Patients' attitudes towards the management of minor ailments influence help-seeking behaviour. Up-to-date information about patients' attitudes is valuable for understanding changes in help-seeking behaviour.
To describe changes in patients' attitudes between 1987 and 2001, and to explain the relationship between patients' attitudes and attributes of practices, practitioners and patients.
Two cross-sectional, Dutch National Surveys of General Practice (1987 and 2001; n = 9579 and n = 8405 patients, respectively).
General practice in the Netherlands.
Patients' attitudes were evaluated in health interviews. Data were analysed using multilevel regression analysis.
In 2001, patients' attitudes showed a shift away from consulting their GP for minor ailments. Attitudes are uniform across different types of practice, and mainly differ between patients. In 1987 as well as in 2001 the factors associated with firm beliefs about the benefits of GP's care in case of minor ailments were male, older age, lower educational level, a non-Western cultural background, and a visit to the GP in the past 2 months. Furthermore, the association between health status and beliefs about GPs dealing with minor ailments is more marked in 2001. Compared to 1987, the influences of GPs and the practice are more intertwined in 2001.
Patients' attitudes towards the management of minor ailments have changed over the years, which implies that strategic action by the profession and the government has affected the way the public uses primary care. However, a marginal group of patients (elderly, less-educated, non-Western) is lagging behind this trend, and continuing to consult GPs for minor ailments.
attitude to health; minor ailments; primary health care
Because most children and adolescents visit their general practitioner (GP) regularly, general practice is a useful setting in which child and adolescent mental health problems can be identified, treated or referred to specialised care. Measures to strengthen Dutch primary mental health care have stimulated cooperation between primary and secondary mental health care and have led to an increase in the provision of social workers and primary care psychologists. These measures may have affected GPs' roles in child and adolescent mental health care. This study aims to investigate the identification and treatment of child and adolescent mental health problems in general practice over a five-year period (2004-2008).
Data of patients aged 0-18 years (N ranging from 37716 to 73432) were derived from electronic medical records of 42-82 Dutch general practices. Time trends in the prevalence of recorded mental health problems, prescriptions for psychotropic medication, and referrals to primary and secondary mental health care were analysed.
In 2008, 6.6% of children and 7.5% of adolescents were recorded as having mental health problems; 15.2% of these children and 29.4% of these adolescents were prescribed psychotropic medication; 18.9% of these children and 22.9% of these adolescents were referred, mainly to secondary mental health care. Between 2004 and 2008, the percentages of children (chi-square: 22.06; p < 0.001) and adolescents (chi-square: 9.15; p = 0.003) who were diagnosed with mental health problems increased. An increase was also found in the percentage of children who were prescribed psychostimulants (chi-square: 8.29; p = 0.004). Prescriptions for antidepressants decreased over time in both age groups (children: chi-square: 6.80; p = 0.009; adolescents: chi-square: 13.52; p < 0.001). The percentages of children who were referred to primary (chi-square: 6.98; p = 0.008) and secondary mental health care (chi-square: 5.76; p = 0.02) increased over the years, whereas no significant increase was found for adolescents.
Although GPs' identification of mental health problems and referrals to primary mental health care have increased, most referrals are still made to secondary care. To further strengthen primary mental health care, effective short-term interventions for child and adolescent mental health problems that can be applied in general practice need to be developed.
This study examines utilisation of the Dutch health care system by Chinese people in the Netherlands as well as their attitudes to the system, paying special attention to mental health. Information was gathered by semistructured interviews (n = 102). The main issues investigated are access, help-seeking behaviour, and quality of care. Results showed that most respondents used Dutch health care as their primary method of managing health problems. Inadequate knowledge about the system and lack of Dutch language proficiency impede access to care, in particular registration with a General Practitioner (GP). Users complained that the care given differed from what they expected. Results also showed that the major problems are to be found in the group coming from the Chinese-speaking region. Western concepts of mental health appear to be widely accepted by Chinese in the Netherlands. However, almost half of our respondents believed that traditional Chinese medicine or other methods can also help with mental health problems. The provision of relevant information in Chinese appears to be important for improving access. Better interpretation and translation services, especially for first-generation migrants from the Chinese-speaking region, are also required.
