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1.  Effects of a pharmacist-led structured medication review in primary care on drug-related problems and hospital admission rates: a randomized controlled trial 
Objective. To determine whether a pharmacist-led medications review in primary care reduces the number of drugs and the number of drug-related problems. Design. Prospective randomized controlled trial. Setting. Liljeholmen Primary Care Centre, Stockholm, Sweden. Subjects. 209 patients aged ≥ 65 years with five or more different medications. Intervention. Patients answered a questionnaire regarding medications. The pharmacist reviewed all medications (prescription, non-prescription, and herbal) regarding recommendations and renal impairment, giving advice to patients and GPs. Each patient met the pharmacist before seeing their GP. Control patients received their usual care. Main outcome measures. Drug-related problems and number of drugs. Secondary outcomes included health care utilization and self-rated health during 12 months of follow-up. Results. No significant difference was seen when comparing change in drug-related problems between the groups. However, a significant decrease in drug-related problems was observed in the intervention group (from 1.73 per patient at baseline to 1.31 at follow-up, p < 0.05). The change in number of drugs was more pronounced in the intervention group (p < 0.046). Intervention group patients were not admitted to hospital on fewer occasions or for fewer days, and there was no significant difference between the two groups regarding utilization of primary care during follow-up. Self-rated health remained unchanged in the intervention group, whereas a drop (p < 0.02) was reported in the control group. This resulted in a significant difference in change in self-rated health between the groups (p < 0.047). Conclusions. The addition of a skilled pharmacist to the primary care team may contribute to reductions in numbers of drugs and maintenance of self-rated health in elderly patients with polypharmacy.
PMCID: PMC4278387  PMID: 25347723
Drug-related problems; elderly; general practice; medication review; pharmacist; primary care; Sweden
3.  Management of patients with sore throats in relation to guidelines: An interview study in Sweden 
Objective. To explore how a group of Swedish general practitioners (GPs) manage patients with a sore throat in relation to current guidelines as expressed in interviews. Design. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyse semi-structured interviews. Setting. Swedish primary care. Subjects. A strategic sample of 25 GPs. Main outcome measures. Perceived management of sore throat patients. Results. It was found that nine of the interviewed GPs were adherent to current guidelines for sore throat and 16 were non-adherent. The two groups differed in terms of guideline knowledge, which was shared within the team for adherent GPs while idiosyncratic knowledge dominated for the non-adherent GPs. Adherent GPs had no or low concerns for bacterial infections and differential diagnosis whilst non-adherent GPs believed that in patients with a sore throat any bacterial infection should be identified and treated with antibiotics. Patient history and examination was mainly targeted by adherent GPs whilst for non-adherent GPs it was often redundant. Non-adherent GPs reported problems getting patients to abstain from antibiotics, whilst no such problems were reported in adherent GPs. Conclusion. This interview study of sore throat management in a strategically sampled group of Swedish GPs showed that while two-thirds were non-adherent and had a liberal attitude to antibiotics one-third were guideline adherent with a restricted view on antibiotics. Non-adherent GPs revealed significant knowledge gaps. Adherent GPs had discussed guidelines within the primary care team while non-adherent GPs had not. Guideline implementation thus seemed to be promoted by knowledge shared in team discussions.
PMCID: PMC4278394  PMID: 25363143
General practice; general practitioners; guidelines; qualitative research; sore throat; Sweden
4.  Exercise intervention and health checks for middle-aged men with elevated cardiovascular risk: A randomized controlled trial 
Objective. To study the effects of a health check by a nurse alone or combined with an exercise intervention in middle-aged men at increased cardiovascular risk. Design. A randomized controlled trial. Setting and intervention. Primary care in Kirkkonummi municipality with 36 000 inhabitants. A health check by a nurse alone or combined with an exercise intervention to controls with no intervention was compared. Subjects. A total of 168 men aged 35 to 45 years with at least two cardiovascular risk factors and physical activity (PA) frequency < 3 times a week. Main outcome measures. Metabolic syndrome (MetS) as defined by International Diabetes Federation/American Heart Association and self-reported PA frequency. Results. Overall, focusing on health increased physical activity frequency in middle-aged men. After one year, 19% had increased PA to ≥ 3 times a week (95% CI 12–26). All study groups increased PA to ≥ 3 times: 26% of men in the exercise intervention group, 15% of men in the health check group, and 16% of controls. The differences between the groups were not statistically significant. The intervention did not have any meaningful impact on MetS or other cardiovascular outcomes at one-year follow up. Conclusions. Physical activity increased in all study groups of middle-aged men in this health-promotion trial. The interventions had no effect on metabolic syndrome or other cardiovascular outcomes in the participants. The trial increased awareness and collaboration in physical activity promotion among municipal health care and exercise services.
