[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective: Attempts have been made to reduce childhood obesity through school-based programs. Systematic reviews of studies until 2006 reported a lack of consistency about effectiveness of such programs. Presented is an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Design and Methods: Replication of methodology used in previous comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of school based obesity prevention programs covering studies until 2006 to review studies thru January 2012. Results: Based on 32 studies (n=52,109), programs were mildly effective in reducing BMI relative to controls not receiving intervention. Studies of children had significant intervention effects, those of teenagers did not, though the difference between the two groups was not statistically significant. Meta-regression showed a significant linear hierarchy of studies with the largest effects for comprehensive programs more than 1 year-long that aimed to provide information on nutrition and physical activity, change attitudes, monitor behavior, modify environment, involve parents, increase physical activity and improve diet, particularly among children. Conclusions: Unlike earlier studies, more recent studies showed convincing evidence that school-based prevention interventions are at least mildly effective in reducing BMI in children, possibly because these newer studies tended to be longer, more comprehensive and included parental support.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate patient and physician characteristics associated with the type of psychotropic medications (anti-anxiety, antidepressant, or both) purchased.
The Clalit Health Care Services is the largest managed care health fund in Israel, a country that employs a universal healthcare system. We randomly sampled 30,000 primary care patients over the age of 22 as of January, 2006.
Overall, 2,217 purchased either antidepressant or antianxiety medications at least once during the year 2006 and had no prior purchases during the last quarter of 2005. The majority (1,518; 68.4%) purchased only anti-anxiety medications and as many as 264 (12%) purchased both anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications. The remaining 435 (19.6%) patients purchased only antidepressant medications. Physician level characteristics explained only a small portion of the variance and, thus, were not included in further analysis. Several patient level characteristics, including age, somatic, and psychiatric diagnosis were associated with the purchase of different types of medications.
Contrary to clinical guidelines, the purchase of anti-anxiety medications is more prevalent than the purchase of antidepressant medications. In a managed care setting, patient characteristics have a greater role in determining purchasing patterns than provider characteristics; potentially, because of the managed care characteristics that actively guide the care provided to patients.
The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine 01/2012; 44(1):91-102. · 1.15 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study evaluated patients' and physicians' characteristics associated with the purchase of benzodiazepines by older primary care patients in Israel. The analytic sample consists of those 6,421 patients age 65 and older. We used multi-level analysis with whether or not benzodiazepines were purchased at least once between June 2005 and 2007 as an outcome. We also evaluated patients' and physicians' characteristics associated with the purchase of benzodiazepines for 6 months or longer. Almost half the sample (41.5%) purchased benzodiazepines at least once during the study period and more than half (54.5%) of those purchasing benzodiazepines had a continued purchase for 6 months or longer. Physicians' characteristics explained only a small portion of the variance associated with purchasing, whereas patients' demographic and clinical characteristics were associated with purchasing. Any intervention to improve the use of benzodiazepines should be directed at both patients and physicians.
Administration and Policy in Mental Health 10/2011; · 2.09 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A crucial element in controlling blood pressure is non-pharmaceutical treatment. However, only a few studies specifically address the question of hypertensive patients' compliance with physicians' recommendations for a healthy lifestyle.
To explore factors associated with hypertensive patients' compliance with lifestyle recommendations regarding physical activity, smoking cessation and proper diet.
We performed a secondary data analysis of a representative sample of 1125 hypertensive patients in Israel's two largest health funds. Data were collected in 2002-2003 by telephone interviews using structured questionnaires. The response rate was 77%. Bivariate and multivariate analysis was conducted.
About half of the hypertensive patients reported doing regular exercise and adhering to a special diet; 13% were smokers. About half reported receiving counseling on smoking cessation and diet and a third on physical exercise. A quarter reported receiving explanations regarding self-measurement of blood pressure and signs of deterioration. Multivariate analysis revealed that patients' beliefs about hypertension management, their knowledge on hypertension and its management, and physician counseling on a healthy lifestyle and self-care, have an independent effect on compliance with recommended lifestyle behaviors.
The low counseling rates suggest that there may be a need to improve physicians' counseling skills so that they will be more confident and effective in delivering this service to their patients. A model based on educating both physicians and patients may contribute to improving the care of hypertensive patients.
