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  • Pilot study of implementing the Shared Healthcare Actions & Reflections Electronic systems in Survivorship (SHARE-S) program in coordination with clinical care

    Sohl, Stephanie J; Sadasivam, Rajani S; Kittel, Carol; Dressler, Emily V; Wentworth, Stacy; Balakrishnan, Kavitha; Weaver, Kathryn E; Dellinger, Rebecca Ann; Puccinelli-Ortega, Nicole; Cutrona, Sarah L; et al. (2023-04-25)
    Introduction: Initial cancer survivorship care planning efforts focused on information sharing demonstrated limited impact on patient health outcomes. We designed the Shared Healthcare Actions & Reflections Electronic Systems in survivorship (SHARE-S) program to enhance survivorship guideline implementation by transitioning some effort from clinicians to technology and patients through supporting health self-management (e.g., healthy lifestyles). Methods: We conducted a single-group hybrid implementation-effectiveness pilot study. SHARE-S incorporated three strategies: (1) e-referral from the clinical team for patient engagement, (2) three health self-management coach calls, and (3) text messages to enhance coaching. Our primary implementation measure was the proportion of patients e-referred who enrolled (target >30%). Secondary implementation measures assessed patient engagement. We also measured effectiveness by describing changes in patient health outcomes. Results: Of the 118 cancer survivor patients e-referred, 40 engaged in SHARE-S (proportion enrolled = 34%). Participants had a mean age of 57.4 years (SD = 15.7), 73% were female, 23% were Black/African American, and 5 (12.5%) were from a rural location. Patient-level adherence to coach calls was >90%. Changes from baseline to follow-up showed at least a small effect (Cohen's d = 0.2) for improvements in: mindful attention, alcohol use, physical activity, fruit and vegetable intake, days of mindfulness practice, depressive symptoms, ability to participate in social roles and activities, cancer-specific quality of life, benefits of having cancer, and positive feelings. Conclusion: The SHARE-S program successfully engaged cancer survivor patients. Once enrolled, patients showed promising improvements in health outcomes. Supporting patient self-management is an important component of optimizing delivery of cancer survivorship care.
  • Monitoring Diversity in Faculty Using Applicant Flow Data: Lessons Learned

    Rosal, Milagros C; Duncan, Marlina; Hirabayashi, Natasja; Person, Sharina (2023-04-12)
    We applaud Dr Adaugo Amobi’s commentary in this issue of Medical Care regarding physician workforce diversity, the importance of systems to track physician hiring practices in aggregate and over time, and the use of these data to inform efforts to improve workforce diversity.
  • Secure Messaging for Diabetes Management: Content Analysis

    Robinson, Stephanie A; Zocchi, Mark; Purington, Carolyn; Am, Linda; DeLaughter, Kathryn; Vimalananda, Varsha G; Netherton, Dane; Ash, Arlene S; Hogan, Timothy P; Shimada, Stephanie L (2023-03-23)
    Background: Secure messaging use is associated with improved diabetes-related outcomes. However, it is less clear how secure messaging supports diabetes management. Objective: We examined secure message topics between patients and clinical team members in a national sample of veterans with type 2 diabetes to understand use of secure messaging for diabetes management and potential associations with glycemic control. Methods: We surveyed and analyzed the content of secure messages between 448 US Veterans Health Administration patients with type 2 diabetes and their clinical teams. We also explored the relationship between secure messaging content and glycemic control. Results: Explicit diabetes-related content was the most frequent topic (72.1% of participants), followed by blood pressure (31.7% of participants). Among diabetes-related conversations, 90.7% of patients discussed medication renewals or refills. More patients with good glycemic control engaged in 1 or more threads about blood pressure compared to those with poor control (37.5% vs 27.2%, P=.02). More patients with good glycemic control engaged in 1 more threads intended to share information with their clinical team about an aspect of their diabetes management compared to those with poor control (23.7% vs 12.4%, P=.009). Conclusions: There were few differences in secure messaging topics between patients in good versus poor glycemic control. Those in good control were more likely to engage in informational messages to their team and send messages related to blood pressure. It may be that the specific topic content of the secure messages may not be that important for glycemic control. Simply making it easier for patients to communicate with their clinical teams may be the driving influence between associations previously reported in the literature between secure messaging and positive clinical outcomes in diabetes.
  • Leveraging Organizational Conditions for Innovation: A Typology of Facility Engagement in the Veterans Health Administration Shark Tank-Style Competition

