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Introduction: Cricothyrotomy is an intervention performed to salvage “can't intubate, can't ventilate” situations. Studies have shown poor accuracy landmarking the cricothyroid membrane, particularly in female patients by surgeons and anesthesiologists. There is less data available about emergency physician performance. This study examines the perceived versus actual success rate of landmarking the cricothyroid membrane by resident and staff emergency physicians using obese and non-obese models. Methods: Five male and female volunteers were selected as models. Each model was placed supine, and a point-of-care ultrasound expert landmarked the borders of each cricothyroid membrane. 20 residents and 15 staff emergency physicians were given one attempt to landmark five models. Data was gathered on each participant's perceived likelihood of success and attempt difficulty. Overall accuracy and accuracy stratified by sex and obesity status were calculated. Results: Overall landmarking accuracy amongst all participants was 58% (SD 18%). A difference in accuracy was found for obese males (88%) versus obese females (40%) (difference = 48%, 95% CI = 30-65%, p < 0.0001); and non-obese males (77%) versus non-obese females (46%) (difference = 31%, 95% CI = 12-51%, p = 0.004). There was no association between perceived difficulty and success (correlation = 0.07, 95% CI=−0.081-0.214, p = 0.37). Confidence levels overall were higher amongst staff physicians (3.0) than residents (2.7) (difference = 0.3, 95% CI = 0.1-0.6, p = 0.02), but there was no correlation between confidence in an attempt and its success (p = 0.33). Conclusion: We found that physicians demonstrate significantly lower accuracy when landmarking cricothyroid membranes of females. Emergency physicians were unable to predict their own accuracy while landmarking, which can potentially lead to increased failed attempts and longer time to secure the airway. Improved training techniques and a modified approach to cricothyrotomy may reduce failed attempts and improve the time to secure the airway.
Introduction: Workplace based assessments (WBAs) are integral to emergency medicine residency training. However many biases undermine their validity, such as an assessor's personal inclination to rate learners leniently or stringently. Outlier assessors produce assessment data that may not reflect the learner's performance. Our emergency department introduced a new Daily Encounter Card (DEC) using entrustability scales in June 2018. Entrustability scales reflect the degree of supervision required for a given task, and are shown to improve assessment reliability and discrimination. It is unclear what effect they will have on assessor stringency/leniency – we hypothesize that they will reduce the number of outlier assessors. We propose a novel, simple method to identify outlying assessors in the setting of WBAs. We also examine the effect of transitioning from a norm-based assessment to an entrustability scale on the population of outlier assessors. Methods: This was a prospective pre-/post-implementation study, including all DECs completed between July 2017 and June 2019 at The Ottawa Hospital Emergency Department. For each phase, we identified outlier assessors as follows: 1. An assessor is a potential outlier if the mean of the scores they awarded was more than two standard deviations away from the mean score of all completed assessments. 2. For each assessor identified in step 1, their learners’ assessment scores were compared to the overall mean of all learners. This ensures that the assessor was not simply awarding outlying scores due to working with outlier learners. Results: 3927 and 3860 assessments were completed by 99 and 116 assessors in the pre- and post-implementation phases respectively. We identified 9 vs 5 outlier assessors (p = 0.16) in the pre- and post-implementation phases. Of these, 6 vs 0 (p = 0.01) were stringent, while 3 vs 5 (p = 0.67) were lenient. One assessor was identified as an outlier (lenient) in both phases. Conclusion: Our proposed method successfully identified outlier assessors, and could be used to identify assessors who might benefit from targeted coaching and feedback on their assessments. The transition to an entrustability scale resulted in a non-significant trend towards fewer outlier assessors. Further work is needed to identify ways to mitigate the effects of rater cognitive biases.
