Limited change in the quality of the social medical guidance and in the satisfaction of sick-listed patients, after collaborative projects between general practitioners and occupational physicians

VU Medisch Centrum, afd. Sociale Geneeskunde, Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT, Amsterdam.
Nederlands tijdschrift voor geneeskunde 11/2005; 149(43):2407-12.
Source: PubMed


To evaluate whether regional projects for collaboration between general practitioners (GPs) and occupational physicians (OPs) improved the quality of their social medical guidance (SMG) and the satisfaction of their patients.
Evaluation study with before and after measurements with respect to the same GPs and OPs.
Structured interviews were conducted with 58 GPs and 83 OPs regarding the SMG of their sick-listed patients. Before the project, the SMG of 1109 sick-listed patients was assessed and after the project, 1 or 1.5 years later, the SMG of 1121 sick-listed patients. These patients were sent a questionnaire by means of which their satisfaction could be assessed.
After the projects, the quality ofthe diagnosis by the OPs was improved and they also more often adhered to the official guidelines of the KNMG (Royal Netherlands Medical Association) when contacting the GP about a patient. The GPs more often contacted the OP if they needed more information about a patient after reaching a diagnosis. Nevertheless, in half to three-quarters of the patients for whom contact between GPs and OPs was indicated, this contact did not take place. There was no significant increase in patient satisfaction. Before the projects, patients gave their GP a grade of 8.2 on a 10-point scale and after the projects this was 8.5; the OPs were given a grade of 7.5 both times. Further analysis showed that there was no significant relation between the quality ofthe SMG and the patient's satisfaction with the doctor.
Although there was some improvement in the quality of the SMG, there was still insufficient cooperation between GPs and OPs compared to the guidelines. An increase in patient satisfaction was not demonstrated.

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