How should laboratories communicate with primary care? Obtaining general practitioners' views.
McNulty CAM., Coleman T., Telfer-Brunton A., Dance D., Smith M., Jacobson K.
AIMS: Recognising the importance of communication with our primary care colleagues, focus groups were held with GPs to determine how they perceived the current lines of communication with their local microbiology laboratory and the PHLS, and how they could be improved. METHODS: Focus groups were held in Plymouth, Gloucester, Bristol and Hereford. Between four and 10 GPs and/or PCG Board members attended each workshop. The modes of communication i.e. websites, face-to-face contact, laboratory reporting, telephone advice, newsletters, guidance and surveillance were discussed. RESULTS: Microbiology websites should be user friendly, with clear labelling as to whom the page is directed. They should contain locally relevant data, antibiotic guidance and information leaflets. Despite great variation in laboratory reporting protocols GPs were mostly happy with reports received. Results, especially serology, should contain a clear conclusion and could refer to a website for further information. Electronic reporting was enthusiastically awaited. All GPs felt they had excellent access to telephone advice. GPs would value data and guidance on their use of diagnostic tests. CONCLUSION: These workshops highlight the variation in laboratory reporting protocols that should be addressed. Website development for GPs should include locally relevant data. GPs would value details of their laboratory use and costs.