Introduction: A critical component for successful implementation of any innovation is an organization's readiness for change. Competence by Design (CBD) is the Royal College's major change initiative to reform the training of medical specialists in Canada. The purpose of this study was to measure readiness to implement CBD among the 2019 launch disciplines. Methods: An online survey was distributed to program directors of the 2019 CBD launch disciplines one month prior to implementation. Questions were developed based on the R = MC2 framework for organizational readiness. They addressed program motivation to implement CBD, general capacity for change, and innovation-specific capacity. Questions related to motivation and general capacity were scored using a 5-point scale of agreement. Innovation-specific capacity was measured by asking participants whether they had completed 33 key pre-implementation tasks (yes/no) in preparation for CBD. Bivariate correlations were conducted to examine the relationship between motivation, general capacity and innovation specific capacity. Results: Survey response rate was 42% (n = 79). A positive correlation was found between all three domains of readiness (motivation and general capacity, r = 0.73, p < 0.01; motivation and innovation specific capacity, r = 0.52, p < 0.01; general capacity and innovation specific capacity, r = 0.47, p < 0.01). Most respondents agreed that successful launch of CBD was a priority (74%). Fewer felt that CBD was a move in the right direction (58%) and that implementation was a manageable change (53%). While most programs indicated that their leadership (94%) and faculty and residents (87%) were supportive of change, 42% did not have experience implementing large-scale innovation and 43% indicated concerns about adequate support staff. Programs had completed an average of 72% of pre-implementation tasks. No difference was found between disciplines (p = 0.11). Activities related to curriculum mapping, competence committees and programmatic assessment had been completed by >90% of programs, while <50% of programs had engaged off-service rotations. Conclusion: Measuring readiness for change aids in the identification of factors that promote or inhibit successful implementation. These results highlight several areas where programs struggle in preparation for CBD launch. Emergency medicine training programs can use this data to target additional implementation support and ongoing faculty development initiatives.
Introduction: Little is known about how Royal College emergency medicine (RCEM) residency programs are selecting their residents. This creates uncertainty regarding alignment between our current selection processes and known best practices and results in a process that is difficult to navigate for prospective candidates. We seek to describe the current selection processes of Canadian RCEM programs. Methods: An online survey was distributed to all RCEM program directors and assistant directors. The survey instrument included 22 questions consisting of both open-ended (free text) and closed-ended (Likert scale) elements. Questions sought qualitative and quantitative data from the following 6 domains; paper application, letters of reference, elective selection, interview, rank order, and selection process evaluation. Descriptive statistics were used. Results: We received responses from 13/14 programs for an aggregate response rate of 92.9%. A candidate's letter of reference was identified as the single most important item from the paper application (38.5%). Having a high level of familiarity with the applicant was considered to be the most important characteristic of a reference letter author (46.2%). Respondents found that providing a percentile rank of the applicant was useful when reviewing candidate reference letters. Once the interview stage is reached, 76.9% of programs stated that the interview was weighted at least as heavily as the paper application; 53.8% weighted the interview more heavily. Once final candidate scores are established for both the paper application and the interview, 100% of programs indicated that further adjustment is made to the rank order list. Only 1/13 programs reported ever having completed a formal evaluation of their selection process. Conclusion: The information gained from this study helps to characterize the landscape of the RCEM residency selection process. We identified significant heterogeneity between programs with respect to which application elements were most valued. Canadian emergency medicine residency programs should re-evaluate their selection processes to achieve improved consistency and better alignment with selection best practices.
