RESEARCH – May 2006

Use of investigations and therapeutic procedures, referrals and prescriptions in the family doctor’s consultation


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The aim of the study was to analyse how frequently Estonian family doctors examine patients during the consultation, what kind of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures they use, how many prescriptions and referrals they offer to their patients and to compare these data with corresponding data from other European countries.
Methods. Altogether 516 videotaped consultations of 27 Estonian family doctors were analysed.
Results. It was found that Estonian family doctors examined patients and used diagnostic  procedures more often than family doctors in Sweden and Poland, whearas they prescribed less than family doctors in Poland and in Sweden. The rate of referrals in Estonia was less than 20%, which means that the family doctor solves about 80% of patientsL problems.
Conclusions. Our study showed that the international criteria for the job of family doctors as general, comprehensive and coordinated practice are met in Estonia.