Open AccessReview
Conceptual Foundations of Systems Biology Explaining Complex Cardiac Diseases
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 10; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010010 -
Abstract
Systems biology is an important concept that connects molecular biology and genomics with computing science, mathematics and engineering. An endeavor is made in this paper to associate basic conceptual ideas of systems biology with clinical medicine. Complex cardiac diseases are clinical phenotypes generated
[...] Read more.
Systems biology is an important concept that connects molecular biology and genomics with computing science, mathematics and engineering. An endeavor is made in this paper to associate basic conceptual ideas of systems biology with clinical medicine. Complex cardiac diseases are clinical phenotypes generated by integration of genetic, molecular and environmental factors. Basic concepts of systems biology like network construction, modular thinking, biological constraints (downward biological direction) and emergence (upward biological direction) could be applied to clinical medicine. Especially, in the field of cardiology, these concepts can be used to explain complex clinical cardiac phenotypes like chronic heart failure and coronary artery disease. Cardiac diseases are biological complex entities which like other biological phenomena can be explained by a systems biology approach. The above powerful biological tools of systems biology can explain robustness growth and stability during disease process from modulation to phenotype. The purpose of the present review paper is to implement systems biology strategy and incorporate some conceptual issues raised by this approach into the clinical field of complex cardiac diseases. Cardiac disease process and progression can be addressed by the holistic realistic approach of systems biology in order to define in better terms earlier diagnosis and more effective therapy. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
UK Dietary Policy for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 9; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010009 -
Abstract
Nutrition advice is devolved within each of the four UK countries, but share a common evidence base provided through the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN). Current UK dietary recommendations to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) is based upon recommendations from SACN and its
[...] Read more.
Nutrition advice is devolved within each of the four UK countries, but share a common evidence base provided through the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN). Current UK dietary recommendations to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) is based upon recommendations from SACN and its predecessor committee. Dietary advice in the UK has recently been revised in relation to intakes of free sugar and fibre. This paper highlights current UK recommendations for the prevention of CVD, in particular related to energy intake, saturated fat, free sugars, salt, fruit, vegetables, oily fish and fibre. It describes how this advice is promulgated including the refresh of the Eatwell Guide and wider action that will impact on CVD. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Preventive Healthcare: A Neural Network Analysis of Behavioral Habits and Chronic Diseases
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 8; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010008 -
Abstract
The research aims to explore the association between behavioral habits and chronic diseases, and to identify a portfolio of risk factors for preventive healthcare. The data is taken from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) database of the Centers for Disease Control
[...] Read more.
The research aims to explore the association between behavioral habits and chronic diseases, and to identify a portfolio of risk factors for preventive healthcare. The data is taken from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) database of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for the year 2012. Using SPSS Modeler, we deploy neural networks to identify strong positive and negative associations between certain chronic diseases and behavioral habits. The data for 475,687 records from BRFS database included behavioral habit variables of consumption of soda and fruits/vegetables, alcohol, smoking, weekly working hours, and exercise; chronic disease variables of heart attack, stroke, asthma, and diabetes; and demographic variables of marital status, income, and age. Our findings indicate that with chronic conditions, behavioral habits of physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption are negatively associated; soda, alcohol, and smoking are positively associated; and income and age are positively associated. We contribute to individual and national preventive healthcare by offering a portfolio of significant behavioral risk factors that enable individuals to make lifestyle changes and governments to frame campaigns and policies countering chronic conditions and promoting public health. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Reducing Low Birth Weight among African Americans in the Midwest: A Look at How Faith-Based Organizations Are Poised to Inform and Influence Health Communication on the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD)
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 6; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010006 -
Abstract
Low birth weight (LBW) rates remain the highest among African Americans despite public health efforts to address these disparities; with some of the highest racial disparities in the Midwest (Kansas). The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) perspective offers an explanation for
[...] Read more.
