OBJECTIVE: To investigate existing levels of communication between general practitioners (GPs) and chiropractors in Norway and to identify trends in GP preferences for future interprofessional communications.
DESIGN AND SETTING: A postal survey was conducted on a random sample of 230 GPs in Norway.
RESULTS: A response rate of 51% was achieved. All respondents reported having made at least one referral to a chiropractor. Most (63%) referred infrequently, and only 7% communicated often with a chiropractor. Of those who were in contact with a chiropractor, three fourths communicated by telephone. One fifth of the respondents negatively assessed the quality of written reports. Approximately one third of those GPs who had referred patients did not receive a report, despite this being obligatory in Norway. Twelve percent reported problems with terminology. A written report for future reporting was favored by 75% of the GPs, who wanted the report to contain information on examination findings, diagnosis, treatment, and advice given.
CONCLUSION: In general, communications between GPs and chiropractors in Norway are not ideal, particularly with regard to frequency and written quality. However, this is not unique to Norway. With increasing emphasis on multidisciplinary health care, greater understanding and better communication is needed to optimize the benefits of such an approach to patient management. Relevant, timely, consistent reporting on a reciprocal basis, together with a shared vocabulary, should help this process.
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