The Relationship Between Health Screening Behaviors, Practices and Workload of Family Physicians

Aysel Aydoğan Köken, Gizem Limnili, Nilgün Özçakar

Keywords: Health screening behavior, Workload

Primary care physicians play a critical role in health screening. This role emerges with physicians' increased awareness of the social, environmental and societal determinants of health, with the ability to recognize and intervene with patients' individual risk factors. In daily practice, family physicians need to deal with this work as well as diagnosis and treatment. Therefore, the relationship between family physicians' health screening behaviors and practices and workload is important.

Research questions:
What is the relationship between health screening behaviors, practices and workload of family physicians in İzmir, Turkey?

This cross-sectional study was conducted with 259 family physicians working in Family Health Center (FHC)s in Izmir. Questionnaire that has sociodemographic data, questions evaluating family physicians’ health screening behavior and workload was applied. In analyzing t test, ANOVA and correlation analysis were used. p<0.05 was considered significant.

The mean age was 53.53±5.96 years. 43.6% were female and 89.2% were married. Time worked as a family physician is 13.36±4.85 (Min:2-Max:30) years. Mean score of health screening behavior was found 3.67±0.45. Workload mean score was found to be 3.49±0.58. It was found to be significantly higher both in the group with a high mean number of patients given daily health care (3.62 ± 0.46; p<0.001) and in the group with a high mean number of patients enrolled in the FHC.

Making the time to provide preventive services is one of the most challenging obstacles, as many of physicians work in systems that reward patient care as a performance appraisal. Decrease in the number of patients registered in the FHC; it will reduce the workload of family physicians to make health screenings more common and regular. The screening risk assessment approach, which includes the basic provisions for disease prevention and screening throughout the life cycle, provides the community oriented primary care approach.

Points for discussion:
Adjusting physicians’ medical practices to improve screening and disease prevention practices in adults is important in reducing the workload.