BMC Health Services Research

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ISSN / EISSN : 1472-6963 / 1472-6963
Current Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC (10.1186)
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, Naomi M. Fuller, Ruth H. Keogh, Karla Diaz-Ordaz, Richard Sekula, Malcolm G. Semple, Katherine E. Atkins, Simon R. Procter, Gwenan M. Knight, J. Kenneth Baillie, et al.
BMC Health Services Research, Volume 21, pp 1-15; doi:10.1186/s12913-021-06509-x

Abstract:
Background Predicting bed occupancy for hospitalised patients with COVID-19 requires understanding of length of stay (LoS) in particular bed types. LoS can vary depending on the patient’s “bed pathway” - the sequence of transfers of individual patients between bed types during a hospital stay. In this study, we characterise these pathways, and their impact on predicted hospital bed occupancy. Methods We obtained data from University College Hospital (UCH) and the ISARIC4C COVID-19 Clinical Information Network (CO-CIN) on hospitalised patients with COVID-19 who required care in general ward or critical care (CC) beds to determine possible bed pathways and LoS. We developed a discrete-time model to examine the implications of using either bed pathways or only average LoS by bed type to forecast bed occupancy. We compared model-predicted bed occupancy to publicly available bed occupancy data on COVID-19 in England between March and August 2020. Results In both the UCH and CO-CIN datasets, 82% of hospitalised patients with COVID-19 only received care in general ward beds. We identified four other bed pathways, present in both datasets: “Ward, CC, Ward”, “Ward, CC”, “CC” and “CC, Ward”. Mean LoS varied by bed type, pathway, and dataset, between 1.78 and 13.53 days. For UCH, we found that using bed pathways improved the accuracy of bed occupancy predictions, while only using an average LoS for each bed type underestimated true bed occupancy. However, using the CO-CIN LoS dataset we were not able to replicate past data on bed occupancy in England, suggesting regional LoS heterogeneities. Conclusions We identified five bed pathways, with substantial variation in LoS by bed type, pathway, and geography. This might be caused by local differences in patient characteristics, clinical care strategies, or resource availability, and suggests that national LoS averages may not be appropriate for local forecasts of bed occupancy for COVID-19. Trial registration The ISARIC WHO CCP-UK study ISRCTN66726260 was retrospectively registered on 21/04/2020 and designated an Urgent Public Health Research Study by NIHR.
Obieze Nwanna–Nzewunwa, Rasheedat Oke, Esther Agwang, Mary-Margaret Ajiko, Christopher Yoon, Melissa Carvalho, Fred Kirya, Elliot Marseille, Rochelle A. Dicker
BMC Health Services Research, Volume 21, pp 1-10; doi:10.1186/s12913-021-06579-x

Abstract:
Background The epidemiology and cost of surgical care delivery in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) is poorly understood. This study characterizes the cost of surgical care, rate of catastrophic medical expenditure and medical impoverishment, and impact of surgical hospitalization on patients’ households at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital (SRRH), Uganda. Methods We prospectively collected demographic, clinical, and cost data from all surgical inpatients and caregivers at SRRH between February 2018 and January 2019. We conducted and thematically analyzed qualitative interviews to discern the impact of hospitalization on patients’ households. We employed the chi-square, t-test, ANOVA, and Bonferroni tests and built regression models to identify predictors of societal cost of surgical care. Out of pocket spending (OOPS) and catastrophic expenses were determined. Results We encountered 546 patients, mostly male (62%) peasant farmers (42%), at a median age of 22 years; and 615 caregivers, typically married (87%), female (69%), at a median age of 35 years. Femur fractures (20.4%), soft tissue infections (12.3%), and non-femur fractures (11.9%) were commonest. The total societal cost of surgical care was USD 147,378 with femur fractures (USD 47,879), intestinal obstruction (USD 18,737) and non-femur fractures (USD 10,212) as the leading contributors. Procedures (40%) and supplies (12%) were the largest components of societal cost. About 29% of patients suffered catastrophic expenses and 31% were medically impoverished. Conclusion Despite free care, surgical conditions cause catastrophic expenses and impoverishment in Uganda. Femur fracture is the most expensive surgical condition due to prolonged hospitalization associated with traction immobilization and lack of treatment modalities with shorter hospitalization.
Laura Tarzia, Jacqui Cameron, Jotara Watson, Renee Fiolet, Surriya Baloch, Rebecca Robertson, Minerva Kyei-Onanjiri, Gemma McKibbin, Kelsey Hegarty
BMC Health Services Research, Volume 21, pp 1-15; doi:10.1186/s12913-021-06582-2

