Can the use of digital algorithms improve quality care? An example from Afghanistan.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Quality of care is a difficult parameter to measure. With the introduction of digital algorithms based on the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI), we are interested to understand if the adherence to the guidelines improved for a better quality of care for children under 5 years old. METHODS:More than one year after the introduction of digital algorithms, we carried out two cross sectional studies to assess the improvements in comparison with the situation prior to the implementation of the project, in two Basic Health Centres in Kabul province. One survey was carried out inside the consultation room and was based on the direct observation of 181 consultations of children aged 2 months to 5 years old, using a checklist completed by a senior physicians. The second survey queried 181 caretakers of children outside the health facility for their opinion about the consultation carried out through the tablet and prescriptions and medications given. RESULTS:We measured the quality of care as adherence to the IMCI's guidelines. The study evaluated the quality of the physical examination and the therapies prescribed with a special attention to antibiotic prescription. We noticed a dramatic improvement (p<0.05) of several indicators following the introduction of digital algorithms. The baseline physical examination was appropriate only for 23.8% [IC% 19.9-28.1] of the patients, 34.5% [IC% 30.0-39.2] received a correct treatment and 86.1% [IC% 82.4-89.2] received at least one antibiotic. With the introduction of digital algorithms, these indicators statistically improved respectively to 84.0% [IC% 77.9-88.6], >85% and less than 30%. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings suggest that digital algorithms improve quality of care by applying the guidelines more effectively. Our experience should encourage to test this tool in different settings and to scale up its use at province/state level.
Project description:Introduction:An adaptive guideline development method, as opposed to a de novo guideline development, is dependent on access to existing high-quality up-to-date clinical practice guidelines (CPGs). We described the characteristics and quality of CPGs relevant to prehospital care worldwide, in order to strengthen guideline development in low-resource settings for emergency care. Methods:We conducted a descriptive study of a database of international CPGs relevant to emergency care produced by the African Federation for Emergency Medicine (AFEM) CPG project in 2016. Guideline quality was assessed with the AGREE II tool, independently and in duplicate. End-user documents such as protocols, care pathways, and algorithms were excluded. Data were imported, managed, and analysed in STATA 14 and R. Results:In total, 276 guidelines were included. Less than 2% of CPGs originated from low- and middle income-countries (LMICs); only 15% (n?=?38) of guidelines were prehospital specific, and there were no CPGs directly applicable to prehospital care in LMICs. Most guidelines used de novo methods (58%, n?=?150) and were produced by professional societies or associations (63%, n?=?164), with the minority developed by international bodies (3%, n?=?7). National bodies, such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN), produced higher quality guidelines when compared to international guidelines, professional societies, and clinician/academic-produced guidelines. Guideline quality varied across topics, subpopulations and producers. Resource-constrained guideline developers that cannot afford de novo guideline development have access to an expanding pool of high-quality prehospital guidelines to translate to their local setting. Discussion:Although some high-quality CPGs exist relevant to emergency care, none directly address the needs of prehospital care in LMICs, especially in Africa. Strengthening guideline development capacity, including adaptive guideline development methods that use existing high-quality CPGs, is a priority.
