. The procedure of stratified standardization technique was applied to compare the differences of the average length of stay and the average hospitalization expense among three hospitals.

Results

Age, gender, comorbidity, and principal diagnoses category were considered as confounding factors. After correcting all factors, the average length of stay of hospital A and C were increased by 0.21 and 1.20 days, respectively, while that of hospital B was reduced by 1.54 days. The average hospitalization expenses of hospital A and C were increased by 1494 and 660 Yuan, whilst that of hospital B was decreased by 810 Yuan.

Conclusions

Standardization method will be helpful to improve the comparability of medical service indicators in hospital administration. It could be a practical technique and worthy of promotion.

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<![CDATA[Organization of oversight for integrated control of neglected tropical diseases within Ministries of Health]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bff05c7d5eed0c484a33b5b

Background

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are communicable diseases that impact approximately 1 billion people, but receive relatively little research, funding, and attention. Many NTDs have similar treatments, epidemiology, and geographic distribution, and as a result, the integration of control efforts can improve accountability, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of programs. Here, we examine the landscape of efforts towards NTD integration across countries with the highest burden of disease, and review the administrative management of integration in order to identify approaches and pathways for integration.

Methodology and principal findings

We utilized a standardized system to score countries for NTD endemnicity to create a list of 25 countries with the highest overall burden of NTDs. We then conducted a literature review to characterize the NTD control programs in the focus countries. Six countries were selected for key informant interviews to validate literature review results and gather additional data on opportunities and obstacles to NTD integration, from an administrative perspective. The majority of countries included in the study were located in Africa, with the remainder from Asia, North America, and South America. Multiple models and pathways were observed for the integration of NTD programs, in combination with other NTD programs, other diseases, or other health programs. Substantial heterogeneity existed with respect to the NTD control programs, and no country had integrated all of their NTD control efforts into a single program. NTDs that can be treated with preventative chemotherapy were frequently integrated into a single program. Leprosy control was also frequently integrated with those of other communicable diseases, and notably tuberculosis. Barriers to NTD integration may result from internal administrative obstacles or external obstacles.

Conclusions

Although many countries have begun to integrate NTD control efforts, additional work will be required to realize the full benefits of integration in most of the countries examined here. Moving forward, NTD integration efforts must ensure that administrative structures are designed to maximize the potential success of integrated programs and account for existing administrative processes.

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<![CDATA[The health care utilization of people in prison and after prison release: A population-based cohort study in Ontario, Canada]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b6dda14463d7e7491b405ed

Background

Many people experience imprisonment each year, and this population bears a disproportionate burden of morbidity and mortality. States have an obligation to provide equitable health care in prison and to attend to care on release. Our objective was to describe health care utilization in prison and post-release for persons released from provincial prison in Ontario, Canada in 2010, and to compare health care utilization with the general population.

Methods

We conducted a population-based retrospective cohort study. We included all persons released from provincial prison to the community in 2010, and age- and sex-matched general population controls. We linked identities for persons released from prison to administrative health data. We matched each person by age and sex with four general population controls. We examined ambulatory care and emergency department utilization and medical-surgical and psychiatric hospitalization, both in prison and in the three months after release to the community. We compared rates with those of the general population.

Results

The rates of all types of health care utilization were significantly higher in prison and on release for people released from prison (N = 48,861) compared to general population controls (N = 195,444). Comparing those released from prison to general population controls in prison and in the 3 months after release, respectively, utilization rates were 5.3 (95% CI 5.2, 5.4) and 2.4 (95% CI 2.4, 2.5) for ambulatory care, 3.5 (95% CI 3.3, 3.7) and 5.0 (95% CI 4.9, 5.3) for emergency department utilization, 2.3 (95% CI 2.0, 2.7) and 3.2 (95% CI 2.9, 3.5) for medical-surgical hospitalization, and 21.5 (95% CI 16.7, 27.7) and 17.5 (14.4, 21.2) for psychiatric hospitalization. Comparing the time in prison to the week after release, ambulatory care use decreased from 16.0 (95% CI 15.9,16.1) to 10.7 (95% CI 10.5, 10.9) visits/person-year, emergency department use increased from 0.7 (95% CI 0.6, 0.7) to 2.6 (95% CI 2.5, 2.7) visits/person-year, and hospitalization increased from 5.4 (95% CI 4.8, 5.9) to 12.3 (95% CI 10.1, 14.6) admissions/100 person-years for medical-surgical reasons and from 8.6 (95% CI 7.9, 9.3) to 17.3 (95% CI 14.6, 20.0) admissions/100 person-years for psychiatric reasons.