Introduction: The Ottawa Emergency Department Shift Observation Tool (O-EDShOT) was recently developed to assess a resident's ability to safely run an ED shift and is supported by multiple sources of validity evidence. The O-EDShOT uses entrustability scales, which reflect the degree of supervision required for a given task. It was found to discriminate between learners of different levels, and to differentiate between residents who were rated as able to safely run the shift and those who were not. In June 2018 we replaced norm-based daily encounter cards (DECs) with the O-EDShOT. With the ideal assessment tool, most of the score variability would be explained by variability in learners’ performances. In reality, however, much of the observed variability is explained by other factors. The purpose of this study is to determine what proportion of total score variability is accounted for by learner variability when using norm-based DECs vs the O-EDShOT. Methods: This was a prospective pre-/post-implementation study, including all daily assessments completed between July 2017 and June 2019 at The Ottawa Hospital ED. A generalizability analysis (G study) was performed to determine what proportion of total score variability is accounted for by the various factors in this study (learner, rater, form, pgy level) for both the pre- and post- implementation phases. We collected 12 months of data for each phase, because we estimated that 6-12 months would be required to observe a measurable increase in entrustment scale scores within a learner. Results: A total of 3908 and 3679 assessments were completed by 99 and 116 assessors in the pre- and post- implementation phases respectively. Our G study revealed that 21% of total score variance was explained by a combination of post-graduate year (PGY) level and the individual learner in the pre-implementation phase, compared to 59% in the post-implementation phase. An average of 51 vs 27 forms/learner are required to achieve a reliability of 0.80 in the pre- and post-implementation phases respectively. Conclusion: A significantly greater proportion of total score variability is explained by variability in learners’ performances with the O-EDShOT compared to norm-based DECs. The O-EDShOT also requires fewer assessments to generate a reliable estimate of the learner's ability. This study suggests that the O-EDShOT is a more useful assessment tool than norm-based DECs, and could be adopted in other emergency medicine training programs.
Two common approaches to identify subgroups of patients with bipolar disorder are clustering methodology (mixture analysis) based on the age of onset, and a birth cohort analysis. This study investigates if a birth cohort effect will influence the results of clustering on the age of onset, using a large, international database.
The database includes 4037 patients with a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder, previously collected at 36 collection sites in 23 countries. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) were used to adjust the data for country median age, and in some models, birth cohort. Model-based clustering (mixture analysis) was then performed on the age of onset data using the residuals. Clinical variables in subgroups were compared.
There was a strong birth cohort effect. Without adjusting for the birth cohort, three subgroups were found by clustering. After adjusting for the birth cohort or when considering only those born after 1959, two subgroups were found. With results of either two or three subgroups, the youngest subgroup was more likely to have a family history of mood disorders and a first episode with depressed polarity. However, without adjusting for birth cohort (three subgroups), family history and polarity of the first episode could not be distinguished between the middle and oldest subgroups.
These results using international data confirm prior findings using single country data, that there are subgroups of bipolar I disorder based on the age of onset, and that there is a birth cohort effect. Including the birth cohort adjustment altered the number and characteristics of subgroups detected when clustering by age of onset. Further investigation is needed to determine if combining both approaches will identify subgroups that are more useful for research.
Introduction: Competence committees (CCs) struggle with incorporating professionalism issues into resident progression decisions. This study examined how professionalism concerns influence individual faculty decisions about resident progression using simulated CC reviews. Methods: In 2017, the investigators conducted a survey of 25 program directors of Royal College emergency medicine residency training programs in Canada and those faculty members who are members of the CCs (or equivalent) at their home institution. The survey contained twelve resident portfolios, each containing formative and summative information available to a CC for making progression decisions. Six portfolios outlined residents progressing as expected and six were not progressing as expected. Further, a professionalism variable (PV) was added to six portfolios, evenly split between those residents progressing as expected and not. Participants were asked to make progression decisions based on each portfolio. Results: Raters were able to consistently identify a resident needing an educational intervention versus those who did not. When a PV was added, the consistency among raters decreased by 34.2% in those residents progressing as expected, versus increasing by 3.8% in those not progressing as expected (p = 0.01). Conclusion: When using an unstructured review of a simulated resident portfolio, individual reviewers can better discriminate between trainees progressing as expected when professionalism concerns are added. Considering this, educators using a competence committee in a CBME program must have a system to acquire and document professionalism issues to make appropriate progress decisions.
