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  • Anemia management in non-menopausal women in a primary care setting: a prospective evaluation of clinical practice
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2020-01-21
    Sabine Bayen; Charline Le Grand; Marc Bayen; Florence Richard; Nassir Messaadi

    The study aimed to analyze anemia management in non-pregnant, and non-menopausal women aged from 18 to 50 years old, in a French primary care setting. An observational descriptive prospective study was conducted between November 2018 and February 2019. Inclusion criteria were as followed: anemia diagnosed in women aged from 18 to 50, not pregnant and not menopausal. Quantitative and qualitative data were anonymized and collected through an electronic survey. Investigating general practitioners completed the questionnaire for each newly diagnosed woman. Mean values and medians were calculated for the quantitative data. Answers to the open questions were encoded manually and proportions of the different modalities have been calculated. Altogether, 43 women with anemia were ascertained. Moderate microcytic anemia, due to an iron deficiency in a context of menorrhagia, was the most observed anemia profile. The mean value of hemoglobin was 10.5 ± 1 g/dl. Among these women: 32 (74%) presented an iron deficiency, 17 (53%) had inappropriate intakes, and 9 (28%) reported menorrhagia. For 17 (40%) women, unnecessary or inappropriate exams were prescribed. The investigations did not allow to establish a differential diagnosis for 12 women (28%). Even for similar clinical situations, anemia management was variable. Among the women who presented iron deficiency, 15 (47%) were informed about an iron-rich diet and received a daily iron supplementation of ferrous sulfate between 80 mg and 160 mg. Our study highlights that, in the absence of specific national guidelines for anemia management in non-pregnant, non-menopausal women in primary care settings, French GPs undergo various clinical management strategies leading to a heterogeneous, sometimes inappropriate follow-up. Women with iron deficiency were prescribed higher daily iron supplementation than recommended, according to new evidence, suggesting a maximal daily dose of 50 mg of elementary iron in a context of Hepcidin up-regulation in the case of an iron overload. Additional longitudinal studies with a bigger sample size and randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm our results and to elaborate national guidelines.

  • Job satisfaction, burnout, and turnover intention among primary care providers in rural China: results from structural equation modeling
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2020-01-15
    Haipeng Wang; Yinzi Jin; Dan Wang; Shichao Zhao; Xingang Sang; Beibei Yuan

    Low job satisfaction, severe burnout and high turnover intention are found to be prevalent among the primary care providers (PCPs) in township health centers (THCs), but their associations have received scant attention in the literature. In light of this, this study aims to examine the relationships between job satisfaction, burnout and turnover intention, and explore the predictors of turnover intention with a view to retaining PCPs in rural China. Using the multistage cluster sampling method, a cross-sectional survey was conducted in Shandong Province, China. 1148 PCPs from 47 THCs participated in this study. Job satisfaction, burnout and turnover intention were measured with a multifaceted instrument developed based on the existing literature, the Maslach Burnout Inventory and the participants’ responses to a Likert item drawn from the literature, respectively. The relationships of the three factors were examined using Pearson correlation and structural equation modeling, while the predictors of turnover intention were investigated using multivariate logistic regression. The subscale that the PCPs were most dissatisfied with was job rewards (95.12%), followed by working environment (49.65%) and organizational management (47.98%). The percentages of the PCPs reporting high-levels of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced personal accomplishment were 27.66, 6.06, and 38.74%, respectively. About 14.06% of the respondents had high turnover intention. There was a significant direct effect of job satisfaction on burnout (γ = − 0.52) and turnover intention (γ = − 0.29), a significant direct effect of burnout on turnover intention (γ = 0.28), and a significant indirect effect (γ = − 0.14) of job satisfaction on turnover intention through burnout as a mediator. Work environment satisfaction, medical practicing environment satisfaction, and organizational management satisfaction proved to be negative predictors of turnover intention (p < 0.05), whereas reduced personal accomplishment was identified as a positive predictor (p < 0.05). Plagued by low job satisfaction and severe burnout, the PCPs in rural China may have high turnover intentions. Job satisfaction had not only negative direct effects on burnout and turnover intention, but also an indirect effect on turnover intention through burnout as a mediator. Targeted strategies should be taken to motivate and retain the PCPs.

  • Twenty-five years on: revisiting Bosnia and Herzegovina after implementation of a family medicine development program
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2020-01-13
    Geoffrey Hodgetts; Glenn Brown; Olivera Batić-Mujanović; Larisa Gavran; Zaim Jatić; Maja Račić; Gordana Tešanović; Amra Zahilić; Mary Martin; Richard Birtwhistle

    The wars that ravaged the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the 1990’s resulted in the near destruction of the healthcare system, including education of medical students and the training of specialist physicians. In the latter stages of the war, inspired by Family Medicine programs in countries such as Canada, plans to rebuild a new system founded on a strong primary care model emerged. Over the next fifteen years, the Queen’s University Family Medicine Development Program in Bosnia and Herzegovina played an instrumental role in rebuilding the primary care system through educational initiatives at the undergraduate, residency, Masters, PhD, and continuing professional development levels. Changes were supported by new laws and regulations to insure sustainability. This study revisited Bosnia and Herzegovina (B-H) 8-years after the end of the program to explore the impact of initiatives through understanding the perspectives and experiences of individuals at all levels of the primary care system from students, deans of medical schools, Family Medicine residents, practicing physicians, Health Center Directors and Association Leaders. Qualitative exploratory design using purposeful sampling. Semi-structured interviews and focus groups with key informants were conducted in English or with an interpreter as needed and audiotaped. Transcripts and field notes were analyzed using an interpretative phenomenological approach to identify major themes and subthemes. Overall, 118 participants were interviewed. Three major themes and 9 subthemes were identified including (1) The Development of Family Medicine Education, (subthemes: establishment of departments of family medicine, undergraduate medical curriculum change), (2) Family Medicine as a Discipline (Family Medicine specialization, academic development, and Family Medicine Associations), and (3) Health Care System Issues (continuity of care, comprehensiveness of care, practice organization and health human resources). Despite the impact of years of war and the challenges of a complex and unstable postwar environment, initiatives introduced by the Queen’s Program succeeded in establishing sustainable changes, allowing Family Medicine in B-H to continue to adapt without abandoning its strong foundations. Despite the success of the program, the undervaluing of Primary Care from a human resource and health finance perspective presents ongoing threats to the system.

  • Heart failure management insights from primary care physicians and allied health care providers in Southwestern Ontario
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2020-01-13
    Narlon C. Boa Sorte Silva; Roseanne W. Pulford; Douglas S. Lee; Robert J. Petrella

    It remains to be determined whether collaborative strategies to improve and sustain overall health in patients with heart failure (HF) are currently being adopted by health care professionals. We surveyed primary care physicians, nurses and allied health care professionals in Southwestern Ontario regarding how they currently manage HF patients and how they perceive limitations, barriers and challenges in achieving optimal management in these patients. We developed an online survey based on field expertise and a review of pertinent literature in HF management. We analyzed quantitative data collected via an online questionnaire powered by Qualtrics®. The survey included 87 items, including multiple choice and free text questions. We collected participant demographic and educational background, and information relating to general clinical practice and specific to HF management. The survey was 25 min long and was administered in October and November of 2018. We included 118 health care professionals from network lists of affiliated physicians and clinics of the department of Family Medicine at Western University; 88.1% (n = 104) were physicians while 11.9% (n = 14) were identified as other health care professionals. Two-thirds of our respondents were females (n = 72) and nearly one-third were males (n = 38). The survey included mostly family physicians (n = 74) and family medicine residents (n = 25). Most respondents indicated co-managing their HF patients with other health care professionals, including cardiologists and internists. The vast majority of respondents reported preferring to manage their HF patients as part of a team rather than alone. As well, the majority respondents (n = 47) indicated being satisfied with the way they currently manage their HF patients; however, some indicated that practice set up and communication resources, followed by experience and education relating to HF guidelines, current drug therapy and medical management were important barriers to optimal management of HF patients. Most respondents indicated HF management was satisfactory, however, a minority did identify some areas for improvement (communication systems, work more collaborative as a team, education resources and access to specialists). Future research should consider these factors in developing strategies to enhance primary care involvement in co-management of HF patients, within collaborative and multidisciplinary systems of care.

  • Ultrasonography in assessing suspected bone fractures: a cross-sectional survey amongst German general practitioners
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2020-01-13
    Gordian Lukas Schmid; Beatrice Kühnast; Marcus Heise; Tobias Deutsch; Thomas Frese

    Over the last two decades, ultrasonography (US) has been shown to be an accurate tool for the diagnosis of suspected bone fractures; however, the integration of this application of US into routine care and outpatient settings needs to be explored. In this study, we surveyed German general practitioners (GPs) to assess their knowledge, attitudes, and utilization of US for the diagnosis of suspected fractures. Notification of the study, a self-designed questionnaire, and a reminder were mailed to 600 randomly selected GPs in Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. The response rate was 47.7% (n = 286), and respondents did not differ from the population of all GPs in respect to sex and practice type. Among GPs surveyed, 48.6% used an US device in their practice. On average, GPs diagnosed six patients with suspected fractures per month, yet only 39.3% knew about the possibility of ultrasonographic fracture diagnosis, and only 4.3% of GPs using US applied it for this purpose. Among participants, 71.9% believed that US is inferior to conventional X-rays for the diagnosis of bony injuries. Users of US were better informed of and more commonly used US for fracture diagnosis compared to non-users. The need to rule out possible fractures frequently arises in general practice, and US devices are broadly available. Further efforts are needed to improve the knowledge and attitudes of GPs regarding the accuracy of US for fracture diagnosis. Multicenter controlled trials could explore the safety, usefulness, and effectiveness of this still seldom used diagnostic approach for suspected fractures.

  • Frequent attenders in the German healthcare system: determinants of high utilization of primary care services. Results from the cross-sectional German health interview and examination survey for adults (DEGS)
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2020-01-13
    Melanie Luppa; Jan Giersdorf; Steffi Riedel-Heller; Franziska Prütz; Alexander Rommel

    In Germany, patients are consulting general practitioners increasingly frequently, resulting in a high burden on the healthcare system. This study aimed to identify factors associated with frequent primary care attendance in the German healthcare system. The German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults (DEGS) is part of Germany’s national health monitoring, and includes a large representative sample of the German population aged 18–79 years. We defined the 10% of participants with the highest number of general practitioner contacts in the preceding 12 months as frequent attenders of primary care services. Binary logistic regression models with average marginal effects were used to identify potential determinants for frequent use of primary care services. The sample comprised 7956 participants. Significant effects on frequent use of primary care were observed for low socioeconomic status, stressful life events, factors related to medical need for care such as medically diagnosed chronic conditions and for subjective health. In the full model, the number of non-communicable diseases and subjective health status had the strongest effect on frequent primary care use. We found an interaction effect suggesting that the association between subjective health status and frequent attendance vanishes with a higher number of non-communicable diseases. We observed strong associations between frequent primary care attendance and medical need for care as well as subjective health-related factors. These findings suggest that better coordination of care may be a preferred method to manage health services utilization and to avoid redundant examinations and uncoordinated clinical pathways. Further research is needed to clarify moderating and mediating factors contributing to high utilization of primary care services.

  • ABC-tool reinvented: development of a disease-specific ‘Assessment of Burden of Chronic Conditions (ABCC)-tool’ for multiple chronic conditions
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2020-01-13
    Esther A. Boudewijns; Danny Claessens; Onno C. P. van Schayck; Lotte C. E. M. Keijsers; Philippe L. Salomé; Johannes C. C. M. in ‘t Veen; Henk J. G. Bilo; Annerika H. M. Gidding-Slok

    Numerous instruments have been developed to assess patient reported outcomes; most approaches however focus on a single condition. With the increasing prevalence of multimorbidity, this might no longer be appropriate. Moreover, a more comprehensive approach that facilitates shared decision making and stimulates self-management is most likely more valuable for clinical practice than a questionnaire alone. This study aims to transform the Assessment of Burden of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (ABC)-tool into the Assessment of Burden of Chronic Conditions (ABCC)-tool for COPD, asthma, and diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM2). The tool consists of a scale, a visualisation of the outcomes, and treatment advice. Requirements for the tool were formulated. Questionnaires were developed based on a literature study of existing questionnaires, clinical guidelines, interviews with patients and healthcare providers, and input from an expert group. Cut-off points and treatment advice were determined to display the results and to provide practical recommendations. The ABCC-scale consists of a generic questionnaire and disease-specific questionnaires, which can be combined into a single individualized questionnaire for each patient. Results are displayed in one balloon chart, and each domain includes practical recommendations. The ABCC-tool is expected to facilitate conversations between a patient and a healthcare provider, and to help formulate treatment plans and care plans with personalised goals. By facilitating an integrated approach, this instrument can be applied in a variety of circumstances and disease combinations.