Low birth weight (LBW) rates remain the highest among African Americans despite public health efforts to address these disparities; with some of the highest racial disparities in the Midwest (Kansas). The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) perspective offers an explanation for how LBW contributes to racial health disparities among African Americans and informs a community directed health communication framework for creating sustainable programs to address these disparities. Trusted community organizations such as faith-based organizations are well situated to explain health communication gaps that may occur over the life course. These entities are underutilized in core health promotion programming targeting underserved populations and can prove essential for addressing developmental origins of LBW among African Americans. Extrapolating from focus group data collected from African American church populations as part of a social marketing health promotion project on cancer prevention, we theoretically consider how a similar communication framework and approach may apply to address LBW disparities. Stratified focus groups (n = 9) were used to discover emergent themes about disease prevention, and subsequently applied to explore how faith-based organizations (FBOs) inform strategic health care (media) advocacy and health promotion that potentially apply to address LBW among African Americans. We argue that FBOs are poised to meet health promotion and health communication needs among African American women who face social barriers in health. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Socio-Demographic Determinants of Diet Quality in Australian Adults Using the Validated Healthy Eating Index for Australian Adults (HEIFA-2013)
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 7; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010007 -
Abstract
Diet quality indices have been shown to predict cardiovascular disease, cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, obesity and all-cause mortality. This study aimed to determine the socio-demographics of Australian adults with poor diet quality. Diet quality was assessed for participants of the 2011–2012 National Nutrition
[...] Read more.
Diet quality indices have been shown to predict cardiovascular disease, cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, obesity and all-cause mortality. This study aimed to determine the socio-demographics of Australian adults with poor diet quality. Diet quality was assessed for participants of the 2011–2012 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey aged 18 years or above (n = 9435), with the validated 11-component Healthy Eating Index for Australians (HEIFA-2013), based on the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines. Differences in scores by demographics (ANOVA) and regression models for associations between the HEIFA-2013 score and demographic characteristics were conducted. The mean (SD) HEIFA-2013 score was 45.5 (14.7) out of 100 due to poor intakes of vegetables, fruit, grains, dairy and fat and high intakes of added sugar, sodium and discretionary foods. Lower mean HEIFA-2013 scores (SD) were found for males 43.3 (14.7), young-adults 41.6 (14.2) obese 44.1 (14.3), smokers 40.0 (14.2), low socio-economic status 43.7 (14.9) and Australian country-of-birth 44.2 (14.6) (p < 0.05). The overall diet quality of the Australian population is poor and targeted interventions for young-adults, males, obese and those with lower socio-economic status are recommended. Full article
Open AccessReview
The Role of Lipid Biomarkers in Major Depression
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 5; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010005 -
Abstract
In the UK, the lifetime-documented prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD) is currently 10%. Despite its increasing prevalence and devastating impact on quality of life, the pathophysiological mechanisms underpinning MDD remain to be fully elucidated. Current theories of neurobiological components remain incomplete and
[...] Read more.
In the UK, the lifetime-documented prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD) is currently 10%. Despite its increasing prevalence and devastating impact on quality of life, the pathophysiological mechanisms underpinning MDD remain to be fully elucidated. Current theories of neurobiological components remain incomplete and protein-centric, rendering pharmacological treatment options suboptimal. In this review, we highlight the pivotal role of lipids in intra- and inter-neuronal functioning, emphasising the potential use of lipids as biomarkers for MDD. The latter has significant implications for improving our understanding of MDD at the cellular and circuit level. There is particular focus on cholesterol (high and low density lipoprotein), omega-3, and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids due to established evidence in the literature of a link between atherosclerotic disease and major depression. We argue that there is significant potential scope for the use of such peripheral biomarkers in the diagnosis, stratification and treatment of MDD. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Brazilian Specialists’ Perspectives on the Patient Referral Process
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 4; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010004 -
Abstract
Since 1988, healthcare has been considered a citizen’s right in Brazil. The Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS), has undergone development and expansion to ensure universal health coverage for the Brazilian public, the world’s fifth largest population. The coordination of effective communications between primary
[...] Read more.
