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Comparing physician associates and foundation year two doctors-in-training undertaking emergency medicine consultations in England: a mixed-methods study of processes and outcomesObjectives: To compare the contribution of physician associates to the processes and outcomes of emergency medicine consultations with that of foundation year two doctors-in-training. Design: Mixed-methods study: retrospective chart review using 4 months’ anonymised clinical record data of all patients seen by physician associates or foundation year two doctors-in-training in 2016; review of a subsample of 40 records for clinical adequacy; semi-structured interviews with staff and patients; observations of physician associates. Setting: Three emergency departments in England. Participants: The records of 8816 patients attended by 6 physician associates and 40 foundation year two doctors-in-training; of these n=3197 had the primary outcome recorded (n=1129 physician associates, n=2068 doctor); 14 clinicians and managers and 6 patients or relatives for interview; 5 physician associates for observation. Primary and secondary outcome measures: The primary outcome was unplanned re-attendance at the same emergency department within 7 days. Secondary outcomes: consultation processes, clinical adequacy of care, and staff and patient experience. Results: Re-attendances within 7 days (n=194 (6.1%)) showed no difference between physician associates and foundation year two doctors-in-training (OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.61 to 1.24, p=0.437). If seen by a physician associate, patients were more likely receive an X-ray investigation (OR 2.10, 95% CI 1.72 to 4.24), p<0.001), after adjustment for patient characteristics, triage severity of condition and statistically significant clinician intraclass correlation. Clinical reviewers found almost all patients’ charts clinically adequate. Physician associates were evaluated as assessing patients in a similar way to foundation year two doctors-in-training and providing continuity in the team. Patients were positive about the care they had received from a physician associate, but had poor understanding of the role. Conclusions: Physician associates in emergency departments in England treated patients with a range of conditions safely, and at a similar level to foundation year two doctors-in-training, providing clinical operational efficiencies.
Tuberculosis notification in a private tertiary care teaching hospital in South India: a mixed-methods studyObjectives India contributes approximately 25% of the ‘missing’ cases of tuberculosis (TB) globally. Even though ~50% of patients with TB are diagnosed and treated within India’s private sector, few are notified to the public healthcare system. India’s TB notification policy mandates that all patients with TB are notified through Nikshay (TB notification portal). We undertook this study in a private hospital to assess the proportion notified and factors affecting TB notifications. We explored barriers and probable solutions to TB notification qualitatively from health provider’s perspective. Study setting Private, tertiary care, teaching hospital in Bengaluru, South India. Methodology This was a mixed-methods study. Quantitative component comprised a retrospective review of hospital records between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2017 to determine TB notifications. The qualitative component comprised key informant interviews and focus groups to elicit the barriers and facilitators of TB notification. Results Of 3820 patients diagnosed and treated, 885 (23.2%) were notified. Notifications of sputum smear-positive patients were significantly more likely, while notifications of children were less likely. Qualitative analysis yielded themes reflecting the barriers to TB notification and their solutions. Themes related to barriers were: (1) basic diagnostic procedures and treatment promote notification; (2) misconceptions regarding notification and its process are common among healthcare providers; (3) despite a national notification system other factors have prevented notification of all patients; and (4) establishing hospital systems for notification will go a long way in improving notifications. Conclusions The proportion of patients with TB notified by the hospital was low. A comprehensive approach both by the hospital management and the national TB programme is necessary for improving notification. This includes improving awareness among healthcare providers about the requirement for TB notifications, establishing a single notification portal in hospital, digitally linking hospital records to Nikshay and designating one person to be responsible for notification.