  • Complexities in consultations in case of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide: a survey among SCEN physicians
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2020-01-09
    Tessa D. Bergman; H. Roeline W. Pasman; Bregje D. Onwuteaka-Philipsen

    In the Netherlands, euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide (EAS) is allowed if due care criteria are met. One criterion is consultation of a second independent physician, often SCEN physicians. The public debate about EAS focuses on patients with psychiatric disorders, dementia, and tired of living, as complex cases. What complexities SCEN physicians perceive during consultation is unknown. This study aims to assess the frequency of EAS consultations that are perceived difficult by SCEN physicians, to explore what complexities are perceived by SCEN physicians during consultation, and to assess what characteristics are associated with difficult consultations. Data from 2015 to 2017 from an annual cross-sectional survey among SCEN physicians was used. In 2015, the survey focused on the most difficult consultation that year and in 2016/2017 on the most recent consultation. Frequencies of coded answers to an open-ended question were done to explore what complexities SCEN physicians perceived during their most difficult consultation. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to assess what characteristics were associated with difficult consultations. 21.6% of cases consulted by SCEN physicians is perceived difficult. Complexities that SCEN physicians perceive were mainly in contact with patients (79.7%) and in the assessment of due care criteria (41.0%). Characteristics that were associated with a higher likelihood of a consultation being difficult are the attending physician being less certain to perform the EAS, patients staying in the hospital, main diagnosis heart failure/CVA, and accumulation of age-related health problems/psychiatry/dementia, and the presence of a psychiatric disorder, or psychosocial or existential problems besides the main diagnosis. Characteristics that were associated with a lower likelihood of a consultation being difficult are high patient’s age and physical suffering as reason to request EAS. Complexities perceived by SCEN physicians in EAS consultations are not limited to the ‘complex’ cases present in the current public debate about EAS, e.g. patients with psychiatric disorders, dementia, and tired of living. Attention for these complexities in intervision could indicate if there is a need among SCEN physicians to enhance knowledge and skills in training and to receive specific support in intervision on these complexities.

  • Applying evidence-based medicine in general practice: a video-stimulated interview study on workplace-based observation
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2020-01-08
    Lisanne S. Welink; Kaatje Van Roy; Roger A. M. J. Damoiseaux; Hilde A. Suijker; Peter Pype; Esther de Groot; Marie-Louise E. L. Bartelink

    Evidence-based medicine (EBM) in general practice involves applying a complex combination of best-available evidence, the patient’s preferences and the general practitioner’s (GP) clinical expertise in decision-making. GPs and GP trainees learn how to apply EBM informally by observing each other’s consultations, as well as through more deliberative forms of workplace-based learning. This study aims to gain insight into workplace-based EBM learning by investigating the extent to which GP supervisors and trainees recognise each other’s EBM behaviour through observation, and by identifying aspects that influence their recognition. We conducted a qualitative multicentre study based on video-stimulated recall interviews (VSI) of paired GP supervisors and GP trainees affiliated with GP training institutes in Belgium and the Netherlands. The GP pairs (n = 22) were shown fragments of their own and their partner’s consultations and were asked to elucidate their own EBM considerations and the ones they recognised in their partner’s actions. The interview recordings were transcribed verbatim and analysed with NVivo. By comparing pairs who recognised each other’s considerations well with those who did not, we developed a model describing the aspects that influence the observer’s recognition of an actor’s EBM behaviour. Overall, there was moderate similarity between an actor’s EBM behaviour and the observer’s recognition of it. Aspects that negatively influence recognition are often observer-related. Observers tend to be judgemental, give unsolicited comments on how they would act themselves and are more concerned with the trainee-supervisor relationship than objective observation. There was less recognition when actors used implicit reasoning, such as mindlines (internalised, collectively reinforced tacit guidelines). Pair-related aspects also played a role: previous discussion of a specific topic or EBM decision-making generally enhanced recognition. Consultation-specific aspects played only a marginal role. GP trainees and supervisors do not fully recognise EBM behaviour through observing each other’s consultations. To improve recognition of EBM behaviour and thus benefit from informal observational learning, observers need to be aware of automatic judgements that they make. Creating explicit learning moments in which EBM decision-making is discussed, can improve shared knowledge and can also be useful to unveil tacit knowledge derived from mindlines.

  • Variables associated with interprofessional collaboration: a comparison between primary healthcare and specialized mental health teams
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2020-01-08
    Nicolas Ndibu Muntu Keba Kebe; François Chiocchio; Jean-Marie Bamvita; Marie-Josée Fleury

    This study has two aims: first, to identify variables associated with interprofessional collaboration (IPC) among a total of 315 Quebec mental health (MH) professionals working in MH primary care teams (PCTs, N = 101) or in specialized service teams (SSTs, N = 214); and second, to compare IPC associated variables in MH-PCTs vs MH-SSTs. A large number of variables acknowledged as strongly related to IPC in the literature were tested. Multivariate regression models were performed on MH-PCTs and MH-SSTs respectively. Results showed that knowledge integration, team climate and multifocal identification were independently and positively associated with IPC in both MH-PCTs and MH-SSTs. By contrast, knowledge sharing was positively associated with IPC in MH-PCTs only, and organizational support positively associated with IPC in MH-SSTs. Finally, one variable (age) was significantly and negatively associated with IPC in SSTs. Improving IPC and making MH teams more successful require the development and implementation of differentiated professional skills in MH-PCTs and MH-SSTs by care managers depending upon the level of care required (primary or specialized). Training is also needed for the promotion of interdisciplinary values and improvement of interprofessional knowledge regarding IPC.

  • Youth StepCare: a pilot study of an online screening and recommendations service for depression and anxiety among youth patients in general practice
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2020-01-07
    Belinda Louise Parker; Melinda Rose Achilles; Mirjana Subotic-Kerry; Bridianne O’Dea

    General Practitioners (GPs) are ideally placed to identify and manage emerging mental illness in young people, however, many report low levels of confidence in doing so. A web-based universal screening service delivered via a mobile tablet, Youth StepCare, was developed to assist GPs in identifying depression and anxiety symptoms in youth patients. This service also provided evidence-based treatment recommendations and fortnightly monitoring of symptoms. The current study assessed the feasibility and acceptability of delivering the Youth StepCare service in Australian general practices. A 12-week uncontrolled trial was undertaken between August 2018 and January 2019 in two general practices in NSW, Australia. The service was offered to all youth patients aged 14 to 17 years who visited a participating GP during the screening period with their parent or guardian. Youth patients reported the presence of depressive and anxiety symptoms using the self-report Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and the Generalised Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire-7. New cases were defined as those who reported symptoms but were not currently seeking help from their GP, nor had sought help in the past. Feasibility and acceptability among GPs and practice staff were assessed using a battery of questionnaires. Five GPs and 6 practice staff took part. A total of 46 youth patients were approached, 28 consented, and 19 completed the screener (67.9%). Nine reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, two of which were new cases (22.2%). GPs and practice staff were satisfied with the service, reporting that there was a need for the service and that they would use it again. The Youth StepCare service appears to be a useful tool for identifying youth with unidentified symptoms of mental illness that can be easily embedded into general practice. Further research would benefit from exploring the factors affecting initial GP uptake and a larger trial is required to determine the efficacy of the service on young people’s symptom reduction.

  • Evaluating implementation and impact of a provincial quality improvement collaborative for the management of chronic diseases in primary care: the COMPAS+ study protocol
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2020-01-07
    Brigitte Vachon; Isabelle Gaboury; Matthew Menear; Marie-Pascale Pomey; Denis Roy; Lise Houle; Mylaine Breton; Arnaud Duhoux; Valérie Émond; Guylaine Giasson; Janusz Kaczorowski; France Légaré; Marie-Thérèse Lussier; Pierre Pluye; Alain Vanasse

    Chronic conditions such as diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are common and burdensome diseases primarily managed in primary care. Yet, evidence points to suboptimal quality of care for these conditions in primary care settings. Quality improvement collaboratives (QICs) are organized, multifaceted interventions that can be effective in improving chronic disease care processes and outcomes. In Quebec, Canada, the Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS) has developed a large-scale QIC province-wide program called COMPAS+ that aims to improve the prevention and management of chronic diseases in primary care. This paper describes the protocol for our study, which aims to evaluate implementation and impact of COMPAS+ QICs on the prevention and management of targeted chronic diseases like diabetes and COPD. This is a mixed-methods, integrated knowledge translation study. The quantitative component involves a controlled interrupted time series involving nine large integrated health centres in the province. Study sites will receive one of two interventions: the multifaceted COMPAS+ intervention (experimental condition) or a feedback only intervention (control condition). For the qualitative component, a multiple case study approach will be used to achieve an in-depth understanding of individual, team, organizational and contextual factors influencing implementation and effectiveness of the COMPAS+ QICs. COMPAS+ is a QI program that is unique in Canada due to its integration within the governance of the Quebec healthcare system and its capacity to reach many primary care providers and people living with chronic diseases across the province. We anticipate that this study will address several important gaps in knowledge related to large-scale QIC projects and generate strong and useful evidence (e.g., on leadership, organizational capacity, patient involvement, and implementation) having the potential to influence the design and optimisation of future QICs in Canada and internationally.

  • Clinician and patient barriers to the recognition of insomnia in family practice: a narrative summary of reported literature analysed using the theoretical domains framework
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2020-01-04
    Rowan P. Ogeil; Samantha P. Chakraborty; Alan C. Young; Dan I. Lubman

    Insomnia is a common sleep complaint, with 10% of adults in the general population experiencing insomnia disorder, defined as lasting longer than three months in DSM-5. Up to 50% of patients attending family practice experience insomnia, however despite this, symptoms of insomnia are not often screened for, or discussed within this setting. We aimed to examine barriers to the assessment and diagnosis of insomnia in family practice from both the clinician and patient perspective. The present article identified research that has examined barriers to assessing insomnia from the clinician’s and the client’s perspectives following MEDLINE and Google Scholar searches, and then classified these barriers using the theoretical domains framework. The most common barriers from the clinician’s perspective were related to Knowledge, Skills, and the Environmental Context. From the patient perspective, barriers identified included their Beliefs about the consequences of Insomnia, Social Influences, and Behavioural Regulation of Symptoms. Utilising this theoretical framework, we discuss options for bridging the gap between the identification and subsequent management of insomnia within the family practice setting. To assist clinicians and those in community health care to overcome the Knowledge and Skills barriers identified, this article provides existing relevant clinical criteria that can be utilised to make a valid diagnosis of insomnia.

  • Which difficulties do GPs experience in consultations with patients with unexplained symptoms: a qualitative study
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-12-29
    Juul Houwen; Peter L. B. J. Lucassen; Anna Verwiel; Hugo W. Stappers; Willem J. J. Assendelft; Tim C. olde Hartman; Sandra van Dulmen

    Many general practitioners (GPs) struggle with the communication with patients with medically unexplained symptoms (MUS). This study aims to identify GPs’ difficulties in communication during MUS consultations. We video-recorded consultations and asked GPs immediately after the consultation whether MUS were presented. GPs and patients were then asked to reflect separately on the consultation in a semi-structured interview while watching the consultation. We selected the comments where GPs experienced difficulties or indicated they should have done something else and analysed these qualitatively according to the principles of constant comparative analysis. Next, we selected those video-recorded transcripts in which the patient also experienced difficulties; we analysed these to identify problems in the physician-patient communication. Twenty GPs participated, of whom two did not identify any MUS consultations. Eighteen GPs commented on 39 MUS consultations. In 11 consultations, GPs did not experience any difficulties. In the remaining 28 consultations, GPs provided 84 comments on 60 fragments where they experienced difficulties. We identified three issues for improvement in the GPs’ communication: psychosocial exploration, structure of the consultation (more attention to summaries, shared agenda setting) and person-centredness (more attention to the reason for the appointment, the patient’s story, the quality of the contact and sharing decisions). Analysis of the patients’ views on the fragments where the GP experienced difficulties showed that in the majority of these fragments (n = 42) the patients’ comments were positive. The video-recorded transcripts (n = 9) where the patient experienced problems too were characterised by the absence of a dialogue (the GP being engaged in exploring his/her own concepts, asking closed questions and interrupting the patient). GPs were aware of the importance of good communication. According to them, they could improve their communication further by paying more attention to psychosocial exploration, the structure of the consultation and communicating in a more person-centred way. The transcripts where the patient experienced problems too, were characterised by an absence of dialogue (focussing on his/her own concept, asking closed questions and frequently interrupting the patient).

  • Identifying subgroups of persons with multimorbidity based on their needs for care and support
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-12-27
    Mieke Rijken; Iris van der Heide

    There is broad consensus that countries need to develop and implement person-centred integrated care to better meet the needs of their growing populations with multimorbidity. To develop appropriate care, it is essential to know the needs for care and support among these populations. For this purpose, we examined whether subgroups of people with multimorbidity could be distinguished based on their needs, and profiled these subgroups according to medical complexity and the availability of personal resources. Persons diagnosed with two or more somatic chronic diseases (N = 613) were selected from 38 general practices throughout the Netherlands. We conducted a cluster analysis of their scores on the RAND-36 questionnaire of health-related quality of life (QoL), to gain insight in their needs for care and support. Differences in demographics, medical characteristics and personal resources between the identified clusters were tested using analysis of variance and chi-square tests. The cluster analysis revealed three subgroups: 1. a group with a relatively good QoL (48% of the sample), 2. a group with a poor physical QoL (28%), and 3. a group with a poor QoL in all domains assessed by the RAND-36 (24%). The group with a relatively good QoL had more favourable medical characteristics than the other groups, i.e., less chronic diseases, shorter illness duration, more stable course of illness, better controllable conditions, less polypharmacy. The group with a poor QoL in all domains could rely on less personal resources (education, income, social support, health literacy, self-management capabilities) than the other groups. Different subgroups of people with multimorbidity can be distinguished based on their needs for care and support. These needs are not only determined by demographic and medical characteristics, but also by the personal resources people have available to manage their health and care. Patient profiles combining medical complexity and personal resources could guide the development of integrated care for specific target groups of persons with multimorbidity.

