The reach and effectiveness of a national mass media-led smoking cessation campaign in The Netherlands.
OBJECTIVES: This study examined the reach, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of a mass media-led smoking cessation campaign including television shows, a television clinic, a quit line, local group programs, and a comprehensive publicity campaign. METHODS: A random sample of baseline smokers (n = 1338) was interviewed before and after the campaign and at a 10-month follow-up. A nonpretested control group (n = 508) of baseline smokers was incorporated to control for test effects. RESULTS: Most smokers were aware of the campaign, although active participation rates were low. Dose-response relations between exposure and quitting were found. The follow-up point prevalence abstinence rate attributable to the campaign was estimated to be 4.5% after control for test effects and secular trends. The cost per long-term quitter was about $12. CONCLUSIONS: In spite of a massive rise in tobacco promotion expenditures prior to the campaign and the absence of governmental control over the media, the campaign under study may have increased normal cessation rates substantially. (+info)
Use of an east end children's accident and emergency department for infants: a failure of primary health care?
OBJECTIVE: To ascertain why parents use an accident and emergency department for health care for their infants. DESIGN: Prospective one month study. SETTING: One accident and emergency department of a children's hospital in the east end of London. SUBJECTS: Parents of 159 infants aged < 9 months attending as self referrals (excluding infants attending previously or inpatients within one month, parents advised by the hospital to attend if concerned about their child's health, infants born abroad and arrived in Britain within the previous month). MAIN MEASURES: Details of birth, postnatal hospital stay, contact with health professionals, perceptions of roles of community midwife and health visitor, and current attendance obtained from a semistructured questionnaire administered in the department by a research health visitor; diagnosis, discharge, and follow up. RESULTS: 152(96%) parents were interviewed, 43(28%) of whom were single parent and 68(45%) first time mothers. Presenting symptoms included diarrhoea or vomiting, or both (34, 22%), crying (21, 14%), and feeding difficulties (10, 7%). Respiratory or gastrointestinal infection was diagnosed in 70(46%) infants. Only 17(11%) infants were admitted; hospital follow up was arranged for 27(20%) infants not admitted. Most (141, 94%) parents were registered with a general practitioner; 146(27%) had contact with the community midwife and 135(89%) the health visitor. CONCLUSION: Most attendances were for problems more appropriately dealt with by primary care professionals owing to patients' perceptions of hospital and primary health care services. IMPLICATIONS: Closer cooperation within the health service is needed to provide a service responsive to the real needs of patients. (+info)
Primary health care, community participation and community-financing: experiences of two middle hill villages in Nepal.
Although community involvement in health related activities is generally acknowledged by international and national health planners to be the key to the successful organization of primary health care, comparatively little is known about its potential and limitations. Drawing on the experiences of two middle hill villages in Nepal, this paper reports on research undertaken to compare and contrast the scope and extent of community participation in the delivery of primary health care in a community run and financed health post and a state run and financed health post. Unlike many other health posts in Nepal these facilities do provide effective curative services, and neither of them suffer from chronic shortage of drugs. However, community-financing did not appear to widen the scope and the extent of participation. Villagers in both communities relied on the health post for the treatment of less than one-third of symptoms, and despite the planners' intentions, community involvement outside participation in benefits was found to be very limited. (+info)
The corporate practice of health care ... a panel discussion.
The pros and cons of treating health care as a profit-making business got a lively airing in Boston May 16, when the Harvard School of Public Health's "Second Conference on Strategic Alliances in the Evolving Health Care Market" presented what was billed as a "Socratic panel." The moderator was Charles R. Nesson, J.D., a Harvard Law School professor of 30 years' standing whose knack for guiding lively discussions is well known to viewers of such Public Broadcasting Service series as "The Constitution: That Delicate Balance. "As one panelist mentioned, Boston was an interesting place for this conversation. With a large and eminent medical establishment consisting mostly of traditionally not-for-profit institutions, the metropolis of the only state carried in 1972 by liberal Presidential candidate George McGovern is in one sense a skeptical holdout against the wave of aggressive investment capitalism that has been sweeping the health care industry since the 1994 failure of the Clinton health plan. In another sense, though, managed care-heavy Boston is an innovative crucible of change, just like its dominant HMO, the not-for-profit but merger-minded Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Both of these facets of Beantown's health care psychology could be discerned in the comments heard during the panel discussion. With the permission of the Harvard School of Public Health--and asking due indulgence for the limitations of tape-recording technology in a room often buzzing with amateur comment--MANAGED CARE is pleased to present selections from the discussion in the hope that they will shed light on the business of health care. (+info)
Evaluating the community education programme of an insecticide-treated bed net trial on the Kenyan coast.
