Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (1182631)

Clipboard (0)

Related Articles

1.  Family doctors' problems and motivating factors in management of depression 
BMC Family Practice  2006;7:64.
Depression is a frequent psychiatric disorder, and depressive patient may be more problematic for the family doctors (FD) than a patient suffering from a somatic disease. Treatment of patients with depressive disorders is a relatively new task for Estonian FDs. The aim of our study was to find out the family doctors' attitudes to depression related problems, their readiness, motivating factors and problems in the treatment of depressive patients as well as the existence of relevant knowledge.
In 2002, altogether 500 FDs in Estonia were invited to take part in a tailor-made questionnaire survey, of which 205 agreed to participate.
Of the respondents 185(90%) considered management of depressive patients and their treatment to be the task of FDs. One hundred and eighty FDs (88%) were themselves ready to deal with depressed patients, and 200(98%) of them actually treated such patients. Commitment to the interests of the patients, better cooperation with successfully treated patients, the patients' higher confidence in FDs and disappearance of somatic complaints during the treatment of depression were the motivating factors for FDs. FDs listed several important problems interfering with their work with depressive patients: limited time for one patient, patients' attitudes towards the diagnosis of depression, doctors' difficulties to change the underlying causes of depression, discontinuation of the treatment due to high expenses and length. Although 115(56%) respondents maintained that they had sufficient knowledge for diagnostics and treatment of depression, 181(88%) were of the opinion that they needed additional training.
FDs are ready to manage patients who might suffer from depression and are motivated by good doctor-patient relationship. However, majority of them feel that they need additional training.
PMCID: PMC1635052  PMID: 17074079
2.  Physical activity of Estonian family doctors and their counselling for a healthy lifestyle: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Family Practice  2010;11:48.
Physical activity offers major health benefits and counselling for it should be integrated into the medical consultation. Based on the literature, the personal health behaviour of the physician (including physical activity) is associated with his/her approach to counselling patients. Our hypothesis is that family doctors (FD) in Estonia are physically active and their recommendation to counsel patients with chronic diseases to use physical activity is high. The study was also interested in how FDs value physical activity among other important determinants of a healthy lifestyle, e.g. nutrition, non-consumption of alcohol, and non-smoking.
Physicians on the electronic list were contacted by e-mail and sent a questionnaire. The first part assessed physical activity by the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) short form. Self-reported physical activity during one week was calculated as total physical activity in minutes per week (MET min/week). The second part of the questionnaire included questions about the counselling of patients with chronic disease concerning their physical activity and a healthy lifestyle. The study focused on female FDs because 95% of the FDs in Estonia are women and to avoid bias related to gender.
198 female FDs completed the questionnaire. 92% reported that they exercised over the past 7 days to a moderate or high level of physical activity. Analysis revealed no statistically significant relationship between the level of physical activity and general characteristics (age, living area, body mass index [BMI], time spent sitting). FDs reported that patients with heart problems, diabetes, and obesity seek their advice on physical activity more often than patients with depression. Over 94% of the FDs claimed that they counsel their patients with chronic diseases about exercising. According to the FDs' reports, the most important topic in counselling patients for a healthy lifestyle was physical activity.
This study showed that female FDs are physically active. The level of physical activity is not related to their age, BMI, living area, or time spent sitting. Also, FDs reported that promotion of physical activity is part of their everyday work.
PMCID: PMC2909965  PMID: 20565892
3.  Doctors’ views about training and future careers expressed one year after graduation by UK-trained doctors: questionnaire surveys undertaken in 2009 and 2010 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14(1):270.
The UK medical graduates of 2008 and 2009 were among the first to experience a fully implemented, new, UK training programme, called the Foundation Training Programme, for junior doctors. We report doctors’ views of the first Foundation year, based on comments made as part of a questionnaire survey covering career choices, plans, and experiences.
Postal and email based questionnaires about career intentions, destinations and views were sent in 2009 and 2010 to all UK medical graduates of 2008 and 2009. This paper is a qualitative study of ‘free-text’ comments made by first-year doctors when invited to comment, if they wished, on any aspect of their work, education, training, and future.
The response rate to the surveys was 48% (6220/12952); and 1616 doctors volunteered comments. Of these, 61% wrote about their first year of training, 35% about the working conditions they had experienced, 33% about how well their medical school had prepared them for work, 29% about their future career, 25% about support from peers and colleagues, 22% about working in medicine, and 15% about lifestyle issues. When concerns were expressed, they were commonly about the balance between service provision, administrative work, and training and education, with the latter often suffering when it conflicted with the needs of medical service provision. They also wrote that the quality of a training post often depended on the commitment of an individual senior doctor. Service support from seniors was variable and some respondents complained of a lack of team work and team ethic. Excessive hours and the lack of time for reflection and career planning before choices about the future had to be made were also mentioned. Some doctors wrote that their views were not sought by their hospital and that NHS management structures did not lend themselves to efficiency. UK graduates from non-UK homes felt insecure about their future career prospects in the UK. There were positive comments about opportunities to train flexibly.
Although reported problems should be considered in the wider context, in which the majority held favourable overall views, many who commented had been disappointed by aspects of their first year of work. We hope that the concerns raised by our respondents will prompt trainers, locally, to determine, by interaction with junior staff, whether or not these are concerns in their own training programme.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12909-014-0270-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4302441  PMID: 25528260
Medical careers; Junior doctors; Medical education; Foundation training
4.  Family doctors' knowledge and self-reported care of type 2 diabetes patients in comparison to the clinical practice guideline: cross-sectional study 
BMC Family Practice  2006;7:36.
It is widely believed that providing doctors with guidelines will lead to more effective clinical practice and better patient care. However, different studies have shown contradictory results in quality improvement as a result of guideline implementation. The aim of this study was to compare family doctors' knowledge and self-reported care of type 2 diabetes patients with recommendation standards of the clinical practice guideline.