Since 1988, healthcare has been considered a citizen’s right in Brazil. The Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS), has undergone development and expansion to ensure universal health coverage for the Brazilian public, the world’s fifth largest population. The coordination of effective communications between primary care physicians, specialists and patients is a significant challenge, particularly the referral process. Our study objective was to understand the facilitators and barriers associated with referral process communications between primary care physicians and regional university hospital specialists in the State of Sao Paulo. This paper reports specialists’ perspectives of the referral process. This was a phenomenological study that employed a qualitative research method with three components (description, reduction and comprehension). We conducted focus groups with 54 hospital residents from different specialties (surgery, medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics) from July to October 2014. The main results showed lack of an adequate referral-return referral process resulting in treatment delays and inappropriate use of emergency services. Communications were impeded by lack of integrated, computerized booking and standardized referral-return referral processes; underlying lack of trust in primary care physicians; and patients’ inappropriate use of healthcare services. Although computerized systems will facilitate communications between primary and specialty care, other strategies are needed to promote collaboration between services, and ensure appropriate utilization of them. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Impact of Menthol Smoking on Nicotine Dependence for Diverse Racial/Ethnic Groups of Daily Smokers
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 2; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010002 -
Abstract
Introduction: The aims of this study were to evaluate whether menthol smoking and race/ethnicity are associated with nicotine dependence in daily smokers. Methods: The study used two subsamples of U.S. daily smokers who responded to the 2010–2011 Tobacco Use Supplement to
[...] Read more.
Introduction: The aims of this study were to evaluate whether menthol smoking and race/ethnicity are associated with nicotine dependence in daily smokers. Methods: The study used two subsamples of U.S. daily smokers who responded to the 2010–2011 Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey. The larger subsample consisted of 18,849 non-Hispanic White (NHW), non-Hispanic Black (NHB), and Hispanic (HISP) smokers. The smaller subsample consisted of 1112 non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN), non-Hispanic Asian (ASIAN), non-Hispanic Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (HPI), and non-Hispanic Multiracial (MULT) smokers. Results: For larger (smaller) groups the rates were 45% (33%) for heavy smoking (16+ cig/day), 59% (51%) for smoking within 30 min of awakening (Sw30), and 14% (14%) for night-smoking. Overall, the highest prevalence of menthol smoking corresponded to NHB and HPI (≥65%), followed by MULT and HISP (31%–37%), and then by AIAN, NHW, and ASIAN (22%–27%) smokers. For larger racial/ethnic groups, menthol smoking was negatively associated with heavy smoking, not associated with Sw30, and positively associated with night-smoking. For smaller groups, menthol smoking was not associated with any measure, but the rates of heavy smoking, Sw30, and night-smoking varied across the groups. Conclusions: The diverse associations between menthol smoking and nicotine dependence maybe due to distinction among the nicotine dependence measures, i.e., individually, each measure assesses a specific smoking behavior. Menthol smoking may be associated with promoting smoking behaviors. Full article
Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Healthcare in 2016
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 3; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010003 -
Open AccessArticle
A Model of Health for Family Caregivers of Elders
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 1; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010001 -
Abstract
Family members who provide care to their loved ones experience changes in their own health. The caregiver health model (CGHM) is a new model that identifies health holistically and identifies four determinant(s) that contribute to the health status of the family caregiver. The
[...] Read more.
