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עמוד בית
Tue, 23.04.24

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June 2022
Adi Isaacson MD and Amnon Lahad MD, MPH

Background: Traditionally, the task of health promotion and early detection screening has been the purview of health maintenance organizations through the family physician. For some years, it has become popular for private health organizations to offer a concentrated day of comprehensive medical testing, which is promoted as a perk by many organizations to their employees. What do these programs offer? Are the tests that are offered evidence based?

Objectives: To describe a concentrated day of comprehensive medical testing program in view of current evidence base medicine (EBM) recommendations.

Methods: We reviewed official internet sites of the most popular concentrated days of comprehensive medical testing and compared the tests offered to the recommendation of several Israeli and international guidelines.

Results: Many tests performed at director screening days do not follow EBM recommendations. Tests like mammography, colonoscopy, bone density, and prostate-specific antigen tests are often offered outside of the recommended age and risk groups and without pretest consultation.

Conclusions: We recommend against routine general health examinations for healthy adults. The most important treatment is not screening and early detection but real prevention. We recommend turning these director screening days into real investments in future health by changing the focus from diagnosis to treatment through prevention. One-on-one conversations, explanations, and most importantly tools to encourage lifestyle changes, will really make a difference.

September 2010
G. Twig, A. Lahad, I. Kochba, V. Ezra, D. Mandel, A. Shina, Y. Kreiss and E. Zimlichman

Background: A survey conducted among Israel Defense Force primary care physicians in 2001 revealed that they consider patients' needs more than they do organizational needs and that the education PCPs[1] currently receive is inadequate. In 2003 the medical corps initiated a multi-format continuous medical education program aimed at improving skills in primary care medicine.

Objectives: To measure and analyze the effect of the tailored-made CME[2] program on PCPs’ self-perception 3 years after its implementation and correlate it to clinical performance.

Methods: In 2006 a questionnaire was delivered to a representative sample of PCPs in the IDF[3]. The questionnaire included items on demographic and professional background, statements on self-perception issues, and ranking of roles. We compared the follow-up survey (2006) to the results of the original study (2001) and correlated the survey results with clinical performance as measured through objective indicators.

Results: In the 2006 follow-up survey PCPs scored higher on questions dealing with their perception of themselves as case managers (3.8 compared to 4.0 on the 2001 survey on a 5 point scale, P = 0.046), perceived quality of care and education (3.5 vs. 3.8, P = 0.06), and on questions dealing with organizational commitment (3.5 vs. 3.8, P=0.01). PCPs received higher scores on clinical indicators in the later study (odds ratio 2.05, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: PCPs in the IDF perceive themselves more as case managers as compared to the 2001 survey. A tailor-made CME program may have contributed to the improvement in skills and quality of care.






[1] PCP = primary care physician



[2] CME = continuous medical education



[3] IDF = Israel Defense Forces


November 2009
A. Neville, Z. Liss, A. Lahad, B. Porter and P. Shvartzman

Background: Low back pain is a common problem managed by primary care physicians and orthopedic specialists.

Objectives: To evaluate the outcome of new LBP[1] episodes in patients who chose to visit either an orthopedist or a general practitioner.

Methods: All patients visiting the orthopedist or physician during the study period were screened for a new complaint of LBP. After the initial visit the patients were interviewed by phone by means of a structured questionnaire, with a follow-up interview one month later. The study was performed at Clalit Health Services primary care and consultation clinics. A random sample of 125 GPs[2] and 17 orthopedists were chosen. Consecutively recruited were 166 patients who visited the GP and 75 the orthopedist. The main outcome measures evaluated were perceived complaint severity and degree of disturbance to everyday functioning, problem resolution, and health services utilization.

Results: Patients who decided to first visit the orthopedist indicated a higher disturbance to everyday functioning (75% vs. 70%, P < 0.01), were invited for further follow-up visits (6% vs. 51%, P < 0.05) and had more computed tomography and bone scans (20 vs. 3%, P < 0.001 and 9 vs. 2%, P < 0.05, respectively). Health status after one month showed that patients who chose the GP were more likely to have their problem solved (36 vs. 17%, P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Symptom resolution for a new LBP complaint was significantly higher in patients who decided on the GP, even when controlling for severity of illness and degree of disturbance to everyday functioning.






