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

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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
Original languageEnglish
JournalDanish Medical Bulletin (Online)
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)A4222
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

    Research areas

  • care, Continuity of Patient Care, Denmark, diagnosis, Focus Groups, GENERAL-PRACTICE, GENERAL-PRACTITIONER, general practice, General Practitioners, Humans, methods, Neoplasms, organization & administration, PATIENT, Patient Care Team, Patients, Physician's Role, Practice, PRACTITIONERS, Quality of Health Care, Questionnaires, Research, semrap-2011-1, standards, statistics & numerical data, Support

ID: 37579647