Family members who provide care to their loved ones experience changes in their own health. The caregiver health model (CGHM) is a new model that identifies health holistically and identifies four determinant(s) that contribute to the health status of the family caregiver. The purpose is to introduce the CGHM: Hypothesis 1: the determinants of health in the CGHM contribute to the health of the Caregiver, Hypothesis 2: the determinants of health contribute to changes in the caregivers’ health at 8 and 16 weeks, and Hypothesis 3: a change in health occurs from baseline to 8 and 16 weeks. Methods: A descriptive, longitudinal design used three data collection points and five survey instruments. Community recruitment (N = 90) occurred through word of mouth and newspapers. Inclusion criteria consisted of being a family caregiver, living in a rural residence, and providing care to elders with necessary activities of daily living (ADLs) and/or instrumental ADLs (IADLs). Following a participant generated phone call to provide consent, caregivers received an initial study packet, additional packets were sent upon return of the previous packet. Analysis for the three hypotheses included multiple backwards stepwise linear regression, generalized estimating equations (GEE), and analysis of variance (ANOVA) α = 0.05. Results: A significant decrease in mental (p < 0.01) but not physical health at 8 weeks (p = 0.38) and 16 weeks (p = 0.29) occurred over time. Two determinants displayed significant (p < 0.05 or less) changes in mental and/or physical health at one or more time points. Study limitations include caregiver entry at varying times and self-report of elder nursing needs and medical conditions. Conclusions: Findings support two of the four determinants contributing to caregiver health. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Newborn Care in the Home and Health Facility: Formative Findings for Intervention Research in Cambodia
Healthcare 2016, 4(4), 94; doi:10.3390/healthcare4040094 -
Abstract
Global coverage and scale up of interventions to reduce newborn mortality remains low, though progress has been achieved in improving newborn survival in many low-income settings. An important factor in the success of newborn health interventions, and moving to scale, is appropriate design
[...] Read more.
Global coverage and scale up of interventions to reduce newborn mortality remains low, though progress has been achieved in improving newborn survival in many low-income settings. An important factor in the success of newborn health interventions, and moving to scale, is appropriate design of community-based programs and strategies for local implementation. We report the results of formative research undertaken to inform the design of a newborn health intervention in Cambodia. Information was gathered on newborn care practices over a period of three months using multiple qualitative methods of data collection in the primary health facility and home setting. Analysis of the data indicated important gaps, both at home and facility level, between recommended newborn care practices and those typical in the study area. The results of this formative research have informed strategies for behavior change and improving referral of sick infants in the subsequent implementation study. Collection and dissemination of data on newborn care practices from settings such as these can contribute to efforts to advance survival, growth and development of newborns for intervention research, and for future newborn health programming. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Impact of Time-Varying Treatment Exposures on the Risk of Venous Thromboembolism in Multiple Myeloma
Healthcare 2016, 4(4), 93; doi:10.3390/healthcare4040093 -
Abstract
Multiple myeloma (MM) has one of the highest risks of venous thromboembolism (VTE) of all cancers due to pathologic changes and treatment-related exposures. This study assessed the one-year incidence of VTE in newly diagnosed MM and to determine the baseline and time-varying treatment-related
[...] Read more.
Multiple myeloma (MM) has one of the highest risks of venous thromboembolism (VTE) of all cancers due to pathologic changes and treatment-related exposures. This study assessed the one-year incidence of VTE in newly diagnosed MM and to determine the baseline and time-varying treatment-related factors associated with VTE risk in a U.S.-based cohort. MM patients were identified and age, gender, and baseline comorbidities were determined. Treatment-related exposures included thalidomide derivatives (IMIDs), proteasome inhibitors, cytotoxic chemotherapy, steroids, erythropoietin-stimulating agents (ESAs), stem cell transplants (SCT), hospitalizations, infection, and central venous catheters (CVC). Multiple statistical models were used including a baseline competing risks model, a time-varying exposure Cox proportional hazard (CPH) model, and a case-time-control analysis. The overall incidence of VTE was 107.2 per 1000 person-years with one-half of the VTEs occurring in the first 90 days. The baseline model showed that increasing age, heart failure, and hypertension were associated with one-year incidence of VTE. MM-specific IMID treatment had lower than expected associations with VTE based on prior literature. Instead, exposure to ESAs, SCT, CVC, and infection had higher associations. Based on these results, VTE risk in MM may be less straightforward than considering only chemotherapy exposures, and other treatment-related exposures should be considered to determine patient risk. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Sharing the Load: Amish Healthcare Financing
Healthcare 2016, 4(4), 92; doi:10.3390/healthcare4040092 -
Abstract
When settling healthcare bills, the Old Order Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania rely on an ethos of mutual aid, independent of the government. Consonant with this philosophy, many Amish do not participate in or receive benefits from Social Security or Medicare. They are
[...] Read more.
