Publications by authors named "Gemma Mas-Dalmau"

9 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Delayed Antibiotic Prescription for Children With Respiratory Infections: A Randomized Trial.

Pediatrics 2021 Mar 11;147(3). Epub 2021 Feb 11.

Iberoamerican Cochrane Center, and

Objectives: To assess the effectiveness and safety of delayed antibiotic prescription (DAP) compared to immediate antibiotic prescription (IAP) and no antibiotic prescription (NAP) in children with uncomplicated respiratory infections.

Methods: Randomized clinical trial comparing 3 antibiotic prescription strategies. The participants were children with acute uncomplicated respiratory infections attended to in 39 primary care centers. Children were randomly assigned into prescription arms as follows: (1) DAP, (2) IAP, or (3) NAP. Primary outcomes were symptom duration and severity. Secondary outcomes were antibiotic use, parental satisfaction, parental beliefs, additional primary care visits, and complications at 30 days.

Results: In total, 436 children were included in the analysis. The mean (SD) duration of severe symptoms was 10.1 (6.3) for IAP, 10.9 (8.5) for NAP, and 12.4 (8.4) for DAP ( = .539), although the differences were not statistically significant. The median (interquartile range) of the greatest severity for any symptom was similar for the 3 arms (median [interquartile range] score of 3 [2-4]; = .619). Antibiotic use was significantly higher for IAP ( = 142 [96%]) compared to DAP ( = 37 [25.3%]) and NAP ( = 17 [12.0%]) ( < .001). Complications, additional visits to primary care, and satisfaction were similar for all strategies. Gastrointestinal adverse effects were higher for IAP.

Conclusions: There was no statistically significant difference in symptom duration or severity in children with uncomplicated respiratory infections who received DAP compared to NAP or IAP strategies; however, DAP reduced antibiotic use and gastrointestinal adverse effects.
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March 2021

Impact of the implementation of best practice guidelines on nurse's evidence-based practice and on nurses' work environment: Research protocol.

J Adv Nurs 2021 Jan 15;77(1):448-460. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Faculty of Nursing and Physiotherapy, Balearic Islands University, Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

Aim: To determine the impact of the Best Practice Spotlight Organization® initiative on nurses' perception of their work environment and their attitudes to evidence-based practice.

Design: Quasi-experimental, multicentre study. The intervention is the participation in Best Prectice Spotilight Organizations to implement Best Practice Guidelines.

Methods: The study will include seven centres in the interventional group and 10 in the non-equivalent control group, all of them belonging to the Spanish national health system. The Practice Environment Scale of the Nursing Work Index, and the Health Sciences Evidence-Based Practice Questionnaire will be administered to a sample of 1,572 nurses at the beginning of the programme and at 1 year. This 3-year study started in April 2018 and will continue until December 2021. Statistical analyses will be carried out using the SPSS 25.0. This project was approved by the Drug Research Ethics Committee of the Parc de Salut Mar and registered in Clinical Trials.

Discussion: The study findings will show the current state of nurses' perception of their work environment and attitudes to evidence-based practice, and possible changes in these parameters due to the programme.

Impact: The findings could provide a strong argument for health policymakers to scale up the Best Practice Spotlight Organization® initiative in the Spanish national health system.
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January 2021

Use of delayed antibiotic prescription in primary care: a cross-sectional study.

BMC Fam Pract 2019 03 26;20(1):45. Epub 2019 Mar 26.

Iberoamerican Cochrane Center, Biomedical Research Institute Sant Pau (IIB Sant Pau), Barcelona, Spain.

Background: One of several strategies developed to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use in situations where the indication is not clear is delayed antibiotic prescription (DAP), defined as an antibiotic prescription issued for the patient to take only in case of feeling worse or not feeling better several days after the visit. We conducted a survey to identify DAP use in Spanish primary care settings.

Methods: We surveyed 23 healthcare centers located in 4 autonomous regions where a randomized controlled trial (RCT) on DAP was underway. The primary variable was use of DAP. Categorical and quantitative variables were analyzed by means of the chi-squared test and non-parametric tests, respectively.

Results: The survey was sent to 375 healthcare professionals, 215 of whom responded (57.3% response rate), with 46% of these respondents declaring that they had used DAP in routine practice before the RCT started (66.6% afterwards), mostly (91.5%) for respiratory tract infections (RTIs), followed by urinary infections (45.1%). Regarding DAP use for RTIs, the most frequent conditions were pharyngotonsillitis (88.7%), acute bronchitis (62.7%), mild chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations (59.9%), sinusitis (51.4%), and acute otitis media (45.1%). Most respondents considered that DAP reduced emergency visits (85.4%), scheduled visits (79%) and inappropriate antibiotic use (73.7%) and most also perceived patients to be generally satisfied with the DAP approach (75.6%). Having participated or not in the DAP RCT (74.1% versus 46.2%; p < 0.001), having previously used or not used DAP (86.8% versus 44.2%; p < 0.001), and being a physician versus being a nurse (81.8% versus 18.2%; p < 0.001) were factors that reflected significantly higher rates of DAP use.

