[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Current research emphasizes the high prevalence and costs of low back pain (LBP). The STarT Back Tool was designed to support primary care decision making for treatment by helping to determine the treatment prognosis of patients with non-specific low back pain. The German version is the STarT-G. The cross-cultural translation of the tool followed a structured and widely accepted process but to date it was only partially validated with a small sample.
The aim of the study was to test the psychometric properties construct validity, discriminative ability, internal consistency and test-retest-reliability of the STarT-G and to compare them with values given for the original English version.
A consecutive cohort study with a two-week retest was conducted among patients with non-specific LBP, aged 18 to 60 years, from primary care practices. Questionnaires were collected before the first consultation, and two weeks later by post, using the following reference standards: the Roland and Morris disability questionnaire, the Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia, the Pain Catastrophizing Scale and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Psychometric properties examined included the tool’s discriminative abilities, whether the psychosocial subscale was one factor, internal consistency, item redundancy, test-retest reliability and floor and ceiling effects.
There were 228 patients recruited with a mean age of 42.2 (SD 11.0) years, and 53 % were female. The areas under the curve (AUC) for discriminative ability ranged from 0.70 (STarT-G Subscale - Pain Catastrophizing Scale; CI95 0.63, 0.78) to 0.77 (STarT-G Total - Composite reference standard, CI95 0.60, 0.94). Factor loadings ranged from 0.49 to 0.74. Cronbach’s alpha testing the internal consistency and redundancy for the total/subscale scores were α = 0.52/0.55 respectively. The STarT-G test-retest reliability Kappa values for the total/subscale scores were 0.67/0.68 respectively. No floor or ceiling effects were present.
The STarT-G shows acceptable psychometric properties although not in exact agreement with the original English version. The items previously regarded as a psychosocial subscale may be better seen as an index of different individual psychosocial constructs. The relevance of using the tool at the point of consultation should be further examined.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Patients' evaluation of medical care is an essential dimension of quality of care and an important aspect of the feedback cycle for health care providers. The aim of this study was to document how patients with a Turkish background evaluate primary care in Germany and determine which aspects of care are associated with language abilities.
The study was based on an observational design. Patients with a Turkish background from German primary care practices completed the EUROPEP (European Project on Patient Evaluation of General Practice Care) questionnaire consisting of 23 items. Seventeen primary care practices were involved with either German (n=8) or Turkish (n=9) general practitioners (GPs).
A convenience sample of 472 patients with a Turkish background from 17 practices participated in the study (response rate 39.9%). Practices with a German GP had a lower response rate (19.6%) than those with a Turkish GP (57.5%). Items evaluated the highest were "keeping data confidential" (73.4%) and "quick services for urgent health problems" (69.9%). Subgroup analysis showed lower evaluation scores from patients with good or excellent German language abilities. Patients who consulted a Turkish GP had higher evaluation scores.
The evaluation from patients with a Turkish background living in Germany with either Turkish or German GPs showed lower scores than patients in other studies in Europe using EUROPEP. However, our results had higher evaluation scores than those of Turkish patients evaluating GPs in Turkey. Therefore, different explanation models for these findings should be explored in future studies.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Patient Preference and Adherence
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Postgraduate training in Germany is not competency-based. In 2009, an internatio - nal report recommended a competency-based curriculum and definition of standards for postgra - duate training in family medicine in Germany. In a multistep approach, the competence-based curriculum for family practice training ("Kompetenzbasiertes Curriculum Allgemeinmedizin", KCA) was developed. The competencies were defined according to the Canadian CanMEDS-rolls and international best practice. The KCA was tested for two years. This report presents the results of the practice test und the revised KCA. Methods: The test was performed from March 2012 to March 2014. The KCA was freely available on the website of the "Competence Center Family Practice Baden-Württemberg". In October 2014 all persons, who had downloaded the KCA, were asked to participate in an online-survey. The data was analyzed descriptively. A panel valued and discussed the free text and adapted the KCA if necessary. Results: From a total of 730 national and international downloads of the KCA, 699 persons had valid email-addresses and were included into the survey. 138 persons participated in the survey (response rate 20 %). Half of the surveyed persons claimed, to have worked with the KCA in the last month. Part I, "medical expertise", was most frequently used with 49 %. From all surveyed persons, 42 % had integrated the KCA into daily training routine. The free texts were mostly used to indicate reduction of size, missing competencies or imprecise wording. The panel discussed all recommendations thoroughly and revised the KCA accordingly. Conclusions: The revised KCA defines basic competencies for the postgraduate training in family medicine in Germany. The KCA is an instrument, that guides trainees and trainers through family medicine training, facilitates self- And trainer-assessment of competencies and feedback. Aim is to enable an individualized and tailored training according to the needs of the trainee. In Germany, next steps will be the nationwide implementation of the KCA.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: . Medication lists and structured medication counselling (SMC) including “brown bag reviews” (BBR) are important instruments for medication safety. The aim of this study was to explore whether patients’ use of a medication list is associated with their beliefs about their medicine and their memory of SMC.