When settling healthcare bills, the Old Order Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania rely on an ethos of mutual aid, independent of the government. Consonant with this philosophy, many Amish do not participate in or receive benefits from Social Security or Medicare. They are also exempted from the Affordable Care Act of 2010. This study expands the limited documentation of Amish Hospital Aid, an Amish health insurance program that covers major medical costs. Interview data from 11 Amish adults in Lancaster County depict how this aid program supplements traditional congregational alms coverage of medical expenses. The interview data delineate the structure of the program, its operation, and how it encourages cost containment and community interdependence. The manner in which the Amish collaborate to pay for medical expenses provides a thought-provoking paradigm for managing health care costs. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The BASE-Program—A Multidimensional Approach for Health Promotion in Companies
Healthcare 2016, 4(4), 91; doi:10.3390/healthcare4040091 -
Abstract
Multidimensional assessments for conducting interventions are needed to achieve positive health effects within companies. BASE is an acronym, consisting of B = “Bedarfsbestimmung” (requirements); A = “Arbeitsplatzorganisation” (organisation of work); S = “Schulung des belastungsverträglichen Alltagshandelns” (coaching preventive behaviour at work); E =
[...] Read more.
Multidimensional assessments for conducting interventions are needed to achieve positive health effects within companies. BASE is an acronym, consisting of B = “Bedarfsbestimmung” (requirements); A = “Arbeitsplatzorganisation” (organisation of work); S = “Schulung des belastungsverträglichen Alltagshandelns” (coaching preventive behaviour at work); E = “Eigenverantwortung und Selbstwirksamkeit” (self-responsibility and self-efficacy). It is a prevention program designed to avoid and reduce work-related musculoskeletal diseases. It was developed to support prevention strategies within companies. It comprises aspects of health protection, ergonomics, exercise and self-efficacy. A comprehensive assessment will identify strain e.g., musculoskeletal discomforts due to body positions or psychological stress. Moreover, the general health status, preferences and barriers for participating in health promotion programs are evaluated. This analysis leads to practical and goal-oriented recommendations and interventions which suit the needs of companies and employees. These are executed onsite in real workplace situations and involve the introduction of first-hand experience in behavioural change. Therefore, this practical approach enhances the employees’ acceptance and self-efficacy for health promotion. This can result in long-term health promoting behaviour. This article presents the outcome and sustainability effects of BASE in three different application fields (logistic, industrial and office workers). Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
From Consultation to Application: Practical Solutions for Improving Maternal and Neonatal Outcomes for Adolescent Aboriginal Mothers at a Local Level
Healthcare 2016, 4(4), 90; doi:10.3390/healthcare4040090 -
Abstract
Adolescent pregnancy has been typically linked to a range of adverse outcomes for mother and child. In Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have a higher proportion of adolescent births compared with other adolescent Australian women, and are at greater risk of
[...] Read more.
Adolescent pregnancy has been typically linked to a range of adverse outcomes for mother and child. In Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have a higher proportion of adolescent births compared with other adolescent Australian women, and are at greater risk of poorer psychosocial and clinical outcomes if they are not well supported during pregnancy and beyond. Drawing on existing literature and consultations with young Aboriginal women and health professionals supporting pregnant Aboriginal women in Western Australia, this paper discusses the importance of creating models of antenatal care using a “social determinants of health” framework. Destigmatizing young parenthood and providing continuity of caregiver in culturally safe services, with culturally competent health professionals provides a means to encourage engagement with the health system and improve health outcomes for young mothers and their babies. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Emotional Labour and Wellbeing: What Protects Nurses?
