Director, VA Health Economics Resource Center
Associate Director, VA Center for Innovation to Implementation
Co-Director, VA & NCI Big Data Fellowship
This study will compare robotic training with usual care and intensive comparison therapy to attempt to improve upper extremity function.
Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a novel intervention incorporating self-management education, an action plan, and case-management to decrease the risk of hospitalizations due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among veterans with severe COPD. Hypotheses: Primary Hypothesis: Veterans with COPD who receive a self-management program incorporating education sessions, development of an action plan, and case-management will have a decreased risk of COPD hospitalization compared to standardized COPD care. Primary Objective: In an intent-to-treat analysis, determine the efficacy of a comprehensive self-management program for reducing the risk of COPD hospitalization in veterans with severe COPD in comparison to patients receiving standardized COPD care. Secondary Hypotheses: Compared with standardized COPD care, veterans with COPD who receive a comprehensive self-management intervention will have: A) decreased health-related costs resulting from decreased hospitalizations and outpatient utilization, B) decreased hospitalization rates and average length of stay due to both COPD and all-cause admissions, and C) improvement in a set of outcomes including mortality, health-related quality of life, medication adherence, patient satisfaction, disease knowledge, skill acquisition and self-efficacy. Secondary Objectives: To evaluate the healthcare costs, hospitalization days, mortality, adherence, and health outcomes of a comprehensive self-management program compared to standardized COPD care among patients with severe COPD measured by: A)Healthcare-related costs B)Health services use due to COPD and to all causes C)Clinical outcome measures 1. Mortality 2. Health-related quality of life measured by generic and COPD-specific measures 3. Patient satisfaction 4. Medication adherence 5. Disease knowledge, skill acquisition and self-efficacy In the proposed study, 960 veterans with severe COPD hospitalized in the previous year will be randomly assigned to either a comprehensive case management program or standardized COPD care. The comprehensive group will receive an initial, intense education program with development of an action plan, and regular telephone contacts by a case manager in addition to standardized COPD care. Patients allocated to the control arm will receive standardized care that incorporates guideline-based recommendations including influenza vaccination, a short-acting bronchodilator, and either a long-acting bronchodilator or inhaled corticosteroid inhaler. The study will be conducted in 2 phases, a 12-month feasibility study conducted at 6 VA sites followed by the full study in which an additional 8 sites will enroll patients over the next 24 months. As a result, 180 patients will be initially enrolled in the feasibility study over the first year and the remaining 780 patients will be enrolled in the second and third years of the study when the full study is implemented. Subjects will be followed until the completion of the study, for at least one, and up to four years. The primary outcome is time to first COPD hospitalization.
Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial.
The Department of Veterans Affairs "Randomized On/Off Bypass" (ROOBY) Trial (CSP #517) was funded in 2001. ROOBY was designed to compare the short-term (30-day) and intermediate-term (1-year) outcomes for patients undergoing off-pump versus on-pump coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedures. The ROOBY trial reported a significantly higher 1-year adverse composite outcome rate (i.e., all-cause death, non-fatal myocardial infarction (MI) and/or repeat revascularization) for off-pump versus on-pump patients. ROOBY documented that a higher percentage of off-pump patients received fewer grafts than originally planned (i.e., off-pump patients were less completely revascularized) as compared to on-pump patients. Across all anatomic regions of the heart, the 1-year graft patency rates were significantly lower for off-pump CABG patients. Based on these ROOBY trial initial findings, critically important clinical questions related to the long-term efficacy, stability and durability of the off-pump versus on-pump techniques have been raised. Extending the original ROOBY trial, this CSP #517 follow-up study (CSP 517-FS) will evaluate the longer-term impact of off-pump versus on-pump surgical approaches upon the future occurrence of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE).
Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial.
This study involves research about how to help Veterans with spinal cord injury (SCI) gain employment. During the first couple of years following SCI, many people are concentrating on their rehabilitation and are unable to afford the time for return to work. However, studies have shown people often regain the necessary strength and function about two years after SCI to resume activities of daily living very similar to what they experienced prior to the SCI. Even though many social and legal efforts have been made in the last decade to improve chances for people with disabilities to return to work, Veterans with SCI are sometimes hindered in finding employment because of age, past work history, and many other factors. Other Veterans with SCI are very successful at finding employment either working for themselves or working for a company. The investigators know very little about what issues Veterans with SCI face when they attempt to find employment after SCI. The study will analyze both quantitative and qualitative measures to maximize its findings.
Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial.
Ischemic heart disease is one of the most frequent diagnoses in the VA system. Moreover, 5,819 coronary artery bypass graft (CABG-only) procedures were performed in the VA in Fiscal Year (FY) 1999. Throughout VA and non-VA cardiac surgery programs nationwide, myocardial revascularization is now being performed using two surgical techniques. One technique is performed with cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) usually with cardioplegic arrest ("on-pump") and the other without CPB on a beating heart ("off-pump"). The overall purpose of this proposed randomized, controlled, clinical trial is to rigorously evaluate the impact of using an on-pump versus off-pump surgical technique for coronary artery bypass graft (CABG-only) procedures (performed with a traditional median sternotomy incision) upon patient clinical outcomes and resource utilization.
Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial.
VA patients with coronary artery disease and who have agreed to undergo coronary artery bypass graft surgery would be randomized to receive either radial artery or saphenous vein to the study vessel. The primary outcome variable is graft patency at one year.
Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial.
Patients who have undergone coronary bypass surgery have had a vein removed from the leg and implanted in the chest to "bypass" blockages in the coronary arteries. These veins are called saphenous vein grafts or SVGs. SVGs often develop blockages that can cause chest pain and heart attacks. SVG blockages can be opened by using small balloons and stents (metal coils that keep the artery open). Two types of stents are currently used: bare metal stents (BMS) and drug-eluting stents (DES). Both BMS and DES are made of metal. DES are also coated with a drug that releases into the wall of the blood vessel to prevent scar tissue from forming and re-narrowing the vessel. Both stents have advantages and disadvantages: DES require taking special blood thinners (called thienopyridines, such as clopidogrel or prasugrel) longer than bare metal stent and could have more bleeding but are also less likely to renarrow. Both BMS and DES are routinely being used in SVGs, but it is not known which one is better. Neither bare metal (except for an outdated model) nor drug-eluting stents are FDA approved for use in SVGs. The purpose of CSP#571 is to compare the outcomes after DES vs. BMS use in SVGs. In CSP#571 patients who need stenting of SVG blockages will be randomized to receive DES or BMS in a 1:1 ratio. Per standard practice, patients will receive 12 months of an open label thienopyridine if they have acute coronary syndrome (ACS), or if they have another clinical reason for needing the medication. Patients without ACS who receive DES also need to take 12 months of a thienopyridine whether or not they are in the study, but non-ACS patients who receive a BMS do not. In order to make sure patients do not know which stent they received, non-ACS patients who received BMS will receive 1 month of open label thienopyridine followed by 11 months of blinded placebo, while those who received DES will receive 1 month of open label thienopyridine followed by 11 months of blinded clopidogrel, which is a thienopyridine. All study patients will be followed in the clinic for at least 1 year after their stenting procedure to see if there is a difference in the rate of cardiac death, heart attack, or any procedure that is required in order to increase the flow of blood to and from the heart between the BMS and DES groups.
Neck and back pain are pervasive problems. Some have suggested that rising incidence may be associated with the evidence of rising prevalence.To describe the trends in diagnosis of painful neck and back conditions in a large national healthcare system.A retrospective observational cohort study to describe the incidence and prevalence of diagnosis of neck and back pain in a national cohort.Patients were identified by International Classification of Diseases, 9 Revision (ICD-9) codes in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national utilization datasets in calendar years 2002 to 2011.Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data. Prevalent cases were compared with all veterans who sought health care in each year. Incident cases were identified following a 2 years clean period in which the patient was enrolled and received care, but not services for any back or neck pain conditions.From 2004 to 2011, 3% to 4% of the population was diagnosed with incident back pain problems, the rate increasing on average, 1.75% per year. During the same period, 12.3% to 16.2% of the population was diagnosed with a prevalent back pain problem, the rate increasing on average 4.09% per year.In a national population, the prevalence rate for diagnosis of neck and back pain grew 1.8 to 2.3 times faster than the incidence rate. This suggests that the average duration of episodes of care is increasing. Additional research is needed to understand the influences on the differential rate of change and to develop efficient and effective care systems.
View details for DOI 10.1097/MD.0000000000006691
View details for PubMedID 28514286
To the authors' knowledge, little is known regarding the relationship between patients' and families' satisfaction with aggressive end-of-life care. Herein, the authors examined the associations between episodes of aggressive care (ie, chemotherapy, mechanical ventilation, acute hospitalizations, and intensive care unit admissions) within the last 30 days of life and families' evaluations of end-of-life care among patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).A total of 847 patients with NSCLC (34% of whom were aged <65 years) who died in a nursing home or intensive care, acute care, or hospice/palliative care (HPC) unit at 1 of 128 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers between 2010 and 2012 were examined. Data sources included Veterans Affairs administrative and clinical data, Medicare claims, and the Bereaved Family Survey. The response rate for the Bereaved Family Survey was 62%.Greater than 72% of veterans with advanced lung cancer who died in an inpatient setting had at least 1 episode of aggressive care and 31% received chemotherapy within the last 30 days of life. For all units except for HPC, when patients experienced at least 1 episode of aggressive care, bereaved families rated care lower compared with when patients did not receive any aggressive care. For patients dying in an HPC unit, the associations between overall ratings of care and ≥2 inpatient admissions or any episode of aggressive care were not found to be statistically significant. Rates of aggressive care were not associated with age, and family ratings of care were similar for younger and older patients.Aggressive care within the last month of life is common among patients with NSCLC and is associated with lower family evaluations of end-of-life care. Specialized care provided within an HPC unit may mitigate the negative effects of aggressive care on these outcomes. Cancer 2017. © 2017 American Cancer Society.
View details for DOI 10.1002/cncr.30700
View details for PubMedID 28419414
The veterans choice program (VCP), enacted by Congress after concerns surfaced about access, enables veterans to receive care outside Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities. Veterans who face long wait times, large driving distances, or particular hardships are eligible for VCP. Prior purchased care programs were comparatively limited in scope.We sought to describe utilization of VHA-provided and purchased outpatient care by veterans eligible for VCP before and after VCP implementation. We focused on veterans recently eligible for VHA as they are of particular policy relevance and might have less established care patterns.We identified all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who were eligible for VCP in 2015. We tabulated their use of VHA and purchased outpatient care for 3 years before (FY2012-2014) and 1 year after VCP implementation (FY2015).Our study population consisted of 214,449 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who were eligible for VCP due to wait-time, distance, or hardship issues.In the first year of the program, 3821 (2%) of these Iraq and Afghanistan veterans used non-VHA services through VCP. Per capita VHA utilization tended to decline slightly after VCP implementation, but these changes varied by type of outpatient care.There was low uptake of VCP services in the first year of the program. Data from additional years are needed to better understand the impact of this policy.
View details for DOI 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000678
View details for PubMedID 28146036
Hospital readmission rates after surgery can represent an overall hospital effect or a combination of specialty and patient effects. We hypothesized that hospital readmission rates for procedures within specialties were more strongly correlated than rates across specialties within the same hospital.For general, orthopaedic, and vascular specialties at Veterans Affairs hospitals during 2008 to 2014, 30-day risk-adjusted readmission rates were estimated for 6 high-volume procedures and each specialty. Relationships were assessed using the Pearson correlation coefficient.At 84 hospitals, 64,724 orthopaedic, 24,963 general, and 10,399 vascular inpatient procedures were performed; mean readmission rates were 6.3%, 13.6%, and 16.4%, respectively. There was no correlation between specialty-specific adjusted hospital readmission rates: general and orthopaedic (r = 0.21; p = 0.06), general and vascular (r = 0.15; p = 0.19), and vascular and orthopaedic surgery (r = 0.07; p = 0.55). Within specialties, we found modest correlations between knee and hip arthroplasty readmission rates (r = 0.39; p < 0.01) and colectomy and ventral hernia repair (r = 0.24; p = 0.03), but not between lower-extremity bypass and endovascular aortic repair (r = 0.13; p = 0.26). Overall, controlling for patient-level factors, 1.9% of the variation in readmissions was attributable to specialty-level factors; only 0.6% was attributable to hospital-level factors.Hospital readmission rates for orthopaedic, vascular, and general surgery were not correlated between specialties; within each of the 3 specialties, modest correlations were found between 2 procedures within 2 of these specialties. These findings suggest that hospital surgical readmission rates are primarily explained by patient- and procedure-specific factors and less by broader specialty and/or hospital effects.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2016.12.034
View details for PubMedID 28088603
Many healthcare organizations have developed disclosure policies for large-scale adverse events, including the Veterans Health Administration (VA). This study evaluated VA's national large-scale disclosure policy and identifies gaps and successes in its implementation.Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with leaders, hospital employees, and patients at nine sites to elicit their perceptions of recent large-scale adverse events notifications and the national disclosure policy. Data were coded using the constructs of the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR).We conducted 97 interviews. Insights included how to handle the communication of large-scale disclosures through multiple levels of a large healthcare organization and manage ongoing communications about the event with employees. Of the 5 CFIR constructs and 26 sub-constructs assessed, seven were prominent in interviews. Leaders and employees specifically mentioned key problem areas involving 1) networks and communications during disclosure, 2) organizational culture, 3) engagement of external change agents during disclosure, and 4) a need for reflecting on and evaluating the policy implementation and disclosure itself. Patients shared 5) preferences for personal outreach by phone in place of the current use of certified letters. All interviewees discussed 6) issues with execution and 7) costs of the disclosure.CFIR analysis reveals key problem areas that need to be addresses during disclosure, including: timely communication patterns throughout the organization, establishing a supportive culture prior to implementation, using patient-approved, effective communications strategies during disclosures; providing follow-up support for employees and patients, and sharing lessons learned.
View details for DOI 10.1186/s12913-016-1903-7
View details for Web of Science ID 000387540000003
View details for PubMedID 27835983
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5106838
To compare risk scores computed by DxCG (Verisk) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) V21.Analysis of administrative data from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for fiscal years 2010 and 2011.We regressed total annual VA costs on predicted risk scores. Model fit was judged by R-squared, root mean squared error, mean absolute error, and Hosmer-Lemeshow goodness-of-fit tests. Recalibrated models were tested using split samples with pharmacy data.We created six analytical files: a random sample (n = 2 million), high cost users (n = 261,487), users over age 75 (n = 644,524), mental health and substance use users (n = 830,832), multimorbid users (n = 817,951), and low-risk users (n = 78,032).The DxCG Medicaid with pharmacy risk score yielded substantial gains in fit over the V21 model. Recalibrating the V21 model using VA pharmacy data-generated risk scores with similar fit statistics to the DxCG risk scores.Although the CMS V21 and DxCG prospective risk scores were similar, the DxCG model with pharmacy data offered improved fit over V21. However, health care systems, such as the VA, can recalibrate the V21 model with additional variables to develop a tailored risk score that compares favorably to the DxCG models.
View details for DOI 10.1111/1475-6773.12454
View details for PubMedID 26839976
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5034200
To assess whether patient factors, such as age and preoperative kidney function, were associated with receipt of partial nephrectomy in a national integrated healthcare system.We identified patients treated with a radical or partial nephrectomy from 2002 to 2014 in the Veterans Health Administration. We examined associations among patient age, sex, race or ethnicity, multimorbidity, baseline kidney function, tumor characteristics, and receipt of partial nephrectomy. We estimated the odds of receiving a partial nephrectomy and assessed interactions between covariates and the year of surgery to explore whether patient factors associated with partial nephrectomy changed over time.In our cohort of 14,186 patients, 4508 (31.2%) received a partial nephrectomy. Use of partial nephrectomy increased from 17% in 2002 to 32% in 2008 and to 38% in 2014. Patient race or ethnicity, age, tumor stage, and year of surgery were independently associated with receipt of partial nephrectomy. Black veterans had significantly increased odds of receipt of partial nephrectomy, whereas older patients had significantly reduced odds. Partial nephrectomy utilization increased for all groups over time, but older patients and patients with worse baseline kidney function showed the least increase in odds of partial nephrectomy.Although the utilization of partial nephrectomy increased for all groups, the greatest increase occurred in the youngest patients and those with the highest baseline kidney function. These trends warrant further investigation to ensure that patients at the highest risk of impaired kidney function are considered for partial nephrectomy whenever possible.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.urology.2016.08.044
View details for PubMedID 27634733
Specialty societies recommend patients with advanced cancer receive early exposure to palliative care and exposure to hospice care.We sought to understand real-world practice of care, specifically, the timing of palliative care, and how timing and duration of hospice care varied across Medicare, VA, and VA-Purchased care.We conducted a retrospective analysis of administrative data for veterans aged 65 years or older who died with cancer in 2012. Multilevel logistic regression was used to evaluate the likelihood of receiving palliative care, receiving hospice care, and receiving hospice care for at least three days.Medicare, VA, and VA-Purchased care environments.The receipt and timing of palliative care within VA and the receipt and timing of hospice care across three healthcare environments.Most veterans received hospice care (71%), whereas fewer received palliative care (52%). Among all cancer decedents, 59% received hospice care for their last three days of life. Patients who received hospice care did so a median of 20 days before death (interquartile range [IQR]: 7-46). Patients who received palliative care did so a median of 38 days before death (IQR: 13-94). Adjusted analyses revealed significant differences in receipt of palliative care across cancer type, and significant differences in receipt of hospice care across cancer type. After adjusting for age and cancer type, patients who received VA hospice care were significantly less likely to receive it for at least three days compared with patients who received VA-Purchased or Medicare hospice care.There remains a gap between recommended timing of supportive services and real-world practice of care. Results suggest that difficulties in prognosticating death are not fully responsible for underexposure to hospice.
