First name
Julia
Middle name
E
Last name
Szymczak

Title

Access to What for Whom? How Care Delivery Innovations Impact Health Equity.

Year of Publication

2023

Number of Pages

1-6

Date Published

01/2023

ISSN Number

1525-1497

Abstract

Achieving health equity (where every person has the opportunity to attain their full health potential) requires the removal of obstacles to health, including barriers to high-quality medical care. Innovations in service delivery can inadvertently maintain, worsen, or introduce inequities. As such, implementation of innovations must be accompanied by a dual commitment to evaluate impact on marginalized groups and to restructure systems that obstruct people from health and healthcare. Understanding the impact innovations have on access to high-quality care is central to this effort. In this Perspective, we join conceptual models of healthcare access and quality with health equity frameworks to conceptualize healthcare receipt as a series of interactions between people and systems unfolding over time. This synthesized model is applied to illustrate the effects of telemedicine on patient, population, and system outcomes. Telemedicine may improve or worsen health equity by altering access to care and by altering quality of care once it is accessed. Teasing out these varied effects is complex and requires considering multilevel influences on the outcome of a care-seeking episode. This synthesized model can be used to inform research, practice, and policy surrounding the equity implications of care delivery innovations more broadly.

DOI

10.1007/s11606-022-07987-3

Alternate Title

J Gen Intern Med

PMID

36627525

Title

Factors that contribute to disparities in time to acute leukemia diagnosis in young people: an in depth qualitative interview study.

Year of Publication

2022

Number of Pages

531

Date Published

05/2022

ISSN Number

1471-2407

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Racial and ethnic disparities in outcomes for Black and Hispanic children with acute leukemia have been well documented, however little is known about the determinants of diagnostic delays in pediatric leukemia in the United States. The primary objective of this study is to identify factors contributing to delays preceding a pediatric leukemia diagnosis.

METHODS: This qualitative study utilized in-depth semi-structured interviews. Parents and/or patients within two years of receiving a new acute leukemia diagnosis were asked to reflect upon their family's experiences preceding the patient's diagnosis. Subjects were purposively sampled for maximum variation in race, ethnicity, income, and language. Interviews were analyzed using inductive theory-building and the constant comparative method to understand the process of diagnosis. Chart review was conducted to complement qualitative data.

RESULTS: Thirty-two interviews were conducted with a diverse population of English and Spanish speaking participants from two tertiary care pediatric cancer centers. Parents reported feeling frustrated when their intuition conflicted with providers' management decisions. Many felt laboratory testing was not performed soon enough. Additional contributors to delays included misattribution of vague symptoms to more common diagnoses, difficulties in obtaining appointments, and financial disincentives to seek urgent or emergent care. Reports of difficulty obtaining timely appointments and financial concerns were disproportionately raised among low-income Black and Hispanic participants. Comparatively, parents with prior healthcare experiences felt better able to navigate the system and advocate for additional testing at symptom onset.

CONCLUSIONS: While there are disease-related factors contributing to delays in diagnosis, it is important to recognize there are multiple non-disease-related factors that also contribute to delays. Evidence-based approaches to reduce outcome disparities in pediatric cancer likely need to start in the primary care setting where timeliness of diagnosis can be addressed.

DOI

10.1186/s12885-022-09547-8

Alternate Title

BMC Cancer

PMID

35550034

Title

Pharmacist gender and physician acceptance of antibiotic stewardship recommendations: An analysis of the reducing overuse of antibiotics at discharge home intervention.

Year of Publication

2022

Number of Pages

1-8

Date Published

06/2022

ISSN Number

1559-6834

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To assess association of pharmacist gender with acceptance of antibiotic stewardship recommendations.

DESIGN: A retrospective evaluation of the Reducing Overuse of Antibiotics at Discharge (ROAD) Home intervention.

SETTING: The study was conducted from May to October 2019 in a single academic medical center.

PARTICIPANTS: The study included patients receiving antibiotics on a hospitalist service who were nearing discharge.

METHODS: During the intervention, clinical pharmacists (none who had specialist postgraduate infectious disease residency training) reviewed patients on antibiotics and led an antibiotic timeout (ie, structured conversation) prior to discharge to improve discharge antibiotic prescribing. We assessed the association of pharmacist gender with acceptance of timeout recommendations by hospitalists using logistic regression controlling for patient characteristics.

