Emergency department referral patterns of Australian general practitioner registrars: A cross-sectional analysis of prevalence, nature and associations

Catzikiris, Nigel, Tapley, Amanda, Morgan, Simon, Van Driel, Mieke, Spike, Neil, Holliday, Elizabeth G., Ball, Jean, Henderson, Kim, McArthur, Lawrie, and Magin, Parker (2019) Emergency department referral patterns of Australian general practitioner registrars: A cross-sectional analysis of prevalence, nature and associations. Australian Health Review, 43 (1). pp. 21-28.

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Abstract

Objective: Limited international evidence suggests general practice registrars' emergency department (ED) referral rates exceed those of established general practitioners (GPs). The aim of the present study was to fill an evidence gap by establishing the prevalence, nature and associations of Australian GP registrar ED referrals.

Methods: A cross-sectional analysis was performed of the Registrar Clinical Encounters in Training (ReCEnT) cohort study of GP registrars' consultation experiences, between 2010 and 2015. The outcome factor in logistic regression analysis was referral to an ED. Independent variables included patient-level, registrar-level, practice-level and consultation-level factors.

Results: In all, 1161 GP registrars (response rate 95.5%) contributed data from 166 966 consultations, comprising 258 381 individual problems. Based on responses, 0.5% of problems resulted in ED referral, of which nearly 25% comprised chest pain, abdominal pain and fractures. Significant (P < 0.05) associations of ED referral included patient age <15 and >34 years, the patient being new to the registrar, one particular regional training provider (RTP), in-consultation information or assistance being sought and learning goals being generated. Outer regional-, remote-or very remote-based registrars made significantly fewer ED referrals than more urban registrars. Of the problems referred to the ED, 45.5% involved the seeking of in-consultation information or assistance, predominantly from supervisors.

Conclusions: Registrars' ED referral rates are nearly twice those of established GPs. The findings of the present study suggest acute illnesses or injuries present registrars with clinical challenges and real learning opportunities, and highlight the importance of continuity of care, even for acute presentations.

Item ID: 75241
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1449-8944
Keywords: emergency medicine, family practice, general practice, physician practice patterns, referral and consultation
Copyright Information: © AHHA 2019 Open Access CC BY-NC-ND
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2022 02:21
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420304 General practice @ 80%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3202 Clinical sciences > 320207 Emergency medicine @ 20%
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