Patients with Self-Referral to the Hospital – How Many Could Have Been Treated by the Primary Sector?

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2013.0041-0046

german translation / full article

Gerald Haidinger, Luzia Eckert-Graf, Peter Ernst Wirgler, Martin Weber, Georg Csaicsich, Christian Meznik

Keywords: Self-Referral Family Medicine Reason for Contact Outpatient Clinic Austria

Introduction: Novel approaches are sought to confine the run on hospital outpatient clinics. By recording the reasons for contact for two months in a rural hospital in Lower Austria, we tried to quantify the portion of non-hospitalized patients without referral who could be treated adequately by community doctors who work in a practice.

Methods: In August and September 2010 the reason for contact was recorded for all persons visiting one of the hospitals outpatient clinics. The list of reasons for contact was then reviewed by two family practitioners to check, whether the individual could be treated in family practice, in a specialist’s office, or require hospital treatment.

Results: The records of 888 persons (12.5 % of all contacts of the outpatient clinics) were analysed. According to the family practitioner’s expertise, at least 60 % of the contacts could be treated in family practice, another 5 % in a specialist’s office.

Conclusion: According to the expertise of two family practitioners an estimated 65 % of the persons who visit the outpatient clinics of a rural hospital in Lower Austria without referral could be treated by extramural family practitioners or medical specialists.

(State: 11.01.2013)

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