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Out-of-hours care collaboration between general practitioners and hospital emergency departments in the Netherlands.

Gils-van Rooij, E.S.J. van, Yzermans, C.J., Broekman, S.M., Meijboom, B.R., Welling, G.P., Bakker, D.H. de. Out-of-hours care collaboration between general practitioners and hospital emergency departments in the Netherlands. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine: 2015, 28(6), 807-815
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Objective
In the Netherlands, general practitioners (GPs) and emergency departments (EDs) collaborate increasingly in what is called an Urgent Care Collaboration (UCC). In UCCs, GPs and EDs share 1 combined entrance and joint triage. The objective of this study was to determine if GPs treat a larger proportion of out-of-hours patients in the UCC system, and how this relates to patient characteristics.

Methods
This observational study compared patients treated within UCCs with patients treated in the usual care setting, that is, GPs and EDs operating separately. Data on the characteristics of the patients, their consultations, and their health problems were derived from electronic medical records. We performed χ2 tests, independent sample t tests, and multiple logistic regression analyses.

Results
A significantly higher proportion of patients attended their on-call GP within the UCC system. The proportion of ED patients was 22% smaller in UCCs compared to the usual care setting. Controlled for patient and health problem characteristics the difference remained statistically significant (OR=0.69; CI 0.66–0.72) but there were substantial differences between regions. Especially patients with trauma were treated more by general practitioners. Controlled for case mix, patients in the largest UCC-region were 1.2 times more likely to attend a GP than the reference group. (aut. ref.)