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עמוד בית
Thu, 30.06.22

June 2022

Rachelle Buchbinder MBBS MSc PhD FRACP FAHMS, and Ian A. Harris MBBS MMed MSc PhD FRACS FAHMS
Shai Ashkenazi MD

The development of antibiotic agents has revolutionized the treatment of infectious diseases and clinical practice. However, antibiotic overuse, together with biologic evolution, has resulted in escalating antibiotic resistance of bacteria; with the One Health concept, it affects our planet including animals, aquatic wildlife, rivers, groundwater, lakes, sea water, aqua farming, and soil. This situation threatens our ability to treat infections effectively in the near future and raises the alarming question of whether we are getting close to the post-antibiotic era. Several measures are suggested to prevent the apocalyptic consequence of antibiotic overuse, few of which are novel with thinking outside the box.

Ravit Bassal PhD, Rita Dichtiar MPH, and Lital Keinan-Boker MD

Background: Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter are highly prevalent among children. Reports on risk factors of patients infected with all three pathogens, not simultaneously, are scarce.

Objectives: To identify risk factors for multiple infection with Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter in the same child.

Methods: Using the Israel Sentinel Laboratory-Based Surveillance Network, we conducted a retrospective observational case-case–control study among children aged 0–9 years. A case was defined as a child infected with Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter at different occasions between January 1999 and December 2020. A control was defined as a child infected with a single pathogen once, during the same period. Logistic regression models were applied to determine the association between multiple infections and demographic characteristics.

Results: We identified 109 cases (0.1%) infected with Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter, and 86,511 controls (99.9%) infected with only one bacteria type. In a multivariable analysis, we showed that being Jewish (odds ratio [OR] 2.4, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.3–4.4), having residency in Jerusalem (OR 3.2, 95%CI 1.3–7.7), or in the southern district (OR 3.7, 95%CI 1.5–8.8) were independent risk factors for multiple infection.

Conclusions: Although very rare, non-simultaneous infection with multiple bacteria does occur in Israel. National and local authorities should promote programs to encourage proper hygiene practices, which are culture-adjusted.

Original Articles
Ruti Berger PhD and Yossi Weiss PhD MPH

Background: Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) is a form of international private business self-regulation that aims to contribute to society from a philanthropic, activist, or charitable nature by engaging in or supporting volunteering or ethically oriented practices. The major benefit of ESG is having the organization’s workers recruited for the goal of making the world a better place. There is a growing understanding regarding the extent of the environmental impacts of health services. Therefore, the interest in measuring and reporting the sustainability of health system performance is becoming crucial. As population aging and growth in healthcare demand are two of the main challenges of the current and mainly future health services, performance, and quality measurement as well as sustainability metrices are relevant more than ever.

Objectives: To review the ESG activities at Assuta Medical Centers (AMC) that helped the organization earn the Maala Index Platinum + grade in 2021.

Methods: We reviewed the ESG elements that were implemented at AMC.

Results: AMC entered an ESG process in November 2019 and earned Platinum and Platinum+ grades from the Maala Index in 2020 and 2021, respectively. AMC won the Workforce Diversity prize for having many employees over 60 years of age. AMC activities are detailed as a case study for other health organizations in Israel and worldwide.

Conclusions: A big leading health organization can spearhead sustainable development goals model in Israel and worldwide.

Yair Bezalel Shahar BPT, Ruth Goldstein MD, Yaniv Nudelman MSc PT, Omri Besor MD MPH, and Noa Ben Ami PT PhD1

Background: Low back pain has been the leading cause for disability worldwide for several decades, and clinical guidelines for its management clearly emphasize a multifactorial approach. Yet, current guidelines are still not well implemented by clinicians.

Objectives: To explore the attitudes of family medicine residents regarding low back pain and to determine whether they positively correlate with their treatment approaches. To test if these attitudes can be affected by the Enhanced Transtheoretical Model Intervention (ETMI), a guideline-based workshop.

Methods: Participants completed an online questionnaire regarding their attitudes toward low back pain and clinical habits, after which they attended an online ETMI educational workshop. One month later all participants were asked to complete the questionnaire a second time. Statistical analysis was conducted to explore the attitudes of the residents and clinical approaches, as well as any associations between them, as well as possible differences pre- and post-intervention.