The increasing proportion of skin diseases encountered in general practice represents a substantial part of morbidity in children. Only limited information is available about the frequency of specific skin diseases. We aimed to compare incidence rates of skin diseases in children in general practice between 1987 and 2001.
We used data on all children aged 0–17 years derived from two consecutive surveys performed in Dutch general practice in 1987 and 2001. Both surveys concerned a longitudinal registration of GP consultations over 12 months. Each disease episode was coded according to the International Classification of Primary Care. Incidence rates of separate skin diseases were calculated by dividing all new episodes for each distinct ICPC code by the average study population at risk. Data were stratified for socio-demographic characteristics.
The incidence rate of all skin diseases combined in general practice decreased between 1987 and 2001. Among infants the incidence rate increased. Girls presented more skin diseases to the GP. In the southern part of the Netherlands children consulted their GP more often for skin diseases compared to the northern part. Children of non-Western immigrants presented relatively more skin diseases to the GP. In general practice incidence rates of specific skin diseases such as impetigo, dermatophytosis and atopic dermatitis increased in 2001, whereas warts, contact dermatitis and skin injuries decreased.
The overall incidence rate of all skin diseases combined in general practice decreased whereas the incidence rates of bacterial, mycotic and atopic skin diseases increased.
In most Western countries, the referral letter forms the basis for establishing the priority of patients for specialised health care and for the coordination of care between the services. To be able to define the quality of referral letters, the potential impact of the quality on the organisation of care, and to improve the quality of the letters, we need a multidimensional definition of the ideal content. The study’s aim was to explore what information is seen as most important and should be included in referral letters from primary care to specialised mental health care to facilitate prioritisation and planning of treatment and follow-up of the patients.
Based on purposive sampling, four mixed discussion groups, which included general practitioners, mental health nurses from primary health care, psychiatrists and psychologists from specialised mental health care, managers and patient representatives, were formed; they were asked to identify the information they considered important in a mental health referral letter. In line with the Delphi technique, the importance of the themes was later individually rated by the participants. The study was conducted within The Western Norway Regional Health Authority.
The four groups identified 174 information themes. After excluding themes that were assessed as duplicates, replaceable or less important, 40 themes were suggested, organised in seven units. A set of check-off points of essential information is recommended as an introduction in the referral letter.
Compared with general guidelines and guidelines for somatic care, the results of this study suggest that the referral letter to specialised mental health care should have a larger emphasis on the overall treatment plan, on the specific role of specialised health care in the continuum of care, and on patient involvement. Further research should evaluate the validity of these findings for other patient groups in need of integrated care and investigate how the quality of referral letters affects patient-related and organisational outcomes.
Trial Registration number: NCT01374035
Referral and consultation; Mental health; Health services; General practice; Group interview
Most studies on the incidence of the carpal tunnel syndrome and the relation of this disorder with occupation are population-based. In this study we present data from general practice.
To compare incidence rates of carpal tunnel syndrome in 1987 with those in 2001, and to study the relationship between carpal tunnel syndrome and occupation.
Design of study
Analysis of the data of the first and second Dutch National Survey of General Practice, conducted in 1987 and 2001, respectively.
General practices in The Netherlands.
One hundred and three general practices in 1987 with 355 201 listed patients, and 96 practices with 364 998 listed patients in 2001, registered all patients who presented with a new episode of carpal tunnel syndrome. Patient and GP populations were representative for The Netherlands.
The crude incidence rate was 1.3 per 1000 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.0 to 1.5) in 1987, and 1.8 per 1000 (95% CI = 1.7 to 2.0) in 2001. In males it was 0.6 (95% CI = 0.5 to 0.7) and 0.9 (95% CI = 0.8 to 1.0) respectively; in females 1.9 (95% CI = 1.7 to 2.1) and 2.8 (95% CI = 2.6 to 3.1). At both study periods, peak incidence rate occurred in the 45–64-year age group: in 2001 this peak reached 4.8 per 1000 (95 CI = 4.1 to 5.4) for females and 1.6 (95 CI = 1.2 to 2.0) for males. Women who performed unskilled and semi-skilled work had 1.5 times greater risk of acquiring carpal tunnel syndrome than women with higher-skilled jobs (P<0.001). In men no relationship of this kind was found.
