Family Physicians’ Perceptions of Primary Health Care Use in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Covid-19 Pandemic, a Cross-sectional Study
Keywords:COVID-19, Primary Health Care Utilization, Routine Care Disruption, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Objectives. The main objective of this paper was to examine the perceptions of family physicians on the use of primary health care in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Materials and Methods. A cross-sectional study was conducted using a short online questionnaire that was sent to primary care physicians in Bosnia and Herzegovina from April 20th, 2022, to May 20th, 2022.
Results. The research sample consisted of 231 doctors of primary health care from Bosnia and Herzegovina, with an average age of 45 years and 85% women. About 70% of participants reported having COVID-19 at least once from March 2020 to March 2022. Participants had an average of 1,986 registered patients and approximately 50 encounters per day. The study revealed a high degree of reliability between test-retest measurements, with a single measure Intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.801, and internal consistency determined using Cronbach’s alpha of 0.89. Participants reported that the following health services were most affected during the COVID-19 pandemic: care for patients with chronic diseases, home visits, navigating the health system with patients making appointments with specialists, cancer screening, and preventive health services. The study also found statistically significant perceived differences in the use of these health services based on age, gender, postgraduate education in family medicine, participation in COVID-19 clinics, and personal history of Covid-19.
Conclusion. There were significant disturbances to the use of primary health care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Future research could investigate patient outcomes compared to family physician perceptions.
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