General Practice - Research Publications

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    Patients' preferences for involvement in treatment decision making in Japan.
    Sekimoto, M ; Asai, A ; Ohnishi, M ; Nishigaki, E ; Fukui, T ; Shimbo, T ; Imanaka, Y (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2004-03-01)
    BACKGROUND: A number of previous studies have suggested that the Japanese have few opportunities to participate in medical decision-making, as a result both of entrenched physician paternalism and national characteristics of dependency and passivity. The hypothesis that Japanese patients would wish to participate in treatment decision-making if adequate information were provided, and the decision to be made was clearly identified, was tested by interview survey. METHODS: The subjects were diabetic patients at a single outpatient clinic in Kyoto. One of three case study vignettes (pneumonia, gangrene or cancer) was randomly assigned to each subject and, employing face-to-face interviews, the subjects were asked what their wishes would be as patients, for treatment information, participation in decision-making and family involvement. RESULTS: 134 patients participated in the study, representing a response rate of 90%. The overall proportions of respondents who preferred active, collaborative, and passive roles were 12%, 71%, and 17%, respectively. Respondents to the cancer vignette were less likely to prefer an active role and were more likely to prefer family involvement in decision-making compared to non-cancer vignette respondents. If a physician's recommendation conflicted with their own wishes, 60% of the respondents for each vignette answered that they would choose to respect the physician's opinion, while few respondents would give the family's preference primary importance. CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggested that a majority of Japanese patients have positive attitudes towards participation in medical decision making if they are fully informed. Physicians will give greater patient satisfaction if they respond to the desire of patients for participation in decision-making.
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    The PAV trial: does lactobacillus prevent post-antibiotic vulvovaginal candidiasis? Protocol of a randomised controlled trial [ISRCTN24141277].
    Pirotta, M ; Gunn, J ; Chondros, P ; Grover, S ; Hurley, S ; Garland, S (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2004-03-28)
    BACKGROUND: Complementary and alternative medicines are used by many consumers, and increasingly are being incorporated into the general practitioner's armamentarium. Despite widespread usage, the evidence base for most complementary therapies is weak or non-existent. Post-antibiotic vulvovaginitis is a common problem in general practice, for which complementary therapies are often used. A recent study in Melbourne, Australia, found that 40% of women with a past history of vulvovaginitis had used probiotic Lactobacillus species to prevent or treat post-antibiotic vulvovaginitis. There is no evidence that this therapy is effective. This study aims to test whether oral or vaginal lactobacillus is effective in the prevention of post-antibiotic vulvovaginitis. METHODS/DESIGN: A randomised placebo-controlled blinded 2 x 2 factorial design is being used. General practitioners or pharmacists approach non-pregnant women, aged 18-50 years, who present with a non-genital infection requiring a short course of oral antibiotics, to participate in the study. Participants are randomised in a four group factorial design either to oral lactobacillus powder or placebo and either vaginal lactobacillus pessaries or placebo. These interventions are taken while on antibiotics and for four days afterwards or until symptoms of vaginitis develop. Women self collect a vaginal swab for culture of Candida species and complete a survey at baseline and again four days after completing their study medications. The sample size (a total of 496--124 in each factorial group) is calculated to identify a reduction of half in post-antibiotic vulvovaginitis from 23%, while allowing for a 25% drop-out. An independent Data Monitoring Committee is supervising the trial. Analysis will be intention-to-treat, with two pre-specified main comparisons: (i) oral lactobacillus versus placebo and (ii) vaginal lactobacillus versus placebo.
