In this article, we discuss findings from an ethnographic study in which we explored experiences of access to primary care services from the perspective of Aboriginal people seeking care at an emergency department (ED) located in a large Canadian city. Data were collected over 20 months of immersion in the ED, and included participant observation and in-depth interviews with 44 patients triaged as stable and nonurgent, most of whom were living in poverty and residing in the inner city. Three themes in the findings are discussed: (a) anticipating providers' assumptions; (b) seeking help for chronic pain; and (c) use of the ED as a reflection of social suffering. Implications of these findings are discussed in relation to the role of the ED as well as the broader primary care sector in responding to the needs of patients affected by poverty, racialization, and other forms of disadvantage.
To investigate racial/ethnic differences in acute asthma among adults presenting to the emergency department (ED), and to determine whether observed differences are attributable to socioeconomic status (SES).
Prospective cohort studies performed during 1996 to 1998 by the Multicenter Airway Research Collaboration. Using a standardized protocol, researchers provided 24-h coverage for a median duration of 2 weeks per year. Adults with acute asthma were interviewed in the ED and by telephone 2 weeks after hospital discharge.
Sixty-four North American EDs.
A total of 1,847 patients were enrolled into the study. Black and Hispanic asthma patients had a history of more hospitalizations than did whites (ever-hospitalized patients: black, 66%; Hispanic, 63%; white, 54%; p
The aim of the study was to describe adherence to health regimens and the factors associated with it among adult frequent attenders (FAs).
This was a cross-sectional study. The study sample consisted of 462 healthcare FAs in 7 municipal health centres in northern Finland. An FA is a person who has had 8 or more outpatient visits to a GP (in a health centre) or 4 or more outpatient visits to a university hospital during 1 year. The main outcome was self-reported adherence to health regimens.
Of the FAs, 82% adhered well to their health regimens. Carrying out self-care, medical care and feeling responsible for self-care were the most significant predictors to good adherence in all models. No significant differences in adherence were found in male and female subjects, age groups or educational levels. Support from healthcare providers and support from relatives were not significant predictors of good adherence.
FAs in Finland adhere well to health regimens and exceptionally well to medication. Variables that predict the best adherence of FAs to health regimens are carrying out self-care, receiving medical care and feeling responsible for self-care.
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Telemedicine appears to be ready for wider adoption. Although existing research evidence is useful, the adoption of routine telemedicine in healthcare systems has been slow.
We conducted a study to explore the current use of routine telemedicine in Norway, at national, regional, and local levels, to provide objective and up-to-date information and to estimate the potential for wider adoption of telemedicine. Design : A top-down approach was used to collect official data on the national use of telemedicine from the Norwegian Patient Register. A bottom-up approach was used to collect complementary information on the routine use of telemedicine through a survey conducted at the five largest publicly funded hospitals.
Results show that routine telemedicine has been adopted in all health regions in Norway and in 68% of hospitals. Despite being widely adopted, the current level of use of telemedicine is low compared to the number of face-to-face visits. Examples of routine telemedicine can be found in several clinical specialties. Most services connect different hospitals in secondary care, and they are mostly delivered as teleconsultations via videoconference.
Routine telemedicine in Norway has been widely adopted, probably for geographical reasons, as in other settings. However, the level of use of telemedicine in Norway is rather low, and it has significant potential for further development as an alternative to face-to-face outpatient visits. This study is a first attempt to map routine telemedicine at regional, institutional, and clinical levels, and it provides useful information to understand the adoption of telemedicine in routine healthcare and to measure change in future updates.
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Air pollution can increase the symptoms of asthma and has an acute effect on the number of emergency room visits and hospital admissions because of asthma, but little is known about the effect of air pollution on the number of primary health care (PHC) visits for asthma.
To investigate the association between air pollution and the number of PHC visits for asthma in Scania, southern Sweden.
Data on daily PHC visits for asthma were obtained from a regional healthcare database in Scania, which covers approximately half a million people. Air pollution data from 2005 to 2010 were obtained from six urban background stations. We used a case-crossover study design and a distributed lag non-linear model in the analysis.
The air pollution levels were generally within the EU air quality guidelines. The mean number of daily PHC visits for asthma was 34. The number of PHC visits increased by 5% (95% confidence interval (CI): 3.91-6.25%) with every 10µg m(-3) increase in daily mean NO2 lag (0-15), suggesting that daily air pollution levels are associated with PHC visits for asthma.
Even though the air quality in Scania between 2005 and 2010 was within EU's guidelines, the number of PHC visits for asthma increased with increasing levels of air pollution. This suggests that as well as increasing hospital and emergency room visits, air pollution increases the burden on PHC due to milder symptoms of asthma.
