Specialist mental health care is out of reach for most Indians. The World Health Organisation has called for the integration of mental health into primary health care as a key strategy in closing the treatment gap. However, few studies in India have examined medical practitioners’ mental health-related knowledge and attitudes. This study examined these facets of service provision amongst doctors providing primary health care in a rural area of Karnataka is Southern India.
A mental health knowledge and attitudes questionnaire was self- administered by participants. The questionnaire consisted of four sections; 1) basic demographics and practice information, 2) training in mental health, 3) knowledge of mental health, and self-perceived competence in providing mental health care, and 4) attitudes towards mental health. Data was analysed quantitatively, primarily using descriptive statistics.
This study recruited 46 participants. The majority of participants (69.6%) felt competent in providing mental health services to their patients. However, there was a substantial level of endorsement for several statements that reflected negative attitudes. Almost one third of participants (28.0%) had not received any training in providing mental health care. Whilst three-quarters of participants correctly identified depression (76.1%) and psychosis (76.1%) in a vignette, fewer were able to name three common signs and symptoms of depression (50.0%) and psychosis (28.3%).
Integrating mental health into primary health care requires evidence-based up-skilling programs. Doctors in this study desired such training and would benefit from it, with a focus on both depth of knowledge and uncovering stigmatising attitudes towards people with mental health problems.
This chapter provides an overview of the role of primary care in the context of global health. Universal health coverage is a key priority for WHO and its member states, and provision of accessible and safe primary care is recognised as essential to meet this important international policy goal. Nevertheless, more than three decades after Alma Ata, the provision of primary health care remains inadequate, indicating that primary care has not received the priority it deserves, in many parts of the world. This is despite the proven health benefits that result from access to comprehensive primary health care. We highlight some examples of good practice and discuss the relevance of primary care in the context of health equity and cost-effectiveness. Challenges that influence the success of primary care include the availability of a qualified workforce, financing and system design and quality assurance and patient safety.
primary care; global health; universal health coverage; health equity
To identify doctors' perceptions of the need for palliative care for heart failure and barriers to change.
Qualitative study with focus groups.
North west England.
General practitioners and consultants in cardiology, geriatrics, palliative care, and general medicine.
Doctors supported the development of palliative care for patients with heart failure with the general practitioner as a central figure. They were reluctant to endorse expansion of specialist palliative care services. Barriers to developing approaches to palliative care in heart failure related to three main areas: the organisation of health care, the unpredictable course of heart failure, and the doctors' understanding of roles. The health system was thought to work against provision of holistic care, exacerbated by issues of professional rivalry and control. The priorities identified for the future were developing the role of the nurse, better community support for primary care, and enhanced communication between all the health professionals involved in the care of patients with heart failure.
Greater consideration should be given to the care of patients dying with heart failure, clarifying the roles of doctors and nurses in different specialties, and reshaping the services provided for them. Many of the organisational and professional issues are not peculiar to patients dying with heart failure, and addressing such concerns as the lack of coordination and continuity in medical care would benefit all patients.
What is already known on this topicPatients with heart failure have unmet needs for health care at the end of lifeSpecialist palliative care services see few patients with heart failureThe national service framework for coronary heart disease endorses the provision of palliative care for heart failureLittle evidence exists on how this care should be provided, and doctors' views are not knownWhat this study addsBarriers to adopting a palliative care approach in heart failure care relate to the current organisation of health services, the difficulties of prognostication, and doctors' understanding of roles and responsibilitiesDoctors believe that the general practitioner should be the central figure in palliative care for heart failure, supported by specialistsDoctors' future priorities are developing the role of nurses, increasing essential community services, such as district nursing, and improving communication with colleagues
This nationwide study was conducted to assess the extent of adherence of primary-care physicians to the World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended guidelines on the use of oral rehydration therapy (ORT), antimicrobials, and prescribing of other drugs used in treating symptoms of acute diarrhoea in Bahrain. A questionnaire-based, cross-sectional survey was carried out in primary-care health centres. During a six-week survey period (15 August–30 September 2003), 328 (25.2%) completed questionnaires were returned from 17 of 20 health centres. In a sample of 300 patients, oral rehydration salts (ORS) solution was prescribed to 89.3% (n=268) patients; 12.3% received ORS alone, whereas 77% received ORS in combination with symptomatic drugs. Antimicrobials were prescribed to 2% of the patients. In 11.4% of the cases, rehydration fluids and other drugs were given parenterally. The mean number of drugs was 2.2+0.87 per prescription. In approximately one-third of the patients, three or more drugs were used. Primary-care physicians almost always adhered to the WHO guidelines with respect to ORT and antimicrobials. However, in several instances, ORT was prescribed along with polypharmacy, including irrational use of drugs for symptomatic relief. Effective health policies are needed to reduce the unnecessary burden on the healthcare system.