    Kaitz, Jenesse; DeLaughter, Kathryn; Deeney, Christine; Cutrona, Sarah L; Hogan, Timothy P; Gifford, Allen L; Jackson, George L; White, Brandolyn; King, Heather; Reardon, Caitlin; et al. (2023-03-22)
    Introduction The development and spread of innovation are known challenges in health care. The US Veterans Health Administration (VHA) created a “Shark Tank”-style competition directed at frontline employees. In this annual, systemwide competition, employees submit innovations to the competition, and winning innovations receive support for implementation in other facilities. Method A multiple case study design was used to understand facility engagement in the competition, and the relationship between engagement and organizational conditions. The authors created a typology to describe the relationship between facility engagement in the competition and organizational conditions for innovation. Results Overall, there was high participation in the VHA’s competition across all 130 facilities. The authors identified 7 mutually exclusive types of facility engagement. Discussion As expected, facilities with the most established conditions for innovation were the most engaged in the competition. Additionally, other facilities had various ways to be involved. Consequently, there may be benefit to the VHA tailoring how they work with facilities, based on organizational conditions. Larger facilities with ongoing research and more resources may be more suited to develop innovations, whereas smaller facilities could benefit from a focus on adoption. Conclusion These insights are valuable to the VHA and can be used by other health care systems to tailor innovation programs and allocate resources based on diverse needs across a vast health care system.
  • Barriers and Facilitators to the Implementation of Adolescent Cancer Prevention Interventions in Rural Primary Care Settings: A Scoping Review

    Ryan, Grace W; Whitmire, Paula; Batten, Annabelle J.; Goulding, Melissa; Baltich Nelson, Becky; Lemon, Stephenie C.; Pbert, Lori (2023-03-13)
    Purpose: We conducted a scoping review of studies to examine the implementation of interventions to promote adolescent cancer prevention in rural, primary care settings and identify barriers and facilitators. Methods: We followed the JBI scoping review protocol and used a systematic extraction and coding process. Our search of MEDLINE, PsycInfo, Cochrane, CINAHL, and Scopus identified articles related to implementation of interventions in the following areas: obesity, human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, tobacco use, and sun exposure. We used the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR), an implementation framework consisting of 5 domains (outer setting, inner setting, intervention characteristics, individual characteristics, process), each with a sub-set of constructs, to classify barriers and facilitators reported. Results: We identified 3046 references, excluded 2969 during initial screening, assessed 74 for full-text eligibility, and abstracted 24. Of these, 17 addressed obesity, 6 addressed HPV vaccination, 1 addressed skin cancer, and 1 addressed multiple behaviors. 10 studies were either non-randomized experimental designs (n=8) or randomized controlled trials (n=2). The remaining were observational or descriptive research. Barriers in the outer setting (e.g., lack of external funding sources, patients' beliefs) and inner setting (e.g., time available for implementation efforts and clinic infrastructure) were most common, compared to the other CFIR domains. Similarly, facilitators in the outer setting (e.g., partnerships with other organizations and parents' trust in health care providers) and inner setting (e.g., efficiency in practice protocols) were commonly reported. Conclusions: Adolescence is a critical growth window to establish healthy behaviors to prevent future cancers. Rural areas have higher rates of cancer morbidity and mortality than urban ones, putting rural adolescents at heightened risk for cancers. Yet, we found a dearth of studies addressing the implementation of adolescent cancer prevention in rural primary care settings. Further research is needed to understand the implementation challenges and potential strategies to improve implementation efforts to promote cancer prevention among rural adolescents.
  • Provider perceptions of barriers and facilitators to care in eating disorder treatment for transgender and gender diverse patients: a qualitative study

    Ferrucci, Katarina A; McPhillips, Emily; Lapane, Kate L; Jesdale, Bill M; Dubé, Catherine E (2023-03-08)
    Background: The prevalence of eating disorders is higher in transgender and non-binary compared to cisgender people. Gender diverse people who seek eating disorder treatment often report struggling to find affirming and inclusive treatment from healthcare clinicians. We sought to understand eating disorder care clinicians' perceptions of facilitators of and barriers to effective eating disorder treatment for transgender and gender diverse patients. Methods: In 2022, nineteen US-based licensed mental health clinicians who specialized in eating disorder treatment participated in semi-structured interviews. We used inductive thematic analysis to identify themes around perceptions and knowledge of facilitators and barriers to care for transgender and gender diverse patients diagnosed with eating disorders. Results: Two broad themes were identified: (1) factors affecting access to care; and (2) factors affecting care while in treatment. Within the first theme, the following subthemes were found: stigmatization, family support, financial factors, gendered clinics, scarcity of gender-competent care, and religious communities. Within the second theme, prominent subthemes included discrimination and microaggressions, provider lived experience and education, other patients and parents, institutions of higher education, family-centered care, gendered-centered care, and traditional therapeutic techniques. Conclusion: Many barriers and facilitators have potential to be improved upon, especially those caused by clinicians' lack of knowledge or attitudes towards gender minority patients in treatment. Future research is needed to identify how provider-driven barriers manifest and how they can be improved upon to better patient care experiences.
  • Monitoring the Implementation of Tobacco Cessation Support Tools: Using Novel Electronic Health Record Activity Metrics