Baseline data of 344 patients enrolled into the “Polypharmacy in Multimorbid Patients study” were analysed. Linear regression models were calculated for the “specific necessity subscale” (SNS) and the “specific concerns subscale” (SCS) of the German “Beliefs About Medicine Questionnaire,” including self-developed variables assessing patients’ use of a medication list, their memory of SMC, and sociodemographic data.
) remembered an appointment for SMC and 32.0% (
) BBR. The SNS correlated positively with regular receipt of a medication list (
) and negatively with memory of a BBR (
). The SCS correlated positively with memory of a BBR (
) and negatively with the comprehensiveness of the mediation list (
A comprehensive medication list may reduce patients’ concerns and increase the perceived necessity of their medication. A potential negative impact of BBR on patients’ beliefs about their medicine should be considered and quality standards for SMC developed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background and objective:
The STarT Back stratified primary care approach has demonstrated clinical and cost effectiveness in the UK, and is commonly used by General Practitioners (GPs). However, it remains unknown how this approach could be implemented into the German healthcare system. The aim of this study was therefore to explore the views and perceptions of German GPs in respect to using a stratified primary care for low back pain (LBP).
A 90-minute think-tank workshop was conducted with 14 male and five female GPs, during which the STarT-Back-Screening-Tool (SBST) and related research evidence was presented. This was followed by two focus groups, based on a semi-structured interview guideline to identify potential implementation barriers and opportunities. Discussions were audiotaped, transcribed and coded using a content analysis approach.
For the three deductively developed main themes, 15 subthemes emerged: (1) application of the SBST, with the following subthemes: which health profession should administer it, patients known to the GP practice, the reason for the GP consultation, scoring the tool, the tool format, and the anticipated impact on GP practice; (2) psychologically informed physiotherapy, with subthemes including: provision by a physiotherapist, anticipated impact, the skills of physiotherapists, management of patients with severe psychosocial problems, referral and remuneration; (3) the management of low-risk patients, with subthemes including: concern about the appropriate advising health professional, information and media, length of consultation, and local exercise venues.
The attitudes of GPs towards stratified primary care for LBP indicated positive support for pilot-testing in Germany. However, there were mixed reactions to the ability of German physiotherapists to manage high-risk patients and handle their complex clinical needs. GPs also mentioned practical difficulties in providing extended advice to low-risk patients, which nevertheless could be addressed by involvement of specifically trained medical assistants.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although demands on family physicians (FP) are to a large extent similar in the European Union, uniform assessment standards for family medicine (FM) specialty training and assessment do not exist. Aim of this pilot study was to elicit and compare the different modalities and assessment methods of FM specialty training in five European countries.
A semi structured survey was undertaken based on a convenient sample in five European countries (Denmark, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom). The respondents were asked to respond to ten items about aspects of FM specialty training and assessment methods in their respective countries. If available, this data was completed with information from official websites of the countries involved.
FM specialty training is performed heterogeneously in the surveyed countries. Training time periods range from three to five years, in some countries requiring a foundation program of up to two years. Most countries perform longitudinal assessment during FM specialty training using a combination of competence-based approach with additional formative and summative assessment. There is some evidence on the assessments methods used, however the assessment method used and costs of assessment differs remarkably between the participating countries.
Longitudinal and competence-based assessment is the presently preferred approach for FM specialty training. Countries which use less multifaceted methods for assessment could learn from best practice. Potential changes have significant cost implications.