  • What rationale do GPs use to choose a particular antibiotic for a specific clinical situation?
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-12-20
    Jegatha Krishnakumar; Rosy Tsopra

    Many studies have investigated the ways in which physicians decide whether to prescribe antibiotics, but very few studies have focused on the reasons for which general practitioners (GPs) choose to prescribe a particular antibiotic in a specific clinical situation. Improvements in our understanding of the rationale behind GPs’ decisions would provide insight into the reasons for which GPs do not always prescribe the antibiotic recommended in clinical practice guidelines and facilitate the development of appropriate interventions to improve antibiotic prescription. The objective of the study was to understand the rationale used by GPs to decide which antibiotic to prescribe in a specific clinical situation, and to propose a model representing this rationale. We used a three-step process. First, data were collected from interviews with 20 GPs, and analysed according to the grounded theory approach. Second, data were collected from publications exploring the factors used by GPs to choose an antibiotic. Third, data were used to develop a comprehensive model of the rationale used by GPs to decide which antibiotic to prescribe. The GPs considered various factors when choosing antibiotics: factors relating to microbiology (bacterial resistance), pharmacology (adverse effects, efficacy, practicality of the administration protocol, antibiotic class, drug cost), clinical conditions (patient profile and comorbid conditions, symptoms, progression of infection, history of antibiotic treatment, preference), and personal factors (GP’s experience, knowledge, emotion, preference). Various interventions, targeting all the factors underlying antibiotic choice, are required to improve antibiotic prescription. GP-related factors could be improved through interventions aiming to improve the GPs’ knowledge of antibiotics (e.g. continuing medical education). Factors relating to microbiology, pharmacology and clinical conditions could be targeted through the use of clinical decision support systems in everyday clinical practice.

  • TIA and minor stroke: a qualitative study of long-term impact and experiences of follow-up care
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-12-17
    Grace M. Turner; Christel McMullan; Lou Atkins; Robbie Foy; Jonathan Mant; Melanie Calvert

    Transient ischaemic attack (TIA) and minor stroke are often considered transient events; however, many patients experience residual problems and reduced quality of life. Current follow-up healthcare focuses on stroke prevention and care for other long-term problems is not routinely provided. We aimed to explore patient and healthcare provider (HCP) experiences of residual problems post-TIA/minor stroke, the impact of TIA/minor stroke on patients’ lives, and current follow-up care and sources of support. This qualitative study recruited participants from three TIA clinics, seven general practices and one community care trust in the West Midlands, England. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 TIA/minor stroke patients and 24 HCPs from primary, secondary and community care. Data was analysed using framework analysis. A diverse range of residual problems were reported post-TIA/minor stroke, including psychological, cognitive and physical impairments. Consultants and general practitioners generally lacked awareness of these long-term problems; however, there was better recognition among nurses and allied HCPs. Residual problems significantly affected patients’ lives, including return to work, social activities, and relationships with family and friends. Follow-up care was variable and medically focused. While HCPs prioritised medical investigations and stroke prevention medication, patients emphasised the importance of understanding their diagnosis, individualised support regarding stroke risk, and addressing residual problems. HCPs could better communicate information about TIA/minor stroke diagnosis and secondary stroke prevention using lay language, and improve their identification of and response to important residual impairments affecting patients.

  • Physicians’ experiences with euthanasia: a cross-sectional survey amongst a random sample of Dutch physicians to explore their concerns, feelings and pressure
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-12-17
    Kirsten Evenblij; H. Roeline W. Pasman; Johannes J. M. van Delden; Agnes van der Heide; Suzanne van de Vathorst; Dick L. Willems; Bregje D. Onwuteaka-Philipsen

    Physicians who receive a request for euthanasia or assisted suicide may experience a conflict of duties: the duty to preserve life on the one hand and the duty to relieve suffering on the other hand. Little is known about experiences of physicians with receiving and granting a request for euthanasia or assisted suicide. This study, therefore, aimed to explore the concerns, feelings and pressure experienced by physicians who receive requests for euthanasia or assisted suicide. In 2016, a cross-sectional study was conducted. Questionnaires were sent to a random sample of 3000 Dutch physicians. Physicians who had been working in adult patient care in the Netherlands for the last year were included in the sample (n = 2657). Half of the physicians were asked about the most recent case in which they refused a request for euthanasia or assisted suicide, and half about the most recent case in which they granted a request for euthanasia or assisted suicide. Of the 2657 eligible physicians, 1374 (52%) responded. The most reported reason not to participate was lack of time. Of the respondents, 248 answered questions about a refused euthanasia or assisted suicide request and 245 about a granted EAS request. Concerns about specific aspects of the euthanasia and assisted suicide process, such as the emotional burden of preparing and performing euthanasia or assisted suicide were commonly reported by physicians who refused and who granted a request. Pressure to grant a request was mostly experienced by physicians who refused a request, especially if the patient was ≥80 years, had a life-expectancy of ≥6 months and did not have cancer. The large majority of physicians reported contradictory emotions after having performed euthanasia or assisted suicide. Society should be aware of the impact of euthanasia and assisted suicide requests on physicians. The tension physicians experience may decrease their willingness to perform euthanasia and assisted suicide. On the other hand, physicians should not be forced to cross their own moral boundaries or be tempted to perform euthanasia and assisted suicide in cases that may not meet the due care criteria.

  • Patient-reported GP health assessments rather than individual cardiovascular risk burden are associated with the engagement in lifestyle changes: population-based survey in South Australia
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-12-13
    David Alejandro Gonzalez-Chica; Jacqueline Bowden; Caroline Miller; Marie Longo; Mark Nelson; Christopher Reid; Nigel Stocks

    Little is known about whether a more comprehensive health assessment, performed by a general practitioner (GP) during a clinical encounter, could influence patients’ lifestyle. We aimed to investigate whether health assessments, performed by GPs, are more important than the presence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) or cardiometabolic risk factors (obesity, diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidaemia) for engagement in lifestyle change. Cross-sectional, population-based survey conducted in South Australia (September–December 2017) using face-to-face interviews and self-reported data of 2977 individuals aged 15+ years. The main outcome was engagement in four lifestyle changes: 1) increasing fruit/vegetable intake, 2) increasing physical activity level, 3) reducing alcohol consumption, and 4) attempts to stop smoking. Health assessments performed by a GP in the last 12 months included clinical/laboratory investigations (weight/waist circumference, blood pressure, glucose levels, lipid levels) and questions about lifestyle/wellbeing (current diet, physical activity, smoking status, alcohol intake, mental health, sleeping problems). Results were restricted to individuals aged 35+ years because of the low prevalence of CVD or their risk factors among younger participants. Logistic regression was used in all associations, adjusted for sociodemographic, lifestyle, mental health, and clinical variables. Of the 2384 investigated adults (mean age 57.3 ± 13.9 years; 51.9% females), 10.2% had CVD and 49.1% at least one cardiometabolic risk factor. Clinical/laboratory assessments performed by the GP were 2–3 times more frequent than assessments of lifestyle, mental health status, or sleeping problems, especially among those with CVD. Individuals with CVD or a cardiometabolic risk factor were no more likely to be increasing their fruit/vegetable consumption (33.6%), physical activity level (40.9%), reducing alcohol consumption (31.1%), or trying to quit smoking (34.0%) than ‘healthy’ participants. However, lifestyle changes were between 30 and 100% more likely when GPs performed three or more health assessments (either clinical/laboratory or questions about lifestyle/wellbeing) than when individuals did not visit the GP or when GPs performed no any assessment during these clinical encounters (p < 0.05 in all cases). More frequent and comprehensive CVD-related assessments by GPs were more important in promoting a healthier lifestyle than the presence of CVD or cardiometabolic risk factors by themselves.

  • Indications and administration practices amongst medical cannabis healthcare providers: a cross-sectional survey
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-12-14
    Jamie Corroon; Michelle Sexton; Ryan Bradley

    The medical use of cannabis has been legislatively restricted for decades in the US and abroad. In recent years, changing local and national policies have given rise to a community of healthcare providers who may be recommending the medical use of cannabis without the benefit of formal clinical practice guidelines or sufficient training and education. In addition, a citizen science movement has emerged whereby unlicensed and untrained individuals are acting as healthcare provider proxies, offering cannabis-specific clinical care to “patients”. This study sought to characterize the clinical practice characteristics of these provider groups. An anonymous, online survey was designed to describe levels of cannabis-specific education, practice characteristics, indications for medical use, dose, administration forms and adverse effects related to cannabis use. The questionnaire was disseminated via professional medical cannabis associations and by word-of-mouth. It was accessed between June 31–December 31, 2018. A self-selecting sample of respondents (n = 171) completed the survey. Formal education or training in the medical use of cannabis was significantly more common among licensed respondents than unlicensed respondents (95.5% vs 76.9% respectively, OR, 6.3, 95% CI, 1.2–32.3, p = 0.03). The vast majority (n = 74, 83.15%) of licensed respondents reported having recommended cannabis as an adjunct to an existing prescription drug. Almost two-thirds (n = 64, 71.9%) reported having recommended it as a substitute. When delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the principal therapeutic constituent of interest, vaporization is the most common method of administration recommended (n = 94 responses, 71.4% of respondents). In contrast, when cannabidiol (CBD) is the principal therapeutic constituent of interest, oral administration (sublingual or oromucosal absorption) is the most common method (n = 70 responses, 71.4% of respondents). Individuals who recommend the medical use of cannabis appear to be self-generating a community standard of practice in the absence of formal clinical guidelines on dosing, interactions and other characteristics. Reducing barriers to clinical research on cannabis products is needed, not only to better understand their risks and benefits, but also to augment the evidence-base for informing clinical practice.

  • How do Dutch general practitioners detect and diagnose atrial fibrillation? Results of an online case vignette study
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-12-14
    N. (Nicole) Verbiest - van Gurp; D. (Dominique) van Mil; H. A. M. (Henri) van Kesteren; J. A. (André) Knottnerus; H. E. J. H. (Jelle) Stoffers

    Detection and treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF) are important given the serious health consequences. AF may be silent or paroxysmal and remain undetected. It is unclear whether general practitioners (GPs) have appropriate equipment and optimally utilise it to detect AF. This case vignette study aimed to describe current practice and to explore possible improvements to optimise AF detection. Between June and July 2017, we performed an online case vignette study among Dutch GPs. We aimed at obtaining at least 75 responses to the questionnaire. We collected demographics and asked GPs’ opinion on their knowledge and experience in diagnosing AF. GPs could indicate which diagnostic tools they have for AF. In six case vignettes with varying symptom frequency and physical signs, they could make diagnostic choices. The last questions covered screening and actions after diagnosing AF. We compared the answers to the Dutch guideline for GPs on AF. Seventy-six GPs completed the questionnaire. Seventy-four GPs (97%) thought they have enough knowledge and 72 (95%) enough experience to diagnose AF. Seventy-four GPs (97%) could order or perform ECGs without the interference of a cardiologist. In case of frequent symptoms of AF, 36–40% would choose short-term (i.e. 24–48 h) and 11–19% long-term (i.e. 7 days, 14 days or 1 month) monitoring. In case of non-frequent symptoms, 29–31% would choose short-term and 21–30% long-term monitoring. If opportunistic screening in primary care proves to be effective, 83% (58/70) will support it. Responding GPs report to have adequate equipment, knowledge, and experience to detect and diagnose AF. Almost all participants can order ECGs. Reported monitoring duration was shorter than recommended by the guideline. AF detection could improve by increasing the monitoring duration.

  • General practitioners’ accounts of negotiating antibiotic prescribing decisions with patients: a qualitative study on what influences antibiotic prescribing in low, medium and high prescribing practices
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-12-10
    Marieke M. van der Zande; Melanie Dembinsky; Giovanni Aresi; Tjeerd P. van Staa

    Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is high on the UK public health policy agenda, and poses challenges to patient safety and the provision of health services. Widespread prescribing of antibiotics is thought to increase AMR, and mostly takes place in primary medical care. However, prescribing rates vary substantially between general practices. The aim of this study was to understand contextual factors related to general practitioners’ (GPs) antibiotic prescribing behaviour in low, high, and around the mean (medium) prescribing primary care practices. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with 41 GPs working in North-West England. Participants were purposively sampled from practices with low, medium, and high antibiotic prescribing rates adjusted for the number and characteristics of patients registered in a practice. The interviews were analysed thematically. This study found that optimizing antibiotic prescribing creates tensions for GPs, particularly in doctor-patient communication during a consultation. GPs balanced patient expectations and their own decision-making in their communication. When not prescribing antibiotics, GPs reported the need for supportive mechanisms, such as regular practice meetings, within the practice, and in the wider healthcare system (e.g. longer consultation times). In low prescribing practices, GPs reported that increasing dialogue with colleagues, having consistent patterns of prescribing within the practice, supportive practice policies, and enough resources such as consultation time were important supports when not prescribing antibiotics. Insight into GPs’ negotiations with patient and public health demands, and consistent and supportive practice-level policies can help support prudent antibiotic prescribing among primary care practices.

