- Colorectal cancer stage at diagnosis in migrants versus non-migrants (KoMigra): study protocol of a cross-sectional study in Germany (2014)
- Background: In Germany, about 20% of the total population have a migration background. Differences exist between migrants and non-migrants in terms of health care access and utilisation. Colorectal cancer is the second most common malignant tumour in Germany, and incidence, staging and survival chances depend, amongst other things, on ethnicity and lifestyle. The current study investigates whether stage at diagnosis differs between migrants and non-migrants with colorectal cancer in an area of high migration and attempts to identify factors that can explain any differences. Methods/Design: Data on tumour and migration status will be collected for 1,200 consecutive patients that have received a new, histologically verified diagnosis of colorectal cancer in a high migration area in Germany in the previous three months. The recruitment process is expected to take 16 months and will include gastroenterological private practices and certified centres for intestinal diseases. Descriptive and analytical analysis will be performed: the distribution of variables for migrants versus non-migrants and participants versus non-participants will be analysed using appropriate χ2-, t-, F- or Wilcoxon tests. Multivariable, logistic regression models will be performed, with the dependent variable being the dichotomized stage of the tumour (UICC stage I versus more advanced than UICC stage I). Odds ratios and associated 95%-confidence intervals will be calculated. Furthermore, ordered logistic regression models will be estimated, with the exact stage of the tumour at diagnosis as the dependent variable. Predictors used in the ordered logistic regression will be patient characteristics that are specific to migrants as well as patient characteristics that are not. Interaction models will be estimated in order to investigate whether the effects of patient characteristics on stage of tumour at the time of the initial diagnosis is different in migrants, compared to non-migrants. Discussion: An association of migration status or other socioeconomic variables with stage at diagnosis of colorectal cancer would be an important finding with respect to equal health care access among migrants. It would point to access barriers or different symptom appraisal and, in the long term, could contribute to the development of new health care concepts for migrants. Trial registration: German Clinical Trials Register DRKS00005056.
- Predictors of dropout in the German disease management program for type 2 diabetes (2012)
- Background: To improve and assess the effectiveness of disease management programs (DMPs), it is critical to understand how many people drop out of disease management programs and why. Methods: We used routine data provided by a statutory health insurance fund from the regions North Rhine, North Wurttemberg and Hesse. As part of the German DMP for type 2 diabetes, the insurance fund received regular documentation of all members participating in the program. We followed 10,989 patients who enrolled in the DMP between July 2004 and December 2005 until the end of 2007 to study how many patients dropped out of the program. Dropout was defined based on the discontinuation of program documentation on a particular patient, excluding situations in which the patient died or left the insurance fund. Predictors of dropout, assessed at the time of program enrolment, were explored using logistic regression analysis. Results: 5.5% of the patients dropped out of the disease management program within the observation period. Predictors of dropout at the time of enrolment were: region; retirement status; the number of secondary diseases; presence of a disabling secondary disease; doctors recommendations to stop smoking or to seek nutritional counselling; and the completion and outcome of the routine foot and eye exams. Different trends of dropout were observed among retired and employed patients: retired patients of old age, who possibly drop out of the program due to other health care priorities and employed people of younger age who have not yet developed many secondary diseases, but were recommended to change their lifestyle. Conclusions: Overall, dropout rates for the German disease management programs for type 2 diabetes were low compared to other studies. Factors assessed at the time of program enrolment were predictive of later dropout and should be further studied to provide information for future program improvements.
- How to improve drug dosing for patients with renal impairment in primary care - a cluster-randomized controlled trial (2012)
- Background: Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are at increased risk for inappropriate or potentially harmful prescribing. The aim of this study was to examine whether a multifaceted intervention including the use of a software programme for the estimation of creatinine clearance and recommendation of individual dosage requirements may improve correct dosage adjustment of relevant medications for patients with CKD in primary care. Methods: A cluster-randomized controlled trial was conducted between January and December 2007 in small primary care practices in Germany. Practices were randomly allocated to intervention or control groups. In each practice, we included patients with known CKD and elderly patients (>=70 years) suffering from hypertension. The practices in the intervention group received interactive training and were provided a software programme to assist with individual dose adjustment. The control group performed usual care. Data were collected at baseline and at 6 months. The outcome measures, analyzed across individual patients, included prescriptions exceeding recommended maximum daily doses, with the primary outcome being prescriptions exceeding recommended standard daily doses by 30% or more. Results: Data from 44 general practitioners and 404 patients are included. The intervention was effective in reducing prescriptions exceeding the maximum daily dose per patients, with a trend in reducing prescriptions exceeding the standard daily dose by more than 30%. Conclusions: A multifaceted intervention including the use of a software program effectively reduced inappropriately high doses of renally excreted medications in patients with CKD in the setting of small primary care practices.
