General practitioners' perceptions of treatment of chronically ill patients managed in general practice: An interview study

Michael Marcussen, Signe Beck Titlestad, Kim Lee, Niels Bentzen, Jens Søndergaard, Birgitte Nørgaard

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Patients with chronic conditions pose a major challenge to the Danish healthcare system. Since 2018, disease management programmes for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and type 2 diabetes (T2D) were introduced in Denmark. Treatment in hospitals should be reserved for those patients who require specialised treatment. Hence, more patients with COPD and T2D fall within the general practitioners' (GPs) responsibility.

OBJECTIVES: This study explores GPs' perceptions of their role as physicians responsible for the disease management programmes on COPD and T2D and their perceptions of the quality of care provided to these patient groups.

METHODS: Between November 2019 and January 2020, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 14 GPs from the five regions of Denmark. We analysed the interviews using systematic text condensation inspired by Malterud's thematic analysis.

RESULTS: The GPs stated that they have been managing the care of COPD and T2D patients for over a decade, and they considered the quality of care to be high. They believed that managing patient treatment pathways in general practice settings contributes to a heightened sense of security for the patient, mainly because of the long-standing and trusting relationship between the patient and GP.

CONCLUSION: According to the GPs, they continue to play an important role as treatment coordinators to ensure coherence and high quality in treating patients with COPD and type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe European Journal of General Practice
Volume27
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)103-110
ISSN1381-4788
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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