Project description:The Milk Allergy in Primary (MAP) Care guideline was first published in 2013 in this journal. MAP aimed to provide simple and accessible algorithms for UK clinicians in primary care, detailing all the steps between initial presentation, through diagnosis, management and tolerance development. Despite its UK focus, it soon became clear that MAP was being accessed internationally and thus an updated International Milk Allergy in Primary Care (iMAP) guideline was published in 2017. Both guidelines used existing international consensus guidelines to develop accessible algorithms accompanied by patient information leaflets. In 2018, the guidelines were criticised for 3 distinct reasons: promoting the overdiagnosis of cow's milk allergy (CMA), negatively impacting breastfeeding and the possibility of industry influence on the guidelines. The authors address these criticisms using available evidence and, in the context of this and in consultation with patient groups, members of the General Practice Infant Feeding Network and other infant feeding healthcare leads, have collaboratively produced updated algorithms and an information leaflet to support breastfeeding. We believe iMAP is now closer to its original aim of facilitating early and accurate diagnosis of CMA, whilst minimising, as far as possible, any concerns around overdiagnosis or a risk to breastfeeding rates. We continue to welcome open and constructive engagement about how best to achieve these aims to provide evidence-based, practical guidelines for the primary care practitioner.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:As digital technologies become an integral part of mental health care delivery, concerns have risen regarding how this technology may detract from health professionals' ability to provide compassionate care. To maintain and improve the quality of care for people with mental illness, there is a need to understand how to effectively incorporate technologies into the delivery of compassionate mental health care. The objectives of this scoping review are to: (1) identify the digital technologies currently being used among patients and health professionals in the delivery of mental health care; (2) determine how these digital technologies are being used in the context of the delivery of compassionate care and (3) uncover the barriers to, and facilitators of, digital technology-driven delivery of compassionate mental health care. METHODS AND ANALYSIS:Searches were conducted of five databases, consisting of relevant articles published in English between 1990 and 2019. Identified articles will be independently screened for eligibility by two reviewers, first at a title and abstract stage, and then at a full-text level. Data will be extracted and compiled from eligible articles into a data extraction chart. Information collected will include a basic overview of the publication including the article title, authors, year of publication, country of origin, research design and research question addressed. On completion of data synthesis, the authors will conduct a consultation phase with relevant experts in the field. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:Ethical approval is not required for this scoping review. With regards to the dissemination plan, principles identified from the relevant articles may be presented at conferences and an article will be published in an academic journal with study results. The authors also intend to engage interested mental health professionals, health professional educators and patients in a discussion about the study findings and implications for the future.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) presents unique challenges in health care, including mental health care provision. Telepsychiatry can provide an alternative to face-to-face assessment and can also be used creatively with other technologies to enhance care, but clinicians and patients may feel underconfident about embracing this new way of working. OBJECTIVE:The aim of this paper is to produce an open-access, easy-to-consult, and reliable source of information and guidance about telepsychiatry and COVID-19 using an evidence-based approach. METHODS:We systematically searched existing English language guidelines and websites for information on telepsychiatry in the context of COVID-19 up to and including May 2020. We used broad search criteria and included pre-COVID-19 guidelines and other digital mental health topics where relevant. We summarized the data we extracted as answers to specific clinical questions. RESULTS:Findings from this study are presented as both a short practical checklist for clinicians and detailed textboxes with a full summary of all the guidelines. The summary textboxes are also available on an open-access webpage, which is regularly updated. These findings reflected the strong evidence base for the use of telepsychiatry and included guidelines for many of the common concerns expressed by clinicians about practical implementation, technology, information governance, and safety. Guidelines across countries differ significantly, with UK guidelines more conservative and focused on practical implementation and US guidelines more expansive and detailed. Guidelines on possible combinations with other digital technologies such as apps (eg, from the US Food and Drug Administration, the National Health Service Apps Library, and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) are less detailed. Several key areas were not represented. Although some special populations such as child and adolescent, and older adult, and cultural issues are specifically included, important populations such as learning disabilities, psychosis, personality disorder, and eating disorders, which may present particular challenges for telepsychiatry, are not. In addition, the initial consultation and follow-up sessions are not clearly distinguished. Finally, a hybrid model of care (combining telepsychiatry with other technologies and in-person care) is not explicitly covered by the existing guidelines. CONCLUSIONS:We produced a comprehensive synthesis of guidance answering a wide range of clinical questions in telepsychiatry. This meets the urgent need for practical information for both clinicians and health care organizations who are rapidly adapting to the pandemic and implementing remote consultation. It reflects variations across countries and can be used as a basis for organizational change in the short- and long-term. Providing easily accessible guidance is a first step but will need cultural change to implement as clinicians start to view telepsychiatry not just as a replacement but as a parallel and complementary form of delivering therapy with its own advantages and benefits as well as restrictions. A combination or hybrid approach can be the most successful approach in the new world of mental health post-COVID-19, and guidance will need to expand to encompass the use of telepsychiatry in conjunction with other in-person and digital technologies, and its use across all psychiatric disorders, not just those who are the first to access and engage with remote treatment.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Patients with bladder cancer (BC) have been found to have worse experiences than those with other cancers which may partly be due to impact on quality of life. Currently, little is known about the impact of physical activity (PA) on BC outcomes. This scoping review aims to identify what interventions are available, their reported efficacy and feasibility, and a description of potential underlying biological mechanisms for their effects. METHODS AND ANALYSIS:Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Scoping Review (ScR) guidelines and the Levac methodology framework will be followed/used. Electronic databases will be searched (MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, PsycInfo and Health, OpenGray). Two independent reviewers will screen all abstracts and titles and during a second stage and full-text publications for inclusion. All studies describing PA (as an existing lifestyle or as part of an intervention programme) during BC management will be included. Study characteristics will be recorded; qualitative data will be extracted and evaluated using the Donabedian framework. Quantitative data will be extracted and summarised. A further consultation step will be carried out with patients, their family members and healthcare professionals. