Publications by authors named "Avi Porath"

78 Publications

Trends in the incidence of diagnosed diabetes: a multicountry analysis of aggregate data from 22 million diagnoses in high-income and middle-income settings.

Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2021 Feb 23. Epub 2021 Feb 23.

Department of Diabetes and Population Health, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, VIC, Australia; School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia; School of Life Sciences, Latrobe University, Bundoora, VIC, Australia.

Background: Diabetes prevalence is increasing in most places in the world, but prevalence is affected by both risk of developing diabetes and survival of those with diabetes. Diabetes incidence is a better metric to understand the trends in population risk of diabetes. Using a multicountry analysis, we aimed to ascertain whether the incidence of clinically diagnosed diabetes has changed over time.

Methods: In this multicountry data analysis, we assembled aggregated data describing trends in diagnosed total or type 2 diabetes incidence from 24 population-based data sources in 21 countries or jurisdictions. Data were from administrative sources, health insurance records, registries, and a health survey. We modelled incidence rates with Poisson regression, using age and calendar time (1995-2018) as variables, describing the effects with restricted cubic splines with six knots for age and calendar time.

Findings: Our data included about 22 million diabetes diagnoses from 5 billion person-years of follow-up. Data were from 19 high-income and two middle-income countries or jurisdictions. 23 data sources had data from 2010 onwards, among which 19 had a downward or stable trend, with an annual estimated change in incidence ranging from -1·1% to -10·8%. Among the four data sources with an increasing trend from 2010 onwards, the annual estimated change ranged from 0·9% to 5·6%. The findings were robust to sensitivity analyses excluding data sources in which the data quality was lower and were consistent in analyses stratified by different diabetes definitions.

Interpretation: The incidence of diagnosed diabetes is stabilising or declining in many high-income countries. The reasons for the declines in the incidence of diagnosed diabetes warrant further investigation with appropriate data sources.

Funding: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Diabetes Australia Research Program, and Victoria State Government Operational Infrastructure Support Program.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(20)30402-2DOI Listing
February 2021

Risk sharing or risk shifting? On the development of patient access schemes in the process of updating the national list of health services in Israel.

Expert Rev Pharmacoecon Outcomes Res 2019 Dec 11;19(6):749-753. Epub 2019 Dec 11.

Department of Pharmaceutical Technology Assessment, Clalit Health Services Headquarters, Tel-Aviv, Israel.

: Agreements between payers and pharmaceutical/medical device companies are widely implemented to address financial and clinical uncertainties. We analyzed the main characteristics of these agreements in Israel from 2011-2018.: We reviewed all agreements implemented during the study period. Information regarding the type of agreement, therapeutic indications, its time frame and the total budget involved are presented.: A total of 56 agreements were signed since 2011, of which 53 (95%) were financial-based and 50 (89%) referred to pharmaceuticals. The annual number of agreements increased from one in 2011 to 21 in 2018. The main therapeutic areas covered were: oncology (41%), hepatitis C (16%), neurology (11%), respiratory (9%), and cardiovascular (7%). The proportion of the annual budget allocated subject to these agreements increased accordingly from 3% in 2011 to 73% in 2018. The majority (63%) of the agreements were signed for 5 years, 9% were shorter-term and 20% have no time-limit. In 14 (44%) of the financial-based agreements implemented through 2017, the actual utilization exceeded the pre-specified threshold and the companies reimbursed the health-plans accordingly.: The number of agreements and the allocated budget subject to these agreements increased substantially in recent years. Most agreements are financial-based that, in many cases, shifted the short-term financial risk from health-plans to the industry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14737167.2019.1702525DOI Listing
December 2019

Overuse and Underuse of Visual Field Testing Over 15 Years.

J Glaucoma 2019 07;28(7):660-665

Goldschleger Eye Institute, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Affiliated to the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University.

PRéCIS:: A 15-year analysis of 198,843 visual field (VF) tests revealed a growing trend for their performance for nonglaucoma indications. Adherence to glaucoma management guidelines was suboptimal. Guidelines for referral to VF assessments should be established.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify trends in VF assessments over 15 years among patients with and without suspected or confirmed glaucoma, in a large healthcare maintenance organization.

Methods: This was a population-based retrospective cohort study, conducted by means of electronic medical database analyses.

Study Population: Maccabi Healthcare Services is an healthcare maintenance organization that insures 2 million members constituting 25% of the population. All members who underwent at least 1 VF test between January 2000 and December 2014 were included. In addition, all members with glaucoma or suspected glaucoma diagnosis or who were prescribed with antiglaucoma medications were evaluated.

Main Outcome Measures: VF performance rates.

Results: A total of 93,617 Maccabi Healthcare Services members underwent 198,843 VF tests; of whom 47.9% involved patients without any glaucoma-related conditions. There was a growing trend over time toward more of those members to undergo VF tests and, by 2014, non-glaucoma-related members comprised 74.0% of new VF assessments. In contrast, 32.3% of glaucoma-related patients did not perform even 1 VF test throughout the entire study period. Although over 2 years (25.95±6.33 mo) passed between the first glaucoma-related diagnosis and first VF test, once a patient underwent the first VF test, an average once-a-year VF follow-up (0.95±0.37 annual tests) began.

Conclusion: There is a growing trend for VF tests being apparently overused for indications other than glaucoma. Concurrently, adherence to glaucoma management guidelines on VF tests is suboptimal, leading to discernible underuse. Guidelines for VF assessments in nonglaucoma patients should be established. Adherence to existing glaucoma management guidelines should be improved.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/IJG.0000000000001262DOI Listing
July 2019

Comparison of Mortality and Comorbidity Rates Between Holocaust Survivors and Individuals in the General Population in Israel.

JAMA Netw Open 2019 01 4;2(1):e186643. Epub 2019 Jan 4.

Maccabi Kahn Institute for Research and Innovation, Maccabi Healthcare Services, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Importance: Previous studies have suggested that Holocaust survivors may experience different chronic comorbidities more often than the general population. However, the mortality hazard among these individuals has not been addressed.

Objective: To assess the overall mortality rate and comorbidities of a cohort of Holocaust survivors compared with an age-matched control group.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This cross-sectional study included all Holocaust survivors insured by Maccabi Healthcare Services in Israel who were born between 1911 and 1945 in Europe and control individuals born in Israel during the same years and insured by the same service. Data were collected from January 1, 1998, through December 31, 2017.

Outcomes And Measures: Rates of morbidities and mortality rates adjusted for sex, socioeconomic status, and body mass index using logistic regression, Cox regression, and Kaplan-Meier analysis.

