Sharing the Care to Improve Access to Primary Care

Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, USA.
New England Journal of Medicine (Impact Factor: 55.87). 05/2012; 366(21):1955-7. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1202775
Source: PubMed
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    • "Furthermore, in 2012, the United States (US) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed that switching medicines may address the under-treatment of some chronic conditions [13]. In light of shortages of primary care physicians [14] and escalating healthcare costs in the US [15], switching medicines may indeed reduce some barriers to access. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Switching or reclassifying medicines with established safety profiles from prescription to non-prescription aims to increase timely consumer access to medicines, reduce under-treatment and enhance self-management. However, risks include suboptimal therapy and adverse effects. With a long-standing government policy supporting switching or reclassifying medicines from prescription to non-prescription, the United Kingdom is believed to lead the world in switch, but evidence for this is inconclusive. Interest in switching medicines for certain long-term conditions has arisen in the United Kingdom, United States, and Europe, but such switches have been contentious. The objective of this study was then to provide a comprehensive comparison of progress in switch for medicines across six developed countries: the United States; the United Kingdom; Australia; Japan; the Netherlands; and New Zealand. Methods: A list of prescription-to-non-prescription medicine switches was systematically compiled. Three measures were used to compare switch activity across the countries: "progressive" switches from 2003 to 2013 (indicating incremental consumer benefit over current non-prescription medicines); "first-in-world" switches from 2003 to 2013; and switch date comparisons for selected medicines. Results: New Zealand was the most active in progressive switches from 2003 to 2013, with the United Kingdom and Japan not far behind. The United States, Australia and the Netherlands showed the least activity in this period. Few medicines for long-term conditions were switched, even in the United Kingdom and New Zealand where first-in-world switches were most likely. Switch of certain medicines took considerably longer in some countries than others. For example, a consumer in the United Kingdom could self-medicate with a non-sedating antihistamine 19 years earlier than a consumer in the United States. Conclusion: Proactivity in medicines switching, most notably in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, questions missed opportunities to enhance consumers' self-management in countries such as the United States.
    PLoS ONE 09/2014; DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0107726 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Preventing provider and staff burnout in primary care is a major concern [24,25], and, while telephone visits could relieve clinic load and open clinic access [9], providers and staff indicated that they have concerns about potential for increased demands in already tight schedules. Provider concerns about boundaries were evident with remarks about telephone visits as better for more focused issues and not open-ended discussion. "
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    ABSTRACT: The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patient-centered medical home model, Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACT), includes telephone visits to improve care access and efficiency. Scheduled telephone visits can replace in-person care for some focused issues, and more information is needed to understand how this mode can best work for primary care. We conducted a study at the beginning of PACT implementation to elicit stakeholder views on this mode of healthcare delivery, including potential facilitators and barriers. We conducted focus groups with primary care patients (n = 3 groups), providers (n = 2 groups) and staff (n = 2 groups). Questions were informed by Donabedian's framework to evaluate and improve healthcare quality. Content analysis and theme matrix techniques were used to explore themes. Content was assigned a positive or negative valuation to indicate whether it was a facilitator or barrier. PACT principles were used as an organizing framework to present stakeholder responses within the context of the VHA patient-centered medical home program. Scheduled telephone visits could potentially improve care quality and efficiency, but stakeholders were cautious. Themes were identified relating to the following PACT principles: comprehensiveness, patient-centeredness, and continuity of care. In sum, scheduled telephone visits were viewed as potentially beneficial for routine care not requiring physical examination, and patients and providers suggested using them to evaluate need for in-person care; however, visits would need to be individualized, with patients able to discontinue if not satisfied. Patients and staff asserted that providers would need to be kept in the loop for continuity of care. Additionally, providers and staff emphasized needing protected time for these calls. These findings inform development of scheduled telephone visits as part of patient-centered medical homes by providing evidence about areas that may be leveraged to most effectively implement this mode of care. Presenting this service as enhanced care, with ability to triage need for in-person clinic visits and consequently provide more frequent contact, may most adequately meet different stakeholder expectations. In this way, scheduled telephone visits may serve as both a substitute for in-person care for certain situations and a supplement to in-person interaction.
    BMC Health Services Research 04/2014; 14(1):145. DOI:10.1186/1472-6963-14-145 · 1.71 Impact Factor
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    • "A team approach in PHC has proven advantageous in achieving better outcomes [4-6]. Such outcomes include reducing health care costs due to a lower number of hospitalisations [7], satisfying patients’ needs [8,9], ensuring continuity of care [10,11], increasing job satisfaction for health providers [12] and using human health care resources more efficiently [2,9]. "
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    ABSTRACT: A team approach in primary care has proven benefits in achieving better outcomes, reducing health care costs, satisfying patient needs, ensuring continuity of care, increasing job satisfaction among health providers and using human health care resources more efficiently. However, some research indicates constraints in collaboration within primary health care (PHC) teams in Lithuania. The aim of this study was to gain a better understanding of the phenomenon of teamwork in Lithuania by exploring the experiences of teamwork by general practitioners (GPs) and community nurses (CNs) involved in PHC. Six focus groups were formed with 29 GPs and 27 CNs from the Kaunas Region of Lithuania. Discussions were recorded and transcribed verbatim. A thematic analysis of these data was then performed. The analysis of focus group data identified six thematic categories related to teamwork in PHC: the structure of a PHC team, synergy among PHC team members, descriptions of roles and responsibilities of team members, competencies of PHC team members, communications between PHC team members and the organisational background for teamwork. These findings provide the basis for a discussion of a thematic model of teamwork that embraces formal, individual and organisational factors. The need for effective teamwork in PHC is an issue receiving broad consensus; however, the process of teambuilding is often taken for granted in the PHC sector in Lithuania. This study suggests that both formal and individual behavioural factors should be targeted when aiming to strengthen PHC teams. Furthermore, this study underscores the need to provide explicit formal descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of PHC team members in Lithuania, which would include establishing clear professional boundaries. The training of team members is an essential component of the teambuilding process, but not sufficient by itself.
    BMC Family Practice 08/2013; 14(1):118. DOI:10.1186/1471-2296-14-118 · 1.67 Impact Factor
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