  • A cluster randomized trial to measure the impact on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug and proton pump inhibitor prescribing in Italy of distributing cost-free paracetamol to osteoarthritic patients
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-12-06
    Massimo Vicentini; Pamela Mancuso; Paolo Giorgi Rossi; Sara Di Pede; Morena Pellati; Alberto Gandolfi; Daniela Zoboli; Daniela Riccò; Corrado Busani; Alessandra Ferretti

    Paracetamol is recommended as first-line treatment for pain control in osteoarthritis because it has fewer side effects than do other therapeutic options, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Prescribing proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) as gastric bleeding prophylaxis in chronic NSAID users is also common, although not recommended. In Italy, paracetamol is not reimbursed by the National Health System. The aim of this trial was to test whether the availability to osteoarthritis patients of free paracetamol would decrease their use of NSAIDs and, as a secondary objective, whether opioid and PPI consumption would also decrease. Eight general practitioners (GPs) (59 patients) were randomized to usual care and 8 (58 patients) to the experimental arm, where prescribed paracetamol was directly distributed for free by the local hospital. After 6 months, paracetamol was also available for free in the control arm. The main outcome was the pre/post difference in average NSAID and PPI consumption. Differences between experimental and control arms in pre/post differences are reported, as registered by the drug prescription information system. Average NSAID consumption decreased non-significantly, from 6.79 to 2.16 defined daily dose (DDD) in the experimental arm and from 3.19 to 2.97 DDD in the control group (p = 0.067). No changes were observed for PPIs (from 11.27 to 14.65 DDD and from 9.74 to 12.58 DDD in experimental and control arms, respectively, p = 0.788) or opioids (from 1.61 to 1.14 DDD and from 1.41 to 1.56 DDD in experimental and control arms, respectively, p = 0.419). When the intervention was extended to the control arm, no decrease in NSAID consumption was observed (from 2.46 to 2.43 DDD, p = 0.521). Removing small economic barriers had small or no effect on the appropriateness of opioid or PPI prescribing to patients with osteoarthritis; a reduction in NSAID consumption cannot be ruled out. NCT02691754 (Approved February 24, 2016).

  • Uptake of a primary care atrial fibrillation screening program (AF-SMART): a realist evaluation of implementation in metropolitan and rural general practice
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-12-06
    Jessica Orchard; Jialin Li; Robyn Gallagher; Ben Freedman; Nicole Lowres; Lis Neubeck

    Screening for atrial fibrillation (AF) in people aged ≥65 years is recommended by international guidelines. The Atrial Fibrillation Screen, Management And guideline-Recommended Therapy (AF-SMART) studies of opportunistic AF screening in 16 metropolitan and rural general practices were conducted from November 2016–June 2019. These studies trialled custom-designed eHealth tools to support all stages of AF screening in general practice. A realist evaluation of the AF-SMART studies, which aimed to explain the circumstances in which the program worked (or not) to increase the proportion of people screened for AF. The initial program theory was based on our previous research, policy documents and screening studies. To test this, we conducted 45 semi-structured interviews with general practitioners (GPs), nurses and practice managers across all participating practices, and collected observational and quantitative screening data. These data were analysed and interpreted to refine the program theory. GPs/nurses liked the eHealth tools, although technical problems sometimes disrupted screening. Time was the main barrier to screening for GPs/nurses, so systems need to be very efficient. Practices with leadership from a senior GP ‘screening champion’ had broader uptake, especially from the nursing team. Providing regular feedback on screening data was beneficial for quality improvement and motivation. Clear protocols for follow-up of abnormal results were required for successful nurse-led screening in a hierarchical system. Participation in the program had broader benefits of improving AF knowledge and raising the profile of cardiovascular health in the practice. Screening for a shorter, more intense period (eg during influenza vaccination) worked well for practices where sufficient staff time was allocated. Introducing an AF screening program is likely to be successful in contexts where there is a senior GP ‘screening champion’, a clear protocol exists for abnormal results, and there is regular data reporting to staff. These contexts link to mechanisms around motivation, leadership, empowerment of nurses, and efficient screening systems. The contexts and mechanisms contribute to the longer-term outcomes of increasing the proportion of people screened and treated for AF, which is recommended by guidelines as a key strategy for the prevention of AF-related stroke. AF SMART (metropolitan): ACTRN12616000850471 (Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry). AF SMART II (rural): ACTRN12618000004268 (Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry).

  • Perceptions, behaviours, barriers and needs of evidence-based medicine in primary care in Beijing: a qualitative study
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-12-06
    Yali Zhao; Xuexue Zhao; Yanli Liu; Yun Wei; Guanghui Jin; Shuang Shao; Xiaoqin Lu

    Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is gradually being recognized worldwide as an important clinical skill and plays an important role in health care. Although the concept has successfully spread in the health care field, EBM still has not been widely incorporated into clinical decisions in primary care due to potential barriers. This study aimed to explore the views, experiences and obstacles of general practitioners (GPs) regarding the use EBM in their daily clinical practices in Beijing. We performed a qualitative study with GP focus groups. Thirty-two GPs working in 26 community health service centres in 7 districts in Beijing were recruited. Four focus group sessions with 32 GPs were conducted in a meeting room at the Capital Medical University from January to February in 2018 in Beijing. All sessions were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed for themes using an inductive content analysis approach. GPs believed that EBM could help them enhance the quality of their clinical practice. The most common EBM behaviour of GPs was making clinical decisions according to guidelines. The barriers that limited the implementation of EBM were patients’ poor compliance, lack of time, lack of resources, inadequate skills or knowledge, and guideline production problems. The first need for GPs was to participate in training to enhance their skills in practising EBM. To practise EBM in general practice, integrated interventions of different levels need to be developed, including enhancing GPs’ communication skill and professional competency, training GPs on the implementation of EBM, employing more staff to reduce GPs’ workloads, providing adequate resource support, and developing evidence-based clinical guidelines for GPs.

  • Patient involvement in assessing consultation quality: validation of patient enablement instrument (PEI) in Lithuanian general practice
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-12-03
    Aelita Skarbalienė; Arnoldas Jurgutis; Eva Lena Strandberg; Teresa Pawlikowska

    The Patient Enablement Instrument (PEI) was designed to encapsulate consultation outcome from the perspective that increasing their understanding and coping ability would underpin a positive consultation outcome for patients. The objective of the study was the validation of the PEI in Lithuanian general practice and comparison of Lithuanian patients’ enablement with previous studies in Europe to see if factors associated with patient enablement in Lithuania were reflective of those in the previous studies. The Patient Enablement Instrument was translated into Lithuanian and included in the questionnaire along with the questions about a person’s health, reasons for visiting the doctor and feeling about the consultation. Practices from 4 different municipalities that are situated in different geographical regions which have both town and rural areas were sampled randomly. Patients scheduled consecutively aged 18 years or more were the subjects of the study. The data analyses focused on internal reliability and concept validity. The overall mean patient enablement score was 6.43. Enablement scores declined with increasing patient age, and female patients were more enabled. Patients with biomedical problems had the highest enablement results, while patients with complex problems had the lower results. Enablement was positively related to receiving a prescription and knowing a doctor, and negatively related to wish having consultation with another doctor. This study substantiates the rationality of using PEI in assessing primary care consultations in Lithuania. The correlations of enablement largely reflect the situation in Western and Central Europe: longer consultation and access to the same physician increases patient enablement.

  • The role of primary healthcare physicians in violence against Women intervention program in Indonesia
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-12-04
    Nuretha Hevy Purwaningtyas; Guswan Wiwaha; Elsa Pudji Setiawati; Insi Farisa Desy Arya

    Violence against women (VAW) has many impacts on health, but the role of the primary healthcare physicians in the intervention program is lacking. This research aimed to explore the primary healthcare physician role in a comprehensive intervention program of VAW in Malang City, Indonesia. This qualitative research was conducted using a phenomenology approach. A focused group discussion followed by in-depth interviews were carried out involving six primary healthcare physicians in Puskesmas (Primary Healthcare Center) and two stakeholders. Legal document related to VAW was reviewed to measure up the role of the primary healthcare physicians. Our study revealed that the role of physicians in primary healthcare centers on the VAW intervention program was limited. This was due to the insufficient knowledge of the physicians on the VAW program, physicians’ constraint on counseling skill, unsupportive infrastructure, and a limited number of physicians in Puskesmas. Some barriers related to the VAW program management were also discovered and needed intervention at the decision-maker level. The role of primary healthcare physicians in the comprehensive intervention of the VAW program is not optimum. The source of the problem involves the physician capability and program management aspects in all levels of decision-makers. Local government awareness and commitment are needed to improve the overall management of the VAW intervention program in this city.

  • General practitioners referring patients to specialists in tertiary healthcare: a qualitative study
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-12-01
    Konstantinos Tzartzas; Pierre-Nicolas Oberhauser; Régis Marion-Veyron; Céline Bourquin; Nicolas Senn; Friedrich Stiefel

    There is a large and unexplained variation in referral rates to specialists by general practitioners, which calls for investigations regarding general practitioners’ perceptions and expectations during the referral process. Our objective was to describe the decision-making process underlying referral of patients to specialists by general practitioners working in a university outpatient primary care center. Two focus groups were conducted among general practitioners (10 residents and 8 chief residents) working in the Center for Primary Care and Public Health (Unisanté) of the University of Lausanne, in Switzerland. Focus group data were analyzed with thematic content analysis. A feedback group of general practitioners validated the results. Participating general practitioners distinguished two kinds of situations regarding referral: a) “clear-cut situations”, in which the decision to refer or not seems obvious and b) “complex cases”, in which they hesitate to refer or not. Regarding the “complex cases”, they reported various types of concerns: a) about the treatment, b) about the patient and the doctor-patient relationship and c) about themselves. General practitioners evoked numerous reasons for referring, including non-medical factors such as influencing patients’ emotions, earning specialists’ esteem or sharing responsibility. They also explained that they seek validation by colleagues and postpone referral so as to relieve some of the decision-related distress. General practitioners’ referral of patients to specialists cannot be explained in biomedical terms only. It seems necessary to take into account the fact that referral is a sensitive topic for general practitioners, involving emotionally charged interactions and relationships with patients, colleagues, specialists and supervisors. The decision to refer or not is influenced by multiple contextual, personal and clinical factors that dynamically interact and shape the decision-making process.

  • To what degree do patients actively choose their healthcare provider at the point of referral by their GP? A video observation study
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-12-01
    Amy J. C. Potappel; Maartje C. Meijers; Corelien Kloek; Aafke Victoor; Janneke Noordman; Tim olde Hartman; Sandra van Dulmen; Judith D. de Jong

    Many countries in Europe have implemented managed competition and patient choice during the last decade. With the introduction of managed competition, health insurers also became an important stakeholder. They purchase services on behalf of their customers and are allowed to contract healthcare providers selectively. It has, therefore, become increasingly important to take one’s insurance into account when choosing a provider. There is little evidence that patients make active choices in the way that policymakers assume they do. This research aims to investigate, firstly, the role of patients in choosing a healthcare provider at the point of referral, then the role of the GP and, finally, the influence of the health insurer/insurance policies within this process. We videotaped a series of everyday consultations between Dutch GPs and their patients during 2015 and 2016. In 117 of these consultations, with 28 GPs, the patient was referred to another healthcare provider. These consultations were coded by three observers using an observation protocol which assessed the role of the patient, GP, and the influence of the health insurer during the referral. Patients were divided into three groups: patients with little or no input, patients with some input, and those with a lot of input. Just over half of the patients (56%) seemed to have some, or a lot of, input into the choice of a healthcare provider at the point of referral by their GP. In addition, in almost half of the consultations (47%), GPs inquired about their patients’ preferences regarding a healthcare provider. Topics regarding the health insurance or insurance policy of a patient were rarely (14%) discussed at the point of referral. Just over half of the patients appear to have some, or a lot of, input into their choice of a healthcare provider at the point of referral by their GP. However, the remainder of the patients had little or no input. If more patient choice continues to be an important aim for policy makers, patients should be encouraged to actively choose the healthcare provider who best fits their needs and preferences.

  • Are German family practitioners and psychiatrists sufficiently trained to diagnose and treat patients with alcohol problems?
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-08-15
    T. Hoffmann; K. Voigt; J. Kugler; L. Peschel; A. Bergmann; H. Riemenschneider

    Harmful alcohol consumption in Germany is a serious public health problem: About 7.7 million adults in Germany can be classified as risky alcohol consumers, about 74,000 deaths per year are related to alcohol consumption, and about 1.8 million adults in Germany (18–64 years) are classified as alcohol dependent. A treatment rate of 9% of all alcohol dependent patients in Germany implies a lack of supply and misuse of medical care. The aim of the study was to examine whether family practitioners (FPs) and psychiatrists have sufficient skills to diagnose and treat patients with alcohol problems. A total of 6324 FPs and psychiatrists in the states of Saxony and Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany were invited to participate in this survey. Nine hundred seventy-four participants (90.3%/FPs) could be included in the statistical analysis (response rate: 14.3%/FPs, 21.6%/psychiatrists). Data was analysed descriptively and logistical regressions were used to identify predictors for physicians’ ability to feel adequately trained to diagnose and treat patients with alcohol problems. In comparison to psychiatrists, less FPs reported feeling sufficiently trained to counsel patients with alcohol problems (81.5% vs. 44.8%). Regression analysis revealed that FPs who felt not adequately trained had less experience with patients with alcohol dependence (OR 7.4), had attended fewer hours on alcohol addiction in continuing medical education (OR 4.8), and were more likely to be female (OR 1.9). A minimum of 10 h of training was associated with improved self-assessed competence. Harmful drinking is a serious public health problem, and patients with alcohol dependence represent a large and demanding patient group in primary health care setting. Our study shows that the lack of training is a severe barrier in the work with this patient group in the primary care setting.