Results: The 38 597 Holocaust survivors included 22 627 women (58.6%) and had a mean (SD) age of 81.7 (5.4) years, and the 34 931 individuals in the control group included 18 615 women (53.3%) and had a mean (SD) age of 77.7 (5.3) years. The Holocaust survivors had higher rates than control individuals of reported hypertension (32 038 [83.0%] vs 23 285 [66.7]), obesity (12 838 [33.3%] vs 9254 [26.5]), chronic kidney disease (11 929 [30.9%] vs 6927 [19.8]), cancer (11 369 [29.5%] vs 9721 [27.8]), dementia (6389 [16.6%] vs 3355 [9.6]), ischemic heart disease, nonmyocardial infarction (5729 [14.8%] vs 4135 [11.8]), myocardial infarction (3641 [9.4%] vs 2723 [7.8]), and osteoporotic fractures among women (6429 [28.4%] vs 4120 [22.1]). In contrast, the overall mortality rate was lower among Holocaust survivors (25.3%) compared with the control group (41.1%). After adjustment for confounders, mean age at death was significantly higher in the survivor group compared with the control group.

Conclusions And Relevance: The findings showed higher rates of comorbidities and lower mortality among Holocaust survivors, which may be associated with a combination of improved health literacy and unique resilience characteristics among Holocaust survivors. More research is needed to explore the biologic and psychosocial basis for these results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.6643DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6324318PMC
January 2019

Statin Therapy: Diabetes Mellitus Risk and Cardiovascular Benefit in Primary Prevention.

Isr Med Assoc J 2018 Aug;20(8):480-485

Meir Medical Center, Kfar Saba, Israel.

Background: The salutary effects of statin therapy in patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD) are well established. Although generally considered safe, statin therapy has been reported to contribute to induction of diabetes mellitus (DM).

Objectives: To assess the risk-benefit of statin therapy, prescribed for the prevention of CVD, in the development of DM.

Methods: In a population-based real-life study, the incidence of DM and CVD were assessed retrospectively among 265,414 subjects aged 40-70 years, 17.9% of whom were treated with statins. Outcomes were evaluated according to retrospectively determined baseline 10 year cardiovascular (CV) mortality risks as defined by the European Systematic COronary Risk Evaluation, statin dose-intensity regimen, and level of drug adherence.

Results: From 2010 to 2014, 5157 (1.9%) new cases of CVD and 11,637 (4.4%) of DM were observed. Low-intensity statin therapy with over 50% adherence was associated with increased DM incidence in patients at low or intermediate baseline CV risk, but not in patients at high CV risk. In patients at low CV risk, no CV protective benefit was obtained. The number needed to harm (NNH; incident DM) for low-intensity dose regimens with above 50% adherence was 40. In patients at intermediate and high CV risk, the number needed to treat was 125 and 29; NNH was 50 and 200, respectively.

Conclusions: Prescribing low-dose statins for primary prevention of CVD is beneficial in patients at high risk and may be detrimental in patients at low CV risk. In patients with intermediate CV risk, our data support current recommendations of individualizing treatment decisions.
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August 2018

Challenges in defining the rates of ADHD diagnosis and treatment: trends over the last decade.

BMC Pediatr 2017 12 29;17(1):218. Epub 2017 Dec 29.

Chief Physician Office, Medical Division, Maccabi Healthcare Services, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Background: There is a global trend of large increases in the prevalence and incidence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This study aimed to address potential causes of these major changes.

Methods: The authors used a large cohort to analyze data employing patients' electronic medical records, with physicians' diagnosis of ADHD, including records of medication purchases.

Results: The prevalence of ADHD diagnoses rose twofold from 6.8% to 14.4% between 2005 and 2014 (p < 0.001), while the ratio of males to females with ADHD decreased from 2.94 in 2005 to 1.86 in 2014 (p < 0.001). The incidence increased, peaking in 2011 before declining in 2014. ADHD medication usage by children and adolescents was 3.57% in 2005 and 8.51% by 2014 (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: We report a dramatic increase in the rate of ADHD diagnoses. One of the leading factors to which we attribute this increase is the physicians' and parents' changed attitude towards diagnosing attention/hyperactivity problems, with more parents appear to consider ADHD diagnosis and treatment as a means to improve their child's academic achievements, commonly with the aid of medications. This change in attitude may also be associated with the dramatic increase in female ADHD diagnosis prevalence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12887-017-0971-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5747128PMC
December 2017

Maccabi proactive Telecare Center for chronic conditions - the care of frail elderly patients.

Isr J Health Policy Res 2017 12 11;6(1):68. Epub 2017 Dec 11.

Maccabi Healthcare Services, 27 Hamered Street, 6812509, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Background: In 2012, Maccabi Healthcare Services founded Maccabi Telecare Center (MTC), a multi-disciplinary healthcare service providing telemedical care to complex chronic patients. The current paper describes the establishment and operation of the MTC center, from the identification of the need for the service, through the design of its solution elements, to outcomes in several areas of care. We analyze the effects of the program on elderly frail patients, a growing population with complex and costly needs.

Methods: Observational quasi-experimental analyses using propensity score matching was used to assess the effect of MTC's operation on utilization outcomes including direct costs.

Results: Results for frail elderly patients with complex chronic conditions show significant reductions in hospitalization days and hospitalization costs. MTC interventions also entailed lower overall average monthly costs in frail patients.

Conclusion: We conclude that a proactive telehealth service for complex chronic patients using education, empowerment to self-management, and coordination of care is a cost-effective means of improving quality care and health outcomes in frail elderly patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13584-017-0192-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5724333PMC
December 2017

Does levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system increase breast cancer risk in peri-menopausal women? An HMO perspective.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2018 01 14;167(1):257-262. Epub 2017 Sep 14.

Department of Pharmacy, Maccabi Healthcare Services, 27 Hamered St., 68125, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Purpose: To evaluate the association between levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS) use and breast cancer (BC) risk.

Methods: A cohort of all Maccabi Healthcare Services (MHS) female members aged 40-50 years between 1/2003 and 12/2013 was used to identify LNG-IUS users as "cases," and 2 age-matched non-users as "controls." Exclusion criteria included: prior BC diagnosis, prior (5 years pre-study) and subsequent treatment with other female hormones or prophylactic tamoxifen. Invasive tumors were characterized by treatments received (chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, trastuzumab, or combination thereof).

