Quality in Primary Care Open Access

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Primary care in the management of common orthopaedic problems

Ioanna Vasileiou, Athanasios Giannopoulos, Chris Klonaris, Kostas Vlasis, George Marinos, Othon Michail, Athanasios Katsargyris, Siasos Gerasimos, Gialafos Elias, John Griniatsos, Provlengios Stefanos

Background Improving national healthcare services through the enhancement of primary care, is a major challenge in many countries.Aim To assess the prevalence of those orthopaedic cases that could be managed by a primaryhealthcare system.Method Between January 2001 and January 2006 a total of 39 172 patients attended the orthopaedic emergency department (ED) of Laikon University Hospital. All cases were included in this retrospective study. The registry of the orthopaedic ED was analysed by age, sex and clinical diagnosis. All patientswere evaluated by a specialist. Classification of the cases was based on the main symptom of those seeking care.Results A total of 39 172 patients visited the orthopaedic ED; 17 040 (43.5%) of these patients were stratified in six major groups of diagnosis. Back pain (17.1%) was the most common reason for seeking care in the orthopaedic ED, followed by ankle injuries (10.3%). The admission rate was 1.2%, and X-ray examination was necessary for 93.4% (15 220) of patients.