Rationale and Objectives Medical humanities are becoming increasingly popular, required, and recognized as positively impacting medical education and medical practice. However, the extent of medical humanities teaching in medical schools is largely unknown. We aimed to review medical school curricula in Canada, the UK, and the US. Our secondary objective was to compare the inclusion of medical humanities in the curricula with rankings of medical schools. Methods We searched the curriculum websites of all accredited medical schools in Canada, the UK, and the US to check which medical humanities topics were taught, and whether they were mandatory or optional. We then noted rankings both by Times Higher Education and U.S. News and World Report and calculated the average rank. We formally explored whether there was an association between average medical school ranking and medical humanities offerings using Spearman’s correlation and inverse variance weighting meta-analysis. Results We identified 18 accredited medical school programmes in Canada, 41 in the UK, and 156 in the US. Of these, 9 (56%) in Canada, 34 (73%) in the UK and 124 (79%) in the US offered at least one medical humanity that was not ethics. The most common medical humanities were Unspecified Medical Humanities, History, and Literature (Canada), Sociology and Social Medicine, Unspecified Medical Humanities, and Art (UK), and Unspecified Medical Humanities, Literature, and History (US). There was a negative relationship between the ranking of the medical school and whether they offered medical humanities. Conclusions The extent and content of medical humanities offerings at accredited medical schools in Canada, the UK, and the US varies. The quality of our analysis was limited by the data provided on the Universities’ curriculum websites. Given the potential for medical humanities to improve medical education and medical practice, this variation should be investigated further.
Rationale, aims, and objectives The current strategy of searching for an effective drug to treat COVID-19 relies mainly on repurposing existing therapies developed to target other diseases. There are currently more than four thousand active studies assessing the efficacy of existing drugs as therapies for COVID-19. The number of ongoing trials and the urgent need for a treatment poses the risk that false-positive results will be incorrectly interpreted as evidence for treatments’ efficacy and a ground for drug approval. Our purpose is to assess the risk of false-positive outcomes by analyzing the mechanistic evidence for the efficacy of exemplary candidates for repurposing, estimate false discovery rate, and discuss solutions to the problem of excessive hypothesis testing. Methods We estimate the expected number of false-positive results and probability of at least one false-positive result under the assumption that all tested compounds have no effect on the course of the disease. Later, we relax this assumption and analyze the sensitivity of the expected number of true-positive results to changes in the prior probability (π) that tested compounds are effective. Finally, we calculate False Positive Report Probability and expected numbers of false-positive and true-positive results for different thresholds of statistical significance, power of studies, and ratios of effective to non-effective compounds. We also review mechanistic evidence for the efficacy of two exemplary repurposing candidates (hydroxychloroquine and ACE2 inhibitors) and assess its quality to choose the plausible values of the prior probability (π) that tested compounds are effective against COVID-19. Results Our analysis shows that, due to the excessive number of statistical tests in the field of drug repurposing for COVID-19 and low prior probability (π) of the efficacy of tested compounds, positive results are far more likely to result from type-I error than reflect the effects of pharmaceutical interventions.
Rationale, aims and objectives: Clinical incident reports are the primary means by which UK hospitals are alerted to avoidable harm in healthcare. However, data demonstrating the patterns in real-world reporting by healthcare workers have never been published in the UK. Though this journal has previously published survey data describing the discrepancies between respondents’ own behaviour compared to the incidence of perceived avoidable harm, we set out to collect data on actual reporting patterns between healthcare workers. Given the concerns raised by Robert Francis following the Mid-Staffordshire Inquiry, we specifically wished to examine the rate of reporting of doctors compared to other healthcare workers. Methods: We selected for incidents causing at least ‘moderate’ levels of harm, theorising that such levels of harm are most likely to be noticed by doctors. Data from 2011 to 2019 from the clinical governance departments of 2 NHS hospitals was requested and all available data subsequently charted. Results: This is the first study examining NHS incident reporting patterns in the medical profession. We demonstrated a stark level of underreporting of clinical incidents causing harm ranging from ‘moderate’ to death by doctors. This was particularly dramatic at the non-consultant grade level. In 1 hospital, only 2 deaths were reported by non-consultant grade doctors in 6 years. Notably 1 hospital had not stored any incident reporting data until 2017. Conclusion: The reporting behaviour of doctors has not significantly changed despite the Francis Reports. This could be improved by creating incentives for doctors to engage with patient safety initiatives and disclosure of error, as well as the use of automated systems.
