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עמוד בית
Tue, 16.07.24

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January 2007
I. Hekselman, N.R. Kahan, M. Ellis, E. Kahan

Background: Ethnicity has been associated with variance in warfarin treatment regimens in various settings.

Objectives: To determine whether ethnicity is associated with variance in patient management in Israel.

Methods: Data were extracted from the electronic patient records of Clalit Health Services clinics in the Sharon Shomron region. The study group comprised all patients treated with warfarin who performed international normalized ratio tests for at least 6 months in 2003. The proportion of tests of each patient within the target range was calculated, as was the crude average rates and 95% confidence intervals for Jewish and Arab patients. The data were then stratified by patient's gender, specialty of attending physician, patient's age, and the country where the physician studied medicine.

Results: We identified 2749 Jews and 293 Arabs who met the inclusion criteria of the study. The crude average rate of patients’ INR[1] tests within the target range was 62.3% among Jews (95% CI[2] 61.5–63.1) and 52.7% (95% CI 49.9–55.5) among Arabs. When stratified by gender, age, and the treating physician's specialty and country of education, the stratum-specific rates among Jewish patients were consistently higher than among Arabs.

Conclusions: These results suggest that cultural differences regarding adherence to recommendations for drug therapy in addition to genetic factors may be associated with this variance.






[1] INR = international normalized ratio



[2] CI = confidence interval


October 2004
N.R. Kahan, E. Kahan, D-A. Waitman and D.P. Chinitz

Background: Until recently trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole was the drug recommended in the Leumit Health Fund for the empiric treatment of uncomplicated urinary tract infection in women. However, due to increased uropathogen resistance to this drug, the fund has designated nitrofurantoin as its new drug of choice.

Objectives: To evaluate the potential economic impact of implementing this new pharmaco-policy.

Methods: Using data derived from the electronic patient records of the Leumit Health Fund we identified all non-recurrent cases of women aged 18–49 with a diagnosis of acute cystitis or UTI[1] without risk factors for complicated UTI and empirically treated with antibiotics throughout 2003. The final sample comprised 5,489 physician-patient encounters. The proportion of cases treated with each individual drug was calculated, and the excess expenditure due to non-adherence to the new guideline from the perspective of the health fund was evaluated using 5 days of therapy with nitrofurantoin as the reference treatment.

Results: Ofloxacin was the most frequently prescribed drug (30.24%), followed by TMP-SMX[2] (22.43%), cephalexin (15.08%), and nitrofurantoin (12.59%). The observed net aggregate drug expenditure was 2.3 times greater than expected had all cases been treated with nitrofurantoin according to the guideline duration of 5 days. The cost of treatment in 53% of the cases exceeded the expected cost of the guideline therapy.

Conclusions: Successful implementation of the new drug policy will likely improve quality of care and reduce costs to the health fund.






[1] UTI = urinary tract infection

[2] TMP-SMX = trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole


June 2002
E. Michael Sarrell, MD, Avigdor Mandelberg, MD, Herman Avner Cohen, MD and Ernesto Kahan, MD, MPH

Background: Primary care physicians' adherence to accepted asthma guidelines is necessary for the proper care of asthma patients.

Objectives: To investigate the compliance of primary care physicians with clinical guidelines for asthma treatment and their participation in related educational programs, and to evaluate the influence of their employment status.

Methods: A questionnaire was administered to a random sample of 1,000 primary care practitioners (pediatricians and family physicians) in Israel.

Results: The response rate was 64%. Of the physicians who participated, 473 (75%) had read and consulted the guidelines but only 192 (29%) had participated in an educational program on asthma management in the last 12 months. The younger the responding physician (fewer years in practice), the more likely his/her attendance in such a program (P<0.0001). After consulting the guidelines 189 physicians (40%) had modified their treatment strategies. Significantly more self-employed than salaried physicians had read the guidelines and participated in educational programs; physicians who were both self-employed and salaried fell somewhere between these groups. This trend was not influenced by years in practice.

