General Practice - Research Publications

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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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    Matching depression management to severity prognosis in primary care: results of the Target-D randomised controlled trial
    Fletcher, S ; Chondros, P ; Densley, K ; Murray, E ; Dowrick, C ; Coe, A ; Hegarty, K ; Davidson, S ; Wachtler, C ; Mihalopoulos, C ; Lee, YY ; Chatterton, ML ; Palmer, VJ ; Gunn, J (ROYAL COLL GENERAL PRACTITIONERS, 2021-02-01)
    BACKGROUND: Mental health treatment rates are increasing, but the burden of disease has not reduced. Tools to support efficient resource distribution are required. AIM: To investigate whether a person-centred e-health (Target-D) platform matching depression care to symptom severity prognosis can improve depressive symptoms relative to usual care. DESIGN AND SETTING: Stratified individually randomised controlled trial in 14 general practices in Melbourne, Australia, from April 2016 to February 2019. In total, 1868 participants aged 18-65 years who had current depressive symptoms; internet access; no recent change to antidepressant; no current antipsychotic medication; and no current psychological therapy were randomised (1:1) via computer-generated allocation to intervention or usual care. METHOD: The intervention was an e-health platform accessed in the GP waiting room, comprising symptom feedback, priority-setting, and prognosis-matched management options (online self-help, online guided psychological therapy, or nurse-led collaborative care). Management options were flexible, neither participants nor staff were blinded, and there were no substantive protocol deviations. The primary outcome was depressive symptom severity (9-item Patient Health Questionnaire [PHQ-9]) at 3 months. RESULTS: In intention to treat analysis, estimated between- arm difference in mean PHQ-9 scores at 3 months was -0.88 (95% confidence interval [CI] = -1.45 to -0.31) favouring the intervention, and -0.59 at 12 months (95% CI = -1.18 to 0.01); standardised effect sizes of -0.16 (95% CI = -0.26 to -0.05) and -0.10 (95% CI = -0.21 to 0.002), respectively. No serious adverse events were reported. CONCLUSION: Matching management to prognosis using a person-centred e-health platform improves depressive symptoms at 3 months compared to usual care and could feasibly be implemented at scale. Scope exists to enhance the uptake of management options.
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    Clinical efficacy of a Decision Support Tool (Link-me) to guide intensity of mental health care in primary practice: a pragmatic stratified randomised controlled trial
    Fletcher, S ; Spittal, MJ ; Chondros, P ; Palmer, VJ ; Chatterton, ML ; Densley, K ; Potiriadis, M ; Harris, M ; Bassilios, B ; Burgess, P ; Mihalopoulos, C ; Pirkis, J ; Gunn, J (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2021-03-01)
    BACKGROUND: The volume and heterogeneity of mental health problems that primary care patients present with is a substantial challenge for health systems, and both undertreatment and overtreatment are common. We developed Link-me, a patient-completed Decision Support Tool, to predict severity of depression or anxiety, identify priorities, and recommend interventions. In this study, we aimed to examine if Link-me reduces psychological distress among individuals predicted to have minimal/mild or severe symptoms of anxiety or depression. METHODS: In this pragmatic stratified randomised controlled trial, adults aged 18-75 years reporting depressive or anxiety symptoms or use of mental health medication were recruited from 23 general practices in Australia. Participants completed the Decision Support Tool and were classified into three prognostic groups (minimal/mild, moderate, severe), and those in the minimal/mild and severe groups were eligible for inclusion. Participants were individually and randomly assigned (1:1) by a computer-generated allocation sequence to receive either prognosis-matched care (intervention group) or usual care plus attention control (control group). Participants were not blinded but intervention providers were only notified of those allocated to the intervention group. Outcome assessment was blinded. The primary outcome was the difference in the change in scores between the intervention and control group, and within prognostic groups, on the 10-item Kessler Psychological Distress Scale at 6 months post randomisation. The trial was registered on the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12617001333303. OUTCOMES: Between Nov 21, 2017, and Oct 31, 2018, 24 616 patients were invited to complete the eligibility screening survey. 1671 of these patients were included and randomly assigned to either the intervention group (n=834) or the control group (n=837). Prognosis-matched care was associated with greater reductions in psychological distress than usual care plus attention control at 6 months (p=0·03), with a standardised mean difference (SMD) of -0·09 (95% CI -0·17 to -0·01). This reduction was also seen in the severe prognostic group (p=0·003), with a SMD of -0·26 (-0·43 to -0·09), but not in the minimal/mild group (p=0·73), with a SMD of 0·04 (-0·17 to 0·24). In the complier average causal effect analysis in the severe prognostic group, differences were larger among those who received some or all aspects of the intervention (SMD range -0·58 to -1·15). No serious adverse effects were recorded. INTERPRETATION: Prognosis-based matching of interventions reduces psychological distress in patients with anxiety or depressive symptoms, particularly in those with severe symptoms, and is associated with better outcomes when patients access the recommended treatment. Optimisation of the Link-me approach and implementation into routine practice could help reduce the burden of disease associated with common mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. FUNDING: Australian Government Department of Health.