RESULTS: Over 6 months, pharmacists conducted 295 timeouts: 158 timeouts (53.6%) were conducted by 12 women, 137 (46.4%) were conducted by 8 men. Pharmacists recommended an antibiotic change in 82 timeouts (27.8%), of which 51 (62.2%) were accepted. Compared to male pharmacists, female pharmacists were less likely to recommend a discharge antibiotic change: 30 (19.0%) of 158 versus 52 (38.0%) of 137 (P < .001). Female pharmacists were also less likely to have a recommendation accepted: 10 (33.3%) of 30 versus 41 (8.8%) of 52 (P < .001). Thus, timeouts conducted by female versus male pharmacists were less likely to result in an antibiotic change: 10 (6.3%) of 158 versus 41 (29.9%) of 137 (P < .001). After adjustments, pharmacist gender remained significantly associated with whether recommended changes were accepted (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.10; 95%confidence interval [CI], 0.03-0.36 for female versus male pharmacists).

CONCLUSIONS: Antibiotic stewardship recommendations made by female clinical pharmacists were less likely to be accepted by hospitalists. Gender bias may play a role in the acceptance of clinical pharmacist recommendations, which could affect patient care and outcomes.

DOI

10.1017/ice.2022.136

Alternate Title

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol

PMID

35670587

Title

Variability in Primary Care Physician Attitudes Toward Medicaid Work Requirement Exemption Requests Made by Patients With Depression.

Year of Publication

2021

Number of Pages

e212932

Date Published

10/2021

ISSN Number

2689-0186

Abstract

Importance: Medicaid work requirements seek to promote health and personal responsibility but can also jeopardize health care access. Physicians have a central function in assisting patients with exemption requests, but it is unclear how their role affects patient welfare, professionalism, and the ethical and legal justification of programs.

Objective: To understand the degree of variability in physician response to assist patients with depression in receiving a Medicaid work requirement exemption.

Design Setting and Participants: We conducted a mailed survey experiment among practicing primary care physicians in the first 4 approved states (Arkansas, Kentucky, Indiana, New Hampshire) in July and October of 2019. We report response, cooperation, refusal, and contact rates in line with American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) standards.

Exposures: In each state, we used an experimental factorial design to randomize recipients to 1 of 4 patient clinical scenarios.

Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was the indicator of willingness to assist a patient reporting depression with an exemption.

Results: We received 715 responses (overall AAPOR response rate: 21%; cooperation rate: 84%; refusal rate: 4%; contact rate: 25%). Respondents' mean (SD) age was 54 (12) years; mean (SD) time since graduation, 26 (12) years; 435 (61%) identified as male; 177 as Democrat (25%); 156 as Republican (22%); 197 as Independent/other (28%); and 185 as declined/unknown (26%); the mean (SD) share of Medicaid patients was 29% (21%). We found that 97 of 387 physicians (25%) would offer assistance even when state policy would not support an exemption, and 170 of 315 (54%) would not offer assistance when regulations would require this. Moreover, 49 of 245 respondents (20%) who deemed an exemption appropriate indicated that they would not assist. State, administrative effort, political affiliation, and perceived appropriateness were statistically associated with the odds of assisting with an exemption.

Conclusions and Relevance: In this survey study of primary care physicians, we found substantial variation regarding willingness to assist patients qualifying for a work requirement exemption where none should exist. Insofar as work requirements are implemented again, it is critical to proactively identify measures to ensure that patients qualifying for exemptions are not put at risk due to either the burdensomeness of exemption procedures, or physicians' political or personal views.

DOI

10.1001/jamahealthforum.2021.2932

Alternate Title

JAMA Health Forum

PMID

35977164

Title

Infections and interaction rituals in the organisation: clinician accounts of speaking up or remaining silent in the face of threats to patient safety.

Year of Publication

2016

Number of Pages

325-39

Date Published

2016 Feb

ISSN Number

1467-9566

Abstract

Clinician silence in the face of known threats to patient safety is a source of growing concern. Current explanations for the difficulties clinicians have of speaking up are conceptualised at the individual or organisational level, with little attention paid to the space between - the interaction context. Drawing on 103 interviews with clinicians at one hospital in the United States this article examines how clinicians talk about speaking up or not in the face of breaches in infection prevention technique. Accounts are analysed using a microsociological lens as stories of interaction, through which respondents appeal to situational and organisational realities of medical work that serve to justify speaking up or remaining silent. Analysis of these accounts reveals three influences on the decision to speak up, shaped by background conditions in the organisation; mutual focus of attention, interactional path dependence and the presence of an audience. These findings suggest that the decision to speak up in a clinical setting is dynamic, highly context-dependent, embedded in the interaction rituals that suffuse everyday work and constrained by organisational dynamics. This article develops a more sophisticated and distinctly sociological understanding of the reasons why speaking up in healthcare is so difficult.

DOI

10.1111/1467-9566.12371

Alternate Title

Sociol Health Illn

PMID

26537184

Title

Numbers and narratives: how qualitative methods can strengthen the science of paediatric antimicrobial stewardship.

Year of Publication

2022

Number of Pages

dlab195

Date Published

2022 Mar

ISSN Number

2632-1823

Abstract

<p>Antimicrobial and diagnostic stewardship initiatives have become increasingly important in paediatric settings. The value of qualitative approaches to conduct stewardship work in paediatric patients is being increasingly recognized. This article seeks to provide an introduction to basic elements of qualitative study designs and provide an overview of how these methods have successfully been applied to both antimicrobial and diagnostic stewardship work in paediatric patients. A multidisciplinary team of experts in paediatric infectious diseases, paediatric critical care and qualitative methods has written a perspective piece introducing readers to qualitative stewardship work in children, intended as an overview to highlight the importance of such methods and as a starting point for further work. We describe key differences between qualitative and quantitative methods, and the potential benefits of qualitative approaches. We present examples of qualitative research in five discrete topic areas of high relevance for paediatric stewardship work: provider attitudes; provider prescribing behaviours; stewardship in low-resource settings; parents' perspectives on stewardship; and stewardship work focusing on select high-risk patients. Finally, we explore the opportunities for multidisciplinary academic collaboration, incorporation of innovative scientific disciplines and young investigator growth through the use of qualitative research in paediatric stewardship. Qualitative approaches can bring rich insights and critically needed new information to antimicrobial and diagnostic stewardship efforts in children. Such methods are an important tool in the armamentarium against worsening antimicrobial resistance, and a major opportunity for investigators interested in moving the needle forward for stewardship in paediatric patients.</p>

DOI

10.1093/jacamr/dlab195

Alternate Title

JAC Antimicrob Resist

PMID

35098126

Title

Medical Outcomes, Quality of Life, and Family Perceptions for Outpatient vs Inpatient Neutropenia Management After Chemotherapy for Pediatric Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Year of Publication

2021

Number of Pages

e2128385

Date Published

2021 Oct 01

ISSN Number

2574-3805

Abstract

<p><strong>Importance: </strong>Pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) requires multiple courses of intensive chemotherapy that result in neutropenia, with significant risk for infectious complications. Supportive care guidelines recommend hospitalization until neutrophil recovery. However, there are little data to support inpatient over outpatient management.</p>

<p><strong>Objective: </strong>To evaluate outpatient vs inpatient neutropenia management for pediatric AML.</p>

<p><strong>Design, Setting, and Participants: </strong>This cohort study used qualitative and quantitative methods to compare medical outcomes, patient health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and patient and family perceptions between outpatient and inpatient neutropenia management. The study included patients from 17 US pediatric hospitals with frontline chemotherapy start dates ranging from January 2011 to July 2019, although the specific date ranges differed for the individual analyses by design and relative timing. Data were analyzed from August 2019 to February 2020.</p>

<p><strong>Exposures: </strong>Discharge to outpatient vs inpatient neutropenia management.</p>

<p><strong>Main Outcomes and Measures: </strong>The primary outcomes of interest were course-specific bacteremia incidence, times to next course, and patient HRQOL. Course-specific mortality was a secondary medical outcome.</p>