Compliance; Cross-sectional studies; Diarrhoea, Acute; Drug therapy; Oral rehydration solutions; Oral rehydration therapy; Bahrain
Type 2 diabetes is an increasingly prevalent chronic illness and is an important cause of avoidable mortality. Patients are managed by the integrated activities of clinical and non-clinical members of the primary care team. Studies of the quality of care for patients with diabetes suggest less than optimum care in a number of areas.
The aim of this study is to improve the quality of care for patients with diabetes cared for in primary care in the UK by identifying individual, team, and organisational factors that predict the implementation of best practice.
Participants will be clinical and non-clinical staff within 100 general practices sampled from practices who are members of the MRC General Practice Research Framework. Self-completion questionnaires will be developed to measure the attributes of individual health care professionals, primary care teams (including both clinical and non-clinical staff), and their organisation in primary care. Questionnaires will be administered using postal survey methods. A range of validated theories will be used as a framework for the questionnaire instruments. Data relating to a range of dimensions of the organisational structure of primary care will be collected via a telephone interview at each practice using a structured interview schedule. We will also collect data relating to the processes of care, markers of biochemical control, and relevant indicator scores from the quality and outcomes framework (QOF). Process data (as a proxy indicator of clinical behaviours) will be collected from practice databases and via a postal questionnaire survey of a random selection of patients from each practice. Levels of biochemical control will be extracted from practice databases. A series of analyses will be conducted to relate the individual, team, and organisational data to the process, control, and QOF data to identify configurations associated with high quality care.
UKCRN ref:DRN120 (ICPD)
A focus on the primary care workforce is critical when discussing plans to address the fractured United States health care system. However, we must first address the primary care physician shortage crisis when planning for health care reform which focuses on increasing access to the US population. Initial strategies may include improving reimbursement rates for primary care services, incentivizing medical schools in making primary care training a priority, and developing robust loan-forgiveness programs for those who enter and work in primary care specialties. Planning with congressional representatives about these elements will better ensure sustainable health reform efforts are implemented.
Improving quality of end-of-life care is a key driver of UK policy. The Gold Standards Framework (GSF) for Palliative Care aims to strengthen primary palliative care through facilitating implementation of systematic clinical and organisational processes.
To describe the general practices that participated in the GSF programme in 2003–5 and the changes in process and perception of quality that occurred in the year following entry into the programme, and to identify factors associated with the extent of change.
Participating practices completed a questionnaire at baseline and another approximately 12 months later. Data were derived from categorical questions about the implementation of 35 organisational and clinical processes, and self-rated assessments of quality, associated with palliative care provision.
1305 practices (total registered population almost 10 million). Follow-up questionnaire completed by 955 (73.2%) practices (after mean (SD) 12.8 (2.8) months; median 13 months).
Mean increase in total number of processes implemented (maximum = 35) was 9.6 (95% CI 9.0 to 10.2; p<0.001; baseline: 15.7 (SD 6.4), follow-up: 25.2 (SD 5.2)). Extent of change was largest for practices with low baseline scores. Aspects of process related to coordination and communication showed the greatest change. All dimensions of quality improved following GSF implementation; change was highest for the “quality of palliative care for cancer patients” and “confidence in assessing, recording and addressing the physical and psychosocial areas of patient care”.
Implementation of the GSF seems to have resulted in substantial improvements in process and quality of palliative care. Further research is required of the extent to which this has enhanced care (physical, practical and psychological outcomes) for patients and carers.
