Primary care practitioners' diagnostic action when the patient may have cancer: an exploratory vignette study in 20 European countries.

Harris, Michael; Brekke, Mette; Dinant, Geert-Jan; Esteva, Magdalena; Hoffman, Robert; Marzo-Castillejo, Mercè; Murchie, Peter; Neves, Ana Luísa; Smyrnakis, Emmanouil; Vedsted, Peter; Aubin-Auger, Isabelle; Azuri, Joseph; Buczkowski, Krzysztof; Buono, Nicola; Foreva, Gergana; Babić, Svjetlana Gašparović; Jacob, Eva; Koskela, Tuomas; Petek, Davorina; Šter, Marija Petek; ... (2020). Primary care practitioners' diagnostic action when the patient may have cancer: an exploratory vignette study in 20 European countries. BMJ open, 10(10), e035678. BMJ Publishing Group 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035678

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OBJECTIVES

Cancer survival rates vary widely between European countries, with differences in timeliness of diagnosis thought to be one key reason. There is little evidence on the way in which different healthcare systems influence primary care practitioners' (PCPs) referral decisions in patients who could have cancer.This study aimed to explore PCPs' diagnostic actions (whether or not they perform a key diagnostic test and/or refer to a specialist) in patients with symptoms that could be due to cancer and how they vary across European countries.

DESIGN

A primary care survey. PCPs were given vignettes describing patients with symptoms that could indicate cancer and asked how they would manage these patients. The likelihood of taking immediate diagnostic action (a diagnostic test and/or referral) in the different participating countries was analysed. Comparisons between the likelihood of taking immediate diagnostic action and physician characteristics were calculated.

SETTING

Centres in 20 European countries with widely varying cancer survival rates.

PARTICIPANTS

A total of 2086 PCPs answered the survey question, with a median of 72 PCPs per country.

RESULTS

PCPs' likelihood of immediate diagnostic action at the first consultation varied from 50% to 82% between countries. PCPs who were more experienced were more likely to take immediate diagnostic action than their peers.

CONCLUSION

When given vignettes of patients with a low but significant possibility of cancer, more than half of PCPs across Europe would take diagnostic action, most often by ordering diagnostic tests. However, there are substantial between-country variations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute of General Practice and Primary Care (BIHAM)

UniBE Contributor:

Harris, Michael Frank and Streit, Sven

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services

ISSN:

2044-6055

Publisher:

BMJ Publishing Group

Language:

English

Submitter:

Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

04 Nov 2020 13:52

Last Modified:

13 Mar 2021 11:48

Publisher DOI:

10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035678

PubMed ID:

33130560

Uncontrolled Keywords:

adult oncology international health services primary care

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.147806

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/147806

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