Introduction: Over 150 Off Service Residents from 18 different programs rotate through our ED every academic year. We aim to determine the educational needs of these residents to we better design a curriculum for their ED rotation. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional convenience sample survey of 133 Off-Service PGY-2 residents who had rotated through the ED of The Ottawa Hospital in their PGY-1 year. (from July 2016 to June 2017). The survey was emailed to residents from March to May 2018 and consisted of 19 questions. Questions were qualitative, selection from list and rank order. They focused on 3 main areas: EM rotation impact and areas for improvement, desired content, desired method of learning. Data was collected using Survey Monkey. Results: We received 70 responses (53%) from 13 different residency programs. 36 (51.4%) of respondents were from the Family Medicine program. Qualitative themes included that the ED provides great opportunity to develop the ability to workup undifferentiated patients and allows for teaching around cases. Allowing more involvement in acute care cases and having more SIM sessions could improve the rotation. The most useful topic was chest pain/cardiovascular conditions (73.3% of residents) with 16 additional ED topics listed as important for their practice. The most useful skill was suturing (51.6% of residents) with 16 other ED procedures listed as important for their practice. The preferred teaching method was SIM (48.3%) followed by small group teaching (33.3%). Conclusion: The emergency department provides an excellent learning environment for a large range of Off-Service residents early in their training. In addition to clinical shifts, a curriculum incorporating simulation and small group teaching and that covers a large scope of topics is necessary to meet the needs of these residents.
Introduction: When a patient is incapable of making medical decisions for themselves, choices are made according to the patient's previously expressed, wishes, values, and beliefs by a substitute decision maker (SDM). While interventions to engage patients in their own advance care planning exist, little is known about public readiness to act as a SDM on behalf of a loved one. This mixed-methods survey aimed to describe attitudes, enablers and barriers to preparedness to act as a SDM, and support for a population-level curriculum on the role of an SDM in end-of-life and resuscitative care. Methods: From November 2017 to June 2018, a mixed-methods street intercept survey was conducted in Ottawa, Canada. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis were used to assess predictors of preparedness to be a SDM and understand support for a high school curriculum. Responses to open-ended questions were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Results: The 430 respondents were mostly female (56.5%) with an average age of 33.9. Although 73.0% of respondents felt prepared to be a SDM, 41.0% of those who reported preparedness never had a meaningful conversation with loved ones about their wishes in critical illness. The only predictors of SDM preparedness were the belief that one would be a future SDM (OR 2.36 95% CI 1.34-4.17), and age 50-64 compared to age 16-17 (OR 7.46 95% CI 1.25-44.51). Thematic enablers of preparedness included an understanding of a patient's wishes, the role of the SDM and strong familial relationships. Barriers included cultural norms, family conflict, and a need for time for high stakes decisions. Most respondents (71.9%) believed that 16 year olds should learn about SDMs. They noted age appropriateness, potential developmental and societal benefit, and improved decision making, while cautioning the need for a nuanced approach respectful of different maturity levels, cultures and individual experiences. Conclusion: This study reveals a concerning gap between perceived preparedness and actions taken in preparation to be an SDM for loved ones suffering critical illness. The results also highlight the potential role for high school education to address this gap. Future studies should further explore the themes identified to inform development of resources and curricula for improved health literacy in resuscitation and end-of-life care.
Innovation Concept: Ventilator management is an essential skill and a training objective for emergency medicine (EM) specialists in Canada. EM trainees obtain the majority of this training during off-service rotations. Previous attempts to strengthen ventilator knowledge include lectures and simulation – both of which are time and resource intensive. Given the unique features of ventilator management in the ED, we developed an ED-specific ventilator curriculum. The purpose of this study is to 1) identify resident needs regarding ventilator curricula and 2) assess resident response to this pilot curriculum. Methods: A needs-assessment survey administered to RCPSC- and CCFP-EM residents at The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) showed the majority of residents (87%, n = 31 respondents) believe there is a need for more ED-focused ventilator management training, and only 13% felt confident in ventilator management. Ten on-line modules were prepared by an EM-Critical Care attending, and distributed on-line to all EM trainees at TOH (n = 52). Mid- and post-implementation surveys are used to assess residents’ confidence in ventilator management, and perceived usefulness of the curriculum. User feedback from focus groups constitutes part of the curriculum evaluation. Curriculum, Tool or Material: Employing a flipped classroom approach, ten on-line modules were distributed to RCPSC- and CCFP-EM trainees at TOH. Each module requires less than ten minutes to complete and focuses on a single aspect of ventilation. The modules are available for residents to complete at their own pace and convenience. At curriculum completion, an EM-Critical Care attending physician facilitates an interactive session. Conclusion: Mid-implementation survey results demonstrate increased confidence in independently managing ventilated patients in the ED (13% pre- vs. 56% mid-implementation), and an increased perception of having sufficient ventilator training (26% pre- vs. 78% mid-implementation). All respondents felt the modules were of appropriate length, content was easy to follow, and that the modules should be part of the residency curriculum. Our ED-specific online ventilator modules area a viable tool to increase residents’ confidence in ventilator management. This novel curriculum could be adopted by other residency programs and continuing professional development initiatives. Future work will include post-implementation data-gathering, and formal curriculum evaluation.
