Abstract:
Mail survey of doctors (N = 1546) in Geneva, Switzerland. Respondents were asked to rate the impact of 8 managed care tools on 4 aspects of care on a 5-level scale (1 very negative, 2 rather negative, 3 neutral, 4 rather positive, 5 very positive). For each tool, we obtained a mean score from the 4 separate impacts.Doctors had predominantly negative opinions of the impact of managed care tools: use of guidelines (mean score 3.18), gate-keeping (2.76), managed care networks (2.77), second opinion requirement (2.65), pay for performance (1.90), pay by salary (2.24), selective contracting (1.56), and pre-approval of expensive treatments (1.77). Estimated impacts on cost control were positive or neutral for most tools, but impacts on professional autonomy were predominantly negative. Primary care doctors held more positive opinions than doctors in other specialties, and psychiatrists were in general the most critical. Older doctors had more negative opinions, as well as those in private practice.Doctors perceived most managed care tools to have a positive impact on the control of health care costs but a negative impact on medical practice. Tools that are controlled by the profession were better accepted than those that are imposed by payers."Managed care" is a global term for health care systems that integrate the delivery and financing of health care. Managed care contrasts with liberal medical practice, which allows doctors to make clinical decisions and bill for their services without interference from managers or payers. Traditional forms of managed care include the staff-model health maintenance organization (HMO) and the office-based independent provider association [1,2]. However, many variants exist. Luft notes that "in reality, each HMO is a highly complex combination of economic incentives, bureaucratic structures, and personalities" [3]. Another definition characterizes managed care programs by their use of a variety of interventions, including economic incen

Abstract:
Background A common weakness of patient satisfaction surveys is a suboptimal participation rate. Some patients may be unable to participate, because of language barriers, physical limitations, or mental problems. As the role of these barriers is poorly understood, we aimed to identify patient characteristics that are associated with non-participation in a patient satisfaction survey. Methodology At the University Hospitals of Geneva, Switzerland, a patient satisfaction survey is regularly conducted among all adult patients hospitalized for >24 hours on a one-month period in the departments of internal medicine, geriatrics, surgery, neurosciences, psychiatry, and gynaecology-obstetrics. In order to assess the factors associated with non-participation to the patient satisfaction survey, a case-control study was conducted among patients selected for the 2005 survey. Cases (non respondents, n = 195) and controls (respondents, n = 205) were randomly selected from the satisfaction survey, and information about potential barriers to participation was abstracted in a blinded fashion from the patients' medical and nursing charts. Principal Findings Non-participation in the satisfaction survey was independently associated with the presence of a language barrier (odds ratio [OR] 4.53, 95% confidence interval [CI95%]: 2.14–9.59), substance abuse (OR 3.75, CI95%: 1.97–7.14), cognitive limitations (OR 3.72, CI95%: 1.64–8.42), a psychiatric diagnosis (OR 1.99, CI95%: 1.23–3.23) and a sight deficiency (OR 2.07, CI95%: 0.98–4.36). The odds ratio for non-participation increased gradually with the number of predictors. Conclusions Five barriers to non-participation in a mail survey were identified. Gathering patient feedback through mailed surveys may lead to an under-representation of some patient subgroups.

Abstract:
Background Regret is an unavoidable corollary of clinical practice. Physicians and nurses perform countless clinical decisions and actions, in a context characterised by time pressure, information overload, complexity and uncertainty. Objective To explore feelings associated with regretted clinical decisions or interventions of hospital-based physicians and nurses and to examine how these regrets are coped with. Method Qualitative study of a volunteer sample of 12 physicians and 13 nurses from Swiss University Hospitals using semi-structured interviews and thematic analysis Results All interviewees reported at least one intense regret, which sometimes led to sleep problems, or taking sickness leave. Respondents also reported an accumulation effect of small and large regrets, which sometimes led to quitting one's unit or choosing another specialty. Respondents used diverse ways of coping with regrets, including changing their practices and seeking support from peers and family but also suppression of thoughts related to the situation and ruminations on the situation. Another coping strategy was acceptance of one's limits and of medicine's limits. Physicians reported that they avoided sharing with close colleagues because they felt they could lose their credibility. Conclusions Since regret seems related to both positive and negative consequences, it is important to learn more about regret coping among healthcare providers and to determine whether training in coping strategies could help reduce negative consequences such as sleep problems, absenteeism, or turnover.

