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עמוד בית
Fri, 19.07.24

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April 2024
Limor Adler MD MPH, Or Tzadok Zehavi MD, Miriam Parizade PhD, Yair Hershkovitz MD, Menashe Meni Amran MD, Robert Hoffman MD, Tal Hakmon Aronson MD, Erela Rotlevi MD, Bar Cohen MPH, Ilan Yehoshua MD

Background: The prevalence of Group A streptococcus (GAS) carriage among adults is studied less than in children. The variability of reported carriage rates is considerably large and differs among diverse geographic areas and populations.

Objectives: To evaluate the prevalence of GAS carriage among adults in Israel.

Methods: In this prospective study, conducted in a large healthcare maintenance organization in Israel, we obtained pharyngeal cultures from adults attending the clinic without upper respiratory tract complaints or fever. Patient data included sex, age, number of children, and religious sectors.

Results: From May to December 2022, eight family physicians collected a total of 172 throat swabs (86% response rate). The median age was 37 years (range 18–65); 72.7% were females, 22.7% were ultra-Orthodox Jewish, and 69.2% had children. The prevalence of GAS carriage was 6.98%, 95% confidence interval (95%CI) 3.7%–11.9%. GAS carriers were younger (31.7 vs. 39.3 years, P = 0.046), and the majority were ultra-Orthodox Jews (58.3% vs. 20%, P = 0.006). All GAS carriers were from lower socioeconomic status. When assessing risk factors for GAS carriage using multivariate analysis, only being an ultra-Orthodox Jew was positively related to GAS carriage (adjusted odds ratio 5.6, 95%CI 1.67–18.8).

Conclusion: Being an ultra-Orthodox Jew was the single variable associated with a GAS carriage, which may be related to having many children at home and living in overcrowded areas. Primary care physicians in Israel should recognize this situation when examining patients with sore throats, mainly ultra-Orthodox Jews.

September 2022
Omri Shental MD MHA, Ilan Y. Mitchnik MD, Edward Barayev MD MHA, Lior Solomon MD, Liron Gershovitz MD, Shaul Gelikas MD MBA, Avi Benov MD MHA, and Yuval Ran MD MHA MPA

Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) led to two nationwide lockdowns in Israel, reducing both supply and demand for medical services in the Israel Defense Force (IDF). IDF soldiers serve on bases within Israel, and most of them return home at the end of the day, similar to other armies in the world.

Objectives: To analyze the health services provided by the IDF with regard to policy changes during lockdowns.

Methods: We compared medical encounters between different services provided by the IDF Medical Corps. We related them to specific time periods: pre-first lockdown, first lockdown (and corresponding timeframes of the previous 3 years), between lockdowns, second lockdown, and post-second lockdown.

Results: Compared to past periods, we found a similar reduction of 27–30% in primary care medical encounter rates during the two lockdowns: 42–43% in sick days and 50–54% in referrals to the emergency department. Referral rates to all specialist medical encounters and elective surgeries decreased significantly during the first lockdown period and increased 1.2–3.5 times during the second lockdown.

Conclusions: A continuance of the shift to telehealth is required to withstand a future lockdown, with a full supply of secondary medical services attuned to core medical issues relevant for combat personnel. A liberal sick leave policy is required to eliminate unnecessary in-person visits, thus reducing the risk of infection.

June 2022
Ron Feldman PT MSc, Tamar Pincus MPhil MSc PhD, and Noa Ben Ami PT PhD

Background: Self-management, an active life routine, and adherence to physical activity are effective in the management of low back pain (LBP). However, delivering effective education and reassurance to patients can be a difficult for practitioners. The enhanced transtheoretical model intervention (ETMI) has shown to be successful and cost effective. The intervention focuses on educating practitioners to reassure patients, empower them to increase physical activity, and improve their self-efficacy.

Objectives: To assess whether ETMI can be implemented among primary care practitioners and to examine whether it reduces pain, disability, and fear avoidance as well as decreasing healthcare utilization. This protocol outlines the methodology for the implementation of ETMI through a hybrid implementation–effectiveness design.

Methods: Two qualitative and mixed-method studies provided a basis for an implementation prospective cohort study. Discussions are followed by a prospective cohort study with pre-and post-intervention measures as well as descriptions retrieving economic and therapeutic outcome data from the Maccabi Healthcare Services (MHS) databases. In addition, a fourth qualitative study was conducted at the midpoint of the implementation to evaluate the process by measuring the perceptions and practice of practitioners. The intervention group was 220 primary care practitioners and their patients (~n=10,000) from the central district of MHS. The control data was provided by other care districts with similar socioeconomic makeup (~n=40,000).

