Identifying diabetes mellitus or heart disease among health maintenance organization members: sensitivity, specificity, predictive value, and cost of survey and database methods.
We conducted a study of the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and cost of two methods of identifying diagnosed diabetes mellitus or heart disease among members of a health maintenance organization (HMO). Among 3186 adult HMO members who were attending one primary care clinic, 2326 were reached for a telephone survey (efficiency = 0.73). Among these members, 1991 answered standardized questions to ascertain whether they had diabetes or heart disease (corrected response rate = 0.85). Linkage was then made to computerized diagnostic databases. By means of both a database method and a survey method, the 1976 members with complete data for analysis were classified as having or not having diabetes or heart disease. When results with the two methods disagreed, charts were reviewed to confirm the presence or absence of diabetes or heart disease. Diabetes was identified among 4.7% of adult members, and heart disease was identified among 3.7%. Identification of diabetes differed between the database method and the survey method (sensitivity 0.91 vs 0.98, specificity 0.99 vs 0.99, positive predictive value 0.94 vs 0.83). Identification of heart attach history was similar for the database method and the survey method (sensitivity 0.89 vs 0.95, specificity 0.99 vs 0.99, positive predictive value 0.79 vs 0.81). The cost of obtaining data was $13.50 per member for the survey method and $0.30 per member for the database method. Database methods or survey methods of identifying selected chronic diseases among HMO members may be acceptable for various purposes, but database identification methods appear to be less expensive and provide information on a higher proportion of HMO members than do survey methods. Accurate identification of chronic diseases among patients supports clinic-level measures for clinical improvement, research, and accountability. (+info)
Does professional advice influence aspirin use to prevent heart disease in an HMO population?
OBJECTIVE: Aspirin use seems to reduce coronary artery disease events in some groups of patients. Factors associated with use of aspirin to prevent heart disease in an HMO population were examined. DESIGN: A population-based survey. SETTING: A large HMO in the midwestern United States. PARTICIPANTS: 8000 health plan members 40 years of age and older. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The survey assessed use of aspirin, professional advice to use aspirin, and coronary heart disease risk factors and status. The sample was stratified by whether members had none, one, or more than one of the following chronic conditions: diabetes, hypertension, lipid disorder, or heart disease. The mailed survey had a corrected response rate of 82.4%. RESULTS: Overall, 38% of respondents reported using aspirin at least three times a week to prevent heart disease. Aspirin use did not vary in owned versus contracted clinics. Aspirin use was 71.3% in patients with and 27.7% in patients without diagnosed coronary heart disease (P < 0.001). In logistic regression models, professional advice to take aspirin was strongly associated with self-reported use of aspirin (odds ratio, 13.86) (P < 0.001) after adjustment for age, sex, level of education, and chronic disease status. CONCLUSIONS: Aspirin is widely used by HMO members with coronary artery disease to prevent subsequent coronary artery disease events. Professional advice to use aspirin seems to be strongly related to aspirin use. (+info)
Public health professionals in the Midwest: a profile of connectivity and information technology skills.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to assess Internet connections and information technology skills of public health workers in the Midwest. METHODS: A questionnaire was mailed to 713 local health departments (LHDs) in the ten states of the Greater Midwest Region. RESULTS: Three hundred forty-four LHDs (48%) responded. Overall, 85% own a computer that would allow Internet access. Half provide Internet access to some or all staff. Of these, two-thirds use e-mail and half search the Web. One-half are linked to the State Health Department, and 30% are linked to other local health departments. Over half use CDC-Wonder; less than 20% search MEDLINE. Two-thirds of the respondents expressed an interest in MEDLINE training, and three-fourths are interested in learning more about the Internet. Sixty-nine percent of respondents planned to enhance electronic communication capacity within the next year. CONCLUSIONS: Public health practitioners need timely, convenient access to information to aid them in improving the health of the American public. A majority of public health departments in the Midwest are technically capable of connecting to the Internet. This technological capability, combined with an expressed desire by public health agencies to have workers become computer literate, suggests an important role for health sciences librarians. (+info)
Medical students and AIDS: knowledge, attitudes and implications for education.
Second year medical students at a large midwestern university were surveyed about their attitudes regarding AIDS. Results indicated: (1) students with homosexual and/or HIV-positive friends were significantly more tolerant toward AIDS patients, (2) over half the students believed that treating AIDS patients may be hazardous and that their education had not prepared them to treat these patients safely, (3) one-third believed they had the right to refuse to treat AIDS patients, and (4) AIDS-phobia was significantly associated with homophobia. These data suggest that medical educators may need to help students overcome AIDS-phobia before some students will be able to incorporate instruction about AIDS since AIDS-phobia may inhibit this learning. Didactic instruction must be coupled with modeling by educators of non-prejudicial attitudes and strict adherence to medical professionalism. (+info)
A comparison of nursing and medical diagnoses in predicting hospital outcomes.
The main premise of the Nursing Minimum Data Set (NMDS) is that nursing data should be included in the hospital discharge abstract. Yet to date, little empirical evidence has been published to measure the efficacy or usefulness of these nursing data elements. We report the results of a comparison between a daily collection of nursing assessments using nursing diagnoses (NDX) to the Diagnostic Related Group (DRG) and the All Payer Refined DRG (APR-DRG) in their ability to predict three common outcome variables: hospital days, ICU day, and total charges. A secondary data analysis was performed from a large existing data set of four years patient data from a Midwest University hospital. FINDINGS: NDX is significantly associated with hospital length of stay, ICU length of stay, and total charges. NDX also improves explanatory power when added to models with DRG or APR-DRG. This suggests that nursing data compliments existing data and is not redundant with the DRG or APR-DRG. The findings also suggest that NDX explains a different portion of the variance of the three outcome variables in this series. The results of this study support the argument that nursing data should be included in the hospital discharge abstract. (+info)
Pulmonary infection caused by Gymnascella hyalinospora in a patient with acute myelogenous leukemia.
We report the first case of invasive pulmonary infection caused by the thermotolerant ascomycetous fungus Gymnascella hyalinospora in a 43-year-old female from the rural midwestern United States. The patient was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia and treated with induction chemotherapy. She was discharged in stable condition with an absolute neutrophil count of 100 cells per microliter. Four days after discharge, she presented to the Cancer Clinic with fever and pancytopenia. A solitary pulmonary nodule was found in the right middle lobe which was resected by video-assisted thoracoscopy (VATHS). Histopathological examination revealed septate branching hyphae, suggesting a diagnosis of invasive aspergillosis; however, occasional yeast-like cells were also present. The culture grew a mold that appeared dull white with a slight brownish tint that failed to sporulate on standard media. The mold was found to be positive by the AccuProbe Blastomyces dermatitidis Culture ID Test (Gen-Probe Inc., San Diego, Calif.), but this result appeared to be incompatible with the morphology of the structures in tissue. The patient was removed from consideration for stem cell transplant and was treated for 6 weeks with amphotericin B (AmB), followed by itraconazole (Itr). A VATHS with biopsy performed 6 months later showed no evidence of mold infection. In vitro, the isolate appeared to be susceptible to AmB and resistant to fluconazole and 5-fluorocytosine. Results for Itr could not be obtained for the case isolate due to its failure to grow in polyethylene glycol used to solubilize the drug; however, MICs for a second isolate appeared to be elevated. The case isolate was subsequently identified as G. hyalinospora based on its formation of oblate, smooth-walled ascospores within yellow or yellow-green tufts of aerial hyphae on sporulation media. Repeat testing with the Blastomyces probe demonstrated false-positive results with the case isolate and a reference isolate of G. hyalinospora. This case demonstrates that both histopathologic and cultural features should be considered for the proper interpretation of this molecular test and extends the list of fungi recognized as a cause of human mycosis in immunocompromised patients. (+info)
Quality of diabetes care in community health centers.
OBJECTIVES: This study assessed the quality of diabetes care in community health centers. METHODS: In 55 midwestern community health centers, we reviewed the charts of 2865 diabetic adults for American Diabetes Association measures of quality. RESULTS: On average, 70% of the patients in each community health center had measurements of glycosylated hemoglobin, 26% had dilated eye examinations, 66% had diet intervention, and 51% received foot care. The average glycosylated hemoglobin value per community health center was 8.6%. Practice guidelines were independently associated with higher quality of care. CONCLUSIONS: Rates of adherence to process measures of quality were relatively low among community health centers, compared with the targets established by the American Diabetes Association. (+info)
The effect of Employee Assistance Programs use on healthcare utilization.
OBJECTIVE: To estimate the effect of Employee Assistance Program (EAP) use on healthcare utilization as measured by health claims. DATA SOURCES: A unique data set that combines individual-level information on EAP utilization, demographic information, and health insurance claims from 1991 to 1995 for all employees of a large midwestern employer. STUDY DESIGN: Using "fixed-effect" econometric models that control for unobserved differences between individuals' propensities to use healthcare resources and the EAP, we perform our analyses in two steps. First, for those employees who visited the EAP, we test whether post-EAP claims differ from pre-EAP claims. Second, we combine claims data of individuals who went to an EAP with those of individuals who did not use an EAP to test whether differences in utilization exist between EAP users and nonusers. DATA COLLECTION METHODS: From the EAP we obtained the date of first EAP contact for all employees who used the service, and from the company's human resources department we obtained limited demographic data on all employees. We obtained healthcare utilization claims data on all employees and their dependents from the company's two healthcare plans: a fee-for-service (FFS) plan and a health maintenance organization (HMO) plan. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We found that going to an EAP substantially increases both the probability of an alcohol, drug abuse, or mental health (ADM) claim and the number of ADM claims in the same quarter as EAP contact. The increased probability of an ADM claim persists for approximately 11 quarters after the initial contact, while the increased ADM charges persist for approximately six quarters after the initial EAP contact. CONCLUSIONS: Our results strongly suggest that the EAP is able to identify behavioral and other health problems that may affect workplace performance and prompt EAP users to access ADM and other healthcare. Consistent with the stated goals of many EAPs, including the one examined in this study, this process should improve individuals' health, family functioning, and workplace performance. (+info)