1. Janamian T, Myers SP, O’Rourke P, Eastwood H. Responding to GPs' information resource needs: implementation and evaluation of a complementary medicines information resource in Queensland general practice. BMC Compl Alternative Med 2011;11:77 doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-77
Background: Australian General Practitioners (GPs) are in the forefront of primary health care and in an excellent position to communicate with their patients and educate them about Complementary Medicines (CMs) use. However previous studies have demonstrated that GPs lack the knowledge required about CMs to effectively communicate with patients about their CMs use and they perceive a need for information resources on CMs to use in their clinical practice. This study aimed to develop, implement, and evaluate a CMs information resource in Queensland (Qld) general practice.
Methods: The results of the needs assessment survey of Qld general practitioners (GPs) informed the development of a CMs information resource which was then put through an implementation and evaluation cycle in Qld general practice. The CMs information resource was a set of evidence-based herbal medicine fact sheets. This resource was utilised by 100 Qld GPs in their clinical practice for four weeks and was then evaluated. The evaluation assessed GPs' (1) utilisation of the resource (2) perceived quality, usefulness and satisfaction with the resource and (3) perceived impact of the resource on their knowledge, attitudes, and practice of CMs.
Results: Ninety two out of the 100 GPs completed the four week evaluation of the fact sheets and returned the post-intervention survey. The herbal medicine fact sheets produced by this study were well accepted and utilised by Qld GPs. The majority of GPs perceived that the fact sheets were a useful resource for their clinical practice. The fact sheets improved GPs' attitudes towards CMs, increased their knowledge of those herbal medicines and improved their communication with their patients about those specific herbs. Eighty-six percent of GPs agreed that if they had adequate resources on CMs, like the herbal medicine fact sheets, then they would communicate more to their patients about their use of CMs.
Conclusion: Further educational interventions on CMs need to be provided to GPs to increase their knowledge of CMs and to improve their communication with patients about their CMs use.
2. Kitzman R. How local IRBs view central IRBs in the US. BMC Med Ethics 2011; 12:13doi:10.1186/1472-6939-12-13
Background: Centralization of IRB reviews have been increasing in the US and elsewhere, but many questions about it remain. In the US, a few centralized IRBs (CIRBs) have been established, but how they do and could operate remain unclear.
Methods: I contacted 60 IRBs (every fourth one in the list of the top 240 institutions by NIH funding), and interviewed leaders from 34 (response rate = 55%) and an additional 12 members and administrators.
Results: These interviewees had often interacted with CIRBs, but supported local reviews, and offered advantages and disadvantages of each. Interviewees argued that local IRBs can provide "local knowledge" of subjects and PIs, and "curbside consults" with PIs, facilitating mutual trust. PIs may interact more fully and informally, and hence effectively with local IRBs. IRBs also felt additional responsibility to protect "their own" subjects. Respondents mentioned a few advantages of CIRBs (e.g., CIRBs may streamline reviews), though far more rarely and cursorily. Overall, interviewees were wary of CIRBs, which they saw as varying widely in quality, depending on who happened to be members. Both local and centralized IRBs appear to have unintended consequences. For instance, discrepancies arose between IRBs that appeared to reflect differences in institutional culture and history, and personalities of chairs and/or vocal members, more than in local community values per se, and thus do not seem to be the intent of the regulations. While some critics see CIRBs as solutions to many IRB problems, critical tradeoffs and uncertainties emerge.
Conclusions: These data have critical implications for future policy and research. Debates need to evolve beyond simply a binary discussion of whether CIRBs should replace local IRBs, to examine how and to what degree different models might operate, and what the relative advantages and disadvantages of each are. While some critics see CIRBs as panaceas, certain problems appear likely to continue. Careful consideration needs to be given to whether the advantages of local IRBs outweigh the problems that result, and whether a system can be developed that provides these benefits, while avoiding the disadvantages of local IRBs.