The vision of the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences (PQHS) is the best health and well-being for all through science, community engagement, and education. Our mission is to advance science and improve population health. This collection showcases journal articles and other publications written by faculty and researchers of the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences.


Contact escholarship@umassmed.edu with your questions.

Recently Published

  • Disparities in Palliative Care Use for Patients With Blood Cancer Who Died in the Hospital

    Hsieh, Tien-Chan; Yeo, Yee Hui; Zou, Guangchen; Zhou, Chan; Ash, Arlene S. (2024-05-27)
    Background: Palliative care can enhance quality of life during a terminal hospitalization. Despite advances in diagnostic and treatment tools, blood cancers lag behind solid malignancies in palliative use. It is not clear what factors affect palliative care use in blood cancer. Methods: We used the 2016 to 2019 National Inpatient Sample to identify demographic and socioeconomic factors associated with receiving palliative care among patients over age 18 with any malignant hematological diagnosis during a terminal hospitalization lasting at least 3 days, excluding those receiving a stem cell transplant. Results: Palliative care use was documented 54% of the time among 49,720 weighted cases (9944 distinct individual hospitalizations), approximately evenly distributed across the years 2016-2019. Palliative care use was lowest in 2016 (51%) and highest in 2018 (58%), and increased with age, reaching 58% for those 80 years and older. Men and women were similarly likely to receive care. Patients of Hispanic ethnicity and African Americans received less palliative care (47% and 49%, respectively), as did those insured by Medicaid (48%), and those admitted to small or rural hospitals (52% and 47%, respectively). Charges for hospitalizations with palliative care were 19% lower than for those without it. Conclusions: This study highlights disparities in palliative care use among blood-cancer patients who died in the hospital. It seems likely that many of the 46% who did not receive palliative care could have benefitted from it. Interventions are likely needed to achieve equitable access to ideal levels of palliative care services in late-stage blood cancer.
  • Maternal and Perinatal Factors Associated With Childhood Brain Tumors: A Case-Control Study in Vietnam

    Pham, Huy Ngoc; Goldberg, Robert J.; Pham, Loc Quang; Nguyen, Hoa L; Pham, Dao Anh; Mai, Linh Thi Thuy; Phung, Toi Lam; Hung, Doan Quoc; Dong, He Van; Duong, Ha Dai (2024-05-23)
    Introduction: Brain cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children and the majority of childhood brain tumors are diagnosed without determination of their underlying etiology. Little is known about risk factors for childhood brain tumors in Vietnam. The objective of this case-control study was to identify maternal and perinatal factors associated with brain tumors occurring in young Vietnamese children and adolescents. Methods: We conducted a hospital-based case-control study at Viet Duc University Hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam. Cases consisted of children with brain tumors aged 0-14 years old admitted to the hospital from January 2020 to July 2022 while the controls were age and sex-matched hospitalized children diagnosed with head trauma. Perinatal characteristics were abstracted from hospital medical records and maternal medical, behavioral, and sociodemographic factors were collected through in-person interviews. Conditional logistic regression models were used to examine maternal and perinatal factors associated with childhood brain tumors. Results: The study sample included 220 children (110 cases and 110 controls) whose average age was 8.9 years and 41.8% were girls. Children born to mothers aged greater than 30 years at the time of the child's birth had a higher risk of childhood brain tumors compared to those born to mothers aged from 18 to 30 years old (OR = 2.55; 95% CI: 1.13-5.75). Additionally low maternal body mass index prior to the current pregnancy of <18.5 kg/m2 significantly increased the odds of having a child with a brain tumor in relation to normal maternal body mass index from 18.5-22.9 kg/m2 (OR = 3.19; 95% CI: 1.36 - 7.50). Conclusion: Advanced maternal age and being markedly underweight were associated with an increased odds of having a child with a brain tumor. A population-based study with larger sample size is needed to confirm and extend the present findings.
  • Exploring the relationship between school-supervised asthma therapy and social determinants of health in pediatric asthma care