In April 2003 a survey was conducted among family doctors in Estonia. The structured questionnaire focused on the knowledge and self-reported behavior of doctors regarding the guideline of type 2 diabetes. The demographic and professional data of the respondents was also provided.
Of the 354 questionnaires distributed, 163 were returned for a response rate of 46%. Seventy-six percent of the responded doctors stated that they had a copy of the guideline available while 24% reported that they did not. Eighty-three percent of the doctors considered it applicable and 79% reported using it in daily practice. The doctors tended to start treatment with medications and were satisfied with treatment outcomes at higher fasting blood glucose levels than the levels recommended in the guideline. Doctors' self-reported performance of the tests and examinations named in the guideline, which should be performed within a certain time limit, varied from overuse to underuse. Blood pressure, serum creatinine, eye examination and checking patients' ability to manage their diabetes were the best-followed items while glycosylated hemoglobin and weight reduction were the most poorly followed. Doctors' behavior was not related to the fact of whether they had the guideline available, whether they considered it applicable, or whether they actually used it.
Doctors' knowledge and self-reported behavior in patient follow-up of type 2 diabetes is very variable and is not related to the reported availability or usage of the guideline. Practice guidelines may be a useful source of information but they should not be overestimated.
PMCID: PMC1513575  PMID: 16776847
5.  Doctors' personal health care choices: A cross-sectional survey in a mixed public/private setting 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:183.
Among Western countries, it has been found that physicians tend to manage their own illnesses and tend not have their own independent family physicians. This is recognized as a significant issue for both physicians and, by extension, the patients under their care, resulting in initiatives seeking to address this. Physicians' personal health care practices in Asia have yet to be documented.
An anonymous cross-sectional postal questionnaire survey was conducted in Hong Kong, China. All 9570 medical practitioners in Hong Kong registered with the Hong Kong Medical Council in 2003 were surveyed. Chi-square tests and logistic regression models were applied.
There were 4198 respondents to the survey; a response rate of 44%. Two-thirds of respondents took care of themselves when they were last ill, with 62% of these self-medicating with prescription medication. Physicians who were graduates of Hong Kong medical schools, those working in general practice and non-members of the Hong Kong College of Family Physicians were more likely to do so. Physician specialty was found to be the most influential reason in the choice of caregiver by those who had ever consulted another medical practitioner. Only 14% chose consultation with a FM/GP with younger physians and non-Hong Kong medical graduates having a higher likelihood of doing so. Seventy percent of all respondents believed that having their own personal physician was unnecessary.
Similar to the practice of colleagues in other countries, a large proportion of Hong Kong physicians self-manage their illnesses, take self-obtained prescription drugs and believe they do not need a personal physician. Future strategies to benefit the medical care of Hong Kong physicians will have to take these practices and beliefs into consideration.
PMCID: PMC2429910  PMID: 18505593
6.  Individual and work-related risk factors for musculoskeletal pain: a cross-sectional study among Estonian computer users 
Occupational use of computers has increased rapidly over recent decades, and has been linked with various musculoskeletal disorders, which are now the most commonly diagnosed occupational diseases in Estonia. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain (MSP) by anatomical region during the past 12 months and to investigate its association with personal characteristics and work-related risk factors among Estonian office workers using computers.
In a cross-sectional survey, the questionnaires were sent to the 415 computer users. Data were collected by self-administered questionnaire from 202 computer users at two universities in Estonia. The questionnaire asked about MSP at different anatomical sites, and potential individual and work related risk factors. Associations with risk factors were assessed by logistic regression.
Most respondents (77%) reported MSP in at least one anatomical region during the past 12 months. Most prevalent was pain in the neck (51%), followed by low back pain (42%), wrist/hand pain (35%) and shoulder pain (30%). Older age, right-handedness, not currently smoking, emotional exhaustion, belief that musculoskeletal problems are commonly caused by work, and low job security were the statistically significant risk factors for MSP in different anatomical sites.
A high prevalence of MSP in the neck, low back, wrist/arm and shoulder was observed among Estonian computer users. Psychosocial risk factors were broadly consistent with those reported from elsewhere. While computer users should be aware of ergonomic techniques that can make their work easier and more comfortable, presenting computer use as a serious health hazard may modify health beliefs in a way that is unhelpful.
PMCID: PMC4049436  PMID: 24884911
Computer workers; Musculoskeletal pain; Risk factors; CUPID study
7.  Computer-based quality of life questionnaires may contribute to doctor–patient interactions in oncology 
British Journal of Cancer  2002;86(1):51-59.
It is well recognized that oncologists should consider patients' quality of life and functioning when planning and delivering anticancer treatment, but a comprehensive assessment of how a patient feels requires a thorough inquiry. A standardized measurement of patients' quality of life may support clinicians in identifying important problems for discussion during the limited time of the medical consultations. The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of computer-administered individual quality of life measurements in oncology clinics with immediate feedback of results to clinicians and to examine the impact of the information on consultations. The study employed a prospective non-randomized design with pre-test post-test within subjects comparisons and involved three medical oncologists and 28 cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. The intervention consisted of completion of quality of life questionnaires before the consultations and informing clinicians of the results. The main outcome measures were patients' perceptions of the content of baseline and intervention consultations and satisfaction with communication. A qualitative analysis of clinicians' interviews was performed. When clinicians had the quality of life results they enquired more often about daily activities (Z=−2.71, P=0.007), emotional problems (Z=−2.11, P=0.035) and work related issues (Z=−1.89, P=0.058). There was an increase in the number of issues discussed during the intervention consultation (Z=−1.89, P=0.059). Patients were highly satisfied with both consultations. The computer measurement was well accepted by patients who felt that the questionnaires were a useful tool to tell the doctors about their problems. The clinicians perceived that the quality of life data broadened the range of the clinical inquiry and helped them identify issues for discussion. Having symptoms and functional problems expressed quantitatively on a scale was useful for detection of change over time.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 86, 51–59. DOI: 10.1038/sj/bjc/6600001
© 2002 The Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2746549  PMID: 11857011
quality of life; individual; cancer; computer; communication
8.  Doctors as patients: postal survey examining consultants and general practitioners adherence to guidelines 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1999;319(7210):605-608.
