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עמוד בית
Tue, 16.07.24

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September 2012
E. Kitai, G. Blumberg, D. Levy, A. Golan-Cohen, and S. Vinker

Background: Fatigue is a common complaint in primary care and has a broad differential diagnosis, making the approach complex and often ineffective.


Objectives: To follow the course of adults without a significant known background disease who complain of fatigue for the first time, and to characterize the family physician’s approach.


Methods: The study population comprised a random sample of 299 patients aged 18–45 who presented with fatigue as a first-time single complaint to their family physician. Excluded were patients with chronic diseases or states that may include signs of fatigue. We analyzed the index encounter data, the diagnostic and laboratory tests, the medications prescribed and the one year clinical outcome.

Results: Seventy percent were women, average age 30.5 years, and 69% had no known co-morbidities; 57% of the patients were physically examined at the first visit and most (78.6%) were sent for laboratory analysis. Five percent of laboratory tests were positive. Eighty patients (26.8%) were given a specific diagnosis, with the leading diagnoses being anemia and infectious diseases; 18.7% were given sick leave at the first visit. Fatigue was more common in early summer.


Conclusions: The majority of young healthy patients complaining of fatigue are not diagnosed with an organic physiological disorder. Many of the study patients were sent for laboratory tests but in most cases these tests were not contributory to the diagnosis or management. It seems likely that the most efficient strategy would be watchful follow-up with a minimum of testing.


 
January 2007
E. Kitai, S. Vinker, L. Halperin, A. Meidan and E. Grossman

Background: Recently the Joint National Committee (7th report) introduced the term “pre-hypertension.” Little is known on its prevalence in the general population.

Objectives: To assess the prevalence of pre-hypertension in a large national cohort.

Methods: We analyzed the database of all ≥ 18 year old members of Leumit Health Services, one of the four health management organizations in Israel, from which we retrieved the recorded blood pressure levels. Pre-hypertension was defined according to the JNC-7[1] criteria.

Results: Of the 426,033 subjects 18.6% had a diagnosis of hypertension or used antihypertensive medications. Only 40.8% of the other 346,799 subjects had had their BP[2] measured in the preceding 2 years. BP recording rates were higher in females than in males (45.1% vs. 36.3%) and higher in elderly subjects than in young subjects (56% aged 66–75 years vs. 32% aged 18–25). Pre-hypertension was observed in 80,625 (23.2%) of the 346,799 while only 56,113 (16.2%) had normal BP records. The prevalence of pre-hypertension increased with age (13.3% aged 18–25 vs. 44.8% aged 66–75), and was more prevalent in men than in women (24.0% vs. 22.5%).

Conclusions: BP levels among young people are low, even though the prevalence of pre-hypertension in this population may be high. Thus, more emphasis should be given to routine BP measurements and confirmation of the findings in all age groups.






[1] JNC-7 = Joint National Committee 7th report



[2] BP = blood pressure


October 2005
S. Vinker, S. Nakar, R. Ram. A. Lustman and E. Kitai.
 Background: Good care of the diabetic patient reduces the incidence of long-term complications. Treatment should be interdisciplinary; in the last decade a debate has raged over how to optimize treatment and how to use the various services efficiently.

Objectives: To evaluate the quality of care of diabetic patients in primary care and diabetes clinics in the community in central Israel.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional study of a random sample of 209 diabetic patients in a district of the largest health management organization in Israel. Patients were divided into two groups – those treated only by their family physician and those who had attended diabetes clinics. Data included social demographics, medications, risk factors, quality of follow-up, laboratory tests, quality of diabetes control and blood pressure control, and complications of diabetes.

Results: Of the 209 patients 38% were followed by a diabetes clinic and 62% by a family physician. Patients attending the specialist clinic tended to be younger (P = 0.01) and more educated (P = 0.017). The duration of their diabetes was longer (P < 0.01) and they had more diabetic microvascular complications (P = 0.001). The percentage of patients treated with insulin was higher among the diabetes clinic patients (75% vs. 14%, P = 0.0001). More patients with nephropathy received angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors in the diabetes clinic (94% vs. 68%, P = 0.02). Follow-up in the specialist clinic as compared to by the family physician was better in the areas of foot examination (P < 0.01), fundus examination (P = 0.0001), and hemoglobin A1c testing (P = 0.01). On a regression model only fundus examination, foot examination and documentation of smoking status were significantly better in the diabetes clinic (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: There is still a large gap between clinical guidelines and clinical practice. Joint treatment of diabetes patients between the family physician and the diabetes specialist may be a proposed model to improve follow-up and diabetes control. This model of treatment should be checked in a prospective study.

June 2002
Shlomo Vinker, MD, Sasson Nakar, MD, Elliot Rosenberg, MD, MPH and Eliezer Kitai, MD

Background: Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer mortality in Israel. Unfortunately, compliance  with annual fecal occult blood testing is very low.

Objective: To assess the effectiveness of interventions to increase FOBT[1] screening in primary care clinics in Israel.

