Financial Incentives for Medical Assistants: A Mixed-Methods Exploration of Bonus Structures, Motivation, and Population Health Quality Measures.
Annals of family medicine
2021; 19 (5): 427-436
PURPOSE: Medical assistants (MAs) have seen their roles expand as a result of team-based primary care models. Unlike their physician counterparts, MAs rarely receive financial incentives as a part of their compensation. This exploratory study aims to understand MA acceptability of financial incentives and perceived MA control over common population health measures.METHODS: We conducted semistructured focus groups between August and December of 2019 across 10 clinics affiliated with 3 institutions in California and Utah. MAs' perceptions of experienced and hypothetical financial incentives, their potential influence on workflow processes, and perceived levels of control over population health measures were discussed, recorded, and qualitatively analyzed for emerging themes. Perceived levels of control were further quantified using a Likert survey; measures were grouped into factors representing vaccinations, and workflow completed in the same day or multiple days (multiday). Mean scores for each factor were compared using repeated 1-way ANOVA with Tukey-Kramer adjustment.RESULTS: MAs reported little direct experience with financial incentives. They indicated that a hypothetical bonus representing 2% to 3% of their average annual base pay would be acceptable and influential in improving consistent performance during patient rooming workflow. MAs reported having greater perceived control over vaccinations (P <.001) and same-day measures (P <.001) as compared with multiday measures.CONCLUSIONS: MAs perceived that relatively small financial incentives would increase their motivation and quality of care. Our findings suggests target measures should focus on MA work processes that are completed in the same day as the patient encounter, particularly vaccinations. Future investigation is needed to understand the effectiveness of MA financial incentives in practice.
View details for DOI 10.1370/afm.2719
View details for PubMedID 34546949
Relationship of socio-demographics, comorbidities, symptoms and healthcare access with early COVID-19 presentation and disease severity.
BMC infectious diseases
2021; 21 (1): 40
COVID-19 studies are primarily from the inpatient setting, skewing towards severe disease. Race and comorbidities predict hospitalization, however, ambulatory presentation of milder COVID-19 disease and characteristics associated with progression to severe disease is not well-understood.We conducted a retrospective chart review including all COVID-19 positive cases from Stanford Health Care (SHC) in March 2020 to assess demographics, comorbidities and symptoms in relationship to: 1) their access point of testing (outpatient, inpatient, and emergency room (ER)) and 2) development of severe disease.Two hundred fifty-seven patients tested positive: 127 (49%), 96 (37%), and 34 (13%) at outpatient, ER and inpatient, respectively. Overall, 61% were age < 55; age > 75 was rarer in outpatient setting (11%) than ER (14%) or inpatient (24%). Most patients presented with cough (86%), fever/chills (76%), or fatigue (63%). 65% of inpatients reported shortness of breath compared to 30-32% of outpatients and ER patients. Ethnic/minority patients had a significantly higher risk of developing severe disease (Asian OR = 4.8 [1.6-14.2], Hispanic OR = 3.6 [1.1-11.9]). Medicare-insured patients were marginally more likely (OR = 4.0 [0.9-17.8]). Other factors associated with developing severe disease included kidney disease (OR = 6.1 [1.0-38.1]), cardiovascular disease (OR = 4.7 [1.0-22.1], shortness of breath (OR = 5.4 [2.3-12.6]) and GI symptoms (OR = 3.3 [1.4-7.7]; hypertension without concomitant CVD or kidney disease was marginally significant (OR = 2.3 [0.8-6.5]).Early widespread symptomatic testing for COVID-19 in Silicon Valley included many less severely ill patients. Thorough manual review of symptomatology reconfirms the heterogeneity of COVID-19 symptoms, and challenges in using clinical characteristics to predict decline. We re-demonstrate that socio-demographics are consistently associated with severity.
View details for DOI 10.1186/s12879-021-05764-x
View details for PubMedID 33421991
Negotiating Lay and Clinical Issues: Implementing a Lay Navigation Program in Cancer Care.
Journal of oncology practice
PURPOSE: Patients with cancer face daunting coordination problems at a vulnerable time. Lay navigation programs offer 1 approach to address these problems, but how to best implement these programs presents challenges. We sought to describe those implementation challenges at 1 academic cancer center to inform future efforts.METHODS: We performed a mixed methods study using standard implementation outcomes 1 year after program initiation. Quantitative data from the electronic medical record and qualitative data from in-depth interviews, focus groups, and ethnographic observations were included in analyses. The study took place at a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center across 12 tumor-specific clinics.RESULTS: Supportive care concerns, scheduling, and clinical-related issues were the most frequent issues navigators encountered. Effective navigation required continuous, time-consuming, invisible work, including building and maintaining a broad knowledge base of resources and health system processes, as well as cultivating relationships with diverse and changing clinical teams. The acceptability and appropriateness of lay navigator activities were mixed among clinic and social work staff, related to negotiating lines between clinical and nonclinical care.CONCLUSION: After 1 year of implementation, lay navigators still found it difficult to interpret and prioritize complex patient needs in a way that all clinical staff found appropriate. Negotiating these issues has made it difficult to develop the strong relationships with clinical teams that are needed for an integrated approach to patient care. To successfully coordinate patient care, it seems that lay navigation programs should be integrated with clinical teams to provide more seamless patient care.
View details for DOI 10.1200/JOP.19.00339
View details for PubMedID 31693450
Effectiveness of a Lay Navigation Program in an Academic Cancer Center.
