Meera Viswanathan

RTI International, Durham, North Carolina, United States

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Publications (58)157.65 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background: Asthma continues to be a significant public health issue for children. The extent to which tailored evidence-based interventions address the needs of children at varied levels of risk in the community is unclear. Objective: Using data from five impoverished communities with high levels of pediatric asthma morbidity, this study assessed morbidity outcomes associated with tailored evidence-based interventions after stratifying children for risk based on two variables that reflect control, severity, and behavior: hospitalizations and daily use of a controller medication. Methods: A pre/post evaluation (n=721) was used to categorize and analyze change in outcomes for four groups of patients: patients with one or more hospitalizations in the past 12 months with or without a baseline controller medication use, and no hospitalizations in the past 12 months with or without baseline controller medication use. Results: Patients with one or more hospitalizations in the past 12 months and no baseline controller use made the biggest gains in several areas, including the largest percent increase in daily controller medication usage and asthma action plans, and the largest decrease in days and nights of symptoms. However, other groups made larger gains in reducing school days missed and emergency department visits and increasing parent confidence, consistent with the notion that community-based interventions can help a diverse set of patients make progress. Conclusion: Practitioners in low-income communities where there are varying levels of resources and disease severity can tailor interventions to each child's needs and make substantial gains in outcomes across a range of risk profiles.
    Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology 04/2015; 28(2):150414113112008. DOI:10.1089/ped.2014.0440 · 0.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The use of antipsychotics, particularly second generation antipsychotics, among children and adolescents has increased markedly during the past 20 years. Existing evidence gaps make this practice controversial and hinder treatment decision-making. This article describes and prioritizes future research needs regarding antipsychotic treatment in youth, focusing on within-class and between-class drug comparisons with regard to key population subgroups, efficacy and effectiveness outcomes, and adverse event outcomes. Using as a foundation a recent systematic review of antipsychotic treatment among youth, which was completed by a different Evidence-based Practice Center, we worked with a diverse group of 12 stakeholders representing researchers, funders, health care providers, patients, and families to identify and prioritize research needs. From an initial list of 16 evidence gaps, we enumerated 6 high-priority research needs: 1) long-term comparative effectiveness across all psychiatric disorders; 2) comparative long-term risks of adverse outcomes; 3) short-term risks of adverse events; 4) differentials of efficacy, effectiveness, and safety for population subgroups; 5) comparative effectiveness among those with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and disruptive behavior disorders and common comorbidities; 6) comparative effectiveness among those with bipolar disorder and common comorbidities. In this article, we describe these future research needs in detail and discuss study designs that could be used to address them. (Journal of Psychiatric Practice 2015;21:26-36).
    Journal of Psychiatric Practice 01/2015; 21(1):26-36. DOI:10.1097/01.pra.0000460619.10429.4c · 1.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To revise 2010 guidance on grading the strength of evidence (SOE) of the effectiveness of drugs, devices, and other preventive and therapeutic interventions in systematic reviews produced by the Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) program, established by the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). A cross-EPC working group reviewed authoritative systems for grading SOE [primarily the approach from the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) working group] and conducted extensive discussions with GRADE and other experts. Updated guidance continues to be conceptually similar to GRADE. Reviewers are to evaluate SOE separately for each major treatment comparison for each major outcome. We added reporting bias as a required domain and retained study limitations (risk of bias), consistency, directness, and precision (and three optional domains). Additional guidance covers scoring consistency, precision, and reporting bias, grading bodies of evidence with randomized controlled trials and observational studies, evaluating single study bodies of evidence, using studies with high risk of bias, and presenting findings with greater clarity and transparency. SOE is graded high, moderate, low, or insufficient, reflecting reviewers' confidence in the findings for a specific treatment comparison and outcome. No single approach for grading SOE suits all reviews, but a more consistent and transparent approach to reporting summary information will make reviews more useful to the broad range of audiences that AHRQ's work aims to reach. EPC working groups will consider ongoing challenges and modify guidance as needed, on issues such as combining trials and observational studies in bodies of evidence, weighting domains, and combining qualitative and quantitative syntheses. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 12/2014; 68(11). DOI:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2014.11.023 · 3.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Medication therapy management (MTM) services (also called clinical pharmacy services) aim to reduce medication-related problems and their downstream outcomes.