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    PRISM (Program of Resources, Information and Support for Mothers) Protocol for a community-randomised trial [ISRCTN03464021]
    Lumley, J ; Small, R ; Brown, S ; Watson, L ; Gunn, J ; Mitchell, C ; Dawson, W (BMC, 2003-11-20)
    BACKGROUND: In the year after birth one in six women has a depressive illness, and 30% are still depressed, or depressed again, when their child is 2 years old, 94% experience at least one major health problem (e.g. back pain, perineal pain, mastitis, urinary or faecal incontinence), 26% experience sexual problems and almost 20% have relationship problems with partners. Women with depression report less practical and emotional support from partners, less social support overall, more negative life events, and poorer physical health. Their perceptions of factors contributing to depression are lack of support, isolation, exhaustion and physical health problems. Fewer than one in three affected women seek help in primary care despite frequent contacts. METHODS/DESIGN: PRISM aims to reduce depression and physical health problems of recent mothers through primary care strategies to increase practitioners' response to these issues, and through community-based strategies to develop broader family and community supports for recent mothers. Eligible local governments will be recruited and randomised to intervention or comparison arms, after stratification (urban/rural, size, birth numbers, extent of community activity), avoiding contiguous boundaries. Maternal depression and physical health will be measured six months after birth, in a one year cohort of mothers, in intervention and comparison communities. The sample size to detect a 20% relative reduction in depression, adjusting for cluster sampling, and estimating a population response fraction of 67% is 5740 x 2. Analysis of the physical and mental health outcomes, by intention to treat, will adjust for the correlated structure of the data.
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    Take the sex out of STI screening! Views of young women on implementing chlamydia screening in General Practice
    Pavlin, NL ; Parker, R ; Fairley, CK ; Gunn, JM ; Hocking, J (BMC, 2008-05-09)
    BACKGROUND: Australia is developing a chlamydia screening program. This study aimed to determine the attitudes of young women to the introduction of chlamydia screening in Australian General Practice. METHODS: In-depth face-to-face interviews with 24 young women from across Victoria, Australia, attending a randomly selected sample of general practices. RESULTS: Young women reported that they would accept age-based screening for chlamydia in general practice, during both sexual-health and non-sexual-health related consultations. Trust in their general practitioner (GP) was reported to be a major factor in the acceptability of chlamydia screening. The women felt chlamydia screening should be offered to all young women rather than targeted at "high risk" women based on sexual history and they particularly emphasised the importance of normalising chlamydia screening. The women reported that they did not want to be asked to provide a sexual history as part of being asked to have a chlamydia test. Some reported that they would lie if asked how many partners they had had CONCLUSION: Women do not want a sexual history taken when being asked to have a chlamydia test while attending a general practitioner. They prefer the offer of chlamydia screening to be based on age rather than assessment of sexual risk. Chlamydia screening needs to be normalised and destigmatised.
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    What needs to change to increase chlamydia screening in general practice in Australia? The views of general practitioners
    Hocking, JS ; Parker, RM ; Pavlin, N ; Fairley, CK ; Gunn, JM (BMC, 2008-12-30)
    BACKGROUND: Australia is considering implementing a chlamydia screening program in general practice. The views of general practitioners (GPs) are necessary to inform the design of the program. This paper aimed to investigate Australian GPs' views on how chlamydia screening could work in the Australian context. METHODS: This project used both qualitative interviews and a quantitative questionnaire. GPs were randomly selected from a national database of medical practitioners for both the qualitative and quantitative components. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with GPs and a thematic analysis conducted. The results of the interviews were used to design a quantitative postal questionnaire for completion by a larger sample of GPs. Up to three reminders were sent to non-responders. RESULTS: Twenty one GPs completed an interview and 255 completed the postal questionnaire. The results of the postal survey were in strong concordance with those of the interview. GPs identified a number of barriers to increased screening including lack of time, knowledge of GPs and the public about chlamydia, patient embarrassment and support for partner notification. GPs felt strongly that screening would be easier if there was a national program and if the public and GPs had a greater knowledge about chlamydia. Incentive payments and mechanisms for recall and reminders would facilitate screening. Greater support for contact tracing would be important if screening is to increase. CONCLUSION: Chlamydia screening in general practice is acceptable to Australian GPs. If screening is to succeed, policy makers must consider the facilitators identified by GPs.
