A first step in the delivery of tailored care is answering the following question: does health care meet the needs of patients? Therefore patients' perspective on health care use and their needs was examined. The design used was cross-sectional questionnaire study.
A total of 1109 adult congenital heart defect (CHD) patients attending one of eight Dutch hospitals were randomly selected from a national database (10% of all registered patients).
Main outcome measures:
Patient reported questionnaires on in- and outpatient health care use during the past year and need for additional care.
A total of 66% and 40% of patients had contact with their cardiologist and general practitioner, respectively. Six to 10 percent were hospitalized, operated upon, or visited the emergency room. For the majority, the amount of contact was sufficient. Most patients indicated that the communication skills and expertise of the cardiologist and general practitioner were sufficient, and health care improvements were not necessary. Frequent health care users had a poor functional status and frequent contact with their cardiologist and general practitioner. Patients who want more contact with their cardiologist rated the communication skills of the cardiologist as insufficient.
For most patients, the amount and quality of care are both sufficient. Patients who rate the communication skills of the cardiologist as insufficient have need more contact. In addition to the recommended training program as described in the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) and European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines, we recommend the incorporation of communication training. This is the first study to provide insight into health care use and needs of CHD patients in countries with a compulsory health insurance system from the patient perspective.