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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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.
This paper describes the methods used in the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership Module 4 Survey (ICBPM4) which examines time intervals and routes to cancer diagnosis in 10 jurisdictions. We present the study design with defining and measuring time intervals, identifying patients with cancer, questionnaire development, data management and analyses.
Recruitment of participants to the ICBPM4 survey is based on cancer registries in each jurisdiction. Questionnaires draw on previous instruments and have been through a process of cognitive testing and piloting in three jurisdictions followed by standardised translation and adaptation. Data analysis focuses on comparing differences in time intervals and routes to diagnosis in the jurisdictions.
Our target is 200 patients with symptomatic breast, lung, colorectal and ovarian cancer in each jurisdiction. Patients are approached directly or via their primary care physician (PCP). Patients' PCPs and cancer treatment specialists (CTSs) are surveyed, and 'data rules' are applied to combine and reconcile conflicting information. Where CTS information is unavailable, audit information is sought from treatment records and databases.
Reliability testing of the patient questionnaire showed that agreement was complete (?=1) in four items and substantial (?=0.8, 95% CI 0.333 to 1) in one item. The identification of eligible patients is sufficient to meet the targets for breast, lung and colorectal cancer. Initial patient and PCP survey response rates from the UK and Sweden are comparable with similar published surveys. Data collection was completed in early 2016 for all cancer types.
An international questionnaire-based survey of patients with cancer, PCPs and CTSs has been developed and launched in 10 jurisdictions. ICBPM4 will help to further understand international differences in cancer survival by comparing time intervals and routes to cancer diagnosis.
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OBJECTIVE: To explore the factors related to doctors' assessments of incapacity to work (IW). MATERIAL: Two general practitioners and 49 men and 102 women aged 20-45 years with ongoing sick leave. METHODS: The doctors saw all the patients jointly and discussed their emotions afterwards. Mental status, psychosocial stress, pain behaviour, tender structures, mobility and self-rated inability to work were assessed. Finally, the doctors separately rated the degree (0-100%) of reduced capacity for vocational work (DRCW). The inter-rater agreement was measured by kappa statistics. Prevalence odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for IW (75-100% DRCW) were calculated by logistic regression. RESULTS: The patients were immigrants working in service. All reported pain, 53.7% had much psychosocial stress, 74.8% said they were unable to work and 22.5% were depressed. We were often touched by their life stories. The women had many tender-structure locations and many men had restricted mobility. Two-thirds (67.5%) had pain behaviour. The kappa value on the DRCW was 0.73. A third of the men (38.8%) and 26.5% of the women were assessed as having IW. The raters disagreed only in a few cases. Depressed men or men with pain behaviour had high ORs for IW (OR 12.8, 95% CI 3.3-68.5 and OR 5.6, 95% CI 1.5-21.1, respectively) as did women with self-rated inability to work (OR 7.0; 95% CI 1.6-32.0). CONCLUSIONS: Factors not clearly related to function had determined doctors' assessments of IW.
To establish the prevalence of anticoagulant (AC) treatment, the indications, and the quality of care in primary health care.
A cross-sectional study, in which patients on AC treatment were identified from laboratory records. The main and second indications for AC treatment and the last value of the AC-test were taken from medical records.
Eight Finnish health centres with a total population of 182091 inhabitants.
A total of 1255 patients on AC treatment were identified, 48% of them men. The mean age was 68.9 years. The age-adjusted prevalence of AC treatment was 0.65%. The commonest main indication was atrial fibrillation (38%). It was the main or second indication in 591 patients (age-adjusted prevalence 0.30%). The next commonest main indication was deep vein thrombosis (15%), followed by pulmonary embolism (8%). A total of 274 (22%) patients were anticoagulated for cerebral circulatory disturbances. 86% of the latest prothrombin time values fell within recommended ranges.
The prevalence of AC treatment in Finland seems to be high. The proportion of patients with atrial fibrillation is high, differing from the results in other countries. The monitoring of AC-treatment as the general practitioner's responsibility functions well. The quality of care is good, even in older age groups.
BACKGROUND: The number of patients receiving anticoagulant treatment is increasing. Chronic atrial fibrillation is the most common treatment diagnosis. The literature indicates a variable level of treatment control. Estimates of time within the therapeutic range have been recommended as a measurement of quality. Electronic patient records are providing clinical data that are useful for audits concerning anticoagulant treatment in real-life practice. OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to assess warfarin treatment for chronic atrial fibrillation in primary health care with regard to prevalence, incidence and quality. METHODS: A 2 year retrospective study was carried out of electronic patient records up to April 2002 in primary health care in Stockholm, including 12 primary health care centres with a registered population of 203 407. Main outcome measures were the number of new patients on wafarin treatment for chronic atrial fibrillation, and time within the therapeutic prothrombin range in the first 90 days of treatment using a linear interpolation method. RESULTS: In total, 827 patients were on warfarin treatment for chronic atrial fibrillation, giving a prevalence of 0.41%. Of these, 144 patients (study group) started treatment with warfarin for chronic atrial fibrillation during the study period, giving a yearly incidence of 0.07%. Their mean age was 73.1 years and 61.1% were men. There were 1721 prothrombin monitoring episodes registered in the first 90 days of treatment, on average once a week per patient. The average proportion of time within the therapeutic range was 54.1% (95% confidence interval (CI) 50.1-58.1), and the proportion of therapeutic tests was 50.2% (95% CI 47.8-52.6). CONCLUSIONS: During the first, second and third months of warfarin treatment for chronic atrial fibrillation, patients were outside the therapeutic range time nearly half the time. There was a gender difference favouring men regarding initiation of treatment.
