General Practice - Research Publications

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    Use of electronic medical records to monitor the safe and effective prescribing of medicinal cannabis: is it feasible?
    Hallinan, CM ; Gunn, JM ; Bonomo, YA (CSIRO Publishing, 2022)
    General practitioners are well positioned to contribute to the pharmacovigilance of medical cannabis via the general practice electronic medical record (EMR). The aim of this research is to interrogate de-identified patient data from the Patron primary care data repository for reports of medicinal cannabis to ascertain the feasibility of using EMRs to monitor medicinal cannabis prescribing in Australia. Methods. EMR rule-based digital phenotyping of 1 164 846 active patients from 109 practices was undertaken to investigate reports of medicinal cannabis use from September 2017 to September 2020. Results. Eighty patients with 170 prescriptions of medicinal cannabis were identified in the Patron repository. Reasons for prescription included anxiety, multiple sclerosis, cancer, nausea, and Crohn’s disease. Nine patients showed symptoms of a possible adverse event, including depression, motor vehicle accident, gastrointestinal symptoms, and anxiety. Conclusions. The recording of medicinal cannabis effects in the patient EMR provides potential for medicinal cannabis monitoring in the community. This is especially feasible if monitoring were to be embedded into general practitioner workflow.
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    Prevalence of burnout among GPs: a systematic review and meta-analysis
    Karuna, C ; Palmer, V ; Scott, A ; Gunn, J (ROYAL COLL GENERAL PRACTITIONERS, 2022-02-21)
    BACKGROUND: Burnout is a work-related syndrome documented to have negative consequences for GPs and their patients. AIM: To review the existing literature concerning studies published up to December 2020 on the prevalence of burnout among GPs in general practice, and to determine GP burnout estimates worldwide. DESIGN AND SETTING: Systematic literature search and meta-analysis. METHOD: Searches of CINAHL Plus, Embase, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Scopus were conducted to identify published peer-reviewed quantitative empirical studies in English up to December 2020 that have used the Maslach Burnout Inventory - Human Services Survey to establish the prevalence of burnout in practising GPs (that is, excluding GPs in training). A random-effects model was employed. RESULTS: Wide-ranging prevalence estimates (6% to 33%) across different dimensions of burnout were reported for 22 177 GPs across 29 countries were reported for 60 studies included in this review. Mean burnout estimates were: 16.43 for emotional exhaustion; 6.74 for depersonalisation; and 29.28 for personal accomplishment. Subgroup and meta-analyses documented that country-specific factors may be important determinants of the variation in GP burnout estimates. Moderate overall burnout cut-offs were found to be determinants of the variation in moderate overall burnout estimates. CONCLUSION: Moderate to high GP burnout exists worldwide. However, substantial variations in how burnout is characterised and operationalised has resulted in considerable heterogeneity in GP burnout prevalence estimates. This highlights the challenge of developing a uniform approach, and the importance of considering GPs' work context to better characterise burnout.