    JAMA Internal Medicine 11/2014; 175(1). DOI:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.5841 · 13.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives Groups such as the Institute of Medicine emphasize the importance of attention to financial conflicts of interest. Little guidance exists, however, on managing the risk of bias for systematic reviews from nonfinancial conflicts of interest. We sought to create practical guidance on ensuring adequate clinical or content expertise while maintaining independence of judgment on systematic review teams. Study Design and Setting Workgroup members built on existing guidance from international and domestic institutions on managing conflicts of interest. We then developed practical guidance in the form of an instrument for each potential source of conflict. Results We modified the Institute of Medicine's definition of conflict of interest to arrive at a definition specific to nonfinancial conflicts. We propose questions for funders and systematic review principal investigators to evaluate the risk of nonfinancial conflicts of interest. Once risks have been identified, options for managing conflicts include disclosure followed by no change in the systematic review team or activities, inclusion on the team along with other members with differing viewpoints to ensure diverse perspectives, exclusion from certain activities, and exclusion from the project entirely. Conclusion The feasibility and utility of this approach to ensuring needed expertise on systematic reviews and minimizing bias from nonfinancial conflicts of interest must be investigated.
    Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 11/2014; 67(11). DOI:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2014.02.023 · 3.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives The purpose of this Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Evidence-based Practice Center methods white paper was to outline approaches to conducting systematic reviews of complex multicomponent health care interventions. Study Design and Setting We performed a literature scan and conducted semistructured interviews with international experts who conduct research or systematic reviews of complex multicomponent interventions (CMCIs) or organizational leaders who implement CMCIs in health care. Results Challenges identified include lack of consistent terminology for such interventions (eg, complex, multicomponent, multidimensional, multifactorial); a wide range of approaches used to frame the review, from grouping interventions by common features to using more theoretical approaches; decisions regarding whether and how to quantitatively analyze the interventions, from holistic to individual component analytic approaches; and incomplete and inconsistent reporting of elements critical to understanding the success and impact of multicomponent interventions, such as methods used for implementation the context in which interventions are implemented. Conclusion We provide a framework for the spectrum of conceptual and analytic approaches to synthesizing studies of multicomponent interventions and an initial list of critical reporting elements for such studies. This information is intended to help systematic reviewers understand the options and tradeoffs available for such reviews.
    Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 11/2014; 67(11):1181–1191. DOI:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2014.06.010 · 3.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The study objective was to compare the Newcastle–Ottawa Scale (NOS) and the RTI item bank (RTI-IB) and estimate interrater agreement using the RTI-IB within a systematic review on the cardiovascular safety of glucose-lowering drugs. Methods: We tailored both tools and added four questions to the RTI-IB. Two reviewers assessed the quality of the 44 included studies with both tools, (independently for the RTI-IB) and agreed on which responses conveyed low, unclear, or high risk of bias. For each question in the RTI-IB (n=31), the observed interrater agreement was calculated as the percentage of studies given the same bias assessment by both reviewers; chance-adjusted interrater agreement was estimated with the first-order agreement coefficient (AC1) statistic. Results: The NOS required less tailoring and was easier to use than the RTI-IB, but the RTI-IB produced a more thorough assessment. The RTI-IB includes most of the domains measured in the NOS. Median observed interrater agreement for the RTI-IB was 75% (25th percentile [p25] =61%; p75 =89%); median AC1 statistic was 0.64 (p25 =0.51; p75 =0.86). Conclusion: The RTI-IB facilitates a more complete quality assessment than the NOS but is more burdensome. The observed agreement and AC1 statistic in this study were higher than those reported by the RTI-IB’s developers.
    Clinical Epidemiology 10/2014; 6:359. DOI:10.2147/CLEP.S66677
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    ABSTRACT: Objective This study aimed to examine selective outcome reporting (SOR) and selective analysis reporting (SAR) in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and to explore the usefulness of trial registries for identifying SOR and SAR. Study Design and SettingWe selected one “index outcome” for each of three comparative effectiveness reviews (CERs) of pharmacotherapy and extracted data on this outcome from trial registries and from study publications. ResultsAmong 50 RCTs published since 2005 and reporting the index outcome, only 50% were listed in registries; 90% of RCTs were assessed as having SOR or SAR. The index outcome in the registry was different from that in the publication in 75% of trials in two CERs, and not specified at all in the third. Reported outcomes and analyses were not consistent between the publication's methods section and the results section in 33% and 46% of the two CERs where the index outcome was a benefit. There were no statistically significant predictors of SOR and SAR in our small sample where some predictors lacked variability. Conclusion The SOR and SAR were frequent in this pilot study, and the most common type of SOR was the publication of outcomes that were not pre-specified. Trial registries were of little use in identifying SOR and of no use in identifying SAR. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Research Synthesis Methods 09/2014; 5(3). DOI:10.1002/jrsm.1113
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the efficacy of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and 2 or more prior antidepressant treatment failures (often referred to as treatment-resistant depression [TRD]). These patients are less likely to recover with medications alone and often consider nonpharmacologic treatments such as rTMS.
