Seeger, Insa and Kreienmeyer, Laura and Hoffmann, Falk and Freitag, Michael H. (2019) Cross-sectional study in an out-of-hours primary care centre in northwestern Germany – patient characteristics and the urgency of their treatment. BMC Family Practice, 20 (1). ISSN 1471-2296

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Background: Due to the increasing number of non-urgent visits to emergency departments, it is becoming increasingly important to also investigate emergency care in out-of-hours (OOH) primary care. The aim of this study was to provide an insight into the care structures of an OOH primary care centre, to evaluate the reasons for encounter (RFE) and to assess the urgency of the treatment from the physicians´ point of view. Methods: In the summer of 2017, we conducted a cross-sectional study over four weeks in the OOH primary care centre of Oldenburg, a city in Lower Saxony with about 160,000 inhabitants. We collected socio-demographic data, RFE and the duration of the complaints. The International Classification for Primary Care 2nd Edition (ICPC-2) was used to categorize symptoms. The attending physicians supplemented information on further treatment (including hospitalization) and the urgency of consultation in the OOH primary care centre. Results: A total of 892 of the 1098 OOH patients which were visiting the OOH primary care centre took part in the study (participation: 81.2%). More than half of the patients were between 18 and 39 years old. A quarter of all RFE named by study participants were in the ICPC-2 category “skin”. More than 60% of patients had the symptoms for more than two days before visiting the OOH primary care centre. In 34.5% of all cases no medication was prescribed and one in six patients received further diagnostic tests such as urinalysis and blood tests (15.8%). From the physicians’ point of view, 26.3% of all study participants could have been treated by the family doctor during the regular consultation hours. Conclusion: The study shows that in the OOH primary care centre about a quarter of all patients could have waited until regular consultation hours. Mostly young patients used the easily accessible and free care in the OOH primary care centre. Further studies are necessary to better understand the individual reasons of patients to use the OOH primary care centre.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Publiziert mit Hilfe des DFG-geförderten Open Access-Publikationsfonds der Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Out-of-hours primary care (OOH primary care), Reason for encounter (RFE), Non-urgent, Physicians´ perspective
Subjects: Technology, medicine, applied sciences > Medicine and health
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Department of Public Health and Medical Education
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2020 13:01
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2020 13:01
URN: urn:nbn:de:gbv:715-oops-45300
DOI: 10.1186/s12875-019-0929-4

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