<p><strong>Results: </strong>Primary quantitative analyses included 554 patients (272 [49.1%] girls and 282 [50.9%] boys; mean [SD] age, 8.2 [6.1] years). Bacteremia incidence was not significantly different during outpatient vs inpatient management (67 courses [23.8%] vs 265 courses [29.0%]; adjusted rate ratio, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.56 to 1.06; P = .08). Outpatient management was not associated with delays to the next course compared with inpatient management (mean [SD] 30.7 [12.2] days vs 32.8 [9.7] days; adjusted mean difference, -2.2; 95% CI, -4.1 to -0.2, P = .03). Mortality during intensification II was higher for patients who received outpatient management compared with those who received inpatient management (3 patients [5.4%] vs 1 patient [0.5%]; P = .03), but comparable with inpatient management at other courses (eg, 0 patients vs 5 patients [1.3%] during induction I; P = .59). Among 97 patients evaluated for HRQOL, outcomes did not differ between outpatient and inpatient management (mean [SD] Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory total score, 70.1 [18.9] vs 68.7 [19.4]; adjusted mean difference, -2.8; 95% CI, -11.2 to 5.6). A total of 86 respondents (20 [23.3%] in outpatient management, 66 [76.7%] in inpatient management) completed qualitative interviews. Independent of management strategy received, 74 respondents (86.0%) expressed satisfaction with their experience. Concerns for hospital-associated infections among caregivers (6 of 7 caregiver respondents [85.7%] who were dissatisfied with inpatient management) and family separation (2 of 2 patient respondents [100%] who were dissatisfied with inpatient management) drove dissatisfaction with inpatient management. Stress of caring for a neutropenic child at home (3 of 3 respondents [100%] who were dissatisfied with outpatient management) drove dissatisfaction with outpatient management.</p>

<p><strong>Conclusions and Relevance: </strong>This cohort study found that outpatient neutropenia management was not associated with higher bacteremia incidence, treatment delays, or worse HRQOL compared with inpatient neutropenia management among pediatric patients with AML. While outpatient management may be safe for many patients, course-specific mortality differences suggest that outpatient management in intensification II should be approached with caution. Patient and family experiences varied, suggesting that outpatient management may be preferred by some but may not be feasible for all families. Further studies to refine and standardize safe outpatient management practices are warranted.</p>

DOI

10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.28385

Alternate Title

JAMA Netw Open

PMID

34709389

Title

The impact of disease-related knowledge on perceptions of stigma among patients with Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection.

Year of Publication

2021

Number of Pages

e0258143

Date Published

2021

ISSN Number

1932-6203

Abstract

<p>Most patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection perceive some degree of disease-related stigma. Misunderstandings about diseases may contribute to disease-related stigma. The objective of this study was to evaluate patient-level knowledge about HCV infection transmission and natural history and its association with HCV-related stigma among HCV-infected patients. We conducted a cross-sectional survey study among 265 patients with HCV in Philadelphia using the HCV Stigma Scale and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Hepatitis C Follow-up Survey (2001-2008). The association between HCV knowledge and HCV-related stigma was evaluated via linear regression. Overall knowledge about HCV transmission and natural history was high, with &gt;80% of participants answering ≥9 of 11 items correctly (median number of correct responses, 9 [82%]), HCV-related knowledge was similar between HIV/HCV-coinfected and HCV-monoinfected participants (p = 0.30). A higher level of HCV-related knowledge was associated with greater perceived HCV-related stigma (β, 2.34 ([95% CI, 0.51-4.17]; p = 0.013). Results were similar after adjusting for age, race, ethnicity, HIV status, education level, stage of HCV management, time since diagnosis, and history of injection drug use. In this study, increased HCV-related knowledge was associated with greater perceptions of HCV stigma. Clinicians may consider allotting time to address common misconceptions about HCV when educating patients about HCV infection, which may counterbalance the stigmatizing impact of greater HCV-related knowledge.</p>

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0258143

Alternate Title

PLoS One

PMID

34610030

Title

Antibiotic stewardship in direct-to-consumer telemedicine: translating interventions into the virtual realm.

Year of Publication

2021

Date Published

2021 Oct 07

ISSN Number

1460-2091

Abstract

<p>Direct-to-consumer (DTC) telemedicine is an increasingly popular modality for delivery of medical care via a virtual platform. As most DTC telemedicine visits focus on infection-related complaints, there is growing concern about the magnitude of antibiotic use associated with this setting. However, there is limited scholarship regarding adapting and implementing antibiotic stewardship principles in this setting as most efforts have been focused on hospitals with more recent work in long-term care facilities and primary care settings. We discuss utilizing the core elements for outpatient antibiotic stewardship as a framework for DTC antibiotic stewardship efforts moving forward.</p>

DOI

10.1093/jac/dkab371

Alternate Title

J Antimicrob Chemother

PMID

34618026

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