    The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 05/2014; 75(5):477-489. DOI:10.4088/JCP.13r08815 · 5.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: With onset often occurring before 6 years of age, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) involves attention problems, impulsivity, overactivity, and sometimes disruptive behavior. Impairment usually persists into adulthood, with an estimated worldwide prevalence in adults of 2.5%. Existing gaps in evidence concerning ADHD hinder decision-making about treatment. This article describes and prioritizes future research needs for ADHD in three areas: treatment effectiveness for at-risk preschoolers; long-term treatment effectiveness; and variability in prevalence, diagnosis, and treatment.Using a recent systematic review concerning ADHD completed by a different evidence-based practice center as a foundation, we worked with a diverse group of 12 stakeholders, who represented researchers, funders, healthcare providers, patients, and families, to identify and prioritize research needs. From an initial list of 29 evidence gaps, we enumerated 8 high-priority research needs: a) accurate, brief standardized diagnosis and assessment; b) comparative effectiveness and safety of pharmacologic treatments for children under 6 years of age; c) comparative effectiveness of different combinations of psychosocial and pharmacologic treatments for children under 6 years of age; d) case identification and measurement of prevalence and outcomes; e) comparative effectiveness of psychosocial treatment alone versus pharmacologic and combination treatments for children under 6 years of age; f) comparative long-term treatment effectiveness for people 6 years of age and older; g) relative efficacy of specific psychosocial program components for children under 6 years of age; and h) identification of person-level effect modifiers for people 6 years of age and older. In this article, we describe these future research needs in detail and discuss study designs that could be used to address them. (Journal of Psychiatric Practice 2014;20:104-117).
    03/2014; 20(2):104-17. DOI:10.1097/01.pra.0000445245.46424.25
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    ABSTRACT: Research needs are many in the current health care environment. In this article, we describe a novel method developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Evidence-based Practice Center Program for pri- oritizing areas for future research. Using a recent- ly published systematic review as a foundation, investigators worked with a diverse group of 10 stakeholders to identify and prioritize research needs. We enumerate 13 high-priority research needs, as determined by stakeholders who repre- sented researchers, funders, health care providers, and patients and families, and discuss considerations for specific study designs. Our findings suggest that future research on inte- grating mental health and primary care should focus first on a) identifying methods of integrat- ing primary care into specialty mental health settings, b) identifying cross-cutting strategies for integration across multiple mental health diagnostic categories as opposed to a separate strategy for each diagnostic category, and c) examining the use of information technology for integrating mental and general medical health care. Other priorities for consideration include examining the economic and organizational sus- tainability of successful integration models, identifying dissemination methods for various settings, examining the business case for inte- gration as well as methods of payment, assessing the cost-effectiveness of integration, and identi- fying key components of successful strategies. The importance of sustainability and economic justification for integrated care strategies was a recurring theme in discussions with the stake- holders. The ability to sustain integrated care in everyday practice remains to be proved and will depend in part on the level of incentives and sup- port provided through payment system reform, as well as the ability of practices to provide care efficiently. (Journal of Psychiatric Practice 2013; 19:345-359).
    09/2013; 19(5):345-59. DOI:10.1097/01.pra.0000435034.37685.ce
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    ABSTRACT: In response to the need for an evidence-based review of factors within long-term care settings that affect the quality of care, this review compared characteristics of nursing homes and other residential long-term care settings for people with dementia and their informal family caregivers with respect to health and psychosocial outcomes. Databases were searched for literature published between 1990 and March 2012 that met review criteria, including that at least 80% of the subject population had dementia. Fourteen articles meeting review criteria that were of at least fair quality were found: four prospective cohort studies, nine randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and one nonrandomized controlled trial. Overall, low or insufficient strength of evidence was found regarding the effect of most organizational characteristics, structures, and processes of care on health and psychosocial outcomes for people with dementia and no evidence for informal caregivers. Findings of moderate strength of evidence indicate that pleasant sensory stimulation reduces agitation for people with dementia. Also, although the strength of evidence is low, protocols for individualized care and to improve function result in better outcomes for these individuals. Finally, outcomes do not differ between nursing homes and residential care or assisted living settings for people with dementia except when medical care is indicated. Given the paucity of high-quality studies in this area, additional research is needed to develop a sufficient evidence base to support consumer selection, practice, and policy regarding the best settings and characteristics of settings for residential long-term care of people with dementia.
    Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 07/2013; 61(8). DOI:10.1111/jgs.12372 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To systematically review the comparative effectiveness evidence for interventions to ameliorate the negative sequelae of maltreatment exposure in children ages birth to 14 years. Methods: We assessed the research on pharmacological and psychosocial interventions (parent-mediated approaches or trauma-focused treatments) reporting mental and behavioral health, caregiver-child relationship, and developmental and/or school functioning outcomes. We conducted focused searches of MEDLINE (through PubMed), Social Sciences Citation Index, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Library (1990-2012). Reviewer pairs independently evaluated the studies for eligibility using predetermined inclusion/exclusion criteria, evaluated studies for risk of bias, extracted data, and graded the strength of evidence (SOE) for each comparison and each outcome based on predetermined criteria. Results: Based on our review of 6282 unduplicated citations, we found 17 trials eligible for inclusion. Although several interventions show promising comparative benefit for child well-being outcomes, the SOE for all but one of these interventions was low. The results highlight numerous substantive and methodological gaps to address in the future research. Conclusions: It is too early to make strong treatment recommendations, as comparative research remains relatively nascent in the child maltreatment arena. These gaps reflect, in large part, the Herculean demands on researchers involved in conducting high-quality clinical studies with this highly vulnerable population. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Research Network (DBPNet) are two potentially powerful platforms to conduct large rigorous trials needed to move the field forward. More broadly, a paradigm shift among researchers and funders alike is needed to galvanize the commitment and resources necessary for conducting collaborative clinical trials with this highly vulnerable population.
    Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics: JDBP 04/2013; 34(5). DOI:10.1097/DBP.0b013e31828a7dfc · 2.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Depression concomitant with chronic medical conditions is common and burdensome in primary care. To assess the effectiveness of practice-based interventions for improving depression and chronic medical outcomes. MEDLINE, Embase, the Cochrane Library, CINAHL, and PsycINFO from inception to June 11, 2012. Two reviewers independently selected, extracted data from, and rated the quality of trials and systematic reviews. Strength of evidence (SOE) was graded using established criteria. Twenty-four published articles reported data from 12 studies, all at least 6 months long. All studies compared a form of collaborative care with usual or enhanced usual care. Studies evaluated adults with arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, HIV, or multiple medical conditions. Meta-analyses found that intervention recipients achieved greater improvement than controls in depression symptoms, response, remission, and depression-free days (moderate SOE); satisfaction with care (moderate SOE); and quality of life (moderate SOE). Few data were available on outcomes for chronic medical conditions. Meta-analyses revealed that patients with diabetes receiving collaborative care exhibited no difference in diabetes control compared with control groups (change in HbA1c: weighted mean difference 0.13, 95% confidence interval = -0.22 to 0.48 at 6 months; 0.24, 95% confidence interval = -0.14 to 0.62 at 12 months; low SOE). The only study to use HbA1c as a predefined outcome measure and a "treat-to-target" intervention for diabetes as well as depression, TEAMcare, reported significant reductions in HbA1c (7.42 vs 7.87 at 6 months; 7.33 vs 7.81 at 12 months; overall P < .001). Few relevant trials reported on medical outcomes. Collaborative care interventions improved outcomes for depression and quality of life in primary care patients with varying medical conditions. Few data were available on medical outcomes. Future studies of concomitant depression and chronic medical conditions should consider measures of medical outcomes as primary outcomes.
    Journal of primary care & community health 04/2013; 4(4). DOI:10.1177/2150131913484040
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    ABSTRACT: To assess the effectiveness of interventions targeting traumatic stress among children exposed to nonrelational traumatic events (eg, accidents, natural disasters, war). We assessed research on psychological and pharmacological therapy as part of an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality-commissioned comparative effectiveness review. We conducted focused searches of Medline, Cochrane Library, Embase, PsycINFO, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, and Web of Science. Two trained reviewers independently selected, extracted data from, and rated the risk of bias of relevant trials and systematic reviews. We used qualitative rather than quantitative analysis methods because of statistical heterogeneity, insufficient numbers of similar studies, and variation in outcome reporting. We found a total of 21 trials and 1 cohort study of medium or low risk of bias from our review of 6647 unduplicated abstracts. We generally did not find studies that attempted to replicate findings of effective interventions. In the short term, no pharmacotherapy intervention demonstrated efficacy, and only a few psychological treatments (each with elements of cognitive behavioral therapy) showed benefit. The body of evidence provides little insight into how interventions to treat children exposed to trauma might influence healthy long-term development. Our findings serve as a call to action: Psychotherapeutic intervention may be beneficial relative to no treatment in children exposed to traumatic events. Definitive guidance, however, requires far more research on the comparative effectiveness of interventions targeting children exposed to nonrelational traumatic events.