Results: The analysis included 13,354 LNG-IUS users and 27,324 controls (mean age: 44.1 ± 2.6 vs. 44.9 ± 2.8 years; p < 0.0001). No significant differences in 5-year Kaplan-Meier (KM) estimates for overall BC risk or ductal carcinoma in situ occurrence were observed between groups. There was a trend towards higher risk for invasive BC in LNG-IUS users (5-year KM-estimate: 1.06% vs. 0.93%; p = 0.051). This difference stemmed primarily from the younger women (40-45 years; 0.88% vs. 0.69%, p = 0.014), whereas in older women (46-50 years), it was non-significant (1.44% vs. 1.21%; p = 0.26). Characterization of invasive BC by treatment demonstrated that LNG-IUS users had similar proportions of tumors treated with hormonal therapy, less tumors treated with trastuzumab, (7.5% vs. 14.5%) and more tumors treated with chemotherapy alone (25.8% vs. 14.9%; p = 0.041).

Conclusions: In peri-menopausal women, LNG-IUS was not associated with an increased total risk of BC, although in the subgroup of women in their early 40's, it was associated with a slightly increased risk for invasive tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-017-4491-2DOI Listing
January 2018

Utilization of ultrasonography to detect developmental dysplasia of the hip: when reality turns selective screening into universal use.

BMC Pediatr 2017 Jun 5;17(1):136. Epub 2017 Jun 5.

Department of Health Systems Management, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Be'er Sheva, Israel.

Background: Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) occurs in 3-5 of 1000 live births and is associated with known risk factors. In most countries, formal practice for early detection of DDH entails the combination of risk factor identification and physical examination of the hip, while the golden standard diagnostic instrument is hip ultrasonography (US). This practice is commonly referred to as selective screening. Infants with positive US findings are treated with a Pavlik harness, a dynamic abduction splint. The objective of our study was to evaluate hip US utilization patterns in Maccabi Healthcare Services (MHS), a large health plan.

Methods: Study population: All MHS members, born between June 2011 and October 2014, who underwent at least one US before the age of 15 months.

Study Variables: Practice specialty and number of enrolled infants. Positive US result was defined as referral to an abduction splint. Cost was based on Ministry of Health price list. Chi square and correlation coefficients were employed in the statistical analysis.

Results: Of the 115,918 infants born during the study period, 67,491 underwent at least one hip US. Of these, 60.6% were female, mean age at performance: 2.2 months. Of those who underwent US, 625 (0.93%) were treated with a Pavlik harness: 0.24% of the male infants and 1.60% of the female infants (p < 0.001). Analysis of physician practice characteristics revealed that referral to US was significantly higher among pediatricians as compared with general practitioners (60% and 35%, respectively). Practice volume had no influence on referral rate. Direct medical costs of the 107 hip US examinations performed that led to detection of one positive case (treated by Pavlik): US$10,000.

Conclusions: Current pattern of hip US utilization for early detection of DDH resembles universal screening more closely than selective screening. This can inform policy decisions as to whether a stricter selective screening or a formal move to universal screening is appropriate in Israel.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12887-017-0882-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5460553PMC
June 2017

Improving the quality of primary care by allocating performance-based targets, in a diverse insured population.

BMC Health Serv Res 2016 11 21;16(1):668. Epub 2016 Nov 21.

The Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Background: Primary Care Health organizations, operating under universal coverage and a regulated package of benefits, compete mainly over quality of care. Monitoring, primary care clinical performance, has been repeatedly proven effective in improving the quality of care. In 2004, Maccabi Healthcare Services (MHS), the second largest Israeli HMO, launched its Performance Measurement System (PMS) based on clinical quality indicators. A unique module was built in the PMS to adjust for case mix while tailoring targets to the local units. This article presents the concept and formulas developed to adjust targets to the units' current performance, and analyze change in clinical indicators over a six year period, between sub-population groups.

Methods: Six process and intermediate outcome indicators, representing screening for breast and colorectal cancer and care for patients with diabetes and cardiovascular disease, were selected and analyzed for change over time (2003-2009) in overall performance, as well as the difference between the lowest and the highest socio-economic ranks (SERs) and Arab and non-Arab members.

Results: MHS demonstrated a significant improvement in the selected indicators over the years. Performance of members from low SERs and Arabs improved to a greater extent, as compared to members from high ranks and non-Arabs, respectively.

Conclusion: The performance measurement system, with its module for tailoring of units' targets, served as a managerial vehicle for bridging existing gaps by allocating more resources to lower performing units. This concept was proven effective in improving performance while reducing disparities between diverse population groups.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12913-016-1920-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5117594PMC
November 2016

Costs of Managing Patients with Diabetes in a Large Health Maintenance Organization in Israel: A Retrospective Cohort Study.

Diabetes Ther 2017 Feb 16;8(1):167-176. Epub 2016 Nov 16.

Infectious Disease Unit, Wolfson Medical Center, affiliated with Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Holon, Israel.

Introduction: The aim of this study was to evaluate the direct costs of patients with diabetes ensured in a large health maintenance organization, Maccabi Health Services (MHS), in order to compare the medical costs of these patients to the medical costs of other patients insured by MHS and to assess the impact of poorly controlled diabetes on medical costs.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of patients insured in MHS during 2012 was performed. Data were extracted automatically from the electronic database. A glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) level of >9% (75 mmol/mol) was considered to define poorly controlled diabetes, and that of <7% (53 mmol/mol) and <8% (64 mmol/mol) to define controlled diabetes for patients aged <75 and ≥75 years, respectively. Multivariate analysis analyses were done to assess factors affecting cost.

Results: Data on a total of 99,017 patients with diabetes were obtained from the MHS database for 2012. Of these, 54% were male and 72% were aged 45-75 years. The median annual cost of treating diabetes was 4420 cost units (CU), with hospitalization accounting for 56% of the total costs. The median annual cost per patient in the age groups 35-44 and 75-84 years was 2836 CU and 7033 CU, respectively. Differences between costs for patients with diabetes and those for patients without diabetes was 85% for the age group 45-54 years but only 24% for the age group 75-84 years. Medical costs increased similarly with age for patients with controlled diabetes and those with poorly controlled diabetes costs, as did additional co-morbidities. Costs were significantly impacted by kidney disease. The costs for patients with an HbA1c level of 8.0-8.99% (64-74 mmol/mol) and 9.0-9.99% (75-85 mmol/mol) were 5722 and 5700 CU, respectively. In a multivariate analysis the factors affecting all patients' costs were HbA1C level, male gender, chronic diseases, complications of diabetes, disease duration, and stage of kidney function.