    Al-Halbouni, Layana; Ryan, Grace W; Radu, Sonia; Spano, Michelle; Sabnani, Reshma; Phipatanakul, Wanda; Gerald, Lynn B; Garg, Arvin; Pbert, Lori; Trivedi, Michelle (2024-05-16)
    Background: Social determinants of health (SDoH), including access to care, economic stability, neighborhood factors, and social context, strongly influence pediatric asthma outcomes. School-supervised asthma therapy (SST) is an evidence-based strategy that improves asthma outcomes, particularly for historically marginalized children, by providing support for daily medication adherence in school. However, little is known about the relationship between these programs and the adverse SDoH commonly affecting underrepresented minority and marginalized children with asthma. Methods: We examined qualitative data from interviews (n = 52) conducted between 2017 and 2020 with diverse multi-level partners involved in Asthma Link, a SST intervention. Participants included end-users (children and their parents), deliverers (school nurses and pediatric providers), and systems-level partners (e.g., insurers, legislators, and state officials). We used inductive coding to determine themes and subthemes and deductive coding using the Healthy People 2030 SDoH framework. Results: Three themes emerged: (1) SST mitigates adverse SDoH (improves access to preventive healthcare and asthma health literacy), (2) SST benefits children experiencing specific adverse SDoH (provides a consistent medication routine to children with unstable family/housing situations) and (3) specific adverse SDoH impede SST implementation (economic instability, culture and language barriers). Conclusion: This study suggests an important relationship between SDoH and SST that warrants further evaluation in our future work on this community-based asthma intervention. Moreover, our findings underscore the importance of measuring SDoH in the implementation and evaluation of pediatric asthma interventions, particularly given the strong influence of these social factors on child health outcomes.
  • Cognitive impairment and treatment strategy for atrial fibrillation in older adults: The SAGE-AF study

    Athreya, Deepti S; Saczynski, Jane S; Gurwitz, Jerry H; Monahan, Kevin M; Bamgbade, Benita A; Paul, Tenes J; Sogade, Felix; Lessard, Darleen M; McManus, David D; Helm, Robert H (2024-05-14)
    Background: Cognitive impairment is strongly associated with atrial fibrillation (AF). Rate and rhythm control are the two treatment strategies for AF and the effect of treatment strategy on risk of cognitive decline and frailty is not well established. We sought to determine how treatment strategy affects geriatric-centered outcomes. Methods: The Systematic Assessment of Geriatric Elements-AF (SAGE-AF) was a prospective, observational, cohort study. Older adults with AF were prospectively enrolled between 2016 and 2018 and followed longitudinally for 2 years. In a non-randomized fashion, participants were grouped by rate or rhythm control treatment strategy based on clinical treatment at enrollment. Baseline characteristics were compared. Longitudinal binary mixed models were used to compare treatment strategy with respect to change in cognitive function and frailty status. Cognitive function and frailty status were assessed with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Battery and Fried frailty phenotype tools. Results: 972 participants (mean age = 75, SD = 6.8; 49% female, 87% non-Hispanic white) completed baseline examination and 2-year follow-up. 408 (42%) were treated with rate control and 564 (58%) with rhythm control. The patient characteristics of the two groups were different at baseline. Participants in the rate control group were older, more likely to have persistent AF, prior stroke, be treated with warfarin and have baseline cognitive impairment. After adjusting for baseline differences, participants treated with rate control were 1.5 times more likely to be cognitively impaired over 2 years (adjusted OR: 1.47, 95% CI:1.12, 1.98) and had a greater decline in cognitive function (adjusted estimate: -0.59 (0.23), p < 0.01) in comparison to rhythm control. Frailty did not vary between the treatment strategies. Conclusions: Among those who had 2-year follow-up in non-randomized observational cohort, the decision to rate control AF in older adults was associated with increased odds of decline in cognitive function but not frailty.
  • Understanding pathways from implementation to sustainment: a longitudinal, mixed methods analysis of promising practices implemented in the Veterans Health Administration

    Nevedal, Andrea L; Widerquist, Marilla A Opra; Reardon, Caitlin M; Arasim, Maria; Jackson, George L; White, Brandolyn; Burns, Madison; Fix, Gemmae M; DeLaughter, Kathryn; Cutrona, Sarah L; et al. (2024-05-07)
    Background: The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is the United States largest learning health system. The Diffusion of Excellence (DoE) program is a large-scale model of diffusion that identifies and diffuses evidence-informed practices across VHA. During the period of 2016-2021, 57 evidence-informed practices were implemented across 82 VHA facilities. This setting provides a unique opportunity to understand sustainment determinants and pathways. Our objective was to characterize the longitudinal pathways of practices as they transition from initial implementation to long-term sustainment at each facility. Methods: A longitudinal, mixed-methods evaluation of 82 VHA facilities. Eighty-two facility representatives, chosen by leadership as points-of-contact for 57 DoE practices, were eligible for post-implementation interviews and annual sustainment surveys. Primary outcomes (implementation, sustainment), and secondary outcomes (institutionalization, effectiveness, anticipated sustainment) at four time-points were collected. We performed descriptive statistics and directed content analysis using Hailemariam et al.'s factors influencing sustainment. Results: After approximately five years post-implementation (e.g., 2021 sustainment outcomes), of the 82 facilities, about one-third fully sustained their practice compared to one-third that did not fully sustain their practice because it was in a "liminal" stage (neither sustained nor discontinued) or permanently discontinued. The remaining one-third of facilities had missing 2021 sustainment outcomes. A higher percentage of facilities (70%) had inconsistent primary outcomes (changing over time) compared to facilities (30%) with consistent primary outcomes (same over time). Thirty-four percent of facilities with sustained practices reported resilience since they overcame implementation and sustainment barriers. Facilities with sustained practices reported more positive secondary outcomes compared to those that did not sustain their practice. Key factors facilitating practice sustainment included: demonstrating practice effectiveness/benefit, sufficient organizational leadership, sufficient workforce, and adaptation/alignment with local context. Key factors hindering practice sustainment included: insufficient workforce, not able to maintain practice fidelity/integrity, critical incidents related to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizational leadership did not support sustainment of practice, and no ongoing support. Conclusions: We identified diverse pathways from implementation to sustainment, and our data underscore that initial implementation outcomes may not determine long-term sustainment outcomes. This longitudinal evaluation contributes to understanding impacts of the DoE program, including return on investment, achieving learning health system goals, and insights into achieving high-quality healthcare in VHA.
  • Cost-utility analysis of community-based interventions for hypertension control in Vietnam [preprint]

