Objectives: The prognosis for individuals infected with HIV has changed dramatically over the past 10 years, with patients living longer and requiring other specialist services. It is apparent that access of other healthcare professionals to clinical information about a patient’s HIV care differs between centres in the UK. Lack of awareness of an individual’s HIV status may compromise their clinical care.
Aim: To establish current practice and identify the views of clinicians caring for patients infected with HIV.
Methods: Lead consultants in all genitourinary medicine departments in the UK were invited to complete a questionnaire regarding use of combined HIV and hospital notes and ability of general practitioners and other hospital specialists to access information about individual patient’s HIV care. Clinician’s opinions on the “normalisation” of HIV management were also sought.
Results: Combined notes (outpatient and inpatient) were used by 12% (16/130) of respondents. The patient’s identifying number was used to request blood tests in 86%. Of the respondents, 42% had encountered difficulties in communication that affected delivery of care for an HIV-positive patient.
Conclusions: Centres using combined notes identified a higher frequency of communication with other doctors and specialties, suggesting a higher standard of care. Physicians involved in HIV care should consider combining patients’ HIV and hospital notes for improved clinical care.
- GP, general practitioner
- GU, genitourinary
- ID, infectious diseases
- STI, sexually transmitted infection
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Published Online First 17 January 2007
DR, EF, CO’M, RM and RFM initiated the study and wrote each draft of the questionnaire. ER and EF wrote each draft of the paper; EF, CO’M, RFM and DR contributed to the revisions of the paper. PK and Regional Representatives (see below) coordinated distribution and collection of questionnaires within their respective regions.Anura Alawattegama, Mary Browning, Chris Carne (Chairman), Jackie Cassell, Gail Crowe, David Daniels, Annemiek deRuiter, Wallace Dinsmore, Sarah Edwards, Kevin Fenton, Elizabeth Foley, Mia Huengsberg, Philip Kell, George Kinghorn, Deb Mandal, Raymond Maw (Honorary Secretary), Sandy McMillan, Rob Miller, Eric Monteiro, Andrew Nayagam, Abayomi Opaneye, Sasi Rajamanoharan, Karen Rogstad, David Rowen, Celia Skinner, Helen Ward, Jeremy Willcox.
Funding: The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV funded secretarial support.
Competing interests: Professor RF Miller is co-editor of Sexually Transmitted Infections, part of the BMJ Publishing Group.