Conclusions: The majority of primary healthcare professionals in Spain do not use DAP. Those who use DAP believe that it reduces primary care visits and inappropriate antibiotic use, while maintaining patient satisfaction. Given the limited use of DAP in our setting, and given that its use is mainly limited to RTIs, DAP has considerable potential in terms of its implementation in routine practice.
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March 2019

Delayed antibiotic prescribing for respiratory tract infections: protocol of an individual patient data meta-analysis.

BMJ Open 2019 01 21;9(1):e026925. Epub 2019 Jan 21.

Academic Unit of Primary Care and Population Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.

Introduction: Delayed prescribing can be a useful strategy to reduce antibiotic prescribing, but it is not clear for whom delayed prescribing might be effective. This protocol outlines an individual patient data (IPD) meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and observational cohort studies to explore the overall effect of delayed prescribing and identify key patient characteristics that are associated with efficacy of delayed prescribing.

Methods And Analysis: A systematic search of the databases Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, EBSCO CINAHL Plus and Web of Science was conducted to identify relevant studies from inception to October 2017. Outcomes of interest include duration of illness, severity of illness, complication, reconsultation and patient satisfaction. Study authors of eligible papers will be contacted and invited to contribute raw IPD data. IPD data will be checked against published data, harmonised and aggregated to create one large IPD database. Multilevel regression will be performed to explore interaction effects between treatment allocation and patient characteristics. The economic evaluation will be conducted based on IPD from the combined trial and observational studies to estimate the differences in costs and effectiveness for delayed prescribing compared with normal practice. A decision model will be developed to assess potential savings and cost-effectiveness in terms of reduced antibiotic usage of delayed prescribing and quality-adjusted life years.

Ethics And Dissemination: Ethical approval was obtained from the University of Southampton Faculty of Medicine Research Ethics Committee (Reference number: 30068). Findings of this study will be published in peer-reviewed academic journals as well as General Practice trade journals and will be presented at national and international conferences. The results will have important public health implications, shaping the way in which antibiotics are prescribed in the future and to whom delayed prescriptions are issued.

Prospero Registration Number: CRD42018079400.
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January 2019

Patients' and physicians' perceptions and attitudes about oral anticoagulation and atrial fibrillation: a qualitative systematic review.

BMC Fam Pract 2017 Jan 13;18(1). Epub 2017 Jan 13.

Iberoamerican Cochrane Center, Biomedical Research Institute Sant Pau (IIB Sant Pau), Sant Antoni Ma Claret 167, 08025, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Oral anticoagulant therapy reduces the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation, but many patients are still not prescribed this therapy. The causes of underuse of vitamin K antagonists oral anticoagulants are not clear but could be related, in part, to patients' and physicians' perceptions and attitudes towards the benefits and downsides of this treatment. The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate and synthesize patients' and physicians' perceptions and attitudes towards the benefits and downsides of vitamin K antagonist, in order to explore potential factors related with its underuse.

Methods: We included studies that used qualitative or mixed methods and focused on patients' and/or physicians' perceptions and attitudes towards oral anticoagulation. We systematically searched PubMed, EMBASE, ISI WoK, and PsycINFO from their inception until May 2013. Two reviewers independently assessed the quality of the included studies and synthesized results using a thematic analysis approach.

Results: We included a total of nine studies. In four studies, the quality assessed was excellent and in five was moderate. We identified three themes that were of interest to both physicians and patients: information to reinforce anticoagulation use, balance of benefits and downsides, roles in decision-making and therapy management. Three additional themes were of interest to patients: knowledge and understanding, impact on daily life, and satisfaction with therapy. The main difficulties with the use of anticoagulant treatment according to physicians were the perceived uncertainty, need of individualised decision-making, and the feeling of delegated responsibility as their main concerns. The main factors for patients were the lack of information and understanding.

Conclusion: Physicians' and patients' perceptions and attitudes might be potential factors in the underuse of treatment with vitamin K antagonists. Improving the quality and usability of clinical guidelines, developing tools to help with the decision-making, enhancing coordination between primary care and hospital care, and improving information provided to patients could help improve the underuse of anticoagulation.
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January 2017

Prescription Strategies in Acute Uncomplicated Respiratory Infections: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA Intern Med 2016 Jan;176(1):21-9

Iberoamerican Cochrane Center, Biomedical Research Institute Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain6Evidence-Based Medicine Group, SemFYC, Spain15CIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública, Spain.