Healthcare 2016, 4(4), 89; doi:10.3390/healthcare4040089 -
Abstract
Although compassionate care has wide-ranging benefits for patients, it can be emotionally demanding for healthcare staff. This may be a particular problem for those with little experience in a caring role. This study utilises the job demands-resources model to examine links between “emotional
[...] Read more.
Although compassionate care has wide-ranging benefits for patients, it can be emotionally demanding for healthcare staff. This may be a particular problem for those with little experience in a caring role. This study utilises the job demands-resources model to examine links between “emotional labour” and emotional exhaustion in student nurses. In line with the triple-match principle—whereby interactive effects are more likely when job demands, resources, and outcomes are within the same qualitative domain—the protective role of emotional support and emotion-focused coping (i.e., emotional venting) in the relationship between emotional labour and exhaustion is also explored. An online questionnaire was completed by 351 student nurses with experience working in healthcare settings. A strong positive relationship was found between emotional labour and emotional exhaustion, and some support was found for the moderating effects of emotional support and emotion-focused coping. Ways to help student and qualified nurses develop the emotional resilience required to protect their wellbeing, while providing high-quality compassionate care to patients are considered. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A Holistic Model of Care to Support Those Living with and beyond Cancer
Healthcare 2016, 4(4), 88; doi:10.3390/healthcare4040088 -
Abstract
Background: Globally, the burden of cancer continues to increase and it is well-documented that while not a homogeneous population, cancer patients and cancer survivors face many physical, psychological, social, spiritual, and financial issues. Cancer care is shifting from a disease-focused to a patient-centered
[...] Read more.
Background: Globally, the burden of cancer continues to increase and it is well-documented that while not a homogeneous population, cancer patients and cancer survivors face many physical, psychological, social, spiritual, and financial issues. Cancer care is shifting from a disease-focused to a patient-centered approach resulting in an increased need to address these concerns. Methods: Utilizing a quality improvement approach, this paper describes an integrated cancer care model at Bloomhill Cancer Center (BCC) in Queensland, Australia that demonstrates the ability to meet the holistic needs of patients living with and beyond cancer and to identify opportunities for better practice and service provision. Results: Survey results indicate that 67% and 77% of respondents were very satisfied and 27% and 17% were satisfied with their first contact and very satisfied with their first meeting with a nurse at BCC. Clients also reported being very satisfied (46%) or satisfied (30%) with the emotional support they received at BCC and over 90% were very satisfied or satisfied with the touch therapies that the received. Conclusion: Due to the early success of the interventions provided by BCC, the model potentially offers other states and countries a framework for supportive cancer care provision for people living with and beyond cancer. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Construct Validity of the Late-Life Function and Disability Instrument in African American Breast Cancer Survivors
Healthcare 2016, 4(4), 87; doi:10.3390/healthcare4040087 -
Abstract
Limited data exist on the validity of the Late-Life Function and Disability (LLFD) instrument in cancer survivors. We examined the construct validity of the abbreviated LLFD instrument in a sample of African-American breast cancer survivors. African American breast cancer survivors (n =
[...] Read more.
