The role of the GP
In Denmark, the general practitioner is the gateway to the healthcare system. The general practitioner is the patient’s primary contact point to the healthcare system, and 90 % of all medical cases are handled by the general practitioner.
GPs handle preventive healthcare, treatment, and coordination of services from various healthcare professionals. Upon consultation, patients may be referred to a hospital, to treatment by a specialist, or to preventive services such as weight loss or smoking cessation.
In the future, many chronic conditions will be managed better and more efficiently in primary care outside of the hospital due to the growing ageing and multi-morbid patient populations. Therefore, from 2018, Danish primary care physicians are much more involved in the treatment of patients with type 2-diabetes and COPD as well as control of certain cancer diseases.
GPs keep comprehensive electronic medical records on patients, and they also have access to the Shared Medication Record, an electronic registry containing all Danish citizens’ medicine information. As a result, GPs are able to diagnose more accurately and faster due to the complete overview of the patient's medical history. When a patient is admitted to hospital, the various physicians who attend to the patient have electronic access to updated and shared medical records and results of all examinations and tests. When the patient is discharged after treatment, an electronic discharge summary is created and sent to the patient’s GP.
The Danish e-health portal, sundhed.dk, provides patients with similar digital access to their own health data. The portal brings the entire Danish healthcare sector together online and provides an accessible setting for citizens and professionals to meet and efficiently exchange and view information.