  • Psychological intervention at a primary health care center: predictors of success
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-08-17
    Miguel Ricou; Sílvia Marina; Paula Marinho Vieira; Ivone Duarte; Inês Sampaio; Joana Regalado; Catarina Canário

    Few studies in Portugal have attempted to assess the impact of psychological interventions in primary health care regarding the problems shared by clients, and which variables predicted the success of this intervention. The current study, therefore, aimed to identify predictors of success related to psychological intervention in a single primary health care center in the north of Portugal. This was a retrospective study from secondary data, using the data from 1024 clients who attended the psychological consultation at a primary health care center over a period of 8 years. The success of the psychological consultation was defined according to the discharge made by the psychologist. The multiple logistic regression analysis was employed. The attendance of a greater number of consultations and the biweekly frequency of consultations significantly predicted the success of psychological intervention. Additionally, the success was associated with having a diagnosis or specific problem identified. These findings provide contributions to enrich the literature in this field, in particular, in Portuguese primary health care. We highlight the importance of investing in psychological services in primary health care centers.

  • Feasibility of referral to a therapist for assessment of psychiatric problems in primary care – an interview study
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-08-19
    Agneta Pettersson; Sonja Modin; Henna Hasson; Ingvar Krakau

    Depression and anxiety disorders are common in primary care. Comorbidities are frequent, and the diagnoses can be difficult. The Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) can be a support in the clinical examination of patients with complex problems. However, for family practitioners (FPs), time and perceptions about structured interviews can be barriers to the MINI. An inter-professional teamwork process where FPs refer a patient to a therapist for a MINI assessment represents one way in which to address the problem. The results are fed back to the FPs for diagnosis and treatment decisions. The purposes of this study were to explore if the process was feasible for FPs, patients and therapists in Swedish primary care, and to identify factors influencing the process, using the COM-B model. FPs at two primary care centers (PHCC) in Stockholm were offered the opportunity to refer patients to in-house therapists. Semi-structured interviews or focus groups were conducted with 22 patients, 17 FPs and three therapists to capture their experiences and perceptions. Inductive content analysis for each group of participants was followed by triangulation across groups. Finally, the categories obtained were fitted to the components in the COM-B. Therapists at both PHCCs conducted the MINI. The intended process was adopted at one PHCC. At the second PHCC, the responsibilities for the diagnosis and treatment of patients referred were transferred to the therapist. The patients were satisfied, as they appreciated multi-professional examinations. The FPs’ competence in psychiatry, actual access to therapists, beliefs that the referrals saved the FPs time and effort, and established habits influenced whether patients were referred. Existing routines and professional expectations for work content influenced the degree of cooperation between the therapists and the FPs. An inter-professional diagnostic process where FPs refer patients to a therapist for assessment and the results are fed back to the FPs can be feasible. Feasibility depends on access to a therapist, the perceptions of roles and competences among FPs and therapists, and strategies for supporting teamwork.

  • Direct access CT for suspicion of brain tumour: an analysis of referral pathways in a population-based patient group
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-08-20
    K. Zienius; Ip Chak-Lam; J. Park; M. Ozawa; W. Hamilton; D. Weller; D. Summers; L. Porteous; S. Mohiuddin; E. Keeney; W. Hollingworth; Y. Ben-Shlomo; R. Grant; P. M. Brennan

    Brain tumour patients see their primary care doctor on average three or more times before diagnosis, so there may be an opportunity to identify ‘at risk’ patients earlier. Suspecting a brain tumour diagnosis is difficult because brain tumour-related symptoms are typically non-specific. We explored the predictive value of referral guidelines (Kernick and NICE 2005) for brain imaging where a tumour is suspected, in a population-based patient group referred for direct access CT of the head. A consensus panel reviewed whether non-tumour findings were clinically important or whether further investigation was necessary. Over a 5-year period, 3257 head scans were performed; 318 scans were excluded according to pre-specified criteria. 53 patients (1.8%) were reported to have intracranial tumours, of which 42 were significant (diagnostic yield of 1.43%). There were no false negative CT scans for tumour. With symptom-based referral guidelines primary care doctors can identify patients with a 3% positive predictive value (PPV). 559 patients had non-tumour findings, 31% of which were deemed clinically significant. In 34% of these 559 patients, referral for further imaging and/or specialist assessment from primary care was still thought warranted. Existing referral guidelines are insufficient to stratify patients adequately based on their symptoms, according to the likelihood that a tumour will be found on brain imaging. Identification of non-tumour findings may be significant for patients and earlier specialist input into interpretation of these images may be beneficial. Improving guidelines to better identify patients at risk of a brain tumour should be a priority, to improve speed of diagnosis, and reduce unnecessary imaging and costs. Future guidelines may incorporate groups of symptoms, clinical signs and tests to improve the predictive value.

  • General practitioners’ perspectives on chronic care consultations for patients with a history of cancer: a qualitative interview study
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-08-27
    Anne Beiter Arreskov; Anette Hauskov Graungaard; Mads Toft Kristensen; Jens Søndergaard; Annette Sofie Davidsen

    General practitioners (GPs) are responsible for managing chronic care in the growing population of patients with comorbid chronic conditions and cancer. Studies have shown, however, that cancer patients are less likely to receive appropriate chronic care compared to patients without cancer. Patients say that how GPs engage in the care of comorbidities influences their own priority of these conditions. No studies have explored GPs’ attitudes to and prioritization of chronic care in patients who have completed primary cancer treatment. This study aims to explore GPs’ experiences, prioritization of, and perspectives on treatment and follow-up of patients with cancer and comorbidity. Semi-structured interviews were conducted during 2016 with 13 GPs in Region Zealand in Denmark. We used Systematic Text Condensation in the analysis. All participating GPs said that chronic care in patients with a history of cancer was a high priority, and due to a clear structure in their practice, they experienced that few patients were lost to follow-up. Two different approaches to chronic care consultations were identified: one group of GPs described them as imitating outpatient clinics, where the GP sets the agenda and focuses on the chronic condition. The other group described an approach that was more attuned to the patient’s agenda, which could mean that chronic care consultations served as an “alibi” for the patients to disclose other matters of concern. Both groups of GPs said that chronic care consultations for these patients supported normalcy, but in different ways. Some GPs said that offering future appointments in the chronic care process gave patients hope and a sense of normalcy. Other GPs strove for normalcy by focusing exclusively on the chronic condition and dealing with cancer as cured. The participating GPs gave a high priority to chronic care in patients with a history of cancer. Some GPs, however, followed a rigorous agenda. GPs should be aware that a very focused and biomedical approach to chronic care might increase fragmentation of care and collide with a holistic and patient-centered approach. It could also affect GPs’ self-perception of their role and the core values of general practice.

  • Self-management support for chronic disease in primary care: frequency of patient self-management problems and patient reported priorities, and alignment with ultimate behavior goal selection
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-08-29
    Danielle M. Hessler; Lawrence Fisher; Vicky Bowyer; L. Miriam Dickinson; Bonnie T. Jortberg; Bethany Kwan; Douglas H. Fernald; Matt Simpson; W. Perry Dickinson

    To enable delivery of high quality patient-centered care, as well as to allow primary care health systems to allocate appropriate resources that align with patients’ identified self-management problems (SM-Problems) and priorities (SM-Priorities), a practical, systematic method for assessing self-management needs and priorities is needed. In the current report, we present patient reported data generated from Connection to Health (CTH), to identify the frequency of patients’ reported SM-Problems and SM-Priorities; and examine the degree of alignment between patient SM-Priorities and the ultimate Patient-Healthcare team member selected Behavioral Goal. CTH, an electronic self-management support system, was embedded into the flow of existing primary care visits in 25 primary care clinics and was used to assess patient-reported SM-Problems across 12 areas, patient identified SM-Priorities, and guide the selection of a Patient-Healthcare team member selected Behavioral Goal. SM-Problems included: BMI, diet (fruits and vegetables, salt, fat, sugar sweetened beverages), physical activity, missed medications, tobacco and alcohol use, health-related distress, general life stress, and depression symptoms. Descriptive analyses documented SM-Problems and SM-Priorities, and alignment between SM-Priorities and Goal Selection, followed by mixed models adjusting for clinic. 446 participants with ≥ one chronic diseases (mean age 55.4 ± 12.6; 58.5% female) participated. On average, participants reported experiencing challenges in 7 out of the 12 SM-Problems areas; with the most frequent problems including: BMI, aspects of diet, and physical activity. Patient SM-Priorities were variable across the self-management areas. Patient- Healthcare team member Goal selection aligned well with patient SM-Priorities when patients prioritized weight loss or physical activity, but not in other self-management areas. Participants reported experiencing multiple SM-Problems. While patients show great variability in their SM-Priorities, the resulting action plan goals that patients create with their healthcare team member show a lack of diversity, with a disproportionate focus on weight loss and physical activity with missed opportunities for using goal setting to create targeted patient-centered plans focused in other SM-Priority areas. Aggregated results can assist with the identification of high frequency patient SM-Problems and SM-Priority areas, and in turn inform resource allocation to meet patient needs. ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT01945918 .

  • Acceptability of the BATHE technique amongst GPs and frequently attending patients in primary care: a nested qualitative study
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-09-03
    Clare Thomas; Helen Cramer; Sue Jackson; David Kessler; Chris Metcalfe; Charlie Record; Rebecca K. Barnes

    BATHE is a brief psychosocial intervention designed for physician use in patient consultations. The technique has gained some international recognition, but there is currently limited research evidence to demonstrate its acceptability and benefits to patient care. We conducted a pilot cluster randomised controlled trial and feasibility study to explore the use of BATHE as a key component of a person-focused intervention to improve the care of frequent attending patients in UK primary care. A nested qualitative interview study conducted within a pilot trial. The trial took place in six general practices in the South West of England. Eligible patients had been identified as being in the top 3% of attenders in the previous 12 months. General practitioners (GPs) were trained to use BATHE during a one-hour initial training session, and two top-up trainings which included feedback on implementation fidelity. GPs were asked to use BATHE with their study patients for a period of 12 months. 34 GPs were trained and documented using BATHE in a total of 577 consultations with eligible patients during the intervention period. At the end of the intervention period, GPs and study patients from the intervention practices were invited to take part in an interview. Interviews were semi-structured, audio-recorded and transcribed. Thematic analysis was used. Eleven GPs and 16 patients took part in post-intervention interviews. Benefits of using BATHE included making consultations more person-centred, challenging assumptions that the GP knew what was going on for the patient and their main concerns, and supporting self-management. Difficulties reported included changing existing consultation habits, identifying appropriate consultations in which to use BATHE, and organisational constraints. The study suggests that using BATHE is both acceptable and beneficial but also highlighted some of the difficulties GPs had incorporating BATHE into routine practice. Strategies to reduce these difficulties are needed before the extent of the potential benefits of BATHE can be fully assessed. ISRCTN62939408 Prospectively registered on 24/06/2015.

  • Health TAPESTRY: co-designing interprofessional primary care programs for older adults using the persona-scenario method
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-09-04
    Ruta Valaitis; Jennifer Longaphy; Jenny Ploeg; Gina Agarwal; Doug Oliver; Kalpana Nair; Monika Kastner; Ernie Avilla; Lisa Dolovich

    Working with patients and health care providers to co-design health interventions is gaining global prominence. While co-design of interventions is important for all patients, it is particularly important for older adults who often experience multiple and complex chronic conditions. Persona-scenarios have been used by designers of technology applications. The purpose of this paper is to explore how a modified approach to the persona-scenario method was used to co-design a complex primary health care intervention (Health TAPESTRY) by and for older adults and providers and the value added of this approach. The persona-scenario method involved patient and clinician participants from two academically-linked primary care practices. Local prospective volunteers and community service providers (e.g., home care services, support services) were also recruited. Persona-scenario workshops were facilitated by researchers experienced in qualitative methods. Working mostly in homogenous pairs, participants created a fictitious but authentic persona that represented people like themselves. Core components of the Health TAPESTRY intervention were described. Then, participants created a story (scenario) involving their persona and an aspect of the proposed Health TAPESTRY program (e.g., volunteer roles). Two stages of analysis involved descriptive identification of themes, followed by an interpretive phase to extract possible actions and products related to ideas in each theme. Fourteen persona-scenario workshops were held involving patients (n = 15), healthcare providers/community care providers (n = 29), community service providers (n = 12), and volunteers (n = 14). Fifty themes emerged under four Health TAPESTRY components and a fifth category - patient. Eight cross cutting themes highlighted areas integral to the intervention. In total, 414 actions were identified and 406 products were extracted under the themes, of which 44.8% of the products (n = 182) were novel. The remaining 224 had been considered by the research team. The persona-scenario method drew out feasible novel ideas from stakeholders, which expanded on the research team’s original ideas and highlighted interactions among components and stakeholder groups. Many ideas were integrated into the Health TAPESTRY program’s design and implementation. Persona-scenario method added significant value worthy of the added time it required. This method presents a promising alternative to active engagement of multiple stakeholders in the co-design of complex interventions.

  • Impact of rural address and distance from clinic on depression outcomes within a primary care medical home practice
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-09-05
    Hailon Wong; Kyle Moore; Kurt B. Angstman; Gregory M. Garrison

    Depression is the second leading cause of death among young adults and a major cause of disability worldwide. Some studies suggest a disparity between rural and urban outcomes for depression. Collaborative Care Management (CCM) is effective in improving recovery from depression, but its effect within rural and urban populations has not been studied. A retrospective cohort study of 3870 patients diagnosed with depression in a multi-site primary care practice that provided optional, free CCM was conducted. US Census data classified patients as living in an Urban Area, Urban Cluster, or Rural area and the distance they resided from their primary care clinic was calculated. Baseline demographics, clinical data, and standardized psychiatric assessments were collected. Six month Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ 9) scores were used to judge remission (PHQ9 < 5) or Persistent Depressive Symptoms (PDS) (PHQ9 ≥ 10) in a multivariate model with interaction terms. Rural patients had improved adjusted odds of remission (AOR = 2.8) and PDS (AOR = 0.36) compared to urban area patients. The natural logarithm transformed distance to primary care clinic was significant for rural patients resulting in a lower odds of remission and increased odds of PDS with increasing distance from clinic. The marginal probability of remission or PDS for rural patients equaled that of urban area patients at a distance of 34 or 40 km respectively. Distance did not have an effect for urban cluster or urban area patients nor did distance interact with CCM. Residing in a rural area had a beneficial effect on the recovery from depression. However this effect declined with increasing distance from the primary care clinic perhaps related to greater social isolation or difficulty accessing care. This distance effect was not seen for urban area or urban cluster patients. CCM was universally beneficial and did not interact with distance.

