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The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) at Oxford University develops, promotes and disseminates better evidence for health care.
IntroductionSevere mental illness (SMI) is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. People living with SMI often receive complex medication regimens. Optimising these regimens can be challenging. Non-adherence is common and addressing it requires a collaborative approach to decision making. MEDIATE uses a realist approach with extensive engagement with experts-by-experience to make sense of the complexities and identify potential solutions.Realist research is used to unpack and explain complexity using programme theory/theories that contain causal explanations of outcomes, expressed as context–mechanism–outcome–configurations. The programme theory/theories will enable MEDIATE to address its aim of understanding what works, for whom, in what circumstances, to optimise medication use with people living with SMI.Method and analysisMEDIATE will be conducted over six stages. In stage 1, we will collaborate with our service user/family carer lived experience group (LEG) and practitioner stakeholder group (SG), to determine the focus. In stage 2, we will develop initial programme theories for what needs to be done, by whom, how and why, and in what contexts to optimise medication use. In stage 3, we will develop and run searches to identify secondary data to refine our initial programme theories.Stage 4 involves selection and appraisal: documents will be screened by title, abstract/keywords and full text against inclusion and exclusion criteria. In stage 5, relevant data will extracted, recorded and coded. Data will be analysed using a realist logic with input from the LEG and SG. Finally, in stage 6, refined programme theories will be developed, identifying causal explanations for key outcomes and the strategies required to change contexts to trigger the key mechanisms that produce these outcomes.Ethics and disseminationPrimary data will not be collected, and therefore, ethical approval is not required. MEDIATE will be disseminated via publications, conferences and form the basis for future grant applications.PROSPERO registration numberCRD42021280980.
Music and dance in respiratory disease management in Uganda: a qualitative study of patient and healthcare professional perspectives
IntroductionMusic and dance are increasingly used as adjunctive arts-in-health interventions in high-income settings, with a growing body of research suggesting biopsychosocial benefits. Such low-cost, low-resource interventions may have application in low-resource settings such as Uganda. However, research on perceptions of patients and healthcare professionals regarding such approaches is lacking.MethodsWe delivered sample sessions of music and dance for chronic respiratory disease (CRD) to patients and healthcare professionals. Seven participants took part in one singing and dance sample session. One patient completed only the dance session. We then conducted an exploratory qualitative study using thematic analysis of semistructured interviews with healthcare professionals and patients regarding (1) the role of music and dance in Ugandan life and (2) the perceived acceptability and feasibility of using music and dance in CRD management in Uganda.ResultsWe interviewed 19 participants, made up of 11 patients with long-term respiratory conditions and 8 healthcare professionals, who were selected by purposeful convenience sampling. Four key themes were identified from interview analysis: music and dance (1) were central components of daily life; (2) had an established role supporting health and well-being; and (3) had strong therapeutic potential in respiratory disease management. The fourth theme was (4) the importance of modulating demographic considerations of culture, religion and age.ConclusionMusic and dance are central to life in Uganda, with established roles supporting health and well-being. These roles could be built on in the development of music and dance interventions as adjuncts to established components of CRD disease management like pulmonary rehabilitation. Through consideration of key contextual factors and codevelopment and adaptation of interventions, such approaches are likely to be well received.
In resource-stretched emergency departments, people accompanying patients play key roles in patients’ care. This article presents analysis of the ways health professionals and accompanying persons talked about admission decisions and caring roles. The authors used an ethnographic case study design involving participant observation and semi-structured interviews with 13 patients, 17 accompanying persons and 26 health care professionals in four National Health Service hospitals in south-west England. Focused analysis of interactional data revealed that professionals’ standardization of the patient–carer relationship contrasted with accompanying persons’ varied connections with patients. Accompanying persons could directly or obliquely express willingness, ambivalence and resistance to supporting patients’ care. The drive to avoid admissions can lead health professionals to deploy conversational skills to enlist accompanying persons for discharge care without exploring the meanings of their particular relationship with the patients. Taking a relationship-centered approach could improve the attention to accompanying persons as co-producers of health care and participants in decision-making.