- Primary care management for optimized antithrombotic treatment [PICANT]: study protocol for a cluster-randomized controlled trial (2012)
- Background: Antithrombotic treatment is a continuous therapy that is often performed in general practice and requires careful safety management. The aim of this study is to investigate whether a best practice model that applies major elements of case management, including patient education, can improve antithrombotic management in primary health care in terms of reducing major thromboembolic and bleeding events. Methods: This 24-month cluster-randomized trial will be performed in 690 adult patients from 46 practices. The trial intervention will be a complex intervention involving general practitioners, health care assistants and patients with an indication for oral anticoagulation. To assess adherence to medication and symptoms in patients, as well as to detect complications early, health care assistants will be trained in case management and will use the Coagulation-Monitoring-List (Co-MoL) to regularly monitor patients. Patients will receive information (leaflets and a video), treatment monitoring via the Co-MoL and be motivated to perform self-management. Patients in the control group will continue to receive treatment-as-usual from their general practitioners. The primary endpoint is the combined endpoint of all thromboembolic events requiring hospitalization, and all major bleeding complications. Secondary endpoints are mortality, hospitalization, strokes, major bleeding and thromboembolic complications, severe treatment interactions, the number of adverse events, quality of anticoagulation, health-related quality of life and costs. Further secondary objectives will be investigated to explain the mechanism by which the intervention is effective: patients' assessment of chronic illness care, self-reported adherence to medication, general practitioners' and health care assistants' knowledge, patients' knowledge and satisfaction with shared decision making. Practice recruitment is expected to take place between July and December 2012. Recruitment of eligible patients will start in July 2012. Assessment will occur at three time points: baseline (T0), follow-up after 12 (T1) and after 24 months (T2). Discussion: The efficacy and effectiveness of individual elements of the intervention, such as antithrombotic interventions, self-management concepts in orally anticoagulated patients and the methodological tool, case-management, have already been extensively demonstrated. This project foresees the combination of several proven instruments, as a result of which we expect to profit from a reduction in the major complications associated with antithrombotic treatment.
- "Ein System der organisierten Verantwortungslosigkeit" : Prof. Ferdinand Gerlach kritisiert falsche Anreizsysteme und die Kluft zwischen ambulanter und stationärer Versorgung (2012)
- Prof. Ferdinand Gerlach im Gespräch mit FF-Redakteurin Dr. Anne Hardy.
- Primary care practice-based care management for chronically ill patients (PraCMan): study protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial [ISRCTN56104508] (2011)
- Background: Care management programmes are an effective approach to care for high risk patients with complex care needs resulting from multiple co-occurring medical and non-medical conditions. These patients are likely to be hospitalized for a potentially "avoidable" cause. Nurse-led care management programmes for high risk elderly patients showed promising results. Care management programmes based on health care assistants (HCAs) targeting adult patients with a high risk of hospitalisation may be an innovative approach to deliver cost-efficient intensified care to patients most in need. Methods: PraCMan is a cluster randomized controlled trial with primary care practices as unit of randomisation. The study evaluates a complex primary care practice-based care management of patients at high risk for future hospitalizations. Eligible patients either suffer from type 2 diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic heart failure or any combination. Patients with a high likelihood of hospitalization within the following 12 months (based on insurance data) will be included in the trial. During 12 months of intervention patients of the care management group receive comprehensive assessment of medical and non-medical needs and resources as well as regular structured monitoring of symptoms. Assessment and monitoring will be performed by trained HCAs from the participating practices. Additionally, patients will receive written information, symptom diaries, action plans and a medication plan to improve self-management capabilities. This intervention is addition to usual care. Patients