Background and objectives: Collaboration between general practitioners (GPs) and specialists is considered crucial to provide high-quality healthcare. The objective of this study was to analyze the relationship between gastroenterologists and GPs in regional hospitals and their referring primary care centers in Catalonia (Spain). Materials and methods: A descriptive, observational, cross-sectional study was carried out using anonymous questionnaires between January and April 2008. Results: A total of 314 surveys were administered (261 GPs and 53 gastroenterologists). The overall relationship was considered highly deficient or insufficient by 62.3% of gastroenterologists (95% CI, 47.9-74.9) and by 55.6% of GPs (95% CI, 49.3-61.7). More than half (56.6%) of the gastroenterologists did not know any GPs, or only a very few, and the situation was the same for 80.4% of GPs. Sixty-four percent of gastroenterologists considered that the quality of care for digestive diseases in primary care was highly deficient or insufficient while 21.1% of GPs considered that the care provided by gastroenterologists was highly deficient or insufficient. The perception of healthcare in both primary and specialized settings was substantially better when there was good interaction between gastroenterologists and GPs. Conclusions: Practitioners acknowledge that the degree of interaction between different levels of healthcare is insufficient. Moreover, gastroenterologists consider that the management of digestive diseases in primary care is deficient. Establishing a personal relationship between the two types of practitioners substantially improves mutual assessment. © 2010 Elsevier España, S.L.
- Health care quality
- Primary care