Importance: Delayed antibiotic prescription helps to reduce antibiotic use with reasonable symptom control. There are different strategies of delayed prescription, but it is not yet clear which one is the most effective.

Objective: To determine the efficacy and safety of 2 delayed strategies in acute, uncomplicated respiratory infections.

Design, Setting, And Participants: We recruited 405 adults with acute, uncomplicated respiratory infections from 23 primary care centers in Spain to participate in a pragmatic, open-label, randomized clinical trial.

Interventions: Patients were randomized to 1 of 4 potential prescription strategies: (1) a delayed patient-led prescription strategy; (2) a delayed prescription collection strategy requiring patients to collect their prescription from the primary care center; (3) an immediate prescription strategy; or (4) a no antibiotic strategy. Delayed prescription strategies consist of prescribing an antibiotic to take only if the symptoms worsen or if there is no improvement several days after the medical visit.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary outcomes were the duration of symptoms and severity of symptoms. Each symptom was scored using a 6-point Likert scale (scores of 3 or 4 were considered moderate; 5 or 6, severe). Secondary outcomes included antibiotic use, patient satisfaction, and patients' beliefs in the effectiveness of antibiotics.

Results: A total of 405 patients were recruited, 398 of whom were included in the analysis; 136 patients (34.2%) were men; mean (SD) age, 45 (17) years. The mean severity of symptoms ranged from 1.8 to 3.5 points on the Likert scale, and mean (SD) duration of symptoms described on first visit was 6 (6) days. The mean (SD) general health status on first visit was 54 (20) based on a scale with 0 indicating worst health status; 100, best status. Overall, 314 patients (80.1%) were nonsmokers, and 372 patients (93.5%) did not have a respiratory comorbidity. The presence of symptoms on first visit was similar among the 4 groups. The mean (SD) duration of severe symptoms was 3.6 (3.3) days for the immediate prescription group and 4.7 (3.6) days for the no prescription group. The median (interquartile range [IQR]) of severe symptoms was 3 (1-4) days for the prescription collection group and 3 (2-6) days for the patient-led prescription group. The median (IQR) of the maximum severity for any symptom was 5 (3-5) for the immediate prescription group and the prescription collection group; 5 (4-5) for the patient-led prescription group; and 5 (4-6) for the no prescription group. Patients randomized to the no prescription strategy or to either of the delayed strategies used fewer antibiotics and less frequently believed in antibiotic effectiveness. Satisfaction was similar across groups.

Conclusions And Relevance: Delayed strategies were associated with slightly greater but clinically similar symptom burden and duration and also with substantially reduced antibiotic use when compared with an immediate strategy.

Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT01363531.
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January 2016

Do clinicians understand the size of treatment effects? A randomized survey across 8 countries.

CMAJ 2016 Jan 26;188(1):25-32. Epub 2015 Oct 26.

Department of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (Johnston, Crawford), The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont.; Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (Johnston), Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont.; Child Health Evaluative Sciences (Johnston), The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, Toronto, Ont.; Iberoamerican Cochrane Center (Alonso-Coello, Dalmau), Biomedical Research Institute Sant Pau, CIBER Epidemiologiay Salud Publica, Barcelona, Spain; Departments of Critical Care and Medicine (Friedrich), St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ont.; Department of Medicine and Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care (Friedrich), University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont.; Departments of Medicine and Biomedical and Health Informatics (Mustafa), University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, Mo.; Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Mustafa, Tikkinen, Neumann, Akl, Thabane, Guyatt), McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.; Departments of Urology and Public Health (Tikkinen), Helsinki University Central Hospital and University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland; Department of Internal Medicine (Neumann), Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago, Chile; Institute of Health and Society (Vandvik), Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway; Department of Medicine (Vandvik), Innlandet Hospital Trust, Division Gjövik, Norway; Clinical Epidemiology Unit (Akl), American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon; Institute of Primary Health Care (da Costa), University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland; Department of Critical Care Medicine and Sunnybrook Research Institute (Adhikari), Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ont.; Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care (Adhikari), University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont.; School of Medicine and Centre for General Practice (Kosunen), University of Tampere and Pirkanmaa Hospital District, Tampere, Finland; School of Medicine and Department of Internal Medicine (Mustonen), University of Tampere and Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland; Physiology and Experimental Medicine (Crawford), The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, Toronto, Ont.; Biostatistics Unit of the Centre for Evaluation of Medicines (Thabane), McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.; Population Health Research Unit, Hamilton Health Sciences (Thabane), McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.; Department of Medicine (Guyatt), McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.

