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Mutual perception of communication between general practitioners and hospital-based specialists

(2015) ACTA CLINICA BELGICA. 70(5). p.350-356
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Abstract
Background: Communication between general practitioners (GPs) and specialists is an important aspect of qualitative care. Efficient communication exchange is essential and key in guaranteeing continuity of care. Inefficient communication is related to several negative outcomes, including patient harm. This study aimed to investigate the perception of GPs and hospital-based specialists in Belgium of the quality of their mutual communication. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among GPs and specialists. Participants were asked to complete a validated questionnaire on several aspects of their mutual communication. Results: Response rates of 17.9% (343/1.912) for GPs and 17.3% (392/2.263) for specialists were obtained. Both specialists and GPs qualify their mutual telephone accessibility as suboptimal. Specialists think poorly of the GP referral letter, in contrast to GP perception. Eighty per cent of the GPs feel that specialists address their questions appropriately; specialists have a similar perception of their own performance. According to 16.7% of the specialists, GPs not always follow their recommendations. Contrarily, GPs rate their compliance much higher (90.7%). Less than half of the GPs feel that the specialists' letter arrives on time, whereas specialists have a different and a more positive perception. Conclusions: GPs and specialists disagree on several aspects of their mutual communication. These include the perception of accessibility, in both directions, and of the timeliness of written communication. Feedback is positively appreciated, again in both directions. Nevertheless, specialists feel that uptake of their recommendations is insufficient. Hence, there may remain significant room for improvement, which could contribute significantly to continuity of care and patient safety.
Keywords
Survey, Patient safety, Communication, Health care, PRIMARY-CARE, REFERRAL LETTERS, OLDER PATIENTS, QUALITY, PHYSICIANS, EXPERIENCES, INTERFACE, DOCTORS, HEALTH, IMPACT

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MLA
Vermeir, Peter et al. “Mutual Perception of Communication Between General Practitioners and Hospital-based Specialists.” ACTA CLINICA BELGICA 70.5 (2015): 350–356. Print.
APA
Vermeir, P., Vandijck, D., Degroote, S., Ommeslag, D., Van De Putte, M., Heytens, S., Reniers, J., et al. (2015). Mutual perception of communication between general practitioners and hospital-based specialists. ACTA CLINICA BELGICA, 70(5), 350–356.
Chicago author-date
Vermeir, Peter, Dominique Vandijck, Sophie Degroote, Dirk Ommeslag, Marc Van De Putte, Stefan Heytens, Jan Reniers, Ignace Hanoulle, Renaat Peleman, and Dirk Vogelaers. 2015. “Mutual Perception of Communication Between General Practitioners and Hospital-based Specialists.” Acta Clinica Belgica 70 (5): 350–356.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Vermeir, Peter, Dominique Vandijck, Sophie Degroote, Dirk Ommeslag, Marc Van De Putte, Stefan Heytens, Jan Reniers, Ignace Hanoulle, Renaat Peleman, and Dirk Vogelaers. 2015. “Mutual Perception of Communication Between General Practitioners and Hospital-based Specialists.” Acta Clinica Belgica 70 (5): 350–356.
Vancouver
1.
Vermeir P, Vandijck D, Degroote S, Ommeslag D, Van De Putte M, Heytens S, et al. Mutual perception of communication between general practitioners and hospital-based specialists. ACTA CLINICA BELGICA. 2015;70(5):350–6.
IEEE
[1]
P. Vermeir et al., “Mutual perception of communication between general practitioners and hospital-based specialists,” ACTA CLINICA BELGICA, vol. 70, no. 5, pp. 350–356, 2015.
@article{5976048,
  abstract     = {Background: Communication between general practitioners (GPs) and specialists is an important aspect of qualitative care. Efficient communication exchange is essential and key in guaranteeing continuity of care. Inefficient communication is related to several negative outcomes, including patient harm. This study aimed to investigate the perception of GPs and hospital-based specialists in Belgium of the quality of their mutual communication.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among GPs and specialists. Participants were asked to complete a validated questionnaire on several aspects of their mutual communication.
Results: Response rates of 17.9% (343/1.912) for GPs and 17.3% (392/2.263) for specialists were obtained. Both specialists and GPs qualify their mutual telephone accessibility as suboptimal. Specialists think poorly of the GP referral letter, in contrast to GP perception. Eighty per cent of the GPs feel that specialists address their questions appropriately; specialists have a similar perception of their own performance. According to 16.7% of the specialists, GPs not always follow their recommendations. Contrarily, GPs rate their compliance much higher (90.7%). Less than half of the GPs feel that the specialists' letter arrives on time, whereas specialists have a different and a more positive perception.
Conclusions: GPs and specialists disagree on several aspects of their mutual communication. These include the perception of accessibility, in both directions, and of the timeliness of written communication. Feedback is positively appreciated, again in both directions. Nevertheless, specialists feel that uptake of their recommendations is insufficient. Hence, there may remain significant room for improvement, which could contribute significantly to continuity of care and patient safety.},
  author       = {Vermeir, Peter and Vandijck, Dominique and Degroote, Sophie and Ommeslag, Dirk and Van De Putte, Marc and Heytens, Stefan and Reniers, Jan and Hanoulle, Ignace  and Peleman, Renaat and Vogelaers, Dirk},
  issn         = {1784-3286},
  journal      = {ACTA CLINICA BELGICA},
  keywords     = {Survey,Patient safety,Communication,Health care,PRIMARY-CARE,REFERRAL LETTERS,OLDER PATIENTS,QUALITY,PHYSICIANS,EXPERIENCES,INTERFACE,DOCTORS,HEALTH,IMPACT},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {350--356},
  title        = {Mutual perception of communication between general practitioners and hospital-based specialists},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/2295333715Y.0000000032},
  volume       = {70},
  year         = {2015},
}

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