Methods: A prospective, randomized study included all 50–75 year old enrollees of six family physicians in two primary care clinics. The register of two physicians, one from each clinic, was allocated to one of three groups. Two FOBT reminder strategies were tested: a physician reminder (753 patients), and a patient reminder that was either a phone call (312 patients) or a letter (337 patients). The control group (913 patients) of physicians continued administering their regular level of care. The main outcome measure was the percentage of patients undergoing FOBT screening in each study arm at the conclusion of the one year study period.

Results: In the intervention groups 14.3% (201/1,402) were screened using the FOBT over the course of the study year. Using an intent-to-screen analysis, the screening rate in the physician and patient reminder groups was significantly higher than in the control group(16.5 and 11.9%,vs. 1.2% respectively, P < 0.0001). Phone reminders were significantly more efective as compared to letters (14.7 vs. 9.2%, P = 0.01).

Conclusions: Our study has shown the benefit of various FOBT reminder systems, especially those centered around the family physician. Further research should focus on this area, in conjunction with other novel approaches.

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[1] FOBT = fecal occult blood testing

December 2001
Shlomo M. Monnickendam MD, Shlomo Vinker MD, Simon Zalewski MD, Orli Cohen MD and Eliezer Kitai MD, and Research Group of the Department of Family Medicine, Tel Aviv University

Background: Patients’ consent to being part of medical education is often taken for granted, both in primary and secondary care. Formal consent procedures are not used routinely during teaching and patients are not always aware of teaching activities.

Objective: To investigate patients’ attitudes and expectations on issues of consent regarding participation in teaching in general practice, and the influence of a student’s presence on the consultation.

Methods: The study took place in 46 teaching practices during the sixth year clinical internship in family medicine. Patients completed questionnaires at the end of 10 consecutive eligible consultations. The questionnaire contained data on the willingness to participate in teaching, the preferred consent procedure and the effects of the student’s presence. The doctors were asked to estimate the sociodemographic level in their clinic area.

Results: A total of 375 questionnaires were returned; the response rate was not affected by the clinic’s sociodemographic level. Overall, 67% of the patients had come into contact with students in the past; 3.2% of the participants objected to the presence of a student during the consultation; 15% would insist on advance notification of the presence of a student, and another 13.9% would request it; 4% stated that the presence of students had a detrimental influence on the physical examination and history; and 33.6% would refuse to be examined by a student without the doctor’s presence.

Conclusion: Most patients agreed to have a student present during the consultation; some would like prior notification; a minority refused the student’s presence. A large minority would refuse to be examined without the tutor’s presence. Our findings need to be taken into account when planning clinical clerkships.

Sasson Nakar MD, Shlomo Vinker MD, Eliezer Kitai MD, Eli Wertman MD and Michael Weingarten MD

Background: Migration leads to changes in almost all areas of life including health. But how far are health beliefs also preserved, and how far are they affected by the process of acculturation to the host society?

Objectives: To examine the difference between behavior and attitudes towards conventional and traditional medicine among elderly Yemenite immigrants.

Methods: A community-based study was conducted in the Yemenite neighborhoods in the city of Rehovot. All inhabitants of Yemenite origin over the age of 70 were identified from the population register, excluding those who were institutionalized or demented. Social work students interviewed them at home. The questionnaire inquired after health problems in the preceding month. For each of these problems, the respondent was asked whether any mode of treatment had been employed – Yemenite folk remedies, conventional medical care, or other. Their attitudes towards Yemenite folk medicine and conventional medicine were recorded. Socioeconomic data included their current age, age at immigration, year of immigration, marital status, gender, religiosity, and education.

Results: A total of 326 elderly people were identified who fulfilled the selection criteria, of whom 304 (93%) agreed to be interviewed. Of these, 276 (91%) reported at least one health problem in the preceding month, providing 515 problems of which 349 (68%) were reported to a conventional medical doctor while 144 (28%) were treated by popular folk remedies. Fifty-nine problems (11.5%) were treated by specifically Yemenite traditional remedies, mostly by the respondents themselves (38/59) rather than by a traditional healer. Immigrants who arrived in Israel over the age of 30 years, as compared to respondents who immigrated at an earlier age and grew up in Israel, were more likely to use traditional Yemenite remedies (24.4% vs. 8.2%, P<0.005).

Conclusion: Aged Yemenite Jews in Israel prefer modern medicine. The earlier the immigrant arrived in Israel, the more positive the attitude towards modern medicine and the less use made of traditional Yemenite healing.

September 2001
Slomo Vinker, MD, Boris Kaplan, MD, Sasson Nakar, MD, Gita Samuels, MD, Gidon Shapira, MD and Eliezer Kitai, MD

Background: Urinary incontinence in older women is common. Its characteristics and impact on quality of life is not well established since these women are usually reluctant to tell their healthcare providers about the problem.

Objective: To determine the characteristics of urinary incontinence in women and the manner in which it affects patients quality of life.

Methods: Twenty family physicians were requested to distribute a questionnaire to the first 25 consecutive women aged 30 to 75 years who visited their clinic for any reason. The questionnaire covered general health issues, symptoms of urinary incontinence, and quality of life.