In 2001 the crude incidence rate of carpal tunnel syndrome was 1.5 times higher than in 1987, but the difference was not statistically significant after subdividing by age and sex. In both years the female:male ratio was 3:1. Incidence rates were related to the job level of women, but not of men.
age distribution; carpal tunnel syndrome; epidemiology; incidence; occupational diseases
When comparing health differences of groups with equal socioeconomic status (SES) over time, the sociodemographic composition of such a SES group is considered to be constant. However, when the periods are sufficiently spaced in time, sociodemographic changes may have occurred. The aim of this study is to examine in which respects the sociodemographic composition of lowest SES group changed between 1987 and 2001.
Our data were derived from the first and second Dutch National Survey of General Practice conducted in 1987 and 2001. In 1987 sociodemographic data from all listed patients (N = 334,007) were obtained by filling out a registration form at the practice (response 78.3%, 261,691 persons), in 2001 these data from all listed patients (385,461) were obtained by postal survey (response 76.9%, 296,243 persons). Participants were primarily classified according to their occupation into three SES groups: lowest, middle and highest.
In comparison with 1987, the lowest SES group decreased in relative size from 34.9% to 29.5%. Within this smaller SES group, the relative contribution of persons with a higher education more than doubled for females and doubled for males. This indicates that the relation between educational level and occupation was less firmly anchored in 2001 than in 1987.
The relative proportion of some disadvantaged groups (divorced, unemployed) increased in the lowest SES group, but the size of this effect was smaller than the increase from higher education. Young people (0–24 years) were proportionally less often represented in the lowest SES group.
Non-Western immigrants contributed in 2001 proportionally less to the lowest SES group than in 1987, because of an intergenerational upward mobility of the second generation.
On balance, the changes in the composition did not result in an accumulation of disadvantaged groups in the lowest SES group. On the contrary, the influx of people with higher educational qualifications between 1987 and 2001 could result in better health outcomes and health perspectives of the lowest SES group
Previous research has shown that mental disorder in the community has remained fairly constant over the past 30 years. As a result there has been a shift in mental health care from primary care to specialised mental health care. This shift should be visible in higher referral figures from general practice. In this longitudinal analysis of mental health referrals (1971 to 1997), the authors aimed to answer whether these higher referral rates have occurred, whether there are increases in referral for specific groups, and whether the referral pattern has changed. The results demonstrate an increase in referral rate with a factor of 4.5. It is concluded that we are witnessing a pull from mental health care together with a push from general practice, thus reinforcing each other.
Optimal clinical management of childhood urinary tract infections (UTI) potentiates long-term positive health effects. Insight into the quality of care in Dutch family practices for UTIs was limited, particularly regarding observation periods of more than a year. Our aim was to describe the clinical management of young children's UTIs in Dutch primary care and to compare this to the national guideline recommendations.
In this cohort study, all 0 to 6-year-old children with a diagnosed UTI in 2001 were identified within the Netherlands Information Network of General Practitioners (LINH), which comprises 120 practices. From the Dutch guideline on urinary tract infections, seven indicators were derived, on prescription, follow-up, and referral.
Of the 284 children with UTI who could be followed for three years, 183 (64%) were registered to have had one cystitis episode, 52 (18%) had two episodes, and 43 (15%) had three or more episodes. Another six children were registered to have had one or two episodes of acute pyelonephritis. Overall, antibiotics were prescribed for 66% of the children having had ≤ 3 cystitis episodes, two-thirds of whom received the antibiotics of first choice. About 30% of all episodes were followed up in general practice. Thirty-eight children were referred (14%), mostly to a paediatrician (76%). Less than one-third of the children who should have been referred was actually referred.
Treatment of childhood UTIs in Dutch family practice should be improved with respect to prescription, follow-up, and referral. Quality improvement should address the low incidence of urinary tract infections in children in family practice.
Dermatophytosis is a common skin infection in children. Although the epidemiology is relatively unknown it is becoming a major health problem in some countries. We determine the incidence and management of dermatophytosis in Dutch general practice in 1987 and 2001.
We used data of all children aged 0–17 years derived from two national surveys performed in Dutch general practice in 1987 and 2001 respectively. All diagnoses, prescriptions and referrals were registered over a 12 months period by the participating general practitioners (GPs), 161 and 195 respectively. Data were stratified for socio-demographic characteristics.
