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Showing posts from August, 2011

Use of the NHS Choices website for primary care consultations

A recent paper by Jo Murray and colleagues published in JRSM Short Reports examined the impact of patients' use of the NHS Choices website on primary care consultations in England and Wales. They found that NHS Choices did alter healthcare-seeking behaviour, attitudes and knowledge among its users. Using NHS Choices appeared to result in reduced demand for primary care consultations among young, healthy users in particular. The authors concluded that the use of online medical services should be explored further.

Disparities in testing for renal function in UK primary care

In the UK, quality standards for chronic kidney disease (CKD) are set out in a National Service Framework and in pay-for-performance indicators. As CKD is largely asymptomatic in its early stages, it is therefore generally detected following routine renal function testing. In a paper published recently in Family Practice, Simon de Lusignan and colleagues examined which groups of patients were most likely to have renal function testing in primary care. The found that testing rates were highest in people with diabetes, and slightly higher in women than men. The results will help in the planning of the new NHS Health Check programme.

Google Scholar Citations

Many doctors will already be familiar with Google Scholar. Google have recently launched a new linked service, Google Scholar Citations, which provides a web-based tool for academics to monitor citations to their articles. Academics can check who is citing their publications, view citations over time and examine citation metrics. Academics can also make their profile public so that other people can view their citation metrics. The service was launched with a small number of users and I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of the early users. You can view my Google Scholar Citations page to see the data available. Amongst the metrics that can be viewed are the total number of citations and the h-index, along with a chart showing the number of citations per year. Detailed citation counts are also available for individual papers. Many universities already have updateable publication pages for their academics (as an example, see my Imperial College London Publications page). Google …

Prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission programmes

Ninety per cent of HIV infections in children under the age of 15 are caused by mother-to-child transmission of HIV during pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding. In high-income countries introduction of prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) programmes substantially reduce the rate of transmission of HIV from mothers to infants. In a recent systematic review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Lorraine Car and Colleagues examined the effectiveness of integrated PMTCT programmes compared to non-integrated and partially integrated care. They found very little evidence of evidence on this area and suggested that additional research is needed to allow clinicians and policy makers to make a definitive conclusion about the effectiveness of integration of PMTCT interventions with other health services.

Social networking and health

In a letter published recently in the Lancet, Helen Atherton and I argue for a more pragmatic  approach to the use of social networking in healthcare. For example, we should be using current evidence on how social  networking might be used to improve communication with patients. This could involve considering the use of social networking in terms of wider clinical behaviour. Concerns about the eff ect of new  technology on the doctor–patient  relationship were probably being  expressed when telephones were first  introduced more than 100 years ago. Rather than viewing new technology as a threat, we should use the opportunities it offers to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of health systems and to improve people’s knowledge of their health and illnesses.