Preliminary report: symptoms associated with mobile phone use.
Mobile phone use is ubiquitous, although the alleged health effects of low level radio-frequency radiation (RFR) used in transmission are contentious. Following isolated reports of headache-like symptoms arising in some users, a survey has been conducted to characterize the symptoms sometimes associated with mobile phone usage. A notice of interest in cases was placed in a major medical journal and this was publicized by the media. Respondents were interviewed by telephone using a structured questionnaire. Forty respondents from diverse occupations described unpleasant sensations such as a burning feeling or a dull ache mainly occurring in the temporal, occipital or auricular areas. The symptoms often began minutes after beginning a call, but could come on later during the day. The symptoms usually ceased within an hour after the call, but could last until evening. Symptoms did not occur when using an ordinary handset, and were different from ordinary headaches. There were several reports suggestive of intra-cranial effects. Three respondents reported local symptoms associated with wearing their mobile phone on their belts. There was one cluster of cases in a workplace. Seventy-five per cent of cases were associated with digital mobile phones. Most of the respondents obtained relief by altering their patterns of telephone usage or type of phone. Cranial and other diverse symptoms may arise associated with mobile phone usage. Physicians and users alike should be alert to this. Further work is needed to determine the range of effects, their mechanism and the possible implications for safety limits of RFR. (+info)
Trends in body weight among American Indians: findings from a telephone survey, 1985 through 1996.
OBJECTIVES: This study compared trends in body mass index for American Indian men and women across selected regions of the United States. METHODS: Self-reported data were collected from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. RESULTS: Among women in the Dakotas, New Mexico and Arizona, and Washington and Oregon, average adjusted body mass index increased significantly by 0.1 to 0.2 units per year. Among men in Alaska and the Dakotas, average adjusted body mass index also increased significantly by 0.1 to 0.2 units each year. CONCLUSIONS: Because of rapid increases in average body mass index, some American Indian populations could be burdened by an increased incidence of chronic disease. (+info)
Disease management interventions to improve outcomes in congestive heart failure.
This study is part of a planned 24-month, multicenter, longitudinal comparison of a comprehensive congestive heart failure (CHF) disease management program and was designed to determine effectiveness after 12 months of implementation. The impact of interventions such as telemonitoring of patients, post-hospitalization follow-up, and provider education on selected primary outcomes (hospital admission and readmission rates, length of stay, total hospital days, and emergency room utilization) in a managed care setting was evaluated. Subjects in the study included all participants in the managed care plan, as well as 149 selected program participants. The effects of the program were analyzed for pure CHF and CHF-related diagnoses, with outcomes for the third quarter of 1996 (postintervention follow-up) being compared with those for the third quarter of 1995 (preintervention baseline). Overall, the data demonstrated significantly reduced admission and readmission rates for patients with the pure CHF diagnosis. Among the entire CHF patient population, the third quarter admission rate declined 63% (P = 0.00002), and the 30-day and 90-day readmission rates declined 75% (P = 0.02) and 74% (P = 0.004), respectively. Among program participants with pure CHF diagnoses, the 30-day readmission rate was reduced to 0, and an 83% reduction occurred for both the third quarter admission (P = 0.008) and 90-day readmission (P = 0.06) rates. In addition, the average length of stay for patients with CHF-related diagnoses was significantly reduced among both plan participants (P = 0.03) and program participants (P = 0.001). Reductions were also seen in total hospital days and emergency room utilization. These data thus indicate that a comprehensive disease management program can reduce healthcare utilization not only among CHF patients in the program but also among the entire managed care plan population. (+info)
Episodes of illness and access to care in the inner city: a comparison of HMO and non-HMO populations.
Using data from a 1974 household survey, accessibility to ambulatory care is compared for residents of an inner-city area (East Baltimore) whose usual source of care is an HMO (the East Baltimore Medical Plan) and residents of the same area with other usual sources of care. Accessibility is measured by the probability of receiving care for an episode of illness. Results from multivariate linear and probit regressions indicate that children using the HMO are more likely to receive care than are children with other usual care sources, but no significant differences in the probability of receiving care are found among adults. Evidence of a substitution of telephone care for in-person care is also found among persons using the HMO. Data from a 1971 household survey of the same area suggest that selectivity is not an important confounding factor in the analysis. (+info)
Provision of telephone advice from accident and emergency departments: a national survey.