Conclusions: We evaluated the process and outcomes of the implementation of ETMI. We investigated the relationship between the care received (ETMI against treatment as usual) and healthcare utilization, costs, and patient-clinical outcomes.

September 2021
Michal Shani MD MPH, Doron Comaneshter PhD, and Alex Lustman MD MPH

Background: Oral anticoagulants (OAC) reduce the risk for stroke and death from all causes in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF)

Objective: To explore adherence rates of OAC among patients with NVAF in long-term use in a real-world setting and to examine patient characteristics associated with good adherence.

Methods: We conducted a population-based cohort study with members of Clalit Health Services, Israel. All patients aged ≥ 30 years with a diagnosis of NVAF before 2016 who were treated with OAC were included. We included patients who filled at least one prescription per year in the three consecutive years 2016–2018. We analyzed all prescriptions that were filled for the medications from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2017. We considered purchasing of at least nine monthly prescriptions during 2017 as good medication adherence.

Results: We identified 26,029 patients with NVAF who were treated with OAC; 10,284 (39.5%) were treated with apixaban, 6321 (24.3%) with warfarin, 6290 (24.1%) with rivaroxaban, and 3134 (12.0%) with dabigatran. Rates of good medication adherence were 88.9% for rivaroxaban, 84.9% for apixaban, 83.6% for dabigatran, and 55.8% for warfarin (P < 0.0001). Advanced age was associated with higher adherence rates (P < 0.001). Socioeconomic status was not associated with medication adherence. Good adherence with OAC was associated with lower low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and glucose levels.

Conclusions: Adherence rates to OAC in chronic use among patients with chronic NAVF are high. Investing in OAC adherence may have a wider health impact than expected.

February 2016
Ohad Avny MD, Keren Cohen Nahum MD, Tatiana Michnick MD, Tatiana Teitelbaum MD, and Dalit May MD

We present a literature review of collaborative enterprises between psychiatrists and primary care physicians in Israel and other countries. Also described are local psychiatric liaison initiatives in Israel, as well as landmark studies of collaborative psychiatric care. These studies demonstrate the superiority of community psychiatric liaison models in the treatment of patients suffering from depressive anxiety disorders and somatization disorder. In light of the mental health reform process currently underway in Israel, it is important to develop, implement and assess such liaison models. 

August 2013
L. Goldberg, J. Dreiher, M. Friger, A. Levin and P. Shvartzman
 Background: The Qassam rocket attacks on southern Israel during the years 2000–2007 created a unique situation of life under a continuous threat. The effect of this unique situation on health services utilization has not been previously evaluated.

Objectives: To evaluate health utilization patterns in two primary care clinics in southern Israel: one under continuous attacks of Qassam rockets as compared with a similar clinic not under a rocket threat.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional study in two primary care clinics in southern Israel, with 11,630 persons listed in the two clinics during the entire study period. The primary outcome measures were total annual number of visits per person to the clinic and for specific diagnoses, and the number of drug prescriptions issued, emergency room (ER) visits, hospitalization days, cardiac catheterizations and coronary bypass surgeries.

Results: In both clinics there was an increase over time in the mean annual number of visits per person. During the years of severe attacks there was an increase in visits with a chief complaint of depression and anxiety and an increase in the number of anxiolytic prescriptions in the study clinic compared with the control. During the same period there was a decrease in the number of ER visits in the study clinic compared with the control.

Conclusions: The population under continuous life-threatening events showed more depression and anxiety problems. Under severe bombardment, the residents prefer not to leave home, unless necessary.

 

September 2012
E. Kitai, G. Blumberg, D. Levy, A. Golan-Cohen, and S. Vinker

Background: Fatigue is a common complaint in primary care and has a broad differential diagnosis, making the approach complex and often ineffective.


Objectives: To follow the course of adults without a significant known background disease who complain of fatigue for the first time, and to characterize the family physician’s approach.


Methods: The study population comprised a random sample of 299 patients aged 18–45 who presented with fatigue as a first-time single complaint to their family physician. Excluded were patients with chronic diseases or states that may include signs of fatigue. We analyzed the index encounter data, the diagnostic and laboratory tests, the medications prescribed and the one year clinical outcome.

Results: Seventy percent were women, average age 30.5 years, and 69% had no known co-morbidities; 57% of the patients were physically examined at the first visit and most (78.6%) were sent for laboratory analysis. Five percent of laboratory tests were positive. Eighty patients (26.8%) were given a specific diagnosis, with the leading diagnoses being anemia and infectious diseases; 18.7% were given sick leave at the first visit. Fatigue was more common in early summer.