How can frontline expertise and new models of care best contribute to safely reducing avoidable acute admissions? A mixed-methods study of four acute hospitals
BackgroundHospital emergency admissions have risen annually, exacerbating pressures on emergency departments (EDs) and acute medical units. These pressures have an adverse impact on patient experience and potentially lead to suboptimal clinical decision-making. In response, a variety of innovations have been developed, but whether or not these reduce inappropriate admissions or improve patient and clinician experience is largely unknown.AimsTo investigate the interplay of service factors influencing decision-making about emergency admissions, and to understand how the medical assessment process is experienced by patients, carers and practitioners.MethodsThe project used a multiple case study design for a mixed-methods analysis of decision-making about admissions in four acute hospitals. The primary research comprised two parts: value stream mapping to measure time spent by practitioners on key activities in 108 patient pathways, including an embedded study of cost; and an ethnographic study incorporating data from 65 patients, 30 carers and 282 practitioners of different specialties and levels. Additional data were collected through a clinical panel, learning sets, stakeholder workshops, reading groups and review of site data and documentation. We used a realist synthesis approach to integrate findings from all sources.FindingsPatients’ experiences of emergency care were positive and they often did not raise concerns, whereas carers were more vocal. Staff’s focus on patient flow sometimes limited time for basic care, optimal communication and shared decision-making. Practitioners admitted or discharged few patients during the first hour, but decision-making increased rapidly towards the 4-hour target. Overall, patients’ journey times were similar, although waiting before being seen, for tests or after admission decisions, varied considerably. The meaning of what constituted an ‘admission’ varied across sites and sometimes within a site. Medical and social complexity, targets and ‘bed pressure’, patient safety and risk, each influenced admission/discharge decision-making. Each site responded to these pressures with different initiatives designed to expedite appropriate decision-making. New ways of using hospital ‘space’ were identified. Clinical decision units and observation wards allow potentially dischargeable patients with medical and/or social complexity to be ‘off the clock’, allowing time for tests, observation or safe discharge. New teams supported admission avoidance: an acute general practitioner service filtered patients prior to arrival; discharge teams linked with community services; specialist teams for the elderly facilitated outpatient treatment. Senior doctors had a range of roles: evaluating complex patients, advising and training juniors, and overseeing ED activity.ConclusionsThis research shows how hospitals under pressure manage complexity, safety and risk in emergency care by developing ‘ground-up’ initiatives that facilitate timely, appropriate and safe decision-making, and alternative care pathways for lower-risk, ambulatory patients. New teams and ‘off the clock’ spaces contribute to safely reducing avoidable admissions; frontline expertise brings value not only by placing senior experienced practitioners at the front door of EDs, but also by using seniors in advisory roles. Although the principal limitation of this research is its observational design, so that causation cannot be inferred, its strength is hypothesis generation. Further research should test whether or not the service and care innovations identified here can improve patient experience of acute care and safely reduce avoidable admissions.FundingThe National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Delivery Research programme (project number 10/1010/06). This research was supported by the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South West Peninsula.