View details for DOI 10.1089/jpm.2015.0514
View details for PubMedID 27228478
This study aims to determine 1) the epidemiology of perioperative opioid use; and 2) the association between patterns of preoperative opioid use and time-to-cessation of postoperative opioids.Retrospective, cohort study.National, population-level study of Veterans Healthcare Administration (VHA) electronic clinical data.All VHA patients (n = 64,391) who underwent surgery in 2011, discharged after stays of ≥1 day, and receiving ≥1 opioid prescription within 90 days of discharge.Patients' preoperative opioid use were categorized as 1) no opioids, 2) tramadol only, 3) short-acting (SA) acute/intermittent (≤ 90 days fill), 4) SA chronic (> 90 days fill), or 5) any long-acting (LA). After defining cessation as 90 consecutive, opioid-free days, the authors calculated time-to-opioid-cessation (in days), from day 1 to day 365, after hospital discharge. The authors developed extended Cox regression models witha prioriidentified predictors. Sensitivity analyses used alternative cessation definitions (30 or 180 consecutive days).Almost 60% of the patients received preoperative opioids: tramadol (7.5%), SA acute/intermittent (24.1%), SA chronic (17.5%), and LA (5.2%). For patients opioid-free preoperatively, median time-to-cessation of opioids postoperatively was 15 days. The SA acute/intermittent cohort (HR =1.96; 95% CI =1.92-2.00) had greater risk for prolonged time-to-cessation than those opioid-free (reference), but lower risk than those taking tramadol only, SA chronic (HR = 9.09; 95% CI = 8.33-9.09), or LA opioids (HR = 9.09; 95% CI = 8.33-10.00). Diagnoses of chronic pain, substance-use, or affective disorders were weaker positive predictors. Sensitivity analyses maintained findings.Greater preoperative levels of opioid use were associated with progressively longer time-to-cessation postoperatively.
View details for DOI 10.1093/pm/pnw015
View details for PubMedID 27084410
A better understanding of overall survival among patients with clinically localized prostate cancer (PCa) in the US Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is critical to inform PCa treatment decisions, especially in light of data from the Prostate Intervention Versus Observation Trial (PIVOT). We sought to describe patterns of survival for all patients with clinically localized PCa treated by the VHA. We created an analytic cohort of 35 954 patients with clinically localized PCa diagnosed from 1995 to 2001, approximating the PIVOT inclusion criteria (age of diagnosis ≤75 yr and clinical stage T2 or lower). Mean patient age was 65.9 yr, and median follow-up was 161 mo. Overall, 22.5% of patients were treated with surgery, 16.6% were treated with radiotherapy, and 23.1% were treated with androgen deprivation. Median survival of the entire cohort was 14 yr (25th, 75th percentiles, range: 7.9-20 yr). Among patients who received treatment with curative intent, median survival was 17.9 yr following surgery and 12.9 yr following radiotherapy. One-third of patients died within 10 yr of diagnosis compared with nearly half of the participants in PIVOT. This finding sounds a note of caution when generalizing the mortality data from PIVOT to VHA patients and those in the community.More than one-third of patients diagnosed with clinically localized prostate cancer treated through the US Veterans Health Administration from 1995 to 2001 died within 10 yr of their diagnosis. Caution should be used when generalizing the estimates of competing mortality data from PIVOT.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.eururo.2016.02.037
View details for Web of Science ID 000378206600016
View details for PubMedID 26948397
We examined print, broadcast and social media reports about health care systems' disclosures of large scale adverse events to develop future effective messaging.Directed content analysis.We systematically searched four communication databases, YouTube and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds relating to six disclosures of lapses in infection control practices in the Department of Veterans Affairs occurring between 2009 and 2012. We assessed these with a coding frame derived from effective crisis and risk communication models.We identified 148 unique media reports. Some components of effective communication (discussion of cause, reassurance, self-efficacy) were more present than others (apology, lessons learned). Media about 'promoting secrecy' and 'slow response' appeared in reports when time from event discovery to patient notification was over 75 days. Elected officials' quotes (n = 115) were often negative (83%). Hospital officials' comments (n = 165) were predominantly neutral (92%), and focused on information sharing.Health care systems should work to ensure that they develop clear messages focused on what is not well covered by the media, including authentic apologies, remedial actions taken, and shorten the timeframe between event identification and disclosure to patients.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.puhe.2015.10.016
View details for Web of Science ID 000377414200010
View details for PubMedID 27026251
Only 7.8 % of individuals meeting diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder (AUD) receive treatment in a given year. Most individuals with AUDs are identified in primary care (PC) settings and referred to substance use disorders (SUD) clinics; however, only a minority of those referred attend treatment services. Safe and effective pharmacological treatments for AUD exist, but they are rarely prescribed by PC providers. The objective of this study is to refine, implement, and evaluate an intervention to integrate pharmacological AUD treatment options into PC settings. This paper provides a detailed description of the intervention design and the evaluation components.Three large Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities are participating in the intervention. The intervention targets stakeholder groups with tailored strategies based on implementation theory and prior research identifying barriers to implementation of AUD pharmacotherapy. Local SUD providers and primary care mental health integration (PCMHI) providers are trained to serve as local implementation/clinical champions and receive external facilitation. PC providers receive access to consultation from local and national clinical champions, educational materials, and a dashboard of patients with AUD on their caseloads for case identification. Veterans with AUD diagnoses receive educational information in the mail just prior to a scheduled PC visit. Effectiveness of the intervention will be evaluated through an interrupted time series with matched controls to monitor change in facility level AUD pharmacotherapy prescribing rates. Following Stetler's four-phase formative evaluation (FE) strategy, FE methods include (1) developmental FE (pre-implementation interviews with champions, PC providers, and Veterans), (2) implementation-focused FE (tracking attendance at facilitation meetings, academic detailing efforts by local champions, and patient dashboard utilization), (3) progress-focused FE (tracking rates of AUD pharmacotherapy prescribing and rates of referral to PCMHI and SUD specialty care), and (4) interpretive FE (post-implementation interviews with champions and PC providers). Analysis of FE data will be guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR).If demonstrated to be successful, this implementation strategy will provide a replicable, feasible, and relative low-cost method for integrating AUD treatment services into PC settings, thereby increasing access to AUD treatment.
View details for DOI 10.1186/s13012-016-0431-5
View details for Web of Science ID 000376091500001
View details for PubMedID 27164835
Health coaches can help patients gain knowledge, skills, and confidence to manage their chronic conditions. Coaches may be particularly valuable in resource-poor settings, but they are not typically reimbursed by insurance, raising questions about their budgetary impact.The Health Coaching in Primary Care (HCPC) study was a randomized controlled trial that showed health coaches were effective at helping low-income patients improve control of their type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and/or hyperlipidemia at 12 months compared with usual care.We estimated the cost of employing 3 health coaches and mapped these costs to participants. We tested whether the added costs of the coaches were offset by any savings in healthcare utilization within 1 year. Healthcare utilization data were obtained from 5 sources. Multivariate models assessed differences in costs at 1 year controlling for baseline characteristics.Coaches worked an average of 9 hours with each participant over the length of the study. On average, the health coach intervention cost $483 per participant per year. The average healthcare costs for the coaching group was $3207 compared with $3276 for the control group (P = .90). There was no evidence that the coaching intervention saved money at 1 year.Health coaches have been shown to improve clinical outcomes related to chronic disease management. We found that employing health coaches adds an additional cost of $483 per patient per year. The data do not suggest that health coaches pay for themselves by reducing healthcare utilization in the first year.
View details for Web of Science ID 000375069400004
View details for PubMedID 27143350
Unlike Medicare, the Veterans Health Administration (VA) health care system does not require veterans with cancer to make the "terrible choice" between receipt of hospice services or disease-modifying chemotherapy/radiation therapy. For this report, the authors characterized the VA's provision of concurrent care, defined as days in the last 6 months of life during which veterans simultaneously received hospice services and chemotherapy or radiation therapy.This retrospective cohort study included veteran decedents with cancer during 2006 through 2012 who were identified from claims with cancer diagnoses. Hospice and cancer treatment were identified using VA and Medicare administrative data. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize the changes in concurrent care, hospice, palliative care, and chemotherapy or radiation treatment.The proportion of veterans receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy remained stable at approximately 45%, whereas the proportion of veterans who received hospice increased from 55% to 68%. The receipt of concurrent care also increased during this time from 16.2% to 24.5%. The median time between hospice initiation and death remained stable at around 21 days. Among veterans who received chemotherapy or radiation therapy in their last 6 months of life, the median time between treatment termination and death ranged from 35 to 40 days. There was considerable variation between VA medical centers in the use of concurrent care (interquartile range, 16%-34% in 2012).Concurrent receipt of hospice and chemotherapy or radiation therapy increased among veterans dying from cancer without reductions in the receipt of cancer therapy. This approach reflects the expansion of hospice services in the VA with VA policy allowing the concurrent receipt of hospice and antineoplastic therapies. Cancer 2016;122:782-790. © 2015 American Cancer Society.
View details for DOI 10.1002/cncr.29827
View details for Web of Science ID 000371166300019
View details for PubMedID 26670795
Patients who require invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV) often represent a sequence of care between the emergency department (ED) and intensive care unit (ICU). Despite being the most populous state, little information exists to define patterns of IMV use within the state of California.We examined data from the masked Patient Discharge Database of California's Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development from 2000-2009. Adult patients who received IMV during their stay were identified using the International Classification of Diseases 9th Revision and Clinical Modification procedure codes (96.70, 96.71, 96.72). Patients were divided into age strata (18-34yr, 35-64yr, and >65yr). Using descriptive statistics and regression analyses, for IMV discharges during the study period, we quantified the number of ED vs. non-ED based admissions; changes in patient characteristics and clinical outcome; evaluated the marginal costs for IMV; determined predictors for prolonged acute mechanical ventilation (PAMV, i.e. IMV>96hr); and projected the number of IMV discharges and ED-based admissions by year 2020.There were 696,634 IMV discharges available for analysis. From 2000-2009, IMV discharges increased by 2.8%/year: n=60,933 (293/100,000 persons) in 2000 to n=79,868 (328/100,000 persons) in 2009. While ED-based admissions grew by 3.8%/year, non-ED-based admissions remained stable (0%). During 2000-2009, fastest growth was noted for 1) the 35-64 year age strata; 2) Hispanics; 3) patients with non-Medicare public insurance; and 4) patients requiring PAMV. Average total patient cost-adjusted charges per hospital discharge increased by 29% from 2000 (from $42,528 to $60,215 in 2014 dollars) along with increases in the number of patients discharged to home and skilled nursing facilities. Higher marginal costs were noted for younger patients (ages 18-34yr), non-whites, and publicly insured patients. Some of the strongest predictors for PAMV were age 35-64 years (OR=1.12; 95% CI [1.09-1.14], p<0.05); non-Whites; and non-Medicare public insurance. Our models suggest that by 2020, IMV discharges will grow to n=153,153 (377 IMV discharges/100,000 persons) with 99,095 admitted through the ED.Based on sustained growth over the past decade, by the year 2020, we project a further increase to 153,153 IMV discharges with 99,095 admitted through the ED. Given limited ICU bed capacities, ongoing increases in the number and type of IMV patients have the potential to adversely affect California EDs that often admit patients to ICUs.
View details for DOI 10.5811/westjem.2015.6.25736
View details for PubMedID 26587094
How patients respond to being notified of a large-scale adverse event (LSAE), such as improper sterilisation of medical equipment that exposes them to bloodborne pathogens, is not well known. The objective of this study was to determine, using administrative data, the intended and unintended consequences of patient notification following a LSAE.We examined five LSAEs where patients may have been inadvertently exposed to hepatitis C virus (HCV), HIV, and hepatitis B virus (HBV). A total of 9638 cases were identified at five Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) medical facilities between 2009 and 2012. We identified controls at the same facility prior to the exposure period and at neighbouring facilities (n=45 274). Difference-in-differences models were used with Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and Medicare data to examine infectious disease testing rates and subsequent utilisation patterns.Receipt of a LSAE notification was associated with a 73.2, 76.8 and 77.1 adjusted percentage point increase for HCV, HIV and HBV testing, respectively (all p<0.001). Compared with white patients, African-American patients were significantly less likely to return to VHA for follow-up testing. Patients exposed to a dental LSAE reduced their use of preventive and restorative dental care over the subsequent year, but they eventually came back to VHA for dental services 18-months post exposure.The majority of patients notified of a LSAE responded by getting tested for HCV, HIV and HBV, although there remains room for improvement. Potential exposure to a LSAE was associated with increased odds of subsequently using non-VA facilities, but the size and timing of the shift depended on the type of care.
View details for DOI 10.1136/bmjqs-2014-003800
View details for Web of Science ID 000353038100002
View details for PubMedID 25882785
While new biologics have revolutionized the treatment of age-related macular degeneration-the leading cause of severe vision loss among older adults-these new drugs have also raised concerns over the economic impact of medical innovation. The two leading agents are similar in effectiveness but vary greatly in price-up to $2,000 per injection for ranibizumab compared to $50 for bevacizumab. We examined the diffusion of these drugs in fee-for-service Medicare and Veterans Affairs (VA) systems during 2005-11, in part to assess the impact that differing financial incentives had on prescribing. Physicians treating Medicare patients have a direct financial incentive to prescribe the more expensive agent (ranibizumab), while VA physicians do not. Medicare injections of the more expensive ranibizumab peaked in 2007 at 47 percent. Beginning in 2009 the less expensive bevacizumab became the predominant therapy for Medicare patients, accounting for more than 60 percent of injections. For VA patients, the distribution of injections across the two drugs was relatively equal, particularly from 2009 to 2011. Our analysis indicates that there are opportunities in both the VA and Medicare to adopt more value-conscious treatment patterns and that multiple mechanisms exist to influence utilization.
View details for DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.2014.1032
View details for PubMedID 25646102
New-onset postoperative atrial fibrillation (POAF) after coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) is associated with worse in-hospital morbidity and mortality, extended hospital stays, and higher costs. Beyond the initial hospital discharge, the cost and outcomes of POAF have not been well studied.For CABG patients with and without new-onset POAF, a retrospective propensity-matched, multivariable regression analysis was performed to compare 1-year outcomes (including health-related quality of life [HRQoL] scores and mortality rates) and costs (standardized to 2010 dollars). Regression models controlled for site and patient factors, with propensity matching used to adjust for differences in POAF versus no-POAF patients' risk profiles.Using the existing CABG trial database, 2,096 patient records were analyzed, including POAF patients (n = 549) versus no-POAF patients (n = 1,547). For the index CABG hospitalization, POAF patients had longer postoperative length of stay (+3.9 days) and higher discharge costs (+$13,993) than no-POAF patients. At 1 year, POAF patients had more than twice the adjusted odds of dying (p < 0.01), with higher 1-year total cumulative costs. This 1-year cost difference (+$15,593) was largely attributable to hospital-based costs during the index surgery hospitalization. There was no difference in 1-year HRQoL scores (or HRQoL score changes) between POAF patients and no-POAF patients.Compared with no-POAF patients, POAF patients had higher discharge and 1-year costs along with higher 1-year mortality rates, but no differences were observed in 1-year HRQoL scores. Additional research appears warranted to improve the longer-term survival rates for POAF CABG patients, targeting future POAF-specific postdischarge interventions.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2014.07.035
View details for Web of Science ID 000347030800032
View details for PubMedID 25442992
To investigate the relationship between multimorbidity and healthcare utilisation patterns among the highest cost patients in a large, integrated healthcare system.In this retrospective cross-sectional study of all patients in the U.S. Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System, we aggregated costs of individuals' outpatient and inpatient care, pharmacy services and VA-sponsored contract care received in 2010. We assessed chronic condition prevalence, multimorbidity as measured by comorbidity count, and multisystem multimorbidity (number of body systems affected by chronic conditions) among the 5% highest cost patients. Using multivariate regression, we examined the association between multimorbidity and healthcare utilisation and costs, adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, marital status, homelessness and health insurance status.USA VA Health Care System.5.2 million VA patients.Annual total costs; absolute and share of costs generated through outpatient, inpatient, pharmacy and VA-sponsored contract care; number of visits to primary, specialty and mental healthcare; number of emergency department visits and hospitalisations.The 5% highest cost patients (n=261 699) accounted for 47% of total VA costs. Approximately two-thirds of these patients had chronic conditions affecting ≥3 body systems. Patients with cancer and schizophrenia were less likely to have documented comorbid conditions than other high-cost patients. Multimorbidity was generally associated with greater outpatient and inpatient utilisation. However, increased multisystem multimorbidity was associated with a higher outpatient share of total costs (1.6 percentage points per affected body system, p<0.01) but a lower inpatient share of total costs (-0.6 percentage points per affected body system, p<0.01).Multisystem multimorbidity is common among high-cost VA patients. While some patients might benefit from disease-specific programmes, for most patients with multimorbidity there is a need for interventions that coordinate and maximise efficiency of outpatient services across multiple conditions.