from the control group receive usual care. Primary outcome is the number of all-cause hospitalizations at 12 months follow-up, assessed by insurance claims data. Secondary outcomes are health-related quality of life (SF12, EQ5D), quality of chronic illness care (PACIC), health care utilisation and costs, medication adherence (MARS), depression status and severity (PHQ-9), self-management capabilities and clinical parameters. Data collection will be performed at baseline, 12 and 24 months (12 months post-intervention). Discussion: Practice-based care management for high risk individuals involving trained HCAs appears to be a promising approach to face the needs of an aging population with increasing care demands. Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN56104508
- Der Medication Appropriateness Index (MAI) als Zielgröße für komplexe Interventionen: erste Erfahrungen aus der PRIMUM-Pilotstudie (BMBF-Förderkennzeichen: 01GK0702) (2011)
- Meeting Abstract : 10. Deutscher Kongress für Versorgungsforschung, 18. GAA-Jahrestagung. Deutsches Netzwerk Versorgungsforschung e. V. ; Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelanwendungsforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie e. V. 20.-22.10.2011, Köln Hintergrund: Multimedikation als Folge von Multimorbidität ist ein zentrales Problem der Hausarztpraxis und erhöht das Risiko für unangemessene Arzneimittel-Verordnungen (VO). Um die Medikation bei älteren, multimorbiden Patienten zu optimieren und zu priorisieren, wurde eine computergestützte, durch Medizinische Fachangestellte (MFA) assistierte, komplexe Intervention (checklistengestütztes Vorbereitungsgespräch sowie Überprüfung eingenommener Medikamente durch MFA, Einsatz des web-basierten ArzneimittelinformationsDienstes AiD, spezifisches Arzt-Patienten-Gespräch) entwickelt und in einer 12-monatigen Pilotstudie auf Machbarkeit getestet. Ein auf 9 Items reduzierter MAI  wurde eingesetzt, um dessen Eignung als potentielles primäres Outcome der Hauptstudie zu prüfen. Material und Methoden: In die Pilotstudie in 20 Hausarztpraxen mit Cluster-Randomisation auf Praxisebene in Kontrollgruppe (Regelversorgung b. empfohlenem Standard) vs. Interventionsgruppe (komplexe Intervention b. empfohlenem Standard) wurden 5 Pat./Praxis eingeschlossen (≥65 Jahre, ≥3 chron. Erkrankungen, ≥5 Dauermedikamente, MMSE ≥26, Lebenserwartung ≥6 Monate). Zur Bewertung des MAI wurden an Baseline (T0), 6 Wo. (T1) & 3 Mon. (T2) nach Intervention erhoben: VO, Diagnosen, Natrium, Kalium & Kreatinin i.S., Größe, Gewicht, Geschlecht, Cumulative Illness Rating Scale (CIRS)  durch die Hausarztpraxis; Symptome für unerwünschte Arzneimittelwirkungen im Patienten-Telefoninterview. Für den MAI wurde die Angemessenheit jeder VO in den 9 Kategorien Indikation, Effektivität, Dosierung, korrekter & praktikabler Applikationsweg, Arzneimittelwechselwirkung, Drug-disease-Interaktion, Doppelverordnung, Anwendungsdauer 3-stufig bewertet (1 = korrekt - 3 = unkorrekt) und für die Auswertung auf Patientenebene summiert. Die Bewertung erfolgte ohne Kenntnis der Gruppenzugehörigkeit. Deskriptive Statistiken und Reliabilitätsanalysen, ungewichtete Auswertung und Gewichtung n. Bregnhoj . Ergebnisse: Es wurden N=100 Patienten in die Studie eingeschlossen, im Mittel 76 Jahre (Standardabweichung, SD 6; Range, R: 64-93) , 52% Frauen, durchschnittlich 9 VO/Pat. (SD 2; R 4-16), mittlerer CIRS-Score 10 (SD 4; R 0-23). Basierend auf N=851 VO (100 Pat.) zu T0 betrug der Reliabilitätskoeffizient (RK, Cronbachs Alpha) der ungewichteten 9 Items 0,70. Items 1-5 wiesen akzeptable Trennschärfen auf (0,52-0,64), die der Items 6, 7 & 9 fielen mit 0,21-0,29 niedriger aus, die des Item 8 betrug 0,06. Auf der Basis der 9 gewichteten Items fiel die interne Konsistenz des MAI erwartet höher aus (0,75). Die Reliabilitätsanalysen auf VO-Ebene zeigten einen RK von 0,67 (ungewichtet) vs. 0,75 (gewichtet), die Trennschärfen waren vergleichbar. Zur Zwischenauswertung betrug der MAI (T1-T0) in der Interventionsgruppe (5 Praxen, 24 Pat.) -0,9 (SD 5,6), in der Kontrollgruppe (7 Praxen, 35 Pat.) -0,5 (SD 4,9); die Differenz zwischen beiden Gruppen Mi–Mk -0,4 [95% Konfidenzintervall: -3,4;2,6]. Schlussfolgerung: Der MAI ist als potentielles primäres Outcome in der Hauptstudie geeignet: wenige fehlende Werte, Darstellung von Unterschieden prä-post und zwischen den Gruppen, akzeptable interne Konsistenz. Der niedrige Trennschärfekoeffizient des Items 8 weist darauf hin, dass dieses Item nicht mit dem Gesamt-Skalenwert korreliert, auch die Items 6, 7 und 9 korrelieren wesentlich schwächer mit dem Gesamt-Skalenwert als die Items 1 bis 5. Eine Wichtung z.B. der Items 2, 5, 6 und 9 könnte erwogen werden, um den Fokus der Intervention in der Hauptzielgröße angemessen abzubilden.