    PEDIATRICS 03/2013; 131(3):526-39. DOI:10.1542/peds.2012-3846 · 5.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: The purpose of this project was to engage a diverse group of stakeholders (N=38) to help establish priorities to guide patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) in serious mental illness. Methods: Three meetings, two Web-based and one on site, were held to generate and prioritize an initial list of topics. Topics were then sorted and organized into common themes. Results: About 140 topics were identified and sorted into 21 main themes, ranked by priority. Three of the top four themes focused on how research was conducted, particularly the need to develop consensus measurement and outcomes definitions; improving infrastructure for research, longitudinal studies, and new data sets and investigators; and developing PCOR methodology. Stakeholders also identified a need to focus on service delivery, treatment settings, and structure of the delivery of care. Conclusions: Engagement by a broad group of stakeholders in a transparent process resulted in the identification of priority areas for PCOR. Stakeholders clearly indicated a need to fundamentally change how research on serious mental illness is conducted and a critical need for the development of methodology and infrastructure. Most current PCOR has been focused on relatively short-term outcomes, but real world, long-term studies providing guidance for treatment over the lifetime of a serious mental illness are needed.
    Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.) 11/2012; 63(11):1125-30. DOI:10.1176/ · 2.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Suboptimum medication adherence is common in the United States and leads to serious negative health consequences but may respond to intervention. PURPOSE: To assess the comparative effectiveness of patient, provider, systems, and policy interventions that aim to improve medication adherence for chronic health conditions in the United States. DATA SOURCES: Eligible peer-reviewed publications from MEDLINE and the Cochrane Library indexed through 4 June 2012 and additional studies from reference lists and technical experts. STUDY SELECTION: Randomized, controlled trials of patient, provider, or systems interventions to improve adherence to long-term medications and nonrandomized studies of policy interventions to improve medication adherence. DATA EXTRACTION: Two investigators independently selected, extracted data from, and rated the risk of bias of relevant studies. DATA SYNTHESIS: The evidence was synthesized separately for each clinical condition; within each condition, the type of intervention was synthesized. Two reviewers graded the strength of evidence by using established criteria. From 4124 eligible abstracts, 62 trials of patient-, provider-, or systems-level interventions evaluated 18 types of interventions; another 4 observational studies and 1 trial of policy interventions evaluated the effect of reduced medication copayments or improved prescription drug coverage. Clinical conditions amenable to multiple approaches to improving adherence include hypertension, heart failure, depression, and asthma. Interventions that improve adherence across multiple clinical conditions include policy interventions to reduce copayments or improve prescription drug coverage, systems interventions to offer case management, and patient-level educational interventions with behavioral support. LIMITATIONS: Studies were limited to adults with chronic conditions (excluding HIV, AIDS, severe mental illness, and substance abuse) in the United States. Clinical and methodological heterogeneity hindered quantitative data pooling. CONCLUSION: Reduced out-of-pocket expenses, case management, and patient education with behavioral support all improved medication adherence for more than 1 condition. Evidence is limited on whether these approaches are broadly applicable or affect long-term medication adherence and health outcomes. PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
    Annals of internal medicine 09/2012; 157(11). DOI:10.7326/0003-4819-157-11-201212040-00538 · 17.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To assess the effectiveness of patient, provider, and systems interventions (Key Question [KQ] 1) or policy interventions (KQ 2) in improving medication adherence for an array of chronic health conditions. For interventions that are effective in improving adherence, we then assessed their effectiveness in improving health, health care utilization, and adverse events. MEDLINE®, the Cochrane Library. Additional studies were identified from reference lists and technical experts. Two people independently selected, extracted data from, and rated the risk of bias of relevant trials and systematic reviews. We synthesized the evidence for effectiveness separately for each clinical condition, and within each condition, by type of intervention. We also evaluated the prevalence of intervention components across clinical conditions and the effectiveness of interventions for a range of vulnerable populations. Two reviewers graded the strength of evidence using established criteria. We found a total of 62 eligible studies (58 trials and 4 observational studies) from our review of 3,979 abstracts. These studies included patients with diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, heart failure, myocardial infarction, asthma, depression, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, musculoskeletal diseases, and multiple chronic conditions. Fifty-seven trials of patient, provider, or systems interventions (KQ 1) evaluated 20 different types of interventions; 4 observational studies and one trial of policy interventions (KQ 2) evaluated the effect of reduced out-of-pocket expenses or improved prescription drug coverage. We found the most consistent evidence of improvement in medication adherence for interventions to reduce out-of-pocket expenses or improve prescription drug coverage, case management, and educational interventions across clinical conditions. Within clinical conditions, we found the strongest support for self-management of medications for short-term improvement in adherence for asthma patients; collaborative care or case management programs for short-term improvement of adherence and to improve symptoms for patients taking depression medications; and pharmacist-led approaches for hypertensive patients to improve systolic blood pressure. Diverse interventions offer promising approaches to improving medication adherence for chronic conditions, particularly for the short term. Evidence on whether these approaches have broad applicability for clinical conditions and populations is limited, as is evidence regarding long-term medication adherence or health outcomes.
