To study people's views on the accessibility and continuity of primary medical care provided by different providers: a public primary healthcare centre (PPHC), occupational healthcare (OHC), and a private practice (PP).
A nationwide population-based questionnaire study.
A total of 6437 (from a sample of 10,000) Finns aged 15-74 years.
Period of time (in days) to get an appointment with any physician was assessed via a single structured question. Accessibility and continuity were evaluated with a five-category Likert scale. Values 4-5 were regarded as good.
Altogether 72% had found that they could obtain an appointment with a physician within three days, while 6% had to wait more than two weeks. Older subjects and subjects with chronic diseases perceived waiting times as longer more often than younger subjects and those without chronic diseases. The proportion of subjects who perceived access to care to be good was 35% in a PPHC, 68% in OHC, and 78% in a PP. The proportion of subjects who were able to get successive appointments with the same doctor was 45% in a PPHC, 68% in OHC, and 81% in a PP. A personal doctor system was related to good continuity and access in a PPHC.
Access to and continuity of care in Finland are suboptimal for people suffering from chronic diseases. The core features of good primary healthcare are still not available within the medical care provided by public health centres.
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Since 2001, Quebec's ministry of health and social services has prioritized implementation of the Baby-Friendly Initiative (BFI), which includes the original hospital initiative and its expansion to community services.
The objective was to document across the province compliance with the BFI's Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding in hospitals, Seven Point Plan in community health centers (CHCs), and International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes (Code).
Using managers/staff, mothers, and observers, the author measured the extent of implementation of indicators formulated for each step/point and the Code, based on the revised WHO/UNICEF recommendations.
Mean compliance scores in Quebec were 3.13 for 140 CHCs (range, 0 to 7) and 4.54 for 60 hospitals/birthing centers (range, 0 to 10). The mean compliance score for the Code was 0.69 for both CHCs and hospitals/birthing centers. The evaluation documented marked variations in implementation level for each of the steps/points and the Code. Also, managers/staff, mothers, and observers differed in their report of BFI compliance for most steps/points and the Code. Facilities that had applied for or obtained BFI designation demonstrated higher compliance with the BFI than those that had not.
Results disseminated to participating organizations allowed comparisons on a regional/provincial perspective and in relation to BFI-designated facilities. Furthermore, this first portrait of BFI compliance in Quebec provided provincial, regional, and local health authorities with valuable information that can be used to bring about policy and organizational changes to achieve the international standards required for Baby-Friendly certification.
Karolinska Institute, Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences & Technology, WHO Collaborating Centre for Drug Utilization Research, Huddinge University Hospital, Sweden. firstname.lastname@example.org
To describe a simple method for assessing the quality of drug prescribing.
We tested the idea that the number of drugs accounting for 90% of drug use--drug utilization 90% (DU90%)--may serve as an indicator of the quality of drug prescribing. We ranked the drugs by volume of defined daily doses (DDD) and determined how many drugs accounted for the DU90% segment. We also compared this segment with the pharmacotherapeutic guidelines issued by the Regional (local) Drug Committee to determine the adherence to its recommendations (index of adherence). The cost per DDD within the DU90% segment and for the remaining 10% was also calculated. The utilization of drugs based on prescriptions purchased during April 1995 was determined for 24 primary health care (PHC) centres in southwestern Stockholm.
The number of different products, defined as all products marketed under a single brand name within an ATC (anatomic therapeutic chemical) category, in the DU90% segment varied twofold (81-164) between the 24 PHC centres. Differences in the number of GPs per PHC centre accounted for a third of this variation. The compliance with the Drug Committee recommendations varied between 54% and 78%. There was no relationship between the number of products accounting for the DU90% segment and the adherence to local prescription guidelines, i.e. prescribing more products did not increase the adherence. The costs for the DU90% drugs varied from 2.26 SEK/DDD in one PHC centre to 3.75 in another one, with an average cost of 2.87 SEK/DDD, while for the remaining 10% it was the double (6:54 SEK/DDD). In all, the DU90% drugs made up 80.8% of the total cost as compared with 19.2% for the remaining 10%. In the DU90% segment, there was no clear relationship between adherence to the guidelines and the cost/DDD, i.e. following the evidence-based guidelines appeared to provide a higher quality of prescribing rather than cheaper prescribing.
The DU90% is an inexpensive, flexible, and simple method for assessing the quality of drug prescribing in routine health care. The number of products in the DU90% segment and adherence to prescription guidelines may serve as general quality indicators. The method may be adapted to provide comparative data between PHC centres, hospitals, regions etc. that may be cross-sectional and longitudinal. Other quality criteria, specific for each class of drugs, should complement these general indicators.