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עמוד בית
Thu, 13.06.24

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December 2001
Rachel Dahan, MD, Shmuel Reis, MD, Doron Hermoni, MD and Jeffrey Borkan, MD
Howard Tandeter, MD and Martine Granek-Catarivas, MD

In countries in which a primary care-oriented system has developed, general practitioners, family physicians, and other primary care doctors are the keystone of an approach that aims to achieve high quality and satisfaction with relatively low costs. Despite this new trend, medical schools still produce excessive numbers of sub-specialists rather than prinary care physicians. Among multiple reasons influencing a career choice either towards or away from primary care (institutional, legislative, and market pressures), the present article discusses ways in which medical school curricula may affect students in their perceptions of the role of primary care physicians. Since students are greatly influenced by the cultures of the institutions in which they train, the negative attitude of university towards family medicine may negatively affect the number of students going into this specialty. Examples from Israeli faculties are presented.

September 2001
Slomo Vinker, MD, Boris Kaplan, MD, Sasson Nakar, MD, Gita Samuels, MD, Gidon Shapira, MD and Eliezer Kitai, MD

Background: Urinary incontinence in older women is common. Its characteristics and impact on quality of life is not well established since these women are usually reluctant to tell their healthcare providers about the problem.

Objective: To determine the characteristics of urinary incontinence in women and the manner in which it affects patients quality of life.

Methods: Twenty family physicians were requested to distribute a questionnaire to the first 25 consecutive women aged 30 to 75 years who visited their clinic for any reason. The questionnaire covered general health issues, symptoms of urinary incontinence, and quality of life.

Results: A total of 418 women, mean age 50.0 ± 11.8 years, completed the questionnaire (84% response rate). Of these, 148 (36%) reported having episodes of urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence was found to be associated with older age, menopause, obesity and coexisting chronic disorders. Sixty percent of the women with urinary incon­tinence found it to be a disturbing symptom, and 44% reported that it had a detrimental effect on their quality of life. Only 32% of the affected women had sought medical advice, half of them from their family physician. Treatment was recommended to 66% of those who sought help, and in about two-thirds of these it brought some measure of relief.

Conclusions: Urinary incontinence is a common com­plaint among women attending primary care clinics, but it does not receive appropriate attention, Though it often adversely affects quality of life, only a small proportion of women seek medical advice. Family physicians should raise the issue as a part of the routine general health check-up.
 

August 2001
Liat Lubish, MD, Shragit Greenberg, MD, Michael Friger and Pesach Shvartzman, MD

Background: Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent malignancies in women, yet one of the most treatable. Early detection is essential to obtain the desired remission and longevity. Numerous studies have shown that periodic screen­ing for breast cancer can reduce mortality by 20-30%.

Objective: To assess the rates, compliance, character­istics as well as barriers in women regarding mammography screening.

Methods: The study group comprised a random sample of 702 women aged 50 or older from 5914 eligible women in two teaching clinics in southern Israel. Phone interviews using structured questionnaires were conducted.

Results: The mean age of the study population was 61 years. The vast majority of the women were not born in Israel. Sixty-three percent of the women had undergone a mammo­graphy screening, 48% in the past 2 years. Monthly self-breast examinations were performed by 12% of the women in the last 2 years. Significant factors associated with undergoing mammography were: more than 7 years since immigration, married, a higher education level, adequate knowledge about breast cancer and mammography, presence of past or current cancer, and cancer in relatives. The main reasons for not being screened was no referral (54%) and a lack of knowledge about breast cancer and mammography (19%) - conditions easily remedied by physician counseling.

Conclusion: The study suggests that promotional efforts should be concentrated on new immigrants and on less educated and unmarried women.

July 2001
Pesach Shvartzman, MD, Howard Tandeter, MD, Aya Peleg, MD, Hava Tabenkin, MD, Nakar Sasson, MD and Jeffrey Borkan, MD, PhD

Background: Lower urinary tract symptoms are highly prevalent in older men, have been shown to affect men’s quality of life, and may be associated with more serious outcomes.

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of LUTS among men aged 50 years or older registered at family practice centers in Israel and to assess the effect of these complaints on different aspects of their life.

Methods: In a random sample cohort of men aged 50 years and older, fluent in Hebrew, drawn from those registered in four family clinics in Israel, patients identified with LUTS were interviewed by phone using a structured questionnaire.

Results: The prevalence of LUTS in our study was 21%. Less than a third of these patients had low severity LUTS (28%), 59% were rated moderate, and 13% had severe symptoms. Age had a positive correlation with the severity of LUTS, and increasing severity of symptoms had a negative effect on the daily function and quality of life of patients.

Conclusions: Our community-based study shows that LUTS is a common finding among men above the age of 50 (21%) and has a significant negative effect on their quality of life and daily function. Knowledge of these data should make primary care physicians more aware of this common problem and thus improve the treatment and quality of life of these patients by better identification and prompt treatment.

November 2000
Shmuel Fennig, MD, Dan Yuval, PhD, Miriam Greenstein, Stanley Rabin, PhD and Michael Weingarten, MA, BM, BCh

Background: The aim of family medicine is to provide patients with comprehensive care within the biopsychosocial model. High job satisfaction is necessary to attract physicians to this specialty

Objective: To compare job satisfaction levels between primary physicians with training in family medicine and physicians without specialty training.

Methods: A self-report questionnaire, the "Task Profiles of General Practitioners in Europe," was mailed to a stratified random sample of 664 primary care physicians in Israel. The response rate was 77.6%. Bivariate and logistic regression procedures were used to analyze the data.