Conclusions: The direct medical costs of patients with diabetes were significantly higher than those of patients without diabetes. The main drivers of these higher costs were hospitalizations and renal function. In poorly controlled patients the effect of HbA1c on costs was limited. These findings suggest that it is cost effective to identify patients with diabetes early in the course of the disease.

Funding: The work was sponsored by internal funds of the authors. Article processing charges for this study was funded by Novo Nordisk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13300-016-0212-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5306111PMC
February 2017

In Vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments in Maccabi Healthcare Services 2007-2014.

Isr J Health Policy Res 2016 8;5:14. Epub 2016 Apr 8.

Maccabi Healthcare Services, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Background: Israel reports the world's highest IVF cycles per capita. However, clinical outcome data of these treatments are scarce. In a previous publication, we summarized IVF results among Maccabi Healthcare Services members for the years 2007-2010. The main findings included an increase in mean patients' age over the period studied, a 50 % increase in cycle numbers during this time, and a decrease in success rate (live birth) from 18.8 % in 2007 to 14.8 % in 2010. The purpose of the current publication is to summarize IVF outcome for the years 2011-2014, and to explore possible changes in the trends we reported previously.

Methods: IVF and live births data were collected from Maccabi Healthcare Services' fertility treatments registry. Analyses were conducted by treatment year and patients' age at the initiation of treatment cycles. Autologous cycles, were included (ovum donation cycles and frozen-thaw cycles were excluded). A successful cycle was defined if a live birth was recorded within 10 months of its initiation.

Results: In accordance with previous data for the years 2007-2010, mean patients' age continued to rise (from 36.2 in 2011 to 37.1 in 2014). In contrast to previous years, during which a continued increase in treatment cycles was recorded, we found that treatment number decreased from a peak of 9,751 in 2011 to 8,623 in 2014. Contrary to that trend, the number of patients over 40 years of age increased from 3,204 in 2011 to 3,648 in 2014. Success rate fluctuated between 14.4 % in 2014 to 16.4 % in 2013. The majority (78 %) of treatment cycles were conducted in four private medical centers.

Conclusions: The decrease in treatment cycles in recent years notwithstanding, Israel is still leading the world with IVF treatments relative to population. Success rate is relatively low compared to international data. Given the steady increase in patients' mean age, and particularly, the increase in patients over 40 years of age, we maintain that the low success rate reflects a growing number of treatments that a priori have a low chance of success.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13584-016-0072-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4826545PMC
April 2016

Association of Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke: Analysis of Maccabi Health Services Cardiovascular Database.

Isr Med Assoc J 2015 Aug;17(8):486-91

Background: Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. The risk factors for stroke overlap those for cardiovascular disease. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a particularly strong risk factor and is common, particularly in the elderly. Maccabi Healthcare Services (MHS) has maintained a vascular registry of clinical information for over 100,000 members, among them patients with heart disease and stroke.

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of stroke in MHS, and whether the association of AF and stroke, along with other risk factors, in the Maccabi population is similar to that in published studies.

Methods: Data on stroke and AF patients aged 45 and older were collected from the database for the year 2010, including age, previous transient ischemic attack (TIA), body mass index (BMI), prior myocardial infarction (MI), diabetes, hypertension, anticoagulation and dyslipidemia. A cross-sectional analysis was used to estimate stroke prevalence by AF status. A case-control analysis was also performed comparing a sample of stroke and non-stroke patients. This permitted estimation of the strength of associations for atrial fibrillation and various other combinations of risk factors with stroke.

Results: Stroke prevalence ranged from 3.5 (females, age 45-54 years) to 74.1 (males, age 85+) per thousand in non-AF members, and from 29 (males, age 45-54) to 165 (males, age 85+) per thousand for patients with AF. AF patients had significantly more strokes than non-AF patients in all age groups. Stroke prevalence increased with age and was significantly higher in males. Multivariable analysis revealed that male gender, increasing age, AF, hypertension, diabetes, and history of TIA were highly significant risk factors for stroke. In addition, for males, dyslipidemia and prior Ml were moderately strong risk factors.

Conclusions: Analysis of the MHS vascular database yielded useful information on stroke prevalence and association of known risk factors with stroke, which is consistent with the epidemiological literature elsewhere. Further analysis of health fund data could potentially provide useful information in the future.
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August 2015

The association between improved quality diabetes indicators, health outcomes and costs: towards constructing a "business case" for quality of diabetes care--a time series study.

BMC Endocr Disord 2014 Dec 1;14:92. Epub 2014 Dec 1.

Department of Health Systems Management, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel.

Background: In primary health care systems where member's turnover is relatively low, the question, whether investment in quality of care improvement can make a business case, or is cost effective, has not been fully answered.The objectives of this study were: (1) to investigate the relationship between improvement in selected measures of diabetes (type 2) care and patients' health outcomes; and (2) to estimate the association between improvement in performance and direct medical costs.

Methods: A time series study with three quality indicators - Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) testing, HbA1C and LDL- cholesterol (LDL-C) control - which were analyzed in patients with diabetes, insured by a large health fund. Health outcomes measures used: hospitalization days, Emergency Department (ED) visits and mortality. Poisson, GEE and Cox regression models were employed. Covariates: age, gender and socio-economic rank.

Results: 96,553 adult (age >18) patients with diabetes were analyzed. The performance of the study indicators, significantly and steadily improved during the study period (2003-2009). Poor HbA1C (>9%) and inappropriate LDL-C control (>100 mg/dl) were significantly associated with number of hospitalization days. ED visits did not achieve statistical significance. Improvement in HbA1C control was associated with an annual average of 2% reduction in hospitalization days, leading to substantial reduction in tertiary costs. The Hazard ratio for mortality, associated with poor HbA1C and LDL-C, control was 1.78 and 1.17, respectively.

Conclusion: Our study demonstrates the effect of continuous improvement in quality care indicators, on health outcomes and resource utilization, among patients with diabetes. These findings support the business case for quality, especially in healthcare systems with relatively low enrollee turnover, where providers, in the long term, could "harvest" their investments in improving quality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6823-14-92DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4265437PMC
December 2014

Multiple chronic disorders - health care system's modern challenge in the Maccabi Health Care System.

Isr J Health Policy Res 2014 29;3:29. Epub 2014 Aug 29.

Medical Division, Maccabi Healthcare Services, Tel Aviv, Israel ; Faculty of Medicine, Ben-Gurion University, Beer Sheva, Israel.

