Khaled H. Al Tawil
Ultrasound has been found to be a valuable diagnostic tool for ruling in or out serious and common medical conditions. The advent of Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) provides trained primary care providers the technology to gather immediate data for clinical decision making and to move patient care down the correct clinical pathway in a timely and more cost effective manner. This tool has been shown to assist in motivational interviewing by giving real time evidence to the patient. This technology has the potential to significantly enhance access for patients in rural communities where diagnostic centers and specialty care can be geographically and financially challenging.
The purpose of this retrospective study is to identify the benefits of the use of handheld ultrasound versus in the rural Primary Care setting to rule in/rule out specific diagnoses: The scope of diagnoses or ruled out pathologies for the purpose of this study will consist of the following: Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)/Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)/Joint Effusion/Hydronephrosis/ Tendinopathy/ Thyroid disease/ Cysts--specifically subdural or liver cyst/Rotator cuff injury/ Cholecystitis.
POCUS was introduced in the Hudson Headwaters Network in 2015 when the Network purchased units for their primary and urgent care clinics and trained clinicians began providing this service at no cost to patients. This quality improvement project is a retrospective chart review to document time to diagnosis, time to initiation of intervention if appropriate, any additional diagnostic evaluation, related subspecialty referrals and care and location of any out of office care provided in relation to site where POCUS was performed.
Smoking rates nationally have declined over the past several decades, however, tobacco use in the North Country of upstate New York remains higher than the national average. Group discussion programs have been shown to be more effective for smoking cessation than pharmacologic efforts alone. A 7-week smoking cessation support group was started in Glens Falls, New York using the Butt Stops Here curriculum. Participants were encouraged to also use pharmacologic methods as directed by their medical providers. Participants completed a brief survey before and after the program. Participants generally felt less motivated, but more equipped to quit after the seven weeks. One participant out of eight was able to quit entirely and 7/8 participants were able to decrease their level of tobacco use. A larger sample size is needed before conclusions can be drawn about the effectiveness of this smoking cessation support group.
High-dose influenza vaccines are approved by the FDA for use in adults 65 years and older and have been shown to reduce the morbidity and mortality of influenza. However, the pharmacy manager and infection preventionist at Inland Hospital in Waterville, Maine identified the vaccine was not widely utilized at the institution's out-patient practices. This project reviewed the current literature on the high-dose vaccination and provided an educational presentation to family doctors about the evidence supporting the use of the high-dose vaccination. Data were collected from each practice of the number of high-dose influenza vaccines administered in the 2016-2017 and the 2017-2018 flu seasons.
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