PaTz (an acronym for ‘PAlliatieve Thuis Zorg’; palliative care at home) is an intervention to improve palliative care provision and strengthen the generalist knowledge of palliative care. In PaTz general practitioners and district nurses meet on a regular basis to identify patients with palliative care needs and to discuss care for these patients. This study explores experiences with regard to collaboration between general practitioners and district nurses, and perceived benefits of and barriers for implementation of PaTz.
This study is conducted within the primary care setting. Participants were 24 general practitioners who filled in a questionnaire, and seven general practitioners, five district nurses and two palliative care consultants who attended one of two focus groups.
PaTz led to improved collaboration. Participants felt informational and emotional support from other PaTz participants. Also they felt that continuity of care was enhanced by PaTz. Practical recommendations for implementation were: meetings every 6 to 8 weeks, regular attendance from both general practitioners and district nurses, presence of a palliative care consultant, and a strong chairman.
PaTz is successful in enhancing collaboration in primary palliative care and easy to implement. Participants felt it improved continuity of care and knowledge on palliative care. Further research is needed to investigate whether patient and carer outcomes improve.
Palliative care; End of life care; Primary health care; Interprofessional relations; General practitioner; Primary care nursing
China is a country with vast regional differences and uneven economic development, which have led to widening gaps between the rich and poor in terms of access to healthcare, quality of care, and health outcomes. China's healthcare reform efforts must be tailored to the needs and resources of each region and community. Building and strengthening primary care within the Chinese health care system is one way to effectively address health challenges. This paper begins by outlining the concept of primary care, including key definitions and measurements. Next, results from a number of studies will demonstrate that primary care characteristics are associated with savings in medical costs, improvements in health outcomes and reductions in health disparities. This paper concludes with recommendations for China on successfully incorporating a primary care model into its national health policy, including bolstering the primary care workforce, addressing medical financing structures, recognizing the importance of evidence-based medicine, and looking to case studies from countries that have successfully implemented health reform.
Anxiety and depressive disorders are increasingly recognized as a health care policy priority. Reducing the treatment gap for common mental disorders requires strengthening the quality of primary mental health care. We developed a knowledge application program designed to improve the organization and delivery of care for anxiety and depression in community-based primary mental health care teams in Quebec, Canada. The principal objectives of the study are: to implement and evaluate this evidence-based knowledge application program; to examine the contextual factors associated with the selection of local quality improvement strategies; to explore barriers and facilitators associated with the implementation of local quality improvement plans; and to study the implementation of local quality monitoring strategies.
The research design is a mixed-methods prospective multiple case study. The main analysis unit (cases) is composed of the six multidisciplinary community-based primary mental health care teams, and each of the cases has identified at least one primary care medical clinic interested in collaborating with the implementation project. The training modules of the program are based on the Chronic Care Model, and the implementation strategies were developed according to the Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services conceptual framework.
The implementation of an evidence-based knowledge application program for anxiety and depression in primary care aims to improve the organization and delivery of mental health services. The uptake of evidence to improve the quality of care for common mental disorders in primary care is a complex process that requires careful consideration of the context in which innovations are introduced. The project will provide a close examination of the interplay between evidence, context and facilitation, and contribute to the understanding of factors associated with the process of implementation of interventions in routine care. The implementation of the knowledge application program with a population health perspective is consistent with the priorities set forth in the current mental health care reform in Quebec. Strengthening primary mental health care will lead to a more efficient health care system.
Depression; Anxiety disorders; Primary care; Quality of care; Quality improvement; Mental health care; Quality indicators; Knowledge application
Countries with historically unlimited patient choice of medical provider, such as Korea, have been promoting rational health care pathways. Factors related to the length of doctor-patient relationship (DPR) for enhancing primary care in those countries should be studied. Participants were patients who had visited their family practices on six or more occasions over a period of more than 6 months. Five domains (21 items) of the Korean Primary Care Assessment Tool (first contact, coordination function, comprehensiveness, family/community orientation, and personalized care) and general questions were administered in the waiting rooms. From seven practices, the response rate was 83.7% (495/591). The older the age, the lower the income, the shorter the duration of education, the more the number of diseases the patients had, and in provincial cities rather than in Seoul, the longer length of DPR ( ≥ 4 yr) was shown. The long-term DPR was associated with total primary care quality score (upper [ ≥ 71.4] vs lower [ < 71.4], OR, 1.74; 95% CI, 1.10-2.76), especially with coordination function (OR, 1.01; 95% CI, 1.00-1.02), being adjusted for confounding variables. Strengthening the coordination function may have to be the first consideration in primary care policy in countries like Korea.
