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2.  Practice guidelines for clinical prevention: Do patients, physicians and experts share common ground? 
BACKGROUND: Clinical practice guidelines, such as those of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care, although based on sound evidence, may conflict with the perceived needs and expectations of patients and physicians. This may jeopardize the implementation of such guidelines. This study was undertaken to explore patients' and family physicians' acceptance of the task force's recommendations and the values and criteria upon which the opinions of these 2 groups are based. METHODS: Focus groups were used to collect study data. In total, 35 physicians (in 7 groups) and 75 patient representatives (in 9 groups) participated in the focus groups. An inductive approach was used to develop coding grids and to generate themes from the transcripts of the interviews. RESULTS: Physicians expressed resistance to discontinuing the annual check-up, which they viewed as an organizational strategy to counteract the many barriers to preventive care that they encounter. They reported difficulties in explaining to their patients the recommendations of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care, which they found complex and inconsistent with popular wisdom. Both patients and physicians attributed high value to the detection of insidious diseases, even in the absence of proof of the effectiveness of such activity. INTERPRETATION: The patients and family physicians who participated in this study shared many opinions on the value of preventive activities that depart from the values used by "prevention experts" such as the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care in establishing their recommendations. A better understanding of the values of patients and physicians would help guideline developers to create better targeted communication strategies to take these discrepancies into account.
PMCID: PMC1230580  PMID: 10497607
4.  Concordance inter-observateurs des diagnostics posés selon la classification CISP. 
Canadian Family Physician  1998;44:2128-2133.
OBJECTIVE: To measure interobserver agreement on diagnoses classified and coded by family physicians using manual or computerized input modes. METHOD: Used increasingly in a variety of information management systems, the International Classification of Primary Care is the system best adapted to primary care. Ten physicians independently viewed 44 taped medical visits. Five physicians were randomly assigned to manual coding and five to computer coding. The study of reproducibility explored three aspects: written diagnoses, manually coded diagnoses, and diagnoses coded using a software program. The K statistic was calculated in order to compare interobserver agreement. RESULTS: Descriptive analysis of interobserver agreement in the written diagnoses revealed an agreement rate of 70.5% (+/- 6.3). Among physicians using manual coding, the agreement rate was 70.2% (+/- 7.2). In the group using the software program, the agreement rate was 75.0% (+/- 8.7). The K coefficients were low, but three were significant with critical ratios (z) above 1.96. CONCLUSION: Results suggest that input method has no bearing on interobserver agreement and that agreement is more a function of clinical presentation of health problems than of coding process.
PMCID: PMC2277918  PMID: 9805167
6.  Treating hypertension. Are the right drugs given to the right patients? 
Canadian Family Physician  1998;44:294-302.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether physicians are prescribing antihypertensive drugs appropriately and according to the recommendations of the Canadian Hypertension Society. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. SETTING: Family medicine teaching clinic in Montreal. PARTICIPANTS: A cohort of 183 patients followed between 1993 and 1995. Of 350 patients registered at the clinic, 167 were excluded because diagnosis of hypertension was not supported by chart review, their charts contained insufficient information, they were pregnant or younger than 18 years, or they had secondary hypertension and complex medical conditions. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The dependent variable was the antihypertensive medication. Independent variables were age and sex of patients, duration of hypertension, total number of visits and number of visits for hypertension, number of physicians consulted at the clinic, associated medical conditions, diagnosis of target organ damage, blood pressure readings, and associated medications. RESULTS: Diuretics were prescribed most frequently (45.9%). Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors ranked second (28.4%), followed by calcium channel blockers (26.2%) and beta-blockers (18.0%). Age, sex, duration of hypertension, and blood pressure readings were not associated with medications. Prescription of beta-blockers was strongly associated with previous myocardial infarction, but not with diagnosis of angina pectoris. Patients with contraindications to beta-blockers were less likely to receive them and more likely to receive calcium channel blockers. Only 32% of diabetic patients received ACE inhibitors. CONCLUSION: Results suggest that some prescriptions for antihypertensive medications are inappropriate, but that physicians are following some of the Canadian Hypertension Society's recommendations. A better understanding of physicians' prescribing behaviours could help target continuing education interventions to improve prescribing for hypertension.