View details for DOI 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-007771
View details for PubMedID 25882486
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mandates disclosure of large-scale adverse events to patients, even if risk of harm is not clearly present. Concerns about past disclosures warranted further examination of the impact of this policy.Through a collaborative partnership between VA leaders, policymakers, researchers and stakeholders, the objective was to empirically identify critical aspects of disclosure processes as a first step towards improving future disclosures.Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants at nine VA facilities where recent disclosures took place.Ninety-seven stakeholders participated in the interviews: 38 employees, 28 leaders (from facilities, regions and national offices), 27 Veteran patients and family members, and four congressional staff members.Facility and regional leaders were interviewed by telephone, followed by a two-day site visit where employees, patients and family members were interviewed face-to-face. National leaders and congressional staff also completed telephone interviews. Interviews were analyzed using rapid qualitative assessment processes. Themes were mapped to the stages of the Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication model: pre-crisis, initial event, maintenance, resolution and evaluation.Many areas for improvement during disclosure were identified, such as preparing facilities better (pre-crisis), creating rapid communications, modifying disclosure language, addressing perceptions of harm, reducing complexity, and seeking assistance from others (initial event), managing communication with other stakeholders (maintenance), minimizing effects on staff and improving trust (resolution), and addressing facilities' needs (evaluation).Through the partnership, five recommendations to improve disclosures during each stage of communication have been widely disseminated throughout the VA using non-academic strategies. Some improvements have been made; other recommendations will be addressed through implementation of a large-scale adverse event disclosure toolkit. These toolkit strategies will enable leaders to provide timely and transparent information to patients and families, while reducing the burden on employees and the healthcare system during these events.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s11606-014-3034-3
View details for PubMedID 25355090
Observational studies of Alcoholics Anonymous' (AA) effectiveness are vulnerable to self-selection bias because individuals choose whether or not to attend AA. The present study, therefore, employed an innovative statistical technique to derive a selection bias-free estimate of AA's impact.Six data sets from 5 National Institutes of Health-funded randomized trials (1 with 2 independent parallel arms) of AA facilitation interventions were analyzed using instrumental variables models. Alcohol-dependent individuals in one of the data sets (n = 774) were analyzed separately from the rest of sample (n = 1,582 individuals pooled from 5 data sets) because of heterogeneity in sample parameters. Randomization itself was used as the instrumental variable.Randomization was a good instrument in both samples, effectively predicting increased AA attendance that could not be attributed to self-selection. In 5 of the 6 data sets, which were pooled for analysis, increased AA attendance that was attributable to randomization (i.e., free of self-selection bias) was effective at increasing days of abstinence at 3-month (B = 0.38, p = 0.001) and 15-month (B = 0.42, p = 0.04) follow-up. However, in the remaining data set, in which preexisting AA attendance was much higher, further increases in AA involvement caused by the randomly assigned facilitation intervention did not affect drinking outcome.For most individuals seeking help for alcohol problems, increasing AA attendance leads to short- and long-term decreases in alcohol consumption that cannot be attributed to self-selection. However, for populations with high preexisting AA involvement, further increases in AA attendance may have little impact.
View details for DOI 10.1111/acer.12557
View details for Web of Science ID 000345620400001
View details for PubMedID 25421504
To estimate the cost-effectiveness of a supported employment (SE) intervention that had been previously found effective in veterans with spinal cord injuries (SCIs).Cost-effectiveness analysis, using cost and quality-of-life data gathered in a trial of SE for veterans with SCI.SCI centers in the Veterans Health Administration.Subjects (N=157) who completed a study of SE in 6 SCI centers. Subjects were randomly assigned to the intervention of SE (n=81) or treatment as usual (n=76).A vocational rehabilitation program of SE for veterans with SCI.Costs and quality-adjusted life years, which were estimated from the Veterans Rand 36-Item Health Survey, extrapolated to Veterans Rand 6 Dimension utilities.Average cost for the SE intervention was $1821. In 1 year of follow-up, estimated total costs, including health care utilization and travel expenses, and average quality-adjusted life years were not significantly different between groups, suggesting the Spinal Cord Injury Vocational Integration Program intervention was not cost-effective compared with usual care.An intensive program of SE for veterans with SCI, which is more effective in achieving competitive employment, is not cost-effective after 1 year of follow-up. Longer follow-up and a larger study sample will be necessary to determine whether SE yields benefits and is cost-effective in the long run for a population with SCI.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.apmr.2014.01.010
View details for Web of Science ID 000338479700005
View details for PubMedID 24486426
Observational studies have documented an off-pump over on-pump advantage for high-risk patients, including diabetic patients. Randomized trials have not confirmed this advantage. The VA Randomization On Versus Off Bypass (ROOBY) trial randomly assigned 2,203 coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) patients at 18 sites to either on-pump (n=1,099) or off-pump (n=1,104) procedures. An a priori ROOBY aim was to evaluate treatment impact on diabetic patients.Actively treated diabetic patients (n=835, receiving oral hypoglycemic or insulin medications) received off-pump CABG (n=402) or on-pump CABG (n=433). The primary ROOBY trial endpoints were a short-term composite (30-day operative death or major complications) and a 1-year composite (death, nonfatal acute myocardial infarction, or repeat revascularization). Secondary ROOBY endpoints included 1-year all-cause death, 1-year graft patency, 1-year changes from baseline in neurocognitive status and health-related quality of life, and costs.Diabetic patients' risk factors at baseline were balanced across treatments. For diabetic patients, the primary short-term composite outcome rate showed a worse trend for off-pump (8.0%) than on-pump (3.9%, p=0.013), with no difference in the 1-year primary composite outcome or 1-year death rate. One-year patency was 83.1% off-pump versus 88.4% on-pump (p=0.004). No differences were found in neurocognitive, health-related quality of life, discharge cost, and 1-year cumulative cost.Concordant with the ROOBY trial's overall findings, off-pump CABG yielded no advantage over on-pump CABG for actively treated diabetic patients. The 1-year graft patency was lower and the short-term composite trended higher for off-pump CABG, with no other significant outcome or cost differences.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2014.03.042
View details for Web of Science ID 000338432600017
View details for PubMedID 24841548
PET scanning has been shown in randomized trials to reduce the frequency of surgery without cure among patients with potentially resectable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We examined whether more frequent use of PET scanning at the facility level improves survival among patients with NSCLC in real-world practice.In this prospective cohort study of 622 US veterans with newly diagnosed NSCLC, we compared groups defined by the frequency of PET scan use measured at the facility level and categorized as low (<25%), medium (25%-60%), or high (>60%).The median age of the sample was 69 years. Ninety-eight percent were men, 36% were Hispanic or nonwhite, and 54% had moderate or severe comorbidities. At low-, medium-, and high-use facilities, PET scan was performed in 13%, 40%, and 72% of patients, respectively (P<.0001). Baseline characteristics were similar across groups, including clinical stage based on CT scanning. More frequent use of PET scanning was associated with more frequent invasive staging (P<.001) and nonsignificant improvements in downstaging (P=.13) and surgery without cure (P=.12). After a median of 352 days of follow-up, 22% of the sample was still alive, including 22% at low- and medium-use facilities and 20% at high-use facilities. After adjustment and compared with patients at low-use facilities, the hazard of death was greater for patients at high-use facilities (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.35; 95% CI, 1.05-1.74) but not different for patients at medium-use facilities (adjusted HR, 1.14; 95% CI, 0.88-1.46).In this study of veterans with NSCLC, markedly greater use of PET scanning at the facility level was associated with more frequent use of invasive staging and possible improvements in downstaging and surgery without cure, but greater use of PET scanning was not associated with better survival.
View details for DOI 10.1378/chest.13-1073
View details for Web of Science ID 000334097700029
View details for PubMedID 24306819
To examine the patient, tumor, and temporal factors associated with receipt of renal mass biopsy (RMB) in a contemporary nationally representative sample.We queried the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare data set for incident cases of renal cell carcinoma diagnosed between 1992 and 2007. We tested for associations among receipt of RMB and patient and tumor characteristics, type of therapy, and procedure type. Temporal trends in receipt of RMB were characterized over the study period.Approximately 1 in 5 (20.7%) patients diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma (n = 24,702) underwent RMB before instituting therapy. There was a steady and modest increase in RMB utilization, with the highest utilization (30%) occurring in the final study year. Of patients who underwent radical (n = 15,666) or partial (n = 2211) nephrectomy, 17% and 20%, respectively, underwent RMB in advance of surgery. Sixty-five percent of patients who underwent ablation (n = 314) underwent RMB before or in conjunction with the procedure. Roughly half of patients (50.4%) treated with systemic therapy alone underwent RMB. Factors independently associated with use of RMB included younger age, black race, Hispanic ethnicity, tumor size <7 cm, and metastatic disease at presentation.At present, most patients who eventually undergo radical or partial nephrectomy do not undergo RMB, whereas most patients who eventually undergo ablation or systemic therapy do. The optimal use of RMB in the evaluation of kidney tumors has yet to be determined.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.urology.2013.10.073
View details for PubMedID 24529579
Clopidogrel use post coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) has become more popular under the assumption that it improves graft patency. The purpose of this sub-analysis from the Randomized On and Off-Pump Bypass (ROOBY) trial is to evaluate the role of clopidogrel use post CABG to improve graft patency when added to standard aspirin therapy.The ROOBY trial was a multi-center, randomized, controlled clinical trial that compared on-pump versus off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Clopidogrel use post CABG was left at the discretion of the operator. Detailed data regarding the use and timing of clopidogrel post CABG were collected prospectively, along with 1-year angiograms to evaluate graft status.Of the 2,203 subjects undergoing CABG, 953 patient records had complete clopidogrel use and 1-year angiographic data. Of these, 345 (36.2%) received clopidogrel post CABG prior to discharge. Compared with patients with no post-CABG clopidogrel use, baseline characteristics were similar for the clopidogrel group except for the following: lower preoperative aspirin use (80.2% vs 86.7%, p = 0.009); higher preoperative clopidogrel use (23.5% vs 14.0%, p < 0.001), less on-pump (35.9% vs 55.9%, p < 0.0001); and lower endoscopic vein harvesting (30.8% vs 42.5%, p < 0.001) rates. Overall 1-year graft patency rates were not different between the clopidogrel and no-clopidogrel groups (86.5% vs 85.3%, p = 0.43). Multivariable analyses did not alter these findings.This study suggests that routine post-CABG clopidogrel use may not translate to improved 1-year graft patency. Future studies appear warranted to better define the role of more aggressive antiplatelet therapy post CABG on graft patency and clinical outcomes.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2013.08.058
View details for Web of Science ID 000329155900013
View details for PubMedID 24206971
Preoperative β-blockade has been posited to result in better outcomes for vascular surgery patients by attenuating acute hemodynamic changes associated with stress. However, the incremental effectiveness, if any, of β-blocker usage in blunting heart rate responsiveness for vascular surgery patients who avoid general anesthesia remains unknown.We reviewed an existing database and identified 213 consecutive vascular surgery cases from 2005-2011 conducted without general anesthesia (i.e., under monitored anesthesia care or regional anesthesia) at a tertiary care Veterans Administration medical center and categorized patients based on presence or absence of preoperative β-blocker prescription. For this series of patients, with the primary outcome of maximum heart rate during the interval between operating room entry to surgical incision, we examined the association of maximal heart rate and preoperative β-blocker usage by performing crude and multivariate linear regression, adjusting for relevant patient factors.Of 213 eligible cases, 137 were prescribed preoperative β-blockers, and 76 were not. The two groups were comparable across baseline patient factors and intraoperative medication doses. The β-blocker group experienced lower maximal heart rates during the period of evaluation compared to the non-β-blocker group (85 ± 22 bpm vs. 98 ± 36 bpm, respectively; p = 0.002). Adjusted linear regression confirmed a statistically-significant association between lower maximal heart rate and the use of β-blockers (Beta = -11.5; 95% CI [-3.7, -19.3] p = 0.004).The addition of preoperative β-blockers, even when general anesthesia is avoided, may be beneficial in further attenuating stress-induced hemodynamic changes for vascular surgery patients.
View details for DOI 10.1186/2193-1801-3-227
View details for PubMedID 24855591
View details for Web of Science ID 000325992100024
To date, no study has defined the consequences of radial artery harvest based on a large number of patients in a prospective randomized trial.To compare pain at the harvest site and functional changes associated with harvesting the radial artery vs saphenous vein for coronary artery bypass grafting.This study compares the consequences of radial artery harvest with saphenous vein harvest in patients undergoing elective coronary artery bypass grafting procedures in Veterans Affairs hospitals.Eleven hospitals screened 6148 patients, of whom 751 were included in this trial. We analyzed 2 variables: pain at the harvest site as measured on a scale of 0 to 100 (least to most painful) and hand performance testing. Patients included in this analysis had radial artery only (n = 80) or saphenous vein only (n = 337) harvest. Pain score, grip strength, and dexterity were measured before surgery and at 3 and 12 months after surgery. We adjusted for pain scores of the nonharvested extremity, age, whether the patient underwent endoscopic vein harvesting, and comorbid health conditions (smoking history, type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and heart failure).There was a significant difference in change of pain score at 3 months from the preoperative baseline between radial artery and saphenous vein groups after adjusting for covariates (P < .001) but not at 12 months (P = .07). No significant changes occurred in grip strength or dexterity from preoperative baseline to 3 and 12 months after surgery (P > .05).The radial artery group reported significantly more pain than the saphenous vein group 3 months after surgery; however, similar levels of pain were observed in both groups at 12 months after surgery. Grip strength and manual dexterity were not changed by radial artery harvesting at 3 and 12 months.
View details for DOI 10.1001/jamasurg.2013.3721
View details for Web of Science ID 000330116000005
View details for PubMedID 24068158
View details for Web of Science ID 000325992100026
Questions have been raised about the costs and outcomes for patients receiving on-pump and off-pump coronary artery bypass graft surgery. As part of the Department of Veterans Affairs Randomized On/Off Bypass (ROOBY) multisite trial, a cost-effectiveness analysis was performed to compare on-pump versus off-pump patients' quality-adjusted life-years and costs at 1 year.One-year outcomes and costs (standardized to 2010 dollars) were estimated in multivariate regression models, controlling for site and baseline patient factors. The 1-year incremental cost-effectiveness analysis ratio with 95% confidence intervals was calculated using bootstrapping.Eighteen centers randomly assigned 2,203 participants to on-pump (n=1,099) versus off-pump (n=1,104) coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Both groups' quality of life improved significantly after surgery (p<0.01) compared with baseline, but no differences were found between treatment groups. Adjusted cost of the index coronary artery bypass graft surgery hospitalization was $36,046 on-pump and $36,536 off-pump (p=0.16). At 1 year, on-pump adjusted cost was $56,023 versus $59,623 off-pump (p=0.046). Off-pump-to-on-pump conversions after first distal anastomosis (4.8%) had significantly higher 1-year costs. Excluding conversions, there were no significant differences between treatments for index hospitalization or 1-year total costs.At 1 year, off-pump coronary artery bypass graft surgery was more expensive than on-pump when late off-pump-to-on-pump conversions were included. Excluding late conversions, there was no difference in quality-adjusted life-years or costs.ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT00032630; http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00032630.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2013.04.074
View details for Web of Science ID 000323940200014
View details for PubMedID 23916805
OBJECTIVES: To compare the 1-year survival for different age strata of intensive care unit (ICU) patients after receipt of packed red blood cell (PRBC) transfusions. BACKGROUND: Despite guidelines documenting risks of PRBC transfusion and data showing that increasing age is associated with ICU mortality, little data exist on whether age alters the transfusion-related risk of decreased survival. METHODS: We retrospectively examined data on 2393 consecutive male ICU patients admitted to a tertiary-care hospital from 2003 to 2009 in age strata: 21-50, 51-60, 61-70, 71-80 and >80 years. We calculated Cox regression models to determine the modifying effect of age on the impact of PRBC transfusion on 1-year survival by using interaction terms between receipt of transfusion and age strata, controlling for type of admission and Charlson co-morbidity indices. We also examined the distribution of admission haematocrit and whether transfusion rates differed by age strata. RESULTS: All age strata experienced statistically similar risks of decreased 1-year survival after receipt of PRBC transfusions. However, patients age >80 were more likely than younger cohorts to have haematocrits of 25-30% at admission and were transfused at approximately twice the rate of each of the younger age strata. DISCUSSION: We found no significant interaction between receipt of red cell transfusion and age, as variables, and survival at 1 year as an outcome.