The Israel Medical Association journal: IMAJ 09/2011; 13(9):553-7. · 0.98 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study analyzed the role of patient and physician characteristics associated with the purchase of antidepressant or antianxiety medications in Israel, a country that has a universal health care system.
A national sample of 30,000 primary care patients over the age of 22 was randomly drawn from the registry of the largest health care fund in Israel. Data concerning medication purchase between January and December 2006 were extracted. Physician and patient characteristics were merged with Israel's unique identification number. Multilevel analysis was conducted to identify patient- and physician-level predictors of medication purchase.
Overall, 19% (N = 4,762) of the sample purchased antidepressant or antianxiety medications. Individuals with greater general medical and psychiatric comorbidity were more likely to purchase antidepressant or antianxiety medications. Older adults, women, those of higher socioeconomic status, and immigrants (with the exception of Jews born in Asia or Africa) were also more likely to purchase medications. Arabs and Jews born in Asia and Africa were less likely to purchase medications even after all other variables were accounted for. Physician characteristics were minimally associated with the purchase of medications.
The findings demonstrate that despite universal health care access, there were variations by population groups. Educational efforts should target patients as well as physicians.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 1998, Israel's national health insurance system introduced a modest co-payment for visits to specialist physicians. This study takes advantage of a natural experiment in which 15% of the population--the poor and disabled--was exempted from these co-payments. It used the micro-level panel data of three large health plans on the physician visits of 50,000 members per plan in 1997-2001. The data indicate that, following introduction of the co-payment, specialist visits increased among non-exempt members, relative to exempt members, of two health plans that together account for two-thirds of the population. This paper illustrates how, unlike the Health Insurance Experiment and other US studies of cost sharing, the structure of the co-payment in Israel may have inadvertently limited the incentive to decrease consumer demand and may have created an incentive for the health plans to increase visit rates, especially among the non-exempt members. Other countries that have implemented co-payment systems with exemptions may benefit from the Israeli experience in designing and evaluating their systems.
International Journal of Health Planning and Management 04/2011; 26(2):e68-84. · 0.64 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives: To evaluate patient and physician characteristics associated with the purchase of antidepressant medication for at least 6 months.
Clalit Health Services is the largest managed care health fund in Israel, a country that uses a universal healthcare system. We randomly sampled 30,000 primary care patients over the age of 22 years. Our analytic sample consisted of those 949 patients who did not purchase antidepressant medication during the last quarter of 2005 and purchased antidepressant medication at least once in 2006. We used multilevel analysis, with whether or not medication was purchased for at least 6 months as an indicator of adherence. Patient and physician characteristics were evaluated as potential predictors.
Only 23% of the sample was classified as adherent. Physician characteristics explained only a small portion of the variance in adherence and, as a result, were not included in multivariate analysis. Patients who did not have a somatic diagnosis, had a depression diagnosis, and were of higher socioeconomic status were more likely to be classified as adherent. Patients who purchased tricyclic antidepressants were less likely to be classified as adherent.
The findings suggest that in a managed care setting, there is high uniformity among physicians. Although physician characteristics explain little of the variability associated with adherence, certain patient characteristics as determined by their physicians (eg, antidepressant drug class, psychiatric diagnosis) do play a role in adherence.
The American journal of managed care 01/2011; 17(9):e340-7. · 2.12 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To analyze the temporal trends of obesity over time among male adolescents of different ethnic origins.
Population-based national data of subjects presenting at recruitment centers for medical examinations as part of screening for military draft. Subjects were 17-year-old Jewish males (n=1 140 937) born in the years 1950-1986. Data on body mass index (BMI) were measured (without clothing and shoes) by physicians. We calculated the prevalence of obesity (BMI 29.4 or higher) for each year by ethnic origin group. A Multinomial logistic regression model was used to estimate the effects of ethnic origin and other risk factors on the likelihood of obesity.
Over time, obesity rates have risen among all ethnic groups of adolescents. Multinomial regression analysis showed a lower likelihood of obesity among those of Asia-Africa origin as compared with other groups. However, obesity rates have increased more significantly over time among this ethnic group compared with the other groups.