    Evidence report/technology assessment 09/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: Aims: To evaluate the impact of systematic reviews on research funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) through Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPCs), and to identify barriers to and facilitators for the effects of these documents on future research. Methods & materials: Two AHRQ systematic reviews were selected as case studies to evaluate their impact on future research. Key citations generated by these reports were identified through ISI Web of Science and PubMed Central and traced forward to identify effects on subsequent studies through citation analysis from updated systematic reviews on the topics. Requests for applications and program announcements from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts website were reviewed and dissemination data were obtained from AHRQ. Finally, interviews were conducted with 13 key informants to help identify short-, medium- and long-term impacts of the EPC reviews. Results: The measurable impact of the two EPC reviews is demonstrably greater on short-term outcomes (greater awareness of the issues) than on medium-term (e.g., the generation of new knowledge) or long-term outcomes (e.g., changes in patient practice or health outcomes). Factors such as the topic and the timing of the report relative to the development of the field may explain the impact of these two AHRQ reports. The degree to which the new research can be directly attributed to the AHRQ reviews remains unclear. Key informants discussed several benefits stemming from the EPC reports, including providing a foundation for the research community on which to build, heightening awareness of the gaps in knowledge, increasing the quality of research and sparking new directions of research. However, the degree to which these reports were influential hinged on several factors including marketing efforts, the very nature of the reports and other influences external to the EPC domain. Conclusions: The findings outlined in this article illustrate the importance of numerous factors influencing future research: the breadth, specificity and readiness of the topic for more research, ongoing developments in the field, availability of funding and active engagement of champions. AHRQ and the EPCs may be able to improve the likelihood of impact by creating more targeted products, planning for and expanding dissemination activities, improving the readability and other attributes of the reports themselves, and actively involving funders early on and throughout the process of creating and publishing the reviews.
    Journal of Comparative Effectiveness Research 07/2012; 1(4):329-46. DOI:10.2217/cer.12.28 · 0.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: For systematic reviews, no guidance exists for what review methods support valid conclusions of equivalence (EQ) and noninferiority (NI). To provide such guidance, we convened a workgroup of 13 experienced systematic reviewers from seven evidence-based practice centers (EPCs) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The Lead EPC first performed two methods projects intended to assist the workgroup in clarifying the context, prioritizing the issues, targeting the scope, and summarizing the state of the art. Based on expert opinion, we devised guidance in four areas: 1) Unique risk of bias issues for trials self-identifying as EQ-NI trials; 2) Setting the reviewer's minimum important difference; 3) Analytic foundations for concluding EQ or NI; and 4) Language considerations when concluding EQ or NI. This article summarizes the main recommendations, and the full guidance chapter appears on the AHRQ Web site.
    Journal of clinical epidemiology 06/2012; 65(11):1144-9. DOI:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2012.05.001 · 3.42 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
157.65 Total Impact Points


  • 2011-2014
    • RTI International
      Durham, North Carolina, United States
    • The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
      Filadelfia, Pennsylvania, United States
    • Columbia University
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2009
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
      North Carolina, United States
  • 2005
    • Oregon Health and Science University
      • Department of Family Medicine
      Portland, Oregon, United States