Many studies have identified changes in the brain associated with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), but few have examined the relationship between genetic determinants of OCD and brain variation.
We present the first genome-wide investigation of overlapping genetic risk for OCD and genetic influences on subcortical brain structures.
Using single nucleotide polymorphism effect concordance analysis, we measured genetic overlap between the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) of OCD (1465 participants with OCD, 5557 controls) and recent GWASs of eight subcortical brain volumes (13 171 participants).
We found evidence of significant positive concordance between OCD risk variants and variants associated with greater nucleus accumbens and putamen volumes. When conditioning OCD risk variants on brain volume, variants influencing putamen, amygdala and thalamus volumes were associated with risk for OCD.
These results are consistent with current OCD neurocircuitry models. Further evidence will clarify the relationship between putamen volume and OCD risk, and the roles of the detected variants in this disorder.
Declaration of interest
The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
Introduction: Maintaining and enhancing competence in the breadth of Emergency Medicine (EM) is an ongoing challenge for all clinicians. In particular, resuscitative care in EM involves high-stakes clinical encounters that demand strong procedural skills, effective leadership, and up-to-date knowledge. However, Canadian emergency physicians are not required to complete any specific ongoing training for these encounters beyond general CPD requirements of professional colleges. Simulation-based medical education (SBME) is an effective modality for enhancing technical (e.g. procedural) and non-technical (i.e. Crisis Resource Management) skills in crisis situations, and has been embedded in undergraduate and postgraduate medical curricula worldwide. We present a novel comprehensive curriculum of simulation-based CPD designed specifically for academic emergency physicians (AEPs) at our centre. Methods: The curriculum development involved a departmental needs assessment survey, focus groups with AEPs, data from safety metrics and critical incidents, and consultations with senior departmental leadership. Institutional support was provided in the form of a $25,000 grant to fund a physician Program Lead, monthly session instructors, and simulation centre operating costs. Based on the results of the needs assessment, a two-year curriculum was mapped out and tailored to the available resources. Results: CPD simulation commenced in January 2017 and occurs monthly for three hours, immediately following departmental Grand Rounds to provide convenient scheduling. Our needs assessment identified two key types of educational needs: (1) Crisis Resource Management skills and (2) frequent practice of high-stakes critical care procedures (e.g. central lines). The first six months of implementation was dedicated to low-fidelity skills labs to facilitate the transition to SBME. After this, the program transitioned to a hybrid model involving two high-fidelity simulated resuscitations and one skills lab per session. Conclusion: We have introduced a comprehensive curriculum of ongoing simulation-based CPD in our department based on the educational needs of our AEPs. Key to our successful implementation has been support from educational and administrative leadership within our department. Ongoing challenges include securing adequate protected time from clinical duties for program facilitators and participants. Future work will include establishing permanent funding, CPD accreditation, and a formal program evaluation.
