Monday, August 25, 2014

Three New From Biomed Central

Archibald D, Macdonald CJ, Plante J, houge RJ, Fiallos J. Residents' and preceptors' perceptions of the use of the iPad for clinical teaching in a family medicine residency program. BMC Medical Education 2014, 14:174  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-174


Background: As Family Medicine programs across Canada are transitioning into a competency-based curriculum, medical students and clinical teachers are increasingly incorporating tablet computers in their work and educational activities. The purpose of this pilot study was to identify how preceptors and residents use tablet computers to implement and adopt a new family medicine curriculum and to evaluate how they access applications (apps) through their tablet in an effort to support and enhance effective teaching and learning.
Methods: Residents and preceptors (n = 25) from the Family Medicine program working at the Pembroke Regional Hospital in Ontario, Canada, were given iPads and training on how to use the device in clinical teaching and learning activities and how to access the online curriculum. Data regarding the use and perceived contribution of the iPads were collected through surveys and focus groups. This mixed methods research used analysis of survey responses to support the selection of questions for focus groups.

Results: Reported results were categorized into: curriculum and assessment; ease of use; portability; apps and resources; and perceptions about the use of the iPad in teaching/learning setting. Most participants agreed on the importance of accessing curriculum resources through the iPad but recognized that these required enhancements to facilitate use. The iPad was considered to be more useful for activities involving output of information than for input. Participants' responses regarding the ease of use of mobile technology were heterogeneous due to the diversity of computer proficiency across users. Residents had a slightly more favorable opinion regarding the iPad's contribution to teaching/learning compared to preceptors.
Conclusions: iPad's interface should be fully enhanced to allow easy access to online curriculum and its built-in resources. The differences in computer proficiency level among users should be reduced by sharing knowledge through workshops led by more skillful iPad users. To facilitate collection of information through the iPad, the design of electronic data-input forms should consider the participants' reported negative perceptions towards typing data through mobile devices. Technology deployment projects should gather sufficient evidence from pilot studies in order to guide efforts to adapt resources and infrastructure to relevant needs of Family Medicine teachers and learners.

Willison DJ, Ondrusek N, Dawson A, Emerson C, Ferris LE, Saginur RI, Sampson H, Upshur R. What makes public health studies ethical? Dissolving the boundary between research and practice. BMC Medical Ethics 2014, 15:61  doi:10.1186/1472-6939-15-61

Background: The generation of evidence is integral to the work of public health and health service providers. Traditionally, ethics has been addressed differently in research projects, compared with other forms of evidence generation, such as quality improvement, program evaluation, and surveillance, with review of non-research activities falling outside the purview of the research ethics board. However, the boundaries between research and these other evaluative activities are not distinct. Efforts to delineate a boundary – whether on grounds of primary purpose, temporality, underlying legal authority, departure from usual practice, or direct benefits to participants – have been unsatisfactory.
Public Health Ontario has eschewed this distinction between research and other evaluative activities, choosing to adopt a common framework and process to guide ethical reflection on all public health evaluative projects throughout their lifecycle – from initial planning through to knowledge exchange.

Discussion: The Public Health Ontario framework was developed by a working group of public health and ethics professionals and scholars, in consultation with individuals representing a wide range of public health roles. The first part of the framework interprets the existing Canadian research ethics policy statement (commonly known as the TCPS 2) through a public health lens. The second part consists of ten questions that guide the investigator in the application of the core ethical principles to public health initiatives.
The framework is intended for use by those designing and executing public health evaluations, as well as those charged with ethics review of projects. The goal is to move toward a culture of ethical integrity among investigators, reviewers and decision-makers, rather than mere compliance with rules. The framework is consonant with the perspective of the learning organization and is generalizable to other public health organizations, to health services organizations, and beyond.

Summary: Public Health Ontario has developed an ethics framework that is applicable to any evidence-generating activity, regardless of whether it is labelled research. While developed in a public health context, it is readily adaptable to other health services organizations and beyond.

Van der Worp MP, de Wijer A, Staal JB, MWG Nijhuis- van der Sanden.  Reproducibility of and sex differences in common orthopaedic ankle and foot tests in runners. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2014, 15:171  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-171

Background: For future etiologic cohort studies in runners it is important to identify whether (hyper)pronation of the foot, decreased ankle joint dorsiflexion (AJD) and the degree of the extension of the first Metatarsophalangeal joint (MTP1) are risk factors for running injuries and to determine possible sex differences.
These parameters are frequently determined with the navicular drop test (NDT) Stance and Single Limb-Stance, the Ankle Joint Dorsiflexion-test, and the extension MTP1-test in a healthy population. The aim of this clinimetric study was to determine the reproducibility of these three orthopaedic tests in runners, using minimal equipment in order to make them applicable in large cohort studies. Furthermore, we aimed to determine possible sex differences of these tests.

Methods: The three orthopaedic tests were administered by two sports physiotherapists in a group of 42 (22 male and 20 female) recreational runners. The intra-class correlation (ICC) for interrater and intrarater reliability and the standard error of measurement (SEM) were calculated. Bland and Altman plots were used to determine the 95% limits of agreements (LOAs). Furthermore, the difference between female and male runners was determined.
Results: The ICC’s of the NDT were in the range of 0.37 to 0.45, with a SEM in the range of 2.5 to 5 mm. The AJD-test had an ICC of 0.88 and 0.86 (SEM 2.4° and 8.7°), with a 95% LOA of -6.0° to 6.3° and -5.3° to 7.9°, and the MTP1-test had an ICC of 0.42 and 0.62 (SEM 34.4° and 9.9°), with a 95% LOA of -30.9° to 20.7° and -20° to 17.8° for the interrater and intrarater reproducibility, respectively.

Females had a significantly (p < 0.05) lower navicular drop score and higher range of motion in extension of the MTP1, but no sex differences were found for ankle dorsiflexion (p ≥ 0.05).
Conclusion: The reproducibility for the AJD test in runners is good, whereas that of the NDT and extension MTP1 was moderate or low. We found a difference in NDT and MTP1 mobility between female and male runners, however this needs to be established in a larger study with more reliable test procedures.


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