Background Rising healthcare expenditures places the potential for substitution of hospital care towards primary care high on the political agenda. As low-risk basal cell carcinoma (BCC) care is one of the potential targets for substitution of hospital care towards primary care the objective of this study is to gain insight in the views of healthcare professionals regarding substitution of skin cancer care, and to identify perceived barriers and potential strategies to facilitate substitution. Methods A qualitative study was conducted consisting of 40 interviews with dermatologists and GPs and three focus groups with 18 selected GPs with noted willingness regarding substitution of skin cancer care. The interviews and focus groups focused on general views, perceived barriers and potential strategies to facilitate substitution of skin cancer care, using predefined topic lists. All sessions were audio-taped, transcribed verbatim and analyzed using the program AtlasTi. Results GPs were generally positive regarding substitution of skin care whereas dermatologists expressed more concerns. Lack of trust in GPs to adequately perform skin cancer care and a preference of patients for dermatologists are reported as barriers by dermatologists. The main barriers reported by GPs were a lack of confidence in own skills to perform skin cancer care, a lack of trust from both patients and dermatologists and limited time and financial compensation. Facilitating strategies suggested by both groups mainly focused on improving GPs’ education and improving the collaboration between primary and secondary care. GPs additionally suggested efforts from dermatologists to increase their own and patients’ trust in GPs, and time and financial compensation. The selected group of GPs suggested practical solutions to facilitate substitution focusing on changes in organizational structure including horizontal referring, outreach models and practice size reduction. Conclusions GPs and, to lesser extent, dermatologists are positive regarding substitution of low-risk BCC care, though report substantial barriers that need to be addressed before substitution can be further implemented. Aside from essential strategies such as improving GPs’ skin cancer education and time and financial compensation, rearranging the organizational structure in primary care and between primary and secondary care may facilitate effective and safe substitution of low-risk BCC care.

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Journal PLoS ONE
Noels, E.C., Wakkee, M, van den Bos, R.R, Bindels, P.J.E, Nijsten, T.E.C, & Lugtenberg, M. (2019). Substitution of low-risk skin cancer hospital care towards primary care: A qualitative study on views of general practitioners and dermatologists. PLoS ONE, 14(3). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0213595