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    Misconceptions and the Acceptance of Evidence-based Nonsurgical Interventions for Knee Osteoarthritis. A Qualitative Study
    Bunzli, S ; O'Brien, P ; Ayton, D ; Dowsey, M ; Gunn, J ; Choong, P ; Manski-Nankervis, J-A (LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS, 2019-09-01)
    BACKGROUND: In contrast to best practice guidelines for knee osteoarthritis (OA), findings from several different healthcare settings have identified that nonsurgical treatments are underused and TKA is overused. Empirical evidence and qualitative observations suggest that patients' willingness to accept nonsurgical interventions for knee OA is low. A qualitative investigation of why patients may feel that such interventions are of little value may be an important step toward increasing their use in the treatment of knee OA QUESTIONS/PURPOSES: This qualitative study was embedded in a larger study investigating patient-related factors (beliefs/attitudes toward knee OA and its treatment) and health-system related factors (access, referral pathways) known to influence patients' decisions to seek medical care. In this paper we focus on the patient-related factors with the aim of exploring why patients may feel that nonsurgical interventions are of little value in the treatment of knee OA. METHODS: A cross-sectional qualitative study was conducted in a single tertiary hospital in Australia. Patients with endstage knee OA on the waiting list for TKA were approached during their preadmission appointment and invited to participate in one-to-one interviews. As prescribed by the qualitative approach, data collection and data analysis were performed in parallel and recruitment continued until the authors agreed that the themes identified would not change through interviews with subsequent participants, at which point, recruitment stopped. Thirty-seven patients were approached and 27 participated. Participants were 48% female; mean age was 67 years. Participants' beliefs about knee OA and its treatment were identified in the interview transcripts. Beliefs were grouped into five belief dimensions: identity beliefs (what knee OA is), causal beliefs (what causes knee OA), consequence beliefs (what the consequences of knee OA are), timeline beliefs (how long knee OA lasts) and treatment beliefs (how knee OA can be controlled). RESULTS: All participants believed that their knee OA was "bone on bone" (identity beliefs) and most (> 14 participants) believed it was caused by "wear and tear" (causal beliefs). Most (> 14 participants) believed that loading the knee could further damage their "vulnerable" joint (consequence beliefs) and all believed that their pain would deteriorate over time (timeline beliefs). Many (>20 participants) believed that physiotherapy and exercise interventions would increase pain and could not replace lost knee cartilage. They preferred experimental and surgical treatments which they believed would replace lost cartilage and cure their knee pain (treatment beliefs). CONCLUSIONS: Common misconceptions about knee OA appear to influence patients' acceptance of nonsurgical, evidence-based treatments such as exercise and weight loss. Once the participants in this study had been "diagnosed" with "bone-on-bone" changes, many disregarded exercise-based interventions which they believed would damage their joint, in favor of alternative and experimental treatments, which they believed would regenerate lost knee cartilage. Future research involving larger, more representative samples are needed to understand how widespread these beliefs are and if/how they influence treatment decisions. In the meantime, clinicians seeking to encourage acceptance of nonsurgical interventions may consider exploring and targeting misconceptions that patients hold about the identity, causes, consequences, timeline, and treatment of knee OA. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level II, prognostic study.
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    Implementation of medicinal cannabis in Australia: innovation or upheaval? Perspectives from physicians as key informants, a qualitative analysis
    Hallinan, CM ; Gunn, JM ; Bonomo, YA (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2021-10-01)
    OBJECTIVE: We sought to explore physician perspectives on the prescribing of cannabinoids to patients to gain a deeper understanding of the issues faced by prescriber and public health advisors in the rollout of medicinal cannabis. DESIGN: A thematic qualitative analysis of 21 in-depth interviews was undertaken to explore the narrative on the policy and practice of medicinal cannabis prescribing. The analysis used the Diffusion of Innovations (DoI) theoretical framework to model the conceptualisation of the rollout of medicinal cannabis in the Australian context. SETTING: Informants from the states and territories of Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory, and Queensland in Australia were invited to participate in interviews to explore the policy and practice of medicinal cannabis prescribing. PARTICIPANTS: Participants included 21 prescribing and non-prescribing key informants working in the area of neurology, rheumatology, oncology, pain medicine, psychiatry, public health, and general practice. RESULTS: There was an agreement among many informants that medicinal cannabis is, indeed, a pharmaceutical innovation. From the analysis of the informant interviews, the factors that facilitate the diffusion of medicinal cannabis into clincal practice include the adoption of appropriate regulation, the use of data to evaluate safety and efficacy, improved prescriber education, and the continuous monitoring of product quality and cost. Most informants asserted the widespread assimilation of medicinal cannabis into practice is impeded by a lack of health system antecedents that are required to facilitate safe, effective, and equitable access to medicinal cannabis as a therapeutic. CONCLUSIONS: This research highlights the tensions that arise and the factors that influence the rollout of cannabis as an unregistered medicine. Addressing these factors is essential for the safe and effective prescribing in contemporary medical practice. The findings from this research provides important evidence on medicinal cannabis as a therapeutic, and also informs the rollout of potential novel therapeutics in the future.
