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J Natl Med Assoc. 2006 August; 98(8): 1296–1299.
PMCID: PMC2569560

Using telephone focus groups methodology to examine the prostate cancer screening practices of African-American primary care physicians.


African-American men have a greater burden from prostate cancer than do white men and men of other races/ethnicities in the United States. To date, there have been no studies of how African-American primary care physicians screen their patients for prostate cancer. The purpose of this study was to examine the use of telephone focus groups as a methodology and to learn about this practice among a group of African-American primary care physicians. A total of 41 physicians participated in eight telephone focus groups. Results from the study are found in a separate article. Regarding telephone focus group methodology, we found that a majority of the physicians in this study preferred telephone focus groups over the conventional face-to-face focus groups. We also discuss some of the advantages (e.g., no travel, high acceptance rates, more flexibility than in-person groups, and general cost efficiency) as well as disadvantages (e.g., nonverbal communication limits and reduction of group interaction) of this methodology. This methodology may prove useful in studies involving African-American physicians, physicians in general and other difficult-to-reach healthcare professionals.

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