A qualitative study of GPs' attitudes to self-management of chronic disease.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Improving the quality of care for patients living with a chronic illness is a key policy goal. Alongside systems to ensure care is delivered according to evidence-based guidelines, an essential component of these new models of care is the facilitation of self-management. However, changes to the way professionals deliver care is complex, and it is important to understand the key drivers and barriers that may operate in the primary care setting. AIM: To explore GPs' perspectives on their involvement in the facilitation of chronic disease self-management. DESIGN OF STUDY: Qualitative study. SETTING: General practices located in two primary care trusts in northern England. METHOD: Data were collected through in-depth, semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of GPs. During analysis, categories of response were organised into themes that relate to Howie's theoretical model for understanding general practice consultations: content, values, context. RESULTS: The GPs' responses highlighted tensions and trade-offs regarding their role in facilitating self-management. Although GPs valued increased patient involvement in their health care, this was in conflict with other values concerning professional responsibility. Furthermore, contextual factors also limited the degree to which they could assist in encouraging self-management. CONCLUSIONS: Providing GPs with training in consultation skills is required in order to encourage the delivery of effective self-management. In addition, the context in which GPs work also needs to be modified for this to be achieved.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To identify factors influencing general practitioners' (GPs') decisions about whether or not to remain in direct patient care in general practice and what might help to retain them in that role. DESIGN:Qualitative, in-depth, individual interviews exploring factors related to GPs leaving, remaining in and returning to direct patient care. SETTING:South West England, UK. PARTICIPANTS:41 GPs: 7 retired; 8 intending to take early retirement; 11 who were on or intending to take a career break; 9 aged under 50 years who had left or were intending to leave direct patient care and 6 who were not intending to leave or to take a career break. Plus 19 stakeholders from a range of primary care-related professional organisations and roles. RESULTS:Reasons for leaving direct patient care were complex and based on a range of job-related and individual factors. Three key themes underpinned the interviewed GPs' thinking and rationale: issues relating to their personal and professional identity and the perceived value of general practice-based care within the healthcare system; concerns regarding fear and risk, for example, in respect of medical litigation and managing administrative challenges within the context of increasingly complex care pathways and environments; and issues around choice and volition in respect of personal social, financial, domestic and professional considerations. These themes provide increased understanding of the lived experiences of working in today's National Health Service for this group of GPs. CONCLUSION:Future policies and strategies aimed at retaining GPs in direct patient care should clarify the role and expectations of general practice and align with GPs' perception of their own roles and identity; demonstrate to GPs that they are valued and listened to in planning delivery of the UK healthcare; target GPs' concerns regarding fear and risk, seeking to reduce these to manageable levels and give GPs viable options to support them to remain in direct patient care.
Project description:Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) has a prevalence similar to asthma and chronic back pain, but little is known about how general practitioners (GPs) and practice nurses manage women with this problem. A clearer understanding of current management is necessary to develop appropriate strategies, in keeping with current health care policy, for the supported self-management of patients with long term conditions. The aim of this study was to explore GPs' and practice nurses' understanding and perspectives on the management of chronic pelvic pain.Data were collected using semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of 21 GPs and 20 practice nurses, in three primary care trusts in the North West of England. Data were analysed using the principles of Framework analysis.Analysis suggests that women who present with CPP pose a challenge to GPs and practice nurses. CPP is not necessarily recognized as a diagnostic label and making the diagnosis was achieved only by