  • Designing the relational team development intervention to improve management of mental health in primary care using iterative stakeholder engagement
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-09-06
    Danielle F. Loeb; Danielle M. Kline; Kurt Kroenke; Cynthia Boyd; Elizabeth A. Bayliss; Evette Ludman; L. Miriam Dickinson; Ingrid A. Binswanger; Samantha P. Monson

    Team-based models of care are efficacious in improving outcomes for patients with mental and physical illnesses. However, primary care clinics have been slow to adopt these models. We used iterative stakeholder engagement to develop an intervention to improve the implementation of team-based care for this complex population. We developed the initial framework for Relational Team Development (RELATED) from a qualitative study of Primary Care Providers’ (PCPs’) experiences treating mental illness and a literature review of practice facilitation and psychology clinical supervision. Subsequently, we surveyed 900 Colorado PCPs to identify factors associated with PCP self-efficacy in management of mental illness and team-based care. We then conducted two focus groups for feedback on RELATED. Lastly, we convened an expert panel to refine the intervention. We developed RELATED, a two-part intervention delivered by a practice facilitator with a background in clinical psychology. The facilitator observes PCPs during patient visits and provides individualized coaching. Next, the facilitator guides the primary care team through a practice change activity with a focus on relational team dynamics. The iterative development of RELATED using stakeholder engagement offers a model for the development of interventions tailored to the needs of these stakeholders. Not applicable.

  • Nutrition and physical activity counselling by general practitioners in Lithuania, 2000–2014
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-09-07
    Vilma Kriaucioniene; Janina Petkeviciene; Asta Raskiliene

    Primary health care plays a crucial role in providing recommendations on a healthy diet and physical activity to assist patients in weight management. The study aimed to evaluate health behaviour counselling provided by general practitioners (GPs) for adults with overweight and obesity in Lithuania between 2000 and 2014. Eight biennial postal surveys to independent nationally representative random samples of Lithuanians aged 20–64 were conducted. Response rates varied from 41.1 to 74%, with a decreasing trend over time. The data of 5867 participants who visited a GP at least once during the last year and had BMI of ≥25.0 kg/m2 were analysed. Respondents were asked about GP advice on nutrition and physical activity and changes in their health behaviour during the last year. The proportion of persons with overweight who reported GP advice on nutrition increased from 23.6% in 2000 to 37.5% in 2010 and advice on physical activity from 11.9 to 17.2% respectively; however, later both proportions decreased slightly. The likelihood of reporting was higher in respondents with higher BMI, more chronic conditions and frequent contact with a GP. Respondents who were living in cities, older and highly educated women were all more likely to report being advised on physical activity. Men and women who received advice from a GP more often reported changes in health behaviour as compared with non-advised individuals. Despite increasing trends, the rate of GP advice on nutrition and physical activity reported by patients with overweight and obesity remains low in Lithuania. GP advice appears to have a significant impact on attempts by patients to change behaviour related to weight control. Therefore, there is an obvious need to make additional efforts to increase the frequency of GP counselling and to identify and address barriers to advising patients with overweight.

  • Capturing pharmacists’ impact in general practice: an e-Delphi study to attempt to reach consensus amongst experts about what activities to record
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-09-09
    Georgios Dimitrios Karampatakis; Kath Ryan; Nilesh Patel; Graham Stretch

    In the UK, there is ongoing integration of pharmacists into general practice as a new healthcare service in primary care. Evaluation of the service involves national measures that require pharmacists to record their work, on the general practice clinical computer systems, using electronic activity codes. No national agreement, however, has been established on what activities to record. The purpose of this study was to attempt to reach consensus on what activities general practice-based pharmacists should record. The e-Delphi method was chosen as it is an excellent technique for achieving consensus. The study began with an initial stage in which screening of a general practice clinical computer system and discussion groups with pharmacists from two ‘pharmacists in general practice’ sites identified 81 codes potentially relevant to general practice-based pharmacists’ work. Twenty-nine experts (pharmacists and pharmacy technicians from the two sites along with experts recruited through national committees) were then invited by e-mail to participate as a panel in three e-Delphi questionnaire rounds. In each round, panellists were asked to grade or rank codes and justify their choices. In every round, panellists were provided with anonymised feedback from the previous round which included their individual choices along with their co-panellists’ views. Final consensus (in Round 3) was defined as at least 80% agreement. Commentaries on the codes from all e-Delphi rounds were pooled together and analysed thematically. Twenty-one individual panellists took part in the study (there were 12 responses in Round 1, 18 in Round 2 and 16 in Round 3). Commentaries on the codes included three themes: challenges and facilitators; level of detail; and activities related to funding. Consensus was achieved for ten codes, eight of which related to activities (general and disease specific medication reviews, monitoring of high-risk drugs and medicines reconciliation) and two to patient outcomes (presence of side effects and satisfactory understanding of medication). A formal consensus method revealed general practice-based pharmacists’ preferences for activity coding. Findings will inform policy so that any future shaping of activity coding for general practice-based pharmacists takes account of pharmacists’ actual needs and preferences.

  • Diagnostic methods for acute otitis media in 1 to 12 year old children: a cross sectional study in primary health care
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-09-11
    Pär-Daniel Sundvall; Chrysoula E. Papachristodoulou; Lena Nordeman

    Otoscopy alone has low sensitivity and specificity for acute otitis media (AOM). Otomicroscopy and pneumatic methods are superior to otoscopy. However, these methods require clinical skills. The use of different diagnostic methods for AOM differs between countries and has not been evaluated in Sweden since new guidelines were introduced in 2010. This study aimed to describe the extent of which diagnostic methods and written advice were used for AOM in children 1 to 12 years old. In this cross-sectional study all general practitioners (GPs) and specialist trainees in primary care (STs) at 27 primary health care centres in Sweden were asked to complete a self-administrated questionnaire including diagnostic approach and the management of AOM; 75% (111/148) responded to the questionnaire. Outcome Measures: GPs versus STs and their gender, the use of otoscopy, pneumatic otoscopy, otomicroscopy, tympanometry and written advice. Logistic regressions were used to evaluate the association between GPs versus STs and their gender and the use of diagnostic methods and written advice. To diagnose AOM, 98% of the GPs and STs often or always used otoscopy, in addition to this 17% often or always used otomicroscopy, 18% pneumatic otoscopy and 11% tympanometry. Written advice to parents was provided often or always by 19% of the GPs and STs. The GPs used otomicroscopy more often than STs, adjusted OR 4.9 (95% CI 1.5–17; p = 0.011). For the other diagnostic methods, no differences were found. Female GPs and STs provided written advice more often than male GPs and STs, OR 5.2 (95% CI, 1.6–17; p = 0.0061), adjusted for GP versus ST. Otoscopy was by far the most commonly used method for the diagnosis of AOM. Female GPs and STs provided written advice more frequently than did their male colleagues. GPs used the significantly better method otomicroscopy more often than STs, therefore, it is important to emphasise teaching of practical skills in otomicroscopy in the specialist training programme for general practice. A correct diagnosis is important for avoiding potentially harmful antibiotic treatments, antimicrobial resistance and possible delay of other diagnoses.

  • Tinkering at the margins: evaluating the pace and direction of primary care reform in Ontario, Canada
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-09-11
    Monica Aggarwal; A. Paul Williams

    Primary care reform has been on the political agenda in Canada and many industrialized countries for several decades; it is widely seen as the foundation for broader health system transformation. Federal investments in primary care, including major cash transfers to provinces and territories as part of a 10-year health care funding agreement in 2004, triggered waves of primary care reform across Canada. Nevertheless, Commonwealth Fund surveys show, Canada continues to lag behind other industrialized nations with respect to timely access to care, electronic medical record use and audit and feedback for quality improvement in primary care. This paper evaluates the pace and direction of primary care reform as well as the extent of resulting change in the organization and delivery of primary care in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used for this study. A literature review was conducted to analyze the core dimensions of primary care reform, the history of reform in Ontario, and the extent to which different dimensions are integrated into Ontario’s models. Quantitative data on the number of family physicians/general practitioners and patients enrolled in these models was examined over a 10-year period to determine the degree of change that has taken place in the organization and delivery of primary care in Ontario. There are 11 core reform dimensions that individually and collectively shift from conventional primary care toward the more expansive vision of primary health care. Assessment of Ontario’s models against these core dimensions demonstrate that there has been little substantive change in the organization and delivery of primary care over 10 years in Ontario. Primary care reform is a multi-dimensional construct with different reform models bundling core dimensions in different ways. This understanding is important to move beyond the rhetoric of “reform” and to critically assess the pace and direction of change in primary care in Ontario and in other jurisdictions. The conceptual framework developed in this paper can assist decision-makers, academics and health care providers in all jurisdictions in evaluating the pace of change in the primary care sector, as well as other sectors.

  • A global picture of family medicine: the view from a WONCA Storybooth
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-09-12
    Vincent K. Cubaka; Clayton Dyck; Russell Dawe; Baraa Alghalyini; Molly Whalen-Browne; Gabriel Cejas; Christine Gibson

    Family Medicine is a novel discipline in many countries, where the motivation for training and value added to communities is not well-described. Our purpose was to understand the reason behind the choice of Family Medicine as a profession, the impact of Family Medicine on communities, and Family Medicine’s characterizing qualities, as perceived by family doctors around the world. One-question video interviews were conducted using an appreciative inquiry approach, with volunteer participants at the 2016 World Organization of Family Doctors conference in Rio de Janeiro. Qualitative data analysis applied the thematic, framework method. 135 family doctors from 55 countries participated in this study. Three overarching themes emerged: 1) key attributes of Family Medicine, 2) core Family Medicine values and 3) shared traits of family doctors. Family Medicine attributes and values were the key expressed motivators to join Family Medicine as a profession and were also among expressed factors that contributed to the impact of Family Medicine globally. Major sub-themes included the principles of comprehensive care, holistic care, continuity of care, patient centeredness, and the patient-provider relationship. Participants emphasized the importance of universal care, human rights, social justice and health equity. Family doctors around the world shared stories about their profession, presenting a heterogeneous picture of global Family Medicine unified by its attributes and values. These stories may inspire and serve as positive examples for Family Medicine programs, prospective students, advocates and other stakeholders.

  • Identifying policies and strategies for general practitioner retention in direct patient care in the United Kingdom: a RAND/UCLA appropriateness method panel study
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-09-12
    Rupa Chilvers; Suzanne H. Richards; Emily Fletcher; Alex Aylward; Sarah Dean; Chris Salisbury; John Campbell

    The United Kingdom (UK) is experiencing a general practitioner (GP) workforce retention crisis. Research has focused on investigating why GPs intend to quit, but less is known about the acceptability and effectiveness of policies and strategies to improve GP retention. Using evidence from research and key stakeholder organisations, we generated a set of potential policies and strategies aimed at maximising GP retention and tested their appropriateness for implementation by systematically consulting with GPs. 28 GP Partners and GPs working in national stakeholder organisations from South West England and London were purposively sampled, and asked to take part in a RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method panel. Panellists were asked to read an evidence briefing summary, and then complete an online survey on two occasions. During each round, participants rated the appropriateness of policies and strategies aimed at improving GP retention using a nine point scale (1 ‘extremely inappropriate’ to 9 ‘extremely appropriate’). Fifty-four potential policies and strategies (equating to 100 statements) were tested, focusing on factors influencing job satisfaction (e.g. well-being, workload, incentives and remuneration, flexible working, human resources systems). Ratings were analysed for panel consensus and categorised based on appropriateness (‘appropriate’, ‘uncertain’, ‘inappropriate’). 12/28 GPs approached agreed to take part, 9/28 completed two rounds of the online survey between February and June 2018. Panellists identified 24/54 policy and strategy areas (41/100 statements) as ‘appropriate’. Examples included providing GP practices ‘at risk’ of experiencing GP shortages with a toolkit for managing recruitment and retention, and interventions to facilitate peer support to enhance health and wellbeing, or support portfolio careers. Strategies to limit GP workload, and manage patient demand were also endorsed. The panel of experienced GPs identified a number of practical ways to improve GP retention through interventions that might enhance job satisfaction and work-life balance. Future research should evaluate the impact of implementing these recommendations.