i. Rationale, Aims and Objectives: Despite guideline recommendations against their use, clinicians prescribe benzodiazepines for various symptoms to patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Clinicians’ reasons in making these decisions are not fully understood. This qualitative study sought to characterize factors identified by prescribing clinicians in clinical decision making in PTSD regarding the use of benzodiazepines. ii. Methods: The descriptive study involved semi-structured interviews with 26 prescribing clinicians across thirteen VA medical centers. Our overall aim in the study was to explore clinicians’ benzodiazepine practices in veterans with a PTSD diagnosis. We audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed the interviews using grounded theory methodology. iii. Results: Facilitators and barriers that contribute to benzodiazepine prescribing to veterans with PTSD included organizational, provider, and patient aspects. Most providers interviewed indicated that they inherited patients already on these medications initiated by other clinicians. These providers, as well as others interviewed, voiced concerns that tapering benzodiazepines may cause more harm than the risks of maintenance, particularly in older patients. Clinicians who noted consistent treatment practices among their hospital colleagues found it easier to decrease both new and maintenance benzodiazepine prescribing. iv. Conclusions: Patients with PTSD at increased risk of harms, such as older patients, are still receiving benzodiazepines suggesting that innovative solutions are now needed to decrease use. Specific protocols for inherited patient caseloads, increased dissemination of effective psychotherapies for symptoms such as insomnia and anxiety and the use of direct to consumer educational materials should help to foster needed culture change and increased evidence-based PTSD practice.
Background and Aims Current guidance advises that at least 90% of anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions are performed as day case operations. Same-day surgery rates achieved by surgical units have significant clinical and financial implications. The primary aim of this multi-centre study was to determine the rate of admission and causes for admissions in patients undergoing anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Method Patient documentations were studied for those who underwent an elective anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction between January 2015 and April 2019. Contributing factors related to admission length were investigated and included patient age, gender, body mass index (BMI), operating surgeon, operating hospital, American Society of Anaesthesiology (ASA) grade, and position of the patient on the operating list. Both univariate and multivariate analysis was conducted using the STATA/IC 16.1 statistical package. Results The day surgery rate of anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions were 52% (50/95). Patients positioned later on the operating list were more likely to be admitted post-operatively (OR – 4.49; p=0.002; 95% CI – 1.72-11.69) and this was the only factor associated with admission. A large majority of admitted patients (95.6%) were admitted without a clinical cause and were otherwise safe for same-day discharge. Conclusions The day surgery rate for ACL reconstruction remains low, despite an extremely low complication rate. Reconfiguration of the operating lists and positioning anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions earlier in the day will likely increase the same-day discharge rate.
Rationale, aims & objectives: This evaluation was carried out in order to determine the efficacy of the Norfolk and Waveney Adult ADHD Service. With the service not commissioned to offer non-pharmacological support, and with a gap in the research literature, evidence on whether the service model was effective at reducing the impact of ADHD symptoms on service users was needed in order to justify longer term commissioning. Method: Case notes of 113 individuals going through their medication titration process were observed. Scores from the Weiss Functional Impairment Rating Scale (WFIRS), which was routinely collected in the service pre- and post- titration onto ADHD medication, were recorded for comparison. Results: A T test revealed significant improvements in functioning across all domains of the WFIRS after successful titration onto ADHD medication. However, 19.5% of the sample disengaged from the service prior to completing titration. A further 12.5% of the sample did not complete titration due to various factors discussed. Conclusion: While medication has been shown to be effective at improving impairment of functioning in adults with ADHD, high levels of disengagement suggest that more needs to be offered to this population.
