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Beyond adoption: A new framework for theorizing and evaluating nonadoption, abandonment, and challenges to the scale-up, spread, and sustainability of health and care technologies
Background: Many promising technological innovations in health and social care are characterized by nonadoption or abandonment by individuals or by failed attempts to scale up locally, spread distantly, or sustain the innovation long term at the organization or system level. Objective: Our objective was to produce an evidence-based, theory-informed, and pragmatic framework to help predict and evaluate the success of a technology-supported health or social care program. Methods: The study had 2 parallel components: (1) secondary research (hermeneutic systematic review) to identify key domains, and (2) empirical case studies of technology implementation to explore, test, and refine these domains. We studied 6 technology-supported programs-video outpatient consultations, global positioning system tracking for cognitive impairment, pendant alarm services, remote biomarker monitoring for heart failure, care organizing software, and integrated case management via data sharing-using longitudinal ethnography and action research for up to 3 years across more than 20 organizations. Data were collected at micro level (individual technology users), meso level (organizational processes and systems), and macro level (national policy and wider context). Analysis and synthesis was aided by sociotechnically informed theories of individual, organizational, and system change. The draft framework was shared with colleagues who were introducing or evaluating other technology-supported health or care programs and refined in response to feedback. Results: The literature review identified 28 previous technology implementation frameworks, of which 14 had taken a dynamic systems approach (including 2 integrative reviews of previous work). Our empirical dataset consisted of over 400 hours of ethnographic observation, 165 semistructured interviews, and 200 documents. The final nonadoption, abandonment, scale-up, spread, and sustainability (NASSS) framework included questions in 7 domains: the condition or illness, the technology, the value proposition, the adopter system (comprising professional staff, patient, and lay caregivers), the organization(s), the wider (institutional and societal) context, and the interaction and mutual adaptation between all these domains over time. Our empirical case studies raised a variety of challenges across all 7 domains, each classified as simple (straightforward, predictable, few components), complicated (multiple interacting components or issues), or complex (dynamic, unpredictable, not easily disaggregated into constituent components). Programs characterized by complicatedness proved difficult but not impossible to implement. Those characterized by complexity in multiple NASSS domains rarely, if ever, became mainstreamed. The framework showed promise when applied (both prospectively and retrospectively) to other programs. Conclusions: Subject to further empirical testing, NASSS could be applied across a range of technological innovations in health and social care. It has several potential uses: (1) to inform the design of a new technology; (2) to identify technological solutions that (perhaps despite policy or industry enthusiasm) have a limited chance of achieving large-scale, sustained adoption; (3) to plan the implementation, scale-up, or rollout of a technology program; and (4) to explain and learn from program failures.
Background: Previous studies identified worrying levels of sphygmomanometer inaccuracy and have not been repeated in the era of digital measurement of blood pressure. Aim: To establish the type and accuracy of sphygmomanometers in current use. Design and setting: Cross-sectional, observational study in 38 Oxfordshire primary care practices. Method: Sphygmomanometers were evaluated between 50 and 250 mmHg, using Omron PA350 or Scandmed 950831-2 pressuremeters. Results: Six hundred and four sphygmomanometers were identified: 323 digital (53%), 192 aneroid (32%), 79 mercury (13%), and 10 hybrid (2%) devices. Of these, 584 (97%) could be fully tested. Overall, 503/584 (86%) were within 3 mmHg of the reference, 77/584 (13%) had one or more error of 4-9 mmHg, and 4/584 (<1%) had one or more error of more than 10 mmHg. Mercury (71/75, 95%) and digital (272/308, 88%) devices were more likely to be within 3 mmHg of the reference standard than aneroid models (150/191, 78%) (Fisher's exact test P = 0.001). Donated aneroid devices from the pharmaceutical industry performed significantly worse: 10/23 (43%) within 3 mmHg of standard compared to 140/168 (83%) aneroid models from recognised manufacturers (Fisher's exact test P<0.001). No significant difference was found in performance between manufacturers within each device type, for either aneroid (Fisher's exact test P = 0.96) or digital (Fisher's exact test P = 0.7) devices. Conclusion: Digital sphygmomanometers have largely replaced mercury models in primary care and have equivalent accuracy. Aneroid devices have higher failure rates than other device types; this appears to be largely accounted for by models from indiscernible manufacturers. Given the availability of inexpensive and accurate digital models, GPs could consider replacing aneroid devices with digital equivalents, especially for home visiting. ©British Journal of General Practice.