Results: The participants exhibited highly psychologically oriented attitudes. Correlations between the attitudes and treatment did not show consistent coherency. Results regarding the participants clinical approaches were revealed to have two distinct and opposed inclinations: biomedically and biopsychosocially. Last, results for the re-activation subscale were significantly higher post-intervention.

Conclusions: Family medicine residents seem to be highly psychologically oriented regarding low back pain; however, they do not necessarily treat their patients accordingly. Their clinical choices seem to follow two different approaches: guideline-consistent and non-guideline-consistent. An ETMI guideline-based workshop may sway their attitudes toward re-activation of patients. Further research is needed to determine whether similar results would arise in larger physician populations.

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.

Yael Steinfeld-Mass PT MSc, Aharon S. Finestone MD MHA, Shmuel Fay MD, Eli Pinchevsky MD, Liron Gershovitz MD, and Noa Ben Ami PT PhD

Background: Over the past several years there has been a marked increase in the number of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers having hip arthroscopy based on magnetic resonance arthrography diagnosis of hip labral tears and/or impingement.

Objectives: To detail characteristics of soldiers who underwent hip arthroscopy and assess outcomes and rate of return to duty.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted of all soldiers who underwent hip arthroscopy 2018 to 2020, and soldiers referred for hip arthroscopy during 2021. Demographic, medical, and military service data were collected from the computerized patient record.

Results: Our study comprised 117 soldiers (29% combatants, 24% females) who underwent hip arthroscopy, mean age 22 ± 3 years, range 18–42; 45% had physiotherapy before surgery; 31% were diagnosed during or within 3 months of having back pain and 20% had been referred for psychological assistance (not related to the hip pain); 15.4% had serious adverse events. The mean time to return to any duty (including clerical work) was 8.0 ± 0.6 months; 56% of the soldiers never returned to service and were discharged from the military. During the one-year follow-up, only 6% returned to their full pre-symptom activity.

Conclusions: The short-term results of IDF soldiers who underwent hip arthroscopy during the study period were much inferior to those reported among athletes. The lack of specificity of the diagnostic tools (history, examination, and imaging) used to determine whether surgery for hip pain is likely to be beneficial in this population may be contributing to over-diagnosis and over-treatment.

Adi Isaacson MD and Amnon Lahad MD, MPH

Background: Traditionally, the task of health promotion and early detection screening has been the purview of health maintenance organizations through the family physician. For some years, it has become popular for private health organizations to offer a concentrated day of comprehensive medical testing, which is promoted as a perk by many organizations to their employees. What do these programs offer? Are the tests that are offered evidence based?

Objectives: To describe a concentrated day of comprehensive medical testing program in view of current evidence base medicine (EBM) recommendations.

Methods: We reviewed official internet sites of the most popular concentrated days of comprehensive medical testing and compared the tests offered to the recommendation of several Israeli and international guidelines.

Results: Many tests performed at director screening days do not follow EBM recommendations. Tests like mammography, colonoscopy, bone density, and prostate-specific antigen tests are often offered outside of the recommended age and risk groups and without pretest consultation.

Conclusions: We recommend against routine general health examinations for healthy adults. The most important treatment is not screening and early detection but real prevention. We recommend turning these director screening days into real investments in future health by changing the focus from diagnosis to treatment through prevention. One-on-one conversations, explanations, and most importantly tools to encourage lifestyle changes, will really make a difference.

Doron Garfinkel MD, and Yuval Levy MD

Background: There has been a rapid increase in vulnerable subpopulations of very old with co-morbidity, dementia, frailty, and limited life expectancy. Being treated by many specialists has led to an epidemic of inappropriate medication use and polypharmacy (IMUP) with negative medical and economic consequences. For most medications there are no evidence-based studies in older people and treatments are based on guidelines proven in much younger/healthier populations.

Objectives: To evaluate whether the benefits of reducing IMUP by poly-de-prescribing (PDP) outweighs the negative outcomes in older people with polypharmacy.

Methods: The Garfinkel method and algorithm were used in older people with polypharmacy (≥ 6 prescription drugs).

