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עמוד בית
Wed, 29.05.24

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February 2013
T. Freud, M. Sherf, E. Battat, D. Vardy and P. Shvartzman
 Background: Opioids are considered a cornerstone in the treatment of cancer pain.

Objectives: To assess opioid use during a 6 year period (2001–2006) among cancer patients served by Clalit Health Services, the largest health management organization in Israel.

Methods: Purchasing data of opioids authorized for use in Israel were obtained from the computerized databases of Clalit for the period 2001–2006. Patients' demographic and cancer morbidity data were extracted. The data were analyzed by translating the purchased opioids (fentanyl patch, oxycodone, buprenorphine, methadone, hydromorphone) to oral morphine equivalents (OME).

Results: During the study period 182,066 Clalit members were diagnosed with cancer; 58,443 (32.1%) of them died and 31,628 (17.3%) purchased opioids at least once. In 2001, 7.5% of Clalit cancer patients purchased opioids at least once within 5 years of the initial diagnosis. Between 2002 and 2006 this percentage increased consistently, reaching 9.9% in 2006. The average daily dose of opioids increased from 104.1 mg OME in the year 2001 to 115.2 mg OME in 2006 (11% increase). The average duration of opioid purchasing was 5.0 ± 8.3 months (range 1–84 months, median 2). During the study period 19,426 cancer patients who purchased opioids at least once died; only 14.3% (3274) were still alive 2 years after their first opioid prescription.

Conclusions: Opioid purchasing increased during the study period, especially during the final months of life. Children (0–18 years old) and elderly male patients (≥ 65 years) began opioid treatment later compared to other age groups. Only a few patients had an opioid early enough to relieve their pain. 

February 2011
Y. Plakht, A. Shiyovich, F. Lauthman, Y. Shoshan, D. Antonovitch, N. Waknine, T. Barabi and M. Sherf

Background: During military escalations emergency departments provide treatment both to victims of conflict-related injuries and to routine admissions. This requires special deployment by the hospitals to optimize utilization of resources.

Objectives: To evaluate “routine” visits to the ED[1] during Operation Cast Lead in Israel in 2008–2009.

Methods: We obtained data regarding routine visits to the ED at Soroka University Medical Center throughout OCL[2]. The visits one month before and after OCL and the corresponding periods one year previous served as controls.

Results: The mean number of daily visits throughout the study period (126 days) was 506 ± 80.9, which was significantly lower during OCL (443.5 ± 82) compared with the reference periods (P < 0.001). Compared to the reference periods, during OCL the relative rates were higher among Bedouins, visitors from the region closest to the Gaza Strip (< 30 km), patients transported to the ED by ambulance and patients of employment age; the rates were lower among children. No difference in the different periods was found in the rate of women patients, distance of residence from Beer Sheva, rate of patients referred to the ED by a community physician, and hour of arrival. The overall in-hospital admission rate increased during OCL, mainly in the internal medicine and the obstetric departments. There was no change in the number of in-hospital births during OCL; however, the rate of preterm labors (32–36 weeks) decreased by 41% (P = 0.013).

Conclusions: Throughout OCL the number of routine ED visits decreased significantly compared to the control periods. This finding could help to optimize the utilization of hospital resources during similar periods.

 






[1] ED = emergency department



[2] OCL = Operation Cast Lead


October 2008
A. Neville, R. Peleg, Y. Singer, M. Sherf and P. Shvartzman

Background: The prevalence of chronic pain in the general population ranges from 10% to over 40%, depending on the definition and the population studied. No large study has been conducted in Israel.

Objectives: To evaluate the prevalence of patients with chronic pain, and characterize them in a large community random sample.

Methods: We conducted a survey of Clalit Health Services members, interviewing them by phone. A random sample of 4063 Clalit members, 25 years or older and Hebrew speakers, were screened for chronic pain, defined as: any pain or discomfort that in the last 6 months has persisted continuously or intermittently for more than 3 months.

Results: Eight percent (n=325) refused to participate. Of the 3738 included in the study, 1722 (46%) reported chronic pain in at least one site. Most of the patients were over 50 years old (62%) (mean age 56 ± 16, range 27–97 years). Women suffered significantly more than men, as did those who were older, less educated and born in Israel and Eastern Europe. Prevalent painful sites were the back (32%), limbs (17%) and head (13%). More than a third reported severe pain and impaired life activities. Only 4.8% of the patients suffering from chronic pain were referred to pain specialists and 11% used complementary medicine. A logistic regression model showed that women and patients with lower education level were the only significant variables predicting higher life impact index and higher pain severity.

