Abstract: Description: Among the two leading causes of death in the United States, each responsible for one in every four deaths, heart disease costs Americans $300 billion, while cancer costs Americans $216 billion per year. They also rank among the top three causes of death in Europe and Asia. In 2012 the University of Michigan Center for Public Health and Community Genomics and Genetic Alliance, with the support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office of Public Health Genomics, hosted a conference in Atlanta, Georgia to consider related action strategies based on public health genomics. The aim of the conference was consensus building on recommendations to implement genetic screening for three major heritable contributors to these mortality and cost figures: hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC), familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), and Lynch syndrome (LS). Genetic applications for these three conditions are labeled with a “Tier 1” designation by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because they have been fully validated and clinical practice guidelines based on systematic review support them. Methodology: The conference followed a deliberative sequence starting with nationally recognized clinical and public health presenters for each condition, followed by a Patient and Community Perspectives Panel, working group sessions for each of the conditions, and a final plenary session. The 74 conference participants represented disease research and advocacy, public health, medicine and nursing, genetics, governmental health agencies, and industry. Participants drew on a public health framework interconnecting policy, clinical intervention, surveillance, and educational functions for their deliberations. Results: Participants emphasized the importance of collaboration between clinical, public health, and advocacy groups in implementing Tier 1 genetic screening. Advocacy groups could help with individual and institutional buy-in of Tier 1 programs. Groups differed on funding strategies, with alternative options such as large-scale federal funding and smaller scale, incremental funding solutions proposed. Piggybacking on existing federal breast and colorectal cancer control programs was suggested. Public health departments need to assess what information is now being collected by their state cancer registries. The groups advised that information on cascade screening of relatives be included in toolkits for use by states. Participants stressed incorporation of family history into health department breast cancer screening programs, and clinical HBOC data into state surveillance systems. The carrying out of universal LS screening of tumors in those with colorectal cancer was reviewed. Expansion of universal screening to include endometrial tumors was discussed, as was the application of guidelines recommending cholesterol screening of children 9–11 years old. States more advanced in terms of Tier 1 testing could serve as models and partners with other states launching screening and surveillance programs. A multidisciplinary team of screening program champions was suggested as a means of raising awareness among the consumer and health care communities. Participants offered multiple recommendations regarding use of electronic health records, including flagging of at-risk family members and utilization of state-level health information exchanges. The paper contains an update of policy developments and happenings for all three Tier 1 conditions, as well as identified gaps. Conclusions: Implementation of cascade screening of family members for HBOC and FH, and universal screening for LS in CRC tumors has reached a point of readiness within the U.S., with creative solutions at hand. Facilitating factors such as screening coverage through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and state health information exchanges can be tapped. Collaboration is needed between public health departments, health care systems, disease advocacy groups, and industry to fully realize Tier 1 genetic screening. State health department and disease networks currently engaged in Tier 1 screening can serve as models for the launch of new initiatives.
Abstract: The prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) in the dental professions has been well established, and can have detrimental effects on the industry, including lower productivity and early retirement. There is increasing evidence that these problems commence during undergraduate training; however, there are still very few studies that investigate the prevalence of MSD or postural risk in these student groups. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of MSD and conduct postural assessments of students studying oral health and dentistry. A previously validated self-reporting questionnaire measuring MSD prevalence, derived from the Standardised Nordic Questionnaire, was distributed to students. Posture assessments were also conducted using a validated Posture Assessment Instrument. MSD was highly prevalent in all student groups, with 85% reporting MSD in at least one body region. The neck and lower back were the most commonly reported. The final year dental students had the highest percentage with poor posture (68%), while the majority of students from other cohorts had acceptable posture. This study supports the increasing evidence that MSD could be developing in students, before the beginning of a professional career. The prevalence of poor posture further highlights the need to place further emphasis on ergonomic education.
Abstract: It is now well established that psychosocial factors can adversely impact the outcome of spine surgery. This article discusses in detail one such recently-identified “risk” factor: demoralization. Several studies conducted by the author indicate that demoralization, an emotional construct distinct from depression, is associated with poorer pain reduction, less functional improvement and decreased satisfaction among spine surgery patients. However, there are indications that the adverse impact of risk factors such as demoralization can be mitigated by psychosocial “maximizing” factors—characteristics that propel the patient towards positive surgical results. One of these maximizing factors, patient activation, is discussed in depth. The patient activation measure (PAM), an inventory assessing the extent to which patients are active and engaged in their health care, is associated not only with improved spine surgery results, but with better outcomes across a broad range of medical conditions. Other maximizing factors are discussed in this article. The author concludes that the past research focus on psychosocial risk factors has limited the value of presurgical psychological screening, and that future research, as well as clinical assessment, should recognize that the importance of evaluating patients’ strengths as well as their vulnerabilities.
Abstract: This article describes the theoretical and pragmatic development of a patient-centred intervention for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). Theoretical models (Common Sense Model, Necessity-Concerns Framework), clinical frameworks, and AF patient feedback contributed to the design of a one-off hour-long behaviour-change intervention package. Intervention materials consisted of a DVD, educational booklet, diary and worksheet, which were patient-centred and easy to administer. The intervention was evaluated within a randomised controlled trial. Several “active theoretical ingredients” were identified (for e.g., where patients believed their medication was less harmful they spent more time within the therapeutic range (TTR), with general harm scores predicting TTR at 6 months). Allowing for social comparison and adopting behaviour change techniques enabled accurate patient understanding of their condition and medication. The process of developing the intervention using theory-derived content and evaluation tools allowed a greater understanding of the mechanisms by which this intervention was successful. Alleviating concerns about treatment medication by educating patients can help to improve adherence. This process of intervention development could be adopted for a range of chronic illnesses and treatments. Critical elements should include the use of: (1) clinical guidelines; (2) appropriate theoretical models; (3) patient input; and (4) appropriate evaluation tools.
Abstract: The involvement of parents in their child’s hospital care has been strongly advocated in paediatric healthcare policy and practice. However, incorporating parental worries about their child’s condition into clinical care can be difficult for both parents and healthcare professionals. Through our “Listening To You” quality improvement project we developed and piloted an innovative approach to listening, incorporating and responding to parental concerns regarding their child’s condition when in hospital. Here we describe the phases of work undertaken to develop our “Listening To You” communications bundle, including a survey, literature review and consultation with parents and staff, before findings from the project evaluation are presented and discussed.