Abstract:
Background Healthcare practitioners (HCPs) play a crucial role in recognising, responding to, and supporting female patients experiencing intimate partner abuse (IPA). However, research consistently identifies barriers they perceive prevent them from doing this work effectively. These barriers can be system-based (e.g. lack of time or training) or personal/individual. This review of qualitative evidence aims to synthesise the personal barriers that impact HCPs’ responses to IPA. Methods Five databases were searched in March 2020. Studies needed to utilise qualitative methods for both data collection and analysis and be published between 2010 and 2020 in order to qualify for inclusion; however, we considered any type of healthcare setting in any country. Article screening, data extraction and methodological appraisal using a modified version of the Critical Appraisal Skills Program checklist for qualitative studies were undertaken by at least two independent reviewers. Data analysis drew on Thomas and Harden’s thematic synthesis approach. Results Twenty-nine studies conducted in 20 countries informed the final review. A variety of HCPs and settings were represented. Three themes were developed that describe the personal barriers experienced by HCPs: I can’t interfere (which describes the belief that IPA is a “private matter” and HCPs’ fears of causing harm by intervening); I don’t have control (highlighting HCPs’ frustration when women do not follow their advice); and I won’t take responsibility (which illuminates beliefs that addressing IPA should be someone else’s job). Conclusion This review highlights the need for training to address personal issues in addition to structural or organisational barriers. Education and training for HCPs needs to: encourage reflection on their own values to reinforce their commitment to addressing IPA; teach HCPs to relinquish the need to control outcomes so that they can adopt an advocacy approach; and support HCPs’ trust in the critical role they can play in responding. Future research should explore effective ways to do this within the context of complex healthcare organisations.
Hao Yao, , Changchun Zhang, Yang Pan, Jinxiang Han, Rui He, Zhengjiao Chang, Tianhang Zhou, Chunyu Du, Tingfang Wu, et al.
BMC Health Services Research, Volume 21, pp 1-10; doi:10.1186/s12913-021-06572-4

Abstract:
Background Mental disorders impose heavy burdens on patients’ families and children. It is imperative to provide family-focused services to avoid adverse effects from mental disorders on patients’ families and children. However, implementing such services requires a great deal of involvement of mental health workers. This study investigated the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and practices in respect to family-focused practices (FFP) in a sample of Chinese mental health workers. Methods A cross-sectional study design was employed to examine the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and practices of a convenience sample of Chinese mental health workers in respect to FFP, using the Chinese version of the Family-Focused Mental Health Practice Questionnaire (FFMHPQ). Results In total, 515 mental health workers participated in our study, including 213 psychiatrists, 269 psychiatric nurses, and 34 allied mental health professionals (20 clinical psychologists, 9 mental health social workers, and 4 occupational therapists). Compared with psychiatric nurses, psychiatrists and allied mental health professionals provided more support for families and children of patients with mental illness and were more willing to receive further training in FFP. However, there were no significant differences on knowledge, skills, and confidence across different profession types. After adjusting for demographic and occupational variables, previous training in FFP was positively associated with mental health workers’ knowledge, skills, and confidence about FFP, but not actual support to families and children. Conclusions Professional differences on FFP exist in Chinese mental health workers. Training is needed to engage psychiatrists and other allied workforce in dissemination and implementation of FFP in China.
Douglas A. Conrad, Peter Milgrom, Yuxian Du, Joana Cunha-Cruz, Sharity Ludwig, R. Mike Shirtcliff
BMC Health Services Research, Volume 21, pp 1-15; doi:10.1186/s12913-021-06549-3