Results: We found that in nursing departments, of 331 drugs de-prescribed only 32 (10%) had to be re-administered. Annual mortality and severe complications requiring referral to acute care facility were significantly reduced in PDP (P < 0.002). In community dwelling older people, successful de-prescribing was achieved in 81% with no increase in adverse events or deaths. Those who de-prescribed ≥ 3 prescription drugs showed significantly more improvement in functional and cognitive status, sleep quality, appetite, serious complications, quality of life, and general satisfaction compared to controls who stopped ≤ 2 medications (P < 0.002). Rates of hospitalization and mortality were comparable. Clinical improvement by polydeprescribing was usually evident within 3 months and persisted for several years. The main barrier to polydeprescribing was physician’s unwillingness to deprescribe (P < 0.0001)

Conclusions: Applying the Garfinkel method of PDP may improve the lives of older people and save money.

Anat Gaver MD

Too much healthcare is prevalent, wasteful, and harmful. It consists of two separate phenomena: overdiagnosis and overuse. Overdiagnosis is the labeling of a person with a disease or abnormal condition that would not have caused the person harm if left undiscovered. Individuals derive no clinical benefit from overdiagnosis, although they may experience physical, psychological, or financial harm. It has been found that 15–30%, 20–50%, 0–67%, and 50–90% of people with screen detected breast, prostate, lung, and thyroid cancer, respectively, are overdiagnosed. Since many screening tests have trade-off between benefit and harm, a shared decision-making approach is essential. Incidental findings are very common and may also cause overdiagnosis. Overdiagnosis is recognizable in populations and not at the individual level. However, overuse is recognizable at the level of the individual practitioner. Choosing Wisely, an intervention directed at reducing low value care, now faces the challenge of developing interventions that go beyond recommendations. While some of the drivers of overdiagnosis and overuse are similar, different and parallel strategies are needed in order to reduce them. This is one of the major challenges to our health care system.

Royi Barnea PhD, Ruti Berger PhD, Yossi Weiss PhD MPH, and Joshua Shemer MD

Overuse of healthcare services is a common phenomenon defined as: “a healthcare service that is provided under circumstances in which its potential for harm exceeds the possible benefit.” It is expressed in the gap between desired services and available ones and is accompanied by high financial and human life costs. One-fifth to one-third of patients receives unnecessary, ineffective, or potentially harmful treatments or services. One of the greatest challenges to understanding overuse is the lack of definition for appropriate use. Apart from the physical and mental damage caused by overuse or improper use of medical services, this phenomenon has many implications, such as increasing waiting times for services, creating long queues, and incurring considerable financial costs as over 10% of hospital expenses are used to correct medical errors or preventable infections. Government intervention through economic arrangements such as deductibles and pre-authorization of services by the insurer are partially effective in reducing the overuse of health services. Additional solutions include ensuring safety and quality of care as well as shared decision-making.

Jeremy Lewis PhD FCSP

Dear unique individual:

Really very sorry to hear that you are living with shoulder pain. I’m writing this open letter to you to support decisions you will need to make about how best to manage your symptoms. Shoulder pain never comes at the right time, it always interferes with important work, sports, or social events, and like any pain, we want it gone the moment it starts. In this letter I present to you information that I hope may support you with decisions you will need to make about how best to find an answer for your symptoms. I would like to share with you information about shoulder pain and information about imaging investigations, injections, surgical, and nonsurgical management. I would also like to share with you important lifestyle factors that you need to be aware of, that may also help make sense of the symptoms you are experiencing. This letter focuses on the 90% of people who experience non-traumatic shoulder pain. This letter includes important questions you should ask when you see a clinician. Remember, it is you, not the health professional, who is the most important person in healthcare. No decision should be made without you being fully and truthfully informed of the anticipated benefits, timeframes, and commitments you will need to address and the possible harm of any intervention. I hope you find this letter helpful.

Shir Rubinstein Levy B Med Sc, Gilad Halpert PhD, and Howard Amital MD MHA

Cannabis and cannabinoids have been known for thousands of years for their promising potential as analgesics. Chronic pain is a common complaint among many patients with rheumatic conditions. These disorders have revisited the medical approach toward cannabis and its potential role in pain relief. In addition, in recent years, information has mounted about the immunomodulatory effects of cannabis. In this review we discuss findings on the benefits cannabis may have in rheumatic and autoimmune disorders.

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