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Journal of Health Care Management (Full-text available)

Quality and Safety in Health Care  (Full-text available via NHS OPenAthens)


Community pharmacists are well positioned to support patients’ minor ailments. The objective was to evaluate the clinical and humanistic impact of a minor ailment service (MAS) in community pharmacy compared with usual pharmacist care (UC).


A cluster randomised controlled trial was conducted. Intervention patients received MAS, which included a consultation with the pharmacist. MAS pharmacists were trained in clinical pathways and communication systems mutually agreed with general practitioners and received monthly support. Control patients received UC. All patients were followed up by telephone at 14 days. Clinical and humanistic impact were defined by primary (appropriate referral rate and appropriate non-prescription medicine rate) and secondary outcomes (clinical product-based intervention rate, referral adherence, symptom resolution, reconsultation and EuroQol EQ-5D visual analogue scale (VAS)).


Patients (n=894) were recruited from 30 pharmacies and 82% (n=732) responded to follow-up. Patients receiving MAS were 1.5 times more likely to receive an appropriate referral (relative rate (RR)=1.51; 95% CI 1.07 to 2.11; p=0.018) and were five times more likely to adhere to referral, compared with UC (RR=5.08; 95%CI 2.02 to 12.79; p=0.001). MAS patients (94%) achieved symptom resolution or relief at follow-up, while this was 88% with UC (RR=1.06; 95% CI 1 to 1.13; p=0.035). MAS pharmacists were 1.2 times more likely to recommend an appropriate medicine (RR 1.20, 95% CI 1.1 to 1.3; p=0.000) and were 2.6 times more likely to perform a clinical product-based intervention (RR=2.62, 95% CI 1.28 to 5.38; p=0.009), compared with UC. MAS patients had a greater mean difference in VAS at follow-up (4.08; 95% CI 1.23 to 6.87; p=0.004). No difference in reconsultation was observed (RR=0.98; 95% CI 0.75 to 1.28; p=0.89).


The study demonstrates improved clinical and humanistic outcomes with MAS. National implementation is a means to manage minor ailments more effectively in the Australian health system.

Trial registration number


Posted: October 19, 2020, 11:00 am

Patients entrust their lives to healthcare providers. Healthcare providers, in turn, aim to promote wellness, heal what can be healed and relieve suffering, all with comfort and compassion. Yet, when patients are harmed by their healthcare, too often they experience defensiveness and disregard that actually exacerbates their suffering, adding insult to injury.1 2 Communication and resolution programmes (CRP) can mitigate this further harm and avoid pouring salt on the wounds of patients whom the healthcare system has hurt instead of helped. These programmes strive to ensure that patients and families injured by medical care receive prompt attention, honest and empathic explanations, sincere expressions of reconciliation including financial and non-financial restitution, and reassurance from efforts to prevent future harm to others.3 Decades of study and interest in CRPs seem to be resulting in increased implementation with the hope that supporting patients, families and caregivers...

Posted: October 19, 2020, 11:00 am

Loss to follow-up is an under-recognised problem in primary care. Continuity with a primary care provider improves morbidity and mortality in the Veterans Health Administration. We sought to reduce the percentage of patients lost to follow-up at the Northeast Ohio Veterans Affairs Healthcare System from October 2017 to March 2019.


The Panel Retention Tool (PRT) was developed and tested with primary care teams using multiple Plan, Do, Study and Act cycles to identify and schedule lost to follow-up patients. Baseline data on loss to follow-up, defined as the percentage of panelled patients not seen in primary care in the past year, was collected over 6 months during tool development. Outcomes were tracked from implementation through spread and sustainment (12 months) across 14 primary care clinics.


Of the 96 170 panelled patients at the beginning of the study period, 2715 (2.8%) were found to be inactive and removed from provider panels, improving panel reliability. Among the remaining, 1856 (1.9%) patients without scheduled follow-up were scheduled for future care, and 1239 (1.3%) without recent prior care completed encounters during the study period. The percentage of patients lost to follow-up decreased from 10.1% (lower control limit (LCL) 9.8%–upper control limit (UCL) 10.4%) at baseline to 6.4% (LCL 6.2%–UCL 6.7%) postintervention and patients without planned future care decreased from 21.7% (LCL 21.3%–UCL 22.1%) to 17.1% (LCL 16.7%–UCL 17.5%).


The PRT allowed primary care teams in an integrated health system to identify and schedule lost to follow-up patients. Ease of use, adaptability and encouraging outcomes facilitated spread. This has the potential to contribute to more appropriate utilisation of healthcare resources and improved access to primary care.

Posted: October 19, 2020, 11:00 am

At this very moment, somewhere in the world, an intravenous catheter is being placed in a hospitalised patient. Whether the device is small and being placed in a vein in the arm (eg, peripheral intravenous catheter) or large and inserted into a great vessel within the chest (eg, implanted port), they share several characteristics. First, they are all designed to deliver potentially life-saving therapies such as antibiotics, fluids and nutrition or blood products. Indeed, safe and reliable venous access is a cornerstone to medical care in the 20th century. Second, in order to access the venous network, they must penetrate through the skin to provide a pathway to the bloodstream. Consequently, they each carry a risk of both infectious and non-infectious complications. Thus, to keep patients safe, selecting the most appropriate device—one that balances risks against benefits—is paramount to ensure optimal outcomes.

While this statement may seem obvious, evidence...

Posted: October 19, 2020, 11:00 am

Every patient admitted to the hospital, scheduled for a procedure or facing a life-limiting illness potentially confronts a decision about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Despite their importance and frequency, resuscitation or code status discussions (CSD) are often not included in broader serious illness conversations (SIC) or ignored altogether.1 CSDs for patients with serious, life-limiting illness should be incorporated into comprehensive serious illness care delivery, which includes discussions about advance care planning and goals of care at every stage of illness; ideally, for most patients, this will occur early in the disease trajectory.1 Yet, even when conversations occur, health systems frequently do not capture code status in an accurate, retrievable, timely and consistent manner.2 Failing to understand, document and act on patients’ preferences may lead to harm, like other medical errors. Potential outcomes of ineffective CSDs include unwanted CPR or other invasive procedures,...

Posted: October 19, 2020, 11:00 am

Journal of Behavioural Decision Making ( Free Full text)

See also Health Management Update

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