View details for DOI 10.1111/tme.12010
View details for Web of Science ID 000321975300005
View details for PubMedID 23480030
View details for Web of Science ID 000331939301055
We examine the extent to which ClinicalTrials.gov is meeting its goal of providing oversight and transparency of clinical trials with human subjects. We analyzed the ClinicalTrials.gov database contents as of June 2011, comparing interventions, medical conditions, and trial characteristics by sponsor type. We also conducted a detailed analysis of incomplete data.Among trials with only government sponsorship (N=9252), 36% were observational and 64% interventional; in contrast, almost all (90%) industry-only sponsored trials were interventional. Industry-only sponsored interventional trials (N=30,036) were most likely to report a drug intervention (81%), followed by biologics (9%) and devices (8%). Government-only interventional trials (N=5886) were significantly more likely to test behavioral interventions (28%) and procedures (13%) than industry-only trials (p<0.001). Medical conditions most frequently studied in industry-only trials were cancer (19%), cardiovascular conditions (12%) and endocrine/metabolic disorders (11%). Government-only funded trials were more likely to study mental health (19% vs. 7% for industry, p<.001), and viral infections, including HIV (15% vs 7% for industry, p<.001). Government-funded studies are significantly more likely to be missing data about study design and intervention arms in the registry. For all studies, we report ambiguous and contradictory data entries.Industry-sponsored studies differ systematically from government-sponsored studies in study type, choice of interventions, conditions studied, and completeness of submitted information. Imprecise study design information, incomplete coding of conditions, out-of-date or unspecified enrollment numbers, and other missing data continue to hinder robust analyses of trials registered in ClinicalTrials.gov.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cct.2013.01.004
View details for Web of Science ID 000317169100020
View details for PubMedID 23380028
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health convened a working group in June 2011 to examine alternative institutional review board (IRB) models. The working group was held in response to proposed changes in the regulations for government-supported research and the proliferation of multicenter clinical trials where multiple individual reviews may be inefficient. Group members included experts in heart, lung, and blood research, research oversight, bioethics, health economics, regulations, and information technology (IT). The group discussed alternative IRB models, ethical concerns, metrics for evaluating IRBs, IT needs, and economic considerations. Participants noted research gaps in IRB best practices and in metrics. The group arrived at recommendations for process changes, such as defining specific IRB performance requirements in funding announcements, requiring funded researchers to use more efficient alternative IRB models, and developing IT systems to facilitate information sharing and collaboration among IRBs. Despite the success of the National Cancer Institute's central IRB (CIRB), the working group, concerned about the creation costs and unknown cost-efficiency of a new CIRB, and about the risk of shifting the burden of dealing with multiple IRBs from sponsors to research institutions, did not recommend the creation of an NHLBI-funded CIRB.
View details for DOI 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3182720859
View details for Web of Science ID 000311836800021
View details for PubMedID 23095928
Many patients treated for substance use disorder (SUD) do not achieve lasting recovery from a single episode of treatment and require continuing care. The current randomized clinical trial investigated whether in-person continuing care as usual (CCAU) following intensive outpatient SUD treatment leads to better SUD outcomes when compared with telephone case monitoring (TCM).This study randomized 667 intensive SUD outpatients to telephone case monitoring versus face-to-face continuing care as usual at two sites. Patients completed data at baseline, 3 and 12months with telephone interviews. Data of interest include self-report of substance use, psychiatric symptoms, quality of life, and treatment satisfaction. We also evaluated potential interaction effects for distance to VA provider, SUD severity, and presence of co-morbid psychiatric disorder.Participants randomized to the telephone case monitoring condition substantially engaged with face-to-face continuing care resulting in cross-over contamination. We addressed this issue by using randomization as an instrumental variable to evaluate the impact of telephone case monitoring (contamination adjusted, intent to treat analysis). Instrumental variable analyses indicated significant benefit of telephone case monitoring for drug and alcohol percent days abstinent and psychiatric symptom outcomes at 3-months follow-up, but not at 12-month follow-up. No interaction analyses were significant.Participants receiving telephone case monitoring achieved better short term outcomes in terms of substance use and psychiatric symptoms. The "on treatment" effects suggests the need for future studies to investigate consumer (patient) perspectives on the optimal duration of telephone case monitoring and use of alternative monitoring methods such as text messaging.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.addbeh.2012.03.009
View details for Web of Science ID 000307205200001
View details for PubMedID 22651986
Data are limited regarding the patency of coronary artery bypass grafts performed by residents versus attending surgeons.We analyzed data from a multicenter, randomized Veterans Affairs Cooperative Study in which the left internal mammary artery was used preferentially to graft the left anterior descending coronary artery, and the best remaining coronary vessel received (per random assignment) either a radial artery or a saphenous vein graft. The study vessel's 1-year graft patency was the primary outcome measure. Secondary outcomes included operative times, operative morbidity, mortality, repeat revascularization, cost, angina symptoms, and quality of life. Multivariate analyses were used to compare patient outcomes for residents versus attendings.Residents were designated as primary surgeons in 23% of cases (167 of 725). Among the 531 patients who had a 1-year angiogram, study graft patency rates for resident cases (n=122) and attending cases (n=409) were not significantly different (86% versus 90%, p=0.22). Residents' cases had longer perfusion time (119 versus 105 minutes, p<0.0001) and cross-clamp time (84 versus 68 minutes, p<0.0001). After risk adjustment, all outcome measures did not differ between the two groups, and there was no apparent interaction effect between resident/attending designation and radial artery versus saphenous vein use or on-pump versus off-pump approach.Surgeons in training perform coronary artery bypass surgery without compromising graft patency or patient outcomes. Ongoing evaluation of residents' performance and surgical outcomes is needed, given the major changes that are occurring in residency training.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2012.04.039
View details for PubMedID 22698772
To investigate the association of preoperative β-blocker usage and maximal heart rates observed during the induction of general anesthesia.Retrospective descriptive, univariate, and multivariate analyses of electronic hospital and anesthesia medical records.A tertiary-care medical center within the Veterans Health Administration.Consecutive adult elective and emergent patients presenting for vascular surgery during calendar years 2005 to 2011.None.Of the 430 eligible cases, 218 were prescribed β-blockers, and 212 were not taking β-blockers. The two groups were comparable across baseline patient factors (ie, demographic, morphometric, surgical duration, and surgical procedures) and induction medication doses. The β-blocker group experienced a lower maximal heart rate during the induction of general anesthesia compared with the non-β-blocker group (105 ± 41 beats/min v 115 ± 45 beats/min, respectively; p < 0.01). Adjusted linear regression found a statistically significant association between lower maximal heart rate and the use of β-blockers (β = -11.1 beats/min, p < 0.01). There was no difference between groups in total intraoperative β-blocker administration.Preoperative β-blockade of vascular surgery patients undergoing general anesthesia is associated with a lower maximal heart rate during anesthetic induction. There may be potential benefits in administering β-blockers to reduce physiologic stress in this surgical population at risk for perioperative cardiac morbidity. Future research should further explore intraoperative hemodynamic effects in light of existing practice guidelines for optimal medication selection, dosage, and heart rate control.
View details for DOI 10.1053/j.jvca.2011.09.027
View details for Web of Science ID 000304215800011
View details for PubMedID 22138312
Improving a patient's ability to self-monitor and manage changes in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) symptoms may improve outcomes.To determine the efficacy of a comprehensive care management program (CCMP) in reducing the risk for COPD hospitalization.A randomized, controlled trial comparing CCMP with guideline-based usual care. (ClinicalTrials.gov registration number: NCT00395083) SETTING: 20 Veterans Affairs hospital-based outpatient clinics.Patients hospitalized for COPD in the past year.The CCMP included COPD education during 4 individual sessions and 1 group session, an action plan for identification and treatment of exacerbations, and scheduled proactive telephone calls for case management. Patients in both the intervention and usual care groups received a COPD informational booklet; their primary care providers received a copy of COPD guidelines and were advised to manage their patients according to these guidelines. Patients were randomly assigned, stratifying by site based on random, permuted blocks of variable size.The primary outcome was time to first COPD hospitalization. Staff blinded to study group performed telephone-based assessment of COPD exacerbations and hospitalizations, and all hospitalizations were blindly adjudicated. Secondary outcomes included non-COPD health care use, all-cause mortality, health-related quality of life, patient satisfaction, disease knowledge, and self-efficacy.Of the eligible patients, 209 were randomly assigned to the intervention group and 217 to the usual care group. Citing serious safety concerns, the data monitoring committee terminated the intervention before the trial's planned completion after 426 (44%) of the planned total of 960 patients were enrolled. Mean follow-up was 250 days. When the study was stopped, the 1-year cumulative incidence of COPD-related hospitalization was 27% in the intervention group and 24% in the usual care group (hazard ratio, 1.13 [95% CI, 0.70 to 1.80]; P= 0.62). There were 28 deaths from all causes in the intervention group versus 10 in the usual care group (hazard ratio, 3.00 [CI, 1.46 to 6.17]; P= 0.003). Cause could be assigned in 27 (71%) deaths. Deaths due to COPD accounted for the largest difference: 10 in the intervention group versus 3 in the usual care group (hazard ratio, 3.60 [CI, 0.99 to 13.08]; P= 0.053).Available data could not fully explain the excess mortality in the intervention group. Ability to assess the quality of the educational sessions provided by the case managers was limited.A CCMP in patients with severe COPD had not decreased COPD-related hospitalizations when the trial was stopped prematurely. The CCMP was associated with unanticipated excess mortality, results that differ markedly from similar previous trials. A data monitoring committee should be considered in the design of clinical trials involving behavioral interventions.
View details for Web of Science ID 000304193400013
View details for PubMedID 22586006
We reviewed existing methods for identifying patients with neck and back pain in administrative data. We compared these methods using data from the Department of Veterans Affairs.To answer the following questions: (1) what diagnosis codes should be used to identify patients with neck pain and back pain in administrative data; (2) because the majority of complaints are characterized as nonspecific or mechanical, what diagnosis codes should be used to identify patients with nonspecific or mechanical problems in administrative data; and (3) what procedure and surgical codes should be used to identify patients who have undergone a surgical procedure on the neck or back.Musculoskeletal neck and back pain are pervasive problems, associated with chronic pain, disability, and high rates of health care utilization. Administrative data have been widely used in formative research, which has largely relied on the original work of Volinn, Cherkin, Deyo, and Einstadter and the Back Pain Patient Outcomes Assessment Team first published in 1992. Significant variation in reports of incidence, prevalence, and morbidity associated with these problems may be due to nonstandard or conflicting methods to define study cohorts.A literature review produced 7 methods for identifying neck and back pain in administrative data. These code lists were used to search Veterans Health Administration data for patients with back and neck problems, and to further categorize each case by spinal segment involved, as nonspecific/mechanical and as surgical or not.There is considerable overlap in most algorithms. However, gaps persist.Gaps are evident in existing methods and a new framework to identify patients with neck pain and back pain in administrative data is proposed.
View details for DOI 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3182376508
View details for Web of Science ID 000303499400017
View details for PubMedID 22127268
Electronic personal health record (PHR) systems are proliferating but largely have not realized their potential for enhancing communication among patients and their network of care providers.To explore preferences about sharing electronic health information among users of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) PHR system, My HealtheVet.Web-based survey of a convenience sample.My HealtheVet Web site from 7 July through 4 October 2010.18 471 users of My HealtheVet.Interest in shared PHR access and preferences about who would receive access, the information that would be shared, and the activities that users would delegate.Survey respondents were predominantly men (92%) and aged 50 to 64 years (51%) or 65 years or older (39%); approximately 39% reported poor or fair health status. Almost 4 of 5 respondents (79%) were interested in sharing access to their PHR with someone outside of their health system (62% with a spouse or partner, 23% with a child, 15% with another family member, and 25% with a non-VA health care provider). Among those who selected a family member other than a spouse or partner, 47% lived apart from the specified person. Preferences about degree of access varied on the basis of the type of information being shared, the type of activity being performed, and the respondent's relationship with the selected person.The survey completion rate was 40.8%. Results might not be generalizable to all My HealtheVet users.In a large survey of PHR users in the VA system, most respondents were interested in sharing access to their electronic health information with caregivers and non-VA providers. Existing and evolving PHR systems should explore secure mechanisms for shared PHR access to improve information exchange among patients and the multiple persons involved in their health care.Veterans Health Administration and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program.
View details for DOI 10.1059/0003-4819-155-12-201112200-00002
View details for Web of Science ID 000298280500014
View details for PubMedID 22184687
The change in prevalence and total Veterans Affairs (VA) spending were estimated for 16 chronic condition categories between 2000 and 2008. The drivers of changes in spending also were examined. Chronic conditions were identified through diagnoses in encounter records, and treatment costs per patient were estimated using VA cost data and regression models. The estimated differences in total VA spending between 2000 and 2008 and the contributions of population increase, differences in prevalence, and differences in treatment costs were evaluated. Most of the spending increases during the study period were driven by the increase in the VA patient population from 3.3 million in 2000 to 4.9 million in 2008. Spending on renal failure increased the most, by more than $1.5 billion, primarily because of higher prevalence. Higher treatment costs did not contribute much to higher spending; lower costs per patient for several conditions may have helped to slow spending for diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart conditions, renal failure, dementia, and stroke. Lowering treatment costs per patient for common conditions can help slow spending for chronic conditions, but most of the increase in spending in the study period was the result of more patients seeking care from VA providers and the higher prevalence of conditions among patients. As the VA patient population continues to age and to develop more co-morbidities, and as returning veterans seek care for service-related problems, higher spending on chronic conditions will become a more prominent issue for the VA health care system.
View details for DOI 10.1089/pop.2010.0079
View details for Web of Science ID 000298292600004
View details for PubMedID 22044350
View details for Web of Science ID 000296424200033
In coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery, there is uncertainty about whether the radial artery affects quality of life or costs relative to the saphenous vein. This study compared the cost and quality of life for patients randomized to either radial artery or saphenous vein grafts.We analyzed the duration and cost of the index surgery and costs and quality of life (Seattle Angina Questionnaire and Health Utility Index) at 1 year for 726 participants.The 2 treatment groups had similar baseline characteristics. Using the radial artery added approximately 31 minutes to the surgery (from skin incision to skin closure; P < .001) compared with a saphenous vein graft. There were no significant differences in terms of costs and quality of life after the index hospitalization or at 1 year.Coronary artery bypass grafting with the radial artery lasts approximately 31 minutes longer than with the saphenous vein. However, costs and the quality of life were not statistically different.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2011.06.011
View details for Web of Science ID 000297025700010
View details for PubMedID 21872209
This study examined the association of hematocrit (Hct) levels measured upon intensive care unit (ICU) admission and red blood cell transfusions to long-term (1-year or 180-day) mortality for both surgical and medical patients.Administrative and laboratory data were collected retrospectively on 2393 consecutive medical and surgical male patients admitted to the ICU between 2003 and 2009. We stratified patients based on their median Hct level during the first 24 hours of their ICU stay (Hct < 25.0%, 25% ≤ Hct < 30%, 30% ≤ Hct < 39%, and 39.0% and higher). An extended Cox regression analysis was conducted to identify the time period after ICU admission (0 to <180, 180 to 365 days) when low Hct (<25.0) was most strongly associated with mortality. The unadjusted and adjusted relationship between admission Hct level, receipt of a transfusion, and 180-day mortality was assessed using Cox proportional hazards regression modeling.Patients with an Hct level of less than 25% who were not transfused had the worst mortality risk overall (hazard ratio [HR], 6.26; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.05-12.85; p < 0.001) during the 6 months after ICU admission than patients with a Hct level of 39.0% or more who were not transfused. Within the subgroup of patients with a Hct level of less than 25% only, receipt of a transfusion was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of mortality (HR, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.19-0.85; p = 0.017).Anemia of a Hct level of less than 25% upon admission to the ICU, in the absence of a transfusion, is associated with long-term mortality. Our study suggests that there may be Hct levels below which the transfusion risk-to-benefit imbalance reverses.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2011.03134.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000295917700014
View details for PubMedID 21985048
Given that many studies have reported that the costs of substance use disorder (SUD) treatment are more than offset by other savings (e.g., in health care, in criminal justice, in foster care), why haven't health care system managers rushed to expand treatment? This article attempts to explain this puzzling discrepancy by analyzing 1998-2006 data from the national Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system. The main outcome measures were annual cost and utilization for VA SUD-diagnosed patients. The key independent variable was the medical centers' annual spending for SUD treatment. There was no evidence that SUD spending was associated with lower medical center costs over time within the medical center that paid for the treatment. Health care system managers may not be influenced by research suggesting that the costs of SUD treatment are more than fully offset because they bear the cost of providing treatment while the savings largely accrue to other systems.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jsat.2011.04.006
View details for Web of Science ID 000294982100004
View details for PubMedID 21664790
Stroke is a leading cause of disability. Rehabilitation robotics have been developed to aid in recovery after a stroke. This study determined the additional cost of robot-assisted therapy and tested its cost-effectiveness.We estimated the intervention costs and tracked participants' healthcare costs. We collected quality of life using the Stroke Impact Scale and the Health Utilities Index. We analyzed the cost data at 36 weeks postrandomization using multivariate regression models controlling for site, presence of a prior stroke, and Veterans Affairs costs in the year before randomization.A total of 127 participants were randomized to usual care plus robot therapy (n=49), usual care plus intensive comparison therapy (n=50), or usual care alone (n=28). The average cost of delivering robot therapy and intensive comparison therapy was $5152 and $7382, respectively (P<0.001), and both were significantly more expensive than usual care alone (no additional intervention costs). At 36 weeks postrandomization, the total costs were comparable for the 3 groups ($17 831 for robot therapy, $19 746 for intensive comparison therapy, and $19 098 for usual care). Changes in quality of life were modest and not statistically different.The added cost of delivering robot or intensive comparison therapy was recuperated by lower healthcare use costs compared with those in the usual care group. However, uncertainty remains about the cost-effectiveness of robotic-assisted rehabilitation compared with traditional rehabilitation. Clinical Trial Registration- URL: http://clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT00372411.