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    The impact of removing financial incentives and/or audit and feedback on chlamydia testing in general practice: A cluster randomised controlled trial (ACCEPt-able).
    Hocking, JS ; Wood, A ; Temple-Smith, M ; Braat, S ; Law, M ; Bulfone, L ; Jones, C ; van Driel, M ; Fairley, CK ; Donovan, B ; Guy, R ; Low, N ; Kaldor, J ; Gunn, J ; Peiris, D (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2022-01)
    BACKGROUND: Financial incentives and audit/feedback are widely used in primary care to influence clinician behaviour and increase quality of care. While observational data suggest a decline in quality when these interventions are stopped, their removal has not been evaluated in a randomised controlled trial (RCT), to our knowledge. This trial aimed to determine whether chlamydia testing in general practice is sustained when financial incentives and/or audit/feedback are removed. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We undertook a 2 × 2 factorial cluster RCT in 60 general practices in 4 Australian states targeting 49,525 patients aged 16-29 years for annual chlamydia testing. Clinics were recruited between July 2014 and September 2015 and were followed for up to 2 years or until 31 December 2016. Clinics were eligible if they were in the intervention group of a previous cluster RCT where general practitioners (GPs) received financial incentives (AU$5-AU$8) for each chlamydia test and quarterly audit/feedback reports of their chlamydia testing rates. Clinics were randomised into 1 of 4 groups: incentives removed but audit/feedback retained (group A), audit/feedback removed but incentives retained (group B), both removed (group C), or both retained (group D). The primary outcome was the annual chlamydia testing rate among 16- to 29-year-old patients, where the numerator was the number who had at least 1 chlamydia test within 12 months and the denominator was the number who had at least 1 consultation during the same 12 months. We undertook a factorial analysis in which we investigated the effects of removal versus retention of incentives (groups A + C versus groups B + D) and the effects of removal versus retention of audit/feedback (group B + C versus groups A + D) separately. Of 60 clinics, 59 were randomised and 55 (91.7%) provided data (group A: 15 clinics, 11,196 patients; group B: 14, 11,944; group C: 13, 11,566; group D: 13, 14,819). Annual testing decreased from 20.2% to 11.7% (difference -8.8%; 95% CI -10.5% to -7.0%) in clinics with incentives removed and decreased from 20.6% to 14.3% (difference -7.1%; 95% CI -9.6% to -4.7%) where incentives were retained. The adjusted absolute difference in treatment effect was -0.9% (95% CI -3.5% to 1.7%; p = 0.2267). Annual testing decreased from 21.0% to 11.6% (difference -9.5%; 95% CI -11.7% to -7.4%) in clinics where audit/feedback was removed and decreased from 19.9% to 14.5% (difference -6.4%; 95% CI -8.6% to -4.2%) where audit/feedback was retained. The adjusted absolute difference in treatment effect was -2.6% (95% CI -5.4% to -0.1%; p = 0.0336). Study limitations included an unexpected reduction in testing across all groups impacting statistical power, loss of 4 clinics after randomisation, and inclusion of rural clinics only. CONCLUSIONS: Audit/feedback is more effective than financial incentives of AU$5-AU$8 per chlamydia test at sustaining GP chlamydia testing practices over time in Australian general practice. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12614000595617.