exclusion. This contrasts with the relative acceptability of labels such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). GPs expressed elements of therapeutic nihilism about the condition. Despite practice nurses taking on increasing responsibilities for the management of patients with long term conditions, respondents did not feel that CPP was an area that they were comfortable in managing.The study demonstrates an educational/training need for both GPs and practice nurses. GPs described a number of skills and clinical competencies which could be harnessed to develop a more targeted management strategy. There is potential to develop facilitated self- management for use in this patient group, given that this approach has been successful in patients with similar conditions such as IBS.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The postpartum period is a time of increased morbidity for mothers and infants under 12 months, yet is an under-researched area of primary care. Despite a relatively clear framework for involving general practitioners (GPs) in antenatal care, the structure of maternity service provision in some Australian jurisdictions has resulted in highly variable roles of general practice in routine postpartum care. This study aimed to investigate the views and experiences of mothers and GPs about postpartum care in general practice. METHODS: This was a qualitative study of mothers and GPs in rural, regional and metropolitan areas of Queensland, Australia. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 88 mothers and six general practitioners between September 2010 and February 2012. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed thematically and compared across groups. RESULTS: Three main themes emerged: The relationship between the mother and GP; practice management; and GP visits. This paper focuses on the theme GP visits and its subthemes: recommendations for GP visits; scope of practice; and content of a routine visit. Recommendations about GP visits given to mothers varied by birthing sector, obstetric provider and model of maternity care resulting in confusion amongst mothers about the timing and role of GPs in routine postpartum care. Similarly, GPs voiced concerns about a lack of consistent guidelines for their involvement in routine postpartum care. Although ideally placed to provide primary care to mothers and their infants in the postpartum period, the lack of consistent guidelines for the role of GPs is of concern to both the GPs and early parenting women. CONCLUSION: General practice is an important source of postpartum care for mothers and provides a basis for ongoing support for the family. More consistent guidelines and better coordination with other care providers would benefit both mothers and GPs.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Studies in Canada, the USA and Australia suggested low confidence among general practitioners (GPs) in diagnosing and managing shoulder pain, with frequent use of investigations. There are no comparable studies in the UK; our objective was to describe the diagnosis and management of shoulder pain by GPs in the UK. METHODS:A national survey of a random sample of 5000 UK GPs collected data on shoulder pain diagnosis and management using two clinical vignettes that described primary care presentations with rotator cuff tendinopathy (RCT) and adhesive capsulitis (AdhC). RESULTS:Seven hundred and fourteen (14.7%) responses were received. 56% and 83% of GPs were confident in their diagnosis of RCT and AdhC, respectively, and a wide range of investigations and management options were reported. For the RCT presentation, plain radiographs of the shoulder were most common (60%), followed by blood tests (42%) and ultrasound scans (USS) (38%). 19% of those who recommended a radiograph and 76% of those who recommended a USS did so 'to confirm the diagnosis'. For the AdhC presentation, the most common investigations were blood tests (60%), plain shoulder radiographs (58%) and USS (31%). More than two-thirds of those recommending a USS did so 'to confirm the diagnosis'. The most commonly recommended treatment for both presentations was physiotherapy (RCT 77%, AdhC 71%) followed by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (RCT 58%, AdhC 74%). 17% opted to refer the RCT to secondary care (most often musculoskeletal interface service), compared with 31% for the AdhC. CONCLUSIONS:This survey of GPs in the UK highlights reliance on radiographs and blood tests in the management of common shoulder pain presentations. GPs report referring more than 7 out of 10 patients with RCT and AdhC to physiotherapists. These findings need to be viewed in the context of low response to the survey and, therefore, potential non-response bias.