Primary Health Care; Quality Assurance; Health Care Policy; Korea
Primary care reform initiatives in Ontario are proceeding with little information about the views of practicing family physicians.
A postal questionnaire was sent to 1200 randomly selected family physicians in Ontario five months after the initial invitation to join the Ontario Family Health Network. It sought information about their practice characteristics, their intention to participate in the Network and their views about the organization and financing of primary care.
The response rate was 50.3%. While many family physicians recognize the need for change in the delivery of primary care, the majority (72%) did not expect to join the Ontario Family Health Network by 2004, or by some later date (60%). Nor did they favour capitation or rostering, 2 key elements of the proposed reforms. Physicians who favour capitation were 5.5 times more likely to report that they expected to join the Network by 2004, although these practices comprise 5% of the sample.
The results of this survey, conducted five months after the initial offering of primary care reform agreements to all Ontario physicians, suggest that an 80% enrollment target is unrealistic.
Training in different specialties should prepare young physicians to assume responsibilities in primary care. Training for the acquisition of the proper attitude for health care, should be given in the course of the training in different specialties.
To assess the attitudes of medical interns who have undergone rotation in the Department of Family and Community Medicine of a large university hospital, towards the provision of primary care.
A cross-sectional study incorporating a structured questionnaire was carried out on a sample of 106 interns; and 20 consultants were selected as a reference group.
All medical interns almost unanimously endorsed continuous, coordinated, accessible and comprehensive care. In contrast, consultants less often supported the provision of such care for their own patients.
Unless consultants change their attitudes towards the attributes of primary care, the quality of patient care as well as physician training would suffer.
Attitudes; Medical Interns; Primary Health Care
Recent reforms in Portugal aimed at strengthening the role of the primary care system, in order to improve the quality of the health care system. Since 2006 new policies aiming to change the organization, incentive structures and funding of the primary health care sector were designed, promoting the evolution of traditional primary health care centres (PHCCs) into a new type of organizational unit - family health units (FHUs). This study aimed to compare performances of PHCC and FHU organizational models and to assess the potential gains from converting PHCCs into FHUs.
Stochastic discrete event simulation models for the two types of organizational models were designed and implemented using Simul8 software. These models were applied to data from nineteen primary care units in three municipalities of the Greater Lisbon area.
The conversion of PHCCs into FHUs seems to have the potential to generate substantial improvements in productivity and accessibility, while not having a significant impact on costs. This conversion might entail a 45% reduction in the average number of days required to obtain a medical appointment and a 7% and 9% increase in the average number of medical and nursing consultations, respectively.
Reorganization of PHCC into FHUs might increase accessibility of patients to services and efficiency in the provision of primary care services.
Family health units; primary care reforms; discrete event simulation; performance indicators; Portugal
The recent establishment of primary care residencies at the University of Nevada School of Medicine has raised important questions about local priorities in the training of physicians to provide primary care for adults. Because the amount of money available for health care training is decreasing, these questions also have national importance. Primary care internal medicine, not synonymous with general internal medicine, offers distinct advantages to patients over family practice adult care and primary care offered by internist subspecialists. The University of Nevada has a singular opportunity to organize a strong primary care internal medicine residency, but national problems of internal medicine emphasis exist. Nationwide changes in internal medicine residency programs (ongoing) and American Board of Internal Medicine nationalization of the fledgling primary care internal medicine fellowship movement are suggested. Specifically proposed is an extra year for primary care training with a single examination after four years, producing general internists with a primary care “minor.” Alternately, and ideally, there would be a full two-year primary care fellowship with a separate internal medicine primary care subspecialty board examination. Either of the above options would provide necessary training and academic credibility for primary care internists, and would redirect internal medicine certification and training.