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    Assessing the suitability of general practice electronic health records for clinical prediction model development: a data quality assessment
    Thuraisingam, S ; Chondros, P ; Dowsey, MM ; Spelman, T ; Garies, S ; Choong, PF ; Gunn, J ; Manski-Nankervis, J-A (BMC, 2021-10-30)
    BACKGROUND: The use of general practice electronic health records (EHRs) for research purposes is in its infancy in Australia. Given these data were collected for clinical purposes, questions remain around data quality and whether these data are suitable for use in prediction model development. In this study we assess the quality of data recorded in 201,462 patient EHRs from 483 Australian general practices to determine its usefulness in the development of a clinical prediction model for total knee replacement (TKR) surgery in patients with osteoarthritis (OA). METHODS: Variables to be used in model development were assessed for completeness and plausibility. Accuracy for the outcome and competing risk were assessed through record level linkage with two gold standard national registries, Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry (AOANJRR) and National Death Index (NDI). The validity of the EHR data was tested using participant characteristics from the 2014-15 Australian National Health Survey (NHS). RESULTS: There were substantial missing data for body mass index and weight gain between early adulthood and middle age. TKR and death were recorded with good accuracy, however, year of TKR, year of death and side of TKR were poorly recorded. Patient characteristics recorded in the EHR were comparable to participant characteristics from the NHS, except for OA medication and metastatic solid tumour. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, data relating to the outcome, competing risk and two predictors were unfit for prediction model development. This study highlights the need for more accurate and complete recording of patient data within EHRs if these data are to be used to develop clinical prediction models. Data linkage with other gold standard data sets/registries may in the meantime help overcome some of the current data quality challenges in general practice EHRs when developing prediction models.
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    The CORE study-An adapted mental health experience codesign intervention to improve psychosocial recovery for people with severe mental illness: A stepped wedge cluster randomized-controlled trial
    Palmer, VJ ; Chondros, P ; Furler, J ; Herrman, H ; Pierce, D ; Godbee, K ; Densley, K ; Gunn, JM (WILEY, 2021-08-04)
    BACKGROUND: Mental health policies outline the need for codesign of services and quality improvement in partnership with service users and staff (and sometimes carers), and yet, evidence of systematic implementation and the impacts on healthcare outcomes is limited. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to test whether an adapted mental health experience codesign intervention to improve recovery-orientation of services led to greater psychosocial recovery outcomes for service users. DESIGN: A stepped wedge cluster randomized-controlled trial was conducted. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Four Mental Health Community Support Services providers, 287 people living with severe mental illnesses, 61 carers and 120 staff were recruited across Victoria, Australia. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The 24-item Revised Recovery Assessment Scale (RAS-R) measured individual psychosocial recovery. RESULTS: A total of 841 observations were completed with 287 service users. The intention-to-treat analysis found RAS-R scores to be similar between the intervention (mean = 84.7, SD= 15.6) and control (mean = 86.5, SD= 15.3) phases; the adjusted estimated difference in the mean RAS-R score was -1.70 (95% confidence interval: -3.81 to 0.40; p = .11). DISCUSSION: This first trial of an adapted mental health experience codesign intervention for psychosocial recovery outcomes found no difference between the intervention and control arms. CONCLUSIONS: More attention to the conditions that are required for eight essential mechanisms of change to support codesign processes and implementation is needed. PATIENT AND PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT: The State consumer (Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council) and carer peak bodies (Tandem representing mental health carers) codeveloped the intervention. The adapted intervention was facilitated by coinvestigators with lived-experiences who were coauthors for the trial and process evaluation protocols, the engagement model and explanatory model of change for the trial.
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    Deprescribing intervention activities mapped to guiding principles for use in general practice: a scoping review
    Coe, A ; Kaylor-Hughes, C ; Fletcher, S ; Murray, E ; Gunn, J (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2021-01-01)
    OBJECTIVE: To identify and characterise activities for deprescribing used in general practice and to map the identified activities to pioneering principles of deprescribing. SETTING: Primary care. DATA SOURCES: Medline, EMBASE (Ovid), CINAHL, Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR), Clinicaltrials.gov, ISRCTN registry, OpenGrey, Annals of Family Medicine, BMC Family Practice, Family Practice and British Journal of General Practice (BJGP) from inception to the end of June 2021. STUDY SELECTION: Included studies were original research (randomised controlled trial, quasi-experimental, cohort study, qualitative and case studies), protocol papers and protocol registrations. DATA EXTRACTION: Screening and data extraction was completed by one reviewer; 10% of the studies were independently reviewed by a second reviewer. Coding of full-text articles in NVivo was conducted and mapped to five deprescribing principles. RESULTS: Fifty studies were included. The most frequently used activities were identification of appropriate patients for deprescribing (76%), patient education (50%), general practitioners (GP) education (48%), and development and use of a tapering schedule (38%). Six activities did not align with the five deprescribing principles. As such, two principles (engage practice staff in education and appropriate identification of patients, and provide feedback to staff about deprescribing occurrences within the practice) were added. CONCLUSION: Activities and guiding principles for deprescribing should be paired together to provide an accessible and comprehensive guide to deprescribing by GPs. The addition of two principles suggests that practice staff and practice management teams may play an instrumental role in sustaining deprescribing processes within clinical practice. Future research is required to determine the most of effective activities to use within each principle and by whom.