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:Results will be disseminated through a peer-reviewed publication. Through the consultation step, we will ensure that findings will reach a wide audience and recommendations can be made for future development of PA interventions for patients with BC. Data used will be from publicly available secondary sources, and the consultation step will be carried out as part of patient and public involvement so this study does not require ethical review.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Digital medical interview assistant (DMIA) systems, also known as computer-assisted history taking (CAHT) systems, have the potential to improve the quality of care and the medical consultation by exploring more patient-related aspects without time constraints and, therefore, acquiring more and better-quality information prior to the face-to-face consultation. The consultation in primary care is the broadest in terms of the amount of topics to be covered and, at the same time, the shortest in terms of time spent with the patient. OBJECTIVE:Our aim is to explore how DMIA systems may be used specifically in the context of primary care, to improve the consultations for diabetes and depression, as exemplars of chronic conditions. METHODS:A narrative review was conducted focusing on (1) the characteristics of the primary care consultation in general, and for diabetes and depression specifically, and (2) the impact of DMIA and CAHT systems on the medical consultation. Through thematic analysis, we identified the characteristics of the primary care consultation that a DMIA system would be able to improve. Based on the identified primary care consultation tasks and the potential benefits of DMIA systems, we developed a sample questionnaire for diabetes and depression to illustrate how such a system may work. RESULTS:A DMIA system, prior to the first consultation, could aid in the essential primary care tasks of case finding and screening, diagnosing, and, if needed, timely referral to specialists or urgent care. Similarly, for follow-up consultations, this system could aid with the control and monitoring of these conditions, help check for additional health issues, and update the primary care provider about visits to other providers or further testing. Successfully implementing a DMIA system for these tasks would improve the quality of the data obtained, which means earlier diagnosis and treatment. Such a system would improve the use of face-to-face consultation time, thereby streamlining the interaction and allowing the focus to be the patient's needs, which ultimately would lead to better health outcomes and patient satisfaction. However, for such a system to be successfully incorporated, there are important considerations to be taken into account, such as the language to be used and the challenges for implementing eHealth innovations in primary care and health care in general. CONCLUSIONS:Given the benefits explored here, we foresee that DMIA systems could have an important impact in the primary care consultation for diabetes and depression and, potentially, for other chronic conditions. Earlier case finding and a more accurate diagnosis, due to more and better-quality data, paired with improved monitoring of disease progress should improve the quality of care and keep the management of chronic conditions at the primary care level. A somewhat simple, easily scalable technology could go a long way to improve the health of the millions of people affected with chronic conditions, especially if working in conjunction with already-established health technologies such as electronic medical records and clinical decision support systems.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Several institutions and quality national agencies have fostered the creation of recommendations on what not to do to reduce overuse in clinical practice. In primary care, their impact has hardly been studied. The frequency of adverse events (AEs) associated with doing what must not be done has not been analysed, either. The aim of this study is to measure the frequency of overuse and AEs associated with doing what must not be done (commission errors) in primary care and their cost. METHODS AND ANALYSIS:A coordinated, multicentric, national project. A retrospective cohort study using computerised databases of primary care medical records from national agencies and regional health services will be conducted to analyse the frequency of the overuse due to ignore the do-not-do recommendations, and immediately afterwards, depending on their frequency, a representative random sample of medical records will be reviewed with algorithms (triggers) that determine the frequency of AEs associated with these recommendations. Cost will determine by summation of the direct costs due to the consultation, pharmacy, laboratory and imaging activities according to the cases. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:The study protocol has been approved by the Ethics Committee of Primary Care Research of the Valencian Community. We aim to disseminate the findings through international peer-reviewed journals and on the website (http://www.nohacer.es/). Outcomes will be used to incorporate algorithms into the electronic history to assist in making clinical decisions. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER:NCT03482232; Pre-results.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Guidelines on modifiable risk factors regarding cardiological patients are poorly implemented in clinical practice perhaps due to low health literacy. Several digital tools for improving lifestyle and behavioural intervention were developed. Our primary aim is to evaluate the effectiveness of a digital exercise prescription tool on the adherence to physical activity recommendations among patients with cardiovascular diseases. METHODS:A randomized controlled trial will be realized in cooperation with Cardiovascular Health Centres in Eastern Slovakia. Patients recruited through their cardiologists, will be randomised at 1:1 ratio to the three-months' experimental condition or control condition. The experimental group will receive standard lifestyle consultation leading to individually optimized prescription of physical activity. The control group will receive standard, usual-cardio-care lifestyle counselling, also in the domain of physical activity. The digital system will be used for optimized exercise prescription. The primary outcome is a change in the patient's adherence to exercise recommendations. Data will be collected in both groups prior to consultation and after 3 months. DISCUSSION:This study protocol presents background and design of a randomized control trial to investigate the effectiveness of a digital system-provide exercise prescription tool on the adherence to physical activity recommendations. An optimized exercise prescription that better reflects patient's diagnosis, comorbidities and medication can have a significant impact on secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. This trial can provide important evidence about the effectiveness of digital exercise guidance in everyday practice of cardiovascular healthcare. TRIAL REGISTRATION:The study was registered on 1st November, 2017 and is available online at ClinicalTrials.gov (ID: NCT03329053 ).