Objective: To investigate concordance in perceptions of communication among participants in family discussions and assess the importance of different domains of communication in a neurocritical care unit. Methods: Prospective observational study conducted in a neurocritical care unit. Our study involved family discussions regarding plan of care for patients admitted to the unit. All participants completed a survey. The first 4 questions rated understanding of the discussion and general satisfaction; the remaining questions were open-ended to assess quality of communication by the physician leading the discussion. Responses were scored and compared among participants using a Likert scale. A difference of < 1 in scores among participants was rated as concordance, while > 2 was designated as discordance. All open-ended responses were classified into six domains. Results: We observed 35 family discussions. Questions 1-3 yielded 99 cross-comparisons per question (total of 297 compared responses). Most responses were either “Strongly Agree” or “Agree”; with “Neutral” or “Disagree” responses being more prevalent in Question 2. Overall concordance of responses between participants was 88%. Education was the most frequently cited domain of communication in response to open-ended questions. Among family and neutral observers, empathy was frequently listed, while providers more often listed family engagement. Conclusion: Overall, satisfaction was high among providers, families, and the observer regarding quality of communication during family discussions in the unit. Perceptual differences emerged over whether this communication impacted healthcare decision-making during that encounter.
Rationale, Aims and Objectives: Alignment between patients’ treatment choices and treatments received is acknowledged as an important outcome of shared decision-making (SDM), yet recent research suggests that patients’ choices do not always align with their actual treatment trajectories. This paper explores the alignment of patient-expressed treatment choices (for surgery or medical management) after exposure to decision aids and treatments received among patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis within High Value Healthcare Collaborative (HVHC) systems as the collaborative integrating decision aids intended to support SDM into routine clinical practice. Method: This retrospective cohort study examines data from adult (>18 years) patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis who received decision aids as part of orthopedic consultations within HVHC systems between 2012-2015. Multivariate logistic regression explored the association between patient-level characteristics with the odds of treatment choice-receipt alignment. Results: The majority of patients with knee osteoarthritis (68.3%) and hip osteoarthritis (71.9%) received treatments aligned with their choices following exposure to decision aids, but analyses reveal important differences in the odds of such alignment across patient characteristics. In adjusted models, African American patients with knee osteoarthritis had 50% lower odds of receiving treatment aligned with their choices compared with white patients (OR = 0.52, p<0.05). Medicare- or Medicaid-insured knee patients had 49% and 59% lower odds (respectively) of receiving choice-aligned treatments relative to privately insured patients. Patients with knee (OR = 0.40, p<0.01) or hip (OR = 0.75, p<0.05) osteoarthritis at earlier decision-making stages had lower odds of receiving treatments congruent with their choices. Conclusion: This work elucidates the odds of treatment choice-aligned care for patients within health care systems attempting to routinely integrate decision aids to support SDM into clinical practice and underscores the gaps in achieving this alignment among African American patients, those with public insurance and those at early decision-making stages.
Diagnostic failure has emerged as one of the most significant threats to patient safety, and it is important to understand the antecedents of such failures. A consensus has developed in the literature that the majority are due to individual or system factors or some combination of the two. A major source of variance in individual clinical performance is due to cognitive and affective biases, however, their role in clinical decision making has been difficult to assess partly because they are difficult to investigate experimentally. A significant drawback has been that experimental manipulations appear to confound assessment of the context surrounding the diagnostic process itself. The present qualitative study uses a detailed narrative account of selected actual cases of diagnostic error to explore the effect of biases in the ‘real world’ emergency medicine (EM) context. Thirty anonymized EM cases were analysed in depth through a process of root cause analysis that included an assessment of error producing conditions, knowledge-based errors, and how clinicians were thinking and deciding during each case. A prominent feature of the study was the identification of specific cognitive and affective biases – through a process called cognitive autopsy. The cases covered a broad range of diagnoses across a wide variety of disciplines. A total of 24 discrete cognitive and affective biases that contributed to misdiagnosis were identified and their incidence recorded. 5-6 biases were detected per case, and observed on 168 occasions across the 30 cases. Thirteen error-producing conditions (EPCs) were identified. Knowledge-based errors were rare, occurring in only 5 definite instances. The ordinal position in which biases appeared in the diagnostic process was recorded. This study provides a base-line for understanding the critical role that biases play in clinical decision making and sheds light on important aspects of the diagnostic process.