Compared to 1987, in 2001 the total reported incidence rate of dermatophytosis in children in general practice increased from 20.8 [95%CI 18.9–22.8] to 24.6 [95%CI 23.5–25.7] per 1,000 person years. Infants (<1 year), girls, children in rural areas and children of non-western immigrants more often consulted the GP for dermatophytosis in 2001.
In both surveys GPs treated the majority of children with dermatophytosis with topical drugs, especially with azoles.
The reported incidence rate of dermatophytosis in children in general practice increased; however it is unclear whether this is a consequence of an increasing prevalence in the population or a changing help seeking behaviour. GPs generally follow the national guideline for the treatment of dermatophytosis in children.
Dermatophytosis; Children; General practice; Incidence; Management
The working population is ageing, which will increase the number of workers with chronic health complaints, and, as a consequence, the number of workers seeking health care. It is very important to understand factors that influence medical care-seeking in order to control the costs. I will investigate which work characteristics independently attribute to later care-seeking in order to find possibilities to prevent unnecessary or inefficient care-seeking.
Data were collected in a longitudinal two-wave study (n = 2305 workers). The outcome measures were visits (yes/no and frequency) to a general practitioner (GP), a physical therapist, a medical specialist and/or a mental health professional. Multivariate regression analyses were carried out separately for men and women for workers with health complaints.
In the Dutch working population, personal, health, and work characteristics, but not sickness absence, were associated with later care-seeking. Work characteristics independently attributed to medical care-seeking but only for men and only for the frequency of visits to the GP. Women experience more health complaints and seek health care more often than men. For women, experiencing a work handicap (health complaints that impede work performance) was the only work characteristic associated with more care-seeking (GP). For men, work characteristics that led to less care-seeking were social support by colleagues (GP frequency), high levels of decision latitude (GP frequency) and high levels of social support by the supervisor (medical specialist). Other work characteristics led to more care-seeking: high levels of engagement (GP), full time work (GP frequency) and experiencing a work handicap (physical therapist).
We can conclude that personal and health characteristics are most important when explaining medical care-seeking in the Dutch working population. Work characteristics independently attributed to medical care-seeking but only for men and only for the frequency of visits to the GP. The association between work characteristics and later medical care-seeking differed between health care providers and between men and women. If we aim at reducing health care costs for workers by preventing unnecessary or inefficient care, it is important to reduce the number of workers that report that health complaints impede their work performance. The supervisor could provide more social support, closely monitor workload in combination with work pressure and decision latitude, and when possible help to adjust working conditions. Health care providers could reduce medical costs by taking the work relatedness of health complaints into account and act accordingly, by decreasing the time to referral and waiting lists, and by providing appropriate care and avoiding unnecessary or harmful care.
The pathophysiology of upper gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms is still poorly understood. Psychological symptoms were found to be more common in patients with functional gastrointestinal complaints, but it is debated whether they are primarily linked to GI symptoms or rather represent motivations for health-care seeking. Purpose of our study was to compare co-morbidity, in particular psychological and social problems, between patients with and without upper GI symptoms. In addition, we investigated whether the prevalence of psychological and social problems is part of a broader pattern of illness related health care use.
Population based case control study based on the second Dutch National Survey of general practice (conducted in 2001). Cases (adults visiting their primary care physician (PCP) with upper GI symptoms) and controls (individuals not having any of these complaints), matched for gender, age, PCP-practice and ethnicity were compared. Main outcome measures were contact frequency, prevalence of somatic as well as psychosocial diagnoses, prescription rate of (psycho)pharmacological agents, and referral rates. Data were analyzed using odds ratios, the Chi square test as well as multivariable logistic regression analysis.
Data from 13,389 patients with upper GI symptoms and 13,389 control patients were analyzed. Patients with upper GI symptoms visited their PCP twice as frequently as controls (8.6 vs 4.4 times/year). Patients with upper GI symptoms presented not only more psychological and social problems, but also more other health problems to their PCP (odds ratios (ORs) ranging from 1.37 to 3.45). Patients with upper GI symptoms more frequently used drugs of any ATC-class (ORs ranging from 1.39 to 2.90), including psychotropic agents. The observed differences were less pronounced when we adjusted for non-attending control patients. In multivariate regression analysis, contact frequency and not psychological or social co-morbidity was strongest associated with patients suffering from upper GI symptoms.