Conclusions: The majority of young healthy patients complaining of fatigue are not diagnosed with an organic physiological disorder. Many of the study patients were sent for laboratory tests but in most cases these tests were not contributory to the diagnosis or management. It seems likely that the most efficient strategy would be watchful follow-up with a minimum of testing.


 
November 2011
G. Vashitz, J. Meyer, Y. Parmet, Y. Henkin, R. Peleg, N. Liebermann and H. Gilutz

Background: There is a wide treatment gap between evidence-based guidelines and their implementation in primary care.

Objective: To evaluate the extent to which physicians "literally" follow guidelines for secondary prevention of dyslipidemia and the extent to which they practice "substitute" therapeutic measures.

Methods: We performed a post hoc analysis of data collected in a prospective cluster randomized trial. The participants were 130 primary care physicians treating 7745 patients requiring secondary prevention of dyslipidemia. The outcome measure was physician "literal" adherence or "substitute" adherence. We used logistic regressions to evaluate the effect of various clinical situations on “literal” and “substitute” adherence.

Results: "Literal" adherence was modest for ordering a lipoprotein profile (35.1%) and for pharmacotherapy initiations (26.0%), but rather poor for drug up-titrations (16.1%) and for referrals for specialist consultation (3.8%). In contrast, many physicians opted for "substitute" adherence for up-titrations (75.9%) and referrals for consultation (78.7%). Physicians tended to follow the guidelines “literally” in simple clinical situations (such as the need for lipid screening) but to use "substitute" measures in more complex cases (when dose up-titration or metabolic consultation was required). Most substitute actions were less intense than the actions recommended by the guidelines.

Conclusions: Physicians often do not blindly follow guidelines, but rather evaluate their adequacy for a particular patient and adjust the treatment according to their assessment. We suggest that clinical management be evaluated in a broader sense than strict guideline adherence, which may underestimate physicians' efforts.
 

A. Mashal, A. Katz and P. Shvartzman

Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia in adults and is associated with increased mortality and morbidity.

Objectives: To characterize patients diagnosed with AF in primary care clinics in southern Israel.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study in 14 primary care clinics of the largest health insurance fund in Israel, reviewing the electronic medical records of adults aged ≥ 25 years diagnosed with AF. The prevalence, evaluation, antithrombotic treatment and treatments for rate control/rhythm control were analyzed.

Results: We retrieved the records of 995 patients with a diagnosis of AF; the prevalence of AF was 1.5% (2.5% aged ≥ 45 years). The patients’ mean age was 73.5 ± 1.4 years and 55.3% were female. Vitamin K antagonist (VKA) was prescribed for 591 patients (59%), of whom 8.5% had no international normalized ratio follow-up tests for at least 3 months before our review. Among patients in the VKA treatment group the risk for thromboembolic events was considered to be high, moderate and low in 22% (n=131), 66% (n=391) and 12% (n=69), respectively. Patients with a low Congestive Hypertension Age Diabetes Stroke (CHADS2) score (odds ratio = 0.555, 95% confidence interval 0.357–0.862) and patients who did not receive VKA (OR[1] = 0.601, 95% CI[2] 0.459–0.787) received significantly less rate-control treatment. Of the patients with a low CHADS2 score (< 1) 52.7% received VKA treatment, and 39.4% with a high CHADS2 score (≥ 3) did not receive VKA. A positive correlation between anticoagulation and rate or rhythm control was found.

Conclusions: The prevalence and age distribution of AF in southern Israel are similar to findings in the western world. Many of the patients did not receive appropriate antithrombotic prophylaxis.






[1] OR = odds ratio



[2] CI = confidence interval


D. Rosengarten, M.R. Kramer, G. Amir, L. Fuks and N. Berkman

Pulmonary epithelioid hemangioendothelioma (PEH), previously known as "intravascular bronchoalveolar tumor," is a rare vascular malignancy with an unpredictable prognosis. Treatment can vary from observation in asymptomatic patients to surgery in patients with resectable disease or chemotherapy in patients with disseminated disease. This report describes the clinical, radiological and pathological features of three cases of PEH and a review of the current literature.
 

April 2011
H. Russ, S.M. Giveon, M. Granek Catarivas and J. Yaphe

Background: Internet use by patients as a source of information on health and disease is expanding rapidly with obvious effects on the doctor-patient relationship. Many of these effects remain undocumented or are poorly understood.