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    Exploring general practitioners' experience of informing women about prenatal screening tests for foetal abnormalities: A qualitative focus group study
    Nagle, C ; Lewis, S ; Meiser, B ; Gunn, J ; Halliday, J ; Bell, R (BMC, 2008-05-28)
    BACKGROUND: Recent developments have made screening tests for foetal abnormalities available earlier in pregnancy and women have a range of testing options accessible to them. It is now recommended that all women, regardless of their age, are provided with information on prenatal screening tests. General Practitioners (GPs) are often the first health professionals a woman consults in pregnancy. As such, GPs are well positioned to inform women of the increasing range of prenatal screening tests available. The aim of this study was to explore GPs experience of informing women of prenatal genetic screening tests for foetal abnormality. METHODS: A qualitative study consisting of four focus groups was conducted in metropolitan and rural Victoria, Australia. A discussion guide was used and the audio-taped transcripts were independently coded by two researchers using thematic analysis. Multiple coders and analysts and informant feedback were employed to reduce the potential for researcher bias and increase the validity of the findings. RESULTS: Six themes were identified and classified as 'intrinsic' if they occurred within the context of the consultation or 'extrinsic' if they consisted of elements that impacted on the GP beyond the scope of the consultation. The three intrinsic themes were the way GPs explained the limitations of screening, the extent to which GPs provided information selectively and the time pressures at play. The three extrinsic factors were GPs' attitudes and values towards screening, the conflict they experienced in offering screening information and the sense of powerlessness within the screening test process and the health care system generally. Extrinsic themes reveal GPs' attitudes and values to screening and to disability, as well as raising questions about the fundamental premise of testing. CONCLUSION: The increasing availability and utilisation of screening tests, in particular first trimester tests, has expanded GPs' role in facilitating women's informed decision-making. Recognition of the importance of providing this complex information warrants longer consultations to respond to the time pressures that GPs experience. Understanding the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that impact on GPs may serve to shape educational resources to be more appropriate, relevant and supportive.
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    Exploring the feasibility of a community-based strength training program for older people with depressive symptoms and its impact on depressive symptoms.
    Sims, J ; Hill, K ; Davidson, S ; Gunn, J ; Huang, N (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2006-11-30)
    BACKGROUND: Depression is a disabling, prevalent condition. Physical activity programs may assist depression management in older people, ameliorate co-morbid conditions and reduce the need for antidepressants. The UPLIFT pilot study assessed the feasibility of older depressed people attending a community-based progressive resistance training (PRT) program. The study also aimed to determine whether PRT improves depressive status in older depressed patients. METHODS: A randomised controlled trial was conducted. People aged > or = 65 years with depressive symptoms were recruited via general practices. Following baseline assessment, subjects were randomly allocated to attend a local PRT program three times per week for 10 weeks or a brief advice control group. Follow-up assessment of depressive status, physical and psychological health, functional and quality of life status occurred post intervention and at six months. RESULTS: Three hundred and forty six people responded to the study invitation, of whom 22% had depressive symptoms (Geriatric Depression Scale, GDS-30 score > or = 11). Thirty two people entered the trial. There were no significant group differences on the GDS at follow-up. At six months there was a trend for the PRT intervention group to have lower GDS scores than the comparison group, but this finding did not reach significance (p = 0.08). More of the PRT group (57%) had a reduction in depressive symptoms post program, compared to 44% of the control group. It was not possible to discern which specific components of the program influenced its impact, but in post hoc analyses, improvement in depressive status appeared to be associated with the number of exercise sessions completed (r = -0.8, p < 0.01). CONCLUSION: The UPLIFT pilot study confirmed that older people with depression can be successfully recruited to a community based PRT program. The program can be offered by existing community-based facilities, enabling its ongoing implementation for the potential benefit of other older people.
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    A systematic review of complex system interventions designed to increase recovery from depression in primary care
    Gunn, J ; Diggens, J ; Hegarty, K ; Blashki, G (BMC, 2006-07-16)
    BACKGROUND: Primary care is being encouraged to implement multiprofessional, system level, chronic illness management approaches to depression. We undertook this study to identify and assess the quality of RCTs testing system level depression management interventions in primary care and to determine whether these interventions improve recovery. METHOD: Searches of Medline and Cochrane Controlled Register of Trials. 'System level' interventions included: multi-professional approach, enhanced inter-professional communication, scheduled patient follow-up, structured management plan. RESULTS: 11 trials met all inclusion criteria. 10 were undertaken in the USA. Most focussed on antidepressant compliance. Quality of reporting assessed using CONSORT criteria was poor. Eight trials reported an increase in the proportion of patients recovered in favour of the intervention group, yet did not account for attrition rates ranging from 5 to 50%. CONCLUSION: System level interventions implemented in the USA with patients willing to take anti-depressant medication leads to a modest increase in recovery from depression. The relevance of these interventions to countries with strong primary care systems requires testing in a randomised controlled trial.