Conclusions

Across care types, health care utilization in prison and on release is elevated for people who experience imprisonment in Ontario, Canada. This may reflect high morbidity and suboptimal access to quality health care. Future research should identify reasons for increased use and interventions to improve care.

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<![CDATA[Medication Adherence in the General Population]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d9ab0ee8fa60b66e73

Background

Adherence to medication is low in specific populations who need chronic medication. However, adherence to medication is also of interest in a more general fashion, independent of specific populations or side effects of particular drugs. If clinicians and researchers expect patients to show close to full adherence, it is relevant to know how likely the achievement of this goal is. Population based rates can provide an estimate of efforts needed to achieve near complete adherence in patient populations. The objective of the study was to collect normative data for medication nonadherence in the general population.

Methods and Findings

We assessed 2,512 persons (a representative sample of German population). Adherence was measured by Rief Adherence Index. We also assessed current medication intake and side effects. We found that at least 33% of Germans repeatedly fail to follow their doctor's recommendations regarding pharmacological treatments and only 25% of Germans describe themselves as fully adherent. Nonadherence to medication occurs more often in younger patients with higher socioeconomic status taking short-term medications than in older patients with chronic conditions. Experience with medication side effects was the most prominent predictor of nonadherence.

Conclusions

The major strengths of our study are a representative sample and a novel approach to assess adherence. Nonadherece seems to be commonplace in the general population. Therefore adherence cannot be expected per se but needs special efforts on behalf of prescribers and public health initiatives. Nonadherence to medication should not only be considered as a drug-specific behaviour problem, but as a behaviour pattern that is independent of the prescribed medication.

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<![CDATA[Is task-shifting a solution to the health workers’ shortage in Northern Ghana?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc662

Objective

To explore the experiences and perceptions of health workers and implementers of task-shifting in rural health facilities in Upper East Region, Ghana.

Methods

Data was collected through field interviews. A total of sixty eight (68) in-depth interviews were conducted with health workers’ in primary health care facilities (health centres); Four in-depth interviews with key persons involved in staff management was conducted to understand how task-shifting is organised including its strengths and challenges. The health workers interview guide was designed with the aim of getting data on official tasks of health workers, additional tasks assigned to them, how they perceive these tasks, and the challenges associated with the practice of task-shifting.

Findings

Task-shifting is a practice being used across the health facilities in the study area to help reduce the impact of insufficient health workers. Generally, health workers had a comprehensive training that supported the organisation of task-shifting. However, staff members’ are sometimes engaged in tasks above their level of training and beyond their actual job descriptions. Adequate training is usually not provided before additional tasks are assigned to staff members. Whilst some health workers perceived the additional tasks they performed as an opportunity to learn new skills, others described these as stressful and overburdening.

Conclusion

Task-shifting has the potential to contribute to addressing the insufficient health workforce, and thereby improving health delivery system where the procedures are well defined and staff members work in a coordinated and organised manner. The provision of adequate training and supervision for health workers is important in order to improve their expertise before additional tasks are assigned to them so that the quality of care would not be compromised.

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<![CDATA[MAPPIN'SDM – The Multifocal Approach to Sharing in Shared Decision Making]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db0cab0ee8fa60bca95a

Background

The wide scale permeation of health care by the shared decision making concept (SDM) reflects its relevance and advanced stage of development. An increasing number of studies evaluating the efficacy of SDM use instruments based on various sub-constructs administered from different viewpoints. However, as the concept has never been captured in operable core definition it is quite difficult to link these parts of evidence.

