A random sample of 102 cases referred in 1983 by paramedicals to the Southern Highlands Provincial Hospital, Papua New Guinea, was analysed for agreement with the final hospital diagnosis and with standardized primary care therapies. Health centre diagnosis was judged accurate in 45% of cases; inaccuracies in a further 17% had no projected health consequences. However, resulting serious sequelae could be projected in half of the incorrect diagnoses. Diagnosis of surgical cases was more often accurate (P<0.05) than in medical cases. Treatment which was adequate or standard for the diagnosis made at the health centre had been given there in 80% of cases. However, there were serious diagnostic inaccuracies in 38% of all referral cases; this study suggests a need for problem-based paramedical education in diagnosis, especially in non-surgical problems. Visits by doctors to health centres could reinforce this diagnostic teaching and better evaluate paramedicals' clinical accuracy in the health centre.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases