- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.