Patients with upper GI symptoms visit their PCP more frequently for problems of any organ system, including psychosocial problems. The relationship between upper GI symptoms and psychological problems is equivocal and may reflect increased health care demands in general.
Depression is a common illness, often treated in primary care. Guidelines provide recommendations for referral to mental health care. Several studies investigated determinants of referral, none investigated guideline criteria as possible determinants.
We wanted to evaluate general practitioner's referral of depressed patients to mental health care and to what extent this is in agreement with (Dutch) guideline recommendations.
We used data of primary care respondents from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety with major depressive disorder in the past year (n = 478). We excluded respondents with missing data (n = 134). Referral data was collected from electronic patient files between 1 year before and after baseline and self report at baseline and 1-year follow-up. Logistic regression was used to describe association between guideline referral criteria (e.g. perceived need for psychotherapy, suicide risk, severe/chronic depression, antidepressant therapy failure) and referral.
A high 58% of depressed patients were referred. Younger patients, those with suicidal tendency, chronic depression or perceived need for psychotherapy were referred more often. Patients who had used ≥2 antidepressants or with chronic depression were more often referred to secondary care. Referred respondents met on average more guideline criteria for referral. However, only 8-11% of variance was explained.
The majority of depressed patients were referred to mental health care. General practitioners take guideline criteria into account in decision making for referral of depressed patients to mental health care. However, other factors play a part, considering the small percentage of variance explained. Further research is necessary to investigate this.
Background: Although children are frequently referred to specialists, detailed information on referral patterns of them is scarce. Even less information is available on how referral patterns evolve over time.
Aims: To examine current referral patterns for children aged 0–17 years and compare these with referral patterns reported for 1987.
Design of study: Data were analysed from two national cross-sectional surveys, performed in 2001 (91 general practices) and in 1987 (103 general practices).
Setting: Dutch general practice.
Method: All new referrals to specialists were assessed by age, sex, International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC) category, specialty referred to, and specific episodes of disease. Referral measures were quantified as new referrals per 1000 person–years and per 100 new episodes, a measure of likelihood of a young person with a specific diagnosis to be referred. Rates in 2001 were compared with those from 1987.
Results: Referral rates decreased from 138 per 1000 person–years in 1987, to 84 per 1000 person–years in 2001. Age differences in referral rates were similar in both surveys. Compared with 1987, more boys than girls were referred to specialists. The overall likelihood of a condition being referred decreased from 8.0 per 100 episodes in 1987 to 6.5 per 100 episodes in 2001. Reasons for referral had also changed by 2001, particularly for the ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist and ophthalmologist. Moreover, referral rates for acute otitis media, refractive disorders, and vision problems decreased two- to fourfold in 2001.
Conclusion: Presently, Dutch general practitioners tend to manage more health problems themselves and refer less young people to specialists.
referral; children; general practice
To review the published literature concerning the effects of on-site mental health professionals on general practitioners' management of mental health.
Systematic review of controlled trials.
General practitioners and mental health professionals.
Main outcome measures
Consultation rates, prescribing of psychotropics, and referrals to secondary care mental health services by general practitioners.
The effect of on-site mental health professionals on consultation rates was inconsistent. Referral to a mental health professional reduced the likelihood of a patient receiving a prescription for psychotropics or being referred to secondary care, although the effects were not consistent. An on-site mental health professional did not alter prescribing and referral behaviour towards patients in the wider practice population.
The secondary effects of mental health professionals on the clinical behaviour of general practitioners are comparatively modest and inconsistent and seem to be restricted to patients directly under the care of the mental health professional.
HIV-infected patients are at increased risk of developing mental health symptoms, which negatively influence the treatment of the HIV-infection. Mental health problems in HIV-infected patients may affect public health. Psychopathology, including depression and substance abuse, can increase hazardous sexual behaviour and, with it, the chance of spreading HIV. Therefore, it is important to develop an optimal treatment plan for HIV-infected patients with mental health problems. The majority of HIV-infected patients in the Netherlands (almost 60%) are homosexual men.
The main objectives of this study were to describe the clinical and demographic characteristics of patients with HIV who seek treatment for their mental health symptoms in the Netherlands. Secondly, we tested whether HIV infected and non-infected homosexual patients with a lifetime depressive disorder differed on several mental health symptoms.