PMCID: PMC4278388  PMID: 25434409
Cardiovascular risk; exercise intervention; Finland; general practice; health check; metabolic syndrome
5.  Characterization of patients with atrial fibrillation not treated with oral anticoagulants 
Objective. An underuse of oral anticoagulants (OAC) in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) has been suggested, as only 50% of all patients with AF receive OAC treatment. Whether this is due to contraindications, lack of an indication to treat, or an expression of underuse is sparsely investigated. This study therefore aimed to characterize individuals without OAC treatment in a real-life population of patients with AF. Design. Retrospective cross-sectional study. The medical records were scrutinized in order to identify the type of AF, risk factors for embolism and bleeding, and other factors of importance for OAC treatment. Setting. The municipalities of Skellefteå and Norsjö, northern Sweden. Subjects. A total of 2274 living residents with at least one verified episode of AF on or before December 31, 2010. Main outcome measures. Prevalence of treatment with OAC and documented reasons to withhold OAC treatment. Results. Among all 2274 patients with AF, 1187 (52%) were not treated with OAC. Of the untreated patients, 19% had no indication or had declined or had experienced adverse effects other than bleeding on warfarin treatment. The most common reason to withhold OAC was presence of risk factors for bleeding, found in 38% of all untreated patients. Furthermore, a documented reason could be identified to withhold OAC in 75%. Conclusions. Among patients with AF without OAC treatment a reason could be identified to withhold OAC in 75%. The underuse of OAC is estimated to be 25%.
PMCID: PMC4278389  PMID: 25464863
Atrial fibrillation; anticoagulation; epidemiology; general practice; risk factors; thromboembolic risk; thromboembolism; Sweden
6.  Determinants of adherence to recommendations for depressed elderly patients in primary care: A multi-methods study 
Objective. It is logical that tailoring implementation strategies to address identified determinants of adherence to clinical practice guidelines should improve adherence. This study aimed to identify and prioritize determinants of adherence to six recommendations for elderly patients with depression. Design and setting. Group and individual interviews and a survey were conducted in Norway. Method. Individual and group interviews with healthcare professionals and patients, and a mailed survey of healthcare professionals. A generic checklist of determinants of practice was used to categorize suggested determinants. Participants. Physicians and nurses from primary and specialist care, psychologists, researchers, and patients. Main outcome measures. Determinants of adherence to recommendations for depressed elderly patients in primary care. Results. A total of 352 determinants were identified, of which 99 were prioritized. The most frequently identified factors had to do with dissemination of guidelines, general practitioners’ time constraints, the low prioritization of elderly patients with depression, and the patients’ or relatives’ wish for medication. Approximately three-quarters of the determinants were from three of the seven domains in the generic checklist: individual healthcare professional factors, patient factors, and incentives and resources. The survey did not provide useful information due to a low response rate and a lack of responses to open-ended questions. Implications. The list of prioritized determinants can inform the design of interventions to implement recommendations for elderly patients with depression. The importance of the determinants that were identified may vary across communities, practices. and patients. Interventions that address important determinants are necessary to improve practice.
PMCID: PMC4278390  PMID: 25431340
Depression; determinants of practice; elderly patients; general practice; Norway; primary care; tailored implementation
7.  From resistance to rescue – patients’ shifting attitudes to antihypertensives: A qualitative study 
Objective. The objective of this study was to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of experiences of antihypertensive drug treatment. Design. Interview study. Setting. A primary health care centre in western Sweden. Method. Qualitative interviews and analyses through systematic text condensation described by Malterud. Subjects. Ten informants in pharmacological treatment for high blood pressure (six men and four women). Main outcome measure. Experiences of hypertension drug treatment. Results. The findings revealed a process starting with resistance to drug treatment related to lack of control, side effects, and unwanted awareness of impaired health. These negative feelings then changed into a positive desire for lifestyle changes caused by a fear of cardiovascular disease which in turn changed the attitude towards drugs into seeing them as a rescue remedy and something normal and this then evoked health care trust. Conclusion. Despite initial resistance to treatment, the experience of antihypertensive drug treatment became more positive with time. Confidence in the health care system is important for adherence to treatment. General practitioners have a key role in this regard.
