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Articles by L. M Chen
Total Records ( 5 ) for L. M Chen
  L. M Chen , W. R Farwell and A. K. Jha

Background  It is unclear if increasing pressure on primary care physicians to be more efficient has affected visit duration or quality of care. We sought to describe changes in the duration of adult primary care visits and in the quality of care provided during these visits and to determine whether quality of care is associated with visit duration.

Methods  We conducted a retrospective analysis of visits by adults 18 years or older to a nationally representative sample of office-based primary care physicians in the United States.

Results  Between 1997 and 2005, US adult primary care visits to physicians increased from 273 million to 338 million annually, or 10% on a per capita basis. The mean visit duration increased from 18.0 to 20.8 minutes (P < .001 for trend). Visit duration increased by 3.4 minutes for general medical examinations and for the 3 most common primary diagnoses of diabetes mellitus (4.2 minutes, P = .002 for trend), essential hypertension (3.7 minutes, P < .001 for trend), and arthropathies (5.9 minutes, P < .001 for trend). Comparing the early period (1997-2001) with the late period (2002-2005), quality of care improved for 1 of 3 counseling or screening indicators and for 4 of 6 medication indicators. Providing appropriate counseling or screening generally took 2.6 to 4.2 minutes. Providing appropriate medication therapy was not associated with longer visit duration.

Conclusions  Adult primary care visit frequency, quality, and duration increased between 1997 and 2005. Modest relationships were noted between visit duration and quality of care. Providing counseling or screening required additional physician time, but ensuring that patients were taking appropriate medications seemed to be independent of visit duration.

  L. M Chen , A. K Jha , S Guterman , A. B Ridgway , E. J Orav and A. M. Epstein

Background  Hospitals face increasing pressure to lower cost of care while improving quality of care. It is unclear if efforts to reduce hospital cost of care will adversely affect quality of care or increase downstream inpatient cost of care.

Methods  We conducted an observational cross-sectional study of US hospitals discharging Medicare patients for congestive heart failure (CHF) or pneumonia in 2006. For each condition, we examined the association between hospital cost of care and the following variables: process quality of care, 30-day mortality rates, readmission rates, and 6-month inpatient cost of care.

Results  Compared with hospitals in the lowest-cost quartile for CHF care, hospitals in the highest-cost quartile had higher quality-of-care scores (89.9% vs 85.5%) and lower mortality for CHF (9.8% vs 10.8%) (P < .001 for both). For pneumonia, the converse was true. Compared with low-cost hospitals, high-cost hospitals had lower quality-of-care scores (85.7% vs 86.6%, P = .002) and higher mortality for pneumonia (11.7% vs 10.9%, P < .001). Low-cost hospitals had similar or slightly higher 30-day readmission rates compared with high-cost hospitals (24.7% vs 22.0%, P < .001 for CHF and 17.9% vs 17.3%, P = .20 for pneumonia). Nevertheless, patients initially seen in low-cost hospitals incurred lower 6-month inpatient cost of care compared with patients initially seen in hospitals with the highest cost of care ($12 715 vs $18 411 for CHF and $10 143 vs $15 138 for pneumonia, P < .001 for both).

Conclusions  The associations are inconsistent between hospitals' cost of care and quality of care and between hospitals' cost of care and mortality rates. Most evidence did not support the "penny wise and pound foolish" hypothesis that low-cost hospitals discharge patients earlier but have higher readmission rates and greater downstream inpatient cost of care.

  L. M Chen , G Li , L. R Reitzel , K. B Pytynia , M. E Zafereo , Q Wei and E. M. Sturgis

It is unknown whether population-level racial or ethnic disparities in mortality from squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) also occur in the setting of standardized multidisciplinary-team directed care. Therefore, we conducted a matched-pair study that controlled for several potentially confounding prognostic variables to assess whether a difference in survival exists for African American or Hispanic American compared with non-Hispanic white American SCCHN patients receiving similar care. Matched pairs were 81 African American case and 81 non-Hispanic white control patients and 100 Hispanic American cases and 100 matched non-Hispanic white controls selected from 1,833 patients of a prospective epidemiologic study of incident SCCHN within a single, large multidisciplinary cancer center. Matching variables included age (±10 years), sex, smoking status (never versus ever), site, tumor stage (T1-2 versus T3-4), nodal status (negative versus positive), and treatment. Cases and controls were not significantly different in proportions of comorbidity score, alcohol use, subsite distribution, overall stage, or tumor grade. Matched-pair and log-rank analyses showed no significant differences between cases and controls in recurrence-free, disease-specific, or overall survival. Site-specific analyses suggested that more aggressive oropharyngeal cancers occurred more frequently in minority than in non-Hispanic white patients. We conclude that minority and non-Hispanic white SCCHN patients receiving similar multidisciplinary-team directed care at a tertiary cancer center have similar survival results overall. These results encourage reducing health disparities in SCCHN through public-health efforts to improve access to multidisciplinary oncologic care (and to preventive measures) and through individual clinician efforts to make the best multidisciplinary cancer treatment choices available for their minority patients. The subgroup finding suggests a biologically based racial/ethnic disparity among oropharyngeal patients and that prevention and treatment strategies should be tailored to different populations of these patients.

  C. H Chu , B. S Tzang , L. M Chen , C. J Liu , F. J Tsai , C. H Tsai , J. A Lin , W. W Kuo , D. T Bau , C. H Yao and C. Y. Huang

In previous studies, we have found that IGF-II and IGF-II receptor (IGF-IIR) dose dependently correlated with the progression of pathological hypertrophy after complete abdominal aorta ligation, which may play a critical role in angiotensin II-induced cardiomyocyte apoptosis. However, the detail mechanisms of IGF-IIR in the regulation of cell apoptosis in response to IGF-II remain unclear. By using IGF-IR short hairpin RNA to inhibit IGF-IR expression and using Leu27 IGF-II analog to activate specifically the IGF-IIR, we investigated the role of IGF-II/IGF-IIR activation and its downstream signaling. Our results revealed that IGF-II synergistically increased the cell apoptosis induced by suppressing of IGF-IR in neonatal rat ventricular myocytes. After binding of Leu27IGF-II, IGF-IIR became associated with -q polypeptide, acted like a protein-coupled receptor to activate calcineurin, led to the translocation of Bad into mitochondria and release of cytochrome c into cytoplasm, and contributed to mitochondrial-dependent apoptosis in neonatal rat ventricular myocytes. Furthermore, inhibition of IGF-IIR, -q polypeptide, or calcineurin by RNA interference could block the Leu27IGF-II-induced cell apoptosis. Together, this study provides a new insight into the effects of the IGF-IIR and its downstream signaling in myocardial apoptosis. Suppression of IGF-IIR signaling pathways may be a good strategy for both the protection against myocardial cell apoptosis and the prevention of heart failure progression.

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