Abstract:
Background We evaluated a 14-county quality improvement program of care delivery and payment of a dental care organization for child and adolescent managed care Medicaid beneficiaries after 2 years of implementation. Methods Counties were randomly assigned to either the intervention (PREDICT) or control group. Using Medicaid administrative data, difference-in-difference regression models were used to estimate PREDICT intervention effects (formally, “average marginal effects”) on dental care utilization and costs to Medicaid, controlling for patient and county characteristics. Results Average marginal effects of PREDICT on expected use and expected cost of services per patient (child or adolescent) per quarter were small and insignificant for most service categories. There were statistically significant effects of PREDICT (p < .05), though still small, for certain types of service: Expected number of diagnostic services per patient-quarter increased by .009 units; Expected number of sealants per patient-quarter increased by .003 units, and expected cost by $0.06; Total expected cost per patient-quarter for all services increased by $0.64. These consistent positive effects of PREDICT on diagnostic and certain preventive services (i.e., sealants) were not accompanied by increases in more costly service types (i.e., restorations) or extractions. Conclusion The major hypothesis that primary dental care (selected preventive services and diagnostic services in general) would increase significantly over time in PREDICT counties relative to controls was supported. There were small but statistically significant, increases in differential use of diagnostic services and sealants. Total cost per beneficiary rose modestly, but restorative and dental costs did not. The findings suggest favorable developments within PREDICT counties in enhanced preventive and diagnostic procedures, while holding the line on expensive restorative and extraction procedures.
, Sue Kilpatrick, Shandell Elmer, Kim Rooney
BMC Health Services Research, Volume 21, pp 1-14; doi:10.1186/s12913-021-06519-9

Abstract:
Background Medical education should ensure graduates are equipped for practice in modern health-care systems. Practicing effectively in complex health-care systems requires contemporary attributes and competencies, complementing core clinical competencies. These need to be made overt and opportunities to develop and practice them provided. This study explicates these attributes and generic competencies using Group Concept Mapping, aiming to inform pre-vocational medical education curriculum development. Methods Group Concept Mapping is a mixed methods consensus building methodology whereby ideas are generated using qualitative techniques, sorted and grouped using hierarchical cluster analysis, and rated to provide further quantitative confirmation of value. Health service providers from varied disciplines (including medicine, nursing, allied health), health profession educators, health managers, and service users contributed to the conceptual model’s development. They responded to the prompt ‘An attribute or non-clinical competency required of doctors for effective practice in modern health-care systems is...’ and grouped the synthesized responses according to similarity. Data were subjected to hierarchical cluster analysis. Junior doctors rated competencies according to importance to their practice and preparedness at graduation. Results Sixty-seven contributors generated 338 responses which were synthesised into 60 statements. Hierarchical cluster analysis resulted in a conceptual map of seven clusters representing: value-led professionalism; attributes for self-awareness and reflective practice; cognitive capability; active engagement; communication to build and manage relationships; patient-centredness and advocacy; and systems awareness, thinking and contribution. Logic model transformation identified three overarching meta-competencies: leadership and systems thinking; learning and cognitive processes; and interpersonal capability. Ratings indicated that junior doctors believe system-related competencies are less important than other competencies, and they feel less prepared to carry them out. Conclusion The domains that have been identified highlight the competencies necessary for effective practice for those who work within and use health-care systems. Three overarching domains relate to leadership in systems, learning, and interpersonal competencies. The model is a useful adjunct to broader competencies frameworks because of the focus on generic competencies that are crucial in modern complex adaptive health-care systems. Explicating these will allow future investigation into those that are currently well achieved, and those which are lacking, in differing contexts.
, Johan Thor, Axel Ros, Linda Johansson
BMC Health Services Research, Volume 21, pp 1-10; doi:10.1186/s12913-021-06518-w

Abstract:
Background Older persons with polypharmacy are at increased risk of harm from medications. Therefore, it is important that physicians and nurses, together with the persons, evaluate medications to avoid hazardous polypharmacy. It remains unclear how healthcare professionals experience such evaluations. This study aimed to explore physicians’ and nurses’ experiences from evaluations of older persons’ medications, and their related actions to manage concerns related to the evaluations. Method Individual interview data from 29 physicians and nurses were collected and analysed according to the critical incident technique. Results The medication evaluation for older persons was influenced by the working conditions (e.g. healthcare professionals’ clinical knowledge, experiences, and situational conditions) and working in partnership (e.g. cooperating around and with the older person). Actions taken to manage these evaluations were related to working with a plan (e.g. performing day-to-day work and planning for continued treatment) and collaborative problem-solving (e.g. finding a solution, involving the older person, and communicating with colleagues). Conclusion Working conditions and cooperation with colleagues, the older persons and their formal or informal caregivers, emerged as important factors related to the medication evaluation. By adjusting their performance to variations in these conditions, healthcare professionals contributed to the resilience of the healthcare system by its capacity to prevent, notice and mitigate medication problems. Based on these findings, we hypothesize that a joint plan for continued treatment could facilitate such resilience, if it articulates what to observe, when to act, who should act and what actions to take in case of deviations from what is expected.
BMC Health Services Research, Volume 21, pp 1-12; doi:10.1186/s12913-021-06501-5