Project description:To synthesise the existing published literature on the perceptions of general practitioners (GPs) or their equivalent on the clinical management of multimorbidity and determine targets for future research that aims to improve clinical care in multimorbidity.Systematic review and metaethnographic synthesis of primary studies that used qualitative methods to explore GPs' experiences of clinical management of multimorbidity or multiple chronic diseases.EMBASE, MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycInfo, Academic Search Complete, SocIndex, Social Science Full Text and digital theses/online libraries (database inception to September 2012) to identify literature using qualitative methods (focus groups or interviews).The 7-step metaethnographic approach described by Noblit and Hare, which involves cross-interpretation between studies while preserving the context of the primary data.Of 1805 articles identified, 37 were reviewed in detail and 10 were included, using a total of 275 GPs in 7 different countries. Four areas of difficulty specific to the management of multimorbidity emerged from these papers: disorganisation and fragmentation of healthcare; the inadequacy of guidelines and evidence-based medicine; challenges in delivering patient-centred care; and barriers to shared decision-making. A 'line of argument' was drawn which described GPs' sense of isolation in decision-making for multimorbid patients.This systematic review shows that the problem areas for GPs in the management of multimorbidity may be classified into four domains. There will be no 'one size fits all' intervention for multimorbidity but these domains may be useful targets to guide the development of interventions that will assist and improve the provision of care to multimorbid patients.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Patients with acute symptoms present not only to general practitioners (GPs), but also frequently to emergency departments (EDs). Patients' decision processes leading up to an ED self-referral are complex and supposed to result from a multitude of determinants. While they are key providers in primary care, little is known about GPs' perception of such patients. This qualitative study explores the GPs' view regarding motives and competences of patients self-referring to EDs, and also GPs' rationale for or against physician-initiated ED referrals. DESIGN:Qualitative study with semi-structured, face-to-face interviews; qualitative content analysis. SETTING:GP practices in Berlin, Germany. PARTICIPANTS:15 GPs (female/male: 9/6; mean age 53.6 years). RESULTS:The interviewed GPs related a wide spectrum of factors potentially influencing their patients' decision to visit an ED, and also their own decision-making in potential referrals. Considerations go beyond medical urgency. Statements concerning patients' surmised rationale corresponded to GPs' reasoning in a variety of important areas. For one thing, the timely availability of an extended spectrum of diagnostic and therapeutic options may make ED services attractive to both. Access difficulties in the ambulatory setting were mentioned as additional triggers for an ED visit initiated by a patient or a GP. Key patient factors like severity of symptoms and anxiety also play a major role; a desire for reassurance may lead to both self-referred and physician-initiated ED visits. Patients' health competence was prevailingly depicted as limited, with the internet as an important influencing factor. Counselling efforts by GP were described as crucial for improving health literacy. CONCLUSIONS:Health education could hold promise when aiming to reduce non-urgent ED consultations. Primary care providers are in a key position here. Amelioration of organisational shortages in ambulatory care, for example, limited consultation hours, might also make an important impact, as these trigger both self-referrals and GP-initiated ED referrals. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER:DRKS00011930.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Conduct a formative evaluation to inform the implementation of 'Empowering Patients in Chronic Care' (EPIC), an evidence-based interdisciplinary group medical appointment intervention to improve collaborative goal-setting in patients with treated but uncontrolled diabetes. DESIGN:The formative evaluation involved qualitative, in-depth interviews with clinicians, structured according to the Promoting Action on Research in Health Services framework. Interviews elicited (1) participants' knowledge regarding interdisciplinary group self-management and goal-setting programmes and how well clinicians embrace these interventions (evidence), (2) physical and social climate at each target facility and how the intervention can best be embedded into routine primary care (context) and (3) site-specific needs to be addressed by our implementation team and clinicians' preparedness and intentions to participate in the intervention (facilitation). SETTING:Clinicians were part of a primary care setting at one of five participating medical facilities within one Veterans Health Administration Veterans Affairs regional network. PARTICIPANTS:We interviewed a snowball sample of 35 interdisciplinary clinicians engaged in diabetes management, practising leadership and administrators at target sites. RESULTS:Most participants had previous experience with diabetes group self-management programmes and viewed group appointments as an effective approach to enhancing care. Discussions about existing group appointments provided a context for evaluating potential barriers and facilitators to implementing EPIC into target sites. Interviews revealed clinicians' expectations about the roles they would play in the intervention, their assessments of the roles and strategies to facilitate their performance in those roles. CONCLUSIONS:Successful implementation of evidence-based practices into routine care requires a partnered approach with engaged local staff. The intervention should address local goals and research objectives to encourage bidirectional engagement. Robust partnerships are nurtured further by sustained, open communication and must consider the context, target population and local experience to address barriers and facilitators to implementation.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:General practitioners (GPs) play a key role in heart failure (HF) management. Despite multiple guidelines, the management of patients with HF in primary care is suboptimal. Therefore, all the qualitative evidence concerning GPs' perceptions of managing HF in primary care was synthesised to identify barriers and facilitators for optimal care, and ideas for improvement. DESIGN:Qualitative evidence synthesis. METHODS:Searches of MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science and CINAHL databases up to 20/12/2015 were conducted. The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme's checklist for qualitative research was used for quality assessment. Thematic analysis was used as method of analysis. RESULTS:Of 5427 articles, 18 qualitative articles were included. Findings were organised in HF-specific factors, patient factors, physician factors and contextual factors. GPs' uncertainty in all areas of HF management was highlighted. HF management started with an uncertain diagnosis, leading to difficulties with communication, treatment and advance care planning. Lack of access to specialised care and lack of knowledge were identified as important contributors to this uncertainty. In an effort to overcome this, strategies bringing evidence into practice should be promoted. GPs expressed the need for a multidisciplinary chronic care approach for HF. However, mixed experiences were noted with regard to interprofessional collaboration. CONCLUSIONS:The main challenges identified in this synthesis were how to deal with GPs' uncertainty about clinical practice, how to bring evidence into practice and how to work together as a multiprofessional team. These barriers were situated predominantly on the physician and contextual level. Targets to improve GPs' HF care were identified.