    Chen, Jinying; Cutrona, Sarah L; Dharod, Ajay; Bunch, Stephanie C; Foley, Kristie L; Ostasiewski, Brian; Hale, Erica R; Bridges, Aaron; Moses, Adam; Donny, Eric C; et al. (2023-03-02)
    Background: Clinical decision support (CDS) tools in electronic health records (EHRs) are often used as core strategies to support quality improvement programs in the clinical setting. Monitoring the impact (intended and unintended) of these tools is crucial for program evaluation and adaptation. Existing approaches for monitoring typically rely on health care providers' self-reports or direct observation of clinical workflows, which require substantial data collection efforts and are prone to reporting bias. Objective: This study aims to develop a novel monitoring method leveraging EHR activity data and demonstrate its use in monitoring the CDS tools implemented by a tobacco cessation program sponsored by the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Center Cessation Initiative (C3I). Methods: We developed EHR-based metrics to monitor the implementation of two CDS tools: (1) a screening alert reminding clinic staff to complete the smoking assessment and (2) a support alert prompting health care providers to discuss support and treatment options, including referral to a cessation clinic. Using EHR activity data, we measured the completion (encounter-level alert completion rate) and burden (the number of times an alert was fired before completion and time spent handling the alert) of the CDS tools. We report metrics tracked for 12 months post implementation, comparing 7 cancer clinics (2 clinics implemented the screening alert and 5 implemented both alerts) within a C3I center, and identify areas to improve alert design and adoption. Results: The screening alert fired in 5121 encounters during the 12 months post implementation. The encounter-level alert completion rate (clinic staff acknowledged completion of screening in EHR: 0.55; clinic staff completed EHR documentation of screening results: 0.32) remained stable over time but varied considerably across clinics. The support alert fired in 1074 encounters during the 12 months. Providers acted upon (ie, not postponed) the support alert in 87.3% (n=938) of encounters, identified a patient ready to quit in 12% (n=129) of encounters, and ordered a referral to the cessation clinic in 2% (n=22) of encounters. With respect to alert burden, on average, both alerts fired over 2 times (screening alert: 2.7; support alert: 2.1) before completion; time spent postponing the screening alert was similar to completing (52 vs 53 seconds) the alert, and time spent postponing the support alert was more than completing (67 vs 50 seconds) the alert per encounter. These findings inform four areas where the alert design and use can be improved: (1) improving alert adoption and completion through local adaptation, (2) improving support alert efficacy by additional strategies including training in provider-patient communication, (3) improving the accuracy of tracking for alert completion, and (4) balancing alert efficacy with the burden. Conclusions: EHR activity metrics were able to monitor the success and burden of tobacco cessation alerts, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of potential trade-offs associated with alert implementation. These metrics can be used to guide implementation adaptation and are scalable across diverse settings.
  • Association between sleep hygiene practices scale and sleep quality in Black and Latinx patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes

    Biggers, Alana; Barton, Isaye; Henkins, Julia; Kim, Hajwa; Perez, Rose; Ong, Jason; Sharp, Lisa K; Gerber, Ben S (2023-03-02)
    Objective: We explored the relationship between the Sleep Hygiene Practices Scale (SHPS) and sleep quality and sleep-related impairment in Black and Latinx adults with type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Methods: Forty Black and Latinx adults with T2DM participated. Self-reported measures include the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Sleep Disturbance (SD) and Sleep-Related Impairment (SRI) measures, and SHPS (domains include sleep schedule and timing, arousal-related behaviors, poor eating/drinking habits prior to sleep, and poor sleep environment). Results: SHPS Cronbach's alpha coefficients were 0.58 (schedule), 0.78 (arousal), 0.29 (eating), 0.81 (environment) and 0.88 (overall for four domains). SHPS scores correlated with PSQI (Pearson correlation r = 0.67, 95% CI [0.44, 0.81], PROMIS-SD (r = 0.61 [0.36-0.77]), and PROMIS-SRI (r = 0.43, [0.13-0.65]). There remained a significant relationship between sleep hygiene and both sleep quality and sleep-related impairment adjusting for hemoglobin A1c, age, and body mass index in regression models. Conclusions: We observed moderate correlations between sleep quality and sleep-related impairment with sleep hygiene using the SHPS in Black and Latinx adults with T2DM.
  • Putting Evidence Into Practice: An Update on the US Preventive Services Task Force Methods for Developing Recommendations for Preventive Services

