[Primary health care product defined by health professionals and users]

Enriqueta Pujol Ribera, Joan Gené Badia, Mireia Sans Corrales, Laura Sampietro-Colom, María Isabel Pasarín Rua, Begoña Iglesias-Pérez, Josep Casajuana-Brunet, Georgia Escaramis-Babiano
Gaceta Sanitaria 2006, 20 (3): 209-19

OBJECTIVE: To identify the components of the primary health care (PHC) product defined by health professionals and users in order to establish indicators for evaluation.

METHODS: Qualitative methodology was used with group techniques: a nominal group (health professionals) and focus groups (users). The study was performed in PHC centers in Catalonia (Spain). There were 7 groups: a) family physicians and pediatricians; b) nurses and social workers; c) staff from admissions units and customer services; d) other medical specialists; e) users; f) managers, pharmacists, pharmacologists, and technicians. Participants responded to the question: "Which features should be evaluated in the services that should be provided by PHC?". A content analysis was performed. Textual data were broken down into units and then grouped into categories, following analogy criteria. The interpretative context of the research team was taken into account.

RESULTS: Health professionals and users identified 4 dimensions of the PHC product, coinciding with its basic attributes: a) access to services; b) coordination and continuity of the PHC teams with other levels of healthcare; c) relationship between health professionals and users, and d) scientific-technical quality of the PHC teams and the portfolio of services. Equity, satisfaction and efficiency appeared as keystones in all the components of the product identified.

CONCLUSION: There was broad agreement in the product definition among health professionals and users. The relationship between health professionals and patients was a key element in all groups. The four dimensions should be included in the evaluation of PHC teams.

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