Long-Term Conditions Questionnaire (LTCQ): Initial validation survey among primary care patients and social care recipients in England
© 2017 Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article). All rights reserved. No commercial use is permitted unless otherwise expressly granted. Objective The aim of this study was to validate a new generic patient-reported outcome measure, the Long-Term Conditions Questionnaire (LTCQ), among a diverse sample of health and social care users in England. Design Cross-sectional validation survey. Data were collected through postal surveys (February 2016-January 2017). The sample included a healthcare cohort of patients recruited through primary care practices, and a social care cohort recruited through local government bodies that provide social care services. Participants 1211 participants (24% confirmed social care recipients) took part in the study. Healthcare participants were recruited on the basis of having one of 11 specified long-term conditions (LTCs), and social care participants were recruited on the basis of receiving social care support for at least one LTC. The sample exhibited high multimorbidity, with 93% reporting two or more LTCs and 43% reporting a mental health condition. Outcome measures The LTCQ's construct validity was tested with reference to the EQ-5D (5-level version), the Self-Efficacy for Managing Chronic Disease scale, an Activities of Daily Living scale and the Bayliss burden of morbidity scale. Results Low levels of missing data for each item indicate acceptability of the LTCQ across the sample. The LTCQ exhibits high internal consistency (Cronbach's α=0.95) across the scale's 20 items and excellent test-retest reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient=0.94, 95% CI 0.93 to 0.95). Associations between the LTCQ and all reference measures were moderate to strong and in the expected directions, indicating convergent construct validity. Conclusions This study provides evidence for the reliability and validity of the LTCQ, which has potential for use in both health and social care settings. The LTCQ could meet a need for holistic outcome measurement that goes beyond symptoms and physical function, complementing existing measures to capture fully what it means to live well with LTCs.
Analysing the role of complexity in explaining the fortunes of technology programmes: Empirical application of the NASSS framework
© 2018 The Author(s). Background: Failures and partial successes are common in technology-supported innovation programmes in health and social care. Complexity theory can help explain why. Phenomena may be simple (straightforward, predictable, few components), complicated (multiple interacting components or issues) or complex (dynamic, unpredictable, not easily disaggregated into constituent components). The recently published NASSS framework applies this taxonomy to explain Non-adoption or Abandonment of technology by individuals and difficulties achieving Scale-up, Spread and Sustainability. This paper reports the first empirical application of the NASSS framework. Methods: Six technology-supported programmes were studied using ethnography and action research for up to 3 years across 20 health and care organisations and 10 national-level bodies. They comprised video outpatient consultations, GPS tracking technology for cognitive impairment, pendant alarm services, remote biomarker monitoring for heart failure, care organising software and integrated case management via data warehousing. Data were collected at three levels: micro (individual technology users), meso (organisational processes and systems) and macro (national policy and wider context). Data analysis and synthesis were guided by socio-technical theories and organised around the seven NASSS domains: (1) the condition or illness, (2) the technology, (3) the value proposition, (4) the adopter system (professional staff, patients and lay carers), (5) the organisation(s), (6) the wider (institutional and societal) system and (7) interaction and mutual adaptation among all these domains over time. Results: The study generated more than 400 h of ethnographic observation, 165 semi-structured interviews and 200 documents. The six case studies raised multiple challenges across all seven domains. Complexity was a common feature of all programmes. In particular, individuals' health and care needs were often complex and hence unpredictable and 'off algorithm'. Programmes in which multiple domains were complicated proved difficult, slow and expensive to implement. Those in which multiple domains were complex did not become mainstreamed (or, if mainstreamed, did not deliver key intended outputs). Conclusion: The NASSS framework helped explain the successes, failures and changing fortunes of this diverse sample of technology-supported programmes. Since failure is often linked to complexity across multiple NASSS domains, further research should systematically address ways to reduce complexity and/or manage programme implementation to take account of it.
Technology-Enhanced Consultations in Diabetes, Cancer, and Heart Failure: Protocol for the Qualitative Analysis of Remote Consultations (QuARC) Project.