Preview · Article · Jun 2015 · GMS Zeitschrift fü medizinische Ausbildung
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Nonspecific low back pain (LBP) is a common reason for accessing primary care. Manual therapy (MT) may be an effective treatment, but data from clinical studies including relevant subgroups and clinical settings are sparse. The objective of this article is to describe the protocol of a study that will measure whether an MT protocol provided by general medical practitioners will lead to a faster pain reduction in patients with nonspecific LBP than does standard medical care.
The study is an experimental pre-/postintervention design. The intervention consists of add-on MT treatment by general medical practitioners who have received MT training but are otherwise inexperienced in mobilization techniques. Participating general medical practitioners (n = 10) will consecutively recruit and treat patients before and after their training, serving as their own internal controls. The primary end point is a combined outcome assessing change in pain score over days 0 to 3 and time until pain is reduced by 2 points on an 11-point numeric pain scale and painkiller use is stopped. Secondary outcomes are patients' functional capacities assessed using a questionnaire, amount of sick leave taken, patient satisfaction, and referrals for further treatment.
German clinical trials register: DRKS-ID DRKS00003240.
No preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Journal of chiropractic medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background. In 2010 Manual Medicine (MM) was the second most common additional qualification among physicians in Germany, which is recommended to be used in several guidelines. Aim of this analysis was to raise the amount of information on MM related injuries (MMri) experienced by physicians at any point of their career while applying MM. Methods. Data on MMri of a questionnaire that was used to gain first insights into MM in Germany from a health services research perspective was analysed. Results. A total of 301 physicians (20% female) participated in this study. The participants’ mean age was 46. 11% of the participants experienced some kind of MMri during their career as a MM provider. In the three worst cases these MMri were fractures and therefore classified as moderate. Mild MMri were joint dysfunction syndromes (), distortions of fingers (), and shoulder pain (). Subgroup analyses showed no significant differences in the rate of MMri when comparing gender, provider organizations for postgraduate MM courses, and medical disciplines. Conclusion. Our analysis shows risks for providers of MM. As this analysis suffers from the risk of recall bias, future studies should be performed to get more insights into this aspect of MM.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction. Managing polypharmacy is particularly demanding for general practitioners as coordinators of care. Recently, a German guideline for polypharmacy in primary care has been published. This paper describes the content and delivery of a tailored intervention, which aims at improving the implementation of guideline recommendations for polypharmacy into practice, considering individual barriers. Materials and Methods. Firstly, barriers for implementation and the corresponding strategies to address them have been identified. On this basis, an intervention consisting of a workshop for health care professionals and educational materials for patients has been developed. The workshop focused on knowledge, awareness, and skills. The educational materials included a tablet computer. Practice teams will elaborate individual concepts of how to implement the recommendations into their practice. The workshop has been evaluated by the participants by means of a questionnaire. Results. During the workshop 41 possible sources of medication errors and 41 strategies to improve medication management have been identified. Participants evaluated the workshop overall positively, certifying its relevancy to practice. Discussion. The concept of the workshop seemed appropriate to impart knowledge about medication management to the participants. It will have to be evaluated, if the intervention finally resulted in an improved implementation of the guideline recommendations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Joint replacement is an established therapy for arthrosis. The quality index for joint replacement (knee and hip) should include screening for quality of patient-centred care in hospitals providing replacements, on the basis of administrative data. The quality index summarizes 16 inpatient and posthospital complications (indicators). The aim of the study was to evaluate this quality index from the medical practitioner's viewpoint.
Four semistructured focus groups with 11 family physicians and 8 orthopaedic/trauma surgeons were conducted. The discussions were recorded, transcribed and analysed qualitatively according to Mayring.
Infections and the revision of a total joint arthroplasty have been weighted as the most important indicators from the existing quality indicators. Between the participants some differences regarding the relevance of the indicators thrombosis and pulmonary embolism occurred. These indicators were weighted as more important by family physicians than orthopedic/trauma surgeons. For eight of the indicators, imprecision in words/meaning was criticized. In an open-ended second section, 20 new indicators within the areas complications, management and overall sector communication were identified.
