70 research outputs found

    Embedding electronic decision-support tools for suspected cancer in primary care: a qualitative study of GPs' experiences

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    Aim: The purpose of this evaluation was to obtain views from general practitioners (GPs) who piloted the electronic risk assessment tools (eRATs) for suspected lung or colorectal cancer. We wanted to find out whether GPs were able to integrate these tools into their everyday practice. We were also keen to identify facilitators and barriers to their more widespread use. Background: Cancer remains one of UK’s biggest health problems, in terms of morbidity and mortality. Comparative European data show that five-year survival figures for many cancers are lower in the United Kingdom than in comparable European countries. eRATs are intended to aid recognition of symptoms of lung and colorectal cancers in patients aged 40 years and over. Methods: This was a qualitative study; telephone interviews were conducted with 23 GPs who piloted the eRATs. A systematic qualitative analysis was applied to the data. The normalisation process model was used after data collection. This theory-driven conceptual framework was used to examine the operationalisation of this intervention in Primary Care. Findings: Electronic decision-support tools appear to be useful additions to the resources available to GPs in order to assist them with recognizing potential cancer symptoms. However, the tools need to be refined in order to integrate them into GP practice. The tools raised GPs’ awareness about cancer because of the prompt facility of the software, although this also raised the potential of ‘prompt fatigue’. GPs constantly receive alerts via their clinical system, particularly related to the Quality and Outcomes Framework. The integration of eRATs into routine practice could be engendered by improvement to the training packages that accompany them, and by its delivery via a platform compatible with all GP clinical systems

    Conceptualising and Teaching Biomedical Uncertainty to Medical Students: an Exploratory Qualitative Study

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    Introduction Certainty/uncertainty in medicine is a topic of popular debate. This study aims to understand how biomedical uncertainty is conceptualised by academic medical educators and how it is taught in a medical school in the UK. Methods This is an exploratory qualitative study grounded in ethnographic principles. This study is based on 10 observations of teaching sessions and seven semi-structured qualitative interviews with medical educators from various biomedical disciplines in a UK medical school. The data set was analysed via a thematic analysis. Results Four main themes were identified after analysis: (1) ubiquity of biomedical uncertainty, (2) constraints to teaching biomedical uncertainty, (3) the ‘medic filter’ and (4) fluid distinction: core versus additional knowledge. While medical educators had differing understandings of how biomedical uncertainty is articulated in their disciplines, its presence was ubiquitous. This ubiquity did not translate into teaching due to time constraints and assessment strategies. The ‘medic filter’ emerged as a strategy that educators employed to decide what to include in their teaching. They made distinctions between core and additional knowledge which were defined in varied ways across disciplines. Additional knowledge often encapsulated biomedical uncertainty. Discussion Even though the perspective that knowledge is socially constructed is not novel in medical education, it is neither universally valued nor universally applied. Moving beyond situativity theories and into broader debates in social sciences provides new opportunities to discuss the nature of scientific knowledge in medical education. We invite a move away from situated learning to situated knowledge

    The potential of general practice to support young people who self-harm: a narrative review

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    Background Self-harm in young people is a growing public health concern. Young people commonly present to their GP for help with self-harm, and thus general practice may be a key setting to support young people who have self-harmed. Aim To examine the potential of general practice to support young people aged 10–25 years who have harmed themselves. Design & setting A narrative review of published and grey literature. Method The Scale for the Assessment of Narrative Review Articles (SANRA) was used to guide a narrative review to examine the potential of general practice to support young people who have self-harmed. The evidence is presented textually. Results The included evidence showed that GPs have a key role in supporting young people, and they sometimes relied on gut feeling when handling uncertainty on how to help young people who had self-harmed. Young people described the importance of initial clinician responses after disclosing self-harm, and if they were perceived to be negative, the self-harm could become worse. Conclusion In context of the evidence included, this review found that general practice is a key setting for the identification and management of self-harm in young people; but improvements are needed to enhance general practice care for young people to fulfil its potential

    Update on the pathophysiology of cluster headache: Imaging and neuropeptide studies