Abstract:
Cross-sectional study based on a random sample of two hundred two-arm, parallel group superiority (100) and noninferiority (100) randomized clinical trials published between 2004 and 2009 in 27 leading medical journals. The main outcome measure was the smallest difference in favor of the new treatment to be detected (superiority trials) or largest unfavorable difference to be ruled out (noninferiority trials) used for sample size computation, expressed as standardized difference in proportions, or standardized difference in means. Student t test and analysis of variance were used.The differences to be detected or ruled out varied considerably from one study to the next; e.g., for superiority trials, the standardized difference in means ranged from 0.007 to 0.87, and the standardized difference in proportions from 0.04 to 1.56. On average, superiority trials were designed to detect larger differences than noninferiority trials (standardized difference in proportions: mean 0.37 versus 0.27, P = 0.001; standardized difference in means: 0.56 versus 0.40, P = 0.006). Standardized differences were lower for mortality than for other outcomes, and lower in cardiovascular trials than in other research areas.Superiority trials are designed to detect larger differences than noninferiority trials are designed to rule out. The variability between studies is considerable and is partly explained by the type of outcome and the medical context. A more explicit and rational approach to choosing the difference to be detected or to be ruled out in clinical trials may be desirable.A key step in planning a randomized clinical trial is the determination of the smallest difference in the primary outcome that should be detected between the study arms. This difference determines the sample size to be used in the study together with the type I error, power and variance of the primary outcome. In principle, this determination should be made a priori by the researchers [1] based on scientific a

Abstract:
At finite temperature and in presence of disorder, a one-dimensional elastic interface displays different scaling regimes at small and large lengthscales. Using a replica approach and a Gaussian Variational Method (GVM), we explore the consequences of a finite interface width $\xi$ on the small-lengthscale fluctuations. We compute analytically the static roughness $B(r)$ of the interface as a function of the distance $r$ between two points on the interface. We focus on the case of short-range elasticity and random-bond disorder. We show that for a finite width $\xi$ two temperature regimes exist. At low temperature, the expected thermal and random-manifold regimes, respectively for small and large scales, connect via an intermediate `modified' Larkin regime, that we determine. This regime ends at a temperature-independent characteristic `Larkin' length. Above a certain `critical' temperature that we identify, this intermediate regime disappears. The thermal and random-manifold regimes connect at a single crossover lengthscale, that we compute. This is also the expected behavior for zero width. Using a directed polymer description, we also study via a second GVM procedure and generic scaling arguments, a modified toy model that provides further insights on this crossover. We discuss the relevance of the two GVM procedures for the roughness at large lengthscale in those regimes. In particular we analyze the scaling of the temperature-dependent prefactor in the roughness $B(r)\sim T^{2 \text{\thorn}} r^{2 \zeta}$ and its corresponding exponent $\text{\thorn}$. We briefly discuss the consequences of those results for the quasistatic creep law of a driven interface, in connection with previous experimental and numerical studies.

Abstract:
We briefly introduce the generic framework of Disordered Elastic Systems (DES), giving a short `recipe' of a DES modeling and presenting the quantities of interest in order to probe the static and dynamical disorder-induced properties of such systems. We then focus on a particular low-dimensional DES, namely the one-dimensional interface in short-ranged elasticity and short-ranged quenched disorder. Illustrating different elements given in the introductory sections, we discuss specifically the consequences of the interplay between a finite temperature T>0 and a finite interface width \xi>0 on the static geometrical fluctuations at different lengthscales, and the implications on the quasistatic dynamics.

