GP Practices as a One-Stop Shop: How Do Patients Perceive the Quality of Care? A Cross-Sectional Study in Thirty-Four Countries.
ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE:To contribute to the current knowledge on how a broad range of services offered by general practitioners (GPs) may contribute to the patient perceived quality and, hence, the potential benefits of primary care. STUDY SETTING:Between 2011 and 2013, primary care data were collected among GPs and their patients in 31 European countries, plus Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. In these countries, GPs are the main providers of primary care, mostly specialized in family medicine and working in the ambulatory setting. STUDY DESIGN:In this cross-sectional study, questionnaires were completed by 7,183 GPs and 61,931 visiting patients. Moreover, 7,270 patients answered questions about what they find important (their values). In the analyses of patient experiences, we adjusted for patients' values in each country to measure patient perceived quality. Perceived quality was measured regarding five areas: accessibility and continuity of care, doctor-patient communication, patient involvement in decision making, and comprehensiveness of care. The range of GP services was measured in relation to four areas: (1) to what extent they are the first contact to the health care system for patients in need of care, (2) their involvement in treatment and follow-up of acute and chronic conditions, in other words treatment of diseases, (3) their involvement in minor technical procedures, and (4) their involvement in preventive treatments. EXTRACTION METHODS:Data of the patients were linked to the data of the GPs. Multilevel modeling was used to construct scale scores for the experiences of patients in the five areas of quality and the range of services of GPs. In these four-level models, items were nested within patients, nested in GP practices, nested in countries. The relationship between the range of services and the experiences of patients was analyzed in three-level multilevel models, also taking into account the values of patients. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:In countries where GPs offer a broader range of services patients perceive better accessibility, continuity, and comprehensiveness of care, and more involvement in decision making. No associations were found between the range of services and the patient perceived communication with their GP. The range of GP services mostly explained the variation between countries in the areas of patient perceived accessibility and continuity of care. CONCLUSIONS:This study showed that in countries where GP practices serve as a "one-stop shop," patients perceive better quality of care, especially in the areas of accessibility and continuity of care. Therefore, primary care in a country is expected to benefit from investments in a broader range of services of GPs or other primary care physicians.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The workload of general practitioners (GPs) and dissatisfaction with work have been increasing in various Western countries over the past decades. In this study, we evaluate the relation between the workload of GPs and patients' experiences with care. METHODS:We collected data through a cross-sectional survey among 7031 GPs and 67,873 patients in 33 countries. Dependent variables are the patient experiences on doctor-patient communication, accessibility, continuity, and comprehensiveness of care. Independent variables concern the workload measured as the GP-reported work hours per week, average consultation times, job satisfaction (an indicator of subjective workload), and the difference between the workload measures of every GP and the average in their own country. Finally, we evaluated interaction effects between workload measures and what patients find important in a country and the presence of a patient-list system. Relationships were determined through multilevel regression models. RESULTS:Patients of GPs who are happier with their work were found to experience better communication, continuity, access, and comprehensiveness. When GPs are more satisfied compared to others in their country, patients also experience better quality. When GPs work more hours per week, patients also experience better quality of care, but not in the area of accessibility. A longer consultation time, also when compared to the national average, is only related to more comprehensive care. There are no differences in the relationships between countries with and without a patient list system and in countries where patients find the different quality aspects more important. CONCLUSIONS:Patients experience better care when their GP has more work hours, longer consultation times, and especially, a higher job satisfaction.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Current healthcare reform in China has an overall goal of strengthening primary care and establishing a family practice system based on contract services. The objective of this study was to determine whether contracting a general practitioner (GP) could improve quality of primary care. DESIGN:A cross-sectional study using two-stage sampling conducted from June to September 2014. Propensity score matching (PSM) was employed to control for confounding between patients with and without contracted GP. SETTING:Three community health centres in Guangzhou, China. PARTICIPANTS:698 patients aged 18-89 years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:The quality of primary care was measured using a validated Chinese version of primary care assessment tool (PCAT). Eight domains are included (first contact