A significant finding of this study is the disparities in temporal trends in the likelihood of obesity over time. Among adolescents of Asia-Africa origin the likelihood of obesity increased more steeply over time compared with other groups of adolescents. Health services in Israel should thus consider Asia-African origin as a distinct risk factor and target interventions to prevent future obesity among these adolescents.
International journal of pediatric obesity: IJPO: an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity 10/2010; 6(2-2):e154-61. · 2.00 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Obesity increased monotonically from 1.2% to 3.8% of males age 17 (1967-2003). Low socioeconomic status had an independent positive effect on obesity. The likelihood of obesity had risen more steeply over time among the low socioeconomic status group than among other adolescents. Rise in obesity, standard of living, and income inequality (as measured by the Gini index) increased concomitantly.
Journal of Adolescent Health 03/2009; 44(2):195-8. · 2.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: At present, Israel's mental health system functions separately from its physical health system in terms of financing, planning, organization and practice setting. The government is responsible for the provision of mental health care, while the country's four, competing, non-profit health plans are responsible for physical health care. A reform effort is underway to transfer legal responsibility for the provision of mental health care from the government to the health plans.
The main objectives of this paper are to summarize the key components of the reform, its objectives, and the concerns that it has raised. The paper also seeks to foster interactions between experts from Israel and other countries about the Israeli reform.
The analysis is based on official government documents, the scholarly literature about the Israeli reform and the relevant international literature about mental health care in other countries, participation in key public meetings related to the reform, discussions with leaders of the reform effort, and discussions with leading mental health experts in other countries.
Two elements of the reform--the application of managed care principles to mental health and the integration of mental and physical care--are shown to be central both to the reform's objectives and to the concerns that have been raised about the reform.
These same two elements are relevant to many countries implementing or considering reforms in their mental health systems.
The architects of the Israeli reform could learn a great deal from the experience with mental health care and related reforms in other countries. At the same time, the Israeli reform could offer important insights and lessons for other countries.
The Government of Israel should work with the international mental health care professional community to create frameworks that would facilitate cross-national learning.
It will be important to monitor the implementation of the reform and evaluate its impact, in order to assess the extent to which the objectives are met and the extent to which the concerns materialize. Cross-national research collaborations could be very helpful.
The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics 01/2009; 11(4):201-8. · 0.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose – This article aims to analyze existing and preferred labor divisions between physicians and nurses treating patients with hypertension and diabetes in managed care organizations. Design/methodology/approach – A mail survey was conducted in 2002/2003 among a representative sample of 743 physicians employed by Israel's largest managed care health plans (78 percent response rate). A telephone survey among a representative sample of 1,369 hypertensive or diabetic patients (77 percent response rate) was also used. Findings – Findings reveal a conspicuous gap between actual labor division and what physicians perceive to be ideal. Possible reasons for this gap are discussed and strategies for facilitating collaboration, which would improve service quality as well as work life quality for both physicians and nurses. Originality/value – This study provides empirical data on the extent of nurse involvement in managed care organization chronic patient care, as well as comparing them to physicians' preferences regarding nurse involvement.
International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance 01/2009; 22(4):353-365.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using a cross-sectional design of 400 primary care patients with diabetes, the authors evaluated demographics, health status, subjective health and mental health, health behaviors, health beliefs, knowledge of diabetes treatment, satisfaction with medical care, and quality of medical care as potential predictors of QoL and QoL in the hypothetical absence of diabetes. Those who reported difficulties meeting basic needs, diabetes-related complications, worse subjective health, and dissatisfaction with medical care were more likely to report worse QoL. Those who reported difficulties meeting basic needs, higher cholesterol level, and worse subjective health also were more likely to report better QoL in the hypothetical absence of diabetes. In addition, diabetes management played a major role in one's QoL in the hypothetical absence of diabetes: Engaging in stricter diabetes self-care and taking pharmaceutical treatment for managing diabetes were associated with better QoL in the hypothetical absence of diabetes. Providing psychosocial support geared toward diabetes self-management may improve patients' QoL. When doing so, social workers need to be aware of the potential trade-off between following medical recommendations that advocate for a strict lifestyle and patients' QoL.
Health & social work 09/2008; 33(3):229-36. · 0.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of this paper is to identify the factors that contribute to the success or failure of quality assurance programs implemented by Israeli managed care health plans.