BACKGROUND: Remote videoconsulting is promoted by policy makers as a way of delivering health care efficiently to an aging population with rising rates of chronic illness. As a radically new service model, it brings operational and interactional challenges in using digital technologies. In-depth research on this dynamic is needed before remote consultations are introduced more widely. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study will be to identify and analyze the communication strategies through which remote consultations are accomplished and to guide patients and clinicians to improve the communicative quality of remote consultations. METHODS: In previous research, we collected and analyzed two separate datasets of remote consultations in a National Institute for Health Research-funded study of clinics in East London using Skype and a Wellcome Trust-funded study of specialist community heart failure teams in Oxford using Skype or FaceTime. The Qualitative Analysis of Remote Consultations (QuARC) study will combine datasets and undertake detailed interactional microanalysis of up to 40 remote consultations undertaken by senior and junior doctors and nurse specialists, including consultations with adults with diabetes, women who have diabetes during pregnancy, people consulting for postoperative cancer surgery and community-based patients having routine heart failure reviews along with up to 25 comparable face-to-face consultations. Drawing on established techniques (eg, conversation analysis), analysis will examine the contextual features in remote consultations (eg, restricted visual field) combined with close analysis of different modes of communication (eg, speech, gesture, and gaze). RESULTS: Our findings will address the current gap in knowledge about how technology shapes the fine detail of communication in remote consultations. Alongside academic outputs, findings will inform the coproduction of information and guidance about communication strategies to support successful remote consultations. CONCLUSIONS: Identifying the communication strategies through which remote consultations are accomplished and producing guidance for patients and clinicians about how to use this kind of technology successfully in consultations is an important and timely goal because roll out of remote consultations is planned across the National Health Service. REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER: RR1-10.2196/10913.
Doctors are welcome members on mountaineering expeditions to remote areas, but practical advice on how to prepare and what kit to take can be difficult to find. This article is a ragbag of useful advice on diverse topics. It explains the necessary preparation, provides tips for a healthy expedition, and summarises the common disorders encountered at high altitude. The comprehensive drug and equipment lists and first aid kit for climbers were used for the 1992 Everest in winter expedition. They are there to be sacrificed to personal preference and the experience and size of individual expeditions.
Benefits and harms of pregabalin in the management of neuropathic pain: A rapid review and meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. Objective To assess the benefits and harms of pregabalin in the management of neuropathic pain. Design Rapid review and meta-analysis of phase III, randomised, placebo-controlled trials. Participants Adults aged 18 years and above with neuropathic pain defined according to the International Association for the Study of Pain criteria. Interventions Pregabalin or placebo. Primary and secondary outcome measures Our primary outcomes were pain (as measured using validated scales) and adverse events. Our secondary outcomes were sleep disturbance, quality of life, Patient Global Impression of Change, Clinician Global Impression scale, anxiety and depression scores, overall discontinuations and discontinuations because of adverse events. Results We included 28 trials comprising 6087 participants. The neuropathic pain conditions studied were diabetic peripheral neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia, herpes zoster, sciatica (radicular pain), poststroke pain and spinal cord injury-related pain. Patients who took pregabalin reported significant reductions in pain (numerical rating scale (NRS)) compared with placebo (standardised mean difference (SMD) -0.49 (95% CI -0.66 to -0.32, p<0.00001), very low quality evidence). Pregabalin significantly reduced sleep interference scores (NRS) compared with placebo (SMD -0.38 (95% CI -0.50 to -0.26, p<0.00001), moderate quality evidence. Pregabalin significantly increased the risk of adverse events compared with placebo (RR 1.33 (95% CI 1.23 to 1.44, p<0.00001, low quality evidence)). The risks of experiencing weight gain, somnolence, dizziness, peripheral oedema, fatigue, visual disturbances, ataxia, non-peripheral oedema, vertigo and euphoria were significantly increased with pregabalin. Pregabalin was significantly more likely than placebo to lead to discontinuation of the drug because of adverse events (RR 1.91 (95% CI 1.54 to 2.37, p<0.00001), low quality evidence). Conclusion Pregabalin has beneficial effects on some symptoms of neuropathic pain. However, its use significantly increases the risk of a number of adverse events and discontinuation due to adverse events. The quality of the evidence from journal publications is low.
'Warning: allergic to penicillin': association between penicillin allergy status in 2.3 million NHS general practice electronic health records, antibiotic prescribing and health outcomes.