Collaborative action for person-centred coordinated care (P3C): An approach to support the development of a comprehensive system-wide solution to fragmented care
© 2017 The Author(s). Background: Fragmented care results in poor outcomes for individuals with complexity of need. Person-centred coordinated care (P3C) is perceived to be a potential solution, but an absence of accessible evidence and the lack of a scalable 'blue print' mean that services are 'experimenting' with new models of care with little guidance and support. This paper presents an approach to the implementation of P3C using collaborative action, providing examples of early developments across this programme of work, the core aim of which is to accelerate the spread and adoption of P3C in United Kingdom primary care settings. Methods: Two centrally funded United Kingdom organisations (South West Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care and South West Academic Health Science Network) are leading this initiative to narrow the gap between research and practice in this urgent area of improvement through a programme of service change, evaluation and research. Multi-stakeholder engagement and co-design are core to the approach. A whole system measurement framework combines outcomes of importance to patients, practitioners and health organisations. Iterative and multi-level feedback helps to shape service change while collecting practice-based data to generate implementation knowledge for the delivery of P3C. The role of the research team is proving vital to support informed change and challenge organisational practice. The bidirectional flow of knowledge and evidence relies on the transitional positioning of researchers and research organisations. Results: Extensive engagement and embedded researchers have led to strong collaborations across the region. Practice is beginning to show signs of change and data flow and exchange is taking place. However, working in this way is not without its challenges; progress has been slow in the development of a linked data set to allow us to assess impact innovations from a cost perspective. Trust is vital, takes time to establish and is dependent on the exchange of services and interactions. If collaborative action can foster P3C it will require sustained commitment from both research and practice. This approach is a radical departure from how policy, research and practice traditionally work, but one that we argue is now necessary to deal with the most complex health and social problems.
‘Working relationships’ across difference - a realist review of community engagement with malaria research
Background: Community engagement (CE) is increasingly accepted as a critical aspect of health research, because of its potential to make research more ethical, relevant and well implemented. While CE activities linked to health research have proliferated in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs), and are increasingly described in published literature, there is a lack of conceptual clarity around how engagement is understood to ‘work’, and the aims and purposes of engagement are varied and often not made explicit. Ultimately, the evidence base for engagement remains underdeveloped. Methods: To develop explanations for how and why CE with health research contributes to the pattern of outcomes observed in published literature, we conducted a realist review of CE with malaria research – a theory driven approach to evidence synthesis. Results: We found that community engagement relies on the development of provisional ‘working relationships’ across differences, primarily of wealth, power and culture. These relationships are rooted in interactions that are experienced as relatively responsive and respectful, and that bring tangible research related benefits. Contextual factors affecting development of working relationships include the facilitating influence of research organisation commitment to and resources for engagement, and constraining factors linked to the prevailing ‘dominant health research paradigm context’, such as: differences of wealth and power between research centres and local populations and health systems; histories of colonialism and vertical health interventions; and external funding and control of health research. Conclusions: The development of working relationships contributes to greater acceptance and participation in research by local stakeholders, who are particularly interested in research related access to health care and other benefits. At the same time, such relationships may involve an accommodation of some ethically problematic characteristics of the dominant health research paradigm, and thereby reproduce this paradigm rather than challenge it with a different logic of collaborative partnership.
The effect of individual-level smoking cessation interventions on socioeconomic inequalities in tobacco smoking
Objectives: This is a protocol for a Cochrane Review (intervention). The objectives are as follows:. To investigate differences in the effectiveness of individual-level smoking cessation interventions by socioeconomic indicators, to estimate the potential that an intervention might increase or decrease health inequalities due to tobacco use.