Objective: The choice between neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) and adjuvant chemotherapy (AC) remains controversial in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). There is no significant difference in NAC and AC’s effectiveness. We investigate the cost-effectiveness of NAC versus AC for NSCLC. Method: A decision tree model was designed from a payer perspective to compare NAC and AC treatments for NSCLC. Parameters included overall survival (OS), surgical complications, chemotherapy adverse event (AE), treatment initiation probability, treatment time frame, treatment cost, and quality of life (QOL). Sensitivity analyses were performed to characterize model uncertainty in the base cases. Result: With the same overall survival, AC treatment strategy produces a cost saving of ￥618.90 and an incremental quality-adjusted life-years (QALY) of 0.10 years per patient. If median OS of NAC is 1.4 months more than AC, NAC would be cost effective (CE) at a ￥35446/QALY threshold. The model was robust enough to handle variations to all input parameters except the overall survival. In the probability sensitivity analysis, AC remained dominant in 54.6% of simulations. Conclusion: The modeled cost effectiveness analysis indicates that with operable NSCLC, AC treatment is more cost effective compared to NAC. If NAC provides a longer survival advantage, this treatment strategy may be cost-effective. The OS is the main factor that influences cost-effectiveness analysis.
Introduction and aim of the study: Hospital readmissions represent an increasing and highly expensive cost for National Health Services. Aim of this retrospective case-control study was to compare patients who required one or more repeated hospitalizations to those who had only one, in the year 2018 at the Department of Internal Medicine of Pontedera Hospital (Pisa, Italy). Materials and Methods: All the data were retrieved matching data from our electronic health record with our diagnosis-related group (DRG) software system. Continuous variables were defined means ± standard deviation; categorical variables were given as percentage. The independent sample t test was used for the continuous variables and chi-square test for categorical variables. Significance was inferred for p < 0.05. Results: In 2018 a total of 3012 patients were hospitalized. Among these, 14.1% (n=426; mean age 79.7±11,9; range 23-100) were defined as revolving: data were compared with controls (n=420; 13.9%; mean age 75.9±14.7; range 22-99) who had only one hospitalization. Patients main provenance was in both groups a Home-based health care. Revolving patients showed higher mean age, higher rate of chronic comorbidities and mortality. Cancer was equally distributed in both groups. Sepsis was the most relevant factor associated with re-hospitalizations and mortality. Skin ulcers were present in about half of revolving patients, but they were coded as DRG only in an absolute minority. Conclusions: readmissions to Internal Medicine Departments are frequent and mainly related to the severity of chronic diseases affecting the patients. Sepsis was the most relevant condition associated with readmissions, leading to a very high mortality rate. Skin ulcers affected about half of revolving patients, but their DRG were significantly underestimated. Preventing sepsis and investing resources in chronic diseases assistance, represent a key challenge for the future, especially in an outpatient setting.
Background and Aim: We aimed to investigate the effects of anxiety or social support on sleep quality in patients with COVID-19 who were older than 65 years of age and undergoing quarantine process. Material and Method: The study included the patients ≥65 years of age who had a quarantine process for 14 days during the COVID-19 outbreak. The sociodemographic features and comorbidities were recorded in all patients. Geriatric Anxiety Scale (GAS), Multidimensional Perceived Social Support Scale (SS), and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) questionnaires were applied. Results: Totally 198 patients (123 male and 75 female) were included in the study. Among patients, 115 (58.1%) patients were living in a nursing home. All GAS scores and the total PSQI were significantly higher and all SS scores were significantly lower in PCR positive patients compared with the negative ones (p:0.001). Moreover, All GAS scores and the total PSQI were significantly higher and all SS scores were significantly lower in patients living in nursing homes compared with the others (p:0.001). Conclusion: In elderly patients faced with the COVID-19, social support was negatively associated with the sleep disturbances. We suggest that, increasing social support is important in elderly patients in the clash against COVID-19.