    Nguyen, Viet; Ha, Duc Anh; Tran, Oanh Mai; Nguyen, Hoa L; Goldberg, Robert J.; Allison, Jeroan J.; Fleming, Neil S; Nguyen, Phuong Khanh (2024-05-07)
    Between 2010 and 2011, stakeholders implemented a multi-faceted community-based intervention in response to the escalating issue of uncontrolled hypertension in Hung Yen province, Vietnam. This initiative integrated expanded community health worker services, home blood pressure self-monitoring, and a unique "storytelling intervention" into routine clinical care. From the limited societal perspective, our study evaluates the cost-effectiveness of this intervention using a Markov model with a one-year cycle over a lifetime horizon. The analysis, based on a cohort of 671 patients, reveals a lifetime incremental cost of approximately VND 90.37 million (USD 3,930) per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. With a willingness to pay at three times GDP (VND 259.2 million per QALY), the intervention proves cost-effective 80% of the time. This research underscores the potential of the community-based approach to effectively control hypertension, offering valuable insights into its broader implications for public health.
  • A Pediatric Interprofessional Cardiac Intensive Care Unit Intervention: CICU Teams and Loved Ones Communicating (CICU TALC) is Feasible, Acceptable, and Improves Clinician Communication Behaviors in Family Meetings

    Walter, Jennifer; Hill, Douglas L; Cetin, Arzu; DeWitt, Aaron; Kellom, Katie; Quarshie, William; Griffis, Heather; Shults, Justine; Arnold, Robert; Tjia, Jennifer; et al. (2024-05-03)
    Parents of children in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) are often unprepared for family meetings (FM). Clinicians often do not follow best practices for communicating with families, adding to distress. An interprofessional team intervention for FM is feasible, acceptable, and positively impacts family preparation and conduct of FM in the CICU. We implemented a family- and team-support intervention for conducting FM and conducted a pretest-posttest study with parents of patients selected for a FM and clinicians. We measured feasibility, fidelity to intervention protocol, and parent acceptability via questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. Clinician behavior in meetings was assessed through semantic content analyses of meeting transcripts tracking elicitation of parental concerns, questions asked of parents, and responses to parental empathic opportunities. Logistic and ordinal logistic regression assessed intervention impact on clinician communication behaviors in meetings comparing pre- and post-intervention data. Sixty parents (95% of approached) were enrolled, with collection of 97% FM and 98% questionnaire data. We accomplished > 85% fidelity to intervention protocol. Most parents (80%) said the preparation worksheet had the right amount of information and felt positive about families receiving this worksheet. Clinicians were more likely to elicit parental concerns (adjusted odds ratio = 3.42; 95%CI [1.13, 11.0]) in post-intervention FM. There were no significant differences in remaining measures. Implementing an interprofessional team intervention to improve family preparation and conduct of FM is locally feasible, acceptable, and changes clinician behaviors. Future research should assess broader impact of training on clinicians, patients, and families.
  • Physicians and Specialties in the Veterans Health Administration's Community Care Network

    Feyman, Yevgeniy; Griffith, Kevin N; Dorneo, Allison; Simmons, Sandra F; Roumie, Christianne L; Mattocks, Kristin M (2024-05-01)
    Increasing veterans’ access to care is a key policy priority for both the US Congress and Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Under the Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018 (MISSION Act), veterans may access care in the community, at VHA expense, provided they meet certain requirements such as an extended appointment wait or drive time for VHA care. To operationalize the MISSION Act, VHA contracted with Optum and TriWest, allowing veterans access to their health care networks and reimbursing their clinicians at Medicare rates.4 Millions of veterans have accessed community care at an estimated cost of 25% of the VHA’s medical care budget in 2024.1 Our aim was to describe the specialty coverage and representativeness of the VHA community care network.
  • Implementation of Health IT for Cancer Screening in US Primary Care: Scoping Review

