Negative Patient Care Perceptions Linked to Increased Number of Pre-diagnostic Consultations

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There is a negative association between multiple pre-referral consultations with a general practitioner and the patient experience of subsequent cancer care, according to an article published online in the European Journal of Cancer Care.

The study included data from 73,462 respondents to two English Cancer Patient Experience Surveys. The authors evaluated the likelihood of patients reporting negative experiences of subsequent care after three or more (3+) pre-referral consultations compared to one or two consultations.

Results showed a strong correlation (P<0.01 for all) between patients with 3+ pre-referral consultations and perceived worse care experiences (for 10/12 questions), compared to those with 1-2 consultations ranging from 1.10 to 1.68 (95% CI: 1.03, 1.17 vs. 1.60-1.77, respectively).

In other words, patients with 3+ consultations had a +1.8% to +10.6% greater percentage of reporting a negative subsequent care experience than those with 1-2 visits.

The associations were reported to be stronger when related to primary care as opposed to hospital care, and for evaluation than report items.

Furthermore, a “dose-response” relationship was found after considering 1, 2, 3-4, and 5+ pre-referral consultations separately.

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There is a negative association between multiple pre-referral consultations with a general practitioner and the patient experience.
Mendonca S.C., Abel G.A., Saunders C.L., Wardle J. & Lyratzopoulos G. (2015) European Journal of Cancer Care Pre-referral general practitioner consultations and subsequent experience of cancer care: evidence from the English Cancer Patient Experience Survey
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