View details for DOI 10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.606442
View details for Web of Science ID 000294342800056
View details for PubMedID 21757677
Disparities in treatment exist for nonwhite and Hispanic patients with non-small cell lung cancer, but little is known about disparities in the use of staging tests or their underlying causes.Prospective, observational cohort study of 3638 patients with newly diagnosed non-small cell lung cancer from 4 large, geographically defined regions, 5 integrated health care systems, and 13 VA health care facilities.Median age was 69 years, 62% were men, 26% were Hispanic or nonwhite, 68% graduated high school, 50% had private insurance, and 41% received care in the VA or another integrated health care system. After adjustment, positron emission tomography (PET) use was 13% lower among nonwhites and Hispanics than non-Hispanic whites (risk ratio [RR] 0.87, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.77-0.97), 13% lower among those with Medicare than those with private insurance (RR 0.87, 95% CI 0.76-0.99), and 24% lower among those with an elementary school education than those with a graduate degree (RR 0.76, 95% CI 0.57-0.98). Disparate use of PET was not observed among patients who received care in an integrated health care setting, but the association between race/ethnicity and PET use was similar in magnitude across all other subgroups. Further analysis showed that income, education, insurance, and health care setting do not explain the association between race/ethnicity and PET use.Hispanics and nonwhites with non-small cell lung cancer are less likely to receive PET imaging. This finding is consistent across subgroups and not explained by differences in income, education, or insurance coverage.
View details for DOI 10.1097/JTO.0b013e31821671b6
View details for Web of Science ID 000289554100006
View details for PubMedID 21572580
This study analyzed spending for treatment of mental health and substance use disorders in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in fiscal years (FYs) 2000 through 2007.VA spending as reported in the VA Decision Support System was linked to patient utilization data as reported in the Patient Treatment Files, the National Patient Care Database, and the VA Fee Basis files. All care and costs from FY 2000 to FY 2007 were analyzed.Over the study period the number of veterans treated at the VA increased from 3.7 million to over 5.1 million (an average increase of 4.9% per year), and costs increased .7% per person per year. For mental health and substance use disorder treatment, the volume of inpatient care decreased markedly, residential care increased, and spending decreased on average 2% per year (from $668 in FY 2000 to $578 per person in FY 2007). FY 2007 saw large increases in mental health spending, bucking the trend from FY 2000 through FY 2006.VA's continued emphasis on outpatient and residential care was evident through 2007. This trend in spending might be unimpressive if VA were enrolling healthier Veterans, but the opposite seems to be true: over this time period the prevalence of most chronic conditions, including depression and posttraumatic stress disorder, increased. VA spending on mental health care grew rapidly in 2007, and given current military activities, this trend is likely to increase.
View details for Web of Science ID 000289060200010
View details for PubMedID 21459990
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Cooperative Studies Program (CSP) initiated a multi-site randomized trial (CSP 474) to determine graph patency between radial artery or saphenous vein grafts in coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG). In this paper, we describe the study and compare participants' baseline characteristics to non-participants who received CABG surgery in the VA.We identified our participants in the VA administrative databases along with all other CABG patients who did not have a concomitant valve procedure between FY2003 and FY2008. We extracted demographic, clinical information and organizational information at the time of the surgery from the databases. We conducted multiple logistic regression to determine characteristics associated with participation at three levels: between participants and non-participants within participating sites, between participating sites and non-participating sites, between participants and all non-participants.Enrollment ended in early 2008. Participants were similar to non-participants across many parameters. Likewise, participating sites were also quite similar to non-participating sites, although participating sites had a higher volume of CABG surgery, a lower percentage of CABG patients with a prior inpatient mental health admission than non-participating sites. After controlling for site differences, CSP 474 participants were younger and had fewer co-morbid conditions than non-participants.Participants were significantly younger than non-participants. Participants also had lower rates of some cardiac-related illness including, congestive heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, and cerebrovascular disease than non-participants.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cct.2010.11.008
View details for Web of Science ID 000288056700016
View details for PubMedID 21078416
Arterial grafts are thought to be better conduits than saphenous vein grafts for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) based on experience with using the left internal mammary artery to bypass the left anterior descending coronary artery. The efficacy of the radial artery graft is less clear.To compare 1-year angiographic patency of radial artery grafts vs saphenous vein grafts in patients undergoing elective CABG.Multicenter, randomized controlled trial conducted from February 2003 to February 2009 at 11 Veterans Affairs medical centers among 757 participants (99% men) undergoing first-time elective CABG.The left internal mammary artery was used to preferentially graft the left anterior descending coronary artery whenever possible; the best remaining recipient vessel was randomized to radial artery vs saphenous vein graft.The primary end point was angiographic graft patency at 1 year after CABG. Secondary end points included angiographic graft patency at 1 week after CABG, myocardial infarction, stroke, repeat revascularization, and death.Analysis included 733 patients (366 in the radial artery group, 367 in the saphenous vein group). There was no significant difference in study graft patency at 1 year after CABG (radial artery, 238/266; 89%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 86%-93%; saphenous vein, 239/269; 89%; 95% CI, 85%-93%; adjusted OR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.56-1.74; P = .98). There were no significant differences in the secondary end points.Among Veterans Affairs patients undergoing first-time elective CABG, the use of a radial artery graft compared with saphenous vein graft did not result in greater 1-year patency.clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00054847.
View details for Web of Science ID 000286103400022
View details for PubMedID 21224458
Physicians play a major role in determining the cost and quality of healthcare, yet estimates of these effects can be confounded by patient sorting. This paper considers a natural experiment where nearly 30,000 patients were randomly assigned to clinical teams from one of two academic institutions. One institution is among the top medical schools in the U.S., while the other institution is ranked lower in the distribution. Patients treated by the two programs have similar observable characteristics and have access to a single set of facilities and ancillary staff. Those treated by physicians from the higher ranked institution have 10-25% less expensive stays than patients assigned to the lower ranked institution. Health outcomes are not related to the physician team assignment. Cost differences are most pronounced for serious conditions, and they largely stem from diagnostic-testing rates: the lower ranked program tends to order more tests and takes longer to order them.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2010.08.004
View details for Web of Science ID 000284671600008
View details for PubMedID 20869783
We sought to determine the impact of a rapid response system on cardiac arrest rates and mortality in a United States veteran population.We describe a prospective analysis of cardiac arrests in 9 months before and 27 months after institution of a rapid response system, and retrospective analysis of mortality 3.5 years before the intervention and 27 months after the intervention. The study included all inpatients from a university-affiliated United States Veterans Affairs Medical Center, before and after implementation of a rapid response system, including an educational program, patient calling criteria, and a physician-led medical emergency team. Primary end points were hospital-wide cardiac arrests and mortality rates normalized to hospital discharges. Comparisons of event rates between various time points during the implementation process were made by analysis of variance.Three hundred seventy-eight calls were made to the medical emergency team in the time period studied. Compared with preintervention time points, cardiac arrests were reduced by 57%, amounting to a reduction of 5.6 cardiac arrests per 1000 hospital discharges (P < 0.01). Mortality was reduced during the intervention, but this was attributable to a natural decrease occurring over all phases of the study.A significant reduction in the rate of cardiac arrests was realized with this intervention, as well as a trend toward lower mortality. We estimate that 51 arrests were prevented in the timeframe studied. Our results suggest that further reductions in morbidity can be realized by expansion of rapid response systems throughout the Veterans Affairs network.
View details for DOI 10.1213/ANE.0b013e3181e9c3f3
View details for Web of Science ID 000281150100015
View details for PubMedID 20624835
Effective rehabilitative therapies are needed for patients with long-term deficits after stroke.In this multicenter, randomized, controlled trial involving 127 patients with moderate-to-severe upper-limb impairment 6 months or more after a stroke, we randomly assigned 49 patients to receive intensive robot-assisted therapy, 50 to receive intensive comparison therapy, and 28 to receive usual care. Therapy consisted of 36 1-hour sessions over a period of 12 weeks. The primary outcome was a change in motor function, as measured on the Fugl-Meyer Assessment of Sensorimotor Recovery after Stroke, at 12 weeks. Secondary outcomes were scores on the Wolf Motor Function Test and the Stroke Impact Scale. Secondary analyses assessed the treatment effect at 36 weeks.At 12 weeks, the mean Fugl-Meyer score for patients receiving robot-assisted therapy was better than that for patients receiving usual care (difference, 2.17 points; 95% confidence interval [CI], -0.23 to 4.58) and worse than that for patients receiving intensive comparison therapy (difference, -0.14 points; 95% CI, -2.94 to 2.65), but the differences were not significant. The results on the Stroke Impact Scale were significantly better for patients receiving robot-assisted therapy than for those receiving usual care (difference, 7.64 points; 95% CI, 2.03 to 13.24). No other treatment comparisons were significant at 12 weeks. Secondary analyses showed that at 36 weeks, robot-assisted therapy significantly improved the Fugl-Meyer score (difference, 2.88 points; 95% CI, 0.57 to 5.18) and the time on the Wolf Motor Function Test (difference, -8.10 seconds; 95% CI, -13.61 to -2.60) as compared with usual care but not with intensive therapy. No serious adverse events were reported.In patients with long-term upper-limb deficits after stroke, robot-assisted therapy did not significantly improve motor function at 12 weeks, as compared with usual care or intensive therapy. In secondary analyses, robot-assisted therapy improved outcomes over 36 weeks as compared with usual care but not with intensive therapy. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00372411.)
View details for DOI 10.1056/NEJMoa0911341
View details for Web of Science ID 000277555500004
View details for PubMedID 20400552
In 2001, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) formed the Central Institutional Review Board (CIRB) to conduct a single human subjects review for its multisite phase III oncology trials. The goal of this study was to assess whether NCI's CIRB was associated with lower effort, time, and cost in processing adult phase III oncology trials.We conducted an observational study and compared sites affiliated with the NCI CIRB to unaffiliated sites that used their local IRB for review. Oncology research staff and IRB staff were surveyed to understand effort and timing. Response rates were 60% and 42%, respectively. Analysis of these survey data yielded information on effort, timing, and costs. We combined these data with CIRB operational data to determine the net savings of the CIRB using a societal perspective.CIRB affiliation was associated with faster reviews (33.9 calendar days faster on average), and 6.1 fewer hours of research staff effort. CIRB affiliation was associated with a savings of $717 per initial review. The estimated cost of running the CIRB was $161,000 per month. The CIRB yielded a net cost of approximately $55,000 per month from a societal perspective. Whether the CIRB results in higher or lower quality reviews was not assessed because there is no standard definition of review quality.The CIRB was associated with decreases in investigator and IRB staff effort and faster protocol reviews, although savings would be higher if institutions used the CIRB as intended.
View details for DOI 10.1200/JCO.2009.23.2470
View details for Web of Science ID 000274138800023
View details for PubMedID 19841324
The internet can contribute to improved access to information and services among underserved populations. Little is known about veterans' use of the internet for health, and how it is affected by socio-demographic characteristics. This knowledge gap is acute given the US Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA's) deployment of a major patient portal/personal health record system.To assess the frequency and correlates of veterans' use of the internet and identify personal characteristics impeding veterans' health-related internet use.Survey of 12 878 randomly selected adults from a panel of 60 000 US households. Veterans were oversampled.Of the 3408 veterans responding, 54% had used the internet and 29% had used the internet specifically for health. In multi-variable analyses, general internet use was positively associated with younger age (OR = 0.03, CI = 0.01-0.06, oldest versus youngest group), higher income (OR = 3.12, CI = 2.10-4.63, > or =$75 000 versus <$25 000), more education (OR = 4.2, CI = 2.92-6.02, most versus least educated group), and better health (OR = 0.59, CI = 0.42-83, fair/poor versus very good/excellent). Health-related internet use was positively associated with more education (OR = 2.32, CI = 1.45-3.74, most versus least educated group), urban location (OR = 2.41, CI = 1.66-3.50), and worse health (OR = 1.85, CI = 1.16-2.95, fair/poor versus very good/excellent).In the first large, systematic survey of veterans' internet use we found that more education and urban location were strongly, and positively, associated with veterans' health-related internet use, even after controlling for multiple socio-demographic characteristics. Interventions may be needed for less educated and rural veterans, e.g. by providers discussing internet use with their patients, or by the VA training veterans in health-related internet use.
View details for PubMedID 20429979
View details for Web of Science ID 000208771005192
Personal health records (PHRs) are designed to help people manage information about their health. Over the past decade, there has been a proliferation of PHRs, but research regarding their effects on clinical, behavioral, and financial outcomes remains limited. The potential for PHRs to facilitate patient-centered care and health system transformation underscores the importance of embracing a broader perspective on PHR research.Drawing from the experiences of VA staff to evaluate the My HealtheVet (MHV) PHR, this article advocates for a health services research perspective on the study of PHR systems.We describe an organizing framework and research agenda, and offer insights that have emerged from our ongoing efforts regarding the design of PHR-related studies, the need to address PHR data ownership and consent, and the promotion of effective PHR research collaborations.These lessons are applicable to other PHR systems and the conduct of PHR research across different organizational contexts.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s11606-009-1114-6
View details for Web of Science ID 000273667000011
View details for PubMedID 20077154
Chronic upper extremity impairment due to stroke has significant medical, psychosocial, and financial consequences, but few studies have examined the effectiveness of rehabilitation therapy during the chronic stroke period.. To test the safety and efficacy of the MIT-Manus robotic device for chronic upper extremity impairment following stroke.. The VA Cooperative Studies Program initiated a multicenter, randomized, controlled trial in November 2006 (VA ROBOTICS). Participants with upper extremity impairment >/=6 months poststroke were randomized to robot-assisted therapy (RT), intensive comparison therapy (ICT), or usual care (UC). RT and ICT consisted of three 1-hour treatment sessions per week for 12 weeks. The primary outcome was change in the Fugl-Meyer Assessment upper extremity motor function score at 12 weeks relative to baseline. Secondary outcomes included the Wolf Motor Function Test and the Stroke Impact Scale.. A total of 127 participants were randomized: 49 to RT, 50 to ICT, and 28 to UC. The majority of participants were male (96%), with a mean age of 65 years. The primary stroke type was ischemic (85%), and 58% of strokes occurred in the anterior circulation. Twenty percent of the participants reported a stroke in addition to their index stroke. The average time from the index stroke to enrollment was 56 months (range, 6 months to 24 years). The mean Fugl-Meyer score at entry was 18.9.. VA ROBOTICS demonstrates the feasibility of conducting multicenter clinical trials to rigorously test new rehabilitative devices before their introduction to clinical practice. The results are expected in early 2010.
View details for DOI 10.1177/1545968309338195
View details for Web of Science ID 000269856900001
View details for PubMedID 19541917
Little research has focused on the impact of overactive bladder (OAB) on work productivity. Consequently, the impact of OAB and other lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) on work productivity was evaluated in employed men and women aged 40 to 65 in the United States.Data from a population-based, cross-sectional Internet survey were used to examine the impact of OAB symptoms on work productivity. US participants aged 40 to 65 working full- or part-time were included in the analysis. Participants were asked about the incidence of OAB and other LUTS and a series of questions about work productivity.Descriptive statistics and linear and logistic regressions were used to evaluate outcome differences for men and women by the OAB groups of no/minimal symptoms, continent OAB, and incontinent OAB.The response rate was 60%, and a total of 2876 men and 2820 women were analyzed. Men and women with incontinent OAB reported the lowest levels of work productivity and highest rates of daily work interference. Storage symptoms associated with OAB were most consistently associated with work productivity outcomes; however, significant associations were also found for other storage, voiding, and postmicturition LUTS.In this large US population-based study, OAB was highly prevalent and was associated with lower levels of work productivity. These findings add to the literature documenting the burden of OAB and other LUTS, underscoring the need for increased screening and treatment.
View details for PubMedID 19355804
In an attempt to increase understanding regarding the nonacute healthcare needs of veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI), we examined the outpatient utilization and cost patterns of 72 patients with TBI who were at least 4 years postinjury. We selected participants from a clinical database of veterans receiving care at a western Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center. We extracted data from national utilization databases maintained by the VA and examined data from primary care and internal medicine, psychiatry and substance use, rehabilitation, and other services (e.g., ancillary, diagnostic, prosthetic, dental, nursing home, and home care). We extracted data for fiscal years 2002 to 2007. In addition to descriptive statistics, we modeled visits per year as a function of time since injury. The data show that this sample of patients with TBI consistently used a wide array of outpatient services over time with considerable variation in cost. Further study regarding economic aspects of care for patients with TBI is warranted.