    Owens-Jasey, Constance; Chen, Jinying; Xu, Ran; Angier, Heather; Huebschmann, Amy G; Ito Fukunaga, Mayuko; Chaiyachati, Krisda H; Rendle, Katharine A; Robien, Kim; DiMartino, Lisa; et al. (2024-04-30)
    Background: A substantial percentage of the US population is not up to date on guideline-recommended cancer screenings. Identifying interventions that effectively improve screening rates would enhance the delivery of such screening. Interventions involving health IT (HIT) show promise, but much remains unknown about how HIT is optimized to support cancer screening in primary care. Objective: This scoping review aims to identify (1) HIT-based interventions that effectively support guideline concordance in breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening provision and follow-up in the primary care setting and (2) barriers or facilitators to the implementation of effective HIT in this setting. Methods: Following scoping review guidelines, we searched MEDLINE, CINAHL Plus, Web of Science, and IEEE Xplore databases for US-based studies from 2015 to 2021 that featured HIT targeting breast, colorectal, and cervical cancer screening in primary care. Studies were dual screened using a review criteria checklist. Data extraction was guided by the following implementation science frameworks: the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance framework; the Expert Recommendations for Implementing Change taxonomy; and implementation strategy reporting domains. It was also guided by the Integrated Technology Implementation Model that incorporates theories of both implementation science and technology adoption. Reporting was guided by PRISMA-ScR (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews). Results: A total of 101 studies met the inclusion criteria. Most studies (85/101, 84.2%) involved electronic health record-based HIT interventions. The most common HIT function was clinical decision support, primarily used for panel management or at the point of care. Most studies related to HIT targeting colorectal cancer screening (83/101, 82.2%), followed by studies related to breast cancer screening (28/101, 27.7%), and cervical cancer screening (19/101, 18.8%). Improvements in cancer screening were associated with HIT-based interventions in most studies (36/54, 67% of colorectal cancer-relevant studies; 9/14, 64% of breast cancer-relevant studies; and 7/10, 70% of cervical cancer-relevant studies). Most studies (79/101, 78.2%) reported on the reach of certain interventions, while 17.8% (18/101) of the included studies reported on the adoption or maintenance. Reported barriers and facilitators to HIT adoption primarily related to inner context factors of primary care settings (eg, staffing and organizational policies that support or hinder HIT adoption). Implementation strategies for HIT adoption were reported in 23.8% (24/101) of the included studies. Conclusions: There are substantial evidence gaps regarding the effectiveness of HIT-based interventions, especially those targeting guideline-concordant breast and colorectal cancer screening in primary care. Even less is known about how to enhance the adoption of technologies that have been proven effective in supporting breast, colorectal, or cervical cancer screening. Research is needed to ensure that the potential benefits of effective HIT-based interventions equitably reach diverse primary care populations.
  • Clinician and staff experiences with frustrated patients during an electronic health record transition: a qualitative case study

    Ball, Sherry L; Kim, Bo; Cutrona, Sarah L; Molloy-Paolillo, Brianne K; Ahlness, Ellen; Moldestad, Megan; Sayre, George; Rinne, Seppo T (2024-04-26)
    Background: Electronic health record (EHR) transitions are known to be highly disruptive, can drastically impact clinician and staff experiences, and may influence patients' experiences using the electronic patient portal. Clinicians and staff can gain insights into patient experiences and be influenced by what they see and hear from patients. Through the lens of an emergency preparedness framework, we examined clinician and staff reactions to and perceptions of their patients' experiences with the portal during an EHR transition at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Methods: This qualitative case study was situated within a larger multi-methods evaluation of the EHR transition. We conducted a total of 122 interviews with 30 clinicians and staff across disciplines at the initial VA EHR transition site before, immediately after, and up to 12 months after go-live (September 2020-November 2021). Interview transcripts were coded using a priori and emergent codes. The coded text segments relevant to patient experience and clinician interactions with patients were extracted and analyzed to identify themes. For each theme, recommendations were defined based on each stage of an emergency preparedness framework (mitigate, prepare, respond, recover). Results: In post-go-live interviews participants expressed concerns about the reliability of communicating with their patients via secure messaging within the new EHR portal. Participants felt ill-equipped to field patients' questions and frustrations navigating the new portal. Participants learned that patients experienced difficulties learning to use and accessing the portal; when unsuccessful, some had difficulties obtaining medication refills via the portal and used the call center as an alternative. However, long telephone wait times provoked patients to walk into the clinic for care, often frustrated and without an appointment. Patients needing increased in-person attention heightened participants' daily workload and their concern for patients' well-being. Recommendations for each theme fit within a stage of the emergency preparedness framework. Conclusions: Application of an emergency preparedness framework to EHR transitions could help address the concerns raised by the participants, (1) mitigating disruptions by identifying at-risk patients before the transition, (2) preparing end-users by disseminating patient-centered informational resources, (3) responding by building capacity for disrupted services, and (4) recovering by monitoring integrity of the new portal function.
  • Teachers' Perceptions of the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Their Implementation of an Evidence-based HIV Prevention Program in the Bahamas