Abstract:
We study numerically the geometrical and free-energy fluctuations of a static one-dimensional (1D) interface with a short-range elasticity, submitted to a quenched random-bond Gaussian disorder of finite correlation length $\xi>0$, and at finite temperature $T$. Using the exact mapping from the static 1D interface to the 1+1 Directed Polymer (DP) growing in a continuous space, we focus our analysis on the disorder free-energy of the DP endpoint, a quantity which is strictly zero in absence of disorder and whose sample-to-sample fluctuations at a fixed growing `time' $t$ inherit the statistical translation-invariance of the microscopic disorder explored by the DP. Constructing a new numerical scheme for the integration of the Kardar-Parisi-Zhang (KPZ) evolution equation obeyed by the free-energy, we address numerically the `time'- and temperature-dependence of the disorder free-energy fluctuations at fixed finite $\xi$. We examine on one hand the amplitude $\tilde{D}_{t}$ and effective correlation length $\tilde{\xi}_t$ of the free-energy fluctuations, and on the other hand the imprint of the specific microscopic disorder correlator on the large-`time' shape of the free-energy two-point correlator. We observe numerically the crossover to a low-temperature regime below a finite characteristic temperature $T_c(\xi)$, as previously predicted by Gaussian-Variational-Method (GVM) computations and scaling arguments, and extensively investigated analytically in [Phys. Rev. E, 87 042406 (2013)]. Finally we address numerically the `time'- and temperature-dependence of the roughness $B(t)$, which quantifies the DP endpoint transverse fluctuations, and we show how the amplitude $\tilde{D}_{\infty}(T,\xi)$ controls the different regimes experienced by $B(t)$ -- in agreement with the analytical predictions of a DP `toymodel' approach.

Abstract:
Experimental realizations of a 1D interface always exhibit a finite microscopic width $\xi>0$; its influence is erased by thermal fluctuations at sufficiently high temperatures, but turns out to be a crucial ingredient for the description of the interface fluctuations below a characteristic temperature $T_c(\xi)$. Exploiting the exact mapping between the static 1D interface and a 1+1 Directed Polymer (DP) growing in a continuous space, we study analytically both the free-energy and geometrical fluctuations of a DP, at finite temperature $T$, with a short-range elasticity and submitted to a quenched random-bond Gaussian disorder of finite correlation length $\xi$. We derive the exact `time'-evolution equations of the disorder free-energy $\bar{F}(t,y)$, its derivative $\eta (t,y)$, and their respective two-point correlators $\bar{C}(t,y)$ and $\bar{R}(t,y)$. We compute the exact solution of its linearized evolution $\bar{R}^{lin}(t,y)$, and we combine its qualitative behavior and the asymptotic properties known for an uncorrelated disorder ($\xi=0$), to construct a `toymodel' leading to a simple description of the DP. This model is characterized by Brownian-like free-energy fluctuations, correlated at small $|y|<\xi$, of amplitude $\tilde{D}_{\infty}(T,\xi)$. We present an extended scaling analysis of the roughness predicting $\tilde{D}_{\infty} \sim 1/T$ at high-temperatures and $\tilde{D}_{\infty} \sim 1/T_c(\xi)$ at low-temperatures. We identify the connection between the temperature-induced crossover and the full replica-symmetry breaking in previous Gaussian Variational Method computations. Finally we discuss the consequences of the low-temperature regime for two experimental realizations of KPZ interfaces, namely the static and quasistatic behavior of magnetic domain walls and the high-velocity steady-state dynamics of interfaces in liquid crystals.

Abstract:
Using multiscaling analysis, we compare the characteristic roughening of ferroelectric domain walls in PZT thin films with numerical simulations of weakly pinned one-dimensional interfaces. Although at length scales up to a length scale greater or equal to 5 microns the ferroelectric domain walls behave similarly to the numerical interfaces, showing a simple mono-affine scaling (with a well-defined roughness exponent), we demonstrate more complex scaling at higher length scales, making the walls globally multi-affine (varying roughness exponent at different observation length scales). The dominant contributions to this multi-affine scaling appear to be very localized variations in the disorder potential, possibly related to dislocation defects present in the substrate.

Abstract:
We show that, at least at a mean-field level, the effect of structural disorder in sheared amorphous media is very dissimilar depending on the thermal or athermal nature of their underlying dynamics. We first introduce a toy model, including explicitly two types of noise (thermal versus athermal). Within this interpretation framework, we argue that mean-field athermal dynamics can be accounted for by the so-called H{\'e}braud-Lequeux (HL) model, in which the mechanical noise stems explicitly from the plastic activity in the sheared medium. Then, we show that the inclusion of structural disorder, by means of a distribution of yield energy barriers, has no qualitative effect in the HL model, while such a disorder is known to be one of the key ingredients leading kinematically to a finite macroscopic yield stress in other mean-field descriptions, such as the Soft-Glassy-Rheology model. We conclude that the statistical mechanisms at play in the emergence of a macroscopic yield stress, and a complex stationary dynamics at low shear rate, are different in thermal and athermal amorphous systems.