To examine the adherence by senior NHS medical staff to the BMA guidelines on the ethical responsibilities of doctors towards themselves and their families.
Postal semistructured questionnaire.
Four randomly selected NHS trusts and three local medical committees in South Thames region.
Consultants and principals in general practice.
Main outcome measures
Personal use of health services.
The response rate was 64% (724) for general practitioners and 72% (427) for consultants after three mailings. Most (1106, 96%) respondents were registered with a general practitioner, although little use was made of their services. 159 (26%) general practitioners were registered with a general practitioner in their own practice and 80 (11%) admitted to looking after members of their family. 73 (24%) consultants would never see their general practitioner before obtaining consultant advice. Most consultants and general practitioners admitted to prescribing for themselves and their family. Responses to vignettes for different health problems indicated a general reluctance to take time off, but there were differences between consultants and general practitioners and by sex. Views on improvements needed included the possibility of a “doctor’s doctor,” access to out of area secondary care, an occupational health service for general practitioners, and regular health check ups.
The guidelines are largely not being followed, perhaps because of the difficulties of obtaining access to general practitioners outside working hours. The occupational health service should be expanded and a general practitioner service for NHS staff piloted.
Key messagesSenior doctors are not following the BMA guidelines on looking after their own and their families’ healthThey seem very reluctant to consult their general practitioner They prefer to self treat, carry on working, and consult informallyPotential barriers to access should be removed in order to improve their health
PMCID: PMC28211  PMID: 10473473
9.  Holding relationships in primary care: a qualitative exploration of doctors' and patients' perceptions 
The British Journal of General Practice  2011;61(589):e484-e491.
Ongoing doctor-patient relationships are integral to the patient-centred ideals of UK general practice, particularly for patients with chronic conditions or complex health problems. ‘Holding’, a doctor-patient relationship defined as establishing and maintaining a trusting, constant, reliable relationship that is concerned with ongoing support without expectation of cure, has previously been suggested as a management strategy for such patients.
To explore urban GPs' and patients' experiences of the management of chronic illness, with a particular focus on holding relationships.
Design and setting
A qualitative study in urban and suburban areas of north west England.
Participating GPs recruited registered patients with chronic illness with whom they felt they had established a holding relationship. Data were collected by semi-structured interviews and subjected to constant comparative qualitative analysis.
GP responders considered holding to be a small but routine part of theirwork. Benefits described included providing support to patients but also containing demands on secondary care. Patient responders, all with complex ongoing needs, described the relationship with their GP as a reassuring, positive, and securing partnership. Both GP and patient responders emphasised the importance of pre-existing knowledge of past life-story, and valued holding as a potential tool for changing health-related behaviour. Difficulties with holding work included fears of dependency, and problems of access.
Holding relationships are a routine part of general practice, valued by both GPs and patients. Naming and valuing holding work may legitimise this activity in the management of people with chronic and complex health problems.
PMCID: PMC3145532  PMID: 21801542
chronic illness; doctor-patient relations; continuity of care; qualitative research
10.  An exploration of the value of the personal doctor-patient relationship in general practice. 
BACKGROUND: Within the context of general practice, continuity of care creates an opportunity for a personal doctor-patient relationship to develop which has been associated with significant benefits for patients and general practitioners (GPs). Continuity of care is, however, threatened by trends in the organisational development of primary health care in the United Kingdom and its intrinsic role within general practice is currently the subject of debate. AIMS: To determine how many patients report having a personal doctor and when this is most valued, to compare the value of a personal doctor-patient relationship with that of convenience, and to relate these findings to a range of patient, GP, and practice variables. DESIGN OF STUDY: Cross sectional postal questionnaire study. SETTING: Nine hundred and ninety-six randomly selected adult patients from a stratified random sample of 18 practices and 284 GP principals in Oxfordshire. METHOD: Qualitative interviews with patients and GPs were conducted and used to derive a parallel patient and GP questionnaire. Each patient (100 from each practice) was invited to complete a questionnaire to evaluate their experience and views concerning personal care. All GP principals currently practising in Oxfordshire were sent a similar questionnaire, which also included demographic variables. RESULTS: Overall, 75% of patients reported having at least one personal GP. The number of patients reporting a personal GP in each practice varied from 53% to 92%. Having a personal doctor-patient relationship was highly valued by patients and GPs, in particular for more serious, psychological and family issues when 77-88% of patients and 80-98% of GPs valued a personal relationship more than a convenient appointment. For minor illness it had much less value. CONCLUSIONS: Patients and GPs particularly value a personal doctor-patient relationship for more serious or for psychological problems. Whether a patient has a personal GP is associated with their perception of its importance and with factors which create an opportunity for a relationship to evolve.
PMCID: PMC1314098  PMID: 11593831
11.  Gender, ethnicity and graduate status, and junior doctors’ self-reported preparedness for clinical practice: national questionnaire surveys 
Medical schools need to ensure that graduates feel well prepared for their first medical job. Our objective was to report on differences in junior doctors’ self-reported preparedness for work according to gender, ethnicity and graduate status.
Postal and electronic questionnaires.
Medical graduates of 2008 and 2009, from all UK medical schools, one year after graduation.
Main outcome measures
The main outcome measure was the doctors’ level of agreement with the statement that ‘My experience at medical school prepared me well for the jobs I have undertaken so far’, to which respondents were asked to reply on a scale from ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree’.