    Barry, Michael J; Wolff, Tracy A; Pbert, Lori; Davidson, Karina W; Fan, Tina M; Krist, Alex H; Lin, Jennifer S; Mabry-Hernandez, Iris R; Mangione, Carol M; Mills, Justin; et al. (2023-03-01)
    Purpose: The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is an independent body that makes evidence-based recommendations regarding preventive services to improve health for people nationwide. Here, we summarize current USPSTF methods, describe how methods are evolving to address preventive health equity, and define evidence gaps for future research. Methods: We summarize current USPSTF methods as well as ongoing methods development. Results: The USPSTF prioritizes topics on the basis of disease burden, extent of new evidence, and whether the service can be provided in primary care and going forward will increasingly consider health equity. Analytic frameworks specify the key questions and linkages connecting the preventive service to health outcomes. Contextual questions provide information on natural history, current practice, health outcomes in high-risk groups, and health equity. The USPSTF assigns a level of certainty to the estimate of net benefit of a preventive service (high, moderate, or low). The magnitude of net benefit is also judged (substantial, moderate, small, or zero/negative). The USPSTF uses these assessments to assign a letter grade from A (recommend) to D (recommend against). I statements are issued when evidence is insufficient. Conclusions: The USPSTF will continue to evolve its methods for simulation modeling and to use evidence to address conditions for which there are limited data for population groups who bear a disproportionate burden of disease. Additional pilot work is underway to better understand the relations of the social constructs of race, ethnicity, and gender with health outcomes to inform the development of a USPSTF health equity framework.
  • Associations Between Natural Language Processing-Enriched Social Determinants of Health and Suicide Death Among US Veterans

    Mitra, Avijit; Pradhan, Richeek; Melamed, Rachel D; Chen, Kun; Hoaglin, David C; Tucker, Katherine L; Reisman, Joel I; Yang, Zhichao; Liu, Weisong; Tsai, Jack; et al. (2023-03-01)
    Importance: Social determinants of health (SDOHs) are known to be associated with increased risk of suicidal behaviors, but few studies use SDOHs from unstructured electronic health record notes. Objective: To investigate associations between veterans' death by suicide and recent SDOHs, identified using structured and unstructured data. Design, setting, and participants: This nested case-control study included veterans who received care under the US Veterans Health Administration from October 1, 2010, to September 30, 2015. A natural language processing (NLP) system was developed to extract SDOHs from unstructured clinical notes. Structured data yielded 6 SDOHs (ie, social or familial problems, employment or financial problems, housing instability, legal problems, violence, and nonspecific psychosocial needs), NLP on unstructured data yielded 8 SDOHs (social isolation, job or financial insecurity, housing instability, legal problems, barriers to care, violence, transition of care, and food insecurity), and combining them yielded 9 SDOHs. Data were analyzed in May 2022. Exposures: Occurrence of SDOHs over a maximum span of 2 years compared with no occurrence of SDOH. Main outcomes and measures: Cases of suicide death were matched with 4 controls on birth year, cohort entry date, sex, and duration of follow-up. Suicide was ascertained by National Death Index, and patients were followed up for up to 2 years after cohort entry with a study end date of September 30, 2015. Adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% CIs were estimated using conditional logistic regression. Results: Of 6 122 785 veterans, 8821 committed suicide during 23 725 382 person-years of follow-up (incidence rate 37.18 per 100 000 person-years). These 8821 veterans were matched with 35 284 control participants. The cohort was mostly male (42 540 [96.45%]) and White (34 930 [79.20%]), with 6227 (14.12%) Black veterans. The mean (SD) age was 58.64 (17.41) years. Across the 5 common SDOHs, NLP-extracted SDOH, on average, retained 49.92% of structured SDOHs and covered 80.03% of all SDOH occurrences. SDOHs, obtained by structured data and/or NLP, were significantly associated with increased risk of suicide. The 3 SDOHs with the largest effect sizes were legal problems (aOR, 2.66; 95% CI, 2.46-2.89), violence (aOR, 2.12; 95% CI, 1.98-2.27), and nonspecific psychosocial needs (aOR, 2.07; 95% CI, 1.92-2.23), when obtained by combining structured data and NLP. Conclusions and relevance: In this study, NLP-extracted SDOHs, with and without structured SDOHs, were associated with increased risk of suicide among veterans, suggesting the potential utility of NLP in public health studies.
  • Social Determinants, Blood Pressure Control, and Racial Inequities in Childbearing Age Women With Hypertension, 2001 to 2018