  • Determinants of intentions to monitor antihypertensive medication adherence in Irish community pharmacy: a factorial survey
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-09-13
    Paul Dillon; Ronald McDowell; Susan M. Smith; Paul Gallagher; Gráinne Cousins

    Community pharmacy represents an important setting to identify patients who may benefit from an adherence intervention, however it remains unclear whether it would be feasible to monitor antihypertensive adherence within the workflow of community pharmacy. The aim of this study was to identify facilitators and barriers to monitoring antihypertensive medication adherence of older adults at the point of repeat dispensing. We undertook a factorial survey of Irish community pharmacists, guided by a conceptual model adapted from the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB). Respondents completed four sections, 1) five factorial vignettes (clinical scenario of repeat dispensing), 2) a medication monitoring attitude measure, 3) subjective norms and self-efficacy questions, and 4) demographic and workplace questions. Barriers and facilitators to adherence monitoring behaviour were identified in factorial vignette analysis using multivariate multilevel linear modelling, testing the effect of both contextual factors embedded within the vignettes (section 1), and respondent-level factors (sections 2–4) on likelihood to perform three adherence monitoring behaviours in response to the vignettes. Survey invites (n = 1543) were sent via email and 258 completed online survey responses were received; two-thirds of respondents were women, and one-third were qualified pharmacists for at least 15 years. In factorial vignette analysis, pharmacists were more inclined to monitor antihypertensive medication adherence by examining refill-patterns from pharmacy records than asking patients questions about their adherence or medication beliefs. Pharmacists with more positive attitudes towards medication monitoring and normative beliefs that other pharmacists monitored adherence, were more likely to monitor adherence. Contextual factors also influenced pharmacists’ likelihood to perform the three adherence monitoring behaviours, including time-pressures and the number of days late the patient collected their repeat prescription. Pharmacists’ normative beliefs and the number of days late the patient collected their repeat prescription had the largest quantitative influence on responses. This survey identified that positive pharmacist attitudes and normative beliefs can facilitate adherence monitoring within the current workflow; however contextual time-barriers may prevent adherence monitoring. Future research should consider these findings when designing a pharmacist-led adherence intervention to be integrated within current pharmacy workflow.

  • Adherence to treatment and related factors among patients with chronic conditions in primary care: a cross-sectional study
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-09-14
    Cesar I. Fernandez-Lazaro; Juan M. García-González; David P. Adams; Diego Fernandez-Lazaro; Juan Mielgo-Ayuso; Alberto Caballero-Garcia; Francisca Moreno Racionero; Alfredo Córdova; Jose A. Miron-Canelo

    Adherence to treatment, a public health issue, is of particular importance in chronic disease therapies. Primary care practices offer ideal venues for the effective care and management of these conditions. The aim of this study is to assess adherence to treatment and related-factors among patients with chronic conditions in primary care settings. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 299 adult patients with ≥1 chronic condition(s) and prescribed medication in primary healthcare centers of Spain. The Morisky-Green-Levine questionnaire was used to assess medication adherence via face-to-face interviews. Crude and adjusted multivariable logistic regression models were used to analyze factors associated with adherence using the Multidimensional Model proposed by the World Health Organization — social and economic, healthcare team and system-related, condition-related, therapy-related, and patient-related factors. The proportion of adherent patients to treatment was 55.5%. Older age (adjusted odds ratio 1.31 per 10-year increment, 95% CI 1.01–1.70), lower number of pharmacies used for medication refills (0.65, 95% CI 0.47–0.90), having received complete treatment information (3.89, 95% CI 2.09–7.21), having adequate knowledge about medication regimen (4.17, 95% CI 2.23–7.80), and self-perception of a good quality of life (2.17, 95% CI 1.18–4.02) were independent factors associated with adherence. Adherence to treatment for chronic conditions remained low in primary care. Optimal achievement of appropriate levels of adherence through tailored multifaceted interventions will require attention to the multidimensional factors found in this study, particularly those related to patients’ education and their information needs.

  • An educational study to investigate the efficacy of three training methods for infiltration techniques on self-efficacy and skills of trainees in general practice
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-09-14
    Nele R. Michels; Els Vanhomwegen

    Research shows that few general practitioners perform intra- and periarticular infiltrations. Lack of good training strategies to teach these skills would be an important reason for this observation. In this study, we investigated and compared three different training strategies for infiltrations of the glenohumeral joint, subacromial space, lateral epicondyle, carpal tunnel and knee joint. Trainees in general practice were randomized into three teaching groups: a theoretical lecture (n = 18), or a theoretical lecture with training on anatomical models (n = 19) or with a training on cadavers (n = 11). The study period was 3 months. Before and after the training, the self-efficacy (questionnaire) and skills (Objective Structured Clinical Examination or OSCE, test on anatomical models) were evaluated. The self-efficacy was assessed again 3 months later. A Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare the results before versus after training and between groups (p < 0.05). All three training strategies had a significantly positive effect on the self-efficacy concerning knowledge and skills. This benefit remained 3 months after training. However, some participants still felt uncomfortable to perform infiltrations. Best scores for self-efficacy concerning skills and best scores on the OSCE were observed after training on cadavers, followed by training on anatomical models. Based on this study we suggest the combination of a theoretical lecture with a training on cadavers to teach infiltration techniques. To achieve an optimal long-term effect, additional refresher trainings may be necessary.

  • Identifying ‘avoidable harm’ in family practice: a RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method consensus study
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-10-04
    Andrew Carson-Stevens; Stephen Campbell; Brian G. Bell; Alison Cooper; Sarah Armstrong; Darren Ashcroft; Matthew Boyd; Huw Prosser Evans; Rajnikant Mehta; Christina Sheehan; Aziz Sheikh; Anthony Avery

    Health care-related harm is an internationally recognized threat to public health. The United Kingdom’s national health services demonstrate that upwards of 90% of health care encounters can be delivered in ambulatory settings. Other countries are transitioning to more family practice-based health care systems, and efforts to understand avoidable harm in these settings is needed. We developed 100 scenarios reflecting a range of diseases and informed by the World Health Organization definition of ‘significant harm’. Scenarios included different types of patient safety incidents occurring by commission and omission, demonstrated variation in timeliness of intervention, and conditions where evidence-based guidelines are available or absent. We conducted a two-round RAND / UCLA Appropriateness Method consensus study with a panel of family practitioners in England to define “avoidable harm” within family practice. Panelists rated their perceptions of avoidability for each scenario. We ran a k-means cluster analysis of avoidability ratings. Panelists reached consensus for 95 out of 100 scenarios. The panel agreed avoidable harm occurs when a patient safety incident could have been probably, or totally, avoided by the timely intervention of a health care professional in family practice (e.g. investigations, treatment) and / or an administrative process (e.g. referrals, alerts in electronic health records, procedures for following up results) in accordance with accepted evidence-based practice and clinical governance. Fifty-four scenarios were deemed avoidable, whilst 31 scenarios were rated unavoidable and reflected outcomes deemed inevitable regardless of family practice intervention. Scenarios with low avoidability ratings (1 s or 2 s) were not represented by the categories that were used to generate scenarios, whereas scenarios with high avoidability ratings (7 s 8 s or 9 s) were represented by these a priori categories. The findings from this RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method study define the characteristics and conditions that can be used to standardize measurement of outcomes for primary care patient safety. We have developed a definition of avoidable harm that has potential for researchers and practitioners to apply across primary care settings, and bolster international efforts to design interventions to target avoidable patient safety incidents that cause the most significant harm to patients.

  • Why do general practitioners not refer patients to behaviour-change programmes after preventive health checks? A mixed-method study
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-10-11
    Nina Kamstrup-Larsen; Marie Broholm-Jørgensen; Susanne O. Dalton; Lars B. Larsen; Janus L. Thomsen; Janne S. Tolstrup

    This study was embedded in the Check-In randomised controlled trial that investigated the effectiveness of general practice-based preventive health checks on adverse health behaviour and early detection of non-communicable diseases offered to individuals with low socioeconomic positions. Despite successful recruitment of patients, the intervention had no effect. One reason for the lack of effectiveness could be low rates of referral to behaviour-change programmes in the municipality, resulting in a low dose of the intervention delivered. The aim of this study is to examine the referral pattern of the general practitioners and potential barriers to referring eligible patients to these behaviour-change programmes. A mixed-method design was used, including patients’ questionnaires, recording sheet from the health checks and semi-structured qualitative interviews with general practitioners. All data used in the study were collected during the time of the intervention. Logistic regressions were used to estimate odds ratios for being eligible and for receiving referrals. The qualitative empirical material was analysed thematically. Emerging themes were grouped, discussed and the material was re-read. The themes were reviewed alongside the analysis of the quantitative material to refine and discuss the themes. Of the 364 patients, who attended the health check, 165 (45%) were marked as eligible for a referral to behaviour-change programme by their general practitioner and of these, 90 (55%) received referrals. Daily smoking (OR = 3.22; 95% CI:2.01–5.17), high-risk alcohol consumption (OR = 2.66; 95% CI:1.38–5.12), obesity (OR = 2.89; 95% CI:1.61–5.16) and poor lung function (OR = 2.05; 95% CI:1.14–3.70) were all significantly associated with being eligible, but not with receiving referral. Four themes emerged as the main barriers to referring patients to behaviour-change programmes: 1) general practitioners’ responsibility and ownership for their patients, 2) balancing information and accepting a rejection, 3) assessment of the right time for behavioural change and 4) general practitioners’ attitudes towards behaviour-change programmes in the municipality. We identified important barriers among the general practitioners which influenced whether the patients received referrals to behaviour-change programmes in the municipality and thereby influenced the dose of intervention delivered in Check-In. The findings suggest that an effort is needed to assist the collaboration between general practices and the municipalities’ primary preventive services. Clinical Trials NCT01979107 ; October 25, 2013.

  • Use of patients’ unsolicited correspondence to a family doctor to describe and understand valued components of a doctor-patient relationship: A Hermeneutics approach
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-10-17
    Mark J. Yaffe; Richard B. Hovey; Charo Rodriguez

    Communication and behavior within doctor - patient encounters have been examined using varied techniques; however the nature of unsolicited writings from patients to their family doctors has rarely been reported. This paper therefore aimed to explore the content of, and motivation for, such correspondence. One hundred and seven writings to one family physician about care provided during a four decade period were considered. Univariate analyses were used to identify features of patients or family members who wrote personalized notes to the doctor, when, and in what fashion. A hermeneutic approach helped look at the content of the notes, the specific words or sentiments used to describe encounters or care received, and possible motivations for writing. Iterative review of words or phrases generated themes which summarized appreciated physician or relational attributes, as well as motivations for writing. Notes were mostly handwritten, predominantly by women, and frequently coinciding with holidays and life span events. Appreciated doctor characteristics and behaviors were (1) quality care; and physician (2) competence; (3) physical presence; (4) positive personal traits; (5) provision of emotional support; and (6) spiritual impact. Motivations for writing were grouped as desire to (1) express appreciation for an established relationship; (2) acknowledge value / benefit experienced from continuity of care; (3) seek catharsis, emotional relief or closure; (4) reflect on termination of care; (5) validate care that incorporates both Hippocratic tradition and Asklepian healing; and (6) share personal reflection, experience, or impact. Unsolicited writings provide personalized links from patients to physicians, expressing thoughts perhaps difficult to share face to face. They offer potential as teaching tools about the content of doctor-patient relationships; for example, the writers studied expressed appreciation for quality continuity care that was competent, considerate, and supportive of emotional and spiritual needs.

  • Perceived barriers and facilitators of the implementation of a combined lifestyle intervention with a financial incentive for chronically ill patients
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-10-18
    C. C. M. Molema; G. C. W. Wendel-Vos; S. ter Schegget; A. J. Schuit; L. A. M. van de Goor

    This study aims to describe barriers and facilitators of the implementation of a combined lifestyle intervention (CLI) in primary care for patients with chronic disease. The aim of CLI to help patients to create a healthy lifestyle and to maintain this healthy lifestyle. During a CLI a patient receives advice and counselling to improve health-related behavior such as physical activity and diet. Special attention was given to the influence of adding a health promoting financial incentive (HPFI) for the participants to the CLI. Twenty-four semi-structured interviews within six care groups were performed between July and October 2017. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded by two researchers independently. Respondents mentioned several preferred characteristics of the CLI such as easy accessibility of the intervention site and the presence of health care professionals during exercise sessions. Moreover, factors that could influence implementation (such as attitude of the health care professionals) and preconditions for a successful implementation of a CLI (such as structural funding and good infrastructure) were identified. Overall, positive HPFIs (e.g. a reward) were preferred over negative HPFIs (e.g. a fine). According to the respondents, HPFIs could positively influence the degree of participation, and break down barriers for participating in and finishing the CLI. Multiple barriers and facilitators for successful implementation of a CLI were identified. For successful implementing CLIs, a positive attitude of all stakeholders is essential and specific preconditions should be fulfilled. With regard to adding a HPFI, more research is needed to identify the attitude of specific target groups towards an HPFI.

  • Stroke follow-up in primary care: a Norwegian modelling study on the implications of multimorbidity for guideline adherence
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-10-18
    Rune Aakvik Pedersen; Halfdan Petursson; Irene Hetlevik

    Specialized acute treatment and high-quality follow-up is meant to reduce mortality and disability from stroke. While the acute treatment for stroke takes place in hospitals, the follow-up of stroke survivors largely takes place in general practice. National guidelines give recommendations for the follow-up. However, previous studies suggest that guidelines are not sufficiently adhered to. It has been suggested that this might be due to the complexity of general practice. A part of this complexity is constituted by patients’ multimorbidity; the presence of two or more chronic conditions in the same person. In this study we investigated the extent of multimorbidity among stroke survivors residing in the communities. The aim was to assess the implications of multimorbidity for the follow-up of stroke in general practice. The study was a cross sectional analysis of the prevalence of multimorbidity among stroke survivors in Mid-Norway. We included 51 patients, listed with general practitioners in 18 different clinics. The material consists of the general practitioners’ medical records for these patients. The medical records for each patient were reviewed in a search for diagnoses corresponding to a predefined list of morbidities, resulting in a list of chronic conditions for each participant. These 51 lists were the basis for the subsequent analysis. In this analysis we modelled different hypothetical patients and assessed the implications of adhering to all clinical guidelines affecting their diseases. All 51 patients met the criteria for multimorbidity. On average the patients had 4.7 (SD: 1.9) chronic conditions corresponding to the predefined list of morbidities. By modelling implications of guideline adherence for a patient with an average number of co-morbidities, we found that 10–11 annual consultations with the general practitioner were needed for the follow-up of the stable state of the chronic conditions. More consultations were needed for patients with more complex multimorbidity. Multimorbidity had a clear impact on the basis for the follow-up of patients with stroke in general practice. Adhering to the guidelines for each condition is challenging, even for patients with few co-morbidities. For patients with complex multimorbidity, adhering to the guidelines is obviously unmanageable.

