QUALICOPC: a multi-country study evaluating quality, costs and equity in primary care
Objective: The QUALICOPC (Quality and Costs of Primary Care in Europe) study aims to evaluate the performance of primary care systems in Europe in terms of quality, equity and costs. QUALICOPC is funded by the European Commission under the “Seventh Framework Program”. In this article the background and design of the QUALICOPC study and also sample selection procedure in Turkey are described.
Methods: QUALICOPC started in 2010 and will run until 2013. Data will be collected in 31 European countries (27 EU countries, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey). Some research centers/institutes which are in Australia, Israel and New Zealand also contributing to the study. The study uses a three level approach of data collection: the health supply system, practice and patient. Surveys will be held among general practitioners (GPs) and their patients, providing evidence at the process and outcome level of primary care. These surveys aim to gain insight on the professional behavior of GPs and the expectations and actions of their patients. To gather data on the structure and national level, the study uses existing data sources such as the Primary Health Care Activity Monitor Europe (PHAMEU) database. Data collection in Turkey will take place in 6 regions, each including 1 or 2 provinces, selected according to geographical distribution. Sample selection is based on Family Medicine Centers and provinces will be selected according to starting date of family medicine scheme. At least 10% of the sample will be selected among family physicians with vocational training and their patients.
Conclusions: By its design, in which different data sources are combined for comprehensive analyses, QUALICOPC will contribute to the discussion on the merit of strengthening primary care systems and to evidence based health policy development.