The World health Organization (WHO) declares Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) endemic in Turkey. Despite the magnitude of problem, no documented evidence exists in Turkey, which reveals the awareness and practices of the country’s adult population regarding CCHF, its spread, symptoms, treatment, and prevention. This study was conducted to assess the level of knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding CCHF in people visiting tertiary care hospital in Tokat, Turkey.
This questionnaire based cross-sectional survey was conducted among patients’ relatives or guardians who admitted pediatric outpatient clinics during May–July 2008. The questionnaire was composed of 25 questions.
A total of 1034 respondents participated in the survey. Sufficient knowledge about CCHF was not found in 28.9% of the sample. Literate individuals were relatively better informed about CCHF as compared to the illiterate people. Television and radio were considered as the most important and useful source of information on the disease.
We have found insufficient knowledge on CCHF in our population. It is thought to have no chance of success against a fatal disease such as CCHF, which has serious consequences, without the contribution of community. It is clear that there are important tasks for health, agriculture, and media sectors to improve public knowledge and awareness about CCHF.
Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever; Public knowledge; Survey; Turkey
Little research attention has been given to attempts to implement organisational initiatives to improve quality of care for mental health care, where there is a high level of indeterminacy and clinical judgements are often contestable. This paper explores recent efforts made at an organisational level in England to improve the quality of primary care for people with mental health problems through the new institutional processes of 'clinical governance'.
Framework analysis, based on the Normalisation Process Model (NPM), of attempts over a five year period to develop clinical governance for primary mental health services in Primary Care Trusts (PCTs). The data come from a longitudinal qualitative multiple case-study approach in a purposive sample of 12 PCTs, chosen to reflect a maximum variety of organisational contexts for mental health care provision.
The constant change within the English NHS provided a difficult context in which to attempt to implement 'clinical governance' or, indeed, to reconstruct primary mental health care. In the absence of clear evidence or direct guidance about what 'primary mental health care' should be, and a lack of actors with the power or skills to set about realising it, the actors in 'clinical governance' had little shared knowledge or understanding of their role in improving the quality of mental health care. There was a lack of ownership of 'mental health' as an integral, normalised part of primary care.
Despite some achievements in regard to monitoring and standardisation of prescribing practice, mental health care in primary care seems to have so far largely eluded the gaze of 'clinical governance'. Clinical governance in English primary mental health care has not yet become normalised. We make some policy recommendations which we consider would assist in the process normalisation and suggest other contexts to which our findings might apply.
There is a critical need for research to examine the changing mental health services system, to evaluate major innovations in the provision of mental health treatment, and to remove existing barriers to comprehensive and cost-effective care. To achieve these aims, collaboration is needed among government agencies, mental health services programs, academic institutions, and the private sector. The National Institute of Mental Health supports research and research training on the mental health services system primarily through the Division of Biometry and Applied Sciences. This article focuses on the division's three priority research areas of the mental health services system: the provision of mental health care in the primary care sector, the organization and delivery of care for the chronically mentally ill, and financing and reimbursement of care. The various mechanisms of research support are also highlighted.
Family practice training takes place at primary care based training centers linked to Education and Research State Hospitals in Turkey. There is a discussion if these units are adequate to train primary care staff and if the patients of these units reflect the applicants of primary care.
The aim of our study is to investigate the demographic characteristics, the effect of distance on primary care utilization, and most common diagnosis of the patients who applied to two different outpatient clinics: One urban and one rural.
Settings and Design:
Study was conducted from the electronic health records of the patients applied to outpatient clinics of Ankara Diskapi Yildirim Beyazit Training and Research Hospital Department of Family Medicine between 1 January and 31 December 2009.
Total number of patients applied to both of the outpatient clinics was 34,632 [urban clinic: 16.506 (47.7%), rural clinic: 18.126 (52.3%)]. Leading three diagnoses were upper respiratory tract infection (URTI), general medical examination (GME), and hypertension (HT) in the most common 10 diagnosis.
In our study, the rural outpatient clinic is regarded as a primary care unit in the neighborhood of living area and the urban clinic as close to working environment. We found statistically meaningful differences in most common diagnosis, gender, age, and consultation time between the rural and urban clinics. According to our results, family practitioners’ field training should take place at different primary care units according to sociodemographic characteristics of each country.
