Reorganising dermatology care: predictors of the substitution of secondary care with primary care

Esther H A van den Bogaart*, Mariëlle E A L Kroese, Marieke D Spreeuwenberg, Herm Martens, Peter M Steijlen, Dirk Ruwaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: The substitution of healthcare is a way to control rising healthcare costs. The Primary Care Plus (PC+) intervention of the Dutch 'Blue Care' pioneer site aims to achieve this feat by facilitating consultations with medical specialists in the primary care setting. One of the specialties involved is dermatology. This study explores referral decisions following dermatology care in PC+ and the influence of predictive patient and consultation characteristics on this decision.

METHODS: This retrospective study used clinical data of patients who received dermatology care in PC+ between January 2015 and March 2017. The referral decision following PC+, (i.e., referral back to the general practitioner (GP) or referral to outpatient hospital care) was the primary outcome. Stepwise logistic regression modelling was used to describe variations in the referral decisions following PC+, with patient age and gender, number of PC+ consultations, patient diagnosis and treatment specialist as the predicting factors.

RESULTS: A total of 2952 patients visited PC+ for dermatology care. Of those patients with a registered referral, 80.2% (N = 2254) were referred back to the GP, and 19.8% (N = 558) were referred to outpatient hospital care. In the multivariable model, only the treating specialist and patient's diagnosis independently influenced the referral decisions following PC+.

CONCLUSION: The aim of PC+ is to reduce the number of referrals to outpatient hospital care. According to the results, the treating specialist and patient diagnosis influence referral decisions. Therefore, the results of this study can be used to discuss and improve specialist and patient profiles for PC+ to further optimise the effectiveness of the initiative.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2020


  • Dermatology
  • Outpatient care
  • Primary care
  • Referral decision
  • Substitution


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