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The online version of this article (https://doi.org/10.1186/s12875-018-0739-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The current reality of primary care (PC) makes it essential to have telemedicine systems available to facilitate communication between care levels. Communities of practice have great potential in terms of care and education, and that is why the Online Communication Tool between Primary and Hospital Care was created. This tool enables PC and non-GP specialist care (SC) professionals to raise clinical cases for consultation and to share information. The objective of this article is to explore healthcare professionals’ views on communities of clinical practice (CoCPs) and the changes that need to be made in an uncontrolled real-life setting after more than two years of use.
A descriptive-interpretative qualitative study was conducted on a total of 29 healthcare professionals who were users and non-users of a CoCP using 2 focus groups, 3 triangular groups and 5 individual interviews. There were 18 women, 21 physicians and 8 nurses. Of the interviewees, 21 were PC professionals, 24 were users of a CoCP and 7 held managerial positions.
For a system of communication between PC and SC to become a tool that is habitually used and very useful, the interviewees considered that it would have to be able to find quick, effective solutions to the queries raised, based on up-to-date information that is directly applicable to daily clinical practice. Contact should be virtual – and probably collaborative – via a platform integrated into their habitual workstations and led by PC professionals. Organisational changes should be implemented to enable users to have more time in their working day to spend on the tool, and professionals should have a proactive attitude in order to make the most if its potential. It is also important to make certain technological changes, basically aimed at improving the tool’s accessibility, by integrating it into habitual clinical workstations.
The collaborative tool that provides reliable, up-to-date information that is highly transferrable to clinical practice is valued for its effectiveness, efficiency and educational capacity. In order to make the most of its potential in terms of care and education, organisational changes and techniques are required to foster greater use.