Follow-up of American Cancer Society Special Postdoctoral Research Fellowship recipients.
A follow-up study of the 44 recipients of American Cancer Society, Inc., Special Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from 1962 to 1973 revealed that 11 of 21 M.D. candidates obtained their second (Ph.D.) degree at the end of training. By contrast, all but one among the 23 Ph.D. candidates were awarded the second (M.D.) degree. A great majority of either group remain in active research, regardless of whether or not they obtained the second degree. A very high percentage of their research is cancer related. (+info
General practitioners' continuing education: a review of policies, strategies and effectiveness, and their implications for the future.
BACKGROUND: The accreditation and provision of continuing education for general practitioners (GPs) is set to change with new proposals from the General Medical Council, the Government, and the Chief Medical Officer. AIM: To review the theories, policies, strategies, and effectiveness in GP continuing education in the past 10 years. METHOD: A systematic review of the literature by computerized and manual searches of relevant journals and books. RESULTS: Educational theory suggests that continuing education (CE) should be work-based and use the learner's experiences. Audit can play an important role in determining performance and needs assessment, but at present is largely a separate activity. Educational and professional support, such as through mentors or co-tutors, has been successfully piloted but awaits larger scale evaluation. Most accredited educational events are still the postgraduate centre lecture, and GP Tutors have a variable role in CE management and provision. Controlled trials of CE strategies suggest effectiveness is enhanced by personal feedback and work prompts. Qualitative studies have demonstrated that education plays only a small part in influencing doctors' behavior. CONCLUSION: Maintaining good clinical practice is on many stakeholders' agendas. A variety of methods may be effective in CE, and larger scale trials or evaluations are needed. (+info
Health expenditure and finance: who gets what?
The methods used in South Africa's first comprehensive review of health finance and expenditure are outlined. Special measures were adopted to make the process acceptable to all concerned during a period of profound political transition. The estimation of indicators of access to public sector resources for districts sorted by per capita income allowed the health care problems of disadvantaged communities to be highlighted. (+info
Mixed signals: public policy and the future of health care R&D.
The incentives facing health care research and development (R&D) are influenced by the ambiguous signals sent by private and public insurance decisions affecting the use of, and payments for, existing technologies. Increasingly, that uncertainty is exacerbated by confusion over technologies' impact on health care costs, how costs are to be measured, and the social difficulty of determining medical "need" for purposes of insurance coverage. R&D executives appear to believe that "major" advances are more likely to win such coverage and thus to be profitable. The products that result, therefore, may make the current policy dilemma of cost containment versus service restriction more acute rather than less so. If the aim of policy is to cut costs, innovative remedies are necessary. (+info
A process evaluation of the National Cancer Institute's Data-based Intervention Research program: a study of organizational capacity building.
This paper reports on a qualitative process evaluation of the Data-based Intervention Research (DBIR) program, that was funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and operated in 21 states and the District of Columbia. The goal of DBIR was to build a foundation within state health agencies to ensure the translation of cancer control science into practice. NCI's objective reflected the readiness of cancer control research for public health application, the paucity of cancer control activity within public health settings and the recognition that state health agencies could play a critical role in the effective transfer of research results into public health practice. The qualitative process evaluation reported in this paper is based on one case study of four DBIR programs. The present study indicates that the four state health agencies executed the DBIR program with fidelity. Also, the four states offered a balanced assessment of NCI's role in enabling the state agency operation of DBIR, providing numerous citations illustrating how NCI successfully facilitated organizational capacity as compared to fewer mentions of ways NCI was less than successful. Thus, in funding the DBIR model, NCI was successful in raising state health agency capacity to implement cancer prevention and control programming. Implications for capacity building in state health departments are discussed. (+info
The impact of the National Cancer Institute's Data-based Intervention Research program on state health agencies.
To assist state health agencies adopt a new role in cancer prevention and control, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) initiated the Data-based Intervention Research (DBIR) program. The goal of DBIR was to stimulate data-driven activities and to build capacity for ongoing programs within state health agencies to ensure the translation of cancer prevention and control science into practice across the US. Each state funded under the DBIR program was required to conduct four phases of activity: identifying and analyzing relevant data, using these data to develop a state cancer control plan, and implementing and evaluating prevention and control interventions at the local level. This paper presents the results of survey of the 22 states that participated in the DBIR program. The survey is intended as a supplement to the case study also reported in this issue of Health Education Research. Results indicated that states were able to implement the DBIR model and they show the process to be useful to their cancer prevention efforts. DBIR had a major impact on how states will use data in future planning for cancer prevention and control. States had a number of recommendations for how NCI could improve its working relationships with state health agencies. (+info
A new method of developing expert consensus practice guidelines.
To improve the quality of medical care while reducing costs, it is necessary to standardize best practice habits at the most crucial clinical decision points. Because many pertinent questions encountered in everyday practice are not well answered by the available research, expert consensus is a valuable bridge between clinical research and clinical practice. Previous methods of developing expert consensus have been limited by their relative lack of quantification, specificity, representativeness, and implementation. This article describes a new method of developing, documenting, and disseminating expert consensus guidelines that meets these concerns. This method has already been applied to four disorders in psychiatry and could be equally useful for other medical conditions. Leading clinical researchers studying a given disorder complete a survey soliciting their opinions on its most important disease management questions that are not covered well by definitive research. The survey response rates among the experts for the four different psychiatric disorders have each exceeded 85%. The views of the clinical researchers are validated by surveying separately a large group of practicing clinicians to ensure that the guideline recommendations are widely generalizable. All of the suggestions made in the guideline are derived from, and referenced to, the experts' survey responses using criteria that were established a priori for defining first-, second-, and third-line choices. Analysis of survey results suggests that this method of quantifying expert responses achieves a high level of reliability and reproducibility. This survey method is probably the best available means for standardizing practice for decisions points not well covered by research. (+info
Gastroenterology research in the United Kingdom: funding sources and impact.
AIMS: To determine the sources of founding for UK gastroenterology research papers and the relative impact of papers funded by different groups and of unfunded ones. METHODS: UK gastroenterology papers from 1988-94 were selectively retrieved from the Science Citation Index by means of a specially constructed filter based on their title keywords and journal names. They were looked up in libraries to determine their funding sources and these, together with their numbers of authors, numbers of addresses, and research category (clinical/basic) were considered as input parameters to the research. Output parameters analysed were mean journal impact category, citation counts by papers, and the frequency of citation by a US patient. RESULTS: Gastroenterology papers comprise about 7% of all UK biomedical research and 46% of them have no acknowledged funding source. One quarter of the papers acknowledged government support, and a similar fraction a private, non-profit source; 11% were funded by the pharmaceutical industry. The papers acknowledging funding had significantly more impact than the others on all three measures. The citing patents had six times more UK inventors than the average for all US Patent and Trademark Office patents in the relevant classes and were mostly generic in application. CONCLUSION: The variation in impact of papers funded by different sources can mostly be explained by a simple model based on the input factors (numbers of funding bodies, numbers of authors, numbers of addresses, and research type). The national science base in gastroenterology is important for the underpinning of UK invented patents citing to it. (+info