Colchicine for COVID-19 in adults in the community (PRINCIPLE): a randomised, controlled, adaptive platform trial
Objectives Colchicine has been proposed as a COVID-19 treatment, but its effect on time to recovery is unknown. We aimed to determine whether colchicine is effective at reducing time to recovery and COVID-19 related hospitalisations/deaths among people in the community. Design Prospective, multicentre, open-label, multi-arm, adaptive Platform Randomised Trial of Treatments in the Community for Epidemic and Pandemic Illnesses (PRINCIPLE). Setting National trial run remotely from a central trial site and at multiple primary care centres across the United Kingdom. Participants Adults aged ≥65, or ≥18 years with comorbidities or shortness of breath, and unwell ≤14 days with suspected COVID-19 in the community. Interventions Participants were randomised to usual care, usual care plus colchicine (500µg daily for 14 days), or usual care plus other interventions. Main outcome measures The co-primary endpoints were time to first self-reported recovery, and hospitalisation/death related to COVID-19, within 28 days, analysed using Bayesian models. The hypothesis for the time to recovery endpoint is evaluated first, and if superiority is declared on time to recovery, the hypothesis for the second co-primary endpoint of hospitalisation/death is then evaluated. To determine futility, we pre-specified a clinically meaningful benefit in time to first reported recovery as a hazard ratio of 1.2 or larger (equating to approximately 1.5 days benefit in the colchicine arm, assuming 9 days recovery in the usual care arm). Results The trial opened on April 2, 2020, with randomisation to colchicine starting on March 04, 2021 and stopping on May 26, 2021, because the pre-specified time to recovery futility criterion was met. The primary analysis model included 2755 SARS-CoV-2 positive participants, randomised to colchicine (n=156), usual care (n=1145), and other treatments (n=1454). Time to first self-reported recovery was similar in the colchicine group compared with usual care with an estimated hazard ratio of 0.919 [95% credible interval 0.72 to 1.16] and an estimated increase of 1.14 days [−1.86 to 5.21] in median time to self-reported recovery for colchicine versus usual care. The probability of meaningful benefit in time to recovery was very low at 1.8%. Results were similar in comparisons with concurrent controls. COVID-19 related hospitalisations/deaths were similar in the colchicine group versus usual care, with an estimated odds ratio of 0.76 [0.28 to 1.89] and an estimated difference of −0.4% [−2.7% to 2.4]. One serious adverse event occurred in the colchicine group and one in usual care. Conclusions Colchicine did not improve time to recovery in people at higher risk of complications with COVID-19 in the community. Trial registration ISRCTN86534580.
Behavioural programmes for cigarette smoking cessation: investigating interactions between behavioural, motivational, and delivery components in a systematic review and component network meta-analysis.
AIMS: To investigate the comparative and combined effectiveness of four types of components of behavioural interventions for cigarette smoking cessation: behavioural (e.g. counselling), motivational (e.g. focus on reasons to quit), delivery mode (e.g. phone), and provider (e.g. nurse). DESIGN: Systematic review and component network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials identified from Cochrane reviews. Interventions included behavioural interventions for smoking cessation (including all non-pharmacological interventions, e.g. counselling, exercise, hypnotherapy, self-help materials), compared with another behavioural intervention or no support. Building on a 2021 review (CD013229), we conducted three analyses, investigating: comparative effectiveness of the components, whether models that allowed interactions between components gave different results to models assuming additivity, and predicted effect estimates for combined effects of components that had showed promise but where there were few trials. SETTING: Community and healthcare settings PARTICIPANTS: Adults who smoke tobacco MEASUREMENTS: Smoking cessation at ≥6 months, preferring sustained, biochemically validated outcomes where available. FINDINGS: 312 trials (250,563 participants) were included. 50 were at high risk of bias using Cochrane risk of bias tool, V1 (ROB1); excluding these studies did not change findings. Head-to-head comparisons of components suggested that support via text-message (SMS) compared with telephone (odds ratio (OR) 1.48, 95% credibility interval (CrI) 1.13 to 1.94) or print materials (OR 1.44, 95% CrI 1.14 to 1.83) was more effective, individual delivery was less effective than delivery as part of a group (OR 0.78, 95% CrI 0.64 to 0.95). There was no conclusive evidence of synergistic or antagonistic interactions when combining components that were commonly used together. Adding multiple components that are commonly used in behavioural counselling suggested clinically relevant and statistically conclusive evidence of benefit. Components with the largest effects that could be combined, but rarely have been, were estimated to increase the odds of quitting between two and threefold. For example, financial incentives delivered via SMS, with tailoring a focus on how to quit, had an estimated OR of 2.94 (95% CrI 1.91 to 4.52). CONCLUSIONS: Among the components of behavioural support for smoking cessation, behavioural counselling and guaranteed financial incentives are associated with the greatest success. Incorporating additional components associated with effectiveness may further increase benefit, with delivery via text-message showing particular promise.