Women were slightly less likely than men to agree that they felt well prepared for work (50% of women agreed or strongly agreed vs. 54% of men), independently of medical school, ethnicity, graduate entry status and intercalated degree status, although they were no more likely than men to regard lack of preparedness as having been a problem for them. Adjusting for the other subgroup differences, non-white respondents were less likely to report feeling well prepared than white (44% vs. 54%), and were more likely to indicate that lack of preparedness was a problem (30% non-white vs. 24% white). There were also some gender and ethnic differences in preparedness for specific areas of work.
The identified gender and ethnic differences need to be further explored to determine whether they are due to differences in self-confidence or in actual preparedness.
PMCID: PMC3914428  PMID: 24108533
medical education; junior doctors; preparedness for work; gender; ethnicity
12.  GP recruitment and retention: a qualitative analysis of doctors' comments about training for and working in general practice. 
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: General practice in the UK is experiencing difficulty with medical staff recruitment and retention, with reduced numbers choosing careers in general practice or entering principalships, and increases in less-than-full-time working, career breaks, early retirement and locum employment. Information is scarce about the reasons for these changes and factors that could increase recruitment and retention. The UK Medical Careers Research Group (UKMCRG) regularly surveys cohorts of UK medical graduates to determine their career choices and progression. We also invite written comments from respondents about their careers and the factors that influence them. Most respondents report high levels of job satisfaction. A noteworthy minority, however, make critical comments about general practice. Although their views may not represent those of all general practitioners (GPs), they nonetheless indicate a range of concerns that deserve to be understood. This paper reports on respondents' comments about general practice. ANALYSIS OF DOCTORS' COMMENTS: Training Greater exposure to general practice at undergraduate level could help to promote general practice careers and better inform career decisions. Postgraduate general practice training in hospital-based posts was seen as poor quality, irrelevant and run as if it were of secondary importance to service commitments. In contrast, general practice-based postgraduate training was widely praised for good formal teaching that met educational needs. The quality of vocational training was dependent upon the skills and enthusiasm of individual trainers. Recruitment problems Perceived deterrents to choosing general practice were its portrayal, by some hospital-based teachers, as a second class career compared to hospital medicine, and a perception of low morale amongst current GPs. The choice of a career in general practice was commonly made for lifestyle reasons rather than professional aspirations. Some GPs had encountered difficulties in obtaining posts in general practice suited to their needs, while others perceived discrimination. Newly qualified GPs often sought work as non-principals because they felt too inexperienced for partnership or because their domestic situation prevented them from settling in a particular area. Changes to general practice The 1990 National Health Service (NHS) reforms were largely viewed unfavourably, partly because they had led to a substantial increase in GPs' workloads that was compounded by growing public expectations, and partly because the two-tier system of fund-holding was considered unfair. Fund-holding and, more recently, GP commissioning threatened the GP's role as patient advocate by shifting the responsibility for rationing of health care from government to GPs. Some concerns were also expressed about the introduction of primary care groups (PCGs) and trusts (PCTs). Together, increased workload and the continual process of change had, for some, resulted in work-related stress, low morale, reduced job satisfaction and quality of life. These problems had been partially alleviated by the formation of GP co-operatives. Retention difficulties Loss of GPs' time from the NHS workforce occurs in four ways: reduced working hours, temporary career breaks, leaving the NHS to work elsewhere and early retirement. Child rearing and a desire to pursue interests outside medicine were cited as reasons for seeking shorter working hours or career breaks. A desire to reduce pressure of work was a common reason for seeking shorter working hours, taking career breaks, early retirement or leaving NHS general practice. Other reasons for leaving NHS general practice, temporarily or permanently, were difficulty in finding a GP post suited to individual needs and a desire to work abroad. CONCLUSIONS: A cultural change amongst medical educationalists is needed to promote general practice as a career choice that is equally attractive as hospital practice. The introduction of Pre-Registration House Officer (PRHO) placements in general practice and improved flexibility of GP vocational training schemes, together with plans to improve the quality of Senior House Officer (SHO) training in the future, are welcome developments and should address some of the concerns about poor quality GP training raised by our respondents. The reluctance of newly qualified GPs to enter principalships, and the increasing demand from experienced GPs for less-than-full-time work, indicates a need for a greater variety of contractual arrangements to reflect doctors' desires for more flexible patterns of working in general practice.
PMCID: PMC2560447  PMID: 12049026
13.  Doctors are to blame for perceived medical adverse events. A cross sectional population study. The Tromsø study 
Most current knowledge of the incidence of medical adverse events (AEs) comes from studies carried out in hospital settings. Little is known about AEs occurring outside hospitals, in spite the fact that most of contacts between patients and health care take place in primary care. Small sample population studies report that 4–49% of the general public have experienced AEs related to their own or family members´ care.
The purpose with the present study was to investigate the occurrence of experienced medical adverse events in a large general population.
We invited 19763 inhabitants of a municipality in northern Norway, age 30 years and older, to fill in a questionnaire. Main outcome measures were life time prevalence of AEs experienced by respondents or their first degree relatives, perceived responsibility for and predictors of such events, as well as formal complaints as a reaction to the events.
The response rate was 66%. Nine and 10% of the respondents reported self-experienced adverse events, and 15 and 19% (men and women, respectively) that their relatives had experienced AEs. Logistic regression models showed that the strongest predictors of reporting self-experienced adverse events were: Having been persuaded to accept an unwanted examination or treatment, difficulties in getting a referral from primary to specialist health care, and inadequate communication with the doctor. Of the respondents who had experienced adverse events personally, 62% placed the responsibility for the event on the general practitioner, 39% on the hospital doctor, and 19% on failing routines or cooperation. Only 7% of men and 14% of women who reported self-experienced events handed in a formal complaint.
The public predominantly place the responsibility for medical adverse events on doctors, in particular general practitioners, and to a lesser degree on the system. This should be emphasised by doctors and managers who communicate with patients who have experienced AEs, and in patient safety work. Only a small fraction of adverse events results in a formal written complaint. Therefore, such complaints are of limited value as a basis for patient safety work.
PMCID: PMC3623705  PMID: 23384420
Medical adverse events; Medical errors; Patient safety; Medical negligence; Occurrence
14.  What E-patients Want From the Doctor-Patient Relationship: Content Analysis of Posts on Discussion Boards 
People with long-term conditions are encouraged to take control and ownership of managing their condition. Interactions between health care staff and patients become partnerships with sharing of expertise. This has changed the doctor-patient relationship and the division of roles and responsibilities that traditionally existed, but what each party expects from the other may not always be clear. Information that people with long-term conditions share on Internet discussion boards can provide useful insights into their expectations of health care staff. This paper reports on a small study about the expectations that people with a long-term condition (diabetes) have of their doctors using information gleaned from Internet discussion boards.
The aim of this study was to ascertain what people with diabetes who use Internet discussion forums want from their doctors. The study objectives were to identify what people with diabetes (1) consider their role in condition management, (2) consider their doctor’s role in managing their condition, (3) see as positive elements of their interactions with medical staff, and (4) find problematic in their interactions with medical staff.
The study used qualitative methodology to explore the experiences, views, and perceptions of individuals participating on 4 Internet message boards. Posts made on the discussion boards were analyzed using the principles of qualitative content analysis. The meanings of sections of data were noted using codes that were developed inductively; those with similar codes were merged into subcategories and related subcategories were combined to form categories.
The key themes identified in the study were ownership of condition management, power issues between people with long-term conditions and doctors, and ways in which people seek to manage their doctors.
People with diabetes valued doctors who showed respect for them and their knowledge, and were willing to listen and openly discuss their options. Patients felt that they could and should take responsibility for and control of their day-to-day disease management. They saw doctors as having a role in this process, but when this was lacking, many people felt able to use alternative means to achieve their goal, although the doctor’s function in terms of gatekeeping resources could create difficulties for them in this respect.
PMCID: PMC3510709  PMID: 23137788
Physician-patient relations; consumer health informatics; eHealth; participatory medicine
15.  Trends in drinking habits among adolescents in the Baltic countries over the period of transition: HBSC survey results, 1993–2002 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:67.
The Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – are considered to be an example of regional homogeneity over the period of transition. The World Health Organization cross-national study on Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) allows a comparison and time trends analysis of behavioral patterns among adolescents in this region. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence and trends of alcohol consumption and drunkenness among adolescents of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in 1993/94, 1997/98, and 2001/02.
Representative samples of 5286 boys and 6485 girls aged 15 from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were surveyed in 1993/94, 1997/98, and 2001/02 school-year within the framework of HBSC study. The standardized survey methods were applied. The research focused on the following outcome variables: i) frequency of drinking beer, wine, and spirits; and ii) frequency of drunkenness. The same wording of questions on the consumption of alcohol was retained in each survey.
Beer was the most frequently used alcoholic beverage across the Baltic countries among adolescents. The rate of weekly drinking of any alcoholic beverage increased considerably during the eight years of observation, especially among Estonian and Lithuanian students. In 2001/02, 25% of boys and 12.5% of girls have reported drinking alcohol at least weekly. The rate of regular alcohol drinking was two times higher in boys, while irregular drinking was more prevalent in girls. Two or more episodes of drunkenness in the lifespan were reported by 30% of boys and 15% of girls in 1993/94 and by 52% of boys and 36% of girls in 2001/02. The use of alcoholic beverages was related to the perceived family wealth: the students from the families perceived by them as wealthy were more likely to drink weekly as compared to the students from the families perceived by them as not wealthy.
Over the period between 1993 and 2002 the prevalence of alcohol consumption among adolescents increased considerably across the Baltic countries. The efforts of dealing with this problem should employ a combination of measures, including the strategies relevant for the period of transition.
PMCID: PMC1459132  PMID: 16539722
16.  Patient Perspectives on Online Health Information and Communication With Doctors: A Qualitative Study of Patients 50 Years Old and Over 
As health care systems around the world shift toward models that emphasize self-care management, there is increasing pressure for patients to obtain health information online. It is critical that patients are able to identify potential problems with using the Internet to diagnose and treat a health issue and that they feel comfortable communicating with their doctor about the health information they acquire from the Internet.
Our aim was to examine patient-identified (1) problems with using the Internet to identify and treat a health issue, (2) barriers to communication with a doctor about online health information seeking, and (3) facilitators of communication with a doctor about patient searches for health information on the Internet.
For this qualitative exploratory study, semistructured interviews were conducted with a sample of 56 adults age 50 years old and over. General concerns regarding use of the Internet to diagnose and treat a health issue were examined separately for participants based on whether they had ever discussed health information obtained through the Internet with a doctor. Discussions about barriers to and facilitators of communication about patient searches for health information on the Internet with a doctor were analyzed using thematic analysis.
Six higher-level general concerns emerged: (1) limitations in own ability, (2) credibility/limitations of online information, (3) anxiety, (4) time consumption, (5) conflict, and (6) non-physical harm. The most prevalent concern raised by participants who communicated with a doctor about their online health information seeking related to the credibility or limitations in online information. Participants who had never communicated with a doctor about their online health information seeking most commonly reported concerns about non-physical harm. Four barriers to communication emerged: (1) concerns about embarrassment, (2) concerns that the doctor doesn’t want to hear about it, (3) belief that there is no need to bring it up, and (4) forgetting to bring it up. Facilitators of communication included: (1) having a family member present at doctor visits, (2) doctor-initiated inquiries, and (3) encountering an advertisement that suggested talking with a doctor.