The aim of the present study was to find out whether alexithymia is common in frequently attending primary health care patients and whether alexithymia and psychological distress are associated in these patients.
Alexithymia was measured by the TAS-26 and psychological distress by the SCL-25 in a random sample of 394 working-age primary health care patients. Frequent attendance was defined as a minimum of 11 visits during 1 year to different kinds of outpatient health care services, excluding specialized psychiatric care.
Frequently attending patients with psychological distress were found to be alexithymic more commonly than other patients, but this was not the case with other frequently attending patients. In other words, frequent attendance and alexithymia had an association mediated by psychological distress.
There is a subgroup of frequently attending patients, who are alexithymic and have psychological distress, too. They usually visit health-care services because of a somatic complaint. We hypothesize that their expression of psychological distress was masked and somatized just because of alexithymia.
Access to care is a multidimensional concept, considered as a structural aspect of health care quality; it reflects the functioning of a health care organization. The aim of this study was to investigate patients' experiences of access to care and to analyse factors associated with waiting times to GP appointments at Finnish health centres. A questionnaire survey was addressed to Finnish GPs within the Quality and Costs of Primary Care in Europe study framework. Two to nine patients per GP completed the questionnaire, altogether 1196. Main outcome measures were waiting times for appointments with GPs and factors associated with waiting times. In addition, patients' opinions of access to appointments were analysed.
Of the 988 patients who had made their appointment in advance, 84.9% considered it easy to secure an appointment, with 51.9% obtaining an appointment within 1 week. Age and reason for contact were the most significant factors affecting the waiting time. Elderly patients tended to have longer waiting times than younger ones, even when reporting illness as their reason for contact. Thus, waiting times for appointments tend to be prolonged in particular for the elderly and there is room for improvement in the future.
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Prescribing of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) has increased dramatically.
To compare the sales of benzodiazepines and SSRIs within the primary care sector in Denmark and relate changes in usage to number of indications and products on the market.
We used data from various sources to establish the sales curves of psychotropic drugs in the period 1970 to 2007, based on the Anatomic Therapeutic Classification system and Defined Daily Doses.
Fluctuations in sales of psychotropic drugs that cannot be explained by disease prevalence were caused by changes in sales of the benzodiazepines and SSRIs. We found a decline in the sales of benzodiazepines after a peak in 1986, likely due to the recognition that they cause dependence. From a low level in 1992, we found that the sales of SSRIs increased almost linearly by a factor of 18, up to 44 DDD per 1000 inhabitants, which was closely related to the number of products on the market that increased by a factor of 16.
Sales of antidepressant drugs are mainly determined by market availability of products indicating that marketing pressures are playing an important role. Thus the current level of use of SSRIs may not be evidence-based, which is supported by studies showing that the effect of SSRIs has been overestimated.
Primary health care is an effective means of improving health for all while at the same time containing rising health care costs. In an effort to improve the health of one community, the Cardiovascular Health Education Program (CHEP) was implemented in a study of 44 eighth-grade adolescents. The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of the CHEP on adolescents' cardiovascular health knowledge. It was found that participants' knowledge improved significantly, whereas a control group showed no comparable improvement. This study showed that community-based health education programs for targeted populations can influence health knowledge.
Differences in antibiotic consumption between individuals are not only due to differences in primary infection morbidity, other non-medical factors are important. Our objective was to investigate how socio-demographic factors, co-morbidity, and access to primary care affect antibiotic prescribing.
The study population included all 2 078 481 persons in Sweden who received at least one antibiotic prescription during 2010, and an unmatched control population of 788 580 individuals. We used record linkage to obtain data on co-morbidity, various socio-demographic variables, and waiting times for doctor appointments in primary care. We used logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (ORs) for antibiotic prescription.
The results showed that over 20% of the population were prescribed antibiotics during 2010. Children aged 0-5 years, persons = 75 years of age, those living in urban areas, and women compared with men, received many prescriptions. Co-morbidity was a strong factor that determined the number of antibiotic prescriptions: those with Charlson's index = 3 had an OR of 3.03 (95% CI: 3.00-3.07) to obtain antibiotics in the adjusted analysis, compared with individuals without co-morbidity (Charlson's index 0). Short waiting times for a doctor's visit in primary care were associated with a higher number of antibiotic prescriptions. Individuals born in Sweden were prescribed more antibiotics compared with those born in another country. Specifically, persons born in any of the 27 EU countries (excluding Scandinavia) had an OR of antibiotic prescription of 0.78 (95% CI: 0.77-0.78) compared with native-born individuals.
We conclude that non-medical factors strongly influence antibiotic prescriptions.