Background: Most people who stop smoking gain weight. This can discourage some people from making a quit attempt and risks offsetting some, but not all, of the health advantages of quitting. Interventions to prevent weight gain could improve health outcomes, but there is a concern that they may undermine quitting. Objectives: To systematically review the effects of: (1) interventions targeting post-cessation weight gain on weight change and smoking cessation (referred to as 'Part 1') and (2) interventions designed to aid smoking cessation that plausibly affect post-cessation weight gain (referred to as 'Part 2'). Search methods: Part 1 - We searched the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group's Specialized Register and CENTRAL; latest search 16 October 2020. Part 2 - We searched included studies in the following 'parent' Cochrane reviews: nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), antidepressants, nicotine receptor partial agonists, e-cigarettes, and exercise interventions for smoking cessation published in Issue 10, 2020 of the Cochrane Library. We updated register searches for the review of nicotine receptor partial agonists. Selection criteria: Part 1 - trials of interventions that targeted post-cessation weight gain and had measured weight at any follow-up point or smoking cessation, or both, six or more months after quit day. Part 2 - trials included in the selected parent Cochrane reviews reporting weight change at any time point. Data collection and analysis: Screening and data extraction followed standard Cochrane methods. Change in weight was expressed as difference in weight change from baseline to follow-up between trial arms and was reported only in people abstinent from smoking. Abstinence from smoking was expressed as a risk ratio (RR). Where appropriate, we performed meta-analysis using the inverse variance method for weight, and Mantel-Haenszel method for smoking. Main results: Part 1: We include 37 completed studies; 21 are new to this update. We judged five studies to be at low risk of bias, 17 to be at unclear risk and the remainder at high risk. An intermittent very low calorie diet (VLCD) comprising full meal replacement provided free of charge and accompanied by intensive dietitian support significantly reduced weight gain at end of treatment compared with education on how to avoid weight gain (mean difference (MD) −3.70 kg, 95% confidence interval (CI) −4.82 to −2.58; 1 study, 121 participants), but there was no evidence of benefit at 12 months (MD −1.30 kg, 95% CI −3.49 to 0.89; 1 study, 62 participants). The VLCD increased the chances of abstinence at 12 months (RR 1.73, 95% CI 1.10 to 2.73; 1 study, 287 participants). However, a second study found that no-one completed the VLCD intervention or achieved abstinence. Interventions aimed at increasing acceptance of weight gain reported mixed effects at end of treatment, 6 months and 12 months with confidence intervals including both increases and decreases in weight gain compared with no advice or health education. Due to high heterogeneity, we did not combine the data. These interventions increased quit rates at 6 months (RR 1.42, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.96; 4 studies, 619 participants; I2 = 21%), but there was no evidence at 12 months (RR 1.25, 95% CI 0.76 to 2.06; 2 studies, 496 participants; I2 = 26%). Some pharmacological interventions tested for limiting post-cessation weight gain (PCWG) reduced weight gain at the end of treatment (dexfenfluramine, phenylpropanolamine, naltrexone). The effects of ephedrine and caffeine combined, lorcaserin, and chromium were too imprecise to give useful estimates of treatment effects. There was very low-certainty evidence that personalized weight management support reduced weight gain at end of treatment (MD −1.11 kg, 95% CI −1.93 to −0.29; 3 studies, 121 participants; I2 = 0%), but no evidence in the longer-term 12 months (MD −0.44 kg, 95% CI −2.34 to 1.46; 4 studies, 530 participants; I2 = 41%). There was low to very low-certainty evidence that detailed weight management education without personalized assessment, planning and feedback did not reduce weight gain and may have reduced smoking cessation rates (12 months: MD −0.21 