To evaluate the appropriateness of potential data sources for the population of performance indicators for primary care (PC) practices.
This project was a cross sectional study of 7 multidisciplinary primary care teams in Ontario, Canada. Practices were recruited and 5-7 physicians per practice agreed to participate in the study. Patients of participating physicians (20-30) were recruited sequentially as they presented to attend a visit. Data collection included patient, provider and practice surveys, chart abstraction and linkage to administrative data sets. Matched pairs analysis was used to examine the differences in the observed results for each indicator obtained using multiple data sources.
Seven teams, 41 physicians, 94 associated staff and 998 patients were recruited. The survey response rate was 81% for patients, 93% for physicians and 83% for associated staff. Chart audits were successfully completed on all but 1 patient and linkage to administrative data was successful for all subjects. There were significant differences noted between the data collection methods for many measures. No single method of data collection was best for all outcomes. For most measures of technical quality of care chart audit was the most accurate method of data collection. Patient surveys were more accurate for immunizations, chronic disease advice/information dispensed, some general health promotion items and possibly for medication use. Administrative data appears useful for indicators including chronic disease diagnosis and osteoporosis/ breast screening.
Multiple data collection methods are required for a comprehensive assessment of performance in primary care practices. The choice of which methods are best for any one particular study or quality improvement initiative requires careful consideration of the biases that each method might introduce into the results. In this study, both patients and providers were willing to participate in and consent to, the collection and linkage of information from multiple sources that would be required for such assessments.
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In this study, population-based data were used to examine the appropriateness of Papanicolaou (Pap) testing from the perspective of the women being tested and their physicians. The approach used is unique in its assessment of overtesting and undertesting in the primary care setting. From the data base of the province of Manitoba's universal health insurance plan, 4-year health histories (1981 to 1984) were constructed for each woman from a random sample of the population of women who, in 1982, were between the ages of 25 to 64 years (n = 22,287). At the last visit to a general practitioner, gynecologist, or general surgeon in 1984 (termed the current visit), the authors determined whether a Pap test was given for each woman. Using decision rules from a Canadian task force report on cervical screening and previous health history, the authors evaluated the appropriateness of screening by determining whether a Pap test was given and was needed, or whether a women who had not received a Pap test required one. Overall, 55.7% of women were tested appropriately. Of the 5352 women who received a Pap test at the current visit, 62.8% were overtested. Of the 16,935 women not tested at the current visit, 38.5% required screening (i.e. were undertested). Characteristics of a physician's practice that were significantly related to compliance with the guidelines included having a high proportion of patients visiting for obstetric or gynecologic reasons. Variables that were associated with negative compliance were 1) being a gynecologist; and 2) having a high proportion of patients who lived in inner city or rural areas. Because physicians are paid a fee for every Pap smear taken and the guidelines were well disseminated, these results should be reasonably representative of fee-for-service practice in North America, where preventive care is not subject to user charges. This study supports previous findings that a passive approach to dissemination of guidelines is insufficient to effect practice.
General Practitioners feel increasing pressure from Public Health authorities to evaluate their work but generally accept outcome indices such as morbidity and mortality are too far away from GP practices to allow direct evaluation conclusions. A simple instrument is needed to assess the evolution in the health status of the populations the GP serves. To design such an instrument we developed a short, inexpensive questionnaire, to be filled in by the GP, that covers as many fields of health care as possible and reflects as closely as possible the specific approach in family practice. To construct this instrument five Guttman scales were first developed that refer to the five frameworks of though that a general practitioner uses, and submitted them to a process of validation. A composite index (SAMI) was mathematically derived from these five scales; it proved to be a valid instrument for measuring health status. To field test the SAMI index, a prospective cohort study was carried out in two subpopulations, Belgians and migrants, consulting seven GP practices. The evolution of four reasons for encounter (low back pain, pregnancy, diabetes and epigastralgia) were monitored by means of the five scales and the SAMI index. The evaluative conclusion that, despite special efforts of the GPs, their approach to migrants has to be reconsidered, is drawn. Above all the field test has shown that the five measurement scales and the global SAMI index are valid instruments, of easy use in general practice, that allow to assess the global health status of patient populations and give opportunities for evaluation of PHC services.
User reported experiences and satisfaction are increasingly used as basis for quality indicators in the health sector. However, there is limited understanding of factors associated with user reported experiences and satisfaction with casualty clinics.
A random sample of 542 patients that had contacted any of three casualty clinics from mid April to mid May 2008 was mailed a questionnaire. A reminder was sent to non-respondents after six weeks. Descriptive statistics for four user reported experiences scales and 20 single items are presented. Multivariate regression analysis was used to assess associations between background variables and user reported experiences, and between user reported experiences and user satisfaction.
225 (41.5%) patients, carers and guardians returned a completed questionnaire. Users reported most positive experiences with the doctor services and the nursing services at the casualty clinics; on a scale from 0 to 100, where 100 is the best possible experience the doctor scale was 82 and the nursing scale 81. Users reported least positive experiences with the organization of the casualty clinic, with a scale score of 65. Self perceived health was associated with user satisfaction, while self perceived health and age were associated with user reported experiences with organization of the clinics. A range of user reported experience domains were related to user satisfaction, after controlling for socio-demographic variables, including experiences with doctor services at the clinics, organization of the clinics, information and self perceived incorrect treatment.
Users report positive experiences with the three casualty clinics, with organization as the aspect with largest improvement potential. The importance of age and health status for users' experiences and satisfaction with casualty clinics was shown, but a range of user reported experiences with the clinics were the most important predictors for user satisfaction.
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