Increased interest in the potential contribution of insecticide-impregnated bed nets (ITBN) to malaria control has led to research efforts to determine the impact and sustainability of ITBN programmes in differing environments. There is a need to develop effective, feasible educational strategies that will both inform and motivate community members, and thus maximize the correct usage of ITBN. This is especially true in communities where indigenous usage of bed nets is low. This paper describes the educational component of a randomized controlled community intervention trial of ITBN, with childhood malaria morbidity as an outcome. The educational approach and messages for the ITBN trial were developed from anthropological survey data collected 4 years before the trial, and from community surveys conducted by project researchers. Low levels of understanding amongst mothers of the aetiological link between mosquitos and malaria led to the exclusion of the term 'malaria' from the initial educational messages promoting the use of ITBN. Appropriate individuals within the existing district health care structure were trained as community educators in the project. These educators conducted intensive teaching in the community through public meetings and group teaching in the first 6 months of the trial. The impact of these initial activities was assessed through interviews with a random sample of 100 mothers and 50 household heads. This allowed the identification of messages which had not been well understood and further educational methods were chosen to address the areas pinpointed. The community assessment also demonstrated that, in 1994, over 90% of mothers understood a protective role for bed nets against malaria and the ITBN education messages were changed to take account of this. The school programme was evaluated through determining outreach (the number of households accessed), changes in participant children's knowledge, post-teaching assessment of mothers' knowledge and discussions with parent-teacher associations. It was shown that 40% of intervention homes with children in the target group were accessed, participant children learned the educational messages well (scores increased from a pre-teaching mean of 59% to a post-teaching mean of 92%) and a high level of awareness of the ITBN trial was achieved in these homes (75%). However, specific messages of the education programmed were not well transferred to the home (30%). The discussion emphasises the need for allocation of adequate resources for education in programmes dependent on achieving a change in community practices. We also describe the value of ongoing communication between programme planners and a target population in maximizing the effectiveness of messages and methods used. (+info)
Outcomes for control patients referred to a pediatric asthma outreach program: an example of the Hawthorne effect.
A study was designed to determine whether identification of high risk for exacerbations of asthma based on pediatrician concern, emergency department visits, or hospital stays results in a decrease of resource utilization because of referral to an asthma outreach program even if the intervention does not take place. The findings for such a group were compared with those for a group who did undergo intervention with an asthma outreach program. Fifty-six patients 1 to 14 years of age were assigned to one of two groups. The control group (those who did not undergo intervention) had consistent but not statistically significant reductions in utilization of emergency visits, hospitalizations, and dollars spent (21%, 24%, and 32%, respectively). The group who underwent intervention with the asthma outreach program had large and statistically significant decreases in the same parameters (emergency visits, 60%, P = 0.001; hospital stays, 74%, P = 0.008; dollars spent, 72%, P = 0.004). However, the apparently insignificant effect of the reductions in utilization by the control group substantially altered interpretation of the outcomes of the study. Cost savings were reduced from $11.69 per dollar spent on intervention to $6.49 per dollar spent. In before-and-after studies such as those typically conducted during continuous quality improvement projects, which typically do not have control groups, investigators need to consider control group effects when they assess the results of intervention. (+info)
Improving access to disability benefits among homeless persons with mental illness: an agency-specific approach to services integration.
OBJECTIVES: This study evaluated a joint initiative of the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to improve access to Social Security disability benefits among homeless veterans with mental illness. METHODS: Social Security personnel were colocated with VA clinical staff at 4 of the VA's Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) programs. Intake assessment data were merged with SSA administrative data to determine the proportion of veterans who filed applications and who received disability awards at the 4 SSA-VA Joint Outreach Initiative sites (n = 6709) and at 34 comparison HCHV sites (n = 27 722) during the 2 years before and after implementation of the program. RESULTS: During the 2 years after the initiative began, higher proportions of veterans applied for disability (18.9% vs 11.1%; P < .001) and were awarded benefits (11.4% vs 7.2%, P < .001) at SSA-VA Joint Initiative sites. CONCLUSION: A colocation approach to service system integration can improve access to disability entitlements among homeless persons with mental illness. Almost twice as many veterans were eligible for this entitlement as received it through a standard outreach program. (+info)
Nonprofit to for-profit conversions by hospitals, health insurers, and health plans.
Conversion of hospitals, health insurers, and health plans from nonprofit to for-profit ownership has become a focus of national debate. The author examines why nonprofit ownership has been dominant in the US health system and assesses the strength of the argument that nonprofits provide community benefits that would be threatened by for-profit conversion. The author concludes that many of the specific community benefits offered by nonprofits, such as care for the poor, could be maintained or replaced by adequate funding of public programs and that quality and fairness in treatment can be better assured through clear standards of care and adequate monitoring systems. As health care becomes increasingly commercialized, the most difficult parts of nonprofits' historic mission to preserve are the community orientation, leadership role, and innovation that nonprofit hospitals and health plans have provided out of their commitment to a community beyond those to whom they sell services. (+info)