View details for DOI 10.1682/JRRD.2008.12.0166
View details for Web of Science ID 000274171000003
View details for PubMedID 20157857
This article compares the methods of a randomized multisite clinical trial of evidence-based supported employment with conventional vocational rehabilitation among veterans with spinal cord injury (SCI). The primary hypothesis is that, compared with conventional vocational rehabilitation (i.e., standard care), evidence-based supported employment will significantly improve competitive employment outcomes and general rehabilitation outcomes. The secondary hypothesis is that evidence-based supported employment in SCI will be more cost-effective than standard care. The current article describes the clinical trial and presents baseline data. The present sample includes 301 veterans with SCI, which includes paraplegia (50%), high tetraplegia (32%), and low tetraplegia (18%). Baseline data indicate that 65% of this sample of employment-seeking veterans with SCI had never been employed postinjury, despite the fact that nearly half (41%) had received some type of prior vocational rehabilitation. These rates of unemployment for veterans with SCI are consistent with the rates reported for community samples of persons with SCI. Forthcoming outcome data will provide much needed insights into the best practices for helping these veterans restore vocational goals and improve overall quality of life.
View details for DOI 10.1682/JRRD.2008.10.0145
View details for Web of Science ID 000273443700003
View details for PubMedID 20104414
Co-payments have been linked to the slowing growth in pharmaceutical spending over the last five years. However, patients with health problems frequently have difficulty affording their pharmacotherapy and fail to take their medication as prescribed. We examine the relationship between co-payment amounts and four types of cost-related underuse: taking fewer doses, postponing taking a medication, failing to fill a prescription at all, and taking medication less frequently than prescribed. We conducted a nationwide survey of US adults age 50 and over who take medication for a chronic condition. Participants provided information on 17 chronic conditions, medication they take for those conditions, and whether they underused any medication due to cost. We analyzed those who reported paying co-payments for their prescriptions (n = 2,869). Analysis involved multivariate logistic regression, with adjustments for survey weights and clustering. Our data show a strong positive association between co-payments and cost-related medication underuse. Although people differ in how they underuse medications, these behaviours are strongly associated with co-payment amount. Realigning the co-payments with cost-effectiveness data, also known as value-based insurance design, warrants further investigation.
View details for DOI 10.1017/S1744133107004380
View details for Web of Science ID 000208039600004
View details for PubMedID 18634632
Follow-up among women who have had an abnormal Papanicolaou (Pap) smear is often poor in public hospitals that serve women at increased risk for cervical cancer. This randomized controlled trial evaluated and compared the total cost and cost per follow-up of a tailored outreach intervention plus usual care with the total cost and cost per follow-up of usual care alone.Women with an abnormal Pap smear (n = 348) receiving care at Alameda County Medical Center (Alameda County, California) were randomized to intervention or usual care. The intervention used trained community health advisors to complement the clinic's protocol for usual care. We assessed the costs of the intervention and the cost per follow-up within 6 months of the abnormal Pap smear test result.The intervention increased the rate of 6-month follow-up by 29 percentage points, and the incremental cost per follow-up was 959 dollars (2005 dollars). The cost per follow-up varied by the severity of the abnormality. The cost per follow-up for the most severe abnormality (high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion) was 681 dollars, while the cost per follow-up for less severe abnormalities was higher.In a health care system in which many women fail to get follow-up care for an abnormal Pap smear, outreach workers were more effective than usual care (mail or telephone reminders) at increasing follow-up rates. The results suggest that outreach workers should manage their effort based on the degree of abnormality; most effort should be placed on women with the most severe abnormality (high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion).
View details for PubMedID 17173719
We investigated the determinants of inpatient rehabilitation costs in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and examined the relationship between length of stay (LOS) and discharge costs using data from VA and community rehabilitation hospitals. We estimated regression models to identify patient characteristics associated with specialized inpatient rehabilitation costs. VA data included 3,535 patients discharged from 63 facilities in fiscal year 2001. We compared VA costs to community rehabilitation hospitals using a sample from the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation of 190,112 patients discharged in 1999 from 697 facilities. LOS was a strong predictor of cost for VA and non-VA hospitals. Functional status, measured by Functional Independence Measure (FIM) scores at admission, was statistically significant but added little explanatory value after controlling for LOS. Although FIM scores were associated with LOS, FIM scores accounted for little variance in cost after controlling for LOS. These results are most applicable to researchers conducting cost-effectiveness analyses.
View details for DOI 10.1682/JRRD.2005.10.0162
View details for Web of Science ID 000245633700014
View details for PubMedID 17436178
We examined final stays of elderly patients (65 or more years of age) who died in 111 VA nursing homes in fiscal year 2000 (N = 4,897) to evaluate determinants of the cost of final nursing home stays. We analyzed cost and its two main components (length of stay and intensity of care) by primary disease, age, race or ethnicity, gender, and benefit-eligibility type. We found that disease rather than age was the dominant factor influencing the cost of final nursing home stays. After controlling for six common diagnoses, age was not associated with cost. Marital status and race or ethnicity were also significant predictors but accounted for less variation than illnesses. Incorporating illness into models that predict future demand for nursing home use provides greater precision than using age alone, especially as diseases and their treatments change through time.
View details for DOI 10.1177/1077558706288843
View details for Web of Science ID 000239206300004
View details for PubMedID 16847074
Little is known about how patients facing medication cost pressures make choices about whether to underuse one or more of their prescription drugs. We calculated the probability that older adults would underuse prescription medications for common chronic illnesses because of cost concerns. We also identified differences in cost-related underuse between symptom-relief medications (e.g., analgesics) and primarily "preventive" medications (e.g., antihypertensives).Older chronically ill patients using both symptom-relief and preventive medications (N = 2,008) were identified as part of a nationwide survey in the United States and reported information about their cost-related underuse of 16 medication types. We used regression models to estimate the probability of underuse for each medication type, assuming average out-of-pocket costs, no prescription coverage, and the sociodemographic characteristics of a typical American aged 50+.23% of respondents reported forgoing medication in the prior year due to cost. The likelihood of cost-related underuse was higher for symptom-relief medications (27%) than for primarily preventive medications (20%, P < .001). Among the subset of patients who cut back on adherence due to cost, the likelihood of forgoing symptom-relief medication (69%) was higher than that for preventive drugs (54%, P < .001).Medication characteristics beyond cost alone influence decisions to underuse treatment in response to financial pressures.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2005.11.023
View details for Web of Science ID 000238427600012
View details for PubMedID 16765278
To determine what types of consumers use the Internet as a source of health information.A survey of consumer use of the Internet for health information conducted during December 2001 and January 2002.We estimated multivariate regression models to test hypotheses regarding the characteristics of consumers that affect information seeking behavior.Respondents were randomly sampled from an Internet-enabled panel of over 60,000 households. Our survey was sent to 12,878 panel members, and 69.4 percent of surveyed panel members responded. We collected information about respondents' use of the Internet to search for health information and to communicate about health care with others using the Internet or e-mail within the last year.Individuals with reported chronic conditions were more likely than those without to search for health information on the Internet. The uninsured, particularly those with a reported chronic condition, were more likely than the privately insured to search. Individuals with longer travel times for their usual source of care were more likely to use the Internet for health-related communication than those with shorter travel times.Populations with serious health needs and those facing significant barriers in accessing health care in traditional settings turn to the Internet for health information.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2006.00510.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000237464400013
View details for PubMedID 16704514
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC1713205
Self-report is often used to estimate health care utilization. However, the accuracy of such data is of paramount concern. The authors conducted a systematic review of 42 studies that evaluated the accuracy of self-report utilization data, where utilization was defined as a visit to a clinical provider or entity. They also present a broad conceptual model that identifies major issues to consider when collecting, analyzing, and reporting such data. The results show that self-report data are of variable accuracy. Factors that affect accuracy include (1) sample population and cognitive abilities, (2) recall time frame, (3) type of utilization, (4) utilization frequency, (5) questionnaire design, (6) mode of data collection, and (7) memory aids and probes.
View details for DOI 10.1177/1077558705285298
View details for Web of Science ID 000236280900004
View details for PubMedID 16595412
People with stigmatized illnesses often avoid seeking health care and education. The internet may be a useful health education and outreach tool for this group. This study examined patterns of internet use for health information among those with and without stigmatized illnesses. A national survey of internet users in the USA was conducted. Respondents who self-reported a stigmatized condition-defined as anxiety, depression, herpes, or urinary incontinence-were compared to respondents who reported having at least one other chronic illness, such as cancer, heart problems, diabetes, and back pain. The analytical sample consisted of 7014 respondents. Cross-sectional associations between stigmatized illness and frequency of internet use for information about health care, use of the internet for communication about health, changes in health care utilization after internet use, and satisfaction with the internet were determined. After controlling for a number of potential confounders, those with stigmatized illnesses were significantly more likely to have used the internet for health information, to have communicated with clinicians about their condition using the internet, and to have increased utilization of health care based on information found on the internet, than those with non-stigmatized conditions. Length of time spent online, frequency of internet use, satisfaction with health information found on the internet, and discussion of internet findings with health care providers did not significantly differ between the two groups. Results from this survey suggest that the internet may be a valuable health communication and education tool for populations who are affected by stigmatized illnesses.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.socsimed.2005.03.025
View details for Web of Science ID 000231462700020
View details for PubMedID 16029778
About 34 million people in the USA have an overactive bladder (OAB), a condition characterized by urinary urgency, with or without urinary incontinence, and usually frequency and nocturia. This condition is associated with increased health risks (e.g. urinary tract infection, falls and fall-related injuries, including broken bones), as well as admission to nursing homes and prolonged hospital stays. The annual costs associated with OAB in the community setting are >9 billion dollars, including 2.9 billion dollars for diagnosis and treatment, 1.5 billion dollars for routine care, 3.9 billion dollars for treatment of health-related consequences, and 841 million dollars in lost productivity. These cost patterns raise the possibility that treating OAB at an early stage may both improve patient care and minimize overall use of healthcare resources. However, before a thorough economic analysis of OAB can be undertaken, more data are needed about the long-term costs and the pathogenesis of OAB-related conditions.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2005.05654.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000231741900008
View details for PubMedID 16086679
The Veterans Health Administration (VA) established psychosocial residential rehabilitation treatment programs (RTPs) to treat eligible veterans who have psychiatric and substance use disorders in a less intensive and more self-reliant inpatient setting. Forty-two (25 percent) VA medical centers adopted RTPs in 1995. Panel regression models using data from 1993 through 1999 indicated that RTPs were associated with 8.6 and 24.4 percent decreases in the average cost per day for inpatient psychiatry and substance use care, respectively. During this time, VA transitioned much of the inpatient mental health care to ambulatory services. Yet medical centers with RTPs had smaller decreases in the number of inpatient patient days than those without RTPs. Because medical centers with RTPs provided more services, this offset the per diem savings, resulting in no significant differences in total costs between medical centers with and without RPTs.
View details for DOI 10.1177/1077558704273804
View details for Web of Science ID 000227762500003
View details for PubMedID 15750176
The Internet has emerged as a valuable tool for health information. Half of the U.S. population lacked Internet access in 2001, creating concerns about those without access. Starting in 1999, a survey firm randomly invited individuals to join their research panel in return for free Internet access. This provides a unique setting to study the ways that people who had not previously obtained Internet access use the Internet when it becomes available to them.In 2001-2002, we surveyed 12,878 individuals 21 years of age and older on the research panel regarding use of the Internet for health; 8935 (69%) responded. We analyzed respondents who had no prior Internet access, and then compared this group to those who had prior Internet access.Among those newly provided free Internet access, 24% had used the Internet for health information in the past year, and users reported notable benefits, such as improved knowledge and self-care abilities. Not surprisingly, the no-prior-Internet group reported lower rates of using the Internet (24%) than the group that had obtained Internet access prior to joining the research panel (40%), but the 2 groups reported similar perceptions of the Internet and self-reported effects.Those who obtained Internet access for the first time by joining the panel used the Internet for health and appeared to benefit from it. Access helps explain the digital divide, although most people given free access do not use the Internet for health information.
View details for Web of Science ID 000227914000013
View details for PubMedID 15778645
Many chronically ill adults in the United States face high prescription medication costs, yet little is known about the strategies patients adopt to cope with these costs. Through a national survey of 4,055 adults taking prescription medications for one of five chronic diseases, we compared whether respondents cut back on necessities such as food or heat to pay for medications, increased debt, or underused medications because of cost. We also examined the sociodemographic and clinical correlates and differential use by different sub-groups of these three strategies. Overall, 31% of respondents reported pursuing at least one of the strategies over the prior 12 months. Twenty-two percent had cut back on necessities, 16% had increased their debt burden, and 18% had underused prescription drugs. Among patients who underused their medication, 67% also had cut necessities or increased debt. Although we found significant differences in the way patients with varying socio-demographic characteristics responded to medication cost pressures, use of all these strategies was especially common among patients who were low-income, in poor health, and taking multiple medications.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s10865-005-2562-z
View details for Web of Science ID 000228014200005
View details for PubMedID 15887875
View details for Web of Science ID 000234296500003
To learn how age and chronic illness affect costs in the Veterans Affairs healthcare system.Veterans Affairs patients 65 years or older were identified from administrative data. We noted their healthcare utilization, cost, and diagnosis of any of 29 common chronic conditions (CCs). We examined how those 80 years or older differed from the younger patients.The Department of Veterans Affairs spent dollars 8.5 billion to treat 1.6 million older patients in fiscal year 2000. Age was less important than chronic illness in explaining cost differences. The oldest patients incurred a mean of dollars 1295 greater costs than the younger patients, primarily because they were more likely to have a high-cost CC. The oldest patients incurred higher total costs than the younger patients in only 14 of 29 groups defined by CC. Long-term care accounted for most of the extra cost of the oldest patients. When this cost was excluded, the oldest patients incurred only dollars 266 more cost than the younger patients.Growth in the population of the oldest patients will increase the number of individuals with CCs requiring long-term care. With its limited long-term care benefit, Medicare will avoid much of this financial consequence. In contrast, the financial risk of acute and long-term care gives the Department of Veterans Affairs an incentive to develop strategies to prevent CCs associated with long-term care.
View details for Web of Science ID 000225627700002
View details for PubMedID 15617366
Behavioral health interventions are often gauged with a dichotomous outcome, "success" or "failure." Hidden by this dichotomy is a series of behavior changes that can be followed with the Transtheoretical Model (stages of change). There has been little consideration, however, about whether this information can and should be used in cost-effectiveness analysis. We review the stages of change model and its applications to behavioral health interventions. We then discuss analytical methods for including stages of change, or similar behavior change models, in cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA). This is typically not done but it may be critical for study design and for interpreting CEA results.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.04.052
View details for Web of Science ID 000225496200021
View details for PubMedID 15539057
Chronic conditions are among the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. The Internet is a source of health information and advice for individuals with chronic conditions and shows promise for helping individuals manage their conditions and improve their quality of life.We assessed Internet use for health information by people who had one or more of five common chronic conditions. We conducted a national survey of adults aged 21 and older, then analyzed data from 1980 respondents who had Internet access and who reported that they had hypertension, diabetes, cancer, heart problems, and/or depression.Adjusted rates for any Internet use for health information ranged from 33.8% (heart problems only) to 52.0% (diabetes only). A sizable minority of respondents - particularly individuals with diabetes - reported that the Internet helped them to manage their condition themselves, and 7.9% said information on the Internet led them to seek care from a different doctor.Use of the Internet for health information by chronically ill patients is moderate. Self-reported effects on choice of treatment or provider are small but noteworthy.
View details for PubMedID 15670445
We sought information about the cost-related underuse of medications-which medications are underused, by whom, and how often.Chronically ill adults were asked to identify how often they underused prescription medication for 16 health conditions because of the cost.Eighteen percent of respondents cut back on medication use owing to cost in the previous year, and 14% used less medication at least monthly. Although rates of underuse varied substantially across treatments, prescription coverage and out-of-pocket costs were determinants of underuse across medication types.Many chronically ill adults frequently cut back on medications owing to cost. Patients are selective about the treatments they forgo. Out-of-pocket costs and inadequate prescription coverage may lead to adherence problems for many important medication types.
View details for Web of Science ID 000224309900030
View details for PubMedID 15451750
Although many chronically ill patients underuse prescription medications because of cost concerns, we know little about their discussions with clinicians about this issue.Nationwide survey of 660 older adults with chronic illnesses who reported underusing medication in the prior year because of cost. We assessed whether patients discussed cost-related medication underuse with clinicians, reasons that some patients did not talk with clinicians about this problem, how clinicians responded when this issue was raised, and how helpful patients perceived clinicians to be.Two thirds of respondents never told a clinician in advance that they planned to underuse medication because of the cost, and 35% never discussed the issue at all. Of those who did not tell a clinician, 66% reported that nobody asked them about their ability to pay for prescriptions and 58% reported that they did not think providers could help them. When patients talked with clinicians about medication costs, 72% found those conversations helpful. However, 31% reported that their medications were never changed to a generic or less expensive alternative, and few patients were given other forms of assistance such as information about programs that help pay drug costs (30%) or where to purchase less expensive medication (28%). Patients were most likely to find clinicians helpful if clinicians provided free samples, asked about problems paying for prescriptions, and offered advice about how to pay for patients' current regimens.About one third of chronically ill adults who underuse prescription medication because of the cost never talk with clinicians in advance, and many never raise this issue at all. Clinicians should take a more proactive role in identifying and assisting patients who have problems paying for prescription drugs.