PMCID: PMC4278392  PMID: 25427290
Attitude to health; health behaviour; hypertension; patient acceptance of health care; patient compliance; process; general practice; Sweden
8.  The 30-day prognosis of chronic-disease patients after contact with the out-of-hours service in primary healthcare 
Objective. Little is known about the prognosis of patients with chronic disease who contact the out-of-hours (OOH) service in primary care. The characteristics of contacts with the Danish out-of-hours service and daytime general practice, hospitalization, and death were studied during a 30-day follow-up period in patients with chronic heart diseases. Design. Cohort study. Setting and subjects. The study was based on data from 11 897 adults aged 18 + years from a Danish survey of OOH contacts, including information on consultation type. Reason for encounter (RFE) was categorized by OOH GPs at triage as either “exacerbation” or “new health problem”. Registry data were used to identify eligible patients, and the cohort was followed for 30 days after OOH contact through nationwide registries on healthcare use and mortality. Main outcome measures. The 30-day prognosis of chronic-disease patients after OOH contact. Results. Included patients with chronic disease had a higher risk of new OOH contact, daytime GP contact, and hospitalization than other patients during the 30-day follow-up period. OOH use was particularly high among patients with severe mental illness. A strong association was seen between chronic disease and risk of dying during follow-up. Conclusion. Patients with chronic disease used both daytime general practice and the out-of-hours service more often than others during the 30-day follow-up period; they were more often hospitalized and had higher risk of dying. The findings call for a proactive approach to future preventive day care and closer follow-up of this group, especially patients with psychiatric disease.
PMCID: PMC4278395  PMID: 25471829
Chronic disease; Denmark; general practice; OOH; out-of-hours service; primary healthcare; reasons for encounter
9.  Frequent attenders in general practice and immigrant status in Norway: A nationwide cross-sectional study 
Objective. To compare the likelihood of being a frequent attender (FA) to general practice among native Norwegians and immigrants, and to study socioeconomic and morbidity factors associated with being a FA for natives and immigrants. Design, setting and subjects. Linked register data for all inhabitants in Norway with at least one visit to the general practitioner (GP) in 2008 (2 967 933 persons). Immigrants were grouped according to their country of origin into low- (LIC), middle- (MIC), and high-income countries (HIC). FAs were defined as patients whose attendance rate ranked in the top 10% (cut-off point > 7 visits). Main outcome measures. FAs were compared with other GP users by means of multivariate binary logistic analyses adjusting for socioeconomic and morbidity factors. Results. Among GP users during the daytime, immigrants had a higher likelihood of being a FA compared with natives (OR (95% CI): 1.13 (1.09–1.17) and 1.15 (1.12–1.18) for HIC, 1.84 (1.78–1.89) and 1.66 (1.63–1.70) for MIC, and 1.77 (1.67–1.89) and 1.65 (1.57–1.74) for LIC for men and women respectively). Pregnancy, middle income earned in Norway, and having cardiologic and psychiatric problems were the main factors associated with being a FA. Among immigrants, labour immigrants and the elderly used GPs less often, while refugees were overrepresented among FAs. Psychiatric, gastroenterological, endocrine, and non-specific drug morbidity were relatively more prevalent among immigrant FA compared with natives. Conclusion. Although immigrants account for a small percentage of all FAs, GPs and policy-makers should be aware of differences in socioeconomic and morbidity profiles to provide equality of health care.