utilisation, accessibility, continuity, comprehensiveness, coordination, family-centredness, community orientation and cultural competence from patient's perceptions). RESULTS:A total of 692 effective samples were included for data analysis. After PSM, 94 pairs of patients were matched between the patients with and without contracted GPs. The total PCAT score, continuity (3.12 vs 2.68, p<0.01), comprehensiveness (2.31 vs 2.04, p<0.01) and family-centredness (2.11 vs 1.79, p<0.01) were higher in patients who contracted GPs than those did not. However, the domains of first contact utilisation (2.74 vs 2.87, p=0.14) and coordination (1.76 vs 1.93, p<0.05) were lower among patients contracted with GPs than in those who did not. CONCLUSION:Our findings demonstrated that patients who had a contracted GP tend to experience higher quality of primary care. Our study provided evidence for health policies aiming to promote the implementation of family practice contract services. Our results also highlight further emphases on the features of primary care, first contact services and coordination services in particular.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Substantial government funding has been invested to support the training of General Practitioners (GPs) in Australia to serve rural communities. However, there is little data on the impact of this expanded training on smaller communities, particularly for smaller rural and more remote communities. Improved understanding of the impact of training on underserved communities will assist in addressing this gap and inform ongoing investment by governments and communities. METHOD:A purposive sample of GP supervisors, GP registrars, practice managers and health services staff, and community members (n?=?40) from previously identified areas of workforce need in rural and remote North-West Queensland were recruited for this qualitative study. Participants had lived in their communities for periods ranging from a few months to 63?years (Median?=?12?years). Semi-structured interviews and a focus group were conducted to explore how establishing GP training placements impacts underserved communities from a health workforce, health outcomes, economic and social perspective. The data were then analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS:Participants reported they perceived GP training to improve communities' health services and health status (accessibility, continuity of care, GP workforce, health status, quality of health care and sustainable health care), some social factors (community connectedness and relationships), cultural factors (values and identity), financial factors (economy and employment) and education (rural pathway). Further, benefits to the registrars (breadth of training, community-specific knowledge, quality of training, and relationships with the community) were reported that also contributed to community development. CONCLUSION:GP training and supervision is possible in smaller and more remote underserved communities and is perceived positively. Training GP registrars in smaller, more remote communities, matches their training more closely with the comprehensive primary care services needed by these communities.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Primary care is the first point of care, also for people with disabilities. The accessibility of primary care facilities is therefore very important. In this study we analysed comparative data on physical accessibility of general practices (GP practices) in 31 (mainly) European countries.<h4>Methods</h4>We used data from the QUALICOPC study, conducted in 2011 among GPs in 34 (mainly European) countries and constructed a physical accessibility scale. We applied multilevel analysis to assess the differences between and within countries and to test hypotheses, related to characteristics of the practices and of the countries.<h4>Results</h4>We found large differences between countries and a strong clustering of physical accessibility within countries. Physical accessibility was negatively related to the age of the GPs, and was less in single-handed and in inner city practices. Of the country variables only the length of the period of social democratic government participation during the previous decades was positively related to physical accessibility.<h4>Conclusion</h4>A large share of the variation in physical accessibility of GP practices was on the level of countries. This means that national policies can be used to increase physical accessibility of GP practices.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The association between stress and morale among general practitioners (GP) is well documented. However, the impact of GP stress or low morale on patient care is less clear. GPs in the UK now routinely survey patients about the quality of their care including organizational issues and consultation skills and the General Practice Assessment Questionnaire (GPAQ) is widely used for this purpose. We aimed to see if there was a relationship between doctor morale as measured by a validated instrument, the Morale Assessment in General Practice Index (MAGPI) and scores in the GPAQ. METHODS: All GPs in Lothian, Scotland who were collecting GPAQ data were approached and asked to complete the MAGPI. Using an anonymised linkage system, individual scores on the MAGPI were linked to the doctors' GPAQ scores. Levels of association between the scores were determined by calculating rank correlations at the level of the individual doctor. Hypothesised associations between individual MAGPI and GPAQ items were also assessed. RESULTS: 276 of 475 GPs who were approached agreed to complete a MAGPI questionnaire and successfully collected anonymous GPAQ data from an average of 49.6 patients. There was no significant correlation between the total MAGPI score and the GPAQ communication or enablement scale. There were weak correlations between "control of work" in the MAGPI scale and GPAQ items on waiting times to see doctors (r = 0.24 p < 0.01). Doctors who perceived that their patients viewed them negatively also scored lower on individual communication, accessibility and continuity of care GPAQ items. CONCLUSION: This study showed no relationship between overall GP morale and patient perception of performance. There was a weak relationship between patients' perceptions ofquality and doctors' beliefs about their workload and whether patients value them. Further research is required to elucidate the complex relationship between workload, morale and patients' perception of care.