Project description:Introduction Prehospital care is integral in addressing sub-Saharan Africa's (SSA) high injury and illness burden. Consequently, robust, high-quality prehospital guidance documents are needed to inform care. These guidance documents include, but are not limited to, clinical practice guidelines (CPGs), protocols and algorithms that are contextually appropriate for SSA. However, SSA prehospital guidance mostly originates from the ‘Global North,’ with limited guidance for Africa by Africans. To strengthen prehospital clinical practice in SSA, we described and appraised all prehospital SSA guidance documents informing clinical decision making. Methods We conducted a scoping review of prehospital-relevant guidance documents, including CPGs, algorithms, protocols and position statements originating from SSA. We performed a comprehensive literature search in various databases (PUBMED and SCOPUS), guideline clearing houses (Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network, Trip, and Guidelines International Network), journals, various forms of grey literature and contacted experts. Guidance document screening and data extraction was done independently, in duplicate and reviewed by a third author. Guidance quality was then determined using the AGREE II tool and data were analysed using simple descriptive statistics. Results We included 51 guidance documents from 13 countries across SSA after screening 2320 potential documents. The majority of guidance documents lacked an evidence foundation, made recommendations based on expert input, and were predominantly end-user presentations such as algorithms or protocols. Overall, reporting quality was poor, specifically for critical domains such as rigour of development; however, clarity of presentation was generally strong. Guidance topics were focused around resuscitation and common diseases (both communicable and non-communicable) with major gaps identified across a variety of topics; such as mental health for example. Conclusion The majority of prehospital clinical guidance from SSA provides clinicians with excellent ready to use end-user material. Conversely, most of the guidance documents lack an appropriate evidence foundation and fail to transparently report the guidance development process, highlighting the need to strengthen and build guideline development capacity to promote the transition from eminence-based to evidence-based guidance for prehospital care in SSA. Guideline developers, professional societies and publishers need to be aware of international and local guidance document development and reporting standards in order to produce guidance we can trust.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Integrated care (IC) models have emerged to address gaps in care for individuals with complex healthcare needs. Although the clinical and cost-effectiveness of IC models are well-established, our understanding of whether IC models facilitate a patient-centred care experience from the patients' perspective is not well understood. This scoping review aims to comprehensively map the literature to provide a broad overview of patients' experiences in IC settings with a focus on the experiences of complex patients with comorbid mental and physical illnesses. It also aims to describe current gaps identified in the literature in our understanding of aspects of care that are often unrecognised. METHODS AND ANALYSIS:Using established scoping review frameworks and guidelines, we will perform a comprehensive search in the following databases: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, AMED and the Cochrane Library to identify relevant studies on patients' experiences in IC models. Grey literature sources and studies bibliographies will also be searched to identify relevant studies and documents. Data will be extracted and summarised using descriptive statistical and qualitative analyses. We will also consult with stakeholders from various backgrounds to enhance the comprehensiveness of this review. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:This review requires no ethical approval. Findings from this study will be disseminated through publication in a peer-reviewed journal, clinical conferences and in knowledge translation settings, aiming to improve clinical practice and care delivery.