Background: One of the major challenges health care systems face in modern time is treating chronic disorders. In recent years, the increasing occurrence of multiple chronic disorders (MCC) in single individuals has compounded the complexity of health care. In 2008, it was estimated that worldwide as many as one quarter of the population between the ages of sixty five to sixty nine suffered from two or more chronic conditions and this prevalence rose with age. Clinical guidelines provide guidance for management of single disorders, but not for MCC. The aim of the present study was the study of the prevalence, distribution and impact of MCC in a large Israeli health system.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of MCC in the Maccabi Healthcare System (MHS), Israel's second largest healthcare service, providing care for approximately two million people. Data regarding chronic conditions was collected through electronic medical records and organizational records, as was demographic and socioeconomic data. Age and sex specific data were compared with previously published data from Scotland.

Results: Two thirds of the population had two or more chronic disorders. This is significantly higher than previously published rates. A correlation between patient age and number of chronic disorders was found, as was a correlation between number of chronic disorders and low socioeconomic status, with the exception of children due to a high prevalence of learning disabilities, asthma, and visual disturbances.

Discussion: MCC is very prevalent in the MHS population, increases with age, and except for children is more prevalent in lower socioeconomic classes, possibly due to the a combination of the structure of the Israeli universal insurance and requirements of the ministry of education for exemptions and benefits. A higher than previously reported prevalence of MCC may be due to the longtime use of use of integrated electronic medical records.

Conclusions: To effectively deal with MCC health care systems must devise strategies, including but not limited to, information technologies that enable shared teamwork based on clinical guidelines which address the problem of multiple, as opposed to single chronic disorders in patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/2045-4015-3-29DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4158396PMC
September 2014

An intensive family intervention clinic for reducing childhood obesity.

J Am Board Fam Med 2014 May-Jun;27(3):321-8

Nutritional Services, Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition Services, Maccabi Obesity Clinic, the Pediatric Department, Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, the Medical Division, and Central Medical Management, Maccabi Healthcare Services, Tel Aviv, Israel; School of Public Health, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel; the Department of Health System Management, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel; and Sackler School of Medicine, University of Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Background: Childhood and adolescent obesity constitute a significant public health concern. Family health care settings with multidisciplinary teams provide an opportunity for weight loss treatment. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of intensive treatment designed to reduce weight using a parent-child lifestyle modification intervention in a family health care clinic for obese and overweight children who had failed previous treatment attempts.

Methods: This was a practice-based 6-month intervention at Maccabi Health Care Services, an Israeli health maintenance organization, consisting of parental education, individual child consultation, and physical activity classes. We included in the intervention 100 obese or overweight children aged 5 to 14 years and their parents and 943 comparison children and their parents. Changes in body mass index z-scores, adjusted for socioeconomic status, were analyzed, with a follow-up at 14 months and a delayed follow-up at an average of 46.7 months.

Results: The mean z-score after the intervention was lower in the intervention group compared to the comparison group (1.74 and 1.95, respectively; P = .019). The intervention group sustained the reduction in z-score after an average of 46.7 months (P < .001). Of the overweight or obese children, 13% became normal weight after the intervention, compared with 4% of the comparison children.

Conclusion: This multidisciplinary team treatment of children and their parents in family health care clinics positively affected measures of childhood obesity. Additional randomized trials are required to verify these findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3122/jabfm.2014.03.130243DOI Listing
January 2015

The impact of the Oncotype DX Recurrence Score on treatment decisions and clinical outcomes in patients with early breast cancer: the Maccabi Healthcare Services experience with a unified testing policy.

Ecancermedicalscience 2013 17;7:380. Epub 2013 Dec 17.

Maccabi Healthcare Services, 27 Hamered Street, Tel Aviv 68125, Israel.

The Oncotype DX Recurrence Score is a validated prognosticator in oestrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer. Our retrospective analysis of a prospectively defined cohort summarises the clinical implications associated with Oncotype DX testing according to the Maccabi Healthcare Services (MHS) policy. The MHS eligibility criteria for testing included ER+ N0/pN1mic invasive tumours, discussion of test implications with an oncologist, ductal carcinoma 0.6-1 cm Grade 2-3, HER2 negative ductal carcinomas with 1.1-4.0 cm Grade 1-2, or lobular carcinoma. Large (> 1 cm) Grade 3 tumours could have grade reassessed. We linked Recurrence Score results with patients' information and used chi-squared tests to assess the associations thereof. Between January 2008 and December 2011, tests were performed on 751 patients (MHS-eligible, 713); 54%, 38%, and 8% of patients had low, intermediate, and high Recurrence Score results, respectively. Recurrence Score distribution varied significantly with age (P = 0.002), with increasing Recurrence Score values with decreasing age. The proportion of patients with high Recurrence Score results varied by grade/size combination and histology, occurring in 32% of small (≤ 1 cm) Grade 3 and 3% of larger (1.1-4 cm) Grade 1 ductal tumours and only in 2% of lobular carcinomas. Chemotherapy was administered to 1%, 13%, and 61% of patients with low, intermediate, and high Recurrence Score results, respectively (P < 0.0001), but only to 2% of intermediate score patients ≥ 65 years. Luteinising-hormone-releasing hormone agonists with tamoxifen were used in 27% of low Recurrence Score patients ≤ 50 years. With a median follow-up of 26 months, no systemic recurrences were documented, whereas four patients exhibited locoregional recurrences. In summary, in this low-to-moderate risk patient population, testing identified 46% of patients as intermediate/high risk. Treatment decisions were influenced by Recurrence Score results and patients' age. The current MHS policy seems to achieve the goal of promoting chemotherapy use according to the test results in a prespecified patient population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3332/ecancer.2013.380DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3869476PMC
January 2014

Metabolic syndrome, diabetes mellitus, or both and cardiovascular risk in outpatients with or at risk for atherothrombosis.

Eur J Prev Cardiol 2014 Dec 5;21(12):1531-40. Epub 2013 Aug 5.

Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

Background: The incidence of metabolic syndrome (MetS), diabetes mellitus (DM), and their coexistence is increasing but whether MetS increases cardiovascular risk beyond component risk factors is controversial.

Design: We compared the risk of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, or stroke among patients with MetS, newly detected DM, established DM, or coexistent MetS and DM in the global REduction of Atherothrombosis for Continued Health (REACH) registry.

Methods: Outpatients with or at risk for atherothrombosis were recruited between 1 December 2003 and 31 December 2004 and followed up to 4 years for cardiovascular events. Risk was compared in patients with or without MetS or DM after adjustment for age, sex, risk factors, vascular disease, fasting blood glucose, therapy, and region.