This study aims at investigating interrelations of SDM indicators administered from different perspectives.

Method

A comprehensive inventory was developed mapping judgements from different perspectives (observer, doctor, patient) and constructs (behavior, perception) referring to three units (doctor, patient, doctor-patient-dyad) and an identical set of SDM-indicators. The inventory adopted the existing approaches, but added additional observer foci (patient and doctor-patient-dyad) and relevant indicators hitherto neglected by existing instruments. The complete inventory comprising a doctor-patient-questionnaire and an observer-instrument was applied to 40 decision consultations from 10 physicians from different medical fields. Convergent validities were calculated on the basis of Pearson correlation coefficients.

Results

Reliabilities for all scales were high to excellent. No correlations were found between observer and patients or physicians neither for means nor for single items. Judgements of doctors and patients were moderately related. Correlations between the observer scales and within the subjective perspectives were high. Inter-perspective agreement was not related to SDM performance or patient activity.

Conclusion

The study demonstrates the contribution to involvement made by each of the relevant perspectives and emphasizes the need for an inter-subjective approach regarding SDM measurement.

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<![CDATA[Conflict of Interest Policies for Organizations Producing a Large Number of Clinical Practice Guidelines]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dae5ab0ee8fa60bbd392

Background

Conflict of interest (COI) of clinical practice guideline (CPG) sponsors and authors is an important potential source of bias in CPG development. The objectives of this study were to describe the COI policies for organizations currently producing a significant number of CPGs, and to determine if these policies meet 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) standards.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We identified organizations with five or more guidelines listed in the National Guideline Clearinghouse between January 1, 2009 and November 5, 2010. We obtained the COI policy for each organization from publicly accessible sources, most often the organization's website, and compared those polices to IOM standards related to COI. 37 organizations fulfilled our inclusion criteria, of which 17 (46%) had a COI policy directly related to CPGs. These COI policies varied widely with respect to types of COI addressed, from whom disclosures were collected, monetary thresholds for disclosure, approaches to management, and updating requirements. Not one organization's policy adhered to all seven of the IOM standards that were examined, and nine organizations did not meet a single one of the standards.

Conclusions/Significance

COI policies among organizations producing a large number of CPGs currently do not measure up to IOM standards related to COI disclosure and management. CPG developers need to make significant improvements in these policies and their implementation in order to optimize the quality and credibility of their guidelines.

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<![CDATA[Towards Universal Health Coverage: An Evaluation of Rwanda Mutuelles in Its First Eight Years]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da48ab0ee8fa60b8c2db

Background

Mutuelles is a community-based health insurance program, established since 1999 by the Government of Rwanda as a key component of the national health strategy on providing universal health care. The objective of the study was to evaluate the impact of Mutuelles on achieving universal coverage of medical services and financial risk protection in its first eight years of implementation.

Methods and Findings

We conducted a quantitative impact evaluation of Mutuelles between 2000 and 2008 using nationally-representative surveys. At the national and provincial levels, we traced the evolution of Mutuelles coverage and its impact on child and maternal care coverage from 2000 to 2008, as well as household catastrophic health payments from 2000 to 2006. At the individual level, we investigated the impact of Mutuelles' coverage on enrollees' medical care utilization using logistic regression. We focused on three target populations: the general population, under-five children, and women with delivery. At the household level, we used logistic regression to study the relationship between Mutuelles coverage and the probability of incurring catastrophic health spending. The main limitation was that due to insufficient data, we are not able to study the impact of Mutuelles on health outcomes, such as child and maternal mortalities, directly.

The findings show that Mutuelles improved medical care utilization and protected households from catastrophic health spending. Among Mutuelles enrollees, those in the poorest expenditure quintile had a significantly lower rate of utilization and higher rate of catastrophic health spending. The findings are robust to various estimation methods and datasets.

Conclusions

Rwanda's experience suggests that community-based health insurance schemes can be effective tools for achieving universal health coverage even in the poorest settings. We suggest a future study on how eliminating Mutuelles copayments for the poorest will improve their healthcare utilization, lower their catastrophic health spending, and affect the finances of health care providers.

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