    Schieber, Elizabeth; Cottrell, Lesley; Deveaux, Lynette; Li, Xiaoming; Taylor, Marcellus; Adderley, Richard; Marshall, Sharon; Forbes, Nikkiah; Wang, Bo (2024-04-20)
    Information on how school-based programs is implemented and sustained during crises is limited. In this study, we assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the implementation of a HIV prevention intervention in The Bahamas. Data were collected from 139 Grade 6 teachers in 2021-2022. Teachers attended virtual training and received implementation monitoring from coordinators. On average, teachers taught 26.4 (SD = 9.2) of the 35 core activities, and 7.4 (SD = 2.4) out of 9 sessions. More than half (58.3%) of teachers completed 28 or more core activities; 69.1% covered eight or all nine sessions, which is equivalent to 80% of the HIV intervention curriculum. Almost half of the teachers (43%) reported that the pandemic negatively impacted their ability to teach the program; 72% of teachers maintained that the program remained "very important" during times of crisis. Greater self-efficacy and supports increased implementation fidelity.
  • Systolic Blood Pressure and Survival to Very Old Age: Results From the Women's Health Initiative

    Haring, Bernhard; Andrews, Chris A; Hovey, Kathleen; Shadyab, Aladdin H; LaCroix, Andrea; Martin, Lisa Warsinger; Rosal, Milagros C; Kuller, Lewis H; Salmoirago-Blotcher, Elena; Saquib, Nazmus; et al. (2024-04-16)
    Background: The relationship between systolic blood pressure (SBP) and longevity is not fully understood. We aimed to determine which SBP levels in women ≥65 years of age with or without blood pressure medication were associated with the highest probability of surviving to 90 years of age. Methods: The study population consisted of 16 570 participants enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative who were eligible to survive to 90 years of age by February 28, 2020, without a history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or cancer. Blood pressure was measured at baseline (1993 through 1998) and then annually through 2005. The outcome was defined as survival to 90 years of age with follow-up. Absolute probabilities of surviving to 90 years of age were estimated for all combinations of SBP and age using generalized additive logistic regression modeling. The SBP that maximized survival was estimated for each age, and a 95% CI was generated. Results: During a median follow-up of 19.8 years, 9723 of 16 570 women (59%) survived to 90 years of age. Women with an SBP between 110 and 130 mm Hg at attained ages of 65, 70, 75, and 80 years had a 38% (95% CI, 34%-48%), 54% (52%-56%), 66% (64%-67%), or 75% (73%-78%) absolute probability to survive to 90 years of age, respectively. The probability of surviving to 90 years of age was lower for greater SBP levels. Women at the attained age of 80 years with 0%, 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, or 100% time in therapeutic range (defined as an SBP between 110 and 130 mm Hg) had a 66% (64%-69%), 68% (67%-70%), 71% (69%-72%), 73% (71%-74%), 75% (72%-77%), or 77% (74%-79%) absolute survival probability to 90 years of age. Conclusions: For women >65 years of age with low cardiovascular disease and other chronic disease risk, an SBP level <130 mm Hg was found to be associated with longevity. These findings reinforce current guidelines targeting an SBP target <130 mm Hg in older women.
  • A Comparison of 5 Measures of Accelerated Biological Aging and Their Association With Incident Cardiovascular Disease: The CARDIA Study

    Forrester, Sarah N; Baek, Jonggyu; Hou, Lifang; Roger, Veronique; Kiefe, Catarina I (2024-04-12)
    Background: Accelerated biological aging is an increasingly popular way to track the acceleration of biology over time that may not be captured by calendar time. Biological aging has been linked to external and internal chronic stressors and has the potential to be used clinically to understand a person's personalized functioning and predict future disease. We compared the association of different measures of biological aging and incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) overall and by race. Methods and results: We used multiple informants models to compare the strength of clinical marker-derived age acceleration, 5 measures of epigenetic age acceleration (intrinsic and extrinsic epigenetic age acceleration, GrimAge acceleration, and PhenoAge acceleration), and 1 established clinical predictor of future CVD, Framingham 10-year risk score, with incident CVD over an 11-year period (2007-2018). Participants were 913 self-identified Black or White (41% and 59%, respectively) female or male (51% and 49%, respectively) individuals enrolled in the US-based CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) cohort study. The analytic baseline for this study was the 20-year follow-up examination (2005-2006; median age 45 years). We also included race-specific analysis. We found that all measures were modestly correlated with one another. However, clinical marker-derived age acceleration and Framingham 10-year risk score were more strongly associated with incident CVD than all the epigenetic measures. Clinical marker-derived age acceleration and Framingham 10-year risk score were not significantly different than one another in their association with incident CVD. Conclusions: The type of accelerated aging measure should be taken into consideration when comparing their association with clinical outcomes. A multisystem clinical composite shows associations with incident CVD equally to a well-known clinical predictor.
  • Peer Texting to Promote Quitline Use and Smoking Cessation Among Rural Participants in Vietnam: Randomized Clinical Trial