Family medicine; primary care setting; residents; rural; urban
To determine whether models of primary care service delivery differ in their provision of family-centred care (FCC) and to identify practice characteristics associated with FCC.
Primary care practices in Ontario (ie, 35 salaried community health centres, 35 fee-for-service practices, 32 capitation-based health service organizations, and 35 blended remuneration family health networks) that belong to 4 models of primary care service delivery.
A total of 137 practices, 363 providers, and 5144 patients.
Main outcome measures
Measures of FCC in patient and provider surveys were based on the Primary Care Assessment Tool. Statistical analyses were conducted using linear mixed regression models and generalized estimating equations.
Patient-reported FCC scores were high and did not vary significantly by primary care model. Larger panel size in a practice was associated with lower odds of patients reporting FCC. Provider-reported FCC scores were significantly higher in community health centres than in family health networks (P = .035). A larger number of nurse practitioners and clinical services on-site were both associated with higher FCC scores, while scores decreased as the number of family physicians in a practice increased and if practices were more rural.
Based on provider and patient reports, primary care reform strategies that encourage larger practices and more patients per family physician might compromise the provision of FCC, while strategies that encourage multidisciplinary practices and a range of services might increase FCC.
This article reviews the impact of successive experiments in the development of primary care organisations in England and assesses the long-term importance of English primary care groups for the integration of health and community and health and social care and the deinstitutionalisation of hospital care.
Governments in a number of Western countries are attempting to improve the efficiency, appropriateness and equity of their health systems. One of the main ways of doing this is to devolve provision and commissioning responsibility from national and regional organisations to more local agencies based in primary care. Such primary care organisations are allocated budgets that span both primary and secondary (hospital) services and also, potentially, social care.
This article is based on a systematic review of the literature forthcoming from the UK Government's Department of Health-funded evaluations of successive primary care organisational developments. These include total purchasing pilots, GP commissioning group pilots, personal medical services pilots and primary care groups and trusts.
Primary care organisations in England have proved to be a catalyst in facilitating the development of integrated care working between primary and community health services. Conversely, primary care organisations have proved less effective in promoting integration between health and social care agencies where most progress has been made at the strategic commissioning level. The development of primary care trusts in England is heralding an end to traditional community hospitals.
The development of primary care groups in England are but an intermediate step of a policy progression towards future primary care-based organisations that will functionally integrate primary and community health services with local authority services under a single management umbrella.
primary care; integrated care; managed care; England
This study aimed at exploring the experiences of primary health-care providers of their
encounters with patients with type 2 diabetes, and their preferences and suggestions for
future improvement of diabetes care.
Barriers to good diabetes care could be related to problems from health-care providers’
side, patients’ side or the health-care system of the country. Treatment of patients
with type 2 diabetes has become a huge challenge in Oman, where the prevalence has
increased to high levels.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 26 health-care professionals, 19 doctors
and seven nurses, who worked in primary health care in Oman. Qualitative content
analysis was applied.
Organizational barriers and barriers related to patients and health-care providers were
identified. These included workload and lack of teamwork approach. Poor patients’
management adherence and influence of culture on their attitudes towards illness were
identified. From the providers’ side, language barriers, providers’ frustration and
aggressive attitudes towards the patients were reflected. Decreasing the workload,
availability of competent teams with diabetes specialist nurses and continuity of care
were suggested. Furthermore, changing professional behaviours towards a more
patient-centred approach and need for health education to the patients, especially on
self-management, were addressed. Appropriate training for health-care providers in
communication skills with emphasis on self-care education and individualization of care
according to each patient's needs are important for improvement of diabetes care in
culture; Oman; patient–provider interaction; professional behaviour; qualitative content analysis
Providing appropriate palliative care for older people is a major task for health care systems worldwide, and up to now it has also been one of the most neglected. Focusing on the German health care system, we sought to explore the attitudes of health professionals regarding their understanding of palliative care for older patients and its implementation.
In a qualitative study design, focus groups were established consisting of general practitioners, geriatricians, palliative care physicians, palliative care nurses and general nurses (a total of 29 participants). The group discussions were recorded, transcribed, coded and analysed using the methodological approach of Qualitative Description.