kg, 95% CI −2.28 to 1.86; 2 studies, 61 participants; I2 = 0%; RR for smoking cessation 0.66, 95% CI 0.48 to 0.90; 2 studies, 522 participants; I2 = 0%). Part 2: We include 83 completed studies, 27 of which are new to this update. There was low certainty that exercise interventions led to minimal or no weight reduction compared with standard care at end of treatment (MD −0.25 kg, 95% CI −0.78 to 0.29; 4 studies, 404 participants; I2 = 0%). However, weight was reduced at 12 months (MD −2.07 kg, 95% CI −3.78 to −0.36; 3 studies, 182 participants; I2 = 0%). Both bupropion and fluoxetine limited weight gain at end of treatment (bupropion MD −1.01 kg, 95% CI −1.35 to −0.67; 10 studies, 1098 participants; I2 = 3%); (fluoxetine MD −1.01 kg, 95% CI −1.49 to −0.53; 2 studies, 144 participants; I2 = 38%; low- and very low-certainty evidence, respectively). There was no evidence of benefit at 12 months for bupropion, but estimates were imprecise (bupropion MD −0.26 kg, 95% CI −1.31 to 0.78; 7 studies, 471 participants; I2 = 0%). No studies of fluoxetine provided data at 12 months. There was moderate-certainty that NRT reduced weight at end of treatment (MD −0.52 kg, 95% CI −0.99 to −0.05; 21 studies, 2784 participants; I2 = 81%) and moderate-certainty that the effect may be similar at 12 months (MD −0.37 kg, 95% CI −0.86 to 0.11; 17 studies, 1463 participants; I2 = 0%), although the estimates are too imprecise to assess long-term benefit. There was mixed evidence of the effect of varenicline on weight, with high-certainty evidence that weight change was very modestly lower at the end of treatment (MD −0.23 kg, 95% CI −0.53 to 0.06; 14 studies, 2566 participants; I2 = 32%); a low-certainty estimate gave an imprecise estimate of higher weight at 12 months (MD 1.05 kg, 95% CI −0.58 to 2.69; 3 studies, 237 participants; I2 = 0%). Authors' conclusions: Overall, there is no intervention for which there is moderate certainty of a clinically useful effect on long-term weight gain. There is also no moderate- or high-certainty evidence that interventions designed to limit weight gain reduce the chances of people achieving abstinence from smoking.
Metabolomic Biomarkers in Blood Samples Identify Cancers in a Mixed Population of Patients with Nonspecific Symptoms.
PURPOSE: Early diagnosis of cancer is critical for improving patient outcomes, but cancers may be hard to diagnose if patients present with nonspecific signs and symptoms. We have previously shown that nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) metabolomics analysis can detect cancer in animal models and distinguish between differing metastatic disease burdens. Here, we hypothesized that biomarkers within the blood metabolome could identify cancers within a mixed population of patients referred from primary care with nonspecific symptoms, the so-called "low-risk, but not no-risk" patient group, as well as distinguishing between those with and without metastatic disease. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Patients (n = 304 comprising modeling, n = 192, and test, n = 92) were recruited from 2017 to 2018 from the Oxfordshire Suspected CANcer (SCAN) pathway, a multidisciplinary diagnostic center (MDC) referral pathway for patients with nonspecific signs and symptoms. Blood was collected and analyzed by NMR metabolomics. Orthogonal partial least squares discriminatory analysis (OPLS-DA) models separated patients, based upon diagnoses received from the MDC assessment, within 62 days of initial appointment. RESULTS: Area under the ROC curve for identifying patients with solid tumors in the independent test set was 0.83 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.72-0.95]. Maximum sensitivity and specificity were 94% (95% CI: 73-99) and 82% (95% CI: 75-87), respectively. We could also identify patients with metastatic disease in the cohort of patients with cancer with sensitivity and specificity of 94% (95% CI: 72-99) and 88% (95% CI: 53-98), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: For a mixed group of patients referred from primary care with nonspecific signs and symptoms, NMR-based metabolomics can assist their diagnosis, and may differentiate both those with malignancies and those with and without metastatic disease.