General Practice - Research Publications

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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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    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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    Patient reported self-help strategies and the perceived benefits for managing sub-threshold depressive symptoms: A nested qualitative study of Australian primary care attendees
    Taylor, AK ; Palmer, VJ ; Davidson, S ; Fletcher, S ; Gunn, J (WILEY, 2021-11-12)
    BACKGROUND: Subthreshold depression is common in primary care, but there is little information about the self-help strategies that patients use and the perceived benefits of these. AIM: This study sought to elicit the self-help strategies that primary care attendees identified as beneficial for the self-management of subthreshold depressive symptoms and the implications for general practitioners. METHOD: Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with 14 people (April-May 2017) from the Target-D randomised controlled trial (RCT). Target-D investigated whether using a patient-centred clinical prediction tool and an e-health platform to match mental health management options to prognosis was beneficial for improving depressive symptoms at 3 months compared to usual care. Interviews were thematically analysed to identify self-help strategies and their perceived benefits. RESULTS: Four overarching domains for the self-management strategies were identified: social, cognitive, behavioural and restorative. Interviewees reported using strategies across multiple domains, which included undertaking enjoyable, immersive activities, that provided relief from automatic negative thoughts and had a perceived cognitive benefit. Differences in the perceived sense of agency were noted around the self-regulation of mood, which indicated more explicit direction to patient-identified self-help management strategies by general practitioners for some may be of benefit in routine care. CONCLUSION: Some of the reported self-management strategies aligned with evidence-based approaches such as physical activity and mindfulness for mental health symptom management. These findings can inform low-intensity interventions within stepped care models for mental health in primary care, social prescribing models and, help to guide the management of patients by GPs for subthreshold depression.
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    Link-me: Protocol for a randomised controlled trial of a systematic approach to stepped mental health care in primary care
    Fletcher, S ; Chondros, P ; Palmer, VJ ; Chatterton, ML ; Spittal, MJ ; Mihalopoulos, C ; Wood, A ; Harris, M ; Burgess, P ; Bassilios, B ; Pirkis, J ; Gunn, J (ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC, 2019-03-01)
    Primary care in Australia is undergoing significant reform, with a particular focus on cost-effective tailoring of mental health care to individual needs. Link-me is testing whether a patient-completed Decision Support Tool (DST), which predicts future severity of depression and anxiety symptoms and triages individuals into care accordingly, is clinically effective and cost-effective relative to usual care. The trial is set in general practices, with English-speaking patients invited to complete eligibility screening in their general practitioner's waiting room. Eligible and consenting patients will then complete the DST assessment and are randomised and stratified according to predicted symptom severity. Participants allocated to the intervention arm will receive feedback on DST responses, select treatment priorities, assess motivation to change, and receive a severity-matched treatment recommendation (information about and links to low intensity services for those with mild symptoms, or assistance from a specially trained health professional (care navigator) for those with severe symptoms). All patients allocated to the comparison arm will receive usual GP care plus attention control. Primary (psychological distress) and secondary (depression, anxiety, quality of life, days out of role) outcomes will be assessed at 6 and 12 months. Differences in outcome means between trial arms both across and within symptom severity group will be examined using intention-to-treat analyses. Within trial and modelled economic evaluations will be conducted to determine the value for money of credentials of Link-me. Findings will be reported to the Federal Government to inform how mental health services across Australia are funded and delivered in the future.
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    The Participatory Zeitgeist: an explanatory theoretical model of change in an era of coproduction and codesign in healthcare improvement
    Palmer, VJ ; Weavell, W ; Callander, R ; Piper, D ; Richard, L ; Maher, L ; Boyd, H ; Herrman, H ; Furler, J ; Gunn, J ; Iedema, R ; Robert, G (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2019-09-01)
    Healthcare systems redesign and service improvement approaches are adopting participatory tools, techniques and mindsets. Participatory methods increasingly used in healthcare improvement coalesce around the concept of coproduction, and related practices of cocreation, codesign and coinnovation. These participatory methods have become the new Zeitgeist-the spirit of our times in quality improvement. The rationale for this new spirit of participation relates to voice and engagement (those with lived experience should be engaged in processes of development, redesign and improvements), empowerment (engagement in codesign and coproduction has positive individual and societal benefits) and advancement (quality of life and other health outcomes and experiences of services for everyone involved should improve as a result). This paper introduces Mental Health Experience Co-design (MH ECO), a peer designed and led adapted form of Experience-based Co-design (EBCD) developed in Australia. MH ECO is said to facilitate empowerment, foster trust, develop autonomy, self-determination and choice for people living with mental illnesses and their carers, including staff at mental health services. Little information exists about the underlying mechanisms of change; the entities, processes and structures that underpin MH ECO and similar EBCD studies. To address this, we identified eight possible mechanisms from an assessment of the activities and outcomes of MH ECO and a review of existing published evaluations. The eight mechanisms, recognition, dialogue, cooperation, accountability, mobilisation, enactment, creativity and attainment, are discussed within an 'explanatory theoretical model of change' that details these and ideal relational transitions that might be observed or not with MH ECO or other EBCD studies. We critically appraise the sociocultural and political movement in coproduction and draw on interdisciplinary theories from the humanities-narrative theory, dialogical ethics, cooperative and empowerment theory. The model advances theoretical thinking in coproduction beyond motivations and towards identifying underlying processes and entities that might impact on process and outcome. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: The Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12614000457640 (results).
