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עמוד בית
Sat, 20.07.24

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October 2008
A. Roguin, S. Abadi, E. Ghersin, A. Engel, R. Beyar and S. Rispler

Background: Multi-detector computed tomography has advanced enormously and now enables non-invasive evaluation of coronary arteries as well as cardiac anatomy, function and perfusion. However, the role of cardiac MDCT[1] is not yet determined in the medical community and, consequently, many clinically unnecessary scans are performed solely on a self-referral basis.

Objectives: To prospectively evaluate the role of a cardiologist consultation and recommendation prior to the scan, and the influence on the diagnostic yield of cardiac MDCT.

Methods: In our center, a CT service was initiated, but with the prerequisite approval of a cardiologist before performance of the CT. Each individual who wanted and was willing to pay for a cardiac CT was interviewed by an experienced cardiologist who determined whether cardiac MDCT was the most appropriate next test in the cardiovascular evaluation. Subjects were classified into three groups: a) those with a normal or no prior stress test, no typical symptoms and no significant risk factors of coronary artery disease were recommended to perform a stress test or to remain under close clinical follow-up without MDCT; b) those with an equivocal stress test, atypical symptoms and/or significant risk factors were allowed to have cardiac MDCT; and c) those with positive stress test or clinically highly suspected CAD[2] were advised to go directly to invasive coronary angiography. CT findings were categorized as normal CAD (normal calcium score and no narrowings), < 50% and > 50% CAD.

Results: A total of 254 people were interviewed, and in only 39 cases did the cardiologist approve the CT. However, 61 of the 215, despite our recommendation not to undergo CT, decided to have the scan. Assessment of the 100 cases that underwent MDCT showed a statistically significant better discrimination of significant CAD, according to the cardiologist’s recommendation: MDCT not recommended in 3/54 (6%) vs. MDCT recommended in 12/39 (31%) vs. recommended invasive coronary angiography in 4/7 (57%) (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Detection of coronary calcification, as well as MDCT angiography can provide clinically useful information if applied to suitable patient groups. It is foreseeable that MDCT angiography will become part of the routine workup in some subsets of patients with suspected CAD. Selection of patients undergoing MDCT scans by a cardiologist improves the ability of the test to stratify patients, preventing unnecessary scans in both high and low risk patients






[1] MDCT = multi-detector computed tomography

[2] CAD = coronary artery disease


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.

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[1] PCP = primary care physician

[2] IDF = Israel Defense Force

December 2001
Hava Tabenkin MD, Revital Gross, Shuli Bramli Greenberg, Dov Steinmetz MD and Asher Elhayany MD MP

Background: The rapidly increasing costs of healthcare pose a major challenge to many governments, particularly those of developed countries. Health policy makers in some Western European countries have adopted the policy of a strong primary healthcare system, partly due to their recognition of the value of primary care medicine as a means to restrain costs while maintaining the quality and equity of healthcare services. In these countries there is a growing comprehension that the role of the family physician should be central, with responsibility for assessing the overall health needs of the individual, for coordination of medical care and, as the primary caregiver, for most of the individual’s medical problems in the framework of the family and the community.

Objectives: To describe primary care physicians in Israel from their own perception, health policy makers' opinion on the role PCPs should play, and patients' view on their role as gatekeepers.

Methods: The study was based on three research tools: a) a questionnaire mailed to a representative sample of all PCPs employed by the four sick funds in Israel in 1997, b) in-depth semi-structured interviews with key professionals and policy makers in the healthcare system, and c) a national telephone survey of a random representative sample of patients conducted in 1997.

Results: PCPs were asked to rank the importance of 12 primary functions. A total of 95% considered coordination of all patient care to be a very important function, but only 43% thought that weighing economic considerations in patient management is important, and 30.6% thought that 24 hour responsibility for patients is important. Also, 60% of PCPs have undergone specialty training and 94% thought that this training is essential. With regard to the policy makers, most preferred highly trained PCPs (board-certified family physicians, pediatricians and internists) and believed they should play a central role in the healthcare system, acting as coordinators, highly accessible and able to weigh cost considerations. Yet, half opposed a full gatekeeper model. They also felt that the general population has lost faith in PCPs, and that most have a low status and do not have adequate training. Regarding the patients’ viewpoint, 40% preferred that the PCP function as their “personal physician” coordinating all aspects of their care and fully in charge of their referrals; 30% preferred self-referral to sub-specialists, and 19% preferred their PCP to coordinate their care but wanted to be able to refer themselves to specialists.

Conclusions: In order to maintain high quality primary care, it is important that all PCPs have board certification. In addition, PCP training systems should emphasize preventive medicine, health promotion, health economy, and cost-effectiveness issues. Efforts should be make to render PCPs a central role in the healthcare system by gradually implementing the elements of the gatekeeper model through incentives rather than regulations.
 

June 2000
Jacob Urkin MD, Sheila S. Warshawsky MSc and Joseph Press MD

Background: In Israel the pediatric emergency room functions as an urgent primary care clinic in addition to dealing with life-threatening situations. Due to health insurance stipulations, most patients come to the PER with a referral from the community clinic. The relationship between the referring physician’s expectations and the subsequent management of the referred patient in the PER is not well defined.

Objectives: To evaluate the relationship between the expectations of the primary care physician and the management of referred patients in the PER, assess the type of information provided by the referring physician, and examine the effect of additional information obtained from the referring physician on patient management in the PER.

Methods: We reviewed the records of patients presenting at the PER with referrals from primary care physicians as well as additional information obtained by telephone interviews with the referring physicians.     

Results: The expectations of the referring physicians were not fully documented in the referral form. The PER responded to the patient as if the PER was the initial contact. There was no significant difference in the response of PER physicians with or without additional information from the referring physicians.

Conclusions: The PER acts as an independent unit with no obligation to satisfy the expectations of the referring physicians. The relationship between the PER and the referring physicians needs to be clarified. Guidelines and structured PER referral forms should be implemented in all primary care clinics to improve patient management and communication between health providers. 

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PER= Pediatric Emergency Room

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