BACKGROUND: The prevalence of reported penicillin allergy (PenA) and the impact these records have on health outcomes in the UK general population are unknown. Without such data, justifying and planning enhanced allergy services is challenging. OBJECTIVES: To determine: (i) prevalence of PenA records; (ii) patient characteristics associated with PenA records; and (iii) impact of PenA records on antibiotic prescribing/health outcomes in primary care. METHODS: We carried out cross-sectional/retrospective cohort studies using patient-level data from electronic health records. Cohort study: exact matching across confounders identified as affecting PenA records. Setting: English NHS general practices between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014. Participants: 2.3 million adult patients. Outcome measures: prevalence of PenA, antibiotic prescribing, mortality, MRSA infection/colonization and Clostridioides difficile infection. RESULTS: PenA prevalence was 5.9% (IQR = 3.8%-8.2%). PenA records were more common in older people, females and those with a comorbidity, and were affected by GP practice. Antibiotic prescribing varied significantly: penicillins were prescribed less frequently in those with a PenA record [relative risk (RR) = 0.15], and macrolides (RR = 4.03), tetracyclines (RR = 1.91) nitrofurantoin (RR = 1.09), trimethoprim (RR = 1.04), cephalosporins (RR = 2.05), quinolones (RR = 2.10), clindamycin (RR = 5.47) and total number of prescriptions were increased in patients with a PenA record. Risk of re-prescription of a new antibiotic class within 28 days (RR = 1.32), MRSA infection/colonization (RR = 1.90) and death during the year subsequent to 1 April 2013 (RR = 1.08) increased in those with PenA records. CONCLUSIONS: PenA records are common in the general population and associated with increased/altered antibiotic prescribing and worse health outcomes. We estimate that incorrect PenA records affect 2.7 million people in England. Establishing true PenA status (e.g. oral challenge testing) would allow more people to be prescribed first-line antibiotics, potentially improving health outcomes.
Association of Weight Loss Interventions with Changes in Biomarkers of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
© 2019 American Chemical Society. All rights reserved. Importance: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects about 25% of adults worldwide and is associated with obesity. Weight loss may improve biomarkers of liver disease, but its implications have not been systematically reviewed and quantified. Objective: To estimate the association of weight loss interventions with biomarkers of liver disease in NAFLD. Data Sources: MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Cochrane, and Web of Science databases along with 3 trial registries were searched from inception through January 2019. Study Selection: Randomized clinical trials of people with NAFLD were included if they compared any intervention aiming to reduce weight (behavioral weight loss programs [BWLPs], pharmacotherapy, and surgical procedures) with no or lower-intensity weight loss intervention. The review followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Data Extraction and Synthesis: Two independent reviewers screened the studies, extracted the data, and assessed the risk of bias using the Cochrane tool. Pooled mean differences or odds ratios (ORs) were obtained from random-effects meta-analyses. Main Outcomes and Measures: Blood, radiologic, and histologic biomarkers of liver disease. Results: Twenty-two studies with 2588 participants (with a mean [SD] age of 45  years and with approximately 66% male) were included. Fifteen studies tested BWLPs, 6 tested pharmacotherapy, and 1 tested a surgical procedure. The median (interquartile range) intervention duration was 6 (3-8) months. Compared with no or lower-intensity weight loss interventions, more-intensive weight loss interventions were statistically significantly associated with greater weight change (-3.61 kg; 95% CI, -5.11 to -2.12; I2 = 95%). Weight loss interventions were statistically significantly associated with improvements in biomarkers, including alanine aminotransferase (-9.81 U/L; 95% CI, -13.12 to -6.50; I2 = 97%), histologically or radiologically measured liver steatosis (standardized mean difference: -1.48; 95% CI, -2.27 to -0.70; I2 = 94%), histologic NAFLD activity score (-0.92; 95% CI, -1.75 to -0.09; I2 = 95%), and presence of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (OR, 0.14; 95% CI, 0.04-0.49; I2 = 0%). No statistically significant change in histologic liver fibrosis was found (-0.13; 95% CI, -0.54 to 0.27; I2 = 68%). Twelve studies were at high risk of bias in at least 1 domain. In a sensitivity analysis of the 3 trials at low risk of bias, the estimates and precision of most outcomes did not materially change. Conclusions and Relevance: The trials, despite some heterogeneity, consistently showed evidence of the association between weight loss interventions and improved biomarkers of liver disease in NAFLD in the short to medium term, although evidence on long-term health outcomes was limited. These findings appear to support the need to change the clinical guidelines and to recommend formal weight loss programs for people with NAFLD..
A survey of accidents in children under 16 years of age from one general practice (list size 6400) was carried out using a postal questionnaire to parents and an audit of medical records. Incidence rates were estimated by audit of medical records as 97% of accidents 'other than minor cuts and bruises' reported by parents had resulted in a medical consultation, and parental reporting was incomplete. For 1986, these rates were 254 per 1000 patients at the age of four years or less, 218 per 1000 at age five to nine years and 238 per 1000 at age 10 to 15 years. However, parental reports of accidents provided better detail of the circumstances of accidents than the medical records: in the latter, the circumstances of accidents were noted in 75% of records and the location in only 40%. Various options for monitoring accidents and near accidents utilizing parental information which could be administered by general practitioners are proposed, including the use of parent-held child health record cards and a 'yellow card' system analogous to that used for reporting adverse drug reactions.