Project description:BACKGROUND: GPs increasingly deal with multiple health problems of their older patients. They have to apply a hierarchical management approach that considers priorities to balance competing needs for treatment. Yet, the practice of setting individual priorities in older patients is largely unexplored. This paper analyses the GPs' perceptions on important and unimportant health problems and how these affect their treatment. METHODS: GPs appraised the importance of health problems for a purposive sample of their older patients in semi-structured interviews. Prior to the interviews, the GPs had received a list of their patients' health problems resulting from a geriatric assessment and were asked to rate the importance of each identified problem. In the interviews the GPs subsequently explained why they considered certain health problems important or not and how this affected treatment. Data was analysed using qualitative content analysis and quantitative methods. RESULTS: The problems GPs perceive as important are those that are medical and require active treatment or monitoring, or that induce empathy or awareness but cannot be assisted further. Unimportant problems are those that are well managed problems and need no further attention as well as age-related conditions or functional disabilities that provoke fatalism, or those considered outside the GPs' responsibility. Statements of professional actions are closely linked to explanations of important problems and relate to physical problems rather than functional and social patient issues. CONCLUSIONS: GPs tend to prioritise treatable clinical conditions. Treatment approaches are, however, vague or missing for complex chronic illnesses and disabilities. Here, patient empowerment strategies are of value and need to be developed and implemented. The professional concepts of ageing and disability should not impede but rather foster treatment and care. To this end, GPs need to be able to delegate care to a functioning primary care team. TRIAL REGISTRATION: German Trial Register (DRKS): 00000792.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Melanoma accounts for 90% of skin cancer mortality and typically presents in primary care, where it can be challenging to distinguish from benign lesions. Dermoscopy is a tool for skin visualization that is routinely used for melanoma diagnosis in secondary care. However, the role of dermoscopy in primary care remains unclear. OBJECTIVES:To determine views on, and use of, dermoscopy by dermatology-interested general practitioners (GPs). METHODS:An online questionnaire was emailed to the UK Primary Care Dermatology Society members in February 2018, and responses collected over the following 4 weeks. RESULTS:A total of 205 responses were analysed. Most respondents were GPs (94%), aged over 50 (53%), had a postgraduate dermatological qualification (67%) and used dermoscopy regularly when reviewing pigmented skin lesions (97%). Dermoscopy use was commoner amongst GPs who had worked longer in primary care and had experience of secondary care dermatology. Most had undertaken training in dermoscopy (91%), although one-fifth (20%) had not updated their training in over 5 years. Most of those who had received only 1 day of face-to-face training reported feeling confident using a dermatoscope. Few respondents (11%) reported access to teledermatology or teledermoscopy for urgent or routine referrals. CONCLUSIONS:UK GPs with a special interest in dermatology are routinely using dermoscopy in the primary care setting. More research is needed to establish optimal approaches to training and updating GP dermoscopy skills. When dermoscopy has been shown to be safe, effective, acceptable and cost-effective in this setting, more GPs may also be able to gain and maintain the skills to implement dermoscopy into routine primary care. Technological advances, including incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms to guide GPs, could also contribute to widening use of dermoscopy among GPs.