Limited data exist on the validity of the Late-Life Function and Disability (LLFD) instrument in cancer survivors. We examined the construct validity of the abbreviated LLFD instrument in a sample of African-American breast cancer survivors. African American breast cancer survivors (n = 181) aged 50 years and older completed the abbreviated LLFD instrument and questions about sociodemographic and lifestyle characteristics. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), Cronbach alphas, and structural models were used to evaluate the construct validity of these measures. Minor modifications were made to the three-factor functional component portion of the inventory to improve model fit. Cronbach alpha’s (range 0.85–0.92) and inter-factor correlations (r = 0.3–0.5, all p < 0.05) were appropriate. The two-factor disability component fit the data and Cronbach alpha’s (0.91 and 0.98) were appropriate with a high inter-factor correlation (r = 0.95, p < 0.01). The average variance extracted (range = 0.55–0.93) and composite reliabilities (range = 0.86–0.98) were in acceptable ranges. Floor effects ranged from 7% for advanced lower function to 74% for personal role disability. Education and number of comorbidities were correlated significantly with functional outcomes. The abbreviated LLFD instrument had adequate construct validity in this sample of African American breast cancer survivors. Further studies are needed that examine the stability of the instrument over time. Full article
Open AccessReview
Using Technology, Bioinformatics and Health Informatics Approaches to Improve Learning Experiences in Optometry Education, Research and Practice
Healthcare 2016, 4(4), 86; doi:10.3390/healthcare4040086 -
Abstract
Rapid advances in ocular diagnostic approaches and emerging links of pathological changes in the eye with systemic disorders have widened the scope of optometry as the front line of eye health care. Expanding professional requirements stipulate that optometry students get a meticulous training
[...] Read more.
Rapid advances in ocular diagnostic approaches and emerging links of pathological changes in the eye with systemic disorders have widened the scope of optometry as the front line of eye health care. Expanding professional requirements stipulate that optometry students get a meticulous training in relevant information and communication technologies (ICT) and various bioinformatics and health informatics software to meet current and future challenges. Greater incorporation of ICT approaches in optometry education can facilitate increased student engagement in shared learning experiences and improve collaborative learning. This, in turn, will enable students to participate in and prepare for the complex real-world situations. A judicious use of ICTs by teachers in learning endeavors can help students develop innovative patterns of thinking to be a successful optometry professional. ICT-facilitated learning enables students and professionals to carry out their own research and take initiatives and thus shifts the equilibrium towards self-education. It is important that optometry and allied vision science schools adapt to the changing professional requirements with pedagogical evolution and react appropriately to provide the best educational experience for the students and teachers. This review aims to highlight the scope of ICT applications in optometry education and professional development drawing from similar experiences in other disciplines. Further, while enhanced use of ICT in optometry has the potential to create opportunities for transformative learning experiences, many schools use it merely to reinforce conventional teaching practices. Tremendous developments in ICT should allow educators to consider using ICT tools to enhance communication as well as providing a novel, richer, and more meaningful medium for the comprehensive knowledge construction in optometry and allied health disciplines. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Weight Management Advice for Clients with Overweight or Obesity: Allied Health Professional Survey
Healthcare 2016, 4(4), 85; doi:10.3390/healthcare4040085 -
Abstract
The prevalence of obesity is increasing. The potential for allied health professionals to intervene through the provision of lifestyle advice is unknown. This study aimed to determine the knowledge, attitudes and practices of health professionals in the provision of dietary and physical activity
[...] Read more.
The prevalence of obesity is increasing. The potential for allied health professionals to intervene through the provision of lifestyle advice is unknown. This study aimed to determine the knowledge, attitudes and practices of health professionals in the provision of dietary and physical activity advice for clients with overweight or obesity. Dietitians, exercise physiologists, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and psychologists (n = 296) working in New South Wales were surveyed using paper-based and online methods. The majority of health professionals (71%) believed that providing weight management advice was within their scope of practice; 81% provided physical activity advice but only 57% provided dietary advice. Other than dietitians, few had received training in client weight management during their professional qualification (14%) or continuing education (16%). Providing dietary advice was associated with: believing it was within their scope of practice (OR 3.9, 95% CI 1.9–7.9, p < 0.01), training during their entry-level qualification (OR 7.2, 3.2–16.4, p < 0.01) and having departmental guidelines (OR 4.7, 2.1–10.9, p < 0.01). Most health professionals are willing to provide lifestyle advice to clients with overweight or obesity but few have received required training. Developing guidelines and training for in client weight management may potentially impact on rising obesity levels. Full article