Carmen Tsang

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Londinium, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (8)29.2 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Patients diagnosed with cancer by the emergency route often have more advanced diseases and poorer outcomes. Rates of cancer diagnosed through unplanned admissions vary within and between countries, suggesting potential inconsistencies in the quality of care. To reduce diagnoses by this route and improve patient outcomes, high risk patient groups must be identified. This cross-sectional observational study determined the incidence of first-ever diagnoses of cancer by emergency (unplanned) admission and identified patient-level risk factors for these diagnoses in England. Data for 74,763 randomly selected patients at 457 general practices between 1999 and 2008 were obtained from the General Practice Research Database (GPRD), including integrated Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data and Office for National Statistics (ONS) mortality data. The proportion of first-ever diagnoses by emergency admission out of all recorded first cancer diagnoses by any route was analysed by patient characteristics. Diagnosis by emergency admission was recorded in 13.9% of patients diagnosed with cancer for the first time (n = 817/5870). The incidence of first cases by the emergency route was 2.51 patients per 10,000 person years. In adjusted regression analyses, patients of older age (p < 0.0001), living in the most deprived areas (RR 1.93, 95% CI 1.51 to 2.47; p < 0.0001) or who had a total Charlson score of 1 compared to 0 (RR 1.34, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.69; p = 0.014) were most at risk of diagnosis by emergency admission. Patients with more prior (all-cause) emergency admissions were less at risk of subsequent diagnosis by the emergency route (RR 0.31 per prior emergency admission, 95% CI 0.20 to 0.46; p < 0.0001). A much lower incidence of first-ever cancer diagnoses by emergency admission was found compared with previous studies. Identified high risk groups may benefit from interventions to reduce delayed diagnosis. Further studies should include screening and cancer staging data to improve understanding of delayed or untimely diagnosis and patient care pathways.
    BMC Health Services Research 08/2013; 13(1):308. · 1.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: More accurate and recent estimates of adverse events in primary care are necessary to assign resources for improvement of patient safety, while predictors must be identified to ameliorate patient risk. To determine the incidence of recorded iatrogenic harm in general practice and identify risk factors for these adverse events. Cross-sectional sample of 74 763 patients at 457 English general practices between 1 January 1999 and 31 December 2008, obtained from the General Practice Research Database. Patient age at study entry, sex, ethnicity, deprivation, practice region, duration registered at practice, continuity of care, comorbidities, and health service use were extracted from the data. Adverse events were defined by Read Codes for complications of care (Chapters S, T, and U). Crude and adjusted analyses were performed by Poisson regression, using generalised estimating equations. The incidence was 6.0 adverse events per 1000 person-years (95% confidence interval [CI] = 5.74 to 6.27), equivalent to eight adverse events per 10 000 consultations (n = 2 540 877). After adjustment, patients aged 65-84 years (risk ratio [RR] = 5.62, 95% CI = 4.58 to 6.91; P<0.001), with the most consultations (RR = 2.14, 95% CI = 1.60 to 2.86; P<0.001), five or more emergency admissions (RR = 2.08, 95% CI = 1.66 to 2.60; P<0.001), or the most diseases according to expanded diagnosis clusters (RR = 8.46, 95% CI = 5.68 to 12.6; P<0.001) were at greater risk of adverse events. Patients registered at their practice for the longest periods of time were less at risk of an adverse event (RR = 0.40, 95% CI = 0.35 to 0.47; P<0.001). The low incidence of recorded adverse events is comparable with other studies. Temporal sequencing of risk factors and case ascertainment would benefit from data triangulation. Future studies may explore whether first adverse events predict future incidents.
    British Journal of General Practice 08/2013; 63(613):534-42. · 1.83 Impact Factor
  • BMJ (online) 01/2013; 347:f7337. · 17.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background:To identify patient and general practice (GP) characteristics associated with emergency (unplanned) first admissions for cancer in secondary care.Methods:Patients who had a first-time admission with a primary diagnosis of cancer during 2007/08 to 2009/10 were identified from administrative hospital data. We modelled the associations between the odds of these admissions being unplanned and various patient and GP practice characteristics using national data sets, including the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF).Results:There were 639 064 patients with a first-time admission for cancer, with 139 351 unplanned, from 7957 GP practices. The unplanned proportion ranged from 13.9% (patients aged 15-44 years) to 44.9% (patients aged 85 years and older, P<0.0001), with large variation by ethnicity (highest in Asians), deprivation, rurality and cancer type. In unadjusted analyses, all included patient and practice-level variables were statistically significant predictors of the admissions being unplanned. After adjustment, patient area-level deprivation was a key factor (most deprived compared with least deprived quintile OR 1.36, 95% CI 1.32-1.40). Higher total QOF performance protected against unplanned admission (OR 0.94 per 100 points; 95% CI 0.91-0.97); having no GPs with a UK primary medical qualification (OR 1.08, 95% CI 1.04-1.11) and being less able to offer appointments within 48 h were associated with higher odds.Conclusion:We have identified some patient and practice characteristics associated with a first-time admission for cancer being unplanned. The former could be used to help identify patients at high risk, while the latter raise questions about the role of practice organisation and staff training.