    Sadasivam, Rajani S; Nagawa, Catherine S; Wijesundara, Jessica G; Flahive, Julie; Nguyen, Hoa L; Larkin, Celine; Faro, Jamie M; Balakrishnan, Kavitha; Ha, Duc Anh; Nguyen, Cuong Kieu; et al. (2024-04-08)
    Objectives: We tested an adapted version of an effective U.S.-based peer-texting intervention to promote Quitline use and smoking cessation among rural participants in Vietnam. Methods: We conducted a two-arm randomized trial with participants recruited at four rural community centers. The intervention included peer messages sent for six months that promoted Quitline use and smoking cessation. Additionally, biweekly two-way text messages assessed participants' interest in Quitline referral and current smoking status. Comparison participants received only the bi-weekly text message assessment of their current smoking status. At six months, we assessed Quitline use and smoking cessation. Smoking cessation was assessed using the 7-day point prevalence question and verified with a carbon monoxide breath monitor (<=6 ppm). Results: Among 750 participants, the intervention had higher Quitline verified use (18%, 95% CI 0.14, 0.22) than comparison (1%, 95% CI .2, 2, p < 0.0001). Carbon-monoxide-verified smoking cessation did not differ between the two groups. However, intervention (28.3%, 95% CI) and comparison (28.1%, 95% CI) participants had substantial rates of carbon monoxide cessation at 6 months (both 28%). Conclusion: Our study highlighted the promise of texting interventions to extend tobacco control efforts in Vietnam.
  • Longitudinal Monitoring of Clinician-Patient Video Visits During the Peak of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Adoption and Sustained Challenges in an Integrated Health Care Delivery System

    Palakshappa, Jessica A; Hale, Erica R; Brown, Joshua D; Kittel, Carol A; Dressler, Emily; Rosenthal, Gary E; Cutrona, Sarah L; Foley, Kristie L; Haines, Emily R; Houston, Thomas K (2024-04-08)
    Background: Numerous prior opinion papers, administrative electronic health record data studies, and cross-sectional surveys of telehealth during the pandemic have been published, but none have combined assessments of video visit success monitoring with longitudinal assessments of perceived challenges to the rapid adoption of video visits during the pandemic. Objective: This study aims to quantify (1) the use of video visits (compared with in-person and telephone visits) over time during the pandemic, (2) video visit successful connection rates, and (3) changes in perceived video visit challenges. Methods: A web-based survey was developed for the dual purpose of monitoring and improving video visit implementation in our health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey included questions regarding rates of in-person, telephone, and video visits for clinician-patient encounters; the rate of successful connection for video visits; and perceived challenges to video visits (eg, software, hardware, bandwidth, and technology literacy). The survey was distributed via email to physicians, advanced practice professionals, and clinicians in May 2020. The survey was repeated in March 2021. Differences between the 2020 and 2021 responses were adjusted for within-respondent correlation across surveys and tested using generalized estimating equations. Results: A total of 1126 surveys were completed (511 surveys in 2020 and 615 surveys in 2021). In 2020, only 21.7% (73/336) of clinicians reported no difficulty connecting with patients during video visits and 28.6% (93/325) of clinicians reported no difficulty in 2021. The distribution of the percentage of successfully connected video visits ("Over the past two weeks of scheduled visits, what percentage did you successfully connect with patients by video?") was not significantly different between 2020 and 2021 (P=.74). Challenges in conducting video visits persisted over time. Poor connectivity was the most common challenge reported by clinicians. This response increased over time, with 30.5% (156/511) selecting it as a challenge in 2020 and 37.1% (228/615) in 2021 (P=.01). Patients not having access to their electronic health record portals was also a commonly reported challenge (109/511, 21.3% in 2020 and 137/615, 22.3% in 2021, P=.73). Conclusions: During the pandemic, our health care delivery system rapidly adopted synchronous patient-clinician communication using video visits. As experience with video visits increased, the reported failure rate did not significantly decline, and clinicians continued to report challenges related to general network connectivity and patient access to technology.
  • A Novel Machine Learning Algorithm for Creating Risk-Adjusted Payment Formulas

