How French general practitioners respond to declining medical density: a study on prescription practices, with an insight into opioids useJournal articleJulien Silhol, Bruno Ventelou and Anna Zaytseva, The European Journal of Health Economics, Volume 21, Issue 9, pp. 1391-1398, 2020

Disparities in physicians' geographical distribution lead to highly unequal access to healthcare, which may impact quality of care in both high and low-income countries. This paper uses a 2013–2014 nationally representative survey of French general practitioners (GPs) matched with corresponding administrative data to analyze the effects of practicing in an area with weaker medical density. To avoid the endogeneity issue on physicians' choice of the location, we enriched our variable of interest, practicing in a relatively underserved area, with considering changes in medical density between 2007 and 2013, thus isolating GPs who only recently experienced a density decline (identifying assumption). We find that GPs practicing in underserved areas do shorter consultations and tend to substitute time-consuming procedures with alternatives requiring fewer human resources, especially for pain management. Results are robust to considering only GPs newly exposed to low medical density. Findings suggest a significant impact of supply-side shortages on the mix of healthcare services used to treat patients, and point to a plausible increased use of painkillers, opioids in particular.

GPs’ management of polypharmacy and therapeutic dilemma in patients with multimorbidity: a cross-sectional survey of GPs in FranceJournal articleHélène Carrier, Anna Zaytseva, Aurélie Bocquier, Patrick Villani, Hélène Verdoux, Martin Fortin and Pierre Verger, British Journal of General Practice, Volume 69, Issue 681, pp. e270-e278, 2019

GPs are confronted with therapeutic dilemmas in treating patients with multimorbidity and/or polypharmacy when unfavourable medication risk–benefit ratios (RBRs) conflict with patients’ demands.

To understand GPs’ attitudes about prescribing and/or deprescribing medicines for patients with multimorbidity and/or polypharmacy, and factors associated with their decisions.

Design and setting:
Cross-sectional survey in 2016 among a national panel of 1266 randomly selected GPs in private practice in France.

GPs’ opinions and attitudes were explored using a standardised questionnaire including a case vignette about a female treated for multiple somatic diseases, sleeping disorders, and chronic pain. Participants were randomly assigned one of eight versions of this case vignette, varying by patient age, socioprofessional status, and stroke history. Backward selection was used to identify factors associated with GPs’ decisions about drugs they considered inappropriate.

Nearly all (91.4%) responders felt comfortable or fairly comfortable deprescribing inappropriate medications, but only 34.7% decided to do so often or very often. In the clinical vignette, most GPs chose to discontinue symptomatic medications (for example, benzodiazepine, paracetamol/tramadol) because of unfavourable RBRs. When patients asked for ketoprofen for persistent sciatica, 94.1% considered this prescription risky, but 25.6% would prescribe it. They were less likely to prescribe it to older patients (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.48, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.36 to 0.63), or those with a stroke history (AOR 0.55, 95% CI = 0.42 to 0.72).

In therapeutic dilemmas, some GPs choose to prioritise patients’ requests over iatrogenic risks. GPs need pragmatic implementation tools for handling therapeutic dilemmas, and to improve their skills in medication management and patient engagement in such situations.

Comportements et pratiques des médecins : exercer dans les zones les moins dotées, cela fait-il une différence ?Journal articleJulien Silhol, Bruno Ventelou, Anna Zaytseva and Claire Marbot, Revue francaise des affaires sociales, Issue 2, pp. 213-249, 2019

Selon les projections récentes, les effectifs de médecins libéraux diminueront de 30 % d’ici à 2027 et la densité standardisée diminuerait jusqu’en 2023, créant des poches de sous-densité relativement nombreuses sur le territoire français métropolitain. L’article s’intéresse aux ajustements que les médecins généralistes de ville mettent en œuvre lorsque, sur leur territoire, ils sont d’ores et déjà confrontés à cette raréfaction. Les données utilisées sont celles du troisième panel des médecins généralistes enrichies d’indicateurs fournis par la CNAMTS. Nous nous sommes appuyés sur l’indicateur d’accessibilité potentielle localisé, développé par l’IRDES et la DREES, pour définir les zones les moins dotées en généralistes. En comparant les comportements des généralistes exerçant dans les zones les moins dotées à leurs homologues des zones mieux dotées, il est apparu d’abord que le planning d’activité du médecin tend à s’intensifier plutôt qu’à s’allonger. Nos données semblent en effet montrer que les rythmes de consultation dans les zones les moins dotées sont plus élevés, alors que le temps de travail global des généralistes s’avère quant à lui peu réactif à la densité en médecins alentour. On note aussi quelques différences statistiquement significatives sur les pratiques médicales : usage accru de certains médicaments, moins de renvoi vers des soins paramédicaux, suivis gynécologique probablement un peu moins réguliers, etc. Cependant, il semble que les différences ne sont pas statistiquement significatives pour les indicateurs de qualité des pratiques rattachés au dispositif de rémunération sur objectifs de santé publique (ROSP).
According to recent projections, the number of private practice physicians will decrease by 30 % by 2027 and the standardised density will continue to decline up to 2023, thus creating territorial inequalities in physicians’ distribution in mainland France. This article focuses on the adaptations that private general practitioners (GPs) make when they already practice in underserved areas. The data used are those of the third panel of general practitioners matched with indicators provided by the Social Security (CNAMTS). We used the local potential accessibility indicator developed by IRDES and DREES to define the underserved areas for general practitioners. Our results show that GPs’ consultation rhythm is higher in underserved areas, while the overall working-time is not very responsive to the local medical density. We also find some statistically significant differences in practices : more frequent prescription of certain drugs, less referrals to paramedical care, probably less regular gynaecological follow-up, for GPs practicing in underserved areas compared to their counterparts in better-served areas. However, it appears that there are no significant differences regarding the indicators of Rémuneration sur objectifs de santé publique (ROSP) [French supplementary payment-for-performance] program, which could allow a first assessment of the quality of care.

Le panel de médecins généralistes de ville : éclairages sur les enjeux de la médecine de premier recours d’aujourd’huiJournal articlePierre Verger, Aurélie Bocquier, Marie-Christine Bournot, Jean-François Buyck, Hélène Carrier, Hélène Chaput, Julien Giraud, Thomas Hérault, Simon Filippi, Claire Marbot, et al., Revue française des affaires sociales, Issue 3, pp. 213-235, 2017