An in-depth study of seven quality assurance programs was conducted, comparing successful with unsuccessful ones using the comparative "case study" method. Employing a semi-structured questionnaire, 42 program directors and professionals in the field were interviewed.
A number of factors associated with the programs' success emerged. Those external to the program included: ongoing management support, resource allocation, information system support and perceived financial benefit for the organization. Internal factors included: leadership, perceived problem's importance, laying the groundwork in the field, involving field staff in planning and implementation and staff motivation.
The study provides insights into ways to encourage the implementation of successful quality assurance programs in the special organizational context of managed care health plans. As the implementation relies heavily on data, one important precondition is the development of computerized information systems to facilitate ongoing data collection. It is also necessary from the planning stage to take into account organizational factors that affect success.
International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance 02/2008; 21(3):308-24.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper examines primary care physicians' perceptions of a National Health Insurance Law that introduced managed competition into Israel's health care system, and the factors affecting their perceptions. Between April and July 1997, we conducted a mail survey of primary care physicians employed by Israel's four health plans (which are managed care organizations). Eight hundred questionnaires were returned, representing a response rate of 86%. The findings indicate that, overall most physicians support the components of the National Health Insurance Law with statistically significant differences among physicians by health plan. Multivariate analysis revealed that, contrary to theoretical expectations, a perceived decrease in professional autonomy and in the status of the profession following reform did not significantly affect attitudes toward national health insurance. These findings highlight the need for additional empirical studies to further examine theoretical contentions about the implications of infringing on the professional autonomy and the dominant status of physicians. The principal and most interesting finding of this study was the independent effect of health plan affiliation on physicians' attitudes toward each of the five components of the National Health Insurance Law, after controlling for background characteristics, for the reform's perceived effect on the physicians' autonomy and status in the health plan, and for the reform's perceived effect on the level of health plan services and the health plan's financial situation. We found that physicians' perceptions tended to conform to the formal position of their health plan, suggesting the need to analyze the attitudes of physicians in their organizational context, rather than treating them as members of a uniform professional community.
Social Science [?] Medicine 05/2007; 64(7):1450-62. · 2.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess: a) the prevalence and determinants of self-reported emotional distress in the Israeli population; b) the rate of self-reported discussion of emotional distress with family physicians; and c) the association between such discussions and patient satisfaction with care.
Design: Retrospective, cross-sectional survey that was conducted through structured telephone interviews in Hebrew, Arabic, and Russian. This study was part of a larger study assessing patients' perceptions of the quality of health services. Participants: A representative sample of 1,849 Israeli citizens aged 22 to 93 (response rate: 84%). Independent variables: Gender, age, ethnicity (spoken language), education, income, self-reported chronic disease, self-reported episode(s) of emotional distress during the last year, and having discussed emotional distress with the family physician. Outcome measure: satisfaction with care.
28.4% reported emotional distress and 12.5% reported discussion of emotional distress with a primary care physician in the past year. Logistic regression identified female gender, Arab ethnicity, low income, and chronic illness as independent correlates of emotional distress. These as well as Russian speakers and having experienced emotional distress during the past year were identified as independent correlates of discussion of emotional distress with the family physician. Patients who reported discussion of emotional distress with their family physician were significantly more satisfied with care.
Encouraging physicians to detect and discuss emotional distress with their patients may increase patient satisfaction with care, and possibly also improve patients' well-being and reduce health care costs.
The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine 02/2007; 37(3):331-45. · 1.15 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Women appear to be more vulnerable than men to emotional distress (ED) However, ED often goes unrecognized by family physicians.
To (1) assess the rate of inquiry about ED by family physicians and (2) explore the association between physician's inquiry about ED and women's satisfaction with care.
Telephone interviews were conducted in 2003 using a structured questionnaire in a representative sample of 991 Israeli women aged 22 years or older, with a response rate of 84%.
33% of women reported ED during the past year but only 15% of women reported having discussed ED with their family physician in the last year. Higher rates of discussion of ED with the physician were found among women who had experienced ED (22.5%), those who had a chronic illness (20.1%) had low income (22.7%), and were Arabic (29.5%) or Russian speakers (26.3%). Multivariate analysis indicated that women who had discussed ED with their physician expressed higher satisfaction with the physicians professional level (OR = 6.85), attitude (OR = 2.45), spending enough time (OR = 2.90), and listening to the patient (OR = 3.19), compared with women who had not discussed ED with their physician.