Deficiencies in teamwork and conflicting role definitions between doctors and nurses and between family practitioners and medical specialists were found to be central problems affecting the provision of appropriate palliative care for older people. It was emphasized that there are great advantages to family doctors playing a leading role, as they usually have the longest contacts to the patients. However, the professional qualifications of family doctors were to some extent criticized. The general practitioners for their part criticized the increasing specialization on the field of palliative care. All groups complained that the German compensation system gives insufficient consideration to the time-consuming care of older patients, and about excessive bureaucracy.
General practitioners are the central health professionals in the delivery of palliative care for older people. They should however be encouraged to involve specialized services such as palliative care teams where necessary. With the German health care reform of 2007, a legal framework has been created that allows for this. As far as its realization is concerned, it must be ensured that the spotlight remains on the needs of the patients and not on policy conflicts and rivalries between health care professionals. Older people might particularly benefit if "talking" medicine and time-consuming care were properly catered for, financially and organizationally, in the health care system.
One of the main barriers for further improving the quality of chronic care was the absence of performance-based financing. With the introduction of a Diagnosis-Based Costing method (DBC) within primary care, a new organisational model is implemented in the region Maastricht. This integrated care model includes all relevant stakeholders, such as GPs, district nurses, dieticians, nurse practitioners, practice assistants, physiotherapists and hospital-based specialists. Aim is to optimise the quality of fragmented primary care for chronically ill within the existing budget restraints or, if even possible, to diminish the present costs for chronic care.
Context and data sources
Increasing prevalence of chronic illnesses, an ageing society and the observation that existing care systems approach mostly insufficiently to specific health problems and patients' needs asked for redesigning the existing healthcare system. We started by focussing on primary diabetes and COPD care. For the delivery of diabetes and COPD care within the entire primary care setting health care insurance companies contract with GPs only. GPs act as gatekeepers and coordinate the delivery of care within the primary care setting. Evidence-based medical guidelines and evidence about the organisation of respectively integrated diabetes and COPD care were used to outline care in multidisciplinary protocols. Referral criteria for secondary care are formulated as well. Within this protocol hospital-based specialists deliver specialized care while working in the GPs electronic patient file.
In 2007 and 2008, respectively 6390 and 6700 diabetes patients, derived form 87 GPs, have been included in the DBC-cohorts. The DBC COPD has been implemented in October last year, until now 2253 patients are registered. DBCs for cardiovascular diseases and for depression and anxiety are under construction and will be implemented by the end of this year. All healthcare givers register their delivered care into the same electronic patient file.
Based on the preliminary data it can be concluded that the integrated care model has been adopted by professionals in the primary care setting, patients and the health care insurance companies. Moreover, agreement has been reached in the process of care delivery, the indicators for performance-based costing and the collection of data for care and research purposes.
Matches and gaps between the actual delivered care and the protocol are explained by the Chronic Care Model and the Management Control Theory (an article is accepted for international publication). Patient outcomes, cost-effectiveness and benefits of these programmes are now subject of investigation. The main challenge for the future is to answer the question whether such disease-specific driven approaches remain suitable for patients suffering from more than one chronic disease (multi-morbidity).
quality; chronic care
OBJECTIVE--To examine changes in primary care in London in the 11 years since the Acheson report on primary health care in inner London. DESIGN--Analysis of key data from the family health services authority performance indicators and from the Department of Health; study of trends since the time of the Acheson report; examination of the provision of primary care in 1990-1 and its relation to health and social factors. SETTING--Comparisons between the family health services authorities of inner London, outer London, and England as a whole, with a special study of Birmingham, Liverpool, and Manchester. SUBJECTS--The family health services authorities of England. RESULTS--There has been an improvement in the provision of primary care in inner London as judged by the criteria of the Acheson report, but these improvements have occurred only as part of an overall improvement in the provision of primary care in the country as a whole. None of the recommendations of the Acheson report specifically oriented to London have been implemented. There are some worrying trends in inner London, such as the increasing proportion of practices with more than 2500 patients. The problems faced by practitioners in inner London resemble those in other large inner city areas, but the primary care provision to deal with them is relatively poor.