PMCID: PMC4278396  PMID: 25421090
Emigrants and immigrants; general practice; health care research; morbidity; Norway; primary health care; registries; socioeconomic factors
10.  A salutogenic approach to prevention of metabolic syndrome: a mixed methods population study 
Objective. To find a salutogenic approach for prevention of metabolic syndrome in primary care practice. Design. An explanatory sequential mixed-methods procedure was used to find salutogenic approaches for lifestyle change by assessing individual need, potential, and personal motivation. Data from a population health survey and interviews that focused on a sense of coherence were analysed. Subjects. Altogether 480 Finnish subjects participated in a population health survey, and 43 of them were interviewed. The 43 interviewees’ data were included in the final analysis. Main outcome measures. With the health survey participants’ liability for MetS was assessed, and the objective need for lifestyle intervention was determined. Through the focused interviews potential and personal motivation for lifestyle modification were explored. Finally the data of the 43 interviewed subjects were merged. Results. Four possible lifestyle intervention approaches were identified for specific intervention. First, subjects with a strong sense of coherence only need encouragement to maintain a healthy lifestyle; second, professional support was found important for subjects with gaps in health awareness to improve health understanding; third, strengthening of social support for lifestyle change is necessary for subjects with various practical constraints in their everyday life; and fourth, strengthening of stress adaptation is important for subjects with redundant concerns about their health. Conclusions. Salutogenic client-centred lifestyle modification approaches should be part of primary care practice. Further, a cross-disciplinary approach is needed in primary care research and practice to combat the exploding lifestyle illnesses.
PMCID: PMC4278397  PMID: 25424465
Finland; general practice; metabolic syndrome; mixed-methods research; salutogenesis
11.  Antibiotic prescribing patterns in out-of-hours primary care: A population-based descriptive study 
Objective. To describe the frequency and characteristics of antibiotic prescribing for different types of contacts with the Danish out-of-hours (OOH) primary care service. Design. Population-based observational registry study using routine registry data from the OOH registration system on patient contacts and ATC-coded prescriptions. Setting. The OOH primary care service in the Central Denmark Region. Subjects. All contacts with OOH primary care during a 12-month period (June 2010–May 2011). Main outcome measures. Descriptive analyses of antibiotic prescription proportions stratified for type of antibiotic, patient age and gender, contact type, and weekdays or weekend. Results. Of the 644 777 contacts registered during the study period, 15.0% received an antibiotic prescription: 26.1% resulted from clinic consultations, 10.7% from telephone consultations, and 10.9% from home visits. The prescription proportion was higher for weekends (17.6%) than for weekdays (10.6%). The most frequently prescribed antibiotic drugs were beta-lactamase sensitive penicillins (34.9%), antibiotic eye drops (21.2%), and broad-spectrum penicillins (21.0%). Most antibiotic eye drops (73%) were prescribed in a telephone consultation. Most antibiotics were prescribed at 4–6 p.m. on weekdays. Young infants received most antibacterial eye drops (41.3%), patients aged 5–17 years and 18–60 years received most beta-lactamase sensitive penicillins (44.6% and 38.9%, respectively), while patients aged 60 + years received most broad-spectrum penicillins (32.9% of all antibiotic prescriptions). Conclusion. Antibiotics were most often prescribed in clinic consultations, but, in absolute terms, many were also prescribed by telephone. The high prescription proportion, particularly antibacterial eye drops for young infants, suggests room for improvement in rational antibiotic use.
PMCID: PMC4278398  PMID: 25350313
After hours; anti-bacterial agents; Denmark; drug prescriptions; general practice; infection; primary care
12.  Cost consequences of point-of-care troponin T testing in a Swedish primary health care setting 
Objective. To evaluate the safety and cost-effectiveness of point-of-care troponin T testing (POCT-TnT) for the management of patients with chest pain in primary care. Design. Prospective observational study with follow-up. Setting. Three primary health care (PHC) centres using POCT-TnT and four PHC centres not using POCT-TnT in south-east Sweden. Patients. All patients ≥ 35 years of age, contacting one of the PHC centres for chest pain, dyspnoea on exertion, unexplained weakness and/or fatigue, with no other probable cause than cardiac, were included. Symptoms must have commenced or worsened during the previous seven days. Main outcome measures. Emergency referral rates, diagnoses of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) or unstable angina (UA), and costs were collected for 30 days after the patient sought care at the PHC centre. Results. A total of 196 patients with chest pain were included: 128 in PHC centres with POCT-TnT and 68 in PHC centres without POCT-TnT. Fewer patients from the PHC centres with POCT-TnT (n = 32, 25%) were emergently referred to hospital than from centres without POCT-TnT (n = 29, 43%; p = 0.011). Eight patients (6.2%) from PHC centres with POCT-TnT were diagnosed with AMI or UA compared with six patients (8.8%) from centres without POCT-TnT (p = 0.565). Two patients with AMI or UA were classified as missed cases from PHC centres with POCT-TnT and there were no missed cases from PHC centres without POCT-TnT. SKr290 000 was saved per missed case of AMI or UA. Conclusion. The use of POCT-TnT in primary care may be cost saving but at the expense of missed cases.
