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Open Access Research article

Norwegian GPs' participation in multidisciplinary meetings: A register-based study from 2007

Øystein Hetlevik* and Sturla Gjesdal

Author Affiliations

Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, University of Bergen, Kalfarveien 31, N-5018 Bergen, Norway

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BMC Health Services Research 2010, 10:309  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-309

Published: 15 November 2010

Abstract

Background

An increasing number of patients with chronic disorders and a more complex health service demand greater interdisciplinary collaboration in Primary Health Care. The aim of this study was therefore to identify factors related to general practitioners (GPs), their list populations and practice municipalities associated with a high rate of GP participation in multidisciplinary meetings (MDMs).

Methods

A national cross-sectional register-based study of Norwegian general practice was conducted, including data on all GPs in the Regular GP Scheme in 2007 (N = 3179). GPs were grouped into quartiles based on the annual number of MDMs per patient on their list, and the groups were compared using one-way analysis of variance. Binary logistic regression was used to analyse associations between high rates of participation and characteristics of the GP, their list population and practice municipality.

Results

On average, GPs attended 30 MDMs per year. The majority of the meetings concerned patients in the age groups 20-59 years. Psychological disorders were the motivation for 53% of the meetings. In a multivariate logistic regression model, the following characteristics predicted a high rate of MDM attendance: younger age of the GP, with an OR of 1.6 (95% CI 1.2-2.1) for GPs < 45 years, a short patient list, with an OR of 4.9 (3.2-7.5) for list sizes below 800 compared to lists ≥ 1600, higher proportion of psychological diagnosis in consultations (OR3.4 (2.6-4.4)) and a high MDM proportion with elderly patients (OR 4.1 (3.3-5.4)). Practising in municipalities with less than 10,000 inhabitants (OR 3.7 (2.8-4.9)) and a high proportion of disability pensioners (OR 1.6 (1.2-2.2)) or patients receiving social assistance (OR 2.2 (1.7-2.8)) also predicted high rates of meetings.

Conclusions

Psychological problems including substance addiction gave grounds for the majority of MDMs. GPs with a high proportion of consultations with such problems also participated more frequently in MDMs. List size was negatively associated with the rate of MDMs, while a more disadvantaged list population was positively associated. Working in smaller organisational units seemed to facilitate cooperation between different professionals. There may be a generation shift towards more frequent participation in interdisciplinary work among younger GPs.