[1] LBP = low back pain



[2] GP = general practitioner


February 2007
A. Friedman, A. Lahad

Background: Healthcare behavior occurs within the context of the family unit. Little research has investigated the influences among adult family members regarding their use of medical care services.

Objectives: To investigate the effects of maternal attendance patterns and maternal self-assessed health status on those of adult children.

Methods: This study was a retrospective cohort, analyzing both patient records for physician visits and mailed self-administered questionnaires regarding subjective health assessment. We evaluated a unique study group of multi-generational families with free and equal access to medical services at a primary care kibbutz clinic in Israel. This enabled an exclusive focus on the association between the use of healthcare by mothers and their grown children.

Results: Controlling for the subjects' age, gender and number of chronic diagnoses, a significant association exists between the family physician visit rates of a mother and those of her grown offspring (P = 0.03). Low self-health assessment is associated with higher levels of physician utilization (P = 0.003). Maternal self-health evaluation is associated with her adult children's own self-health evaluation (odds ratio 5.9, P = 0.04) and their rates of physician utilization (one additional offspring visit per year for low maternal self-health, P = 0.02).

Conclusions: A mother’s behavior patterns measured via self-rated health status and physician visit rates serve as a proxy for maternal attitudes regarding healthcare, and these attitudes are possibly imparted to her children for life. This study provides unique evidence for a maternal health behavior effect on grown children, and enables a more complete understanding of families attending the primary care clinic.
 

October 2005
E. Zimlichman, A. Lahad, A. Aron-Maor, A. Kanevsky and Y. Shoenfeld.
 Background: As complementary and alternative medicine is gaining popularity among health consumers, diagnostic screening tools based on neuroreflexology are also being developed. These techniques, which are based on the rationale that measurement of electrical impedance of specific dermatomes reflects corresponding internal organ pathologies, have not yet been the subject of conventional scientific research.

Objectives: To determine the effectiveness of a neuroreflexology-based screening test, specifically the Medex device (Medex Screen Ltd.), for diagnosing patients undergoing conventional internal organ assessment, in a hospital setting.

Methods: Patients admitted to an internal medicine department, who met the inclusion criteria and agreed to participate, underwent conventional medical evaluation that included past medical history and physical examination. Another examination was conducted by a second physician using the Medex device to determine internal organ pathologies. A third researcher compared the actual “conventional” diagnosis with the Medex device output using standard statistical analysis.   

Results: Overall, 150 patients participated in the study. Correlation was significant for all categories (P < 0.01) except for blood and lymphatic disease. A high sensitivity (>70%) was measured for cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal and genitourinary diseases. The highest measure of agreement, as represented by the Cohen-Kappa factor, was found for respiratory disease (0.57).

Conclusions: Although the exact mechanism is not entirely clear, measurement of electroskin impedance of dermal-visceral zones has the potential to serve as a screening tool for inner organ pathologies. Further research should be conducted to create more evidence to support or dispute the use of this technique as a reliable diagnostic tool.

March 2005
E. Zimlichman, D. Mandel, F.B. Mimouni, S. Vinker, I. Kochba, Y. Kreiss and A. Lahad
Background: The health system of the medical corps of the Israel Defense Force is based primarily upon primary healthcare. In recent years, health management organizations have considered the primary care physician responsible for assessing the overall health needs of the patient and, accordingly, introduced the term “gatekeeper.”

Objectives: To describe and analyze how PCPs[1] in the IDF[2] view their roles as primary care providers and to characterize how they perceive the quality of the medical care that they provide.

Methods: We conducted a survey using a questionnaire that was mailed or faxed to a representative sample of PCPs. The questionnaire included demographic background, professional background, statements on self-perception issues, and ranking of roles as a PCP in the IDF.

Results: Statements concerning commitment to the patient were ranked higher than statements concerning commitment to the military organization. Most physicians perceive the quality of the medical care service that they provide as high; they also stated that they do not receive adequate continuous medical education.