PMCID: PMC4278399  PMID: 25434410
Acute myocardial infarction; general practice; point-of-care testing; primary care; Sweden; troponin T; cost
13.  Drug treatment at the end of life: An epidemiologic study in nursing homes 
Objective. To examine drug treatment in nursing home patients at the end of life, and identify predictors of palliative drug therapy. Design. A historical cohort study. Setting. Three urban nursing homes in Norway. Subjects. All patients admitted from January 2008 and deceased before February 2013. Main outcome measures. Drug prescriptions, diagnoses, and demographic data were collected from electronic patient records. Palliative end-of-life drug treatment was defined on the basis of indication, drug, and formulation. Results. 524 patients were included, median (range) age at death 86 (19–104) years, 59% women. On the day of death, 99.4% of the study population had active prescriptions; 74.2% had palliative drugs either alone (26.9%) or concomitantly with curative/preventive drugs (47.3%). Palliative drugs were associated with nursing home, length of stay > 16 months (AOR 2.10, 95% CI 1.12–3.94), age (1.03, 1.005–1.05), and a diagnosis of cancer (2.12, 1.19–3.76). Most initiations of palliative drugs and withdrawals of curative/preventive drugs took place on the day of death. Conclusion. Palliative drug therapy and drug therapy changes are common for nursing home patients on the last day of life. Improvements in end-of-life care in nursing homes imply addressing prognostication and earlier response to palliative needs.
PMCID: PMC4278400  PMID: 25363144
Drug therapy; end of life care; general practice; Norway; nursing homes; palliation
14.  Result of school-based intervention on cardiovascular risk factors 
Objective. To assess the effectiveness of a two-year school-based intervention, consisting of integrated and replicable physical activity and nutritional education on weight, fat percentage, cardiovascular risk factors, and blood pressure. Design and setting. Six elementary schools in Reykjavik were randomly assigned to be either intervention (n = 3) or control (n = 3) schools. Seven-year-old children in the second grade in these schools were invited to participate (n = 321); 268 (83%) underwent some or all of the measurements. These 286 children were followed up for two years. Intervention. Children in intervention schools participated in an integrated and replicable physical activity programme, increasing to approximately 60 minutes of physical activity during school in the second year of intervention. Furthermore, they received special information about nutrition, and parents, teachers, and school food service staff were all involved in the intervention. Subjects. 321seven-year-old schoolchildren. Main outcome measures. Blood pressure, obesity, percentage of body fat, lipid profile, fasting insulin. Results. Children in the intervention group had a 2.3 mmHg increase in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and a 2.9 mmHg increase in diastolic blood pressure (DBP) over the two-year intervention period, while children in the control group increased SBP by 6.7 mmHg and DPB by 8.4 mmHg. These changes were not statistically significant. Furthermore there were no significant changes in percentage body fat, lipid profile, or fasting insulin between the intervention and control schools. Conclusion. A two-year school-based intervention with increased physical activity and healthy diet did not have a significant effect on common cardiovascular risk factors.
PMCID: PMC4278391  PMID: 25424464
Blood pressure; children; general practice; Iceland; intervention; nutrition; physical activity; school
15.  Salt: A taste of death? 
PMCID: PMC4075016  PMID: 24939739
16.  Increased primary health care use in the first year after colorectal cancer diagnosis 
Objective. The view that the general practitioner (GP) should be more involved during the curative treatment of cancer is gaining support. This study aimed to assess the current role of the GP during treatment of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). Design. Historical prospective study, using primary care data from two cohorts. Setting. Registration Network Groningen (RNG) consisting of 18 GPs in three group practices with a dynamic population of about 30 000 patients. Subjects. Patients who underwent curative treatment for CRC (n = 124) and matched primary care patients without CRC (reference population; n = 358). Main outcome measures. Primary healthcare use in the period 1998–2009. Findings. Patients with CRC had higher primary healthcare use in the year after diagnosis compared with the reference population. After correction for age, gender, and consultation behaviour, CRC patients had 54% (range 23–92%) more face-to-face contacts, 68% (range 36–108%) more drug prescriptions, and 35% (range –4–90%) more referrals compared with reference patients. Patients consulted their GP more often for reasons related to anaemia, abdominal pain, constipation, skin problems, and urinary infections. GPs also prescribed more acid reflux drugs, laxatives, anti-anaemic preparations, analgesics, and psycholeptics for CRC patients. Conclusions. The GP plays a significant role in the year after CRC diagnosis. This role may be associated with treatment-related side effects and psychological problems. Formal guidelines on the involvement of the GP during CRC treatment might ensure more effective allocation and communication of care between primary and secondary healthcare services.
