The benefits of co-location in primary care practices: the perspectives of general practitioners and patients in 34 countries

2018-02-21 | journal article; research paper. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Bonciani, M., Schäfer, W., Barsanti, S., Heinemann, S. & Groenewegen, P. P. (2018). ​The benefits of co-location in primary care practices: the perspectives of general practitioners and patients in 34 countries. BMC Health Services Research18(1), Article 132​. ​doi: 


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Bonciani, M.; Schäfer, W.; Barsanti, S.; Heinemann, Stephanie ; Groenewegen, P. P.
Abstract Background There is no clear evidence as to whether the co-location of primary care professionals in the same facility positively influences their way of working and the quality of healthcare as perceived by patients. The aim of this study was to identify the relationships between general practitioner (GP) co-location with other GPs and/or other professionals and the GP outcomes and patients’ experiences. Methods We wanted to test whether GP co-location is related to a broader range of services provided, the use of clinical governance tools and inter-professional collaboration, and whether the patients of co-located GPs perceive a better quality of care in terms of accessibility, comprehensiveness and continuity of care with their GPs. The source of data was the QUALICOPC study (Quality and Costs of Primary Care in Europe), which involved surveys of GPs and their patients in 34 countries, mostly in Europe. In order to study the relationships between GP co-location and both GPs’ outcomes and patients’ experience, multilevel linear regression analysis was carried out. Results The GP questionnaire was filled in by 7183 GPs and the patient experience questionnaire by 61,931 patients. Being co-located with at least one other professional is the most common situation of the GPs involved in the study. Compared with single-handed GP practices, GP co-location are positively associated with the GP outcomes. Considering the patients’ perspective, comprehensiveness of care has the strongest negative relationship of GP co-location of all the dimensions of patient experiences analysed. Conclusions The paper highlights that GP mono- and multi-disciplinary co-location is related to positive outcomes at a GP level, such as a broader provision of technical procedures, increased collaboration among different providers and wider coordination with secondary care. However, GP co-location, particularly in a multidisciplinary setting, is related to less positive patient experiences, especially in countries with health systems characterised by a weak primary care structure.
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BMC Health Services Research 
Institut für Allgemeinmedizin 



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