Overall, participants displayed awareness of potential problems related to online health information seeking. Findings from this study point to a set of barriers as well as facilitators of communication about online health information seeking between patients and doctors. This study highlights the need for enhanced patient communication skills, eHealth literacy assessments that are accompanied by targeted resources pointing individuals to high-quality credible online health information, and the need to remind patients of the importance of consulting a medical professional when they use online health resources to diagnose and treat a health issue.
PMCID: PMC4319073  PMID: 25586865
health communication; Internet; online health information seeking; barriers to patient-doctor communication; adults 50 years old and over; qualitative research
17.  Insomnia in Older Veterans: Prevalence, Self-Rated Health, and Talking to a Doctor About Sleep Problems 
To determine insomnia prevalence and variations in prevalence with age among older Veterans and examine the relationships among insomnia, self-rated health, and talking to a doctor about sleep problems.
A cross-sectional postal survey. Setting: VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System - Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center (SACC) Participants: Veterans over age 60, who received outpatient care at SACC in the prior 12 months and resided within 25 miles of SACC (n=9080) Interventions: None
Data were collected from a postal survey, which included items addressing the diagnostic criteria for insomnia (difficultly falling or staying asleep, early awakening, insufficient/non-restorative sleep, daytime symptoms, duration of sleep problems) plus demographics, self-rated health, and whether the Veteran had previously talked to a doctor about sleep problems.
Of 9080 surveys 4758 were returned. Of responders 51.5% met International Classification of Sleep Disorders (ICSD) insomnia diagnostic criteria. An unadjusted logistic regression model showed that individuals in the 60–65 year age bin were at the highest risk for insomnia, with the odds of having insomnia decreasing with each successively older age group (all P<.05). Veterans with poor self-rated health had higher insomnia prevalence, more daytime symptoms of insomnia, and reported fewer hours of sleep compared to Veterans with good self-rated health. In a regression model, poorer self-rated health, meeting insomnia criteria, younger age, and more daytime symptoms were significant independent predictors of discussing sleep problems with a doctor.
Older Veterans had high rates of insomnia, but contrary to most prior work, insomnia became less prevalent as age increased. Greater efforts are needed to help older Veterans recognize and disclose sleep problems, and doctors should routinely screen for insomnia and account for comorbidities when treating insomnia patients.
PMCID: PMC3764564
18.  Clinical practice patterns among native and immigrant doctors doing out-of-hours work in Norway: a registry-based observational study 
BMJ Open  2012;2(4):e001153.
To evaluate whether immigrant and native Norwegian doctors differ in their practice patterns.
Observational study.
Out-of-hours (OOH) emergency primary healthcare in Norway, 2008.
All primary care physicians doing OOH work, altogether 4165 physicians.
Main outcome measures
Number of patient contacts per doctor. Use of laboratory tests, minor surgery, sickness certification and length of consultations. Use of diagnoses related to psychiatric and sexual health. Choice of management strategy with psychiatric patients (psychotherapy or hospitalisation).
21.4% of the physicians were immigrants, and they had 30.6% of the patient contacts. Immigrant doctors from Asia, Africa and Latin America had most patient contacts, 633 (95% CI 549 to 716), while native Norwegian doctors had 306 (95% CI 288 to 325). In multivariate analyses, immigrant physicians did not differ significantly from native Norwegians regarding use of laboratory tests, minor surgery or length of consultations, but immigrant doctors wrote more sickness certificates, OR 1.75 (95% CI 1.24 to 2.47) for immigrant doctors from Europe, North America and Oceania versus native Norwegian doctors and OR 1.56 (95% CI 1.15 to 2.11) for immigrant doctors from Asia, Africa and Latin America versus native Norwegians. Immigrant physicians from Europe, North America and Oceania used more diagnoses related to pregnancy, family planning and female genitals, OR 1.55 (95% CI 1.11 to 2.16), versus native Norwegian physicians. Immigrant doctors from Asia, Africa and Latin America used less psychiatric diagnoses, OR 0.71 (95% CI 0.53 to 0.95), versus native Norwegian doctors but did not differ significantly in their management of recognised psychiatric illness.
Immigrant doctors make an important contribution to OOH emergency primary healthcare in Norway. The authors found only modest evidence that their clinical practice patterns are different from that of native Norwegian doctors.
Article summary
Article focus
Western countries receive an increasing number of immigrant doctors.
Concern has been raised regarding their skills.
We studied immigrant doctors' clinical performance.
Key messages
Immigrant doctors from Asia, Africa and Latin America did more OOH work than native Norwegian doctors.
Immigrant doctors wrote more sickness certificates per consultation.
Otherwise, there were only minor differences in practice patterns between immigrant and native Norwegian doctors.
Strengths and limitations of this study
Large and complete material.
Avoids problem with case mix.
Limited information about immigrant doctors' educational background.
PMCID: PMC3400071  PMID: 22798255
19.  Underperforming doctors in general practice: a survey of referrals to UK Deaneries. 
BACKGROUND: National Health Service Executive guidelines for rehabilitation of general practitioners (GPs) who require professional support state that these GPs should be advised to contact the Director of Postgraduate General Practice Education in their Deanery. There has been concern about how the needs of these GPs can be met without additional resources. AIM: To monitor and describe the process and outcome of these referrals over a two-year period to assess the size of the problem, to share good practice, and to identify any deficiencies in the system. DESIGN OF STUDY: Quarterly postal questionnaires. SETTING: Deaneries in the United Kingdom, which are geographically-based organisational units for the management of general practice education. METHODS: Three postal questionnaires were devised to cover General Medical Council (GMC) referrals to Deaneries, health authority referrals, and referrals made by Deaneries to the GMC Non-responders were contacted by telephone. RESULTS: Twenty-seven GPs were referred by the GMC, 72 were referred by health authorities, and 18 referrals were made by Deaneries to the GMC. The information provided to Deaneries by the GMC was timely in just over half the cases, and was left to be appropriate in two-thirds of cases. Information provided by health authorities was almost always timely, detailed, and appropriate. The action required by the GMC was felt to be inappropriate in five cases, and not feasible in eight cases. No extra resources were available in the majority of cases. Information about outcome for the GP was either unavailable or unclear in over half the cases. CONCLUSION: This monitoring exercise has revealed several deficiencies in the system for dealing with the educational needs of underperforming GPs. There is a needfor a clear national protocol for referral of GPs to Deaneries and for the support that Deaneries can be expected to provide.
