Are Saxonian Family Practices on the Way to Team Practices?
DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2015.0264-0268german translation / full article
Background: The delegation of primary care tasks to medical assistants is currently discussed in Germany as one possible solution to ensure family medicine practices. With regard to increasing demands based on demographic changes, medical assistants’ point of view was explored to reach information about the organisation of work in family practices in Saxony.
Methods: Qualitative interviews with 17 medical assistants were conducted in the context of the mixed methods study “Family practitioners views on polypharmacy and its consequences for patient health care”. Interviews were focused on description of medical assistants’ tasks, their role in the interaction with patients and work organisation in family practices. Transcripts were analysed by qualitative content analysis using categorising approach.
Results: Medical assistants reported comparable tasks despite differences in their professional education. They considered themselves being important interlocutor for patients in daily practice and mediator between doctor and patient. Organizational strategies initiated by medical assistants to counteract the increasing workload were reported. Delegation of medical tasks was usually done in all family practices to medical assistants with and without advanced qualifications. More traditionally organized family practitioners were less interested in extending the catalogue of delegable tasks.
Conclusions: All family practice teams were characterised by confidential cooperation, which is an essential condition for a team-led practice model. Family practitioners as mentors can systematically promote professional (advanced) education of medical assistants to improve conditions for delegation in family practice.