Danish general practitioners only play a minor role in the coordination of cancer treatment

Rikke Juul Dalsted, Ann Dorrit Guassora, Thorkil Thorsen

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    INTRODUCTION: Despite initiatives to integrate treatment
    and care across organisations, patient trajectories in Danish
    health-care are not well coordinated. Coordination among
    many health-care professionals is essential, and it is frequently
    suggested that a single person should perform the
    task of coordination. The aim of the article is to discuss
    whether general practitioners (GPs) may play a coordinating
    role for individual patients in Danish cancer treatment?
    MATERIAL AND METHODS: This study is based on individual
    interviews and focus groups analyzed by meaning condensation.
    RESULTS: The GP’s potential to coordinate patient trajectories
    was limited by lack of involvement of the GPs by other
    health-care professionals and lack of needed information.
    Furthermore, many patients do not regard their GP as
    a coordinator. Patients who contacted their GP during
    treatment typically had a close relationship with their GP
    prior to their cancer diagnosis. In cases with a more distant
    relationship, patients did not see a need for the GP’s involvement.
    The majority of patients’ trajectories were decided
    within hospitals. The level of information provided to
    GPs varied much between hospitals and wards. In the majority
    of cases, GPs had no access to information or were
    not informed about hospital decisions affecting the patients’
    trajectories, and they were therefore unable to perform
    a coordinating role.
    CONCLUSION: GPs only played a minor or no role at all as
    coordinators of individual cancer patient trajectories. The
    findings of the present study question the idea that coordination
    throughout the entire health-care system may be
    assigned to a single individual as the involved parties belong
    to different organizations with different goals, managements
    and economic resources.
    TidsskriftDanish medical bulletin
    Udgave nummer58
    StatusUdgivet - 2011


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