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The National Health Service is reconfiguring health care services in order to meet the increasing challenge of providing care for people with long-term conditions and to reduce the demand on specialised outpatient hospital services by enhancing primary care. A review of cardiology referrals to specialised care and the literature on referral management inspired the development of a new GP role in Cardiology. This new extended role was developed to enable GPs to diagnose and manage patients with mild to moderate heart failure or atrial fibrillation and to use a range of diagnostics effectively in primary care. This entailed GPs participating in a four-session short course with on-going clinical supervision. The new role was piloted in a small number of GP practices in one county in England for four months. This study explores the impact of piloting the Extended Cardiology role on the GP's role, patients' experience, service delivery and quality. METHODS: A mixed methods approach was employed including semi-structured interviews with GPs, a patient experience survey, a quality review of case notes, and analysis on activity and referral data. RESULTS: The participating GPs perceived the extended GP role as a professional development opportunity that had the potential to reduce healthcare utilisation and costs, through a reduction in referrals, whilst meeting the patient's wishes for the provision of care closer to home. Patient experience of the new GP service was positive. The standard of clinical practice was judged acceptable. There was a fall in referrals during the study period. CONCLUSION: This new role in cardiology was broadly welcomed as a model of care by the participating GPs and by patients, because of the potential to improve the quality of care for patients in primary care and reduce costs. As this was a pilot study further development and continuing evaluation of the model is recommended.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Anxiety is under-recorded and under-treated in the UK and is under-represented in research compared with depression. Detecting anxiety can be difficult because of co-existing conditions. GPs can be reluctant to medicalise anxiety symptoms and patients can be reluctant to disclose them, for a variety of reasons. This research addresses the gap in evidence of real-life consultations of patients with anxiety and explores how physical and psychological symptoms are discussed and prioritised by patients and GPs in primary care consultations.<h4>Methods</h4>A mixed methods study using a baseline questionnaire, video-recorded primary care consultations and interview data with patients and GPs.<h4>Results</h4>Seventeen patients with anxiety symptoms (GAD-7 score???10) completed a questionnaire, had their consultation video-recorded and took part in a semi-structured interview. Four GPs were interviewed. The main themes that emerged from GP and patients accounts as barriers and facilitators to discussing anxiety mostly mirrored each other. The GP/patient relationship and continuity of care was the main facilitator for the discussion of anxiety in the consultation. The main barriers were: attribution of or unacknowledged symptoms; co-morbidities; and time constraints. GPs overcame these barriers by making repeat appointments and employing prioritising techniques; patients by choosing an empathetic GP.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The findings add to the evidence base concerning the management of anxiety in primary care. The findings suggest that the discussion around anxiety is a process negotiated between the patient and the GP influenced by a range of barriers and facilitators. Co-existing depression and health anxieties can mask anxiety symptoms in patients. Good practice techniques such as bringing back patients for appointments to foster continuity of care and understanding can help disclosure and detection of anxiety symptoms. Future research could investigate this longitudinally and should include a wider range of GPs practices and GPs.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Health policy in many countries directs treatment to the lowest effective care level and encourages collaboration between primary and specialist mental health care. A number of models for collaborative care have been developed, and patient benefits are being reported. Less is known about what enables and prevents implementation and sustainability of such models regarding the actions and attitudes of stakeholders on the ground. This article reports from a qualitative sub-study of a cluster-RCT testing a model for collaborative care in Oslo, Norway. The model involved the placement of psychologists and psychiatrists from a community mental health centre in each intervention GP practice. GPs could seek their input or advice when needed and refer patients to them for assessment (including assessment of the need for external services) or treatment. METHODS:We conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with GPs (n?