Task shifting from general practitioners to other health professionals in out-of-hours primary care: a systematic literature review on content and quality of task shifting

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Task shifting from general practitioners (GPs) to other health professionals could solve the increased workload, but an overview of the evidence is lacking for out-of-hours primary care (OOH-PC).

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the content and quality of task shifting from GPs to other health professionals in clinic consultations and home visits in OOH-PC.

METHODS: Four database literature searches were performed on 13 December 2021, and updated in August 2023. We included articles that studied content (patient characteristics, reason for encounter) and/or quality (patient satisfaction, safety, efficiency) of task shifting in face-to-face contacts at OOH-PC. Two authors independently screened articles for inclusion and assessed the methodological quality of included articles using the JBI critical appraisal checklist. Data was extracted and results were synthesised in a narrative summary.

RESULTS: The search identified 1,829 articles, resulting in the final inclusion of seven articles conducted in the UK or the Netherlands. Studies compared GPs with other health professionals (mainly nurses). These other health professionals saw patients with less urgent health problems, younger patients, and patients with less complex health problems than GPs. Most studies concluded that other health professionals provided safe and vastly efficient care corresponding to the level of GPs but findings about productivity were inconclusive.

CONCLUSION: The level of safety and efficiency of care provided by other health professionals in OOH-PC seems like that of GPs, although they mainly see patients presenting with less urgent and less complex health problems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2351807
JournalThe European Journal of General Practice
Volume30
Issue1
Pages (from-to)2351807
ISSN1381-4788
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2024

Keywords

  • After-Hours Care
  • General Practitioners
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Primary Health Care
  • Task Shifting
  • Workload
  • after-hours care
  • task shifting
  • quality of health care
  • Primary care
  • general practice
  • review

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