PMCID: PMC4075017  PMID: 24931639
Colorectal cancer; general practitioners; healthcare use; primary health care; The Netherlands
17.  A home-based method for the detection of impaired glucose tolerance in hypertensive primary care patients 
Objective. The aim of this project was to compare an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) partly performed in the patient's home (OGTTh) with a clinic-obtained OGTT with regard to the ability of the tests to identify patients with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM-2). Design. A method comparison. Setting. The study was completed at two primary health care centres. Subjects. Fifty-one patients with hypertension aged 50–79 years completed both OGTT tests. Main outcome measures. Values for capillary P-glucose obtained two hours after a glucose load were compared between the two OGTT tests. Fasting plasma glucose (fP-glucose) and HbA1c were also measured. Results. Thirty-seven patients were classified in the same group (normal/IGT/DM-2) by the two tests. The index of validity based on the test's ability to identify normal or pathological values (≥ 8.9 mmol/l) was 0.75. The value for kappa was 0.66 with a sensitivity of 0.54 and a specificity of 0.82. Conclusion. OGTTh may be a useful screening method for IGT in risk groups such as hypertensive patients.
PMCID: PMC4075018  PMID: 24779455
Diabetes; general practice; home test; hypertension; IGT; OGTT; Sweden; validity
18.  Symptom reduction due to psychosocial interventions is not accompanied by a reduction in sick leave: Results from a randomized controlled trial in primary care 
Objective. To investigate whether interventions that have positive effects on psychological symptoms and quality of life compared with usual care would also reduce days on sick leave. Design. A randomized controlled trial. Setting. A large primary health care centre in Stockholm, Sweden. Intervention. Patients with common mental disorders were recruited by their GPs and randomized into one of two group interventions that took place in addition to usual care. These group interventions were: (a) group cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and (b) group multimodal intervention (MMI). Both types of intervention had previously shown significant effects on quality of life, and MMI had also shown significant effects on psychological symptoms. Patients. Of the 245 randomized patients, 164 were employed and had taken sick leave periods of at least two weeks in length during the study period of two years. They comprised the study group. Main outcome measures. The odds, compared with usual care, for being sick-listed at different times relative to the date of randomization. Results. The mean number of days on sick leave increased steadily in the two years before randomization and decreased in the two years afterwards, showing the same pattern for all three groups .The CBT and MMI interventions did not show the expected lower odds for sick-listing compared with usual care during the two-year follow-up. Conclusion. Reduction in psychological symptoms and increased well-being did not seem to be enough to reduce sickness absence for patients with common mental problems in primary care. The possibility of adding workplace-oriented interventions is discussed.
PMCID: PMC4075019  PMID: 24742116
General practice; group psychotherapy; primary health care; psychological symptoms; psychosocial interventions; randomized controlled trial; sick leave; Sweden
19.  GP and patient predictions of sick-listing duration: How well do they correspond? A prospective observational study 
Objective. To explore how well physicians and patients predict sick-listing duration and the correspondence between their respective predictions. To study possible gender differences concerning prediction accuracy. Design. Prospective observational study. Setting. Two medium-sized primary care centres (PCC) in western Sweden. Subjects. GPs at the PCCs and attending patients sick-listed for > 14 days. Main outcome measures. Sick-listing duration; patients’ and GPs’ predictions of the total duration of the individual patient's sick-listing. Results. A total of 127 patients (93 women, 34 men, mean age 45 years) and 10 GPs participated in the study. Neither the GPs nor the patients were able to predict the interval until return to work with high accuracy. The GPs’ and the patients’ perceptions concurred in only 26% of cases. There was a significant difference in the correspondence between the GPs’ and patients’ respective predictions of sick-listing duration compared with the actual duration. GPs’ predictions were more accurate for medium-length duration (1.5–6 months), while patients’ predictions were more accurate for long-duration (> 6 months) sick-listing. Patients with less education predicted long duration of sick-listing more accurately than those with more education. There was no significant difference between male and female patients’ accuracy of prediction, or between GPs’ accuracy of prediction of male vs. female patients’ sick-listing duration. Conclusions. Prediction of total sick-listing duration was hard for both GP and patient; their respective predictions corresponded in only one-quarter of the cases. No gender differences were observed in the accuracy of prediction.