    Meyerovitz, Claire V; Juraschek, Stephen P; Ayturk, Didem; Moore Simas, Tiffany A; Person, Sharina D; Lemon, Stephenie C; McManus, David D; Kovell, Lara C (2023-02-27)
    Background Hypertension is an important modifiable risk factor of serious maternal morbidity and mortality. Social determinants of health (SDoH) influence hypertension outcomes and may contribute to racial and ethnic differences in hypertension control. Our objective was to assess SDoH and blood pressure (BP) control by race and ethnicity in US women of childbearing age with hypertension. Methods and Results We studied women (aged 20-50 years) with hypertension (systolic BP ≥140 mm Hg or diastolic BP ≥90 mm Hg or use of antihypertensive medication) in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 2001 to 2018. SDoH and BP control (systolic BP <140 mm Hg and diastolic BP <90 mm Hg) were examined by race and ethnicity (White race, Black race, Hispanic ethnicity, and Asian race). Using multivariable logistic regression, odds of uncontrolled BP by race and ethnicity were modeled, adjusting for SDoH, health factors, and modifiable health behaviors. Responses on hunger and affording food determined food insecurity status. Across women of childbearing age with hypertension (N=1293), 59.2% were White race, 23.4% were Black race, 15.8% were Hispanic ethnicity, and 1.7% were Asian race. More Hispanic and Black women experienced food insecurity than White women (32% and 25% versus 13%; both P<0.001). After SDoH, health factor, and modifiable health behavior adjustment, Black women maintained higher odds of uncontrolled BP than White women (odds ratio, 2.31 [95% CI, 1.08-4.92]), whereas Asian and Hispanic women showed no difference. Conclusions We identified racial inequities in uncontrolled BP and food insecurity among women of childbearing age with hypertension. Further exploration beyond the SDoH measured is needed to understand the inequity in hypertension control in Black women.
  • Performance of Rapid Antigen Tests Based on Symptom Onset and Close Contact Exposure: A secondary analysis from the Test Us At Home prospective cohort study [preprint]

    Herbert, Carly; Wang, Biqi; Lin, Honghuang; Hafer, Nathaniel; Pretz, Caitlin; Stamegna, Pamela; Tarrant, Seanan; Hartin, Paul; Ferranto, Julia; Behar, Stephanie; et al. (2023-02-24)
    Background: The performance of rapid antigen tests for SARS-CoV-2 (Ag-RDT) in temporal relation to symptom onset or exposure is unknown, as is the impact of vaccination on this relationship. Objective: To evaluate the performance of Ag-RDT compared with RT-PCR based on day after symptom onset or exposure in order to decide on 'when to test'. Design setting and participants: The Test Us at Home study was a longitudinal cohort study that enrolled participants over 2 years old across the United States between October 18, 2021 and February 4, 2022. All participants were asked to conduct Ag-RDT and RT-PCR testing every 48 hours over a 15-day period. Participants with one or more symptoms during the study period were included in the Day Post Symptom Onset (DPSO) analyses, while those who reported a COVID-19 exposure were included in the Day Post Exposure (DPE) analysis. Exposure: Participants were asked to self-report any symptoms or known exposures to SARS-CoV-2 every 48-hours, immediately prior to conducting Ag-RDT and RT-PCR testing. The first day a participant reported one or more symptoms was termed DPSO 0, and the day of exposure was DPE 0. Vaccination status was self-reported. Main outcome and measures: Results of Ag-RDT were self-reported (positive, negative, or invalid) and RT-PCR results were analyzed by a central laboratory. Percent positivity of SARS-CoV-2 and sensitivity of Ag-RDT and RT-PCR by DPSO and DPE were stratified by vaccination status and calculated with 95% confidence intervals. Results: A total of 7,361 participants enrolled in the study. Among them, 2,086 (28.3%) and 546 (7.4%) participants were eligible for the DPSO and DPE analyses, respectively. Unvaccinated participants were nearly twice as likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 than vaccinated participants in event of symptoms (PCR+: 27.6% vs 10.1%) or exposure (PCR+: 43.8% vs. 22.2%). The highest proportion of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals tested positive on DPSO 2 and DPE 5-8. Performance of RT-PCR and Ag-RDT did not differ by vaccination status. Ag-RDT detected 78.0% (95% Confidence Interval: 72.56-82.61) of PCR-confirmed infections by DPSO 4. For exposed participants, Ag-RDT detected 84.9% (95% CI: 75.0-91.4) of PCR-confirmed infections by day five post-exposure (DPE 5). Conclusions and relevance: Performance of Ag-RDT and RT-PCR was highest on DPSO 0-2 and DPE 5 and did not differ by vaccination status. These data suggests that serial testing remains integral to enhancing the performance of Ag-RDT.
  • Infertility Services for Veterans Enrolled in Veterans Health Administration Care