Conclusions: All primary care physicians should update their knowledge more often. The publication of guidelines on asthma must be followed by their proper dissemination and utilization. Our study suggests that major efforts should be directed at the population of employed physicians.

December 2001
Tamar Peled MSc, Michael Weingarten BM BCh, Noemi Varsano MSc, Andre Matalon MD, Adi Fuchs MD, Robert D. Hoffman MD, Charna Zeltcer MD, Ernesto Kahan MD MPH, Ella Mendelson PhD and Tiberio A. Swartz MD MPH

Background: Each winter influenza activity is a major cause of morbidity and mortality both in Israel and worldwide.

Objectives: To identify the influenza viruses active in Israel during the winter season and to assess the extent of influenza morbidity.

Methods: Information was collected on a population of 18,684 individuals enrolled in two community clinics in central Israel. It included the total number of visits for acute respiratory infection – including influenza and influenza-like illness (ARI/flu-like) – during a 20 week surveillance period (23 November 1997 to 27 March 1998) and the percent of influenza virus isolates in nasopharyngeal specimens from a sample of patients with ARI/flu-like collected on a weekly basis during the same period.

Results: A total of 5,947 visits for ARI/flu-like were recorded among 18,684 enrolled patients in two community clinics (18.1%). The progressive increase in the number of visits for ARI/flu-like reached a peak on week 2/98 with 597 visits and a rate of 31.95 visits per 1,000 population. After this, a decrease to the initial values was evident by week 12/98. Most affected patients were in the age groups 5–14 and 65 years and over, with a rate of 733.5 and 605.3 visits per 1,000 population, respectively. Influenza virus was isolated from 92 of the 426 nasopharyngeal specimens (21.6%). The most commonly detected strain was A/Sydney/5/97(H3N2) like (77.2%). The peak rate of isolates was recorded at the beginning of January (01/98).

Conclusions: A/Sydney/5/97(H3N2) like-strain was the dominant influenza virus. Its presence did not prevent the simultaneous activity of influenza A/H1N1 virus. The dynamic of the clinical disease as expressed by the weekly visit rate for ARI/flu-like was similar to the temporal pattern of the virological findings. The extent of morbidity suggests moderate epidemic activity.
 

Yaacov Fogelman MD and Ernesto Kahan MD MPH

Background: The prevalence of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and its pharmacologic treatment have increased dramatically in the past decade in the United States and Britain. We examined the use of methylphenidate hydrochloride for the treatment of ADHD in children in northern Israel.

Methods: We evaluated all prescriptions for methylphenidate filled in 1999 for children aged 5–18 years residing in northern Israel who were insured by Clalit Health Services, a health maintenance organization that covers approximately 70% of the population.

Results: Methylphenidate was prescribed to 1.45% of the children in northern Israel in 1999, an increase of 20% in the overall prevalence of methylphenidate use since 1992. Eighty-two percent were boys. The rate of prescription varied widely by type of settlement, from 0.2% in Arab cities and towns to 5.7% in kibbutzim. Primary care physicians wrote 78% of all the prescriptions.

Conclusions: The increase in methylphenidate use was much smaller in northern Israel than in most other developed regions and countries. More efforts at diagnosis and treatment of attention deficit disorders may need to be directed at Arab populations and those with inadequate medical services.

October 2001
Sigal Ringel, MD, Ernesto Kahan, MD, MPH, Revital Greenberg, Shlomo Arieli, MD, Amihood Blay and Matitiahu Berkovitch, MD

Background: Many women stop smoking before or during pregnancy, or while breast-feeding (nursing).

Objectives: To assess the relation between breast-feeding and smoking habits.

Methods: A survey was conducted among 920 women attending family health clinics (group 1) and a maternity department (group 2) on their breast-feeding and smoking habits.

