Background In practise partner notification (PN) is suboptimal, because of several barriers such as time pressure, lack of financial reimbursement and provider discomfort. Perceptions of PN have mostly been studied in the field of medicine (i.e., among general practitioners (GPs) and medical specialists). This study assesses the barriers and facilitators of the application of PN among public health care providers (i.e., STI clinics), which is where the majority of PN occurs.
Methods Between March and June 2012, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 22 public health care providers from 6 of the 8 national STI clinics in The Netherlands.
Results All public health care providers reported feeling comfortable discussing PN and preferred patient referral (even though it is less effective than provider referral). Facilitators of PN included time, one-on-one consultations and motivational interviewing techniques. Important barriers to PN were the lack of feedback regarding its effectiveness and regarding the motivational strategies that were used. Furthermore, an emphasis on individuals and their autonomy leads to reduced feelings of responsibility towards the at risk-community (the scope of public health care).
Conclusion Because of existing barriers in the PN process, public health STI clinics do not reach their potential to protect the vulnerable community. Our results provide insight into the challenges at the patient, provider and organisational levels and can be used to optimise the PN process.
- Facilitators and Ethics
- Chlamydia trachomatis
- Partner Notification
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