Results: Physicians with training in family medicine were less satisfied with the rewards for their work than general practitioners with no formal specialization in family medicine. Satisfaction with the intrinsic aspects of the work was found to be equal. Women and rural physicians were more satisfied than men and urban physicians.

Conclusion: Measures should be taken by health maintenance organizations to increase the level of job satisfaction of specialist-certified family physicians to avoid a crisis in the profession.
 

October 2000
Stanley Rabin PhD, Ernesto Kahan MD MPH, Simon Zalewsky MD, Barbara Rabin MA, Michael Hertz MD, Ofra Mehudar BA and Eliezer Kitai MD

Background: *Previous descriptive studies have demonstrated the problematic nature of physicians' attitudes toward battered women. However, little empirical research has been done in the field, especially among the various medical specialties.

Objectives: To compare the approach and feelings of competence regarding the care of battered women between primary care and non-primary care physicians. The non-primary care physicians who are likely to encounter battered women in the ambulatory setting are gynecologists and orthopedists.

Methods: A self-report questionnaire formulated for this study was mailed to a random sample of 400 physicians working in ambulatory clinics of the two main health maintenance organizations in Israel (300 primary care physicians, 50 gynecologists and 50 orthopedists).

Results: In both physician groups, treating battered women tended to evoke more negative emotional states than treating patients with infectious disease. The most prevalent mood state related to the management of battered women was anger at her situation. Primary care physicians experienced more states of tension and confusion than non-primary care physicians and had lower perceived self-efficacy and self-competence in dealing with battered women.

Conclusions: Though both physician groups exhibited negative feelings when confronting battered women, the stronger emotion of the primary care physicians may indicate greater sensitivity and personal awareness. We believe that more in-service training should be introduced to help physicians at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels to cope both emotionally and professionally with these patients.

March 2000
Shlomo Vinker MD, Sasson Nakar MD, Michael A. Weingarten BM BCh, and members of the Israeli General Practice Research Network

Background: Most countries today are experiencing an accelerated pace of population aging. The management of the elderly housebound patient presents a special challenge to the family physician.

Objectives: To investigate a series of home visits to housebound patients, the therapeutic procedures used, the equipment needed, and the diagnostic conclusions reached.

Methods: The details of 379 consecutive home visits to housebound patients were recorded by 91 family doctors serving 125,000 patients in Israel.

Results: The average age of the patients was 76.1 years. The vast majority of the visits were during office hours (94%). In 24.1% it was the doctor who decided to make the home visit on his/her own initiative. The most common initial reason for a home visit was undefined general symptoms, but the doctor was usually able to arrive at a more specific diagnosis after the visit. Medications were prescribed in 59.1% of the visits, and in 23.5% the medication was administered directly by the physician. The commonest drugs used were analgesics and antibiotics. In 19.3% of visits no action at all, other than examination and counseling, was undertaken. The equipment needed included prescription pads (73%), a stethoscope (81%), sphygmomanometer (74.9%), and otoscope/torch (30.6%). Only 15% of visits resulted in referral to hospital.

Conclusions: Home visits to housebound patients serve as a support to caregivers, provide diagnostic information, and help the family with the decision as to when hospitalization is appropriate. The specific medical cause for the patient being housebound had little effect on the process of home visiting.
 

February 2000
Matti Erlichman MD, Ruth Litt MD, Zachi Grossman MD, Ernesto Kahan MD MPH and IPROS Network

Background: Streptococcal pharyngotonsillitis remains a common illness in children and can lead to serious complications if left untreated.

Objective: To evaluate the diagnostic and management approach of a sample of primary care physicians in the largest sick fund in Israel to streptococcal pharyngotonsillitis in children.

Methods: A questionnaire was mailed to all physicians who treat children and are employed by the General Health Services (Kupat Holim Klalit) in the Jerusalem District. The questionnaire included data on demographics, practice type and size, and availability of throat culture and rapid strep test; as well as a description of three hypothetical cases followed by questions relating to their diagnosis and treatment.

Results: Of the 188 eligible physicians, 118 (62.5%) responded, including 65 of 89 pediatricians (73%) and 53 of 99 family and general practitioners (53.5%). Fifty-six physicians (47.4%) had more than 18 years experience, and 82 (70%) completed specialization in Israel.  Mean practice size was 950 patients. Fifty-three physicians (43%) worked in Kupat Holim community clinics, 25 (21%) worked independently in private clinics, and 40 (34%) did both. A total of 91 (77%) had access to laboratory facilities for daily throat culture. The time it took for the results to arrive was 48 to 72 hours.  For the three clinical scenarios, 90% of the physicians accurately evaluated case A, a 1-year-old with viral pharyngotonsillitis, and 100 (85%) correctly diagnosed case C, a 7-year-old with streptococcal infection.  As expected, opinions were divided on case B, a 3-year-old child with uncertain diagnosis.  Accordingly, 75 (65.3%) physicians did not recommend treatment for case A, compared to 109 (92.5%) for case C.  For case B, 22 (19%) said they would always treat, 43 (36%) would sometimes treat, and 35 (30%) would await the result of the throat culture.  For 104 (88%) physicians the antibiotic of choice for case C was penicillin, while only 9 (7.5%) chose amoxicillin. However, the recommended dosage regimens varied from 250 to 500 mg per dose, and from two to four doses daily.  For case C, 110 physicians (93%) chose a 10 day duration of treatment.

Conclusions: The primary care physicians in the sample (pediatricians, general practitioners and family physicians) accurately diagnosed viral and streptococcal pharyngotonsillitis. However, there was a lack of uniformity regarding its management in general, and the dosage regimen for penicillin in particular.
 

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