Results: A total of 156 women (16.95%) smoked during pregnancy. A significant correlation was found between breast-feeding and not smoking after delivery (P=0.009 in group 1, P=0.03 in group 2). A higher tendency to nurse was found among women with an uneventful pregnancy, who vaginally delivered a singleton at term weighing 2,500-4000 g, and who received guidance on breast-feeding.

Conclusion: Professional guidance in favor of breast­feeding is crucial to increase the rate of nursing. Encouraging breast-feeding will probably decrease the rate of cigarette smoking.
 

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.

March 2000
Michael A. Weingarten MA BM BCh, Irene Katzir MD, Elliot Sprecher PhD,Svetlana Kobzantsev MD, Cara Zelzer MD and Ernesto Kahan MD

Background: The pattern of diabetes and ischemic heart disease among emigrants from pre-industrialized societies to more developed countries may be explained by both genetic and environmental factors.

Objectives: To describe and interpret the pattern of diabetes and ischemic heart disease among Yemenite immigrants in Israel and their second-generation offspring.

Methods: Medical record charts of adult Yemenites were surveyed in a primary care health center, and the data were compared with prevalence rates derived from a non-Yemenite population.

Results: There was a marked excess of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus among Yemenite immigrants over 45 years of age, but not of hypertension or ischemic heart disease. Yemenites with diabetes were far less likely to develop ischemic heart disease than non-Yemenites with diabetes (odds ratio for non-Yemenites compared with Yemenites, 3.5; confidence interval 1.54<OR<7.77).

Conclusions: There was less of an association between diabetes and ischemic heart disease among Yemenites. This finding requires further investigation of the relative roles of genetic and environmental factors. 

____________________________________

 

OR= odds ratio

February 2000
Matti Erlichman MD, Ruth Litt MD, Zachi Grossman MD, Ernesto Kahan MD MPH and IPROS Network

Background: Streptococcal pharyngotonsillitis remains a common illness in children and can lead to serious complications if left untreated.

Objective: To evaluate the diagnostic and management approach of a sample of primary care physicians in the largest sick fund in Israel to streptococcal pharyngotonsillitis in children.

Methods: A questionnaire was mailed to all physicians who treat children and are employed by the General Health Services (Kupat Holim Klalit) in the Jerusalem District. The questionnaire included data on demographics, practice type and size, and availability of throat culture and rapid strep test; as well as a description of three hypothetical cases followed by questions relating to their diagnosis and treatment.

Results: Of the 188 eligible physicians, 118 (62.5%) responded, including 65 of 89 pediatricians (73%) and 53 of 99 family and general practitioners (53.5%). Fifty-six physicians (47.4%) had more than 18 years experience, and 82 (70%) completed specialization in Israel.  Mean practice size was 950 patients. Fifty-three physicians (43%) worked in Kupat Holim community clinics, 25 (21%) worked independently in private clinics, and 40 (34%) did both. A total of 91 (77%) had access to laboratory facilities for daily throat culture. The time it took for the results to arrive was 48 to 72 hours.  For the three clinical scenarios, 90% of the physicians accurately evaluated case A, a 1-year-old with viral pharyngotonsillitis, and 100 (85%) correctly diagnosed case C, a 7-year-old with streptococcal infection.  As expected, opinions were divided on case B, a 3-year-old child with uncertain diagnosis.  Accordingly, 75 (65.3%) physicians did not recommend treatment for case A, compared to 109 (92.5%) for case C.  For case B, 22 (19%) said they would always treat, 43 (36%) would sometimes treat, and 35 (30%) would await the result of the throat culture.  For 104 (88%) physicians the antibiotic of choice for case C was penicillin, while only 9 (7.5%) chose amoxicillin. However, the recommended dosage regimens varied from 250 to 500 mg per dose, and from two to four doses daily.  For case C, 110 physicians (93%) chose a 10 day duration of treatment.

Conclusions: The primary care physicians in the sample (pediatricians, general practitioners and family physicians) accurately diagnosed viral and streptococcal pharyngotonsillitis. However, there was a lack of uniformity regarding its management in general, and the dosage regimen for penicillin in particular.
 

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