Vedsted P, Eriksson T
Health care-seeking behaviour in the primary sector A symposium in the WONCA World Congress, Durban 2001, South Africa Background: The primary care physician (PCP) is the first to meet the patient in the front line health care. The PCP is a specialist trained to take care of individuals across the fields of prevention, diagnosis, cure, care, and palliation. The PCP should be able to use and integrate aspects of biomedicine, psychology, and sociology in the care. Further, societies and authorities hold varying expectations to the PCPs, eg. to function as gatekeepers. In many countries patients seek primary health care increasingly often. Both patients and authorities expect the primary sector to expand and provide yet new and better services and to implement shared care strategies. In this sense, understanding patients' primary health care seeking behaviour becomes crucial to PCPs, administrators and decision-makers in planning, organising and evaluating the primary health care sector.
Aim: To present the knowledge on primary health care-seeking behaviour examined at three levels, namely the organisation of health care, the health care seeking behaviour in primary health care as such and the most extreme health care seeking behaviour illustrated by the frequent attender. The symposium aims to present the State of the Art on what we know about these issues so the presenters will encourage open discussions about the knowledge. Therefore, the symposium will be held in a fruitful atmosphere. Hopefully, this symposium will initiate a forum of researchers interested in the topic.
The first three presenters will be the experts in their area and will give a comprehensive theoretical view at the topic: The influence of the organisation of health care service on health outcomes and health care-seeking behaviour. Health care seeking behaviour as such. Frequent attendance as health care-seeking behaviour. After these presentations three short presentations of research results will be presented. These are: The impact of advice on patients' Contacts to GPs, Tina Eriksson; Inter-practice variations in the proportion of frequent attenders, Peter Vedsted; Intervention among the frequent attenders at the out of hour service, Morten B. Christensen. The expert presenters will comment and there will be a discussion. Other researchers in the field are invited to present their views and results during the discussion. This will be done in an atmosphere of discussion of the results with respect to scientific method, interpretation and further research needs.
There will be concluded on future research needs and implementation of present knowledge in organising, developing and caring in the primary health care.