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    Embedding effective depression care: using theory for primary care organisational and systems change
    Gunn, JM ; Palmer, VJ ; Dowrick, CF ; Herrman, HE ; Griffiths, FE ; Kokanovic, R ; Blashki, GA ; Hegarty, KL ; Johnson, CL ; Potiriadis, M ; May, CR (BMC, 2010-08-06)
    BACKGROUND: Depression and related disorders represent a significant part of general practitioners (GPs) daily work. Implementing the evidence about what works for depression care into routine practice presents a challenge for researchers and service designers. The emerging consensus is that the transfer of efficacious interventions into routine practice is strongly linked to how well the interventions are based upon theory and take into account the contextual factors of the setting into which they are to be transferred. We set out to develop a conceptual framework to guide change and the implementation of best practice depression care in the primary care setting. METHODS: We used a mixed method, observational approach to gather data about routine depression care in a range of primary care settings via: audit of electronic health records; observation of routine clinical care; and structured, facilitated whole of organisation meetings. Audit data were summarised using simple descriptive statistics. Observational data were collected using field notes. Organisational meetings were audio taped and transcribed. All the data sets were grouped, by organisation, and considered as a whole case. Normalisation Process Theory (NPT) was identified as an analytical theory to guide the conceptual framework development. RESULTS: Five privately owned primary care organisations (general practices) and one community health centre took part over the course of 18 months. We successfully developed a conceptual framework for implementing an effective model of depression care based on the four constructs of NPT: coherence, which proposes that depression work requires the conceptualisation of boundaries of who is depressed and who is not depressed and techniques for dealing with diffuseness; cognitive participation, which proposes that depression work requires engagement with a shared set of techniques that deal with depression as a health problem; collective action, which proposes that agreement is reached about how care is organised; and reflexive monitoring, which proposes that depression work requires agreement about how depression work will be monitored at the patient and practice level. We describe how these constructs can be used to guide the design and implementation of effective depression care in a way that can take account of contextual differences. CONCLUSIONS: Ideas about what is required for an effective model and system of depression care in primary care need to be accompanied by theoretically informed frameworks that consider how these can be implemented. The conceptual framework we have presented can be used to guide organisational and system change to develop common language around each construct between policy makers, service users, professionals, and researchers. This shared understanding across groups is fundamental to the effective implementation of change in primary care for depression.
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    Implementing dementia risk reduction in primary care: a preliminary conceptual model based on a scoping review of practitioners' views
    Godbee, K ; Gunn, J ; Lautenschlager, NT ; Curran, E ; Palmer, VJ (CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2019-01-01)
    Primary care practitioners (PCPs) do not routinely promote dementia risk reduction. The purpose of this study was to map the published literature on the views of PCPs about dementia risk reduction, in order to identify implementation constructs and strategies crucial to the development of an implementation intervention to support dementia risk reduction in primary care. We undertook a scoping review of the PCPs' views about promoting brain health for reducing dementia risk. We searched MEDLINE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and Embase for English-language articles published between 1995 and December 2017. We then applied the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) and matched Expert Recommendations for Implementing Change to the scoping review findings in order to develop a preliminary implementation model. Eight articles reported views of PCPs about dementia prevention. Study findings were mapped to 5 of the 39 CFIR constructs: (i) knowledge and beliefs about dementia risk reduction, (ii) evidence strength and quality, (iii) relative priority, (iv) available resources, and (v) external policy and incentives. The findings suggest implementation strategies to consider in our preliminary model include (i) educational meetings, (ii) identifying and preparing champions, (iii) conducting local consensus discussions, (iv) altering incentive structures, and (v) capturing and sharing local knowledge. There have been few studies about the views of PCPs about dementia risk reduction. Implementation in the primary care setting is fundamental to early identification of risk and supporting preventive practices, but it needs to focus on more than just education for PCPs. We need more up-to-date and in-depth data on the views of PCPs about dementia risk reduction and context-specific analyses of implementation needs. Further research into effective primary care interventions to reduce dementia risk is expected to support implementation efforts.