Background: Meta-analyses of continuous outcomes typically provide enough information for decision-makers to evaluate the extent to which chance can explain apparent differences between interventions. The interpretation of the magnitude of these differences - from trivial to large - can, however, be challenging. We investigated clinicians' understanding and perceptions of usefulness of 6 statistical formats for presenting continuous outcomes from meta-analyses (standardized mean difference, minimal important difference units, mean difference in natural units, ratio of means, relative risk and risk difference).

Methods: We invited 610 staff and trainees in internal medicine and family medicine programs in 8 countries to participate. Paper-based, self-administered questionnaires presented summary estimates of hypothetical interventions versus placebo for chronic pain. The estimates showed either a small or a large effect for each of the 6 statistical formats for presenting continuous outcomes. Questions addressed participants' understanding of the magnitude of treatment effects and their perception of the usefulness of the presentation format. We randomly assigned participants 1 of 4 versions of the questionnaire, each with a different effect size (large or small) and presentation order for the 6 formats (1 to 6, or 6 to 1).

Results: Overall, 531 (87.0%) of the clinicians responded. Respondents best understood risk difference, followed by relative risk and ratio of means. Similarly, they perceived the dichotomous presentation of continuous outcomes (relative risk and risk difference) to be most useful. Presenting results as a standardized mean difference, the longest standing and most widely used approach, was poorly understood and perceived as least useful.

Interpretation: None of the presentation formats were well understood or perceived as extremely useful. Clinicians best understood the dichotomous presentations of continuous outcomes and perceived them to be the most useful. Further initiatives to help clinicians better grasp the magnitude of the treatment effect are needed.
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January 2016

Rationale, design and organization of the delayed antibiotic prescription (DAP) trial: a randomized controlled trial of the efficacy and safety of delayed antibiotic prescribing strategies in the non-complicated acute respiratory tract infections in general practice.

BMC Fam Pract 2013 May 19;14:63. Epub 2013 May 19.

Centro de Atención Primaria Doctor Carles Ribas, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Respiratory tract infections are an important burden in primary care and it's known that they are usually self-limited and that antibiotics only alter its course slightly. This together with the alarming increase of bacterial resistance due to increased use of antimicrobials calls for a need to consider strategies to reduce their use. One of these strategies is the delayed prescription of antibiotics.

Methods: Multicentric, parallel, randomised controlled trial comparing four antibiotic prescribing strategies in acute non-complicated respiratory tract infections. We will include acute pharyngitis, rhinosinusitis, acute bronchitis and acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (mild to moderate). The therapeutic strategies compared are: immediate antibiotic treatment, no antibiotic treatment, and two delayed antibiotic prescribing (DAP) strategies with structured advice to use a course of antibiotics in case of worsening of symptoms or not improving (prescription given to patient or prescription left at the reception of the primary care centre 3 days after the first medical visit).

Discussion: Delayed antibiotic prescription has been widely used in Anglo-Saxon countries, however, in Southern Europe there has been little research about this topic. The DAP trial wil evaluate two different delayed strategies in Spain for the main respiratory infections in primary care.

Trial Registration: This trial is registered with, number http://NCT01363531.
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May 2013

Medical students' perceptions and attitudes about family practice: a qualitative research synthesis.

BMC Med Educ 2012 Aug 21;12:81. Epub 2012 Aug 21.

Servicio Catalán de la Salud, División de Planificación y Evaluación Operativa, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: During the last decade medical students from most Western countries have shown little interest in family practice. Understanding the factors that influence medical students to choose family medicine is crucial.

Objective: To systematically review and synthesize published evidence about medical students' attitudes and perceptions towards family practice.

Methods: A qualitative systematic review. The literature search was undertaken in July 2010 in PubMed, EMBASE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Social Science Citation Index (SSCI), and ProQuest Dissertations & Theses. Two authors independently selected the studies for their inclusion and assessed their quality. The selected studies were thoroughly read. Key themes and categories were identified. A matrix was created for allowing the comparison of each theme across studies.

Results: Ten studies were finally included. Seven broad themes were identified across them: 1) Scope and context of practice was a broad theme comprising linked sub-themes: perception of a varied specialty, broad practice, holistic perspective and flexibility that allows having a family; 2) Lower interest or intellectually less challenging: treating common disease, repetitive, quasi administrative job; 3) Influence of role models, either positive and negative, and society: negative comments from other professionals, peers and family; 4) Lower prestige; 5) Poor remuneration; 6) Medical school influences, being important both the length and quality of the exposure; 7) Post graduate training, where the shorter duration and the lower intensity were perceived as positive aspects. After identifying these seven key themes, were also looked into patterns in the distribution of these themes among studies.

Conclusions: Our qualitative review provides a comprehensive picture of medical students' attitudes towards family practice in the available literature. In general, although some students find family medicine appealing, it is regarded as a career of low interest and prestige. More research is needed on the influence of role models, medical school and post graduate training.
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August 2012