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    Objective: Cluster headache (CH) is the most severe primary headache condition. Its pathophysiology is multifaceted and incompletely understood. This review brings together the latest neuroimaging and neuropeptide evidence on the pathophysiology of CH.Methods: A review of the literature was conducted by searching PubMed and Web of Science. The search was conducted using the following keywords: imaging studies, voxel-based morphometry, diffusion-tensor imaging, diffusion magnetic resonance imaging, tractography, connectivity, cerebral networks, neuromodulation, central modulation, deep brain stimulation, orexin-A, orexin-B, tract-based spatial statistics, single-photon emission computer tomography studies, positron-emission tomography, functional magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, trigeminovascular system, neuropeptides, calcitonin gene-related peptide, neurokinin A, substance P, nitric oxide synthase, pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide, vasoactive intestinal peptide, neuropeptide Y, acetylcholine, noradrenaline, and ATP. “Cluster headache” was combined with each keyword for more relevant results. All irrelevant and duplicated records were excluded. Search dates were from October 1976 to May 2018.Results: Neuroimaging studies support the role of the hypothalamus in CH, as well as other brain areas involved in the pain matrix. Activation of the trigeminovascular system and the release of neuropeptides play an important role in CH pathophysiology. Among neuropeptides, calcitonin gene-related peptide, vasoactive intestinal peptide, and pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide have been reported to be reliable biomarkers for CH attacks, though not specific for CH. Several other neuropeptides are involved in trigeminovascular activation, but the current evidence does not qualify them as reliable biomarkers in CH.Conclusion: CH has a complex pathophysiology and the pain mechanism is not completely understood. Recent neuroimaging studies have provided insight into the functional and structural network bases of CH pathophysiology. Although there has been important progress in neuropeptide studies, a specific biomarker for CH is yet to be found

    Guidelines for the use of diagnostic imaging in musculoskeletal pain conditions affecting the lower back, knee and shoulder: A scoping review

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    Background Musculoskeletal (MSK) pain is one of the most common reasons for primary care consultation, particularly pain in the lower back (LBP), knee and shoulder. The use of diagnostic imaging for MSK pain is increasing, but it is unclear whether this increase is justified on the basis of clinical practice guideline (CPG) recommendations. Aim To identify and map the content of CPGs that informs the use of diagnostic imaging in those with nontraumatic LBP, knee and shoulder pain in primary and intermediate care in the UK. Design and Setting A scoping review of CPGs. Methods This scoping review was conducted and is reported in accordance with PRISMA guidance. A broad search strategy included electronic searches of MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsychINFO and SPORTDiscus from 2009 to 17 April 2019. This was conducted alongside a search of guideline repositories and was combined with a snowball search of Google, relevant professional bodies and use of social media. Results 31 relevant CPGs were included. Routine use of diagnostic imaging for those with nontraumatic LBP, knee or shoulder pain is generally discouraged in primary care or intermediate care. Diagnostic imaging should be reserved for when specific or serious pathology is suspected or where the person is not responding to initial nonsurgical management and the imaging result is expected to change clinical management decisions. Conclusion Diagnostic imaging should not be routinely requested in primary or intermediate care for nontraumatic LBP, knee or shoulder pain. CPGs do not justify the increasing imaging rates in the UK for MSK pain

    Development and evaluation of a screening tool to aid the diagnosis of a cluster headache

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    Cluster headache (CH), a severe primary headache, is often misdiagnosed and mismanaged. The aim of this study was to develop and evaluate a screening tool to aid the diagnosis of CH. We developed a novel 12-item screening tool. This was comprised of four components: (1) images depicting headache pain; (2) pain descriptors; (3) key questions that could differentiate between CH and migraine; and (4) a visual analogue pain scale. The total possible questionnaire score ranged from 3-32. Patients with CH and migraines (control group) were recruited prospectively from a headache centre in the North of England, UK. Two-hundred and ninety-six patients were included in the study: 81 CH patients, 36 of which suffer with episodic CH and 45 with chronic CH; 215 migraine patients, 92 of which suffer with episodic migraine and 123 with chronic migraine. The mean questionnaire score was higher in CH patients versus migraine patients (28.4 versus 19.5). At a cut-off score of >25 out of 32, the screening tool had a sensitivity of 86.4% and a specificity of 92.0% in differentiating between CH and migraine. The screening tool could be a useful instrument to aid the diagnosis of a CH. The images depicting headache pain do not clearly discriminate between CH and migraine