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Community orientation of general practitioners in 34 countries.

Vermeulen, L., Schäfer, W., Pavlic, D.R., Groenewegen, P.P. Community orientation of general practitioners in 34 countries. Health Policy: 2018, 122(10), 1070-1077
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Background
General practitioners (GPs) are frontline health workers. They should be sensitive to the health needs of the community in addition to caring for patients that visit their practice. Due to changes in demography, epidemiology, ecology and healthcare policy, a community orientation becomes more important.

Aim
Our research question is: to what extent does community orientation of GPs vary between countries and GPs and how can this variation be explained?

Methods
We use cross-sectional survey data from the QUALICOPC study, conducted among over 7000 GPs in 34 countries. Community orientation was measured through a scale constructed from three survey questions on whether GPs would take action when confronted with: repeated accidents in an industrial setting, frequent respiratory problems in patients living near a certain industry, and repeated cases of food poisoning in the local community. Independent variables are at healthcare system level and GP or practice level. Data were analysed using linear multilevel regression analysis. Community orientation varies between GPs and countries. Community orientation is more frequent in healthcare systems with a list system, among self-employed GPs, those using medical records to make overviews, and those more active in prevention and multidisciplinary cooperation. GPs in rural areas and areas with more people from ethnic minorities are more community oriented. Based on the variation between countries and GPs, we would like to raise awareness and underline the importance of multidisciplinary cooperation. (aut. ref.)