- Development of a primary care-based complex care management intervention for chronically ill patients at high risk for hospitalization: a study protocol (2010)
- Background: Complex care management is seen as an approach to face the challenges of an ageing society with increasing numbers of patients with complex care needs. The Medical Research Council in the United Kingdom has proposed a framework for the development and evaluation of complex interventions that will be used to develop and evaluate a primary care-based complex care management program for chronically ill patients at high risk for future hospitalization in Germany. Methods and design: We present a multi-method procedure to develop a complex care management program to implement interventions aimed at reducing potentially avoidable hospitalizations for primary care patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or chronic heart failure and a high likelihood of hospitalization. The procedure will start with reflection about underlying precipitating factors of hospitalizations and how they may be targeted by the planned intervention (pre-clinical phase). An intervention model will then be developed (phase I) based on theory, literature, and exploratory studies (phase II). Exploratory studies are planned that entail the recruitment of 200 patients from 10 general practices. Eligible patients will be identified using two ways of 'case finding': software based predictive modelling and physicians' proposal of patients based on clinical experience. The resulting subpopulations will be compared regarding healthcare utilization, care needs and resources using insurance claims data, a patient survey, and chart review. Qualitative studies with healthcare professionals and patients will be undertaken to identify potential barriers and enablers for optimal performance of the complex care management program. Discussion: This multi-method procedure will support the development of a primary care-based care management program enabling the implementation of interventions that will potentially reduce avoidable hospitalizations.
- The systematic guideline review : method, rationale, and test on chronic heart failure (2009)
- Background Evidence-based guidelines potentially improve healthcare. However, their de-novo-development requires substantial resources - especially for complex conditions, and adaptation may be biased by contextually influenced recommendations in source guidelines. In this paper we describe a new approach to guideline development - the systematic guideline review method (SGR), and its application in the development of an evidence-based guideline for family physicians on chronic heart failure (CHF). Methods A systematic search for guidelines was carried out. Evidence-based guidelines on CHF management in adults in ambulatory care published in English or German between the years 2000 and 2004 were included. Guidelines on acute or right heart failure were excluded. Eligibility was assessed by two reviewers, methodological quality of selected guidelines was appraised using the AGREE-instrument, and a framework of relevant clinical questions for diagnostics and treatment was derived. Data were extracted into evidence tables, systematically compared by means of a consistency analysis and synthesized in a preliminary draft. Most relevant primary sources were re-assessed to verify the cited evidence. Evidence and recommendations were summarized in a draft guideline. Results Of 16 included guidelines five were of good quality. A total of 35 recommendations were systematically compared: 25/35 were consistent, 9/35 inconsistent, and 1/35 unratable (derived from a single guideline). Of the 25 consistencies, 14 based on consensus, seven on evidence and four differed in grading. Major inconsistencies were found in 3/9 of the inconsistent recommendations. We re-evaluated the evidence for 17 recommendations (evidence-based, differing evidence levels and minor inconsistencies) the majority was congruent. Incongruencies were found, where the stated evidence could not be verified in the cited primary sources, or where the evaluation in the source guidelines focused on treatment benefits and underestimated the risks. The draft guideline was completed in 8.5 man-months. The main limitation to this study was the lack of a second reviewer. Conclusions The systematic guideline review including framework development, consistency analysis and validation is an effective, valid, and resource saving-approach to the development of evidence-based guidelines.
- The German MultiCare-study : patterns of multimorbidity in primary health care - protocol of a prospective cohort study (2009)
- Background Multimorbidity is a highly frequent condition in older people, but well designed longitudinal studies on the impact of multimorbidity on patients and the health care system have been remarkably scarce in numbers until today. Little is known about the long term impact of multimorbidity on the patients' life expectancy, functional status and quality of life as well as health care utilization over time. As a consequence, there is little help for GPs in adjusting care for these patients, even though studies suggest that adhering to present clinical practice guidelines in the care of patients with multimorbidity may have adverse effects. Methods The study is designed as a multicentre prospective, observational cohort study of 3.050 patients aged 65 to 85 at baseline with at least three different diagnoses out of a list of 29 illnesses and syndromes. The patients will be recruited in approx. 120 to 150 GP surgeries in 8 study centres distributed across Germany. Information about the patients' morbidity will be collected mainly in GP interviews and from chart reviews. Functional status, resources/risk factors, health care utilization and additional morbidity data will be assessed in patient interviews, in which a multitude of well established standardized questionnaires and tests will be performed. Discussion The main aim of the cohort study is to monitor the course of the illness process and to analyse for which reasons medical conditions are stable, deteriorating or only temporarily present. First, clusters of combinations of diseases/disorders (multimorbidity patterns) with a comparable impact (e.g. on quality of life and/or functional status) will be identified. Then the development of these clusters over time will be analysed, especially with regard to prognostic variables and the somatic, psychological and social consequences as well as the utilization of health care resources. The results will allow the development of an instrument for prediction of the deterioration of the illness process and point at possibilities of prevention. The practical consequences of the study results for primary care will be analysed in expert focus groups in order to develop strategies for the inclusion of the aspects of multimorbidity in primary care guidelines.