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    The assertive cardiac care trial: A randomised controlled trial of a coproduced assertive cardiac care intervention to reduce absolute cardiovascular disease risk in people with severe mental illness in the primary care setting
    Lewis, M ; Chondros, P ; Mihalopoulos, C ; Lee, YY ; Gunn, JM ; Harvey, C ; Furler, J ; Osborn, D ; Castle, D ; Davidson, S ; Jayaram, M ; Kenny, A ; Nelson, MR ; Morgan, VA ; Harrap, S ; McKenzie, K ; Potiriadis, M ; Densley, K ; Palmer, VJ (ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC, 2020-10-01)
    BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounts for 40% of the excess mortality identified in people with severe mental illness (SMI). Modifiable CVD risk factors are higher and can be exacerbated by the cardiometabolic impact of psychotropic medications. People with SMI frequently attend primary care presenting a valuable opportunity for early identification, prevention and management of cardiovascular health. The ACCT Healthy Hearts Study will test a coproduced, nurse-led intervention delivered with general practitioners to reduce absolute CVD risk (ACVDR) at 12 months compared with an active control group. METHODS/DESIGN: ACCT is a two group (intervention/active control) individually randomised (1:1) controlled trial (RCT). Assessments will be completed baseline (pre-randomisation), 6 months, and 12 months. The primary outcome is 5-year ACVDR measured at 12 months. Secondary outcomes include 6-month ACVDR; and blood pressure, lipids, HbA1c, BMI, quality of life, physical activity, motivation to change health behaviour, medication adherence, alcohol use and hospitalisation at 6 and 12 months. Linear mixed-effects regression will estimate mean difference between groups for primary and secondary continuous outcomes. Economic cost-consequences analysis will be conducted using quality of life and health resource use information and routinely collected government health service use and medication data. A parallel process evaluation will investigate implementation of the intervention, uptake and outcomes. DISCUSSION: ACCT will deliver a coproduced and person-centred, guideline level cardiovascular primary care intervention to a high need population with SMI. If successful, the intervention could lead to the reduction of the mortality gap and increase opportunities for meaningful social and economic participation. Trial registration ANZCTR Trial number: ACTRN12619001112156.
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    St John's wort use in Australian general practice patients with depressive symptoms: their characteristics and use of other health services
    Pirotta, M ; Densley, K ; Forsdike, K ; Carter, M ; Gunn, J (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2014-06-26)
    BACKGROUND: While depression is frequently managed by general practitioners, often patients self-manage these symptoms with alternative therapies, including St John's wort (SJW). We tested whether use of SJW was associated with different patterns of conventional and complementary health service use, strategies used for management of depression, or user dissatisfaction with or lack of trust in their general practitioner or clinic overall. METHODS: Secondary analysis of data collected from an Australian population screened for a longitudinal cohort study of depression. Main outcome measures were CES-D for depressive symptoms, satisfaction with their general practitioner (GPAQ), Trust in Physician scale, self-report of health services usage and strategies used to manage depression, stress or worries. RESULTS: Response rate was 7667/17,780 (43.1%). Of these, 4.3% (320/7,432) had used SJW in the past 12 months (recent 'SJW users'). SJW users were significantly more likely to be depressed and to have a higher CES-D score. There were no statistically significant differences between recent SJW users and non-SJW users in satisfaction with their general practice or in trust in their general practitioner (GP) when adjusted for multiple factors. SJW users were significantly more likely to use all health services, whether conventional or complementary, as well as other strategies used for mental health care. SJW users were also more likely to consider themselves the main carer for their depression. CONCLUSIONS: Primary care attendees with symptoms of depression who use SJW appear not to be rejecting conventional medicine. Rather, they may be proactive care seekers who try both conventional and complementary strategies to manage their depressive symptoms. If GPs enquire and find that their depressed patients are using SJW, this may indicate that they might explore for unrelieved symptoms of depression and also consider the issue of potential for interactions between SJW and other medicines.
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    Who uses Australian chiropractic services?