Results: Among 44,548 REACH participants, 17,887 (40%) were without MetS or DM; 6459 had MetS (15%); 12,059 had established DM (27%); 7503 had both (17%); and 640 had newly detected DM (1%). Presence of MetS was not associated with higher cardiovascular events (12.6%, adjusted HR 0.98, 95% CI 0.89-1.08). In addition, once DM was evident, patients with coexistent MetS had similar increased risk (16.1%, adjusted HR 1.33, 95% CI 1.21-1.47) as DM alone (16.7%, adjusted HR 1.36, 95% CI 1.24-1.48). Newly detected DM was associated with increased cardiovascular risk (18.5%, adjusted HR 1.26, 95% CI 1.02-1.57), similar to longstanding DM. MetS was associated with incident DM (adjusted OR 1.94).

Conclusions: In the REACH registry, presence of newly detected DM but not metabolic syndrome was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2047487313500541DOI Listing
December 2014

Continuation of statin therapy and primary prevention of nonfatal cardiovascular events.

Am J Cardiol 2012 Dec 25;110(12):1779-86. Epub 2012 Sep 25.

Medical Division, Maccabi Healthcare Services, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Although the beneficial effect of statins in secondary prevention of cardiac events is well established, their effectiveness in primary prevention is questionable when most evidence derives from randomized controlled trials and not "real-life" data. To evaluate the association between persistent use of statins and risk of acute nonfatal cardiovascular events in primary prevention patients in community settings, we retrospectively analyzed a cohort of 171,535 adults 45 to 75 years old with no indication of cardiovascular disease who began statin therapy from 1998 to 2009 in a large health maintenance organization in Israel. Persistence with statins was measured by the proportion of days covered with dispensed prescriptions of statins during the follow-up period. Main outcome measurements were occurrence of myocardial infarction or performance of a cardiac revascularization procedure. Incidence of acute cardiovascular events during the follow-up period (993,519 person-years) was 10.22 per 1,000 person-years. Persistence with statins was associated with a lower risk of incident cardiac events (p for trend <0.01). The most persistent users (covered with statins for ≥80% of their follow-up time) had a hazard ratio of 0.58 (95% confidence interval 0.55 to 0.62) compared to nonpersistent users (proportion of days covered <20%). Similar results were found when analyses were limited to patients with >5 years of follow-up. Treatment with high efficacy statins was associated with a lower risk of cardiac events. In conclusion, our large and unselected community-based study supports the results of randomized controlled trials regarding the beneficial effect of statins in the primary prevention of acute cardiac events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amjcard.2012.08.013DOI Listing
December 2012

Continuation with statin therapy and the risk of primary cancer: a population-based study.

Prev Chronic Dis 2012 ;9:E137

Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel.

Introduction: Studies have suggested that statins may inhibit tumor cell growth and possibly prevent carcinogenesis. The objective of this study was to investigate the association between persistent statin use and the risk of primary cancer in adults.

Methods: This retrospective study was conducted by using the computerized data sets of a large health maintenance organization (HMO) in Israel. The study population was 202,648 enrollees aged 21 or older who purchased at least 1 pack of statin medication from 1998 to 2006. The follow-up period was from the date of first statin dispensation (index date) to the date of first cancer diagnosis, death, leaving the HMO, or September 1, 2007, whichever occurred first. Persistence was measured by calculating the mean proportion of follow-up days covered (PDC) with statins by dividing the quantity of statin dispensed by the total follow-up time.

Results: During the study period, 8,662 incident cancers were reported. In a multivariable model, the highest cancer risk was calculated among nonpersistent statin users. A strong negative association between persistence with statin therapy and cancer risk was calculated for hematopoietic malignancies, where patients covered with statins in 86% or more of the follow-up time had a 31% (95% confidence interval, 0.55-0.88) lower risk than patients in the lowest persistence level (≤ 12%).

Conclusion: Our study demonstrated that persistent use of statins is associated with a lower overall cancer risk and particularly the risk of incident hematopoietic malignancies. In light of widespread statin consumption and increases in cancer incidence, the association between statins and cancer incidence may be relevant for cancer prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd9.120005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3475505PMC
November 2012

Thiazolidinedione use is not associated with worse cardiovascular outcomes: a study in 28,332 high risk patients with diabetes in routine clinical practice: brief title: thiazolidinedione use and mortality.

Int J Cardiol 2013 Aug 4;167(4):1380-4. Epub 2012 May 4.

INSERM, U-695, 75006, Paris, France.

Objective: Assess the cardiovascular safety of Thiazolidinediones (TZD) in routine clinical practice.

Background: TZD are insulin-sensitizing antidiabetic drugs commonly used in type 2 diabetes, but their cardiovascular safety has been questioned. We examined the association between TZD use and major cardiovascular outcomes.

Methods: We examined 2-year mortality, non-fatal myocardial infarction (MI), and congestive heart failure (CHF) rates among outpatients with high cardiovascular risk and diabetes according to TZD use in the REACH Registry. Multivariable adjustment and propensity scores were used in the analyses.

Results: A total of 4997 out of 28,332 patients took TZDs at baseline. During follow-up, 1532 patients died. The mortality rates (95% confidence interval [CI]) were 6.5% (5.5-7.6) with TZD and 7.2% (6.33-8.06) without; adjusted hazard ratio (HR) was 1.06 (0.89-1.26, P=0.54). The lack of association with mortality was consistent across subgroups regardless of history of atherothrombosis or CHF. Rates of non-fatal MI (HR 1.10, 95% CI 0.83-1.45, P=0.50) and non-fatal CHF (HR 0.90, CI 0.75-1.09, P=0.27) were similar in users and non-users. TZD use was associated with an increased risk of CHF in patients aged >80 years (HR 1.59, CI 1.06-2.40, P=0.03).

Conclusions: Use of TZD was not associated with increased incidence of major cardiovascular events in patients with diabetes from this large registry. Older patients experienced an increased risk of CHF over the study interval. Limitations of this study include its observational design, and thus unmeasured confounders cannot be excluded.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2012.04.019DOI Listing
August 2013

Effect of beta blocker therapy on survival of patients with heart failure and preserved systolic function following hospitalization with acute decompensated heart failure.

Eur J Intern Med 2012 Jun 27;23(4):374-8. Epub 2012 Feb 27.

Department of Cardiology, Tel Aviv University's Sackler Medical School, Rabin Medical Center, Petah Tikva, Israel.

Background: The importance of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction is being increasingly recognized. However, there is a paucity of data about effective treatment for this condition. The present study investigated the impact of beta blocker therapy for 3 months before admission on the two-year survival of patients with heart failure and preserved systolic function hospitalized due to decompensated heart failure.

Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort analysis of 345 consecutive patients with heart failure with preserved systolic function older than 18 years hospitalized due to decompensated heart failure. Two groups of patients were compared: those who received beta blockers within 3 months before admission (BB) and those who did not (NBB). The primary outcome was two year all cause mortality (maximal follow-up available in all subjects). To adjust for a potential misbalance between BB and NBB groups in baseline characteristics, a propensity score for beta blocker therapy was incorporated into the survival model.

Results: 154 patients (44.6%) received beta blockers prior to admission. Overall two year mortality rate in the BB group was 50% vs. 62.8% in the NBB group, log-rank test p = 0.016. Beta blockers showed protective effect on two-year survival after adjustment for comorbidities and propensity score (hazard ratio [HR], 0.69; 95% CI 0.47-0.99).

Conclusions: Therapy with beta blockers may have protective effect on survival of patients with heart failure with preserved systolic function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejim.2012.01.011DOI Listing
June 2012

Global variation in the prevalence of elevated cholesterol in outpatients with established vascular disease or 3 cardiovascular risk factors according to national indices of economic development and health system performance.

Circulation 2012 Apr 9;125(15):1858-69. Epub 2012 Apr 9.

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, MO, USA.

Background: Elevated serum cholesterol accounts for a considerable proportion of cardiovascular disease worldwide. An understanding of the relationship between country-level economic and health system factors and elevated cholesterol may provide insight for prioritization of cardiovascular prevention programs.

Methods And Results: Using hierarchical models, we examined the relationship between elevated total cholesterol (>200 mg/dL) in 53 570 outpatients from 36 countries, and tertiles of several country-level indices: (1) gross national income, (2) total expenditure on health as percentage of gross domestic product, (3) government expenditure on health as percentage of total expenditure on health, (4) out-of-pocket expenditures as percentage of private expenditure on health, and the World Health Organization indices of (5) Health System Achievement and (6) Performance/Efficiency. Overall, 38% of outpatients had total cholesterol >200 mg/dL (>5.18 mmol/L), and 9.3% of the total variability in elevated cholesterol was at the country level; this proportion was higher for patients with (12.1%) versus without (7.4%) history of hyperlipidemia. Among patients with history of hyperlipidemia, countries in the highest tertile of gross national income or World Health Organization Health System Achievement had lower odds of elevated cholesterol than lower tertiles (P<0.001, for both). Countries in the highest tertile of out-of-pocket health expenditures had higher odds of elevated cholesterol than those in the lowest tertile (P<0.001). No significant associations were found for patients without history of hyperlipidemia.

Conclusions: Global variations in the prevalence of elevated cholesterol among patients with history of hyperlipidemia are associated with country-level economic development and health system indices. These results support the need for strengthening efforts toward effective cardiovascular disease prevention and control and may provide insight for health policy setting at the national level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.064378DOI Listing
April 2012

Factors associated with hypertensive patients' compliance with recommended lifestyle behaviors.

Isr Med Assoc J 2011 Sep;13(9):553-7

Department of Community Medicine, Maccabi Healthcare Services, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Background: A crucial element in controlling blood pressure is non-pharmaceutical treatment. However, only a few studies specifically address the question of hypertensive patients' compliance with physicians' recommendations for a healthy lifestyle.

Objectives: To explore factors associated with hypertensive patients' compliance with lifestyle recommendations regarding physical activity, smoking cessation and proper diet.

Methods: We performed a secondary data analysis of a representative sample of 1125 hypertensive patients in Israel's two largest health funds. Data were collected in 2002-2003 by telephone interviews using structured questionnaires. The response rate was 77%. Bivariate and multivariate analysis was conducted.

Results: About half of the hypertensive patients reported doing regular exercise and adhering to a special diet; 13% were smokers. About half reported receiving counseling on smoking cessation and diet and a third on physical exercise. A quarter reported receiving explanations regarding self-measurement of blood pressure and signs of deterioration. Multivariate analysis revealed that patients' beliefs about hypertension management, their knowledge on hypertension and its management, and physician counseling on a healthy lifestyle and self-care, have an independent effect on compliance with recommended lifestyle behaviors.

Conclusions: The low counseling rates suggest that there may be a need to improve physicians' counseling skills so that they will be more confident and effective in delivering this service to their patients. A model based on educating both physicians and patients may contribute to improving the care of hypertensive patients.
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September 2011

Adherence to weight loss medications; post-marketing study from HMO pharmacy data of one million individuals.

Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2011 Nov 9;94(2):269-75. Epub 2011 Sep 9.

Research and Evaluation Unit, Maccabi Healthcare Services, Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Introduction: Post-marketing data on weight-loss medications in free living population are a necessary adjunct to data from clinical trials.

Materials And Methods: We conducted a population-based analysis of first-time medication users based on HMO pharmacy purchasing data serving > one million adults.

Results: During 5 years, usage of orlistat and sibutramine more than doubled and rates were higher during the months May-Aug. As compared to non-users (n = 1,038,828), annual weight-loss drug users (n = 7175) had higher women proportion, body-mass-index (BMI), bariatric surgery history, and usage of diabetes, depression, and cardiovascular medications (p < 0.001 for all). Among users, men had higher BMI (34.4 kg/m(2) vs. 32.5 kg/m(2)), prevalence of diabetes (25.4% vs. 10.7%) and heart disease (14.2% vs. 3.5%) than women. Mean duration of purchasing weight-loss medications was 2.1 months for orlistat and 2.9 months for sibutramine. Fewer than 2% completed 12 months of weight-loss medication therapy. Among the 25% who continued to purchase at least 4 months, BMI (sub-group analysis) reduced from 33.02 kg/m(2) to 32.04 kg/m(2) (p < 0.001). In a multivariate model, long-term adherence (≥ 4 months) to weight-loss medications was associated with use of sibutramine vs. orlistat (OR = 2.08; 95%CI: 1.76-2.45), and prevalence of diabetes (OR = 1.20; 95%CI: 1.01-1.25). Age, gender, and baseline BMI were not associated with long-term adherence.

Conclusions: Usage of weight-loss drugs is higher among diabetes patients. However, the poor adherence to therapy is substantially below levels reported in clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.diabres.2011.08.021DOI Listing
November 2011

The association between socio-demographic characteristics and adherence to breast and colorectal cancer screening: analysis of large sub populations.

BMC Cancer 2011 Aug 25;11:376. Epub 2011 Aug 25.