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    Challenging the status quo: results of an acceptability and feasibility study of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) management pathways in Indonesian primary care
    Ekawati, FM ; Emilia, O ; Gunn, J ; Licqurish, S ; Lau, P (BMC, 2021-07-14)
    BACKGROUND: Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) are the leading cause of maternal mortality in Indonesia. Focused HDP management pathways for Indonesian primary care practice have been developed from a consensus development process. However, the acceptability and feasibility of the pathways in practice have not been explored. This study reports on the implementation process of the pathways to determine their acceptability and feasibility in Indonesian practice. METHODS: The pathways were implemented in three public primary care clinics (Puskesmas) in Yogyakarta province for a month, guided by implementation science frameworks of Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Practical Robust Implementation and Sustainability Model (PRISM). The participating providers (general practitioners (GPs), midwives, and nurses) were asked to use recommendations in the pathways for a month. The pathway implementation evaluations were then conducted using clinical audits and a triangulation of observations, focus groups (FGs), and interviews with all of the participants. Clinical audit data were analysed descriptively, and qualitative data were analysed using a mix of the inductive-deductive approach of thematic analysis. RESULTS: A total of 50 primary care providers, four obstetricians, a maternal division officer in the local health office and 61 patients agreed to participate, and 48 of the recruited participants participated in evaluation FGs or interviews. All of the providers in the Puskesmas attempted to apply recommendations from the pathways to various degrees, mainly adopting preeclampsia risk factor screenings and HDP monitoring. The participants expressed that the recommendations empowered their practice when it came to HDP management. However, their practices were challenged by professional boundaries and hierarchical barriers among health care professionals, limited clinical resources, and regulations from the local health office. Suggestions for future scale-up studies were also mentioned, such as involving champion obstetricians and providing more patient education toolkits. CONCLUSION: The HDP management pathways are acceptable and feasible in Indonesian primary care. A further scale-up study is desired and can be initiated with investigations to minimise the implementation challenges and enhance the pathways' value in primary care practice.
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    Exploring comorbid depression and physical health trajectories: A case-based computational modelling approach
    Castellani, B ; Griffiths, F ; Rajaram, R ; Gunn, J (WILEY, 2018-12-01)
    While comorbid depression/physical health is a major clinical concern, the conventional methods of medicine make it difficult to model the complexities of this relationship. Such challenges include cataloguing multiple trends, developing multiple complex aetiological explanations, and modelling the collective large-scale dynamics of these trends. Using a case-based complexity approach, this study engaged in a richly described case study to demonstrate the utility of computational modelling for primary care research. N = 259 people were subsampled from the Diamond database, one of the largest primary care depression cohort studies worldwide. A global measure of depressive symptoms (PHQ-9) and physical health (PCS-12) were assessed at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months and then annually for a total of 7 years. Eleven trajectories and 2 large-scale collective dynamics were identified, revealing that while depression is comorbid with poor physical health, chronic illness is often low dynamic and not always linked to depression. Also, some of the cases in the unhealthy and oscillator trends remain ill without much chance of improvement. Finally, childhood abuse, partner violence, and negative life events are greater amongst unhealthy trends. Computational modelling offers a major advance for health researchers to account for the diversity of primary care patients and for developing better prognostic models for team-based interdisciplinary care.