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עמוד בית
Fri, 21.06.24

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June 2001
Haim Reuveni, MD, Shifra Shvarts, PhD, Joachim Meyer, PhD, Asher Elhayany, MD, MPA and Dan Greenberg, MSc

Background: On 1 January 1995 a new mandatory National Health Insurance Law was enacted in Israel, The new law fostered competition among the four major Israeli healthcare providers (HMO5 or sick funds) already operating in the market due to the possibility that an unlimited number of patients and the relative budget share would shift among the HMOs. This led them to launch advertising campaigns to attract new members.

Objectives: To examine newspaper advertising activities during the early stages of healthcare market reform in Israel.

Methods: Advertising efforts were reviewed during a study period of 24 months (July 1994 to June 1996). Advertisements were analyzed in terms of marketing strategy, costs and quality of information.

Results: During the study period 412 newspaper adver­tisements were collected. The total advertising costs by all HMOs was approximately US$4 million in 1996 prices. Differences were found in marketing strategy, relative adver­tising costs, contents and priorities among the HMOs.

Conclusions: The content of HMO5 newspaper advertis­ing was consistent with their marketing strategy. The mes­sages met the criteria of persuasive advertising in that they cultivated interest in the HMOs but did not provide meaningful information about them. Future developments in this area should include consensus guidelines for advertising activities of HMOs in Israel, instruction concerning the content of messages, and standardization of criteria to report on HMO performance.

April 2000
Click on the icon on the upper right hand side for the article by Joseph Barr, MD, Matitiahu Berkovitch, MD, Hagit Matras, MA, Eran Kocer, MD, Revital Greenberg and Gideon Eshel, MD, published in IMAJ. IMAJ 2000; 2; April; 278-281

Background: For centuries talismans and amulets have been used in many cultures for their legendary healing powers.

Methods: We asked the parents of every child (Jews and Arabs) admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit over a 2 month period to complete a questionnaire, which included demographic data on the patient and the family, the use of talismans or other folk medicine practices, and the perception of the effects of these practices on the patient’s well-being. A different questionnaire was completed by the ICU staff members on their attitude toward the use of amulets.

Results: Thirty percent of the families used amulets and talismans in the ICU, irrespective of the socioeconomic status of the family or the severity of the patient’s illness. Amulets and talismans were used significantly more by religious Jews, by families with a higher parental educational level, and where the hospitalized child was very young. The estimated frequency of amulet use by the children’s families, as perceived by the staff, was significantly higher than actual use reported by the parents. In Jewish families the actual use of amulets was found to be 30% compared to the 60% rate estimated by the medical staff; while in Moslem families the actual use was zero compared to the staff’s estimation of about 36%. Of the 19 staff members, 14 reported that the use of amulets seemed to reduce the parents' anxiety, while 2 claimed that amulet use sometimes interfered with the staff’s ability to carry out medical treatment.  

Conclusions: The use of talismans in a technologically advanced western society is more frequent than may have been thought. Medical and paramedical personnel dealing with very ill patients should be aware of the emotional and psychological implications of such beliefs and practices on patients and their families.

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ICU = intensive care unit

March 2000
Amos M. Yinnon MD, Yitzhack Skorohod MD, Yechiel Schlesinger MD and Alan Greenberg BPharm MRPharmS

Background: Cefuroxime is a second-generation cephalosporin antibiotic used widely for the treatment of various infections.

Objectives: To assess the appropriateness of cefuroxime usage as well as the long-term impact of re-feeding the results to prescribing physicians.

Methods: Drug utilization evaluation involved three data-collecting periods, each comprising 6 weeks, during which all patients receiving cefuroxime were evaluated. Results of phase I were distributed to all physicians in a newsletter and departmental lectures; phase II was announced and conducted 6 months later. An identical phase III was unannounced and conducted one year after phase II. The study included all patients receiving cefuroxime during the three phases. The main outcome measure was appropriateness of initiation, and continuation beyond 3 days, of empirical treatment. Appropriateness was determined according to a prepared list of indications based on the literature and the hospital's protocols.

Results: Cefuroxime was initiated appropriately in 104 of 134 patients (78%) in phase I, in 85 of 100 (85%) in phase II, and in 93 of 100 (93%) in phase III (P<0.001). Cefuroxime was continued appropriately after 3 days in 58/134 (43%), 57/100 (57%) and 70/100 (70%) respectively (P<0.001). The total number of appropriate treatment days out of all treatment days increased from 516 of 635 (81%) in phase I, to 450 of 510 (88%) in phase II, to 485 of 509 (95%) in phase III (P<0.001). The principal reason for cefuroxime usage was community-acquired respiratory tract infection.

Conclusion: Drug utilization evaluation may provide valuable data on the usage of a particular drug. This information, once re-fed to physicians, may improve utilization of the particular drug. This positive effect may be prolonged beyond the immediate period of observation.

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