We compared a cohort of 196 patients who visited the outpatient clinic for HIV and Mental Health with HIV-infected patients in the general population in Amsterdam (ATHENA-study) and with non-HIV infected mental health patients (NESDA-study). DSM-IV diagnoses were determined, and several self-report questionnaires were used to assess mental health symptoms.
Depressive disorders were the most commonly occurring diagnoses in the cohort and frequent drug use was common. HIV-infected homosexual men with a depressive disorder showed no difference in depressive symptoms or sleep disturbance, compared with non-infected depressive men. However, HIV-positive patients did express more symptoms like fear, anger and guilt. Although they showed significantly more suicidal ideation, suicide attempts were not more prevalent among HIV-infected patients. Finally, the HIV-infected depressive patients displayed a considerably higher level of drug use than the HIV-negative group.
Habitual drug use is a risk factor for spreading HIV. It is also more often diagnosed in HIV-infected homosexual men with a lifetime depression or dysthymic disorder than in the non-infected population. Untreated mental health problems, such as depressive symptoms and use of drugs can have serious repercussions. Therefore, general practitioners and internists should be trained to recognize mental health problems in HIV-infected patients.
HIV; Mental health; Depression; Homosexual men; Drugs; Prevention
Little is known about differences in professional care seeking based on marital status. The few existing studies show more professional care seeking among the divorced or separated compared to the married or cohabiting. The aim of this study is to determine whether, in a sample of the European general population, the divorced or separated seek more professional mental health care than the married or cohabiting, regardless of self-reported mental health problems. Furthermore, we examine whether two country-level features--the supply of mental health professionals and the country-level divorce rates--contribute to marital status differences in professional care-seeking behavior.
We use data from the Eurobarometer 248 on mental well-being that was collected via telephone interviews. The unweighted sample includes 27,146 respondents (11,728 men and 15,418 women). Poisson hierarchical regression models were estimated to examine whether the divorced or separated have higher professional health care use for emotional or psychological problems, after controlling for mental and somatic health, sociodemographic characteristics, support from family and friends, and degree of urbanization. We also considered country-level divorce rates and indicators of the supply of mental health professionals, and applied design and population weights.
We find that professional care seeking is strongly need based. Moreover, the divorced or separated consult health professionals for mental health problems more often than people who are married or who cohabit do. In addition, we find that the gap between the divorced or separated and the married or cohabiting is highest in countries with low divorce rates.
The higher rates of professional care seeking for mental health problems among the divorced or separated only partially correlates with their more severe mental health problems. In countries where marital dissolution is more common, the marital status gap in professional care seeking is narrower, partially because professional care seeking is more common among the married or cohabiting.
Migration and ethnic minority status have been associated with higher occurrence of common mental disorders (CMD), while mental health care utilisation by non-Western migrants has been reported to be low compared to the general population in Western host countries. Still, the evidence-base for this is poor. This study evaluates uptake of mental health services for CMD and psychological distress among first-generation non-Western migrants in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
A population-based survey. First generation non-Western migrants and ethnic Dutch respondents (N = 580) participated in structured interviews in their own languages. The interview included the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) and the Kessler psychological distress scale (K10). Uptake of services was measured by self-report. Data were analysed using weighting techniques and multivariate logistic regression.
Of subjects with a CMD during six months preceding the interview, 50.9% reported care for mental problems in that period; 35.0% contacted specialised services. In relation to CMD, ethnic groups were equally likely to access specialised mental health services. In relation to psychological distress, however, Moroccan migrants reported less uptake of primary care services (OR = 0.37; 95% CI = 0.15 to 0.88).
About half of the ethnic Dutch, Turkish and Moroccan population in Amsterdam with CMD contact mental health services. Since the primary purpose of specialised mental health services is to treat "cases", this study provides strong indications for equal access to specialised care for these ethnic groups. The purpose of primary care services is however to treat psychological distress, so that access appears to be lower among Moroccan migrants.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States. It places considerable mental, physical, and emotional stress on patients and requires them to make major adjustments in many key areas of their lives. As a consequence, the demands on health care providers to satisfy the complex care needs of cancer patients increase manifold. Of late, patient satisfaction has been recognized as one of the key indicators of health care quality and is now being used by health care institutions for monitoring health care improvement programs, gaining accreditation, and marketing strategies. The patient satisfaction information is also being used to compare and benchmark hospitals, identify best-performance institutions, and discover areas in need of improvement. However, the existing literature on patient satisfaction with the quality of cancer care they receive is inconsistent and heterogeneous because of differences in study designs, questionnaires, study populations, and sample sizes. The aim of this review was therefore to systematically evaluate the available information on the distribution and determinants of patient satisfaction in oncology.