PMCID: PMC2277613  PMID: 9512833
7.  Factors determining compliance with screening mammography. 
OBJECTIVE: To determine factors affecting compliance with screening mammography prescribed by family physicians. DESIGN: Secondary analysis of a nonrandomized trial. SETTING: University-affiliated family medicine clinic in Montreal. PATIENTS: Women aged 50 to 69 years who were given a written prescription for a screening mammography during their visit at the clinic between Oct. 12, 1991, and May 31, 1992, and who had not undergone mammography in the preceding 2 years and had never been treated for breast cancer. Information on the potential factors was obtained through a telephone questionnaire 2 months after the visit. OUTCOME MEASURES: Indicator of compliance presence of result of screening mammography in patient chart, potential factors influencing compliance: age, level of education, marital status, socioeconomic level, smoking status, perceived health status, perceived psychological well-being, risk factors for breast cancer, use of health services including frequency of Papanicolaou test, Health Belief Model variables. RESULTS: Of the 171 eligible women, 113 (66.1%) underwent the prescribed mammography within 2 months after the visit to the clinic, and 149 (87.1%) responded to the questionnaire. The patients' socioeconomic characteristics, perceived health status, health utilization indices and risk factors for breast cancer were not found to be predictors of compliance. The strongest predictor of compliance was the number of previous mammograms. Women who had undergone mammography previously were less likely to be noncompliant than those who had not (odds ratio [OR] 0.11, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.02 to 0.51; p = 0.005). Women who did not comply were less likely than those who did to believe that a prescription from their physician would convince them to undergo mammography (OR 0.21, 95% CI 0.007 to 0.60; p = 0.004). Other factors associated with noncompliance were the expression of fear of mammography (OR 2.09, 95% CI 1.08 to 4.02; p = 0.03) and the lack of time to take the test (OR 3.07, 95% CI 1.21 to 7.80 p = 0.02). Being a smoker was negatively associated with compliance (OR 0.43; 95% CI 0.22 to 0.86; p = 0.02). The stepwise logistic regression model accounted for 87.5% of the outcome (chi2 for goodness of fit = 164.4; p = 0.0001). CONCLUSION: Family physicians who prescribe screening mammography, even to women who consult for other reasons, are likely to overcome some of the barriers observed in association with population screening rates. However, physician-oriented approaches are not likely to reach the 30% to 40% of reluctant women who appear to hold negative views toward physicians' recommendations. Further study is necessary to determine how better to reach these women.
PMCID: PMC1487722  PMID: 8616736
8.  Taxonomy of difficulties in general practice. 
Canadian Family Physician  1993;39:1369-1375.
A questionnaire combining qualitative and quantitative methods was used to compile a taxonomy of the difficulties experienced by general practitioners in their practices. Difficulties are grouped in 11 categories, ranging from clinical diagnosis to physicians' personal feelings. The taxonomy can be used as a guide for planning medical education or as a starting point for further research in general practice.
PMCID: PMC2379616  PMID: 8324406
9.  Why are clinical problems difficult? General practitioners' opinions concerning 24 clinical problems. 
This study was conducted to describe the difficulties perceived by general practitioners concerning 24 common clinical problems and to compare their perceptions with those of faculty members in family medicine. A random sample of 467 general practitioners and all 182 faculty members in family medicine in Quebec were sent one of four open-ended questionnaires, each of which dealt with six clinical problems; 214 general practitioners and 114 faculty members participated. A total of 5111 difficulties were reported; the number reported by each subject varied from 0 to 13 (mean 2.6 [standard deviation 2.09]) per problem. The problems that generated the most difficulties were depression, confusion in the elderly, chronic back pain, loss of autonomy in the elderly and sexually transmitted disease. The most frequent difficulties were with the patient's noncompliance with treatment, clinical diagnosis, failure of a specific treatment, inadequate health care resources and the physician's own emotional reactions. The difficulties for each problem were the same in the two groups 70% of the time. Physician's perceptions of their difficulties can be useful in the planning of initial training and continuing medical education.