    Kroll-Desrosiers, Aimee; Copeland, Laurel A; Mengeling, Michelle A; Mattocks, Kristin M (2023-02-21)
    Background: Infertility care is provided to Veterans through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical benefits package and includes infertility evaluation and many infertility treatments. Objective: Our objective was to examine the incidence and prevalence of infertility diagnoses and the receipt of infertility healthcare among Veterans using Veterans Health Administration (VHA) healthcare from 2018 to 2020. Methods: Veterans using the VHA and diagnosed with infertility during October 2017-September 2020 (FY18-20) were identified in VHA administrative data and through VA-purchased care (i.e., community care) claims. Infertility was categorized among men as azoospermia, oligospermia, and other and unspecified male infertility, and among women as anovulation, infertility of tubal origin, infertility of uterine origin, and other and unspecified female infertility using diagnosis and procedure codes (ICD-10, CPT). Key results: A total of 17,216 Veterans had at least one VHA infertility diagnosis in FY18, FY19, or FY20, including 8766 male Veterans and 8450 female Veterans. Incident diagnoses of infertility were observed in 7192 male Veterans (10.8/10,000 person (p)-years) and 5563 female Veterans (93.6/10,000 p-years). A large proportion of Veterans who were diagnosed with infertility received an infertility-related procedure in the year of their incident diagnosis (males: 74.7, 75.3, 65.0%, FY18-20 respectively; females: 80.9, 80.8, 72.9%, FY18-20 respectively). Conclusions: In comparison to a recent study of active duty servicemembers, we found a lower rate of infertility among Veteran men and a higher rate among Veteran women. Further work is needed to investigate military exposures and circumstances that may lead to infertility. Given the rates of infertility among Veterans and active duty servicemembers, enhancing communications between Department of Defense and VHA systems regarding sources of and treatment for infertility is essential to help more men and women benefit from infertility care during military service or as Veterans.
  • Changes in Stage at Presentation among Lung and Breast Cancer Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Mallouh, Michael; Linshaw, David; Barton, Bruce; De La Cruz, Gabriel; Dinh, Kate; LaFemina, Jennifer; Vijayaraghavan, Gopal; Larkin, Anne; Whalen, Giles (2023-02-17)
    Background: The COVID-19 pandemic altered access to healthcare by decreasing number of patients able to receive preventative care and cancer screening. We hypothesized that given these changes in access to care, radiologic screening for breast and lung cancer would be decreased, and patients with these cancers would consequently present at later stages of their disease. Design: Retrospective cross-sectional study of 2017-September 2021 UMass Memorial Tumor Registry for adult breast and lung cancer patients. Changes in stage at presentation of breast and lung cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic were measured, defined as prior to and during COVID-19. Results: There were no statistically significant changes in the overall stage of presentation before or during the COVID-19 pandemic for either breast or lung cancer patients. Analysis of case presentation and stage during periods of COVID-19 surges that occurred over the time of this study compared to pre-pandemic data demonstrated a statistically significant decrease in overall presentation of breast cancer patients in the first surge, with no other statistically significant changes in breast cancer presentation. A non-statistically significant decrease in lung cancer presentations was seen during the initial surge of COVID-19. There was also a statistically significant increase in early-stage presentation of lung cancer during the second and third COVID-19 surges. Conclusions: In the two years after the COVID-19 pandemic we were not able to demonstrate stage migration at presentation of breast and lung cancer patients to later stages despite decreases in overall presentation during the initial two years of the COVID pandemic. An increase in early-stage lung cancer during the second and third surges is interesting and could be related to increased chest imaging for COVID pneumonia.
  • Serologic Screening for Genital Herpes Infection: US Preventive Services Task Force Reaffirmation Recommendation Statement

    Mangione, Carol M; Barry, Michael J; Nicholson, Wanda K; Cabana, Michael; Chelmow, David; Coker, Tumaini Rucker; Davis, Esa M; Donahue, Katrina E; Jaén, Carlos Roberto; Kubik, Martha; et al. (2023-02-14)
    Importance: Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by 2 related viruses, herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2). Infection is lifelong; currently, there is no cure for HSV infection. Antiviral medications may provide clinical benefits to symptomatic persons. Transmission of HSV from a pregnant person to their infant can occur, most commonly during delivery; when genital lesions or prodromal symptoms are present, cesarean delivery can reduce the risk of transmission. Neonatal herpes infection is uncommon yet can result in substantial morbidity and mortality. Objective: To reaffirm its 2016 recommendation, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) commissioned a reaffirmation evidence update on targeted key questions to systematically evaluate the evidence on accuracy, benefits, and harms of routine serologic screening for HSV-2 infection in asymptomatic adolescents, adults, and pregnant persons. Population: Adolescents and adults, including pregnant persons, without known history, signs, or symptoms of genital HSV infection. Evidence assessment: The USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that the harms outweigh the benefits for population-based screening for genital HSV infection in asymptomatic adolescents and adults, including pregnant persons. Recommendation: The USPSTF recommends against routine serologic screening for genital HSV infection in asymptomatic adolescents and adults, including pregnant persons. (D recommendation).
  • Understanding Implementation of Evidence-Based Interventions to Address Human Papillomavirus Vaccination: Qualitative Perspectives of Middle Managers

