Background: Little is known of the primary care characteristics in out of hours care centres (OOHC) as compared to regular care in Germany. Obviously the provision of patients in OOHC exhibits special characteristics concerning supply requirements, occupation and physician services, that require a first approximation.
Methods: The data retrieval is managed within the CONTENT (CONTinous morbidity registration Epidemiologic NeTwork) research network. The used software allows for classifying reasons for encounter (RFE), health-problems (diagnoses) and processes of care (prescriptions, referrals, hospitalisations) with the International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC). Furthermore the software allows for pseudonymised data export. One OOHC Centre in South Hessen is part of the network. Therefore, this allows the comparison of this OOHC centre with the regular care of the included 5 physicians in 4 practices of the same region.
Results: A 3-year period (01 April 2010-31 March 2013) with 192,827 patient contacts of 13,394 patients (58.1% female) in regular care and 14,354 patient contacts with 9,208 patients (64.1% female) in OOHC was described. Medium age of the patients of the regular provision was 59.6 vs. 45.7 years in the OOHC centre based on the contacts (p<0.0001). The most frequent RFE in the OOHC centre were fever and pain predominantly caused by acute infections, injuries or acute pain of the musculoskeletal system. In regular care there could be documented predominantly chronic health issues and vaccinations. The prevalent prescriptions in OOHC were therefore antibiotics and analgesics in regular care blood pressure medication and antidiabetic drugs. The rate of referrals was obviously lower than in regular care (7.1 vs. 22.7; p<0.0001), whereas the rate of hospitalisations was obviously higher in OOHC than in regular care (5.6 vs. 1.1; p<0.0001).
Conclusion: With the help of the data, requirements, occupation, resulting diagnoses and care processes in regular and out of hours care can be compared and described in detail. We could document major differences between the provision in OOHC and regular care. The results encourage initiating further studies to ensure the supply of primary care in OOHC.
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.