Journal of oncology practice
A navigation program with lay navigators that targets patients with cancer who are receiving multiple treatment modalities was launched with the goal of improving care coordination.Pseudo-randomization and mixed methods were used to evaluate the program: patients with even-numbered medical records were assigned to navigation help, and patients with odd-numbered medical records made up the control group. Eligible patients were those scheduled to receive at least two treatment modalities. Intent-to-treat, as-treated, and high-user cohorts with propensity matched controls were used to assess the outcomes: patient experience, emergency room (ER) use, and unplanned hospitalizations. In-depth patient interviews explored how and why patients interacted with the navigator program and overall patient experience.Marginally lower incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for both ER visits (IRR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.00 to 1.36) and unplanned hospitalizations (IRR, 1.18; 95% CI, 0.97 to 1.43) occurred in as-treated patients who used navigation help and who lived within 50 miles of Stanford Hospital compared with their matched controls; other cohort analyses had similar results. Survey scores for patients who received help with navigation did not differ significantly from those for corresponding controls in any of the analytic cohorts. Patient interviews suggested that the navigation program had low visibility among patients and that lay navigators drove use of the program. Patient-reported positive experiences included getting help with complex scheduling, alleviating anxiousness through access to information and educational resources, and getting help with activities outside traditional health care; negative experiences stemmed from having expectations that were not met.Marginally lower rates of ER visits and unplanned hospitalizations for a small subset of patients, low penetration of the navigation program, and mixed comments from patient interviews suggest that a navigation program with a broad scope that targets a large population is not effective. Modifying the program to have a narrower scope of practice may help better target anxious or high-risk patients.
View details for DOI 10.1200/JOP.19.00337
View details for PubMedID 31647691
- Who are the cancer patients most likely to utilize lay navigation services and what types of issues do they ask for help? AMER SOC CLINICAL ONCOLOGY. 2018
Previous radiotherapy and the clinical activity and toxicity of pembrolizumab in the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer: a secondary analysis of the KEYNOTE-001 phase 1 trial
2017; 18 (7): 895–903
Preclinical studies have found radiotherapy enhances antitumour immune responses. We aimed to assess disease control and pulmonary toxicity in patients who previously received radiotherapy for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) before receiving pembrolizumab.We assessed patients with advanced NSCLC treated on the phase 1 KEYNOTE-001 trial at a single institution (University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA). Patients were aged 18 years or older, had an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 1 or less, had adequate organ function, and no history of pneumonitis. Patients received pembrolizumab at a dose of either 2 mg/kg of bodyweight or 10 mg/kg every 3 weeks, or 10 mg/kg every 2 weeks, until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or other protocol-defined reasons for discontinuation. Disease response and pulmonary toxicity were prospectively assessed by Immune-related Response Criteria and Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 4.0. The primary objective of the KEYNOTE-001 trial was to assess the safety, side-effect profile, and antitumour activity of pembrolizumab. For our secondary analysis, patients were divided into subgroups to compare patients who previously received radiotherapy with patients who had not. Our primary objective was to determine whether previous radiotherapy affected progression-free survival, overall survival, and pulmonary toxicity in the intention-to-treat population. The KEYNOTE-001 trial was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01295827.Between May 22, 2012, and July 11, 2014, 98 patients were enrolled and received their first cycle of pembrolizumab. One patient was lost to follow-up. 42 (43%) of 97 patients had previously received any radiotherapy for the treatment of NSCLC before the first cycle of pembrolizumab. 38 (39%) of 97 patients received extracranial radiotherapy and 24 (25%) of 97 patients received thoracic radiotherapy. Median follow-up for surviving patients was 32·5 months (IQR 29·8-34·1). Progression-free survival with pembrolizumab was significantly longer in patients who previously received any radiotherapy than in patients without previous radiotherapy (hazard ratio [HR] 0·56 [95% CI 0·34-0·91], p=0·019; median progression-free survival 4·4 months [95% CI 2·1-8·6] vs 2·1 months [1·6-2·3]) and for patients who previously received extracranial radiotherapy compared with those without previous extracranial radiotherapy (HR 0·50 [0·30-0·84], p=0·0084; median progression-free survival 6·3 months [95% CI 2·1-10·4] vs 2·0 months [1·8-2·1]). Overall survival with pembrolizumab was significantly longer in patients who previously received any radiotherapy than in patients without previous radiotherapy (HR 0·58 [95% CI 0·36-0·94], p=0·026; median overall survival 10·7 months [95% CI 6·5-18·9] vs 5·3 months [2·7-7·7]) and for patients who previously received extracranial radiotherapy compared with those without previous extracranial radiotherapy (0·59 [95% CI 0·36-0·96], p=0·034; median overall survival 11·6 months [95% CI 6·5-20·5] vs 5·3 months [3·0-8·5]). 15 (63%) of 24 patients who had previously received thoracic radiotherapy had any recorded pulmonary toxicity versus 29 (40%) of 73 patients with no previous thoracic radiotherapy. Three (13%) patients with previous thoracic radiotherapy had treatment-related pulmonary toxicity compared with one (1%) of those without; frequency of grade 3 or worse treatment-related pulmonary toxicities was similar (one patient in each group).Our data suggest that previous treatment with radiotherapy in patients with advanced NSCLC results in longer progression-free survival and overall survival with pembrolizumab treatment than that seen in patients who did not have previous radiotherapy, with an acceptable safety profile. Further clinical trials investigating this combination are needed to determine the optimal treatment strategy for patients with advanced NSCLC.US National Institutes of Health.
View details for DOI 10.1016/S1470-2045(17)30380-7
View details for Web of Science ID 000404257800045
View details for PubMedID 28551359
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5538772