Abstract:
Background There is general scarcity of research on key elements of implementation processes and the factors which impact implementation success. Implementation of healthcare interventions is a complex process. Tools to support implementation can facilitate this process and improve effectiveness of the interventions and clinical outcomes. Understanding the impact of implementation support tools is a critical aspect of this process. The objective of this study was to solicit knowledge and agreement from relevant implementation science and knowledge translation healthcare experts in order to develop a process model of key elements in the implementation process. Methods A two round, modified Delphi study involving international experts in knowledge translation and implementation (researchers, scientists, professors, decision-makers) was conducted. Participants rated and commented on all aspects of the process model, including the organization, content, scope, and structure. Delphi questions rated at 75% agreement or lower were reviewed and revised. Qualitative comments supported the restructuring and refinement. A second-round survey followed the same process as Round 1. Results Fifty-four experts participated in Round 1, and 32 experts participated in Round 2. Twelve percent (n = 6) of the Round 1 questions did not reach agreement. Key themes for revision and refinement were: stakeholder engagement throughout the process, iterative nature of the implementation process; importance of context; and importance of using guiding theories or frameworks. The process model was revised and refined based on the quantitative and qualitative data and reassessed by the experts in Round 2. Agreement was achieved on all items in Round 2 and the Delphi concluded. Additional feedback was obtained regarding terminology, target users and definition of the implementation process. Conclusions High levels of agreement were attained for all sub-domains, elements, and sub-elements of the Implementation Process Model. This model will be used to develop an Implementation Support Tool to be used by healthcare providers to facilitate effective implementation and improved clinical outcomes.
, Magnus Fredriksson, Ulrika Winblad
BMC Health Services Research, Volume 21, pp 1-15; doi:10.1186/s12913-021-06380-w

Abstract:
Background To stimulate quality through choice of provider, patients need to seek and base their decisions on both relevant and reliable information describing providers’ clinical quality. The purpose of this study was first to investigate what types of information and information sources patients turned to in the active choice of primary care provider. Second, it investigated whether a sub-group of patients considered more likely to actively seek information, also sought more advanced information about the clinical quality of providers. Methods Data collection was performed through a web-based survey to the general adult (18+) Swedish population, for a net sample of 3150 respondents. Descriptive statistics were used to study what types of information and information sources respondents used prior to their choice. Multiple regression analysis was employed to examine predictors for seeking relevant and reliable information describing providers’ clinical quality. Results Patients in active choice situations searched for a median of four information types and used a median of one information source. The information searched for was primarily basic information, for instance, how to switch providers and their geographical location. Information sources used were mainly partisan sources, such as providers themselves, and family and acquaintances. The sub-group of individuals more likely to seek information were not found to seek more advanced forms of information. Conclusions Not even the patients considered most likely to seek information prior to their choice of primary care provider, searched for information deemed necessary to make well-informed choices. Thus, patients did not act according to the theoretical assumptions underlying the patient choice reforms, i.e., making informed choices based on clinical quality in order to promote the best providers over inferior ones. The results call for governments and health care authorities to actively assess and develop primary care providers’ clinical quality by means other than patient choice.
, Bottle Alex, Aylin Paul
BMC Health Services Research, Volume 21, pp 1-7; doi:10.1186/s12913-021-06578-y

Abstract:
Background To assess the impact on seven-day in-hospital mortality following the introduction in 2012 of a shadowing programme for new UK medical graduates requiring them to observe the doctor they are replacing for at least 4 days before starting work. Methods Data on emergency admissions were derived from Hospital Episode Statistics between 2003 and 2019. A generalised estimating equation model was used to examine whether the introduction of the programme was associated with a change in mortality. Results There were 644,018 emergency admissions, of which 1.8% (7612) ended in death in hospital within a week following the admission. Throughout the study period, there was an annual increase in the number of emergency admissions during July and August, though in-hospital mortality rates declined. The generalised estimating equation analysis found no significant change in the odds of death within 7 days after admission for patients admitted on the first Wednesday in August compared with patients admitted on the last Wednesday in July (OR = 1.03, 95% CI 0.94–1.13, p = 0.53). Furthermore, there was no significant change observed for any clinical diagnosis category following the introduction of the shadowing programme. Conclusion There was a rising trend in the number of emergency admissions over the study period, though mortality was decreasing. We found no significant association between the introduction of shadowing programme and in-hospital mortality; however, lack of power means that we cannot rule out a small effect on mortality. There are other outcomes that might have changed but were not examined in this study.
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