Introduction: Direct observation is essential to assess medical trainees and provide them with feedback to support their progression from novice to competent physicians. However, learners consistently report infrequent observations, and calls to increase direct observation in medical training abound. In this study, a theory-driven approach using the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) was applied to systematically investigate factors that serve as barriers and enablers to direct observation in residency training. Methods: Semi-structured interviews of faculty and residents from various specialties at two large tertiary-care teaching hospitals were conducted. An interview guide based on the TDF was used to capture 14 theoretical domains that may influence direct observation. Interview transcripts were independently coded using direct content analysis by two researchers, and specific beliefs were generated by grouping similar responses. Relevant domains were identified based on the frequencies of beliefs reported, presence of conflicting beliefs, and perceived influence on direct observation practices. Results: Data saturation was achieved after 12 resident and 13 faculty interviews, with a total of 10 different specialties represented. Median postgraduate year among residents was 4 (range 1-6), and mean years of independent practice among faculty was 10.3 (SD=8.6). Ten TDF domains were identified as influencing direct observation: knowledge, skills, beliefs about consequences, social professional role and identity, intention, goals, memory/attention/decision-making, environmental context and resources, social influences, and behavioural regulation. Discord between faculty and resident intentions to engage in direct observation, coupled with the social expectation that residents should be responsible for ensuring observations occur, was identified as a key barrier. Additionally, competing demands identified across multiple TDF domains emerged as an important and pervasive theme. Conclusion: This study identified key barriers and enablers to direct observation. The influencing factors identified in this study provide a basis for the development of potential strategies aimed at embedding direct observation as a routine pedagogical practice in residency training.
Multiple human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 genotypes in China were first discovered in Yunnan Province before disseminating throughout the country. As the HIV-1 epidemic continues to expand in Yunnan, genetic characteristics and transmitted drug resistance (TDR) should be further investigated among the recently infected population. Among 2828 HIV-positive samples newly reported in the first quarter of 2014, 347 were identified as recent infections with BED-captured enzyme immunoassay (CEIA). Of them, 291 were successfully genotyped and identified as circulating recombinant form (CRF)08_BC (47.4%), unique recombinant forms (URFs) (18.2%), CRF01_AE (15.8%), CRF07_BC (14.4%), subtype C (2.7%), CRF55_01B (0.7%), subtype B (0.3%) and CRF64_BC (0.3%). CRF08_BC and CRF01_AE were the predominant genotypes among heterosexual and homosexual infections, respectively. CRF08_BC, URFs, CRF01_AE and CRF07_BC expanded with higher prevalence in central and eastern Yunnan. The recent common ancestor of CRF01_AE, CRF07_BC and CRF08_BC dated back to 1983.1, 1992.1 and 1989.5, respectively. The effective population sizes (EPS) for CRF01_AE and CRF07_BC increased exponentially during 1991–1999 and 1994–1999, respectively. The EPS for CRF08_BC underwent two exponential growth phases in 1994–1998 and 2001–2002. Lastly, TDR-associated mutations were identified in 1.8% of individuals. These findings not only enhance our understanding of HIV-1 evolution in Yunnan but also have implications for vaccine design and patient management strategies.
To investigate the feasibility of a national audit of epistaxis management led and delivered by a multi-region trainee collaborative using a web-based interface to capture patient data.
Six trainee collaboratives across England nominated one site each and worked together to carry out this pilot. An encrypted data capture tool was adapted and installed within the infrastructure of a university secure server. Site-lead feedback was assessed through questionnaires.
Sixty-three patients with epistaxis were admitted over a two-week period. Site leads reported an average of 5 minutes to complete questionnaires and described the tool as easy to use. Data quality was high, with little missing data. Site-lead feedback showed high satisfaction ratings for the project (mean, 4.83 out of 5).
This pilot showed that trainee collaboratives can work together to deliver an audit using an encrypted data capture tool cost-effectively, whilst maintaining the highest levels of data quality.
In this work, we reported the optical photometry monitoring results for two brightest nearby quasars, PHL 1811 and 3C 273 using the ST-6 camera at Abastumani Observatory, Georgia. For PHL 1811, we found 3 microvariability events with time scale of ΔT = 6.0 min. For 3C273, we found that the largest variations are ΔV = 0.369 ± 0.028 mag, ΔR = 0.495 ± 0.076 mag, and ΔI = 0.355 ± 0.009 mag. When periodicity analysis methods are adopted to the available data, a period of p = 5.80 ± 1.12 years is obtained for PHL 1811, and p = 21.10 ± 0.14, 10.00 ± 0.14, 7.30 ± 0.09, 13.20 ± 0.09, 2.10 ± 0.06, and 0.68 ± 0.05 years are obtained for 3C 273.