Conclusions: Our survey shows that PCPs in the IDF, like civilian family physicians, perceive their primary obligation as serving the needs of their patients but are yet to take on the full role of “gatekeepers” in the IDF’s healthcare system. We conclude that the Medical Corps should implement appropriate steps to ensure that PCPs are prepared to take on a more prominent role as “gatekeepers” and providers of high quality primary medical care.

__________________

[1] PCP = primary care physician

[2] IDF = Israel Defense Force

May 2003
A. Lahad, V. Anshelevitz, M. Sonnenblick and T. Dwolatzky

Background: With the aging of the population and the increase in the number of elderly patients under the care of primary care physicians in the community, it is essential that the physician be aware of the preventive medicine recommendations for this group of patients. Accepted evidence-based guidelines have been developed for the older patient and adherence to these guidelines may play a significant role in decreasing morbidity and mortality in the elderly.

Objectives: To determine whether elderly patients in community clinics are aware of the preventive medicine practices that are relevant and available to them, and to assess which factors influence their decision to use such interventions. Of particular interest was to evaluate the role of the doctor-patient relationship on the degree of patient compliance with preventive procedures.

Methods: Patients attending community clinics of the Clalit Health Services in Jerusalem were interviewed. Background information was obtained and the patients were questioned regarding the use of the following preventive medicine recommendations: screening for occult blood in the stool, testing of vision and hearing, influenza and pneumococcal immunization, thyroid-stimulating hormone testing, digital rectal examination for prostate cancer, and calcium supplementation. The patients were questioned regarding the use of aspirin or oral anticoagulation where relevant. Factors influencing their level of compliance were examined.

Results: The study group comprised 205 patients with an average age of 74.5 years. Overall the rates of compliance were high, with 78% undergoing visual assessment, 87% fecal occult blood testing, and 81% influenza immunization. Pneumococcal immunization had been administered to 49% of those interviewed and 56% had their hearing tested. Digital rectal examination had been performed in 45% of patients. Calcium supplementation was used in 60% of patients. Almost all the patients (91–100%) noted that the physician had initiated the procedure and that non-compliance was due to patient preferences. Of the 172 patients who were assumed to benefit from aspirin use, 153 (89%) used the medication, and 87% of 23 patients with atrial fibrillation were on chronic anticoagulation.

Conclusions: A high level of compliance with preventive medicine recommendations was found among this group of elderly patients. The doctor-patient relationship had a positive effect on the patients' compliance.
 

December 2001
Avraham Friedman, MD and Amnon Lahad, MD, MPH

Background: Alternative medicine use is increasing worldwide and the associated expenditures are significant. In Israel 19% of patients who consulted their family physician had also sought treatment by an alternative medicine practitioner.

Objectives: To explore the correlation between different modalities of healthcare utilization, health behavior, and health belief among adult members of a kibbutz. This unique study population enabled the use of a simplified quantitative model due to the minimal individual differences in cost and access.

Methods: Healthcare utilization data were obtained for 220 kibbutz members aged 15–70 years from patient medical files and self-administered questionnaires over a 45 month period. Patient visits to the family practitioner and other specialist physicians were tallied, and individuals reported alternative medicine consultations during the previous year. Multiple regression analysis was used to control for age, chronic disease, and other background characteristics.

Results: The mean number of patient FP visits was 3.6 per patient per year. Women and chronic disease sufferers visited the doctor more frequently. A patient’s number of FP visits and other specialist physician visits were closely correlated, with each specialist physician consult resulting in an additional 0.64 FP visit for a given individual (P=0.007). Our analysis indicated that self-reported alternative therapy utilization was positively associated with the number of FP visits; patients reporting alternative therapy use visited their primary care physician once additionally per year (P=0.03). Low self-rated health status was correlated with increased likelihood of alternative therapy use (borderline significance).

Conclusion: These results suggest that a patient who seeks treatment from one type of healthcare practitioner will seek out other practitioners as well. This study supports the notion that unconventional therapies are used in conjunction with, rather than instead of, mainstream medical care.

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