View details for Web of Science ID 000223831900005
View details for PubMedID 15364667
We examined consumers' search for information about health insurance choices and their use of the Internet for that search and to manage health benefits.We surveyed a random sample of more than 4500 individuals aged 21 years and older who were members of a survey research panel during December 2001 and January 2002.The survey included questions about searching for health insurance information in 3 health insurance markets: Medicare, individual or nongroup, and employer-sponsored group. We also asked questions about use of the Internet to manage health benefits. We tabulated means of responses to each question by market and tested for independence across demographic groups using the Pearson chi-square test.We identified important differences across and within markets in the extent to which people look for information about health insurance alternatives and the role of the Internet in their search. Although many individuals were unaware of whether their employer or health plan provided a website to manage health benefits, those who used the sites generally evaluated them favorably.Our results suggest that the Internet is an important source of health insurance information, particularly for individuals purchasing coverage individually in the nongroup and Medicare markets relative to those obtaining coverage from an employer. In the case of Medicare coverage, studies focusing on beneficiaries' use of Internet resources may underestimate the Internet's importance by neglecting caregivers who use the Internet. Many individuals may be unaware of the valuable resources available through employers or health plans.
View details for Web of Science ID 000223835600005
View details for PubMedID 15515993
Research with human subjects is essential for most clinical and social science research. As such, the ethical treatment of subjects, including the role of Institutional Review Boards (IRBs), is of paramount concern. The prevailing system of IRBs in the United States reflects an integrated approach in which research organizations have their own local IRB. Recent regulatory changes and a few high-profile problems have prompted proposals for greater investments in IRBs.We conducted regression analyses, looking at how IRB size was associated with IRB costs (economies of scale).We studied data from a cross-sectional survey.We studied IRBs at Veterans Affairs (VA) and VA-affiliated medical centers (n = 109); 81 (73%) IRB administrators completed the survey. Fourteen of the administrators had missing data and were excluded from final analysis, leaving a sample of 67.The primary dependent variable was IRB costs in 2001, which we estimated from the survey. Independent variables included IRB size measured as the number of actions (ie, number of initial reviews, amendments, continuing/annual reviews, and harms/adverse event reports) reviewed by the IRB in the last year.The results indicate that very large economies of scale exist, especially for IRBs that handle fewer than 150 actions per year.A discussion of the costs of benefits of having 3000 to 5000 local IRBs in the United States is warranted because other organizational arrangements could be economically and socially advantageous.
View details for DOI 10.1097/01.mlr.0000132395.32967.d4
View details for Web of Science ID 000222962100013
View details for PubMedID 15258484
Little is known about whether health care providers are effectively identifying patients who have difficulty covering the costs of out-of-pocket prescription medications. We examined whether and how providers are identifying chronically ill adults who have potential problems paying for prescription medications.We conducted a cross-sectional survey of a national sample of 4050 adults aged 50 years or older who use prescription medications for at least one of five chronic health conditions. The primary outcome measure was patient report of being asked by a doctor or nurse in the prior 12 months whether the patient could afford the prescribed medication. The measures of prescription cost burden were cost-related underuse of medications, cutting back on other necessities to pay for medications, and worries about medication costs. We adjusted for patient income, education, race/ethnicity, age, sex, health status, number of prescribed medications, pharmacy benefits, frequency of outpatient visits, having a regular health care provider, and sampling weights.In the weighted analyses, 16% (547/4050) of respondents reported that they had been asked about potential problems paying for a prescribed medication. Only 360 (24%) of the 1499 respondents who reported one or more burdens from out-of-pocket medication costs reported being asked this question. After adjusting for potential confounders, patients who had cut back on medication use or other necessities to cover payments were no more likely than other patients to be asked about the ability to pay for prescription medications. Concerns about medication costs, being a racial/ethnic minority, taking seven or more prescription medications, and having no prescription coverage were independently associated with a greater likelihood of being asked about possible problems with prescription costs.Few chronically ill patients who are at risk of or experiencing problems related to prescription medication costs report that their clinicians had asked them about possible medication payment difficulties.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.amjmed.2004.01.013
View details for Web of Science ID 000221463000005
View details for PubMedID 15144912
View details for Web of Science ID 000221125800464
To update the cost of urinary incontinence (UI) for year 2000 and compare it with the cost of overactive bladder (OAB).Using the cost-of-illness framework, disease epidemiologic data were combined with treatment rates, consequence probabilities, and average cost estimates. All costs reflect the costs during 2000.The total cost of UI and OAB was 19.5 billion dollars and 12.6 billion dollars, respectively (year 2000 dollars). With UI, 14.2 billion dollars was borne by community residents and 5.3 billion dollars by institutional residents. With OAB, 9.1 and 3.5 billion dollars, respectively, was incurred by community and institutional residents.OAB affected 34 million individuals compared with 17 million with UI. Despite the differences in epidemiology, the total and per-person costs of UI were higher than the OAB costs because OAB individuals without incontinent episodes incurred fewer costs, on average.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.urology.2003.10.037
View details for Web of Science ID 000220223500009
View details for PubMedID 15028438
Chronically ill patients often experience difficulty paying for their medications and, as a result, use less than prescribed.The objectives of this study were to determine the relationship between patients with diabetes' health insurance coverage and cost-related medication underuse, the association between cost-related underuse and health outcomes, and the role of comorbidity in this process.We used a patient survey with linkage to insurance information and hemoglobin A1C (A1C) test results.We studied 766 adults with diabetes recruited from 3 Veterans Affairs (VA), 1 county, and 1 university healthcare system.Main outcomes consisted of self-reported medication underuse as a result of cost, A1C levels, symptom burden, and Medical Outcomes Study 12-Item Short-Form physical and mental functioning scores.Fewer VA patients reported cost-related medication underuse (9%) than patients with private insurance (18%), Medicare (25%), Medicaid (31%), or no health insurance (40%; P <0.0001). Underuse was substantially more common among patients with multiple comorbid chronic illnesses, except those who used VA care. The risk of cost-related underuse for patients with 3+ comorbidities was 2.8 times as high among privately insured patients as VA patients (95% confidence interval, 1.2-6.5), and 4.3 to 8.3 times as high among patients with Medicare, Medicaid, or no insurance. Individuals reporting cost-related medication underuse had A1C levels that were substantially higher than other patients (P <0.0001), more symptoms, and poorer physical and mental functioning (all P <0.05).Many patients with diabetes use less of their medication than prescribed because of the cost, and those reporting cost-related adherence problems have poorer health. Cost-related adherence problems are especially common among patients with diabetes with comorbid diseases, although the VA's drug coverage may protect patients from this increased risk.
View details for DOI 10.1097/01.mlr.0000108742.26446.17
View details for Web of Science ID 000188432100002
View details for PubMedID 14734946
To identify problems faced by older adults with diabetes due to out-of-pocket medication costs.In this cross-sectional national survey of 875 adults with diabetes treated with hypoglycemic medication, respondents reported whether they had underused prescription medications due to cost pressures or had experienced other financial problems associated with medication costs such as forgoing basic necessities. Respondents also described their interactions with clinicians about medication costs.A total of 19% of respondents reported cutting back on medication use in the prior year due to cost, 11% reported cutting back on their diabetes medications, and 7% reported cutting back on their diabetes medications at least once per month. Moreover, 28% reported forgoing food or other essentials to pay medication costs, 14% increased their credit card debt, and 10% borrowed money from family or friends to pay for their prescriptions. Medication cost problems were especially common among respondents who were younger, had higher monthly out-of-pocket costs, and had no prescription drug coverage. In general, few respondents, including those reporting medication cost problems, reported that their health care providers had given them information or other assistance to address medication cost pressures.Out-of-pocket medication costs pose a significant burden to many adults with diabetes and contribute to decreased treatment adherence. Clinicians should actively identify patients with diabetes who are facing medication cost pressures and assist them by modifying their medication regimens, helping them understand the importance of each prescribed medication, providing information on sources of low-cost drugs, and linking patients with coverage programs.
View details for Web of Science ID 000188739900016
View details for PubMedID 14747218
View details for Web of Science ID 000186356800018
The mid-1990s saw dramatic changes in mental health care in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the largest provider of such care in the United States. Spending for specialized inpatient mental health care fell 21 percent from 1995 to 2001, while spending for specialized outpatient care rose 63 percent. The shift from inpatient to outpatient care was accompanied by rapid increases in outpatient medication costs. Overall, the VA reduced the average cost (per VA user) of specialized mental health care by 22 percent while it increased the number of users of these services by 35 percent.
View details for Web of Science ID 000186632200033
View details for PubMedID 14649454
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) maintains discharge abstracts, but these do not include cost information. This article describes the methods the authors used to estimate the costs of VA medical-surgical hospitalizations in fiscal years 1998 to 2000. They estimated a cost regression with 1996 Medicare data restricted to veterans receiving VA care in an earlier year. The regression accounted for approximately 74 percent of the variance in cost-adjusted charges, and it proved to be robust to outliers and the year of input data. The beta coefficients from the cost regression were used to impute costs of VA medical-surgical hospital discharges. The estimated aggregate costs were reconciled with VA budget allocations. In addition to the direct medical costs, their cost estimates include indirect costs and physician services; both of these were allocated in proportion to direct costs. They discuss the method's limitations and application in other health care systems.
View details for DOI 10.1177/1077558703256485
View details for Web of Science ID 000184825000003
View details for PubMedID 15095543
This article describes the development of a database for the cost of inpatient rehabilitation, mental health, and long-term care stays in the Department of Veterans Affairs from fiscal year 1998 forward. Using "bedsection," which is analogous to a hospital ward, the authors categorize inpatient services into nine categories: rehabilitation, blind rehabilitation, spinal cord injury, psychiatry, substance abuse, intermediate medicine, domiciliary, psychosocial residential rehabilitation, and nursing home. For each of the nine categories, they estimated a national and a local (i.e., medical center) average per diem cost. The nursing home average per diem costs were adjusted for case mix using patient assessment information. Encounter-level costs were then calculated by multiplying the average per diem cost by the number of days of stay in the fiscal year. The national cost estimates are more reliable than the local cost estimates.
View details for DOI 10.1177/1077558703256724
View details for Web of Science ID 000184825000005
View details for PubMedID 15095545
Chronic conditions are among the most common causes of death and disability in the United States. Patients with such conditions receive disproportionate amounts of health care services and therefore cost more per capita than the average patient. This study assesses the prevalence among the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care users and VA expenditures (costs) of 29 common chronic conditions. The authors used regression to identify the marginal impact of these conditions on total, inpatient, outpatient, and pharmacy costs. Excluding costs of contracted medical services at non-VA facilities, total VA health care expenditures in fiscal year 1999 (FY1999) were $14.3 billion. Among the 3.4 million VA patients in FY1999, 72 percent had 1 or more of the 29 chronic conditions, and these patients accounted for 96 percent of the total costs ($13.7 billion). In addition, 35 percent (1.2 million) of VA health care users had 3 or more of the 29 chronic conditions. These individuals accounted for 73 percent of the total cost. Overall, VA health care users have more chronic diseases than the general population.
View details for DOI 10.1177/1077558703257000
View details for Web of Science ID 000184825000011
View details for PubMedID 15095551
View details for Web of Science ID 000184078800024
To estimate the economic costs of overactive bladder (OAB), including community and nursing home residents, and to compare the costs in male versus female and older versus younger populations.The National Overactive Bladder Evaluation Program included a representative telephone survey of 5204 community-dwelling adults 18 years and older in the United States and a follow-up postal survey of all individuals with OAB identified and age and sex-matched controls. The postal survey asked respondents about bladder symptoms, self-care use, treatment use, work loss, and OAB-related health consequences. Survey data estimates were combined with year 2000 average cost data to calculate the cost of OAB in the community. Institutional costs were estimated from the costs of urinary incontinence in nursing homes, limited to only those with urge incontinence or mixed incontinence (urge and stress).The estimated total economic cost of OAB was 12.02 billion dollars in 2000, with 9.17 and 2.85 billion dollars incurred in the community and institutions, respectively. Community female and male OAB costs totaled 7.37 and 1.79 billion dollars, respectively. The estimated total cost was sensitive to the estimated prevalence of OAB; therefore, we calculated the average cost per community-dwelling person with OAB, which was 267 dollars per year.By quantifying the total economic costs of OAB, this study-the first obtained from national survey data-provides an important perspective of this condition in society. The conservative estimates of the total cost of OAB were comparable to those of osteoporosis and gynecologic and breast cancer. Although this provides information on the direct and indirect costs of OAB, quality-of-life issues must be taken into account to gain a better understanding of this condition.
View details for DOI 10.1016/S0090-4295(03)00009-8
View details for Web of Science ID 000183547000014
View details for PubMedID 12809878
Given stereotypes of older adults, there is the perception that older adults will not use health information technologies. One concern is that practitioners might shy away from providing older patients with health information, and in particular, computerized information. The study's primary objective was to evaluate whether a health information intervention had a differential effect for people of different ages.Quasi-experimental survey data from an assessment of a communitywide informational intervention were used. People were asked about their use of medical reference books, telephone advice nurses, or computers for health information in the past few months. In total, 5,909 surveys were completed.The data show that older adults were no less likely (and were sometimes more likely) to use health information as a result of the intervention than younger adults. For telephone advice nurses and computers, the effect of the intervention was not significantly different for the different age groups. Yet, compared with persons 18-29 years of age, those over the age of 65 had a 17-percentage point increase in using a self-care book.We find convincing evidence to counter the stereotype that older adults are resistant to trying new health information technologies.
View details for Web of Science ID 000183603900005
View details for PubMedID 12810895
Recent reports have claimed that institutional review boards (IRBs) are underfunded, yet little is known about the costs of operating IRBs. This study estimated the costs for operating high-volume and low-volume IRBs.IRB costs were calculated from published summary data. Costs were standardized to reflect 2001 dollars.Total estimated costs for operating high-volume and low-volume IRBs were $770,674 and $76,626, respectively. The average cost per action, a measure of economic efficiency, was lower for high-volume IRBs ($277 per action) than it was for low-volume IRBs ($799 per action).Although high-volume IRBs are more expensive than are low-volume IRBs in absolute terms, they are more economically efficient. Policy debates should consider the potential savings from large IRBs, perhaps by encouraging small IRBs to merge, although this may result in less local review, control, and oversight.
View details for Web of Science ID 000184741400014
View details for PubMedID 12805049
The Internet has attracted considerable attention as a means to improve health and health care delivery, but it is not clear how prevalent Internet use for health care really is or what impact it has on health care utilization. Available estimates of use and impact vary widely. Without accurate estimates of use and effects, it is difficult to focus policy discussions or design appropriate policy activities.To measure the extent of Internet use for health care among a representative sample of the US population, to examine the prevalence of e-mail use for health care, and to examine the effects that Internet and e-mail use has on users' knowledge about health care matters and their use of the health care system.Survey conducted in December 2001 and January 2002 among a sample drawn from a research panel of more than 60 000 US households developed and maintained by Knowledge Networks. Responses were analyzed from 4764 individuals aged 21 years or older who were self-reported Internet users.Self-reported rates in the past year of Internet and e-mail use to obtain information related to health, contact health care professionals, and obtain prescriptions; perceived effects of Internet and e-mail use on health care use.Approximately 40% of respondents with Internet access reported using the Internet to look for advice or information about health or health care in 2001. Six percent reported using e-mail to contact a physician or other health care professional. About one third of those using the Internet for health reported that using the Internet affected a decision about health or their health care, but very few reported impacts on measurable health care utilization; 94% said that Internet use had no effect on the number of physician visits they had and 93% said it had no effect on the number of telephone contacts. Five percent or less reported use of the Internet to obtain prescriptions or purchase pharmaceutical products.Although many people use the Internet for health information, use is not as common as is sometimes reported. Effects on actual health care utilization are also less substantial than some have claimed. Discussions of the role of the Internet in health care and the development of policies that might influence this role should not presume that use of the Internet for health information is universal or that the Internet strongly influences health care utilization.
View details for Web of Science ID 000182831200030
View details for PubMedID 12746364
View details for Web of Science ID 000182564300844
Consumer health information, once the domain of books and booklets, has become increasingly digitized and available on the Internet. This study assessed the effect of using computerized health information on consumers' demand for medical care.The dependent variable was self-reported number of visits to the doctor in the past year. The key independent variable was the use of computerized health information, which was treated as endogenous. We tested the effect of using computerized health information on physician visits using ordinary least squares, instrumental variables, fixed effects, and fixed-effects instrumental variables models. The instrumental variables included exposure to the Healthwise Communities Project, a community-wide health information intervention; computer ownership; and Internet access. Random households in three cities were mailed questionnaires before and after the Healthwise Communities Project. In total, 5909 surveys were collected for a response rate of 54%.In both the bivariate and the multivariate analyses, the use of computerized health information was not associated with self-reported entry into care or number of visits. The instrumental variables models also found no differences, with the exception that the probability of entering care was significantly greater with the two-stage conditional logit model (P <.05).Although providing people with health information is intuitively appealing, we found little evidence of an association between using a computer for health information and self-reported medical visits in the past year. This study used overall self-reported utilizations as the dependent variable, and more research is needed to determine whether health information affects the health production function in other important ways, such as the location of care, the timing of getting care, or the intensity of treatment.
