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This article synthesises the results of a large international study on primary care (PC), the QUALICOPC study.
Since the Alma Ata Declaration, strengthening PC has been high on the policy agenda. PC is associated with positive health outcomes, but it is unclear how care processes and structures relate to patient experiences.
Survey data were collected during 2011–2013 from approximately 7000 PC physicians and 70 000 patients in 34, mainly European, countries. The data on the patients are linked to data on the PC physicians within each country and analysed using multilevel modelling.
Patients had more positive experiences when their PC physician provided a broader range of services. However, a broader range of services is also associated with higher rates of hospitalisations for uncontrolled diabetes, but rates of avoidable diabetes-related hospitalisations were lower in countries where patients had a continuous relationship with PC physicians. Additionally, patients with a long-term relationship with their PC physician were less likely to attend the emergency department. Capitation payment was associated with more positive patient experiences. Mono- and multidisciplinary co-location was related to improved processes in PC, but the experiences of patients visiting multidisciplinary practices were less positive. A stronger national PC structure and higher overall health care expenditures are related to more favourable patient experiences for continuity and comprehensiveness. The study also revealed inequities: patients with a migration background reported less positive experiences. People with lower incomes more often postponed PC visits for financial reasons. Comprehensive and accessible care processes are related to less postponement of care.
The study revealed room for improvement related to patient-reported experiences and highlighted the importance of core PC characteristics including a continuous doctor–patient relationship as well as a broad range of services offered by PC physicians.
Family practice aims to recognize the health problems and needs expressed by the person rather than only focusing on the disease. Documenting person-related information will facilitate both the understanding and delivery of person-focused care.
To explore if the patients’ ideas, concerns and expectations (ICE) behind the reason for encounter (RFE) can be coded with the International Classification of Primary Care, version 2 (ICPC-2) and what kinds of codes are missing to be able to do so.
In total, 613 consultations were observed, and patients’ expressions of ICE were narratively recorded. These descriptions were consequently translated to ICPC codes by two researchers. Descriptions that could not be translated were qualitatively analysed in order to identify gaps in ICPC-2.
In all, 613 consultations yielded 672 ICE expressions. Within the 123 that could not be coded with ICPC-2, eight categories could be defined: concern about the duration/time frame; concern about the evolution/severity; concern of being contagious or a danger to others; patient has no concern, but others do; expects a confirmation of something; expects a solution for the symptoms without specification of what it should be; expects a specific procedure; and expects that something is not done.
Although many ICE can be registered with ICPC-2, adding eight new categories would capture almost all ICE.
The difference between ‘car’ and ‘parce que’ is often explained in the literature by the type of causal relation (objective or subjective) that each connective prototypically conveys. Recent corpus studies have demonstrated, however, that this distinction does not hold in speech, and is fluctuating in writing. In this article, we present new empirical data to assess the status of this pair of connectives. In Experiment 1, we test French-speakers’ intuitions about ‘car’ and ‘parce que’ in a completion task, and compare these results with those of a similar experiment in Dutch. In Experiment 2, we measure the processing of objective and subjective causal relations containing ‘car’ and ‘parce que’ in an online reading experiment. Experiments 1 and 2 lead us to conclude that ‘car’ has to a large extent lost its specific procedural meaning. In the literature, the difference between ‘car’ and ‘parce que’ is also linked to a difference of register, ‘car’ being perceived as a formal equivalent of ‘parce que’. We assess the strength of this distinction in Experiment 3, by means of a completion task involving sentences from different registers. Results confirm the effect of register as a distinguishing factor between ‘car’ and ‘parce que’.
Dilated cardiomyopathy in children causes heart failure and has a poor prognosis. Health-related quality of life in this patient group is unknown. Moreover, results may provide detailed information of parents’ sense of their child’s functioning. We hypothesised that health-related quality of life, as rated by parents, and the paediatric heart failure score, as assessed by physicians, have both predictive value on outcome.
Methods and results
In this prospective study, health-related quality of life was assessed by parent reports: the Infant Toddler Quality of Life questionnaire (0–4 years) or Child Health Questionnaire-Parent Form 50 (4–18 years) at 3–6-month intervals. We included 90 children (median age 3.8 years, interquartile range (IQR) 0.9–12.3) whose parents completed 515 questionnaires. At the same visit, physicians completed the New York University Pediatric Heart Failure Index. Compared with Dutch normative data, quality of life was severely impaired at diagnosis (0–4 years: 7/10 subscales and 4–18 years: 8/11 subscales) and ⩾1 year after diagnosis (3/10 and 6/11 subscales). Older children were more impaired (p<0.05). After a median follow-up of 3 years (IQR 2–4), 15 patients underwent transplantation. Using multivariable time-dependent Cox regression, “physical functioning” subscale and the Heart Failure Index were independently predictive of the risk of death and heart transplantation (hazard ratio 1.24 per 10% decrease of predicted, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06–1.47 and hazard ratio 1.38 per unit, 95% CI 1.19–1.61, respectively).
Physical impairment rated by parents and heart failure severity assessed by physicians independently predicted the risk of death or heart transplantation in children with dilated cardiomyopathy.
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