PMCID: PMC4075020  PMID: 24939740
General practice; prediction; primary care; sickness absence; sickness certification; sick-listing; Sweden
20.  Prevalence of anxiety disorders among Finnish primary care high utilizers and validation of Finnish translation of GAD-7 and GAD-2 screening tools 
Objective. To analyse the prevalence of GAD and other anxiety disorders, as well as sensitivity and specificity of GAD-7 among high utilizers of health care. Setting. Four municipal health centres in Northern Finland. Subjects. A psychiatric interview was conducted for 150 high utilizers of health care. Main outcome measures. Prevalence of GAD as well as sensitivity and specificity of GAD-7. Results. The prevalence of GAD was 4% in this study group of Finnish high utilizers of health care. The sensitivity of GAD-7 was 100.0% (95% CI 54.1–100.0) and the specificity of GAD-7 was 82.6% (95% CI 75.4–88.4) with a cut-off point of 7 or more. Conclusion. GAD is rather common among high utilizers of primary care, although the prevalence of 4% is lower than that previously reported. GAD-7 is a valid and useful tool for detecting GAD among primary health care patients.
PMCID: PMC4075021  PMID: 24920316
Anxiety disorders; Finland; generalized anxiety disorder; general practice; high utilizers of health care; panic disorder; screening
21.  Medical errors and uncertainty in primary healthcare: A comparative study of coping strategies among young and experienced GPs 
Objective. To study coping differences between young and experienced GPs in primary care who experience medical errors and uncertainty. Design. Questionnaire-based survey (self-assessment) conducted in 2011. Setting. Finnish primary practice offices in Southern Finland. Subjects. Finnish GPs engaged in primary health care from two different respondent groups: young (working experience ≤ 5years, n = 85) and experienced (working experience > 5 years, n = 80). Main outcome measures. Outcome measures included experiences and attitudes expressed by the included participants towards medical errors and tolerance of uncertainty, their coping strategies, and factors that may influence (positively or negatively) sources of errors. Results. In total, 165/244 GPs responded (response rate: 68%). Young GPs expressed significantly more often fear of committing a medical error (70.2% vs. 48.1%, p = 0.004) and admitted more often than experienced GPs that they had committed a medical error during the past year (83.5% vs. 68.8%, p = 0.026). Young GPs were less prone to apologize to a patient for an error (44.7% vs. 65.0%, p = 0.009) and found, more often than their more experienced colleagues, on-site consultations and electronic databases useful for avoiding mistakes. Conclusion. Experienced GPs seem to better tolerate uncertainty and also seem to fear medical errors less than their young colleagues. Young and more experienced GPs use different coping strategies for dealing with medical errors. Implications. When GPs become more experienced, they seem to get better at coping with medical errors. Means to support these skills should be studied in future research.
PMCID: PMC4075022  PMID: 24914458
Coping; Finland; general practice; GPs; medical error; primary care; uncertainty
22.  Ischaemic cardiovascular risk and prescription of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for musculoskeletal complaints 
Objective. To determine the influence of ischaemic cardiovascular (CV) risk on prescription of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) by general practitioners (GPs) in patients with musculoskeletal complaints. Design. Cohort study. Setting. A healthcare database containing the electronic GP medical records of over one million patients throughout the Netherlands. Patients. A total of 474 201 adults consulting their GP with a new musculoskeletal complaint between 2000 and 2010. Patients were considered at high CV risk if they had a history of myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, stroke, transient ischaemic attack, or peripheral arterial disease, and at low CV risk if they had no CV risk factors. Main outcome measures. Frequency of prescription of non-selective (ns)NSAIDs and selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors (coxibs). Results. Overall, 24.4% of patients were prescribed an nsNSAID and 1.4% a coxib. Of the 41,483 patients with a high CV risk, 19.9% received an nsNSAID and 2.2% a coxib. These patients were more likely to be prescribed a coxib than patients with a low CV risk (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.8–2.0). Prescription of nsNSAIDs decreased over time in all risk groups and was lower in patients with a high CV risk than in patients with a low CV risk (OR 0.8, 95% CI 0.7–0.8). Conclusion. Overall, patients with a high CV risk were less likely to be prescribed an NSAID for musculoskeletal complaints than patients with a low CV risk. Nevertheless, one in five high CV risk patients received an NSAID, indicating that there is still room for improvement.
