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Referral for 'prostatism': developing a 'performance indicator' for the threshold between primary and secondary care?

Elwyn, Glyn, Rix, Andrew, Matthews, Philip and Stott, Nigel C. H. 1999. Referral for 'prostatism': developing a 'performance indicator' for the threshold between primary and secondary care? Family Practice 16 (2) , pp. 140-142. 10.1093/fampra/16.2.140

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Objective. We aimed to define a performance indicator at the gateway between primary and secondary care. Method. We carried out an analysis of referral letters sent to an urological department within the catchment area of a teaching hospital in Cardiff, Wales. The subjects were 221 sequential referral letters from 221 GPs. The main outcome measures were the information content of referral letters analysed. Letters were stratified into referral threshold groups by the presence of history, examination, routine investigations and specialized investigations. Results. Three distinct categories of referral practice were identified: referrals which contained history alone; those providing history examination and a selection of routine investigations; and those providing history, examination data and the results of routine and specialized investigations. The study demonstrated that more than a third of GPs do not report the results of digital rectal examination in their referrals and only 4% record urinary flow rates and post-micturition residual urine volume. Conclusions. The majority (60%) of generalist referrals to an urology department for prostatism provide enough information for specialists to be able to prioritize appointments, but more than a third (36%) of the referrals contain inadequate information. The method has the potential of being developed into a gateway performance indicator in clinical practice.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords: Performance indicator; prostatism
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 1460-2229
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:47

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