Aim: Patient perspective is crucial concerning health care and quality improvement. During episodes of care, patients come into contact with multidisciplinary health-care providers in inpatient and outpatient settings and are in a unique position to describe processes throughout the entire chain of care. The aim of this study was to identify patients’ experiences and preferences with fragmented cross-sectoral care to develop a patient-centred cross-sectoral quality-assessment instrument.
Method: Patient perspective was analysed using qualitative focus-group methods. Patients were recruited from general practices if they had experienced cross-sectoral care. Focus group discussions were audiotaped, transcribed and analysed using ATLAS.ti software. Categories were extracted deductively according to a previously developed focus group guide and supplemented by inductive analyses.
Results: Patients identified quality gaps mainly concerning communication and coordination of care mostly along the cross-sectoral interfaces. Referrals and hospitalisations were characterised by redundant examinations and deficits in forwarding clinical findings. Support and organisation of follow-up care was rated to be improvable mainly during inpatient care and discharge. Patients identified also quality deficits concerning inpatient hygiene factors and changes of medication. Lack of transparency and responsibility within the entire chain of care caused anxiety and unstableness of patients.
Conclusion: Patients' experiences provide important information to identify quality gaps along the entire chain of care. Study results can be used to develop a cross-sectoral patient-centred quality assessment instrument.
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.