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    Observational studies of depression in primary care: what do we know?
    Gilchrist, G ; Gunn, J (BMC, 2007-05-11)
    BACKGROUND: We undertook a systematic review of observational studies of depression in primary care to determine 1) the nature and scope of the published studies 2) the methodological quality of the studies; 3) the identified recovery and risk factors for persistent depression and 3) the treatment and health service use patterns among patients. METHODS: Searches were conducted in MEDLINE, CINAHL and PsycINFO using combinations of topic and keywords, and Medical Subject Headings in MEDLINE, Headings in CINAHL and descriptors in PsycINFO. Searches were limited to adult populations and articles published in English during 1985-2006. RESULTS: 40 articles from 17 observational cohort studies were identified, most were undertaken in the US or Europe. Studies varied widely in aims and methods making it difficult to meaningfully compare the results. Methodological limitations were common including: selection bias of patients and physicians; small sample sizes (range 35-108 patients at baseline and 20-59 patients at follow-up); and short follow-up times limiting the extent to which these studies can be used to inform our understanding of recovery and relapse among primary care patients with depression. Risk factors for the persistence of depression identified in this review were: severity and chronicity of the depressive episode, the presence of suicidal thoughts, antidepressant use, poorer self-reported quality of life, lower self-reported social support, experiencing key life events, lower education level and unemployment. CONCLUSION: Despite the growing interest in depression being managed as a chronic illness, this review identified only 17 observational studies of depression in primary care, most of which have included small sample sizes and been relatively short-term. Future research should be large enough to investigate risk factors for chronicity and relapse, and should be conducted over a longer time frame.
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    Evaluation of a decision aid for prenatal testing of fetal abnormalities: a cluster randomised trial [ISRCTN22532458]
    Nagle, C ; Lewis, S ; Meiser, B ; Metcalfe, S ; Carlin, JB ; Bell, R ; Gunn, J ; Halliday, J (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2006-04-13)
    BACKGROUND: By providing information on the relative merits and potential harms of the options available and a framework to clarify preferences, decision aids can improve knowledge and realistic expectations and decrease decisional conflict in individuals facing decisions between alternative forms of action. Decision-making about prenatal testing for fetal abnormalities is often confusing and difficult for women and the effectiveness of decision aids in this field has not been established. This study aims to test whether a decision aid for prenatal testing of fetal abnormalities, when compared to a pamphlet, improves women's informed decision-making and decreases decisional conflict. METHODS/DESIGN: A cluster designed randomised controlled trial is being conducted in Victoria, Australia. Fifty General Practitioners (GPs) have been randomised to one of two arms: providing women with either a decision aid or a pamphlet. The two primary outcomes will be measured by comparing the difference in percentages of women identified as making an informed choice and the difference in mean decisional conflict scores between the two groups. Data will be collected from women using questionnaires at 14 weeks and 24 weeks gestation. The sample size of 159 women in both arms of the trial has been calculated to detect a difference of 18% (50 to 68%) in informed choice between the two groups. The required numbers have been adjusted to accommodate the cluster design, miscarriage and participant lost--to--follow up. Baseline characteristics of women will be summarised for both arms of the trial. Similarly, characteristics of GPs will be compared between arms. Differences in the primary outcomes will be analysed using 'intention-to-treat' principles. Appropriate regression techniques will adjust for the effects of clustering and include covariates to adjust for the stratifying variable and major potential confounding factors. DISCUSSION: The findings from this trial will make a significant contribution to improving women's experience of prenatal testing and will have application to a variety of maternity care settings. The evaluation of a tailored decision aid will also have implications for pregnancy care providers by identifying whether or not such a resource will support their role in providing prenatal testing information.