Cricoid pressure is used to reduce the risk of aspiration during rapid sequence induction. The recommended force applied to the cricoid is 10-20 newtons (N; 1.020-1.040 kg) on awake patients and 30-40N (3.060-4.080 kg) on anaesthetised patients. However clinically, it is difficult to estimate the required force. We assessed the effectiveness of 3 recommended teaching methods on the ability to apply the correct force using an airway model that simulated “awake” and “anaesthetised” patients. Thirty nurses and doctors from two hospitals and with clinical experience applying cricoid pressure were included. Measurements of baseline force for “awake” and “anaesthetised” patients were obtained from all participants using measuring scales. Participants were blinded to the force applied. Participants were taught one of three different techniques: biofeedback, nose and syringe. Post-teaching, blinded force measurements were repeated. Data analysis was performed using a linear mixed model and marginal prediction models of applied force reported. For “awake” patients, nose method forces were within the recommended range (mean 14.6N, 95%CI 9.7-19.4). The biofeedback method led to predicted forces at the upper limit of recommended (21.6N, 95%CI 16.7-26.4) and the syringe method forces were greater than recommended (29.0N, 95%CI 23.9-34.0). For “anaesthetised” patients, nose method forces were less than recommended (26.3N, 95%CI 21.6-31.1), the biofeedback method led to predicted forces within range (33.4N, 28.4-38.3) and syringe method forces were above those recommended (40.8N, 95%CI 35.8-45.8). The biofeedback technique is the most effective method for teaching the application of recommended cricoid pressure force for both awake and anaesthetised patients.
Aim: To investigate the difference in both numbers and acuity of presentations to the Paediatric Emergency Department (PED) during the peak time period of the current global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Design: This single centre retrospective observational study used routinely collected electronic health data to compare patient presentation characteristics between 21st March and 26th April 2020 compared to the equivalent time period in 2019. Results: There was a 90% decrease in attendances to PED, with a 10.23% reduction re-attendance rate. Children presenting were younger during the pandemic, with a median age difference of 2 years. They were more likely to present in an ambulance (9.63%), be admitted to hospital (5.75%) and be assigned the highest two Manchester triage categories (6.26%). There was a non-significant trend towards longer lengths of stay. The top 10 presenting complaints remained constant (although the order changed) between time periods. There was no difference in mortality or admission to PICU. Implications: Our data demonstrates that there has been a significant decrease in numbers of children seeking emergency department care. It suggests that presenting patients were proportionally sicker during the pandemic; however, we would argue that this is more in keeping with appropriate acuity for PED presentations, as there were no differences in PICU admission rate or mortality. We explore some of the possible reasons behind the decrease in presentations and the implications for service planning ahead of the winter months.
Rationale Prescribed opioids are major contributors to the current international public health opioid crisis. Such iatrogenic calamities usually result from collective decision failures of healthcare organizations rather than solely of individual organizations or professionals. Findings from a system-wide safety analysis of the iatrogenic opioid crisis that includes roles of pertinent healthcare organizations may help avoid or mitigate similar future tragedies. In this exploratory study, we report on such an analysis. Methods Root cause analysis, incorporating recent suggestions for improvement, was used to retrospectively identify possible causal factors from the literature. Based on their mandated roles and potential influences to prevent or mitigate the iatrogenic crisis, relevant organizations were grouped and stratified from most to least influential. Results The analysis identified a chain of multiple interrelated causal factors within and between organizations. The most influential organizations were: pharmaceutical, political and drug regulatory; next: experts and their related societies, and publications. Less influential: accreditation, professional licensing and regulatory, academic and healthcare funding bodies. Collectively, their views and decisions influenced prescribing practices of frontline healthcare professionals and advocacy groups. Financial associations between pharmaceutical and all other organizations/groups were common. Ultimately, patients were adversely affected. There was a complex association with psychosocial variables. Limitations Our analysis suggests associations not causality. Conclusions The iatrogenic crisis has multiple intricately linked interacting roots. The major catalyst: pervasive pharma-linked financial conflicts of interest (CoIs) involving most of the other healthcare organizations. These extensive financial CoIs were likely triggers for a cascade of erroneous decisions and actions that adversely affected patients. The actions and decisions of pharma ranged from unethical to illegal. The iatrogenic opioid crisis exemplifies widespread “institutional corruption of pharmaceuticals.”