    French, S ; Densley, K ; Charity, M ; Gunn, J (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2013-09-26)
    BACKGROUND: The use of chiropractic services is widespread, however, little is known about the characteristics of people who seek chiropractic care in Australia. This study compared the characteristics of users and non-users of chiropractic services from a cohort of patients sourced from general medical practice in Victoria, Australia. METHODS: This is a secondary analysis of baseline screening data from a prospective adult cohort study beginning in 2005. Thirty randomly selected Australian general medical practices mailed out surveys to 17,780 of their patients. Differences were examined between chiropractic users and others, and between chiropractic users who reported a back problem to those who did not. RESULTS: Of 7,519 respondents, 15% indicated they had visited a chiropractor in the last 12 months. Chiropractic users were more likely to have their GP located in a rural location and to be born in Australia; they were less likely to be in the older age group (55-76), to be unemployed or to have a pension/benefit as their main source of income. Chiropractic users were more likely to: have a back problem; use complementary or alternative medication; visit another type of complementary health practitioner or a physiotherapist. They were less likely to take medication for certain health problems (e.g. for high blood pressure, high cholesterol or asthma). No important differences were seen between chiropractic users and non-users for other health problems. People who visited a chiropractor and reported a back problem were more likely to: be a current smoker; have a number of other chronic conditions, including arthritis, hypertension, chronic sinusitis, asthma, dermatitis, depression and anxiety; report taking medications, including antidepressants, analgesics (painkillers and arthritis medication) and complementary or alternative medications. CONCLUSIONS: This large cross-sectional study of general medical practice attendees suggests that chiropractors are the most commonly consulted complementary health profession. Chiropractors should ensure they are aware of their patients' health conditions other than musculoskeletal problems and should ensure they are appropriately managed.
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    Evaluation of the Social Participation Questionnaire in adult patients with depressive symptoms using Rasch analysis
    Densley, K ; Davidson, S ; Gunn, JM (SPRINGER, 2013-10-01)
    PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to explore the psychometric properties of the 22-item Social Participation Questionnaire (SPQ). METHODS: The SPQ was administered to 789 adult primary care patients with depressive symptoms. As the items were intended to be summed together to provide total score, Rasch analysis (partial credit model) was applied to assess the overall fit of the model, individual item fit, differential item functioning (DIF), targeting of persons, response dependency, unidimensionality and person separation. RESULTS: To improve the scale's fit, it was necessary to re-score the response format. Two items demonstrated some DIF for gender and eight items showed DIF for age. To support the assumption of unidimensionality post hoc principal component analysis was performed. The analysis showed two subtests of the residuals with positive and negative loadings, but the person estimates derived from these two subtests were not statistically different to that derived from all items taken together. The response dependence between two items was identified; however, the magnitude of difficulty was very small. Although the questionnaire appeared to have insufficient items to assess the full spectrum of informal social contact, the SPQ was reasonably well targeted. CONCLUSION: The SPQ is a promising questionnaire for the measurement of social participation although it could benefit from the inclusion of further items to measure informal social contact. This study found support for the internal validity, internal consistency reliability, and unidimensionality. A future study will investigate whether targeting can be improved when additional items are included.
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    Correction.
    Palmer, VJ ; Chondros, P ; Piper, D (BMJ, 2015-07-14)
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    Equity of access to primary healthcare for vulnerable populations: the IMPACT international online survey of innovations
    Richard, L ; Furler, J ; Densley, K ; Haggerty, J ; Russell, G ; Levesque, J-F ; Gunn, J (BMC, 2016-04-12)
    BACKGROUND: Improving access to primary healthcare (PHC) for vulnerable populations is important for achieving health equity, yet this remains challenging. Evidence of effective interventions is rather limited and fragmented. We need to identify innovative ways to improve access to PHC for vulnerable populations, and to clarify which elements of health systems, organisations or services (supply-side dimensions of access) and abilities of patients or populations (demand-side dimensions of access) need to be strengthened to achieve transformative change. The work reported here was conducted as part of IMPACT (Innovative Models Promoting Access-to-Care Transformation), a 5-year Canadian-Australian research program aiming to identify, implement and trial best practice interventions to improve access to PHC for vulnerable populations. We undertook an environmental scan as a broad screening approach to identify the breadth of current innovations from the field. METHODS: We distributed a brief online survey to an international audience of PHC researchers, practitioners, policy makers and stakeholders using a combined email and social media approach. Respondents were invited to describe a program, service, approach or model of care that they considered innovative in helping vulnerable populations to get access to PHC. We used descriptive statistics to characterise the innovations and conducted a qualitative framework analysis to further examine the text describing each innovation. RESULTS: Seven hundred forty-four responses were recorded over a 6-week period. 240 unique examples of innovations originating from 14 countries were described, the majority from Canada and Australia. Most interventions targeted a diversity of population groups, were government funded and delivered in a community health, General Practice or outreach clinic setting. Interventions were mainly focused on the health sector and directed at organisational and/or system level determinants of access (supply-side). Few innovations were developed to enhance patients' or populations' abilities to access services (demand-side), and rarely did initiatives target both supply- and demand-side determinants of access. CONCLUSIONS: A wide range of innovations improving access to PHC were identified. The access framework was useful in uncovering the disparity between supply- and demand-side dimensions and pinpointing areas which could benefit from further attention to close the equity gap for vulnerable populations in accessing PHC services that correspond to their needs.
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