=?7), CMHC specialists (n?=?6) and patients (n?=?11) in the intervention arm. Sample specific topic guides were used to investigate the experience of enablers and barriers to the collaborative care model. Data were subject to stepwise deductive-inductive thematic analysis. RESULTS:Participants reported positive experiences of how the model improved accessibility. First, co-location made GPs and CMHC specialists accessible to each other and facilitated detailed, patient-centred case collaboration and learning through complementary skills. The threshold for patients' access to specialist care was lowered, treatment could commence early, and throughput increased. Treatment episodes were brief (usually 5-10 sessions) and this was too brief according to some patients. Second, having experienced mental health specialists in the team and on the front line enabled early assessment of symptoms and of the type of treatment and service that patients required and were entitled to, and who could be treated at the GP practice. This improved both care pathways and referral practices. Barriers revolved around the organisation of care. Logistical issues could be tricky but were worked out. The biggest obstacle was the funding of health care at a structural level, which led to economic losses for both the GP practices and the CMHC, making the model unsustainable. CONCLUSIONS:Participants identified a range of benefits of collaborative care for both patients and services. However, the funding system in effect penalises collaborative work. It is difficult to see how policy aiming for successful, sustainable collaboration can be achieved without governments changing funding structures. TRIAL REGISTRATION:ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT03624829.
Project description:BACKGROUND:With aging populations, a growing prevalence of chronic illnesses, higher expectations for quality care and rising costs within limited health budgets, integration of healthcare is seen as a solution to these challenges. Integrated healthcare aims to overcome barriers between primary and secondary care and other disconnected patient services to improve access, continuity and quality of care. Many people in Australia are admitted to hospital for chronic illnesses that could be prevented or managed in the community. Western Sydney has high rates of diabetes, heart and respiratory diseases and the NSW State Ministry of Health has implemented key strategies through the Western Sydney Integrated Care Program (WSICP) to enhance primary care and the outcomes and experiences of patients with these illnesses. METHODS:We aimed to investigate the WSICP's effectiveness through a qualitative evaluation focused on the 10 WSICP strategies using a framework analysis. We administered 125 in-depth interviews in two rounds over 12?months with 83 participants including patients and their carers, care facilitators, hospital specialists and nurses, allied health professionals, general practitioners (GPs) and primary care nurses, and program managers. Most participants (71%) were interviewed twice. We analysed data within a framework describing how strategies were implemented and used, the experiences around these, their perceived value, facilitators and barriers, and participant-identified suggestions for improvement. RESULTS:Care facilitators helped patients access services within the hospital and in primary care and connected general practices with hospital specialists and services. Rapid access and stabilisation clinics with their patient hotlines assisted patients and carers to self-manage chronic illness while connecting GPs to specialists through the GP support-line. Action plans from the hospital informed GPs and their shared care plans which could be accessed by other community health professionals and patients. HealthPathways provided GPs with local, evidence-based guidelines for managing patients. Difficulties persisted in effective widespread access to shared records and electronic communication across sectors. CONCLUSIONS:The combined WSICP strategies improved patient and carer experience of healthcare and capacity of GPs to provide care in the community. Information sharing required longer-term investment and support, though benefits were evident by the end of our research.
Project description:Rural areas have problems in attracting and retaining primary care workforce. This might have consequences for the existing workforce. We studied whether general practitioners (GPs) in rural practices differ by age, sex, practice population and workload from those in less rural locations and whether their practices differ in resources and service profiles. We used data from 2 studies: QUALICOPC study collected data from 34 countries, including 7183 GPs in 2011, and Profiles of General Practice in Europe study collected data from 32 countries among 7895 GPs in 1993. Data were analyzed using multilevel analysis. Results show that the share of female GPs has increased in rural areas but is still lower than in urban areas. In rural areas, GPs work more hours and provide more medical procedures to their patients. Apart from these differences between locations, overall ageing of the GP population is evident. Higher workload in rural areas may be related to increased demand for care. Rural practices seem to cope by offering a broad range of services, such as medical procedures. Dedicated human resource policies for rural areas are required with a view to an ageing GP population, to the individual preferences and needs of the GPs, and to decreasing attractiveness of rural areas.