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עמוד בית
Tue, 28.05.24

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July 2000
Roni Peleg MD, Meron Froimovici MD, Aya Peleg PhD, Vered Milrad BA, Georgette Ohana BA, Shimon Fitoussi, Eli Dryfuss MA, Michael Sharf MD MPH and Pesach Shvartzman MD

Background: Israeli physicians are very familiar with the problem of interruptions during encounters with patients. However, a thorough search of the medical literature revealed only one report of this problem from Israel, and none from other countries.

Objectives: To characterize the phenomenon of interruptions to the patient-physician encounter in a clinic in Dimona and to assess the effect of an intervention program designed to reduce the magnitude of this problem.

Methods: During an 8 day work period in March 1997 all patient-physician encounters were recorded and characterized. An intervention program was then designed and implemented to reduce the number of interruptions. Data were again collected a year after the initial data collection.

Results: During the 8 day study period prior to the intervention program there were 528 interruptions to 379 encounters (mean of 1.39 per encounter). The main causes of interruptions were entrance of uninvited patients to the examination room (31%) and telephone calls (27%). Most of the interruptions occurred during the morning hours between 8 and 10 a.m. (45%) and at the beginning of the week (Sunday 30%). After the intervention program there were 402 interruptions to 355 encounters (mean of 1.13 per appointment, P=0.21).

Conclusions: There was no statistically significant improvement in the number of interruptions following the intervention program. This finding is either the result of a local cultural phenomenon, or it indicates a national primary care health system problem that may require a long-term educational program to resolve it. Further research is needed on the magnitude, causes and consequences of interruptions in family practice and, if warranted, methods will have to devised to cope with this serious problem.

May 2000
Liubov (Louba) Ben-Noun MD, Aya Biderman MD and Pesach Shvartzman MD

Background: Smoking rates have decreased in western countries as well as in Israel during the past 20 years.

Objectives: To estimate current rates of smoking and smoking cessation, and to assess factors associated with smoking and smoking cessation in family practice.

Methods: Prospective face-to-face interviews were conducted with 1,094 subjects, aged 16 years or older, registered in a family practice.

Results: Of all subjects studied, 746 (68.2%) were non-smokers, 237 (21.7%) were current smokers, and 111 (10.1%) had stopped smoking. Overall, 31.8% of the males and 13.8% of the females were current smokers, and 20.1% males and 2.4% females had stopped smoking. Current smoking and smoking cessation rates were significantly and inversely associated with age among males and females. Smoking rates were higher among males and females who were married, had 10-12 years of education, and among males of North African origin and females of Israeli origin. The number of cigarettes smoked per day was associated with smoking and smoking cessation in males, but not in females. The highest rate of quitting occurred among males who smoked 25 cigarettes per day. In a multiple regression analysis, gender and the number of cigarettes smoked per day were the most significant factors that predicted smoking cessation. The most common reason for stopping was the appearance of new signs of illness or the development of a new chronic disease, followed by a physician's recommendation to quit smoking.

Conclusions: Female smokers and male smokers who smoke less than 25 cigarettes per day are the least likely to quit smoking. Future programs should be designed for and targeted at these groups of patients.

November 1999
Hava Tabenkin MD, Ada Tamir MD, Ami D. Sperber MD, MSPH, Micha Shapira MD and Pesach Shvartzman MD
 Background: Incidence rates for malignant melanoma in Israel are rising steadily, and the kibbutz population is at increased risk for this malignancy.

Objectives: To assess the risk factors for malignant melanoma among kibbutz members compared to matched healthy controls.

Methods: We conducted a case-control study of 168 malignant melanoma patients and 325 healthy controls, matched by age and gender. Data were collected on three categories of risk: demographic, personal (e.g., skin, eye and hair color), and environmental/behavioral (e.g., sun exposure, use of sunscreens).

Results: There were no differences between the groups regarding sociodemographic data. Significantly more patients than controls had fair, vulnerable skin (P<0.001), light eyes (P<0.05), and fair hair (P<0.001). There was no difference in family history of malignant melanoma or other cancers. Patients with malignant melanoma had significantly more additional skin lesions (e.g., keratoses) (P<0.001). More patients than controls recalled having been exposed to the sun for long periods when they were 6–13 years of age. A conditional logistic regression analysis showed that fair hair, fair vulnerable skin, and additional skin lesions were independently associated with malignant melanoma (P<0.01).

Conclusions: The main target population for interventions to reduce the incidence of malignant melanoma among kibbutz members should be individuals with these risk factors. A history of increased exposure to the sun from age 6 to 13 should also be taken into account as an independent risk factor. 

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