  • Family medicine vocational training and career satisfaction in Hong Kong
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-10-20
    K. P. Lee; C. Wong; D. Chan; K. Kung; L. Luk; M. C. S. Wong; D. Chao; V. Leung; C. W. Chan; W. Ko; T. F. Leung; Y. H. Chan; H. T. Fung; M. K. Lee; S. Y. S. Wong

    Postgraduate vocational training in family medicine (FM) is essential for physicians to build capacity and develop quality primary care. Inadequate standards in training and curriculum development can contribute to poor recruitment and retention of doctors in primary care. This study aimed to investigate: 1) the satisfaction level of doctors regarding vocational training in family medicine and associated demographics; and 2) the satisfaction level of doctors regarding their family medicine career and associated factors. This is a cross sectional study of all family medicine physicians across all government-funded primary care clinics (GOPCs). The study questionnaire consisted of items from a standardized and validated physician survey named the Physician Worklife Survey (PWS) (Konrad et al., Med Care, 1999). We selected three scales (7 items) relating to global job satisfaction, global career satisfaction and global specialty (family medicine) satisfaction with additional items on training and demographics. All significant variables in bivariate analyses were further examined using stepwise logistic regression. Out of 424 eligible family medicine physicians, 368 physicians successfully completed the questionnaire. The response rate was 86.8%. Most participants were male (52.6%), were aged between 35 and 44 years (55.5%), were FM specialists (42.4%), graduated locally (86.2%), and had postgraduate qualifications. Eighty-two percent (82%) of participants were satisfied with their training. Having autonomy and protected time for training were associated with satisfaction with FM training. Satisfaction with family medicine as a career was correlated with physicians’ satisfaction with their current job. Doctors who did not enroll in training (p < 0.001) and physicians who were older (p = 0.023) were significantly less satisfied. Stepwise multivariate regression showed that doctors who subjectively believed their training as “broad and in depth’ had higher career satisfaction (p < 0.001). Overall, the satisfaction level of physicians on current family medicine training in Hong Kong was high. Having autonomy and protected time for training is associated with higher training satisfaction levels. Perceiving FM training as “broad and in-depth” is associated with higher family medicine career satisfaction.

  • Culturally adapted depression education and engagement in treatment among Hispanics in primary care: outcomes from a pilot feasibility study
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-10-21
    Katherine Sanchez; Michael O. Killian; Brittany H. Eghaneyan; Leopoldo J. Cabassa; Madhukar H. Trivedi

    Low use of anti-depressant medication, poor doctor-patient communication, and persistent stigma are key barriers to the treatment of depression in Hispanics. Common concerns include fears about the addictive and harmful properties of antidepressants, worries about taking too many pills, and the stigma attached to taking medications and seeking mental health treatments. In 2014, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) funded the Depression Screening and Education: Options to Reduce Barriers to Treatment (DESEO) project to implement an education intervention designed to increase disease literacy and dispel myths about depression and its treatment among Hispanic patients thus reducing stigma and increasing treatment engagement. The DESEO study utilized a one-group pretest-posttest design to assess the effects a culturally-adapted Depression Education Intervention’s (DEI) on depression knowledge, stigma, and engagement in treatment in a sample of 350 Hispanic primary care patients with depression. The DEI utilized a fotonovela, a health education tool available in English and Spanish that uses posed photographs, captions, and soap opera narratives to raise awareness about depression and depression treatments. Participants reported significant decreases in depression symptoms and reported stigma about mental health care. Additionally, participants reported increased knowledge of depression yet greater negative perceptions about antidepressant medication. Finally, 89.5% of participants reported entering some form of treatment at follow-up. Culturally adapted depression education shows promise in increasing understanding of depression, decreasing stigma, and increasing treatment engagement among Hispanic patients in a community-based health center. Results have implications for practice in addressing common concerns about depression treatments which include fears about the addictive and harmful properties of antidepressants, worries about taking too many pills, and the stigma attached to taking psychotropic medications. The study was retrospectively registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov : NCT02491034 July 2, 2015.

  • Perceptions of time constraints among primary care physicians in Germany
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-10-22
    Olaf von dem Knesebeck; Sarah Koens; Gabriella Marx; Martin Scherer

    Time constraints during patient visits play a major role for the work stress of primary care physicians. Several studies suggest that there is a critical situation in terms of time constraints in primary care in Germany. Therefore, the following research questions are addressed: (1) What is the time allocated and needed for different types of consultations among primary care physicians in an urban area in Germany? (2) What is the extent of time stress? (3) Are there differences in time stress according to physician characteristics (gender and length of experience) and practice type (single vs. group/shared practice)? Data stem from a face-to-face survey of primary care doctors in Hamburg and adjacent regions. A sample of 128 physicians stratified by a combination of physicians’ gender and length of experience (≤15 years or > 15 years) was used. Physicians were asked about the time needed (in minutes) to provide high quality of care for patients regarding six types of consultations: (1) new patient appointment, (2) routine consultation, (3) complete physical examination, (4) symptom-oriented examination, (5) check-up, and (6) home visit (without drive). Afterwards, they were asked about the average minutes allocated for the six consultations. Time stress was measured by calculating minutes needed minus minutes available. Average perceived time needed was higher than time allocated for all six types of consultation. However, there were differences in the magnitude of time stress between the consultation types. Time stress was most pronounced and most prevalent in case of a new patient visit. No significant differences in time stress between male and female primary care physicians were found, while less experienced physicians reported more time stress than those with more experience (> 15 years). Physicians working in a single practice had less time stress than those working in a group or shared practice in case of a check-up visit. Perceived time needed is higher than time allocated for various types of consultation among primary care physicians in Germany. Time stress in primary care is particularly pronounced in case of new patient appointments. Early-career physicians are particularly affected by time stress.

  • Accepting new patients who require opioids into family practice: results from the MAAP-NS census survey study
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-10-23
    Emily Gard Marshall; Frederick Burge; Richard J. Gibson; Beverley Lawson; Colleen O’Connell

    Acceptance to a family practice is key to access and continuity of care. While Canadian patients increasingly report not being able to acquire acceptance to a family practice, little is known about the association between requiring opioids and acceptance. We aim to determine the proportion of family physicians who would accept new patients who require opioids and describe physician and practice characteristics associated with willingness to accept these patients. Census telephone survey of family physicians’ practices in Nova Scotia, Canada. Measures: physician (i.e., age, sex, years in practice) and practice (i.e., number/type of provider in the practice, care hours/week) characteristics and practice-reported willingness to accept new patients who require opioids. The survey was completed for 587 family physicians (83.7% response rate). 354 (60.3%) were taking new patients unconditionally or with conditions; 326 provided a response to whether they would accept new patients who require opioids; 91 (27.9%) reported they would not accept a new patient who requires opioids. Compared to family physicians who would not accept patients who require opioids, in bivariate analysis, those who would, tended to work in larger practices; had fewer years in practice; are female; and provided more patient care. The relationship to number of providers in the practice, having a nurse, and experience persisted in multivariate analysis. The strongest predictors of willingness to accept patients who require opioids are fewer years in practice (OR = 0.96 [95% CI 0.93, 0.99]) and variables indicating a family physician has support of a larger (OR = 1.19 [95% CI 1.00, 1.42]), interdisciplinary team (e.g., nurses, mental health professionals) (OR = 1.15 [95% CI 1.11, 5.05]). Almost three-quarters (72.1%) of surveyed family physicians would accept patients requiring opioids.

  • Chronic stress, work-related daily challenges and medicolegal investigations: a cross-sectional study among German general practitioners
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-10-24
    Christine Kersting; Lena Zimmer; Anika Thielmann; Birgitta Weltermann

    The prevalence of chronic stress among German general practitioners (GPs) was shown to be twice as high as in the general population. Because chronic stress negatively influences well-being and poor physician well-being is associated with poor patient outcomes, targeted strategies are needed. This analysis focuses on work-related factors associated with high chronic stress in GPs. This cross-sectional study measured chronic stress among German GPs using the validated and standardized Trier Inventory for the Assessment of Chronic Stress (TICS-SSCS). Based on the TICS, GPs were categorized as either having low strain (≤ 25th percentile) or high strain (≥ 75th percentile) due to chronic stress. Questions on work-related challenges assessed the frequency and the subjectively perceived strain of single challenges. For exploratory analyses, these items were combined to dichotomous variables reflecting challenges that are common and that cause high strain. Variables significant in bivariate analyses were included in a multivariate logistic regression model analyzing their association with high chronic stress. Data of 109 GPs categorized as having low strain (n = 53) or high strain (n = 56) due to chronic stress were analyzed. Based on bivariate analyses, challenges regarding personnel matters, practice software, complexity of patients, difficult patients, care facilities, scheduling of appointments, keeping medical records up-to-date, fee structures, and expectations versus reality of care were included in the regression model. Keeping medical records up-to-date had the strongest association with high chronic stress (odds ratio 4.95, 95% confidence interval 1.29–19.06). A non-significant trend showed that medicolegal investigations were more common among GPs with high chronic stress. This exploratory research shows that chronic stress is predominantly associated with administrative challenges. Treatment documentation, which represents a legal safeguard and is closely linked to existential concerns, has the strongest influence.

  • Atrial fibrillation care in rural communities: a mixed methods study of physician and patient perspectives
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-10-24
    Kathy L. Rush; Lindsay Burton; Fransien Van Der Merwe; Linda Hatt; Camille Galloway

    Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a serious heart arrhythmia associated with devastating outcomes such as stroke. Inequitable rural AF care may put patients at risk. Virtually delivered specialty AF care offers a viable option, but stakeholder perceptions of this option within the context of rural AF care is unknown. The study purpose was to obtain patient and primary care physician perspectives of rural AF care and virtually delivered AF care as a potential option. Using a mixed methods design, AF patients (n = 101) and physicians (n = 15) from three rural communities participated in focus groups and/or surveys. Focus group data were thematically analyzed, survey data were descriptively analyzed, and data were triangulated. Findings captured patients’ and physicians’ perceptions of prioritized, needs, concerns and problems in AF management, available/unavailable services, and their ideas about virtual AF care. Patients and physicians identified eclectic problems in managing AF. Overall, patients felt ill informed about managing their AF and their most salient problems related to fatigue, exercise intolerance, weight maintenance, sleep apnea, and worry about stroke and bleeding. Physicians found treating patients with co-morbidities and cognitive decline problematic and balancing risks related to anticoagulation challenging. Patients and physicians identified education as a pressing need, which physicians lacked time and resources to meet. Despite available rural services, access to primary and cardiology care was a recurring challenge, and emergency department (ED) use highly contentious but often the only option for accessing care. Physicians’ managed AF care and varied in the referrals they made, often reserving them for complex situations to avoid patient travel. Patients and providers supported a broad approach to virtual AF care, tailored to an inclusive rural patient demographic. The study offered valuable physician and patient perspectives on AF care in rural communities including diverse management challenges, gaps in access to primary and specialty services that made ED an often used but contentious option. Findings point to the potential value of virtual care designed to reach patients with AF across the spectrum and geared to local contexts that preserve the vital role of primary care physicians in AF care in their communities.

  • Impact on core values of family medicine from a 2-year Master’s programme in Gezira, Sudan: observational study
    BMC Fam. Pract. (IF 2.431) Pub Date : 2019-10-28
    Khalid Gaffer Mohamed; Steinar Hunskaar; Samira Hamid Abdelrahman; Elfatih Mohamed Malik

    Training of family physicians should include not only clinical and procedural skills, but also core values as comprehensive care, continuity of care, leadership and patient-centeredness. The Gezira Family Medicine Project (GFMP) is a 2 years Master’s programme in family medicine in Sudan. We assessed the impact of GFMP on the candidates’ adherence to some core values of family medicine. This is a prospective study with before-after design based on repeated surveys. We used Patient-Practitioner Orientation Scale (PPOS) to assess physicians’ attitude towards patient-centeredness. Practice based data from individual patients’ consultations and self-assessment methods were used to assess physicians’ adherence to core values. At the end of the programme the candidates (N = 110) were significantly more active in community health promotion (p < 0.001), more confident as a team leader (p = 0.008), and showed increased adherence to national guidelines for managing diabetes (p = 0.017) and hypertension (p = 0.003). The responding candidates had more knowledge about patients’ medical history (p < 0.001), family history (p < 0.001) and family situation (p < 0.001). There were more planned follow up consultations (p < 0.001) and more referrals (p = 0.040). In contrast, results from PPOS showed slightly less orientation towards patient-centeredness (p = 0.007). The GFMP Master’s programme induced a positive change in adherence to several core values of family medicine. The candidates became less patient-centered.

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上海纽约大学William Glover