BACKGROUND: The decision to issue sickness certification in Sweden for a patient should be based on the physician's assessment of the reduction of the patient's work capacity due to a disease or injury, not on psychosocial factors, in spite of the fact that they are known as risk factors for sickness absence. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of medical factors and functioning on sick listing probability. METHODS: Four hundred and seventy-four patient-physician consultations, where sick listing could be an option, in general practice in Orebro county, central Sweden, were documented using physician and patient questionnaires. Information sought was the physicians' assessments of causes and consequences of the patients' complaints, potential to recover, diagnoses and prescriptions on sick leave, and the patients' view of their family and work situation and functioning as well as data on the patients' former and present health situation. The outcome measure was whether or not a sickness certificate was issued. Multivariate analyses were performed. RESULTS: Complaints entirely or mainly somatic as assessed by the physician decreased the risk of sick listing, and complaints resulting in severe limitation of occupational work capacity, as assessed by the patient as well as the physician, increased the risk of sick listing, as did appointments for locomotor complaints. The results for patients with infectious diseases or musculoskeletal diseases were partly similar to those for all diseases. CONCLUSION: The strongest predictors for sickness certification were patient's and GP's assessment of reduced work capacity, with a striking concordance between physician and patient on this assessment. When patient's complaints were judged to be non-somatic the risk of sickness certification was enhanced.
OBJECTIVE: The primary aim of this study was to validate an instrument of physician-patient agreement in the consultation. A secondary aim was to assess this agreement. METHOD: The setting was a county in the southwest of Sweden with a cross-sectional survey of primary care patients and physicians using separate coded questionnaires. Forty-six physicians and 316 patients aged 16 or more with a new complaint lasting 1 week or more. Thirteen items were evaluated and index of proportional agreement for the dichotomized answers agree (P(pos)) and disagree (P(neg)) was calculated. RESULTS: In 10 of the 13 items, a high level of agreement between physician and patient was seen. Discussion. Index of proportional agreement was useful in finding statements in a questionnaire on agreement for both physicians and patients that could be used for educational purposes and as a check-up for the GP in daily practice.
To study the implementation of electronic guidelines designed for general practitioners (GPs).
A descriptive 3-year follow-up study.
All new subscribers to Physician's Desk Reference and Database (PDRD) in 1992.
Locations of computers, where PDRD software was installed for the first time in 1992.
Expectations of the program and changes in attitudes towards it, getting started with the system, frequency and continuity of use and estimated usefulness of the program.
The guidelines were expected to enhance diagnostic accuracy (60% of subscribers), save time (45%), and reduce costs (11%). After 1 year's use, the opinions of the users on these topics had become slightly more positive. Technical problems delayed starting to use the program in 27%. After 1 year 72% were using the program at least weekly. Using frequency was associated with having the computer in the office. The subscribers who renewed their subscription after one year often became regular users.
The study provides insight into the implementation phase of computer-based guidelines in a population of early adopters. Technical support was essential to overcome the barriers associated with computer technology. The perceived need for information was independent of the age and experience of the physicians.
Physician's Desk Reference and Database is a Finnish collection of computerized primary care guidelines. The program has been in clinical use since 1989. For this study, a function producing a log file of all searches was added to the program. Two hundred twenty-seven users returned log files that contained 15,267 searches. The users made 3.12 (range 1-10.4) searches per day. The average time needed to find and read an article was 4.9 minutes. Sufficient facts were found in 71% of the searches. Dermatology was the most popular field of interest, followed by infectious diseases and cardiology.
Attitudes toward, familiarity with, and use of clinical guidelines in general and the national Hypertension Guideline were studied. A questionnaire study was conducted before and after an educational program (VALTIT) among primary and secondary care nurses in Päijät-Häme, Finland. The program included centralized training sessions and interactive local workshops. Prior to the program, a majority of nurses had a positive attitude toward guidelines but used guidelines seldom. Primary care nurses were better aware of the Hypertension Guideline than secondary care nurses, but the guideline was poorly used by both groups. At the follow-up, familiarity with the Hypertension Guideline and use of guidelines increased among primary care nurses. In future, primary care nurses will have a more autonomous role in patient care and should participate in clinical guideline development and related research. Our study has shown they are a potential target of such interventions.
The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) has become the only diagnostic classification system of international standard that allows reliable comparisons of epidemiological data between countries, parts of a country, levels of health care systems, or different periods of time. However, for primary health care purposes it is too specific to describe problems relevant to the work of general practitioners (GPs). Tools are thus needed to 'compress' data in primary health care for educational, administrative and research purposes. The objective of this paper was to introduce a diagnosis coding system that can be used in primary health care settings for these purposes. Principal diagnoses, as assessed by medical doctors, were collected from 20,648 patient visits. After primary coding, according to the ICD on a five-digit scale, the diagnoses were grouped into larger entities, which reduced the number of diagnoses to one eighth of the original number. The ten most common original five-digit diagnoses accounted for one quarter of all consultations, whereas the ten most common diagnoses counted for one half of all consultations after compressing the data into new categories. Analysing epidemiological data in the records of primary health care by the ICD offers benefits because of the latter's wide use. These are discussed below.
BACKGROUND: The incidence of tongue cancer is increasing, and survival has not improved since the majority of patients present at an advanced stage. Patient delay has remained the same over the years and is difficult to influence. Much less is known about the delay in diagnosis caused by physicians and dentists. AIM: To investigate the detection of tongue cancer in primary care in Northern Finland and to examine the consultation prevalence of oral symptoms in primary care in Finland. STUDY: Analysis of data from medical records of tongue cancer patients kept between 1 January 1974 and 31 December 1994 for the general health insurance scheme. SETTING: The two northernmost provinces of Finland (population of 700,000). METHOD: Data were collected on demographic and clinical variables and on the first medical visit on 75 tongue cancer patients. In addition, primary care physicians recorded all patient visits during four weeks in 25 health centres randomly selected throughout Finland in 1996. RESULTS: At the initial visit, the tongue cancer patient was correctly referred for further examinations in 49 (65%) cases. In 12 (16%) of cases the patient was not referred but was scheduled for a follow-up visit, and was neither referred nor followed-up in 14 (19%). When compared with the referred patients the median professional delay was somewhat longer for the unreferred patients but increased dramatically if no follow-up was arranged (0.6 months [range = 0.1-2.4] versus 1.2 [range = 0.3-2.2] versus 5.2 [range = 0.7-18.2], P
The authors conducted a study of primary care physicians in the province of Quebec to ascertain their patterns of preventive practice with respect to cancer in four anatomic sites: breast, cervix, colon-rectum, and lung. They further explored the data set to elicit the determinants of the patterns of preventive practice. Scales were constructed encompassing practice behaviors for each type of cancer, continuing education intensity, knowledge, and belief. The content of these scales was delineated through factor analysis and their reliability assessed using Cronbach's alpha. Other variables were also considered in the conceptual model. Bivariate analysis and multivariate techniques were used. The models tested contained many significant interaction terms. A limited number of the first-order interactions was explored for each of the dependent variables. Different patterns emerged for each cancer type. Mode of reimbursement, continuing education, gender of physician, provider-related barriers to prevention, and knowledge were found to be the major predictors of prevention scores for the cancers studied, but their relative importance varied according to each cancer. The importance of better understanding the determinants of physician behaviors is emphasized and the existence of several possible explanatory models suggested.