patient satisfaction; determinants; oncology
Large-scale traumatic events may burden any affected public health system with consequential charges. One major post-disaster, expense factor emerges form early psychological interventions and subsequent, posttraumatic mental health care. Due to the constant increase in mental health care costs, also post-disaster public mental health requires best possible, cost-effective care systems. Screening and monitoring the affected population might be one such area to optimize the charges.
This paper analyzes the potential cost-effectiveness of monitoring a psychologically traumatized population and to motivate individuals at risk to seek early treatment. As basis for our model served Grossman's health production function, which was modified according to fundamental concepts of cost-benefit analyzes, to match the basic conditions of online monitoring strategies. We then introduce some fundamental concepts of cost-benefit analysis.
When performing cost-benefit analyses, policy makers have to consider both direct costs (caused by treatment) and indirect costs (due to non-productivity). Considering both costs sources we find that the use of Internet-based psychometric screening instruments may reduce the duration of future treatment, psychological burden and treatment costs.
The identification of individuals at risk for PTSD following a disaster may help organizations prevent both the human and the economic costs of this disease. Consequently future research on mental health issues should put more emphasis on the importance of monitoring to detect early PTSD and focus the most effective resources within early treatment and morbidity prevention.
BACKGROUND: The demand for increased accountability within health care has led to a myriad of government initiatives in the United Kingdom, with the aim of improving care, setting minimum standards, and addressing poor performance. AIM: To assess the quality of care in English general practice in the year 2001 compared with 1998, in terms of access, interpersonal care, and clinical care (chronic disease management, elderly care, and mental health care). DESIGN OF STUDY: Observational study in a purposive sample of general practices in England. SETTING: Twenty-three general practices in England--eight in North Thames, seven in the North West, and eight in the South West. RESULTS: Outcome measures were: quality of chronic disease management (angina, adult asthma and type 2 diabetes from practice questionnaires and medical record review), elderly care and mental health care (from practice questionnaires), access to care, continuity of care and interpersonal care (from practice and patient questionnaires) and costs (mean change in practice budget between 1998 and 2001). There were significant improvements in quality of care in terms of organisational access to services (P = 0.016), practice organisation of chronic disease management (P = 0.039), and the quality of angina care (P = 0.003). There were no significant changes in quality scores for mental health care, elderly care, access and interpersonal care. The mean practice budget rose by 3.4% between 1998 and 2001 (adjusted for inflation). CONCLUSION: These findings provide evidence of improvements in some aspects of the quality of care, achieved at modest cost. This was achieved during a time when the National Health Service was undergoing a series of reforms. However, primary care in England is characterised by variation in care, with significant improvements still possible.
Background Significant government spending has resulted in substantial changes to the Australian primary mental healthcare system. Initially producing the Better Outcomes in Mental Health Care (BOiMHC) initiative, this has been replaced by the Better Access to Mental Health Care programme, which allows all general practitioners (GPs) to refer patients for allied psychological health care under Medicare. Aim To examine changes in patient management and referral for care following the BOiMHC initiative.
Method Comparison of results of a 2006 postal survey of Australian GPs examining self-reported management of patients with depression with a similar survey conducted in 2001–2002, prior to the BOiMHC initiative.
Results One hundred and thirty-three (33%) GPs responded. The main self-reported strategies for managing patients with depression were similar to the previous study: supportive counselling and medication. No significant difference was found in rates of self-reported formal training in psychological treatments. Significantly higher rates of referral for psychological treatments were reported in 2006 than in 2002. Small trends towards higher reported referral for and reported use of psychological treatments by GPs registered for the BOiMHC initiative were noted when compared with those who were not registered.