    Andriola, Corinne; Ellis, Randall P; Siracuse, Jeffrey J; Hoagland, Alex; Kuo, Tzu-Chun; Hsu, Heather E; Walkey, Allan J; Lasser, Karen E; Ash, Arlene S. (2024-04-05)
    Importance: Models predicting health care spending and other outcomes from administrative records are widely used to manage and pay for health care, despite well-documented deficiencies. New methods are needed that can incorporate more than 70 000 diagnoses without creating undesirable coding incentives. Objective: To develop a machine learning (ML) algorithm, building on Diagnostic Item (DXI) categories and Diagnostic Cost Group (DCG) methods, that automates development of clinically credible and transparent predictive models for policymakers and clinicians. Design, setting, and participants: DXIs were organized into disease hierarchies and assigned an Appropriateness to Include (ATI) score to reflect vagueness and gameability concerns. A novel automated DCG algorithm iteratively assigned DXIs in 1 or more disease hierarchies to DCGs, identifying sets of DXIs with the largest regression coefficient as dominant; presence of a previously identified dominating DXI removed lower-ranked ones before the next iteration. The Merative MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Database for commercial health insurance enrollees 64 years and younger was used. Data from January 2016 through December 2018 were randomly split 90% to 10% for model development and validation, respectively. Deidentified claims and enrollment data were delivered by Merative the following November in each calendar year and analyzed from November 2020 to January 2024. Main outcome and measures: Concurrent top-coded total health care cost. Model performance was assessed using validation sample weighted least-squares regression, mean absolute errors, and mean errors for rare and common diagnoses. Results: This study included 35 245 586 commercial health insurance enrollees 64 years and younger (65 901 460 person-years) and relied on 19 clinicians who provided reviews in the base model. The algorithm implemented 218 clinician-specified hierarchies compared with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hierarchical condition category (HCC) model's 64 hierarchies. The base model that dropped vague and gameable DXIs reduced the number of parameters by 80% (1624 of 3150), achieved an R2 of 0.535, and kept mean predicted spending within 12% ($3843 of $31 313) of actual spending for the 3% of people with rare diseases. In contrast, the HHS HCC model had an R2 of 0.428 and underpaid this group by 33% ($10 354 of $31 313). Conclusions and relevance: In this study, by automating DXI clustering within clinically specified hierarchies, this algorithm built clinically interpretable risk models in large datasets while addressing diagnostic vagueness and gameability concerns.
  • Association of perinatal depression and postpartum contraception intent, choice, and actual use

    Masters, Grace A; Julce, Clevanne; Carroll, Smita; Person, Sharina D.; Allison, Jeroan J.; Byatt, Nancy; Moore Simas, Tiffany A (2024-04-05)
    Objectives: Depression is common during pregnancy and the year following childbirth (the perinatal period). This study assessed the association of depressive symptoms and contraception decisions in perinatal individuals. Study design: We conducted a secondary analysis using data from the PRogram in Support of Moms (PRISM) study, a cluster randomized controlled trial of active interventions which aimed to address perinatal depression. This analysis included 191 individuals aged 18-45 who screened positive for depression on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS, score ≥10) during pregnancy or up to 3 months postpartum. We assessed contraception intent and method choice at 1-3 months postpartum. At 5-7 months postpartum, we assessed contraceptive method used and EPDS depression scores. We used logistic regressions to examine the relationship between depression and contraceptive use/method. Results: At 1-3 months postpartum, the majority of participants (76.4%) expressed an intention to use contraception. Of those, over half (53.4%) indicated a preference for higher effectiveness contraception methods. Participants with persistent depression symptoms (positive EPDS) at 5-7 months were significantly less likely to report using higher effectiveness contraceptive methods (aOR = 0.28, 95% CI = 0.11-0.70) compared to those without. Among participants with persistent depressive symptoms, 21.1% reported using a contraception method of lower effectiveness than had originally intended. Conclusion: Perinatal individuals with persistent depressive symptoms at 5-7 months postpartum reported greater use of less-effective contraception methods than originally planned. Implications: We found associations between perinatal depression and use of less effective contraception use. Provider discussions regarding contraception planning is important, particularly in those with perinatal depression symptoms.
  • Proteomics identifies complement protein signatures in patients with alcohol- associated hepatitis

