Overcoming challenges associated with partner notification following chlamydia and gonorrhoea diagnosis in primary care: a postal survey of doctors and nursesSally B. Rose 1 , Susan M. Garrett 1 , Susan R. H. Pullon 1
1 Department of Primary Health Care and General Practice, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand
Correspondence to: Sally Rose, Department of Primary Health Care and General Practice, University of Otago, Wellington, PO Box 7343, Wellington South 6242, New Zealand. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Journal of Primary Health Care 9(2) 136-144 https://doi.org/10.1071/HC17006
Published: 30 June 2017
This is an open access article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
INTRODUCTION: Sexual health guidelines recommend that partner notification and testing for reinfection are undertaken when individuals are diagnosed with bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
AIM: To understand factors influencing the effective delivery of partner notification and follow up after diagnosis of STIs in primary care, and to identify strategies that might facilitate these processes.
METHODS: A postal survey was sent to 216 primary care doctors and nurses working in 72 Wellington primary care settings. Eligible clinicians were identified from laboratory testing data, and included clinicians who had diagnosed relatively high numbers of chlamydia and/or gonorrhoea cases during a 12-month period. Response frequencies were tabulated and chi-squared testing was used to test for significant differences between doctor and nurse responses for selected items.
RESULTS: In total, 121 surveys were completed (56% response rate) by 78 doctors and 43 nurses, from 55 primary care settings (76% of sites surveyed). Responding health professionals thought that patients were open to partner notification discussion, but appreciated that this sometimes raised difficult issues for patients. Lack of time or resources to follow up, and difficulty getting hold of patients, were cited as key factors that limit assessment of partner notification success. Factors deemed likely to facilitate partner notification included readily available patient resources, training to upskill practice team members, guidance on what to say and record, and access to external advice and assistance.
DISCUSSION: This study provides insight into provider- and patient-level factors perceived to be hindering successful partner notification. Strategies that could facilitate partner notification were identified, and suggestions made as to how these could be integrated into practice.
KEYWORDS: Sexually transmitted infections; contact tracing; partner notification; primary health care; patient care management; chlamydia
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