PMCID: PMC1452945  PMID: 2253138
10.  Evaluation et traitement de l'entorse externe de la cheville dans un milieu de soins de première ligne: la radiographie systématique est-elle essentielle? 
The authors describe the presentation, clinical evaluation and treatment of 151 patients (mean age 36.3 years) who presented to an outpatient clinic or the emergency department between Oct. 29, 1984, and Apr. 15, 1985, for a lateral ankle sprain. About 60% of the sprains were considered minor. Although 141 patients underwent simple radiography of the ankle on the first visit, only five fractures were identified. All the fractures were uncomplicated and were treated conservatively. No common criteria could be identified to explain why some patients with sprains of moderate severity were referred to an orthopedist while others were not. Of the 53 patients interviewed, 22 still had some limitation of physical activity 6 weeks after the sprain. The presence of malleolar soft-tissue swelling, pain in the bony structures and inability to bear weight should raise the suspicion of a fracture. If radiography had been limited to patients with these signs, no fracture would have been missed, and radiography would have been avoided in 70 cases.
PMCID: PMC1491273  PMID: 3093043
12.  L'utilisation des tests diagnostiques dans une unité de médecine familiale. 
For a random sample of 1029 visits occurring over a 1-year period in a family medicine service 1067 diagnostic tests were done within 1 week (or within 3 weeks in the case of nuclear medicine) following the visit; this represents a mean of 1.04 tests, costing $ 8.30, per visit. There was no test ordered in most (62.5%) of the visits. The results of 909 tests were recorded; 36.6% were abnormal. The pattern of use of diagnostic tests varied considerably among the physicians; however, no association was observed between this pattern and the status of the physician, the site of the encounter, or the age or sex of the patient. There was a weak and not statistically significant correlation between the number of problems identified and the number of tests with abnormal results per visit. These results suggest that the problem of overuse of diagnostic tests may not be as acute in a family medicine service as it has been observed to be in other settings.
PMCID: PMC1875858  PMID: 6671181
13.  The reproducibility of intrapartum cardiotocogram assessments. 
Five obstetrician-gynecologists experienced in fetal monitoring assessed 150 intrapartum cardiotocograms obtained with an external transducer. There were three successive blind readings, the first two without any clinical data apart from gestational age. The reviewers indicated whether the tracings showed definite, possible or no abnormalities. The interpretations given by each reviewer for any one tracing were fairly consistent, but they varied markedly from one reviewer to another. The proportion of tracings interpreted as normal ranged from 39% to 74%, and the proportion assessed as abnormal ranged from 3% to 43%. All five observers agreed on the interpretation of 29% of the tracings. Inter-reviewer reproducibility scarcely changed when clinical data were provided. These findings emphasize the need to evaluate all methods of fetal monitoring before they become widespread.
PMCID: PMC1861923  PMID: 7104902
14.  L'hyperglycémie et les complications du diabète de type adulte. 
In this paper the principal investigations into the effects of glycemia and its treatment on the complications associated with maturity-onset diabetes are analysed. Two points are stressed. First, a consensus is lacking on the diagnostic levels of blood glucose; some diabetologists recommend a return to the use of fasting blood glucose values. Second, a definite causal relation between hyperglycemia (and its control) and the main complications of diabetes has not been established. Until the natural history of the condition and the effectiveness of hypoglycemic treatment on the long-term prognosis are better understood, systematic screening for maturity-onset diabetes in asymptomatic adults is not justified. In addition, patients with mildly abnormal blood glucose levels should be followed yearly to monitor the development of overt diabetes or other cardiovascular risk factors. They should be neither labelled as diabetics nor compelled to comply with a strict therapeutic regimen.
PMCID: PMC1801641  PMID: 6989468

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