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Table 3 Benefits derived from using ECOPIH

From: Keys to success of a community of clinical practice in primary care: a qualitative evaluation of the ECOPIH project

“Of course, it reduced referrals. You refer when you have doubts about how to handle a case and you want to seek the opinion of an expert in another topic. If you manage to get this information by other means and you end up handling the case while counting on the non-GP specialist’s support at all times, ultimately you don’t refer it.” INT. 16 (PC physician, female).
“If you come across a case that has already been discussed, you don’t refer it because you have the answer.” INT. 13 (PC physician, female).
“It could prevent referrals that are sometimes unnecessary. (…) It should save on visits and that means saving money and duplicate tests, so it could be an efficient tool.” INT. 26 (SC physician, female).
“It isn’t a huge reduction in referrals, it’s referring properly… and learning.” INT. 9 (PC physician, female).
“It’s efficient in the sense that the patient doesn’t have to go from one place to another. It prevents silly consultations from getting onto the waiting list (…) and has the potential to improve the care offered to the patient. It’s a good tool, it’s useful and relevant, it’s safe, it has the ability to resolve issues and is probably efficient, although I can’t assure you of that. It’s a new way of operating that, if it saves work, will ultimately make us more efficient.” INT. 3 (SC director, male).
“I think ECOPIH improves the quality of care the patient gets. It helps me and my patient.” INT. 4 (PC director, female).
“It does reduce referrals a little, and if it doesn’t, it means they are made properly. Sometimes it isn’t as much as saying ‘refer it to me’ as saying ‘refer it to me, but do this’ or ‘refer it to me with this priority’. It provides clarification when it comes to having to refer or not.” INT. 29 (SC physician, female).