    Taiwo, Moyinoluwa T; Huang, Emily; Pathak, Vai; Bellar, Annette; Welch, Nicole; Dasarathy, Jaividhya; Streem, David; McClain, Craig J; Mitchell, Mack C; Barton, Bruce A; et al. (2024-04-04)
    Diagnostic challenges continue to impede development of effective therapies for successful management of alcohol-associated hepatitis (AH), thus creating an unmet need to identify and develop non-invasive biomarkers for AH. In murine models of ethanol-induced liver injury, complement activation contributes to hepatic inflammation and injury. Therefore, we hypothesized that complement proteins could be rational diagnostic/prognostic biomarkers in AH. Here, we performed a comparative analysis of data derived from the human hepatic and serum proteome to identify and characterize complement protein signatures in severe AH (sAH). The quantity of multiple complement proteins was perturbed in liver and serum proteome of patients with sAH. Multiple complement proteins differentiated patients with sAH from those with alcohol cirrhosis (AC), alcohol use disorder (AUD) and healthy controls (HCs). Notably, serum collectin 11 and C1q binding protein were strongly associated with sAH and exhibited good discriminatory performance amongst patients with sAH, AC, AUD, and HCs. Furthermore, complement component receptor 1-like protein (CR1L) was negatively associated with pro-inflammatory cytokines. Additionally, lower serum mannose-binding lectin associated serine protease 1 and coagulation factor II were associated with and independently predicted 90-day mortality. In summary, meta-analysis of proteomic profiles from liver and circulation revealed complement protein signatures of sAH, highlighting a complex perturbation of complement and identifying potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for patients with sAH.
  • Differences in Health Care Utilization for Asthma by Children with Medicaid versus Private Insurance

    Goff, Sarah L; Shieh, Meng-Shiou; Lindenauer, Peter K; Ash, Arlene S.; Krishnan, Jerry A; Geissler, Kimberley H (2024-04-02)
    Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children, disproportionately affects families with lower incomes, and is a leading reason for acute care visits and hospitalizations. This retrospective cohort study used the Massachusetts All Payer Claims Database (2014-2018) to examine differences in acute care utilization and quality of care for asthma between Medicaid- and privately insured children in Massachusetts. Outcomes included acute care use (emergency department [ED] or hospitalization), ED visits with asthma, routine asthma visits, and filled prescriptions for asthma medications. Multivariable logistic regression was used to account for differences in demographics, ZIP codes, health status, and asthma severity. Overall, 10.0% of Medicaid-insured children and 5.6% of privately insured were classified as having asthma. Among 317,596 child-year observations for children with asthma, 64.4% were insured by Medicaid. Medicaid-insured children had higher rates of any acute care use (50.4% vs. 30.0%) and ED visits with an asthma diagnosis (27.2% vs. 13.3%) compared to privately insured children. Only 65.4% of Medicaid enrollees had at least one routine asthma visit compared to 74.3% of privately insured children. Most children received at least one asthma medication (88.6% Medicaid vs. 83.3% privately insured), but a higher percentage of Medicaid-insured children received at least one rescue medication (84.0% vs. 73.7%), and a lower percentage of Medicaid-insured (46.1% vs. 49.2%) received a controller medication. These results suggest that opportunities for improvement in childhood asthma persist, particularly for children insured by Medicaid.
  • Factors Impacting the Implementation of Mobile Integrated Health Programs for the Acute Care of Older Adults

    O'Connor, Laurel; Behar, Stephanie; Refuerzo, Jade; Mele, Xhenifer; Sundling, Elsa; Johnson, Sharon A; Faro, Jamie M; Lindenauer, Peter K; Mattocks, Kristin M (2024-03-28)
    Objective: Emergency services utilization is increasing in older adult populations. Many such encounters may be preventable with better access to acute care in the community. Mobile integrated health (MIH) programs leverage mobile resources to deliver care and services to patients in the out-of-hospital environment and have the potential to improve clinical outcomes and decrease health care costs; however, they have not been widely implemented. We assessed barriers, potential facilitators, and other factors critical to the implementation of MIH programs with key vested partners. Methods: Professional and community-member partners were purposefully recruited to participate in recorded structured interviews. The study team used the Practical Robust Implementation and Sustainability Model (PRISM) framework to develop an interview guide and codebook. Coders employed a combination of deductive and inductive coding strategies to identify common themes across partner groups. Results: The study team interviewed 22 participants (mean age 56, 68% female). A cohort of professional subject matter experts included physicians, paramedics, public health personnel, and hospital administrators. A cohort of lay community partners included patients and caregivers. Coders identified three prominent themes that impact MIH implementation. First, MIH is disruptive to existing clinical workflows. Second, using MIH to improve patients' experience during acute care encounters is key to intervention adoption. Finally, legislative action is needed to augment central financial and regulatory policies to ensure the adoption of MIH programs. Conclusions: Common themes impacting the implementation of MIH programs were identified across vested partner groups. Multilevel strategies are needed to address patient adoption, clinical partners' workflow, and legislative policies to ensure the success of MIH programs.

View more