Results: A total of 418 women, mean age 50.0 ± 11.8 years, completed the questionnaire (84% response rate). Of these, 148 (36%) reported having episodes of urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence was found to be associated with older age, menopause, obesity and coexisting chronic disorders. Sixty percent of the women with urinary incon­tinence found it to be a disturbing symptom, and 44% reported that it had a detrimental effect on their quality of life. Only 32% of the affected women had sought medical advice, half of them from their family physician. Treatment was recommended to 66% of those who sought help, and in about two-thirds of these it brought some measure of relief.

Conclusions: Urinary incontinence is a common com­plaint among women attending primary care clinics, but it does not receive appropriate attention, Though it often adversely affects quality of life, only a small proportion of women seek medical advice. Family physicians should raise the issue as a part of the routine general health check-up.
 

October 2000
Stanley Rabin PhD, Ernesto Kahan MD MPH, Simon Zalewsky MD, Barbara Rabin MA, Michael Hertz MD, Ofra Mehudar BA and Eliezer Kitai MD

Background: *Previous descriptive studies have demonstrated the problematic nature of physicians' attitudes toward battered women. However, little empirical research has been done in the field, especially among the various medical specialties.

Objectives: To compare the approach and feelings of competence regarding the care of battered women between primary care and non-primary care physicians. The non-primary care physicians who are likely to encounter battered women in the ambulatory setting are gynecologists and orthopedists.

Methods: A self-report questionnaire formulated for this study was mailed to a random sample of 400 physicians working in ambulatory clinics of the two main health maintenance organizations in Israel (300 primary care physicians, 50 gynecologists and 50 orthopedists).

Results: In both physician groups, treating battered women tended to evoke more negative emotional states than treating patients with infectious disease. The most prevalent mood state related to the management of battered women was anger at her situation. Primary care physicians experienced more states of tension and confusion than non-primary care physicians and had lower perceived self-efficacy and self-competence in dealing with battered women.

Conclusions: Though both physician groups exhibited negative feelings when confronting battered women, the stronger emotion of the primary care physicians may indicate greater sensitivity and personal awareness. We believe that more in-service training should be introduced to help physicians at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels to cope both emotionally and professionally with these patients.

June 2000
Ernesto Kahan MD MPH, Shmuel M. Giveon MD MPH, Simon Zalevsky MD, Zipora Imber-Shachar MD and Eliezer Kitai MD

Background: The reasons that patients consult the clinic physician for common minor symptoms are not clearly defined. For seasonal epidemic events such as flu-like symptoms this characterization is relevant.

Objectives: To identify the factors that prompt patients to seek medical attention, and correlate patient behavior with different demographic and disease variables.

Methods: A random sample of 2,000 enrolled people aged 18–65 years and registered with eight primary care clinics located throughout Israel were asked to report whether they had had flu-like symptoms within the previous 3 months.  Those who responded affirmatively (n=346) were requested to complete an ad hoc questionnaire evaluating their treatment-seeking behavior.

Results: A total of 318 patients completed the questionnaire (92% response rate), of whom 271 (85%) consulted a physician and 47 (15%) did not. Those who sought medical assistance had more serious symptoms as perceived by them (cough, headache and arthralgia) (P<0.05), and their main reason for visiting the doctor was “to rule out serious disease.”  Self-employed patients were more likely than salaried workers to visit the clinic to rule out serious disease (rather than to obtain a prescription or sick note or to reassure family). They also delayed longer before seeking treatment (P=0.01).

Conclusion: In our study the majority of individuals with flu symptoms tended to consult a physician, though there were significant variations in the reasons for doing so, based on a combination of sociodemographic variables. We believe these findings will help primary care physicians to characterize their practices and to program the expected demand of flu-like symptoms.

December 1999
Eliezer Kitai MD, Talma Kushnir PhD, Michael Herz MD, Shmuel Melamed MD, Dorit Vigiser PhD and M. Granek MD
Background: Physicians need a professional environment that is conducive to efficient and satisfying work. Little has been published about the effect of work structure on the satisfaction that family physicians derive from their work.

Objectives: To assess the structure and the positive and negative job components of family physicians in Israel, as well as the effect of these components on their satisfaction with their work.

Methods: A questionnaire was sent to a random selection of members of the Israel Society of Family Physicians (n=225).

Results: Altogether 183 questionnaires were returned. Specialist family doctors, practice medical directors and salaried doctors were involved in more activities than non-specialist doctors, trainees and self-employed doctors. Overall satisfaction was highest for specialists and lowest for non-specialists. Work overload, insufficient resources and abundant paperwork were most frequently cited as negative work components. The opportunity to utilize medical knowledge, challenging work and work variety scored highest as positive components.

Conclusions: The more professionally active physicians were also the more satisfied. Clinical work and teaching provided the most satisfaction, while administrative work and lack of time were the main causes of dissatisfaction.

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* This article is dedicated to the memory of our dear friend, Dr. michael Herz, who contributed to the writing of it.

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