Conclusion While GPs' main reported strategies for managing patients with depression were unchanged, reported referral for psychological therapies was significantly higher in 2006, possibly reflecting the impact of changes to the primary mental healthcare system. Ongoing rigorous evaluation of further changes to the primary mental healthcare system are needed to determine whether they deliver effective, evidence-based care, and thus to inform future programmes.
depression; psychological treatments; referral
Collaboration between general practice and mental health care has been recognised as necessary to provide good quality healthcare services to people with mental health problems. Several studies indicate that collaboration often is poor, with the result that patient' needs for coordinated services are not sufficiently met, and that resources are inefficiently used. An increasing number of mental health care workers should improve mental health services, but may complicate collaboration and coordination between mental health workers and other professionals in the treatment chain. The aim of this qualitative study is to investigate strengths and weaknesses in today's collaboration, and to suggest improvements in the interaction between General Practitioners (GPs) and specialised mental health service.
This paper presents a qualitative focus group study with data drawn from six groups and eight group sessions with 28 health professionals (10 GPs, 12 nurses, and 6 physicians doing post-doctoral training in psychiatry), all working in the same region and assumed to make professional contact with each other.
GPs and mental health professionals shared each others expressions of strengths, weaknesses and suggestions for improvement in today's collaboration. Strengths in today's collaboration were related to common consultations between GPs and mental health professionals, and when GPs were able to receive advice about diagnostic treatment dilemmas. Weaknesses were related to the GPs' possibility to meet mental health professionals, and lack of mutual knowledge in mental health services. The results describe experiences and importance of interpersonal knowledge, mutual accessibility and familiarity with existing systems and resources. There is an agreement between GPs and mental health professionals that services will improve with shared knowledge about patients through systematic collaborative services, direct cell-phone lines to mental health professionals and allocated times for telephone consultation.
GPs and mental health professionals experience collaboration as important. GPs are the gate-keepers to specialised health care, and lack of collaboration seems to create problems for GPs, mental health professionals, and for the patients. Suggestions for improvement included identification of situations that could increase mutual knowledge, and make it easier for GPs to reach the right mental health care professional when needed.
The incidence of hypertrophy and recurrent infections of the tonsils/adenoids appears to be decreasing in the Netherlands. It is uncertain whether this is a ‘real’ decrease in the incidence of disease or an ‘artefact’.
To investigate possible causes of the decreasing incidence of adenotonsillar problems among Dutch children.
Design of study
A nationally representative general practice database.
Incidence rates were calculated over 2002–2005 among children aged 0–14 years. Multilevel Poisson regression analyses were used to examine the following possible causes of changing incidence rates: change in recording (more substitution codes), change in the demand for care (fewer visits to the GP), and change in the supply of care (fewer antibiotic prescriptions and referrals). Indications for a ‘real’ change in the incidence of disease were examined by calculating incidence rates of other clinical manifestations of microbial pathogens that may cause adenotonsillar problems.
The incidence rate decreased significantly (P = 0.017) from 3.0 to 1.3 per 1000 children per year. Correcting for demand for and supply of care led to a smaller decline in yearly incidence, from 2.9 to 1.7 per 1000 children per year (P = 0.105). No clearly similar trend was found in other clinical manifestations of viruses and bacteria that may cause adenotonsillar problems.
Part of the declining trend can be explained by a change in the demand for and supply of care, but no apparent causal clue emerged for the residual declining trend in the incidence of disease.
adenoids; child; family practice; incidence microbiology; tonsillitis
Mental health facilities in Uganda remain underutilized, despite efforts to decentralize the services. One of the possible explanations for this is the help-seeking behaviours of people with mental health problems. Unfortunately little is known about the factors that influence the help-seeking behaviours. Delays in seeking proper treatment are known to compromise the outcome of the care.
To examine the help-seeking behaviours of individuals with mental health problems, and the factors that may influence such behaviours in Uganda.
Sixty-two interviews and six focus groups were conducted with stakeholders drawn from national and district levels. Thematic analysis of the data was conducted using a framework analysis approach.
The findings revealed that in some Ugandan communities, help is mostly sought from traditional healers initially, whereas western form of care is usually considered as a last resort. The factors found to influence help-seeking behaviour within the community include: beliefs about the causes of mental illness, the nature of service delivery, accessibility and cost, stigma.
Increasing the uptake of mental health services requires dedicating more human and financial resources to conventional mental health services. Better understanding of socio-cultural factors that may influence accessibility, engagement and collaboration with traditional healers and conventional practitioners is also urgently required.