PMCID: PMC1314145  PMID: 11761202
20.  Community-Based Orthopaedic Follow-Up. Is it What Doctors and Patients Want? 
The objective of this study was to investigate how patients, general practitioners (GPs) and orthopaedic trainees, feel about the proposed governmental changes to reduce orthopaedic out-patient clinics by having GPs and specialist nurses follow-up postoperative orthopaedic patients in the community.
The design was a cross-sectional questionnaire study including a teaching hospital and general practitioners in the Norfolk primary care trust. Participants were 73 orthopaedic postoperative patients who attended out-patients over a 1-week period in July 2007 who all responded. Of 250 GPs, 239 responded. Of 38 orthopaedic trainees at the level of senior house officer (post MRCS) and specialist registrar (Eastern Deanery Rotation and Pott Rotation), 30 responded
Of the 73 patients, 56 (77%) felt the surgeon was best suited to manage them postoperatively. Of these, 47 felt that it was very important that the surgical team saw them postoperatively. Also, 53 felt that their GP did not have sufficient knowledge and experience to deal with their current orthopaedic problem adequately. Only 12 GPs of 239 (5%) felt very confident assessing postoperative patients. Inadequate resources available to diagnose and treat postoperative complications was noted by 74% as the reason for not performing follow-up in primary care, and only 18% felt they should follow-up postoperative patients. All trainees felt that following up their own postoperative patients was important to their training.
Most patients, GPs, and orthopaedic trainees had serious doubts about the proposed governmental changes to reduce orthopaedic out-patient clinics by having GPs and specialist nurses follow-up postoperative orthopaedic patients in the community.
PMCID: PMC2752248  PMID: 19126337
Orthopaedics; Questionnaires; Health care surveys
21.  Medical student teaching in the UK: how well are newly qualified doctors prepared for their role caring for patients with cancer in hospital? 
British Journal of Cancer  2007;97(4):472-478.
A number of studies have identified problems with undergraduate oncology teaching. We have investigated how well prepared newly qualified doctors (first foundation year, or FY1 doctors) are for treating patients with cancer. Twenty-five FY1 doctors and 15 senior doctors participated in interviews. We turned the emergent themes into a questionnaire for all 5143 UK FY1 doctors in 2005. The response rate was 43% (2062 responses). Sixty-one percent of FY1 doctors had received oncology teaching at medical school, but 31% recalled seeing fewer than 10 patients with cancer. Forty percent of FY1 doctors felt prepared for looking after patients with cancer. Sixty-five percent felt prepared for diagnosing cancer, 15% felt they knew enough about chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and 11% felt prepared for dealing with oncological emergencies. Respondents believed medical students should learn about symptom control (71%) and communication skills (41%). Respondents who had received oncology teaching were more likely to feel prepared for looking after patients with cancer (OR 1.52; 95% CI 1.14–2.04). Preparedness also correlated with exposure to patients with cancer (OR 1.48; 95% CI 1.22–1.79). We have found worryingly low levels of exposure of medical students to patients with cancer. First foundation year doctors lack knowledge about cancer care and symptom control. Oncologists should maintain involvement in undergraduate teaching, and encourage greater involvement of patients in this teaching.
PMCID: PMC2360340  PMID: 17667931
undergraduate; medical education; oncology; communication skills; palliative care
22.  Treatment of Infantile Hemangioma in Regional Hospitals With eHealth Support: Evaluation of Feasibility and Acceptance by Parents and Doctors 
JMIR Research Protocols  2014;3(4):e52.
Since beta blockers became the preferred treatment for infantile hemangiomas (IH), the number of patients eligible for treatment is increasing. Currently treatment of IH with beta blockers is mainly reserved for expert centers, where wait times are lengthening. This demonstrated the need for development of a more efficient and accessible way of providing care for children needing treatment for IH. An eHealth intervention, Hemangioma Treatment Plan (HTP), was developed to treat IH in regional hospitals with online support from an academic doctor.
Our goal was to evaluate the feasibility of the eHealth intervention by determining its use, acceptance, and usability. By evaluating the feasibility, usage can be predicted and points for improvement can be defined, thereby facilitating implementation of the intervention.
Parents of children with an IH, presenting between October 2012 and November 2013 at the tertiary expert Center for Congenital Vascular Anomalies Utrecht, requiring treatment with a beta blocker, were asked to participate in the digital HTP. Both parents and regional doctors were sent a study questionnaire. Acceptance and usability of the HTP were evaluated by using the modified Technology Acceptance Model.
A total of 31 parents and 22 regional doctors participated in the eHealth intervention and received the questionnaire, and 25 parents and 15 doctors responded (response rates respectively 81% and 68%). A majority of the parents (96%, 24/25) and the regional doctors (87%, 13/15) considered the eHealth intervention useful in the care for IH. Most parents (76%, 19/25) and over half of the regional doctors (53%, 8/15) found the HTP easy to use. Technical problems using the HTP were reported by 28% (7/25) of the parents and 73% (11/15) of the doctors. The majority of parents (92%, 23/25) felt positive about usage of the HTP during treatment of their child. All regional doctors (100%, 15/15) felt positive about transition of treatment from the tertiary expert center to them, and 93% (14/15) felt positive about using the HTP.
Our eHealth intervention shows good feasibility, especially among parents. Improvement with respect to technical problems, training of regional doctors, and achieving organizational support might be needed for successful implementation in the future.
PMCID: PMC4259911  PMID: 25367558
eHealth; personal health record; e-consulation, tertiary teledermatology; Internet; acceptance, usability; infantile hemangioma; child
23.  Which doctors and with what problems contact a specialist service for doctors? A cross sectional investigation 
BMC Medicine  2007;5:26.
In the United Kingdom, specialist treatment and intervention services for doctors are underdeveloped. The MedNet programme, created in 1997 and funded by the London Deanery, aims to fill this gap by providing a self-referral, face-to-face, psychotherapeutic assessment service for doctors in London and South-East England. MedNet was designed to be a low-threshold service, targeting doctors without formal psychiatric problems. The aim of this study was to delineate the characteristics of doctors utilising the service, to describe their psychological morbidity, and to determine if early intervention is achieved.
A cross-sectional study including all consecutive self-referred doctors (n = 121, 50% male) presenting in 2002–2004 was conducted. Measures included standardised and bespoke questionnaires both self-report and clinician completed. The multi-dimensional evaluation included: demographics, CORE (CORE-OM, CORE-Workplace and CORE-A) an instrument designed to evaluate the psychological difficulties of patients referred to outpatient services, Brief Symptom Inventory to quantify caseness and formal psychiatric illness, and Maslach Burnout Inventory.
The most prevalent presenting problems included depression, anxiety, interpersonal, self-esteem and work-related issues. However, only 9% of the cohort were identified as severely distressed psychiatrically using this measure. In approximately 50% of the sample, problems first presented in the preceding year. About 25% were on sick leave at the time of consultation, while 50% took little or no leave in the prior 12 months. A total of 42% were considered to be at some risk of suicide, with more than 25% considered to have a moderate to severe risk. There were no significant gender differences in type of morbidity, severity or days off sick.
Doctors displayed high levels of distress as reflected in the significant proportion of those who were at some risk of suicide; however, low rates of severe psychiatric illness were detected. These findings suggest that MedNet clients represent both ends of the spectrum of severity, enabling early clinical engagement for a significant proportion of cases that is of importance both in terms of personal health and protecting patient care, and providing a timely intervention for those who are at risk, a group for whom rapid intervention services are in need and an area that requires further investigation in the UK.
PMCID: PMC2025601  PMID: 17725835
24.  Underage Binge Drinking Adolescents: Sociodemographic Profile and Utilization of Family Doctors 
ISRN Family Medicine  2013;2013:728730.
Context. Binge drinking (more than five drinks on one occasion) is a major public health problem among teenagers in the US, Canada, and Europe. Negative outcomes to binge drinking include alcohol related injuries and accidental death. Family physicians are the main point of contact between binging adolescents and the health care system. Design and Setting. This study was based on a secondary analysis of 6,607 respondents aged 15–17 from the regionally representative data acquired through the Canadian Community Health Survey 1.1. Results. According to our findings, one in every eight teens aged 15–17 binge drank monthly. The odds of binge drinking were higher among males, Whites, those living away from parents, teens who reported a decline in health status, and those experiencing back problems and depression. Smoking status was strongly associated with the binge drinking behavior. Three-quarters of binge drinking adolescents had seen their family doctor in the past year but only one in ten had spoken with any health professional about a mental health issue. Conclusions. Family physicians need to screen their adolescent patients for binge drinking in order to provide timely and effective interventions. Awareness of the profile of binge drinkers could improve the accuracy of targeting and outreaching strategies.
PMCID: PMC4041245  PMID: 24959572
25.  HYPEST study: profile of hypertensive patients in Estonia 
More than one third of adult population in Estonia has problems with elevated blood pressure (BP). The Hypertension in Estonia (HYPEST) study represents the country's first hypertension-targeted sample collection aiming to examine the epidemiological and genetic determinants for hypertension (HTN) and related cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in Estonian population. The HYPEST subjects (n = 1,966) were recruited across Estonia between 2004-2007 including clinically diagnosed HTN cases and population-based controls. The present report is focused on the clinical and epidemiological profile of HYPEST cases, and gender-specific effects on the pathophysiology of hypertension.
Current analysis was performed on 1,007 clinically diagnosed HTN patients (617 women and 390 men) aged 18-85 years. The hypertensives were recruited to the study by BP specialists at the North Estonia Medical Center, Centre of Cardiology, Tallinn or at the Cardiology Clinic, Tartu University Hospital, Estonia. Longitudinal BP data was extracted retrospectively from clinical records. Current and retrospective data of patient's medical history, medication intake and lifestyle habits were derived from self-administrated questionnaire and each variable was examined separately for men and women. Eleven biochemical parameters were measured from fasting serum samples of 756 patients.
The distribution of recruited men and women was 39% and 61% respectively. Majority of Estonian HTN patients (85%) were overweight (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2) and a total of 79% of patients had additional complications with cardiovascular system. In men, the hypertension started almost 5 years earlier than in women (40.5 ± 14.5 vs 46.1 ± 12.7 years), which led to earlier age of first myocardial infarction (MI) and overall higher incidence rate of MI among male patients (men 21.2%, women 8.9%, P < 0.0001). Heart arrhythmia, thyroid diseases, renal tubulo-intestinal diseases and hyperlipidemia were more prevalent in hypertensive women compared to men (P < 0.0001). An earlier age of HTN onset was significantly associated with smoking (P = 0.00007), obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2; P = 0.0003), increased stress (P = 0.0003) and alcohol consumption (P = 0.004).
Understanding the clinical profile of HTN patients contributes to CVD management. Estonian hypertension patients exhibited different disease and risk profiles of male and female patients. This well-characterized sample set provides a good resource for studying hypertension and other cardiovascular phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC3179926  PMID: 21880150

Results 1-25 (1182631)