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Fam Pract. 2017 Nov 16;34(6):730-734. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmx044.

Oncologists' views on the importance of general practitioners for cancer patients: a qualitative interview study from Germany.

Author information

1
Institute of General Practice, Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany.
2
Institute of Public Health, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
3
Institute for Biomedical Ethics, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
4
Scientific Institute of Office-Based Hematologists and Oncologists, Cologne, Germany.
5
Institute of General Practice and Evidence-based Health Services Research, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria.

Abstract

Background:

Integrated cancer care requires cooperation between specialists and general practitioners (GPs). Mutual understanding of each other's tasks and responsibilities is essential if cooperation is to be successful. While GPs' opinions about oncologists have been addressed in previous studies, less is known about oncologists' views on the role of GPs' in cancer care, especially with regard to GPs' patient-centred, communication-based tasks.

Objective:

To assess oncologists' views on the importance of GPs for cancer patients.

Methods:

We conducted 15 qualitative guideline-based telephone interviews with oncologists using open-ended questions and analysed these interviews using thematic analysis.

Results:

Oncologists situated GPs as persons of trust for patients in a rather amicable sphere of caring in contrast to themselves who were situated in a rather biomedical sphere of evidence-based treatment decisions. Oncologists' appraisal of an overlapping of these spheres varied: While most stressed opportunities for patients (and themselves), others also mentioned risks.

Conclusion:

Our analysis found that oncologists clearly distinguish between their own sphere of evidence-based treatment decision-making and GPs' sphere of psychosocial caring. The question remains how these roles get interconnected in real life situations in order to meet patients' needs adequately. So far it seems that it is often the patient who is travelling between both spheres and needs to initiate interconnection to get comprehensive cancer care.

KEYWORDS:

Ambulatory care; general practitioners; medical oncology; neoplasm; physician-patient relation; qualitative research

PMID:
28486693
DOI:
10.1093/fampra/cmx044
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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