View details for Web of Science ID 000180811300006
View details for PubMedID 12535236
Overactive bladder (OAB) is a condition of urgency, with or without urge incontinence, usually with frequency and nocturia. This study assesses whether people with OAB are at greater risk for urinary tract infections (UTIs), falls and injuries, and increased number of visits to the doctor compared to age- and gender-matched controls. The study also estimates costs associated with these health-related consequences.A US representative telephone survey under the National Overactive Bladder Evaluation (NOBLE) Program was conducted with 5204 English-speaking adults older than 18 years. The survey asked respondents about bladder symptoms. Based on the telephone survey, 865 symptom-identified OAB cases and 903 age- and gender-matched controls were sent a postal questionnaire. A total of 397 cases and 522 controls returned the questionnaires. Nonrespondent cases and controls did not differ with regard to age, gender, educational status, diabetes, congestive heart failure, and self-rated health status. Regression analyses were conducted to assess the effect of OAB on health-related consequences, controlling for age, gender, race, education, marital status, number of previous births, self-reported health status, diabetes, and congestive heart failure.People with OAB reported 0.84 (20%) more visits to the physician (P < .05) and 0.21 (138%) more UTIs in the last year than people without OAB (P < .001). Overactive bladder cases also had over twice the odds of being injured in a fall than people without OAB (odds ratio = 2.26; 95% confidence interval 1.46, 3.51). Consistent with having more falls, OAB cases had an increased risk of bone fracture (P < .1). This effect, however, was not statistically significant (at alpha level 0.05) due to the limited sample size. The estimated cost of UTIs associated with OAB was approximately $1.37 billion US dollars in year 2000. The cost of falls without bone fracture due to OAB was $55 million. Falls with bone fracture accounted for approximately $386 million; however, further research with a larger sample is needed to accurately estimate these costs.People with OAB self-report significantly more UTIs and a greater risk of being injured in a fall. Given the large prevalence of UTIs and concerns of overprescribing antibiotics, these results are important for health plans and policy makers. In addition, people with OAB visit their physicians more often than people without OAB. These consequences entail significant economic costs, of which a large percentage will be incurred by health plans. To the extent that OAB causes these consequences, there may be significant savings from effectively treating OAB.
View details for Web of Science ID 000180217300002
View details for PubMedID 12516954
As part of a population-based intervention to improve periodic mammogram screening, we examined WTP for mammography in five ethnic groups. Through random digit dialing, we contacted households in low-income census tracts of Alameda County, California (San Francisco Bay area). Women who met the ethnicity, age and cancer-free eligibility criteria were invited to participate. For the baseline assessment, women were surveyed over the phone in their preferred language. Of the 1465 surveyed women, 499 identified themselves as African-American, 199 were Chinese, 167 were Filipino, 300 were Latina, and 300 were non-Hispanic white. Bivariate and multivariate analysis showed that WTP varied significantly by ethnicity (P<0.05). We also found that when Filipino and Chinese women had a female relative with breast cancer, they were willing to pay less money for a mammogram. African-American, Latino, and non-Hispanic white women, however, were willing to pay more money for a mammogram if a female relative had had breast cancer. This ethnic difference, when there is a familial link to breast cancer, needs further study as it has implication for genetic testing. Nevertheless, WTP studies that do not account for ethnic differences may be overstating net benefits to society.
View details for Web of Science ID 000172122700006
View details for PubMedID 11641004
Using data from an evaluation of a community-wide informational intervention, we modeled the demand for medical reference books, telephone advice nurses, and computers for health information. Data were gathered from random household surveys in Boise, ID (experimental site), Billings, MT, and Eugene, OR (control sites). Conditional difference-in-differences show that the intervention increased the use of medical reference books, advice nurses, and computers for health information by approximately 15, 6, and 4%. respectively. The results also suggest that the intervention was associated with a decreased reliance on health professionals for information.
View details for Web of Science ID 000172086400009
View details for PubMedID 11758048
While evaluating the effect of a community-wide informational intervention, this study explored access, health, and demographic factors related to the use of medical reference books, telephone advice nurses, and computers for health information.A random sample of households in the intervention city (Boise, Idaho) and two control cities were surveyed about their use of health information in 1996. Shortly thereafter, the Healthwise Communities Project (HCP) distributed health information to all Boise residents. A follow-up survey was conducted in 1998. Overall, 5,909 surveys were completed for a 54% response rate.The HCP intervention was associated with statistically significant increases in the use of medical reference books and telephone advice nurses. The increased use of computers for health information was marginally significant. Few access, health, or demographic factors were consistently associated with using the different resources, except that people with depression used more of all three information resources, and income was not a significant predictor.Providing free health information led to an increase in use, but access, health, and demographic factors were also important determinants. In particular, poor health status and presence of a chronic illness were associated with health information use. These results suggest that healthy consumers are less interested in health information, and it may take other incentives to motivate them to learn about prevention and healthy behaviors.
View details for Web of Science ID 000172329500013
View details for PubMedID 11758302
To determine whether providing health information to residents of Boise ID had an effect on their self-reported medical utilization.The Healthwise Communities Project (HCP) evaluation followed a quasi-experimental design.Random households in metropolitan zip codes were mailed questionnaires before and after the HCP. A total of 5,909 surveys were returned.The dependent variable was self-reported number of visits to the doctor in the past year. A difference-in-differences estimator was used to assess the intervention's community-level effect. We also assessed the intervention's effect on the variance of self-report utilization.Boise residents had a higher adjusted odds of entering care (OR = 1.27, 95% CI 0.88, 1.85) and 0.1 more doctor visits compared with residents in the control cities; however, for both outcomes, the effects were small and not significant. Although the means changed little, the data suggest that the variance of utilization in Boise decreased.The HCP had a small effect on overall self-reported utilization. Although the findings were not statistically significant, a posthoc power analysis revealed that the study was underpowered to detect effects of this magnitude. It may be possible to achieve larger effects by enrolling motivated people into a clinical trial. However, these data suggest that population-based efforts to provide health information have a small effect on self-reported utilization.
View details for Web of Science ID 000170238200009
View details for PubMedID 11468502
Most studies assessing the effects of consumer health information on medical utilization have used randomized controlled clinical trials with the chronically ill. In this paper, we analyze the effect of the Healthwise Communities Project, a natural experiment that provided free self-care resources, on reported pediatric utilization.Random household surveys were collected before and after the intervention in Boise, Idaho and in two control communities.A total of 5,909 surveys were completed, representing an overall response rate of 54%. Of these, 1,812 respondents were between 18 and 55 years of age and had children under 18 years of age living in the home. All analyses were restricted to these 1,812 persons.Parents were asked how many times their children visited a physician in the last year. Responses were gathered with a categorical response scale, which was then transformed into a continuous variable (number of pediatric visits).The intervention was associated with a decrease in reported pediatric utilization rates. The decrease in visits ranged from -0.72 to -0.66 (P approximately 0.05), depending on the statistical model used. Further analyses of 423 families followed over time found a more modest decrease (-0.19) that was not statistically significant.This study found that increasing access to self-care books, telephone advice nurses, and Internet-based health information is associated with decreases in reported pediatric utilization. However, the significance of the results was sensitive to the statistical model. More research is needed to understand the average and marginal costs of providing health information to consumers.
View details for Web of Science ID 000170238200010
View details for PubMedID 11468503
The goal of this study was to develop a willingness to pay (WTP) question for mammography that is appropriate for low income, ethnically-diverse women. Through qualitative research with 50 low income women of five ethnic groups we developed both a WTP question and a willingness to travel question (WTT). After being refined through interviews with 41 women, these questions were pilot tested on a random sample of 52 low income, ethnically-diverse women in the San Francisco area. Results show that the concepts underlying WTP and WTT were culturally appropriate to the five ethnicities in this study. Analyses generally confirm the validity of the WTP and WTT questions. As expected, WTP was associated with household income, perceived risk of cancer, and knowledge that one needs a mammogram even after a clinical breast examination. Despite the small samples, WTP varied among the ethnic groups. Additionally, WTT was moderately correlated with the natural log of WTP (r = 0.58, P < 0.001). These questions are now in use in a larger clinical trial and future analyses will explore willingness to pay and willingness to travel within and across the ethnic groups.
View details for Web of Science ID 000088596300003
View details for PubMedID 11014787
Many costs are associated with overactive bladder (OAB). They include direct costs, such as those associated with treatment, diagnosis, routine care, and the consequences of the disease; indirect costs of lost wages and productivity; and intangible costs associated with pain, suffering, and decreased quality of life. Quantification of all these costs is essential for establishing the total economic burden of a disease on society. Currently, the total economic burden of OAB is unknown. However, various studies have determined that the economic burden of urinary incontinence, one of the symptoms of OAB, is substantial. It is also important to establish the economic impact of various interventions for OAB. Cost-minimization, cost-outcome, cost-utility, and cost-benefit models can be used for these analyses. The most difficult aspect of evaluating the economic impact of a treatment is estimating the intangible costs.
View details for Web of Science ID 000088759100005
View details for PubMedID 11183902
Utilization patterns may be changing as managed care organizations actively market services to Latinos. This study compares use of any care, emergency services, inpatient hospitalization, nonemergency outpatient care only, and preventive care among 1,001 self-identified Latino and 1,107 white non-Latino adults. Data were from the 1994 Commonwealth Fund Survey of Minority Health. Latinos were less likely than white non-Latinos to have entered the health system for any type of care, to have been admitted to a hospital, or to have used preventive care. Access to a regular source of care along with financial factors reduced the ethnic/racial gap in the use of any care and preventive care, yet cultural and behavioral factors contributed little. Latinos in managed care plans, compared with fee-for-service systems, were twice as likely to receive preventive care. This suggests that managed care has the potential to reduce inequities in preventive care utilization.
View details for Web of Science ID 000086592400006
View details for PubMedID 10793514
To assess the effects of health need, enabling factors, and predisposing factors on entry into any type of care, volume of care, use of emergency services, hospitalization, and receipt of preventive services.Multiple regression analysis with cross-sectional data.Participants were the 1001 adults who identified themselves as Hispanic in the Commonwealth Fund Minority Health Survey; a telephone survey of noninstitutionalized persons designed to oversample minorities was conducted.The 3 Hispanic subpopulations had similar sociodemographic profiles and similar patterns of healthcare utilization, except that Hispanics of other national origins were more likely to use preventive care compared with Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans. Overall, 78% of the Hispanics surveyed entered the healthcare system in the past year, making an average of 5.25 visits. After controlling for other factors, immigrants had fewer visits and were less likely to have received preventive care. A regular source of care and insurance coverage influenced entry and volume of care, but was not associated with emergency services or hospitalizations.Access to care for Hispanics remains a major problem, significantly affected by structural and financial factors, personal experiences with the healthcare system, and predisposing factors. Policy solutions that address the health service needs of the uninsured will largely benefit Hispanics. In addition, as managed care plans compete for contracts and become more multicultural, access to care for Hispanics, including the uninsured, may improve through market forces.
View details for Web of Science ID 000085952500005
View details for PubMedID 10977435
Six states require health plans to provide or authorize second medical opinions (SMOs). The intent of such legislation is to preserve consumer choice, to improve the flow of information, and to improve health outcomes in this era of managed care. However, it is unclear who benefits from these laws. This paper reviews the changing role of second opinions and, using a nationally representative data set from the Commonwealth Fund, examines who gets them. Of persons who had visited a doctor in the previous year, 19 percent received a second opinion, for an estimated cost of $3.2 billion in 1994. Findings suggest that cultural norms and sociocultural factors may partially determine who may benefit from SMO legislation.
View details for Web of Science ID 000082646600015
View details for PubMedID 10495601
View details for Web of Science ID 000079898200047
To report on the further development of the Incontinence Quality of Life Instrument (I-QOL), a self-report quality of life measure specific to urinary incontinence (UI), including its measurement model, responsiveness, and effect size.Incontinent female patients (141 with stress, 147 with mixed UI) completed the I-QOL and comparative measures at screening, pretreatment, and four subsequent follow-up visits during participation in a multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial assessing the efficacy of duloxetine. Psychometric testing followed standardized procedures.Factor analysis confirmed an overall score and three subscale scores (avoidance and limiting behaviors, psychosocial impacts, and social embarrassment). All scores were internally consistent (alpha = 0.87 to 0.93) and reproducible (ICC = 0.87 to 0.91). The pattern of previously reported correlations with the Short-Form 36-item Health Survey and Psychological Well-Being Schedule were confirmed. Responsiveness statistics using changes in the independent measures of stress test pad weight, number of incontinent episodes, and patient global impression of improvement ranged from 0.4 to 0.8. Minimally important changes ranged from 2% to 5% in association with these measures and effect sizes.In a clinical trial, the I-QOL proved to be valid, reproducible, and responsive to treatment for UI in women.
View details for Web of Science ID 000077739500013
View details for PubMedID 9886591
View details for Web of Science ID 000072414900003
Urinary incontinence imposes a significant financial burden on individuals, their families, and healthcare organizations. For individuals 65 years of age and older these costs are substantial, increasing from $8.2 billion (1984 dollars) to $16.4 billion (1993 dollars). Both of these cost-of-illness estimates, however, relied on data and factors that have changed over time. This study updates these cost estimates. The 1995 societal cost of incontinence for individuals aged 65 years and older was $26.3 billion, or $3565 per individual with urinary incontinence. Limitations, implications, and directions for future research are also discussed.
View details for Web of Science ID 000072414900001
View details for PubMedID 9510336
View details for PubMedID 9745968
Researchers have tried to increase mammography screening rates by using patient-oriented reminders. This paper compares the effectiveness of mailed patient reminders at increasing mammography screening.Sixteen published articles met the inclusion criteria and were included in the meta-analysis. To assess the association between reminders and mammography screening, the Mantel-Haenszel odds ratio (OR) was calculated.Among U.S. studies in which controls did not receive any type of reminder, women who received reminders were approximately 50% more likely to get a mammogram (OR 1.48; chi(2)MH(1) = 38.27, P < .001). In addition, tailored letters were found to be more effective than generic reminders (OR 1.87; chi(2)MH(1) = 4.70, P < .05). Combining cost and effectiveness data allowed for estimates of cost per woman screened, which ranged from $0.96 to $5.88.Patient reminders are effective at increasing mammography screening. More research is needed to assess (1) the cost-effectiveness of patient reminders and (2) their effectiveness across race, education, income, and type of insurance.
View details for Web of Science ID 000071736500008
View details for PubMedID 9476837
Quality of life is important to persons experiencing migraine. This study discusses the development of a migraine-specific quality-of-life measure (MSQOL). Participants, who included migraineurs from both tertiary care centers and the community, were screened using the International Headache Society migraine criteria prior to enrollment. Internal consistency of the MSQOL was high (alpha 0.92). Reproducibility over an average of 24 days was high (intraclass correlation 0.90). Construct validity was determined by convergent validity and known groups validity. The MSQOL was compared to two other frequently used health status questionnaires; results indicate that the MSQOL more closely resembles well-being than functional status. Results also indicate that migraineurs with more symptoms, medical appointments per year to treat migraines, and migraine episodes per year have a significantly worse quality of life. The MSQOL proved valid and reliable as a self-administered measure and will be a useful tool in clinical migraine research. The information gained from its use in the clinical environment should provide important additional information about the impact of migraine on quality of life and the potential benefits of therapeutic interventions.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996VE85200007
View details for PubMedID 8824004
Erection difficulties have a profound effect on a man's quality of life, however, the emotional consequences are often overlooked in quantitative research where most sex-related questionnaires focus on a man's functional ability. Consequently, we developed a cross-cultural instrument to measure quality of life specific to male erection difficulties (QOL-MED). The items in the QOL-MED originated from interviewing forty men with erection difficulties In Seattle and Boston. Twelve men in the USA and 29 men in England helped us refine the instrument. Testing the QOL-MED's psychometric properties involved two administrations over a two-week period in the USA (n = 40) and the UK (n = 29). For discriminant validity, we predicted quality of life would worsen with increased self-perceived severity of the condition. After controlling for years with erection difficulties in a linear regression model, we found a significant negative association between self-perceived severity and quality of life for men in the UK only (p < 0.01). The expectation that the measure would produce evidence for convergent validity by being more closely correlated to well-being than functional status was not confirmed. Both the USA and UK instruments were internally consistent (Cronbach's alpha = 0.94 and 0.96, respectively), and reproducible (0.78 and 0.95, respectively). This instrument provides a promising tool for studying therapies and understanding quality of life in patients with erectile dysfunction.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996VE41700005
View details for PubMedID 8840824
Our objective was to develop a self-report quality of life measure specific to urinary incontinence (I-QOL) that could be used as an outcome measure in clinical trials and in patient care centers.The I-QOL was developed from interviews of 20 individuals with urinary incontinence. Refining the questionnaire was accomplished by structured interviews of 17 individuals with urinary incontinence. Testing the I-QOL's psychometric properties involved two administrations (n = 62) along with measures of psychologic well-being and functional status.The rigorous development process ensured that the measure was complete and understandable. The I-QOL proved to be internally consistent (alpha 0.95) and highly reproducible (r = 0.93; 18 days; SD 4). For discriminant validity, severity of incontinence (P < 0.0001) and number of medical appointments in the past year to treat incontinence (P < 0.0001) significantly predicted I-QOL scores. Convergent validity analyses confirmed our predictions that the I-QOL scores were more closely related to overall well-being than bodily pain.The I-QOL proved to be valid and reproducible as a self-administered measure for assessing quality of life of patients with urinary incontinence.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996TR21500012
View details for PubMedID 8560665