Method of physician remuneration and rates of antibiotic prescription.
BACKGROUND: Rates of antibiotic prescription in Canada far exceed generally accepted rates of bacterial infection, which led the authors to postulate that rates of antibiotic prescription depend to some extent on factors unrelated to medical indication. The associations between antibiotic prescription rates and physician characteristics, in particular, method of remuneration and patient volume, were explored. METHODS: The authors evaluated all 153,047 antibiotic prescriptions generated by 476 Newfoundland general practitioners and paid for by the Newfoundland Drug Plan over the 1-year period ending Aug. 31 1996, and calculated rates of antibiotic prescription. Linear and logistic regression models controlling for several physician characteristics, specifically age, place of education (Canada or elsewhere), location of practice (urban or rural) and proportion of elderly patients seen, were used to analyse rates of antibiotic prescription. RESULTS: Fee-for-service payment (rather than salary) and greater volume of patients were strongly associated with higher antibiotic prescription rates. Fee-for-service physicians were much more likely than their salaried counterparts to prescribe at rates above the median value of 1.51 antibiotic prescriptions per unique patient per year. The association between rate of antibiotic prescription and patient volume (as measured by number of unique patients prescribed to) was evident for all physicians. However, the association was much stronger for fee-for-service physicians. Physicians with higher patient volumes prescribed antibiotics at higher rates. INTERPRETATION: In this study factors other than medical indication, in particular method of physician remuneration and patient volume, played a major role in determining antibiotic prescribing practices. (+info)
Effectiveness of an educational strategy to improve family physicians' detection and management of depression: a randomized controlled trial.
BACKGROUND: Depression, a common disorder often treated by family physicians, may be both underdiagnosed and undertreated. The objective of this study was to determine whether the diagnosis and treatment of depression by family physicians could be improved through an educational strategy. METHODS: In this study, conducted between July and December 1997, 42 family physicians in Newfoundland were randomly assigned to an intervention group (3-hour case-based educational session on clinical practice guidelines [CPGs] for depression and access to a psychiatrist for consultation) or to a control group (receipt of CPGs without educational session or access to the psychiatrist). Physicians were asked to keep a log of patients with newly diagnosed depression and to record information on severity of depression, medications and referrals to mental health professionals. Patients were asked to complete the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale before treatment and after 6 months of follow-up. The primary outcome measure was the "gain" score (difference between first and last CES-D scores). RESULTS: During the study period physicians in the intervention group diagnosed 91 new cases of depression (mean 4.1 per physician) and those in the control group diagnosed 56 (mean 2.8 per physician); the difference was not significant. Most patients (91.2% in the intervention group and 89.3% in the control group received a prescription for an antidepressant on their first visit. Similar proportions (46.2% in the intervention group and 37.5% in the control group) took their medication for the full 6 months; however, significantly more patients in the intervention group were taking an antidepressant at the 6-month follow-up (56% v. 39.3%, p = 0.02). The mean number of visits per patient was similar in the 2 groups (7.7 in the intervention group and 7.6 in the control group). Physicians in the intervention group consulted the psychiatrist 9 times. The overall rate of referrals to psychiatrists and other mental health professionals was 10.9%; however, referrals were significantly higher in the intervention group (15.4% v. 3.5%, p = 0.05). After 6 months of follow-up, a significant difference in gain scores was detected between the intervention and control groups for both the patient's self-rated CES-D scores (mean gain score 19.3 v. 15.5 respectively, p = 0.04) and the physicians' ratings of depression severity before treatment and at 6 months (mean gain 1.1 v. 0.7 respectively, p = 0.02). INTERPRETATION: The educational strategy had a modest beneficial effect on the outcomes of patients with depression, but there are still concerns regarding the low rates of drug treatment and referral to mental health professionals by family physicians. (+info)
A founder effect in the newfoundland population reduces the Bardet-Biedl syndrome I (BBS1) interval to 1 cM.
Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) is a rare, autosomal recessive disorder; major phenotypic findings include dysmorphic extremities, retinal dystrophy, obesity, male hypogenitalism, and renal anomalies. In the majority of northern European families with BBS, the syndrome is linked to a 26-cM region on chromosome 11q13. However, the finding, so far, of five distinct BBS loci (BBS1, 1q; BBS2, 16q; BBS3, 3p; BBS4, 15q; BBS5, 2q) has hampered the positional cloning of these genes. We use linkage disequilibrium (LD) mapping in an isolated founder population in Newfoundland to significantly reduce the BBS1 critical region. Extensive haplotyping in several unrelated BBS families of English descent revealed that the affected members were homozygous for overlapping portions of a rare, disease-associated ancestral haplotype on chromosome 11q13. The LD data suggest that the BBS1 gene lies in a 1-Mb, sequence-ready region on chromosome 11q13, which should enable its identification. (+info)
No psychiatry? Assessment of family medicine residents' training in mental health issues.
OBJECTIVE: To assess whether the mental health component of the family medicine residency program at Memorial University of Newfoundland, which contains no formal mental health training with psychiatrists, adequately prepares residents for practice, and to assess which aspects of their training enhanced their mental health skills most. DESIGN: Cross-sectional mailed survey. SETTING: A 2-year family practice residency program with a focus on training for rural practice offering integrated and eclectic multidisciplinary mental health training rather than formal psychiatry experience. PARTICIPANTS: Graduates of the family practice residency program, 1990 to 1995. Completed questionnaires were returned by 62 of 116 physicians. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Confidence of respondents in dealing with 23 mental health problems. RESULTS: Respondents felt prepared to address most of the mental health needs of their patients. Higher levels of confidence were associated with lower referral rates. There was no significant relationship between time spent in practice and confidence in dealing with mental health problems. Graduates' confidence correlated with areas in the program identified as strong. CONCLUSIONS: The program appears to train family doctors effectively to meet the mental health needs of their patients. (+info)
Analysis of aneuploidy frequencies in sperm from patients with hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer and an hMSH2 mutation.
Hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) has been shown to be caused by mutations in the mismatch repair genes hMSH2, hMLH1, hPMS1, and hPMS2. Recent evidence has demonstrated that mutations in mismatch repair genes disrupt meiosis in mice. A large HNPCC kindred in Newfoundland, Canada, has an hMSH2 mutation-an A-->T transversion at the +3 position of the splice-donor site of exon 5. We have studied sperm from men with this hMSH2 mutation, since it is possible that mismatch repair mutations in humans might also have an effect on meiosis and normal segregation of chromosomes. The frequencies of aneuploid and diploid sperm were determined in 10 men with the hMSH2 mutation, by use of multicolor FISH analysis for chromosomes 13, 21, X, and Y. A minimum of 10,000 sperm per man was studied per chromosome probe. Control individuals consisted of men in the same kindred with HNPCC who did not carry the mutation and of other normal men from Newfoundland. A total of 321,663 sperm were analyzed: 200,905 sperm were from men carrying the hMSH2 mutation and 120,758 sperm were from control men. There was a significantly increased frequency of disomy 13, disomy 21, XX, and diploidy in mutation carriers compared with control men. These results suggest that the hMSH2 mutation may affect meiosis in humans. (+info)
Cost analysis of a provincial drug program to guide the treatment of upper gastrointestinal disorders.
BACKGROUND: Concerned with the rising costs of its drug programs for seniors and social-assistance recipients, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador requested physicians and pharmacists at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association and the Newfoundland Pharmaceutical Association to provide guidance to the health care community for the use of drugs to treat upper gastrointestinal disorders. METHODS: Algorithms for the management of dyspepsia and gastrointestinal reflux disease were created and distributed to all physicians and pharmacists in the province in June 1996. On July 1, 1996, the provincial government implemented a program to restrict payment for proton-pump inhibitors through its drug programs to situations defined by the algorithms. Restrictions were not applied to the prescribing of cimetidine, ranitidine and prokinetic agents. The status of famotidine and nizatidine was changed from "open benefit" to "special consideration," which requires prescribers to request authorization of their use on a case-by-case basis. RESULTS: Between July 1 and Dec. 31, 1996, 973 of 1078 requests for a proton-pump inhibitor were approved (679 for gastroesophageal reflux, 186 for Helicobacter pylori eradication, 55 for ulcer treatment and 53 for other reasons). The program resulted in a sustained reduction in drug expenditures. Total drug expenditures, which had risen from $39.0 million in 1992/93 to $50.8 million in 1995/96, fell after implementation of the program to $46.4 million in 1996/97 because of a decrease of more than 80% in the use of proton-pump inhibitors. Expenditures on proton-pump inhibitors, which had increased from $0.7 million for the 6 months ending March 1993 to $1.6 million for the 6 months ending March 1996, decreased to $0.3 million for the 6 months ending March 1997. The use of H2-antagonists, but not prokinetic agents, increased concomitantly with the decline in proton-pump inhibitor use. Compared with the year preceding implementation of the program, annual combined expenditures in the subsequent 3 years for H2-antagonists, prokinetic drugs and proton-pump inhibitors were reduced by $1.6 million, $1.7 million and $1.0 million, respectively. Feedback from physicians and pharmacists was supportive for the clinical information and prescribing guidelines. Concerns were mostly limited to process issues. INTERPRETATION: The program, designed by health care professionals, approved by health care associations and implemented by the province of Newfoundland and Labrador to guide the treatment of upper gastrointestinal disorders, has achieved a substantial reduction in drug expenditures. (+info)
X mapping in man: evidence against direct measurable linkage between ocular albinism and deutan colour blindness.
A Newfoundland kindred in which ocular albinism and deutan colour blindness are segregating provides strong evidence against the loci for these two X-borne characters being within direct measurable distance of each other. (+info)
Folate and vitamin B12 status of women in Newfoundland at their first prenatal visit.
BACKGROUND: Newfoundland has one of the highest rates of neural tube defects in North America. Given the association between low maternal folic acid levels and neural tube defects, a cross-sectional study was conducted to obtain base-line data on the folate and vitamin B12 status of a sample of women in Newfoundland who were pregnant. METHODS: Blood samples were collected between August 1996 and July 1997 from 1424 pregnant women in Newfoundland during the first prenatal visit (at approximately 16 weeks' gestation); this represented approximately 25% of the women in Newfoundland who were pregnant during this period. The samples were analysed for serum folate, vitamin B12, red blood cell folate and homocysteine. RESULTS: Median values for serum folate, red blood cell folate and serum vitamin B12 were 25 nmol/L, 650 nmol/L and 180 pmol/L, respectively. On the basis of the interpretive criteria used for red blood cell folate status, 157 (11.0%) of the 1424 women were deficient (< 340 nmol/L) and a further 180 (12.6%) were classified as indeterminate (340-420 nmol/L). Serum homocysteine levels, measured in subsets of the red blood cell folate status groups, supported the inadequate folate status. Serum vitamin B12 levels of 621 (43.6%) women were classified as deficient or marginal; however, the validity of the interpretive criteria for pregnant women is questionable. INTERPRETATION: A large proportion of pregnant women surveyed in Newfoundland in 1997 had low red blood cell folate levels. (+info)