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Clinician-identified problems and solutions for delayed diagnosis in primary care: a PRIORITIZE study

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Background: Delayed diagnosis in primary care is a common, harmful and costly patient safety incident. Its measurement and monitoring are underdeveloped and underutilised. We created and implemented a novel approach to identify problems leading to and solutions for delayed diagnosis in primary care.

Methods: We developed a novel priority-setting method for patient safety problems and solutions called PRIORITIZE. We invited more than 500 NW London clinicians via an open-ended questionnaire to identify three main problems and solutions relating to delayed diagnosis in primary care. 113 clinicians submitted their suggestions which were thematically grouped and synthesized into a composite list of 33 distinct problems and 27 solutions. A random group of 75 clinicians from the initial cohort scored these and an overall ranking was derived. The agreement between the clinicians’ scores was presented using the Average Expert Agreement.

Results: The top ranked problems were poor communication between secondary and primary care and the inverse care law, i.e. a mismatch between patients’ medical needs and healthcare supply. The highest ranked solutions included: a more rigorous system of communicating abnormal results of investigations to patients, direct hotlines to specialists for GPs to discuss patient problems and better training of primary care clinicians in relevant areas. A priority highlighted throughout the findings is a need to improve communication between clinicians as well as with patients. The highest ranked suggestions had the highest consensus between experts.

Conclusions: The novel method we have developed is highly feasible, informative and scalable, and merits wider exploration with a view of becoming part of a routine pro-active and preventative system for patient safety assessment. Clinicians proposed a range of concrete suggestions with an emphasis on improving communication among clinicians and with patients and better GP training. In their view, delayed diagnosis can be largely prevented with interventions requiring relatively minor investment. Rankings of identified problems and solutions can serve as an aid to policy makers and commissioners of care in prioritization of scarce healthcare resources.

Electronic supplementary material: The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12875-016-0530-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

No MeSH data available.


PRIORITIZE methodology flow diagram
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Fig1: PRIORITIZE methodology flow diagram

Mentions: Final ranked list of priorities guided the Patient Safety Board in shaping a list of actions and timeline for those as well as their wider dissemination back to clinicians and other stake-holders (Fig. 1).Fig. 1


Clinician-identified problems and solutions for delayed diagnosis in primary care: a PRIORITIZE study
PRIORITIZE methodology flow diagram
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5017013&req=5

Fig1: PRIORITIZE methodology flow diagram
Mentions: Final ranked list of priorities guided the Patient Safety Board in shaping a list of actions and timeline for those as well as their wider dissemination back to clinicians and other stake-holders (Fig. 1).Fig. 1

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Background: Delayed diagnosis in primary care is a common, harmful and costly patient safety incident. Its measurement and monitoring are underdeveloped and underutilised. We created and implemented a novel approach to identify problems leading to and solutions for delayed diagnosis in primary care.

Methods: We developed a novel priority-setting method for patient safety problems and solutions called PRIORITIZE. We invited more than 500 NW London clinicians via an open-ended questionnaire to identify three main problems and solutions relating to delayed diagnosis in primary care. 113 clinicians submitted their suggestions which were thematically grouped and synthesized into a composite list of 33 distinct problems and 27 solutions. A random group of 75 clinicians from the initial cohort scored these and an overall ranking was derived. The agreement between the clinicians’ scores was presented using the Average Expert Agreement.

Results: The top ranked problems were poor communication between secondary and primary care and the inverse care law, i.e. a mismatch between patients’ medical needs and healthcare supply. The highest ranked solutions included: a more rigorous system of communicating abnormal results of investigations to patients, direct hotlines to specialists for GPs to discuss patient problems and better training of primary care clinicians in relevant areas. A priority highlighted throughout the findings is a need to improve communication between clinicians as well as with patients. The highest ranked suggestions had the highest consensus between experts.

Conclusions: The novel method we have developed is highly feasible, informative and scalable, and merits wider exploration with a view of becoming part of a routine pro-active and preventative system for patient safety assessment. Clinicians proposed a range of concrete suggestions with an emphasis on improving communication among clinicians and with patients and better GP training. In their view, delayed diagnosis can be largely prevented with interventions requiring relatively minor investment. Rankings of identified problems and solutions can serve as an aid to policy makers and commissioners of care in prioritization of scarce healthcare resources.

Electronic supplementary material: The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12875-016-0530-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

No MeSH data available.