Major amendments of the quality index for the joint replacement are necessary. The knowledge gained from this study may serve as a basis for this development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
The tailoring of implementation interventions includes the identification of the determinants of, or barriers to, healthcare practice. Different methods for identifying determinants have been used in implementation projects, but which methods are most appropriate to use is unknown.Methods
The study was undertaken in five European countries, recommendations for a different chronic condition being addressed in each country: Germany (polypharmacy in multimorbid patients); the Netherlands (cardiovascular risk management); Norway (depression in the elderly); Poland (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease¿COPD); and the United Kingdom (UK) (obesity). Using samples of professionals and patients in each country, three methods were compared directly: brainstorming amongst health professionals, interviews of health professionals, and interviews of patients. The additional value of discussion structured through reference to a checklist of determinants in addition to brainstorming, and determinants identified by open questions in a questionnaire survey, were investigated separately. The questionnaire, which included closed questions derived from a checklist of determinants, was administered to samples of health professionals in each country. Determinants were classified according to whether it was likely that they would inform the design of an implementation intervention (defined as plausibly important determinants).ResultsA total of 601 determinants judged to be plausibly important were identified. An additional 609 determinants were judged to be unlikely to inform an implementation intervention, and were classified as not plausibly important. Brainstorming identified 194 of the plausibly important determinants, health professional interviews 152, patient interviews 63, and open questions 48. Structured group discussion identified 144 plausibly important determinants in addition to those already identified by brainstorming.Conclusions
Systematic methods can lead to the identification of large numbers of determinants. Tailoring will usually include a process to decide, from all the determinants that are identified, those to be addressed by implementation interventions. There is no best buy of methods to identify determinants, and a combination should be used, depending on the topic and setting. Brainstorming is a simple, low cost method that could be relevant to many tailored implementation projects.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Implementation Science
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
When designing interventions and policies to implement evidence based healthcare, tailoring strategies to the targeted individuals and organizations has been recommended. We aimed to gather insights into the ideas of a variety of people for implementing evidence-based practice for patients with chronic diseases, which were generated in five European countries.
A qualitative study in five countries (Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, United Kingdom) was done, involving overall 115 individuals. A purposeful sample of four categories of stakeholders (healthcare professionals, quality improvement officers, healthcare purchasers and authorities, and health researchers) was involved in group interviews in each of the countries to generate items for improving healthcare in different chronic conditions per country: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, depression in elderly people, multi-morbidity, obesity. A disease-specific standardized list of determinants of practice in these conditions provided the starting point for these groups. The content of the suggested items was categorized in a pre-defined framework of 7 domains and specific themes in the items were identified within each domain.
The 115 individuals involved in the study generated 812 items, of which 586 addressed determinants of practice. These largely mapped onto three domains: individual health professional factors, patient factors, and professional interactions. Few items addressed guideline factors, incentives and resources, capacity of organizational change, or social, political and legal factors. The relative numbers of items in the different domains were largely similar across stakeholder categories within each of the countries. The analysis identified 29 specific themes in the suggested items across countries.
The type of suggestions for improving healthcare practice was largely similar across different stakeholder groups, mainly addressing healthcare professionals, patient factors and professional interactions. As this study is one of the first of its kind, it is important that more research is done on tailored implementation strategies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In many countries, rural areas are facing a shortage of general practitioners (GPs). Appropriate strategies to address this challenge are needed. From a health care delivery point of view, the term rural area is often poorly defined. However rural areas have to be adequately defined to ensure specific strategies are tailored to these environments. The aims of this study were to translate the New Zealand 6-item Rural Ranking Scale (RRS), to culturally adapt it and to implement it to identify rural areas from a health care delivery perspective. Therefore we aimed to validate the RRS by defining cut-off scores for urban, semi-rural and rural areas in Germany.
After receiving permission, two researchers independently translated the RRS. In a consensus meeting, four items were identified that had to be culturally adapted. The modified RRS-Germany (mRRS-G) was sent to 724 GPs located in urban, semi-rural and rural areas to validate the "rurality" scoring system for conditions in Germany.
Four items, "travelling time to next major hospital", "on-call duty", "regular peripheral clinic" and "on-call for major traumas" had to be adapted due to differences in the health care system. The survey had a response rate of 33.7%. A factor analysis showed a three dimensional structure of the mRRS-G scale with a poor internal consistency. Nevertheless, the three items regarding "on-call duty", "next major hospital" and "most distant boundary covered by your practice" were identified as significant predictors for rurality. The adapted cut-off point for rurality in Germany was 16. From this study's participants, 9 met the RRS cut-off point for rurality (a score of 35 or more).