Given the current low rates of inquiry about ED, it appears that developing sensitivity to women's emotional concerns and encouraging physicians to inquire about ED should be given higher priority in medical education at all levels. Furthermore, since inquiry about ED not only improves the appropriateness of care but is also associated with higher satisfaction with the physician, organizations in a competitive health care environment may have a particular interest in promoting this practice.
Women & Health 02/2007; 45(1):51-67. · 1.05 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diabetes is aggravated by a sedentary lifestyle, obesity and smoking. Based on a theoretical model relating attitudes and behavior, this study examined the association between physicians' self efficacy in counseling diabetic patients on life style behaviors and their counseling practices. Data were gathered from a representative sample of 743 primary care physicians in Israel's two largest health plans. The main findings were that only a small percentage of physicians felt capable of influencing their patients' life-style behaviors. Self-efficacy had an independent effect on the likelihood of counseling diabetic patients on life style behaviors, controlling for other background variables. We conclude that there is a need for enhancing physicians' life-style counseling skills, and that social workers could expand their role by training physicians to counsel effectively. This could both improve the care of diabetic patients, and strengthen the status of the social work profession in the healthcare system.
Social Work in Health Care 02/2007; 44(3):191-204. · 0.62 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Managed competition was introduced into the Israeli health care system with the enactment of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Law of 1995, which radically transformed health management organizations' (HMO) regulatory and competitive environments. We conducted an in-depth, qualitative analysis of the strategies developed by two Israeli HMOs in response to this change, and developed the concept of a "strategic repertoire" to integrate diverse theories of organizational adaptation to environmental change. Although the responses of these organizations to managed competition were broadly comparable, they diverged from one another in important ways. Our analysis highlights how the interaction among organizational history, managerial choice, and environmental constraints creates divergence in organizational responses to national policy initiatives. Policy implications arising from the findings include ways of anticipating unintended consequences of policy initiatives, such as involving provider organizations in the structuring of reform, or simulating their response in advance, based on expert knowledge of their strategic repertoires; and the need to include mechanisms for obtaining feedback on organizational responses in the implementation of reform. This will facilitate the adjustment of program regulations and incentives in response to emerging practices.
Health Policy 05/2006; 76(2):213-32. · 1.55 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hypertension has been associated with lower levels of quality of life (QoL). However, the specific correlates of lower QoL in this patient population have remained largely unclear.
A cross-sectional design of 1,125 primary care patients with hypertension. We evaluated demographics, health status, subjective health and mental health, health behaviors, health beliefs, knowledge of hypertension treatment, satisfaction with medical care, and quality of medical care as potential predictors of QoL and perceived QoL in the hypothetical absence of hypertension.
Worse financial status, poorer blood pressure control, worse subjective health, mental distress, lack of hypertension diet, and irregular hypertension care were all associated with worse QoL. Worse financial status, poorer blood pressure control, higher body mass index, mental distress, and following a hypertension diet were associated with better QoL in the hypothetical absence of hypertension.
In addition to taking into consideration well known determinants of QoL, such as financial status, health status, and mental health, physicians need to be aware of the potential tradeoff between following medical recommendations that advocate for a strict diet and the impact these have on patients' QoL. Physicians also need to be aware of the effect of imparting information regarding imbalanced blood pressure on perceived QoL.
The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine 02/2006; 36(4):483-97. · 1.15 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study compares rates of health counseling for women in the United States and Israel and identifies factors affecting counseling rates, based on a weighted sample of 2,257 US and 848 Israeli women. In both countries, fewer than half of the women reported speaking with a physician about any of a set of preventive counseling topics (e.g., smoking, diet, exercise) during the year preceding the survey. However, US women reported significantly higher rates of health counseling than did Israeli women, even among specific risk groups (e.g., smokers). Multivariate analysis revealed that "country" had an independent effect after controlling for demographic factors. This paper highlights structural and functional barriers to counseling that persist in the Israeli system in the absence of financial barriers and discusses ways to overcome them.
Women & Health 02/2006; 43(1):1-18. · 1.05 Impact Factor