Health information exchange for patients with intellectual disabilities: a general practice perspective
until further notice
SourceBritish Journal of General Practice, 66, 651, (2016), pp. e720-e728
Article / Letter to editor
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Primary and Community Care
British Journal of General Practice
SubjectRadboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
BACKGROUND: Inadequate health information exchange (HIE) between patients with intellectual disabilities (ID), their carers, and GPs may lead to ineffective treatment and poor treatment compliance. Factors influencing HIE are largely unexplored in previous research. AIM: To provide insight into the perceived HIE facilitators of GPs and general practice assistants, and the barriers in GP consultations for patients with ID. DESIGN AND SETTING: An interview-based study with GPs (n = 19) and general practice assistants (n = 11) in the Netherlands. METHOD: Semi-structured interviews were conducted on topics relating to stages during and around GP consultation. Transcripts were coded and analysed using framework analysis. RESULTS: The main themes were impaired medical history taking and clinical decision making, and fragile patient follow-up. Factors negatively influencing HIE related to patient communication skills and professional carers' actions in preparing the consultation and in collecting, recording, and sharing information. HIE barriers resulted in risk of delay in diagnosis and treatment, misdiagnosis, unnecessary tests, and ineffective treatment regimens. HIE facilitators were described in terms of GP adjustments in communication, planning of consultations, and efforts to compensate for fragile follow-up situations. CONCLUSION: Inadequate HIE should be seen as a chain of events leading to less effective consultations, substandard treatment, and insufficient patient follow-up. The results indicate a mismatch between GPs' expectations about professional carers' competencies, responsibilities, and roles in HIE and the setting in which professional carers operate. Further research should focus on how daily GP practice can be attuned to the practicalities of HIE with patients with ID and their professional carers.
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