Compared with New Zealand rurality scores based on this tool, German scores are far less rural from a health care delivery point of view. We consider that the construct of rurality has more aspects than those assessed by the mRRS-G. Nevertheless, rural areas from a health care delivery viewpoint can be effectively defined using mRRS-G and therefore it can support tailored strategies against GPs shortage.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · BMC Health Services Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the 'Tailored Implementation for Chronic Diseases (TICD)' project, five tailored implementation programs to improve healthcare delivery in different chronic conditions have been developed. These programs will be evaluated in distinct cluster-randomized controlled trials. This protocol describes the process evaluation across these trials, which aims to identify determinants of change in chronic illness care, to examine the validity of the tailoring methods that were applied, and to analyze the association of implementation activities and the effectiveness of the program.
A multilevel approach was used to develop five tailored implementation interventions. In order to guide the process evaluation in five distinct trials, the study protocols for the cluster randomized trials and the related process evaluations were developed simultaneously and iteratively.
The process evaluation comprises three main components: a structured survey with health professionals in the trials, semi-structured interviews with a purposeful sample of this study population, and standardized documentation of organizational practice characteristics. Norway will only conduct the qualitative part of the analysis because the survey and documentation of practice characteristics are considered to be not feasible. The evaluation is guided by 'logic models' of the implementation programs: frameworks that specify the linkages between the strategies used, the determinants addressed by tailoring, and the anticipated outcomes. Standardization of measures across trials is sought to facilitate analysis of aggregated data from the trials.
This process evaluation will need to find a balance between standardization of methods across trials and the tailoring of measures to the specificities of each trial.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Implementation research deals with the question of how to ensure that evidence-based knowledge is put into practice. One approach is the development of "tailored interventions (TI)". These are designed to address previously identified barriers and enablers. A common definition or methodological concept for TI has not yet been established. In this paper, a concept for TI is introduced. We describe the stepwise development of an implementation intervention for GP settings where recommendations based on current evidence are provided for the treatment of multimorbid patients receiving polypharmacy. Each step will be explained and illustrated by original data.
No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Zeitschrift für Evidenz Fortbildung und Qualität im Gesundheitswesen
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multimorbid patients frequently receive complex medication regimens and are at higher risk for adverse drug reactions and hospitalisations. Managing patients with polypharmacy is demanding, because it requires coordination of multiple prescribers and intensive monitoring. Three evidence-based recommendations addressing polypharmacy in primary care are structured medication counselling, use of medication lists and medication reviews to avoid potentially inappropriate medication (PIM). Although promising to improve patient outcomes, these recommendations are not well implemented in German routine care. Implementation of guidelines is often hindered by specific "determinants of change". "Tailored" interventions are designed to specifically address previously identified determinants. This study examines a tailored intervention to implement the aforementioned recommendations into primary care practices. This study is part of the European Tailored Interventions for Chronic Diseases project, which aims at contributing knowledge about the methods used for tailoring.
The study is designed as a cluster randomized controlled trial with primary care practices of general practitioners (GPs) who are organized in quality circles. Quality circles will be the unit of randomization with a 1:1 ratio. Follow-up time is 6 months. GPs and healthcare assistants in the intervention group will receive training on medication management. Each GP will create a tailored concept of how to implement the three recommendations into his/her practice. Evidence-based checklists for medication counselling and medication reviews will be provided for physicians. A tablet PC with an interactive educational tool and information leaflets will be provided for use by patients to inform about the necessity of continuous medication management. Control practices will not receive special training and will provide care as usual. Primary outcome is the degree of implementation of the three recommendations, which will be measured using a prespecified set of indicators. Additionally, the PIM prescription rate, patient activation, patients' beliefs about medicine, medication adherence and patients' social support will be measured.
This study will contribute knowledge about the feasibility of implementing recommendations for managing patients with polypharmacy in primary care practices. Additionally, this study will contribute knowledge about methods for tailoring of implementation interventions.Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov ISRCTN34664024.