Rationale, aims and objectives Patients with anterior crucial ligament injury are faced with a choice between surgery or non-surgical treatment with intensive rehabilitation. Evidence shows that surgical treatment is not superior to non-surgical treatment. To offer patients a treatment meeting their individual values, lifestyle and conditions, patients must be involved in the decision-making. The aim of the study was to develop and evaluate a patient decision aid to support shared decision-making. Method Development of the patient decision aid was based on international criteria, current literature, and former patients’ experiences and suggestions on how to optimize the decision-making process. The patient decision aid was evaluated by the SDM-Q9 questionnaire and semi-structured interviews with patients and doctors. Results A patient decision aid for patients with and an anterior crucial ligament injury was developed. On a scale from 0-5, patients experienced a high degree of shared decision-making in their treatment decision both before (score 4.3) and after (score 4.3) implementation of the patient decision aid. No statically significant difference was found (p=0.72). From interviews, patients expressed that they found the patient decision aid very useful. Especially, reflection time was important for some patients. Doctors reported that the patient decision aid improved shared decision-making by supporting the dialogue clarifying patients’ values concerning issues important for treatment choices. Conclusion No statically significant difference in the SDM Q9 -score was found between patients’ perceptions of shared decision-making before and after implementation of a patient decision aid. However, patients experienced the decision aid as very useful when making treatment decisions, and doctors reported that it improved the dialogue clarifying patients’ values important for the treatment options. Keywords patient-centered care, evaluation, person-centered medicine
Introduction: Banned and harmful medicines can affect patient’s health, safety and life. There are two medicines available in Aden community pharmacies (phenolphthalein (PP) and ketoconazole (KZ)) that are globally banned. The objective of this study was to evaluate the availability and dispensing of banned phenolphthalein and ketoconazole by community pharmacists. Methods: A preliminary cross-sectional simulated patients method was carried out. The study gathered data on dispensing behavior. Simulated patients were trained to access the availability of banned drugs existing in the community pharmacies (CP). The availability of these two banned drugs was observed and recorded. The pharmacists were asked about the availability of a PP laxative for treating constipation called in Yemen a khat laxative (Sharbat Alkhat) and KZ for fungal infections in 50 convenient samples of CPs that were selected based on ease of access by the simulated patients. Results: PP was found in 3/50 (6%) pharmacies, while 31/50 (62%) pharmacies kept KZ in the premise. Conclusion: The availability of these drugs in Yemeni pharmacies is worrisome. It can affect the safety of the public.
Rationale, aims and objectives: The participation of all health professionals is essential for ensuring a quality and successful national postmarketing surveillance program. The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) among Yemeni community pharmacists (CPs) regarding medication safety in a poor-resource setting. Methods: A survey was conducted among CPs in Aden governorate. The tool comprised of: demographic profile, knowledge-, attitude- and practice-aspects of medication safety. The survey also studied the opinion about future and benefits of ADR reporting in Yemen. The data collected from the questionnaires was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Science version 21.0. Descriptive statistics such as frequencies, percentages, and means (SD) were used in the analysis. Results: A total of 450 CPs were enrolled in the study. Most of the participants were males (75%) with a bachelor’s degree (91.9%) and between 3-6 years of experience (28%). The majority of CPs had good knowledge regarding the perception and objectives of PV as well as ADRs. Approximately 41% of participants knew the purpose of PV as an essential system for public health and safety with regard to drug use. Additionally, the Yemeni pharmacists had a positive attitude towards the reporting system. Approximately 84% of responders admitted that PV is the responsibility of the pharmacists. The majority of the participants (80%) declared that there is no reporting form available at their workplace. According to CPs, 59% said that ADR reporting in Yemen is not widely promoted by relevant authorities, and 57% replied that lack of information provided by the patient is an obstacle in the reporting system. Approximately 89% of the CPs believed that reporting ADRs would improve patient safety. Conclusions: The CPs have a positive attitude towards PV and an acceptable degree of knowledge. However, the practice level should be upraised.