    British Journal of Cancer 07/2012; 107(8):1213-9. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    Carmen Tsang, Azeem Majeed, Paul Aylin
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    ABSTRACT: To gauge the opinions of doctors working, or interested, in general practice on monitoring patient safety using administrative data. The findings will inform the development of routinely collected data-based patient safety indicators in general practice and elsewhere in primary care. Non-systematic participant recruitment, using personal contacts and colleagues' recommendations. Face-to-face consultations at participants' places of work, between June 2010 and February 2011. Four general practitioners (GPs) and a final year medical student. The four clinicians had between eight to 34 years of clinical practice experience, and held non-clinical positions in addition to their clinical roles. Views on safety issues and improvement priorities, measurement methods, uses of administrative data, role of administrative data in patient safety and experiences of quality and safety initiatives. Medication and communication were the most commonly identified areas of patient safety concern. Perceived safety barriers included incident-reporting reluctance, inadequate medical education and low computer competency. Data access, financial constraints, policy changes and technology handicaps posed challenges to data use. Suggested safety improvements included better communication between providers and local partnerships between GPs. The views of GPs and other primary care staff are pivotal to decisions on the future of English primary care and the health system. Broad views of general practice safety issues were shown, with possible reasons for patient harm and quality and safety improvement obstacles. There was general consensus on areas requiring urgent attention and strategies to enhance data use for safety monitoring.
    JRSM short reports. 01/2012; 3(1):5.
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    ABSTRACT: The literature on patient safety measures derived from routinely collected hospital data was reviewed to inform indicator development. MEDLINE and Embase databases and Web sites were searched. Of 1738 citations, 124 studies describing the application, evaluation, or validation of hospital-based medical error or complication of care measures were reviewed. Studies were frequently conducted in the United States (n = 88) between 2005 and 2009 (n = 77) using Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality patient safety indicators (PSIs; n = 79). The most frequently cited indicators included "postoperative hemorrhage or hematoma" and "accidental puncture and laceration." Indicator refinement is supported by international coding algorithm translations but is hampered by data issues, including coding inconsistencies. The validity of PSIs and similar adverse event screens beyond internal measurement and the effects of organizational factors on patient harm remain uncertain. Development of PSIs in ambulatory care settings, including general practice and psychiatric care, needs consideration.
    American Journal of Medical Quality 09/2011; 27(2):154-69. · 1.47 Impact Factor
  • Carmen Tsang, Azeem Majeed, Paul Aylin
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    ABSTRACT: Existing patient-level data can be used to measure and monitor patient safety. Data from sources including electronic patient records are routinely collected in primary care and may be suitable for adverse event screening, such as patient safety indicators. To inform the feasibility of developing primary care measures of patient harm, information about routinely collected data is needed. A literature review was conducted to determine the types of adverse events that are routinely recorded in primary care. We searched ASSIA, Cochrane Library, Embase, HMIC, ISI Web of Science, Medline and PsycInfo databases, grey literature and websites. We included only original research studies in English where routinely collected patient data were used to identify adverse events occurring in primary or ambulatory care settings. Adverse events were defined as unexpected and undesirable patient outcomes arising from health care contact. Of 5029 citations identified, 15 were reviewed. Twelve studies used multiple data sources. Approximately 6.5% of adult emergency admissions were due to drug-related events (n = 1225). Between 0.7% and 2.3% of deaths following adverse events were attributed to treatment in primary care. A large proportion of adverse events resulting in the most severe harm may be preventable. For example, one study estimated that 42% of serious adverse drug events were avoidable. There is limited use of routinely collected data to measure adverse events in primary care despite large volumes of data generated. The potential for using readily available data recorded in primary care for active patient safety surveillance needs further exploration.
    Family Practice 08/2011; 29(1):8-15. · 1.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although the majority of patient contact within the UK's National Health Service (NHS) occurs in primary care, relatively little is known about the safety of care in this setting compared to the safety of hospital care. Measurement methods to detect iatrogenic diseases in primary care require extensive development. Routinely collected data have been successfully applied to develop patient safety indicators in secondary care. Given the availability of electronic health data in primary care, we explored the potential to build adverse event screening tools using computerised medical record systems. To identify the rate and types of adverse events that might be recorded in primary care through routinely collected data. The findings will inform the development of administrative data-based indicators to screen for patient harm arising from primary care contact. Descriptive analyses were performed on data extracted from the clinical information management systems (CIMS) at NHS Brent. The data were explored according to age, sex and ethnicity of patients. Potential or actual adverse events were identified by mapping to three Read code chapters. Records from the calendar year 2007 were available for 69 682 registered patients from 25 practices, consisting of 680 866 consultations. A number of adverse events could be detected through terms contained in certain chapters of the Read code system. These events include injuries due to surgical and medical care (0.72 cases of per 1000 consultations) and adverse drug reactions (1.26 reactions per 1000 consultations). Patterns in the rate of harm among patients from different ethnic groups tended to reflect the proportion of the respective groups in the overall Brent population, with more injuries occurring among patients of white and Asian ethnicities. These findings suggest that there is scope to develop more accurate and reliable means of safety surveillance in general practice using data obtained from electronic patient records.
    Informatics in primary care 01/2010; 18(2):117-24.