    Ryan, Grace W; Charlton, Mary E; Scherer, Aaron M; Ashida, Sato; Gilbert, Paul A; Daly, Eliza; Askelson, Natoshia M (2023-02-10)
    Engaging individuals in middle management positions (eg, nurse or clinic managers) could facilitate implementation of evidence-based interventions (EBIs) to improve uptake of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination. Our goal was to understand middle managers' role in and perspectives on implementation of EBIs for HPV vaccination. We conducted qualitative interviews with middle managers in pediatric and family practice clinics. We used constructs from the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) to design the interview guide and as a coding framework. Participants (n = 19) reported overseeing implementation related to HPV vaccination. Across interviews, CFIR inner setting constructs (eg, structural characteristics and implementation climate) were identified as being both barriers and facilitators. As evidenced in this study, middle managers have a deep understanding of organizational factors, and they have the ability to facilitate implementation efforts related to HPV vaccination. Future efforts could focus on engaging middle managers and leveraging their expertise and understanding of barriers and facilitators.
  • Identifying strategies to advance equitable implementation of co-occurring mental health and substance use disorder treatment in drug treatment courts: A study protocol

    Gaba, Ayorkor; LoVette, Ashleigh; Pridgen, Bailey; Taylor, Marquita; Woodward, Eva; Rosal, Milagros C; Anderson, Melissa; Smelson, David (2023-02-07)
    Introduction: Behavioral health treatment disparities by race and ethnicity are well documented across the criminal legal system. Despite criminal legal settings such as drug treatment courts (DTCs) increasingly adopting evidence-based programs (EBPs) to improve care, there is a dearth of research identifying strategies to advance equitable implementation of EBPs and reduce racial/ethnic treatment disparities. This paper describes an innovative approach to identify community- and provider-generated strategies to support equitable implementation of an evidence-based co-occurring mental health and substance use disorder intervention, called Maintaining Independence and Sobriety through Systems Integration, Outreach and Networking-Criminal Justice (MISSION-CJ), in DTCs. Methods/design: Guided by the Health Equity Implementation Framework, qualitative interviews and surveys will assess factors facilitating and hindering equitable implementation of MISSION-CJ in DTCs among 30 Black/African American and/or Hispanic/Latino persons served and providers. Concept mapping with sixty Black/African American and/or Hispanic/Latino persons served and providers will gather community- and provider-generated strategies to address identified barriers. Finally, an advisory board will offer iterative feedback on the data to guide toolkit development and inform equitable implementation of MISSION-CJ within DTCs. Conclusions: The paper illustrates a protocol of a study based in community-engaged research and implementation science to understand multilevel drivers of racial/ethnic disparities in co-occurring disorder treatment and identify opportunities for intervention and improvements within criminal legal settings.
  • Psychosocial challenges and coping strategies among people with minority gender and sexual identities in Zambia: health promotion and human rights implications

    Mulavu, Mataanana; Anitha Menon, J.; Mulubwa, Chama; Matenga, Tulani Francis L.; Nguyen, Hoa; MacDonell, Karen; Wang, Bo; Mweemba, Oliver (2023-02-06)
    Background: Sexual and gender minorities face high levels of stigma, discrimination, and violence. In many countries, they are often criminalized and are at risk of mental health challenges. In Zambia, little is known about the psychosocial challenges and coping strategies of sexual and gender minorities. This study sought to explore psychosocial challenges and coping strategies among sexual and gender minority populations in Lusaka, Zambia to inform mental health and human rights promotion for this population. Methods: The study used a qualitative phenomenological study design. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with 16 sexual and gender minority participants (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) and four key informants. The sexual minorities included four lesbian, five gay, and three bisexual participants while the gender minorities included two transgender men and two transgender women. Interviews with gender and sexual minorities were mostly focused on the lived experiences of participants, while those of key informants focused on their work with sexual and gender minorities. Snowball strategy was used to recruit participants, while purposive sampling was used to select key informants. All interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis was carried out with the aid of Nvivo 12 software. Results: Psychosocial challenges included victimization in the form of threats and physical assault. Stigma and discrimination were experienced in different settings such as healthcare, the workplace, and school. Participants reported having experienced feelings of depression. Rejection from family members was experienced by those who revealed their sexual or gender minority status. Reported coping strategies included social support, self-concealment, listening to music, and substance use. Conclusion: This study suggests that sexual and gender minorities in Zambia experience various psychosocial challenges related to their sexuality and gender identity. To assist them cope better with the obstacles they experience, improved psychosocial counseling and mental health services are needed.
  • Design of a multicenter randomized clinical trial for treatment of Alcohol-Associated Hepatitis