This study sought to gain a national picture of the provision of telephone advice using a postal survey of senior nurses from accident and emergency (A&E) and minor injury units (MIUs). In all, 268/313 (85%) of hospitals/units responded. The average number of calls reported as received per day was 15.5 (median 12; quartiles 6, 20) for weekdays and 21.0 (median 17; quartiles 10, 29) for weekends. Most (89%) viewed the provision of telephone advice as an important component of their work, but few units offered staff training for this role or had implemented protocols or guidelines. Only 5.4% units included the number of calls received in their department in their workload figures, but 91.9% felt that they should be. Extrapolation of the data from this study to all 313 A&E and MIUs in the UK suggests that just under two million calls for telephone advice are currently made to units each year. Recognition and formalization of this aspect of work is likely to be of increasing importance given the constraints on services and the need to manage demand effectively. Future integration of A&E telephone advice calls with NHS Direct should be considered as a means of managing demand and avoiding duplication of service provision. (+info)
Can patients predict which consultations can be dealt with by telephone?
The use of telephone consultations to reduce the workload of general practitioners is well established both in this country and abroad. The principal aim of this study was to discover the proportion of consultations currently carried out in the surgery that would be suitable, for both doctor and patient, to be managed over the telephone. The second aim was to establish what proportion of such consultations could be predicted. (+info)
Prevention of relapse in women who quit smoking during pregnancy.
OBJECTIVES: This study is an evaluation of relapse prevention interventions for smokers who quit during pregnancy. METHODS: Pregnant smokers at 2 managed care organizations were randomized to receive a self-help booklet only, prepartum relapse prevention, or prepartum and postpartum relapse prevention. Follow-up surveys were conducted at 28 weeks of pregnancy and at 8 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months postpartum. RESULTS: The pre/post intervention delayed but did not prevent postpartum relapse to smoking. Prevalent abstinence was significantly greater for the pre/post intervention group than for the other groups at 8 weeks (booklet group, 30%; prepartum group, 35%; pre/post group, 39%; P = .02 [different superscripts denote differences at P < .05]) and at 6 months (booklet group, 26%, prepartum group, 24%; pre/post group, 33%; P = .04) postpartum. A nonsignificant reduction in relapse among the pre/post group contributed to differences in prevalent abstinence. There was no difference between the groups in prevalent abstinence at 12 months postpartum. CONCLUSIONS: Relapse prevention interventions may need to be increased in duration and potency to prevent post-partum relapse. (+info)
Responding to out-of-hours demand: the extent and nature of urgent need.
BACKGROUND: Little research has been undertaken concerning GPs' perceptions about urgent or 'appropriate' out-of-hours demand. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to measure GPs' perceptions about patients' need for urgent out-of-hours general medical help according to indicators of physical, psychological/emotional and social need, and the medical necessity of a home visit. METHODS: Twenty-five practices participated in an audit and research study whereby GPs completed an audit form for all contacts during November/December 1995 and February/March 1996. Each contact was assessed according to the indicators of urgent need and GPs commented on reasons for making such assessments. RESULTS: Audit forms were completed on 1862 patients, and GPs considered that 66.6% (1027) of contacts had either a physically, psychologically/emotionally or socially urgent need for help and were uncertain about a further 10.7% (165). Over half (53.0%) were considered to have an urgent physical need, almost one-third (31.0%) to have an urgent psychological/emotional need and 10.1% (119) to have an urgent social need for help. Over half (55.2%) of visits were considered to be medically necessary, the majority of which (89.9%) were assessed as having an urgent physical need for help. CONCLUSIONS: The findings raise questions about the strategic direction of newer forms of service delivery (GP Co-operatives) and suggest the need for further research to inform the strategic reduction in home visiting, particularly in inner-city areas where many residents have little access to transport out-of-hours to enable them to attend a primary care centre. GP co-operatives are, however, well placed to improve interagency working and cross-referral to other health and social service personnel, and respond more 'appropriately' to some psychological/emotional and social problems. (+info)