Conclusions: We found a high prevalence of chronic pain in the study population. Chronic pain causes severe disturbance to quality of life. A low rate of referral to pain specialists and complementary medicine was observed.

September 2008
I. Grotto, S. Zarka, R. D. Balicer, M. Sherf, and J. Meyerovitch

Background: In view of the rising prevalence of obesity, the identification of young adult populations at risk is important for the formulation of intervention and prevention programs.

Objectives: To assess demographic and behavioral factors associated with an increase in body mass index in young healthy adults and to identify the incidence of overweight/obesity in this population.

Methods: Data on anthropometric measures, demographic characteristics, and health behaviors were collected retrospectively for a representative sample of young Israeli adults (11,391 men, 11,280 women) on their release from military service (age 20–22 years) between 1989 and 2003. The incidence of overweight (BMI[1] < 25-< 30 kg/m2), incidence of obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2), and increase in BMI during military service were calculated.

Results: The average increase in BMI during military service was 1.11 kg/m2 in males and 1.08 kg/m2 in females. A greater increase was positively associated with low paternal education and smoking cessation, and negatively associated with high physical activity. Twelve percent of subjects with a normal BMI on recruitment became overweight, and 21.7% of overweight subjects became obese. On multivariate logistic regression analysis, a higher incidence of overweight was associated with low education level (in both the subject and his or her father) in both genders, and non-use of oral contraceptives and low level of physical activity in females.

Conclusions: BMI appears to increase significantly during early adulthood. Intervention programs should be targeted specifically at subjects with low education or who started smoking before age 18, and physical activity (especially among females) should be encouraged.






[1] BMI = body mass index


November 2007
J. Meyerovitch, R. Goldman, H. Avner-Cohen, F. Antebi and M. Sherf

Background: The prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents in the western world has increased dramatically.

Objective: To assess the efficiency of routine childhood obesity screening by primary physicians in the pediatric population in Israel and the utilization of health services by overweight children.

Methods: The electronic medical records of children aged 60–83 months registered in 39 pediatric primary care centers between January 2001 and October 2004 (n=21,799) were reviewed. Those in whom height and weight were documented during a clinic visit (index visit) were classified as overweight, at risk of overweight, and normal weight by body mass index percentiles. The number of visits to the pediatrician, laboratory tests and health care costs 12 months after the index visit were calculated.

Results: Anthropomorphic measurements were performed in 1556 of the 15,364 children (10.1%) who visited the clinic during the study period. Of these, 398 (25.6%) were overweight, 185 (11.9%) were at risk of overweight, and 973 (62.5%) were normal weight. Children in the first two groups visited the clinic slightly more often than the third group, but the differences was not statistically significant (P = 0.12), and had significantly more laboratory tests than the rest of the children visiting the clinics (P = 0.053). Health care costs were 6.6% higher for the overweight than the normal-weight children.

Conclusions: Electronic medical records are a useful tool for population-based health care assessments. Current screening for obesity in children during routine care in Israel is insufficient and additional education of community pediatricians in diagnosis and intervention is urgently needed.

 
 

August 2006
D.A. Vardy, T. Freud, P. Shvartzman, M. Sherf, O. Spilberg, D. Goldfarb and S. Mor-Yosef
 Background: Full medical coverage may often result in overuse. Cost-sharing and the introduction of a co-payment have been shown to cause a reduction in the use of medical services.

Objectives: To assess the effects of the recently introduced co-payment for consultant specialist services on patients' utilization of these services in southern Israel.

Methods: Computerized utilization data on specialists' services for 6 months before and 6 months after initiation of co-payment were retrieved from the database of Israel's largest health management organization.

Results: A decrease of 4.5% was found in the total number of visits to Soroka Medical Center outpatient clinics and of 6.8% to community-based consultants. An increase of 20.1% was noted in the number of non-actualized visits at the outpatient clinics. A decrease of 6.2% in new visits was found in the hospital outpatient clinics and of 6.5% in community clinics. A logistic regression model showed that the residents of development towns and people aged 75+ and 12–34 were more likely not to keep a prescheduled appointment.

Conclusion: After introduction of a modest co-payment, a decrease in the total number of visits to specialists with an increase in "no-shows" was observed. The logistic regression model suggests that people of lower socioeconomic status are more likely not to keep a prescheduled appointment.

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