Keywords: cross-sectoral collaboration, coordination, electronic platform, lung cancer patients, comorbidity
Lung cancer patients with comorbidity often require treatment and care by different health professionals, in different settings, and at different points in time during the course of the disease. In order to organise and coordinate healthcare efficiently, effective collaboration between general practitioners and hospitals is required.
The aim of this study was to assess the views of advanced lung cancer patients with comorbidity regarding coordination of care across healthcare sectors.
This qualitative study used face-to-face guide-based semi-structured interviews with advanced lung cancer patients and their informal caregivers. Data were audio-recorded, pseudonymized and transcribed verbatim. Data analysis was performed using Qualitative Content Analysis to structure data into themes and sub-themes.
In 15 interviews, participants reported that cross-sectoral collaboration functioned well, if treatments were carried out as planned. If treatment gaps did occur, participants assumed the cause to be different levels of information among general practices and hospitals. General practitioners are often not informed about changes in medication and treatment regimens during the hospital stay. As a result, participants felt to take responsibility for the coordination of care. However, they perceive that this role should be assumed by a general practitioner. Potential for optimization of cross-sectoral collaboration was seen in the way of communication by using an electronic platform.
A more intensive exchange via an electronic platform was perceived to support the information level of general practitioners about hospitalization. Despite growing evidence that patient-managed platforms can have positive benefits for healthcare, such concepts are not yet widely adopted in Germany. Therefore, there is growing pressure to address barriers for the implementation of digital information transfer, which could have major implications for coordination of health care in general practice.
Points for discussion:
How do general practitioners view the use of an electronic platform for cross-sectoral exchange?
How do general practitioners perceive their role as care coordinator?