    Tu, Wanzhu; Gawrieh, Samer; Dasarathy, Srinivasan; Mitchell, Mack C; Simonetto, Douglas A; Patidar, Kavish R; McClain, Craig J; Bataller, Ramon; Szabo, Gyongyi; Tang, Qing; et al. (2023-01-18)
    Background: Mortality is high for severe alcohol-associated hepatitis (AH). Corticosteroids are the standard of care for patients without contraindications. Recent data showed that interleukin-1β receptor antagonist anakinra attenuated inflammation and liver damage. We designed a multicenter, double-blind, randomized controlled trial to assess the safety and efficacy of anakinra compared to prednisone. Methods: Patients meeting the clinical and biochemical criteria for severe AH with MELD scores between 20 and 35 were recruited at eight clinical sites. Eligible patients enrolled in the study were randomized to anakinra, 100 mg subcutaneous injection for 14 days, plus zinc sulfate 220 mg for 90 days, vs. prednisone 40 mg PO daily for 30 days. Matching placebos for anakinra, zinc, and prednisone were provided to mask the treatment. Participants were followed for 180 days. The primary outcome was overall survival at 90 days. An unadjusted log-rank test was used to compare the survival of the two treatments in the first 90 days. Between July 10, 2020, and March 4, 2022, we screened 1082 patients with severe AH, and 147 eligible patients were enrolled and randomized. The average baseline MELD score was 25 [range 20-35], Maddrey discriminant function (MDF) was 59.4 [range 20.2-197.5]. The mean aspartate transaminase (AST)-to-alanine transaminase (ALT) ratio was 3.5. The baseline characteristics were not statistically different between the two treatment groups. Conclusions: The study provided a direct comparison of the survival benefits and safety profiles of anakinra plus zinc vs. prednisone in patients with severe AH.
  • Sustainment of diverse evidence-informed practices disseminated in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA): initial development and piloting of a pragmatic survey tool

    Reardon, Caitlin M; Damschroder, Laura; Opra Widerquist, Marilla A; Arasim, Maria; Jackson, George L; White, Brandolyn; Cutrona, Sarah L; Fix, Gemmae M; Gifford, Allen L; DeLaughter, Kathryn; et al. (2023-01-16)
    Background: There are challenges associated with measuring sustainment of evidence-informed practices (EIPs). First, the terms sustainability and sustainment are often falsely conflated: sustainability assesses the likelihood of an EIP being in use in the future while sustainment assesses the extent to which an EIP is (or is not) in use. Second, grant funding often ends before sustainment can be assessed. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Diffusion of Excellence (DoE) program is one of few large-scale models of diffusion; it seeks to identify and disseminate practices across the VHA system. The DoE sponsors "Shark Tank" competitions, in which leaders bid on the opportunity to implement a practice with approximately 6 months of implementation support. As part of an ongoing evaluation of the DoE, we sought to develop and pilot a pragmatic survey tool to assess sustainment of DoE practices. Methods: In June 2020, surveys were sent to 64 facilities that were part of the DoE evaluation. We began analysis by comparing alignment of quantitative and qualitative responses; some facility representatives reported in the open-text box of the survey that their practice was on a temporary hold due to COVID-19 but answered the primary outcome question differently. As a result, the team reclassified the primary outcome of these facilities to Sustained: Temporary COVID-Hold. Following this reclassification, the number and percent of facilities in each category was calculated. We used directed content analysis, guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR), to analyze open-text box responses. Results: A representative from forty-one facilities (64%) completed the survey. Among responding facilities, 29/41 sustained their practice, 1/41 partially sustained their practice, 8/41 had not sustained their practice, and 3/41 had never implemented their practice. Sustainment rates increased between Cohorts 1-4. Conclusions: The initial development and piloting of our pragmatic survey allowed us to assess sustainment of DoE practices. Planned updates to the survey will enable flexibility in assessing sustainment and its determinants at any phase after adoption. This assessment approach can flex with the longitudinal and dynamic nature of sustainment, including capturing nuances in outcomes when practices are on a temporary hold. If additional piloting illustrates the survey is useful, we plan to assess the reliability and validity of this measure for broader use in the field.

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