Objectives: To assess the use of the internet  for health information by patients in primary care in Israel and their perception of the effects of internet use on their relationship with their doctor.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among a convenience sample of patients visiting 10 primary care clinics in central Israel using a questionnaire developed for this survey. The survey examined attitudes to using the internet for health-related information and attitudes to sharing this information with doctors. Associations between demographic variables, internet use and patient satisfaction with the doctor’s response were tested using the chi-square statistic and t-tests.

Results: Completed questionnaires were received from 138 patients; the response rate was 69%. Patients in the study sample had a high rate of internet access (87%), with many using the internet as a source of health information (41%) although most patients using the internet never share this information with their doctor (81%). Among those who share information with the doctor, most felt that this has a positive effect on the relationship (87%). Few patients reported being referred to websites by the doctor (28%).

Conclusions: Internet use is prevalent in this population, though physicians may be unaware of this. Future study may examine the effects of doctors who ask patients actively about their internet use and inform them of relevant health information sources online.

September 2010
G. Twig, A. Lahad, I. Kochba, V. Ezra, D. Mandel, A. Shina, Y. Kreiss and E. Zimlichman

Background: A survey conducted among Israel Defense Force primary care physicians in 2001 revealed that they consider patients' needs more than they do organizational needs and that the education PCPs[1] currently receive is inadequate. In 2003 the medical corps initiated a multi-format continuous medical education program aimed at improving skills in primary care medicine.

Objectives: To measure and analyze the effect of the tailored-made CME[2] program on PCPs’ self-perception 3 years after its implementation and correlate it to clinical performance.

Methods: In 2006 a questionnaire was delivered to a representative sample of PCPs in the IDF[3]. The questionnaire included items on demographic and professional background, statements on self-perception issues, and ranking of roles. We compared the follow-up survey (2006) to the results of the original study (2001) and correlated the survey results with clinical performance as measured through objective indicators.

Results: In the 2006 follow-up survey PCPs scored higher on questions dealing with their perception of themselves as case managers (3.8 compared to 4.0 on the 2001 survey on a 5 point scale, P = 0.046), perceived quality of care and education (3.5 vs. 3.8, P = 0.06), and on questions dealing with organizational commitment (3.5 vs. 3.8, P=0.01). PCPs received higher scores on clinical indicators in the later study (odds ratio 2.05, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: PCPs in the IDF perceive themselves more as case managers as compared to the 2001 survey. A tailor-made CME program may have contributed to the improvement in skills and quality of care.






[1] PCP = primary care physician



[2] CME = continuous medical education



[3] IDF = Israel Defense Forces


December 2009
S. Weitzman, S. Greenfield, J. Billimek, H. Tabenkin, P. Schvartzman, E. Yehiel, H. Tandeter, S. Eilat‎-Tsanani and S.H. Kaplan

Background: Research on synergistic effects of patient-targeted interventions combined with physician-targeted interventions has been limited.

Objectives: To compare a combined physician-patient intervention to physician feedback alone on a composite outcome of glycemic, lipid and blood pressure control.

Methods: In this cluster study 417 patients with adult-type 2 diabetes from four primary care clinics were randomized to receive either a physician-only intervention or a combined physician-plus-patient intervention. Physicians in all clinics received diabetes-related quality performance feedback during staff meetings. Patients at combined-intervention clinics also received a letter encouraging them to remind their doctors to address essential aspects of diabetes care at the next visit. At 1 year follow-up, outcome measurements included hemoglobin A1c, low density lipoprotein-cholesterol and systolic blood pressure; the proportion of patients with HbA1c[1] < 9%, LDL[2] < 130 mg/dl and SBP[3] < 140 mmHg both as separate outcomes and combined.

Results: After adjusting for patient characteristics and baseline measures, follow-up levels of HbA1c (7.5% vs. 7.8%, P = 0.09), LDL (104.7 vs. 110.7 mg/dl, P < 0.05) and SBP (135.6 vs. 139.9, P = 0.10) were marginally better for combined-intervention patients compared to physician-only intervention patients. Significantly more patients in the combined-intervention (38.8%) than physician-only intervention (24.2%) met all three targets (HbA1c < 9%, LDL < 130 mg/dl and SBP < 140 mmHg) as a single combined outcome (adjusted odds ratio 2.4, P < .01).

Conclusions: Compared to physician-feedback alone, a dual intervention combining a patient letter with physician feedback produced modest improvements in glycemic, lipid and blood pressure control individually, but substantial improvement in a combined measure of these three outcomes together. Using composite outcomes may detect meaningful improvements in the management of complex chronic disease. 


 




[1] HbA1c = hemoglobin A1c



[2] LDL = low density lipoprotein



[3] SBP = systolic blood pressure


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