Quality Management in Health Care, Maccabi Healthcare Services, Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Background: Populations having lower socioeconomic status, as well as ethnic minorities, have demonstrated lower utilization of preventive screening, including tests for early detection of breast and colorectal cancer.

The Objective: To explore socio-demographic disparities in adherence to screening recommendations for early detection of cancer.

Methods: The study was conducted by Maccabi Healthcare Services, an Israeli HMO (health plan) providing healthcare services to 1.9 million members. Utilization of breast cancer (BC) and colorectal cancer (CC) screening were analyzed by socio-economic ranks (SERs), ethnicity (Arab vs non-Arab), immigration status and ownership of voluntarily supplemental health insurance (VSHI).

Results: Data on 157,928 and 303,330 adults, eligible for BC and CC screening, respectively, were analyzed. Those having lower SER, Arabs, immigrants from Former Soviet Union countries and non-owners of VSHI performed fewer cancer screening examinations compared with those having higher SER, non-Arabs, veterans and owners of VSHI (p < 0.001). Logistic regression model for BC Screening revealed a positive association with age and ownership of VSHI and a negative association with being an Arab and having a lower SER. The model for CC screening revealed a positive association with age and ownership of VSHI and a negative association with being an Arab, having a lower SER and being an immigrant. The model estimated for BC and CC screening among females revealed a positive association with age and ownership of VSHI and a negative association with being an Arab, having a lower SER and being an immigrant.

Conclusion: Patients from low socio-economic backgrounds, Arabs, immigrants and those who do not own supplemental insurance do fewer tests for early detection of cancer. These sub-populations should be considered priority populations for targeted intervention programs and improved resource allocation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2407-11-376DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3176246PMC
August 2011

Gestational diabetes and risk of incident primary cancer: a large historical cohort study in Israel.

Cancer Causes Control 2011 Nov 17;22(11):1513-20. Epub 2011 Aug 17.

Medical Division, Maccabi Healthcare Services, 27 Ha'Mered Street, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Purpose: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), a state of glucose intolerance associated with pregnancy, is increasing in prevalence. Data regarding the cancer risk associated with GDM are sparse and limited to cancers of the breast and pancreas. This study was conducted to examine the risk of incident overall and site-specific malignancies associated with prior GDM in a historical cohort of women in a large health maintenance organization in Israel.

Methods: All pregnant women aged 15-50 years who underwent 50-g glucose challenge tests between 13 March 1995 and 27 May 2009, without history of malignancy, diabetes, and infertility, were included. Clinical and demographic parameters at index date including age, socioeconomic level, BMI, and parity were collected. Diagnosis of gestational diabetes was based on the 100-g oral glucose tolerance test using Carpenter and Coustan criteria. Cancer diagnoses were obtained from the Israel Cancer Register through linkage data.

Results: Among the 185,315 women who had undergone glucose challenge during the study period, 11,264 (6.1%) were diagnosed with GDM. During a total follow-up period of 1.05 million person-years (mean = 5.19 ± 3.9, median = 4.3), 2,034 incident cases of cancer were identified. GDM was associated with a hazard ratio (HR) of 7.06 (95% CI: 1.69-29.45) for pancreatic cancer (nine cases) and a HR of 1.70 (95% CI: 0.97-2.99) for hematological malignancies (177 cases). The association between GDM and hematological malignancies was limited to women with 5 or more years of follow-up (HR = 4.53; 95% CI: 1.81-11.31).

Conclusion: GDM is associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer and hematologic malignancies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10552-011-9825-5DOI Listing
November 2011

What the United States could learn from Israel about improving the quality of health care.

Health Aff (Millwood) 2011 Apr;30(4):764-72

Smokler Center for Health Policy Research, Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute, Jerusalem, Israel.

In 1999 Israel began to implement a system for monitoring quality of care in its health plans. That system was based largely on a similar system in the United States that, until recently, was associated with steady improvements in performance. However, in recent years health plan quality in the United States appears to have reached a plateau. In contrast, health plans in Israel have continued to show improvements on many of the same measures. Between 2005 and 2007 they achieved a gain of 6.7 percent in nine measures of primary care quality, while US performance on these measures declined. These gains were achieved, in part, through intense cooperation among health plans and physicians. Israel is a much smaller country and differs greatly from the United States in how it finances health care. Nonetheless, we suggest that the Israeli experience could help the United States accelerate the move toward quality improvement-for example, through increased coordination among US employers, health plans, physicians, and physician groups.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0061DOI Listing
April 2011

Campylobacter-associated myopericarditis with ventricular arrhythmia in a young hypothyroid patient.

Isr Med Assoc J 2010 Aug;12(8):505-6

Department of Medicine F, Soroka University Medical Center and Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel.

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August 2010

Prevalence and treatment of cardiovascular risk factors in outpatients with atherothrombosis in the Middle East.

Heart Asia 2011 1;3(1):77-81. Epub 2011 Jan 1.

INSERM U-698, Université Paris 7 and AP-HP, Paris, France.

Objective: To characterise the risk-factor profile and treatment gaps among patients with, or at risk for, cardiovascular disease in the Middle East.

Design: Secondary analysis of a prospective observational study.

Setting: International multicentre study (Reduction of Atherothrombosis for Continued Health).

Patients: Stable outpatients with established cardiovascular disease or at least three risk factors for atherothrombosis. The present analysis was based on 840 patients from the Middle East.

Intervention: Observational study without a study-specific intervention.

Main Outcome Measures: A treatment gap was defined as at least one of the following: current cigarette smoking, total cholesterol ≥200 mg/dl, serum glucose ≥126 mg/dl or blood pressure of ≥140/90.

Results: The majority of Middle Eastern patients had hypertension (80.2%), more than half had a history of diabetes mellitus (52.3%), and a third had hypercholesterolaemia (34.1%). There was a high prevalence of obesity (38.6%), and nearly half the patients were former or current smokers (46%). β-Blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors were the most commonly prescribed antihypertensives (61.1% and 57.5%, respectively). Antiplatelet therapy (most commonly aspirin) and lipid-lowering drugs (most commonly a statin) were used in most patients (90.7% and 85.2%, respectively). Three-quarters of the participants (75.6%) had at least one uncontrolled risk factor.

Conclusion: Patients with atherothrombosis in the Middle East have a high prevalence of risk factors including alarming rates of diabetes mellitus and obesity. At least one risk factor is uncontrolled in the majority of patients, presenting a pressing need for improving the care of such patients in the Middle East.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/ha.2010.003145DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4898549PMC
June 2016