PMCID: PMC4075023  PMID: 24931511
Cardiovascular diseases; general practice; musculoskeletal diseases; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents; pharmacoepidemiology; The Netherlands
23.  Importance of healthcare utilization and multimorbidity level in choosing a primary care provider in Sweden 
Objective. To study the associations between active choice of primary care provider and healthcare utilization, multimorbidity, age, and sex, comparing data from primary care and all healthcare in a Swedish population. Design. Descriptive cross-sectional study using descriptive analyses including t-test, correlations, and logistic regression modelling in four separate models. Setting and subjects. The population (151 731) and all healthcare in Blekinge in 2007. Main outcome measure. Actively or passively listed in primary care, registered on 31 December 2007. Results. Number of consultations (OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.30–1.32), multimorbidity level (OR 1.69, 95% CI 1.67–1.70), age (OR 1.03, 95% CI 1.03–1.03), and sex (OR for men 0.67, 95% CI 0.65–0.68) were all associated with registered active listing in primary care. Active listing was more strongly associated with number of consultations and multimorbidity level using primary care data (OR 2.11, 95% CI 2.08–2.15 and OR 2.14, 95% CI 2.11–2.17, respectively) than using data from all healthcare. Number of consultations and multimorbidity level were correlated and had similar associations with active listing in primary care. Modelling number of consultations, multimorbidity level, age, and sex gave four separate models with about 70% explanatory power for active listing in primary care. Combining number of consultations and multimorbidity did not improve the models. Conclusions. Number of consultations and multimorbidity level were associated with active listing in primary care. These factors were also associated with each other differently in primary care than in all healthcare. More complex models including non-health-related individual characteristics and healthcare-related factors are needed to increase explanatory power.
PMCID: PMC4075024  PMID: 24939741
Choice behaviour; general practice; health-related characteristics; healthcare utilization; multimorbidity; primary care; Sweden
25.  Smoking during pregnancy: Childbirth and Health Study in Primary Care in Iceland 
Objective. To study the prevalence and possible predictors for smoking during pregnancy in Iceland. Design. A cross-sectional study. Setting. Twenty-six primary health care centres in Iceland 2009–2010. Subjects. Women attending antenatal care in the 11th–16th week of pregnancy were invited to participate by convenient consecutive manner, stratified according to residency. A total of 1111 women provided data in this first phase of the cohort study. Main outcome measures. Smoking habits before and during early pregnancy were assessed with a postal questionnaire, which also included questions about socio-demographic background, physical and emotional well-being, and use of medications. Results. The prevalence of smoking prior to pregnancy was 20% (223/1111). During early pregnancy, it was 5% (53/1111). In comparison with women who stopped smoking during early pregnancy, those who continued to smoke had on average a significantly lower level of education, had smoked more cigarettes per day before pregnancy, and were more likely to use nicotine replacement therapy in addition to smoking during pregnancy. A higher number of cigarettes consumed per day before pregnancy and a lower level of education were the strongest predictors for continued smoking during pregnancy. Conclusion. The majority of Icelandic women who smoke stop when they become pregnant, and the prevalence of smoking during pregnancy in Iceland is still about 5%. Our results indicate stronger nicotine dependence in women who do not stop smoking during pregnancy. Awareness of this can help general practitioners (GPs) and others providing antenatal care to approach these women with more insight and empathy, which might theoretically help them to quit.
PMCID: PMC4137896  PMID: 24533844
Antenatal care; childbirth and health; general practice; Iceland; pregnancy; primary health care; smoking habits

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