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1.  Primary care nurses struggle with lifestyle counseling in diabetes care: a qualitative analysis 
BMC Family Practice  2010;11:41.
Background
Patient outcomes are poorly affected by lifestyle advice in general practice. Promoting lifestyle behavior change require that nurses shift from simple advice giving to a more counseling-based approach. The current study examines which barriers nurses encounter in lifestyle counseling to patients with type 2 diabetes. Based on this information we will develop an implementation strategy to improve lifestyle behavior change in general practice.
Method
In a qualitative semi-structured study, twelve in-depth interviews took place with nurses in Dutch general practices involved in diabetes care. Specific barriers in counseling patients with type 2 diabetes about diet, physical activity, and smoking cessation were addressed. The nurses were invited to reflect on barriers at the patient and practice levels, but mainly on their own roles as counselors. All interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. The data were analyzed with the aid of a predetermined framework.
Results
Nurses felt most barriers on the level of the patient; patients had limited knowledge of a healthy lifestyle and limited insight into their own behavior, and they lacked the motivation to modify their lifestyles or the discipline to maintain an improved lifestyle. Furthermore, nurses reported lack of counseling skills and insufficient time as barriers in effective lifestyle counseling.
Conclusions
The traditional health education approach is still predominant in primary care of patients with type 2 diabetes. An implementation strategy based on motivational interviewing can help to overcome 'jumping ahead of the patient' and promotes skills in lifestyle behavioral change. We will train our nurses in agenda setting to structure the consultation based on prioritizing the behavior change and will help them to develop social maps that contain information on local exercise programs.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-11-41
PMCID: PMC2889883  PMID: 20500841
2.  Setting up a Paediatric Rapid Access Outpatient Unit: Views of general practice teams 
BMC Family Practice  2008;9:54.
Background
Rapid Access Outpatient Units (RAOUs) have been suggested as an alternative to hospital inpatient units for the management of some acutely unwell children. These units can provide ambulatory care, delivered close to home, and may prevent unnecessary hospital admission. There are no qualitative data on the views of primary care practitioners regarding these types of facilities. The aim of the study was to explore the opinions of primary care practitioners regarding a newly established RAOU.
Methods
The RAOU was established locally at a district general hospital when inpatient beds were closed and moved to an inpatient centre, based six miles away at the tertiary teaching hospital.
Qualitative, practice based group interviews with primary care practitioners (general practitioners (GPs), nurse practitioners and practice nurses) on their experiences of the RAOU. The data collection consisted of three practice based interviews with 14 participants. The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic content analysis was used to evaluate the data.
Results
There was positive feedback regarding ease of telephone access for referral, location, and the value of a service staffed by senior doctors where children could be observed, investigated and discharged quickly. There was confusion regarding the referral criteria for the assessment unit and where to send certain children. A majority of the practitioners felt the utility of the RAOU was restricted by its opening hours. Most participants felt they lacked sufficient information regarding the remit and facilities of the unit and this led to some uneasiness regarding safety and long term sustainability.
Conclusion
Practitioners considered that the RAOU offered a rapid senior opinion, flexible short term observation, quick access to investigations and was more convenient for patients. There were concerns regarding opening hours, safety of patients and lack of information about the unit's facilities. There was confusion about which children should be sent to the unit. This study raises questions regarding policy in regard to the organisation of paediatric services. It highlights that when establishing alternative services to local inpatient units, continual communication and engagement of primary care is essential if the units are to function effectively.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-9-54
PMCID: PMC2566556  PMID: 18823553
3.  A randomised controlled trial of the effects of a web-based PSA decision aid, Prosdex. Protocol 
BMC Family Practice  2007;8:58.
Background
Informed decision making is the theoretical basis in the UK for men's decisions about Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) testing for prostate cancer testing. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of a web-based PSA decision-aid, Prosdex, on informed decision making in men. The objective is to assess the effect of Prosdex on six specific outcomes: (i) knowledge of PSA and prostate cancer-related issues – the principal outcome of the study; (ii) attitudes to testing; (iii) decision conflict; (iv) anxiety; (v) intention to undergo PSA testing; (vi) uptake of PSA testing. In addition, a mathematical simulation model of the effects of Prosdex will be developed.
Methods
A randomised controlled trial with four groups: two intervention groups, one viewing Prosdex and the other receiving a paper version of the site; two control groups, the second controlling for the potential Hawthorn effect of the questionnaire used with the first control group. Men between the ages of 50 and 75, who have not previously had a PSA test, will be recruited from General Practitioners (GPs) in Wales, UK. The principal outcome, knowledge, and four other outcome measures – attitudes to testing, decision conflict, anxiety and intention to undergo testing – will be measured with an online questionnaire, used by men in three of the study groups. Six months later, PSA test uptake will be ascertained from GP records; the online questionnaire will then be repeated. These outcomes, and particularly PSA test uptake, will be used to develop a mathematical simulation model, specifically to consider the impact on health service resources.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trial: ISRCTN48473735.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-8-58
PMCID: PMC2075498  PMID: 17916259
4.  Developing a facilitation model to promote organisational development in primary care practices 
BMC Family Practice  2006;7:38.
Background
The relationship between effective organisation of general practices and health improvement is widely accepted. The Maturity Matrix is an instrument designed to assess organisational development in general practice settings and to stimulate quality improvement. It is undertaken by a practice team with the aid of a facilitator. There is a tradition in the primary care systems in many countries of using practice visitors to educate practice teams about how to improve. However the role of practice visitors as facilitators who enable teams to plan practice-led organisational development using quality improvement instruments is less well understood. The objectives of the study were to develop and explore a facilitation model to support practice teams in stimulating organisational development using a quality improvement instrument called the Maturity Matrix. A qualitative study based on transcript analysis was adopted.
Method
A model of facilitation was constructed based on a review of relevant literature. Audio tapes of Maturity Matrix assessment sessions with general practices were transcribed and facilitator skills were compared to the model. The sample consisted of two facilitators working with twelve general practices based in UK primary care.
Results
The facilitation model suggested that four areas describing eighteen skills were important. The four areas are structuring the session, obtaining consensus, handling group dynamics and enabling team learning. Facilitators effectively employed skills associated with the first three areas, but less able to consistently stimulate team learning.
Conclusion
This study suggests that facilitators need careful preparation for their role and practices need protected time in order to make best use of practice-led quality improvement instruments. The role of practice visitor as a facilitator is becoming important as the need to engender ownership of the quality improvement process by practices increases.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-7-38
PMCID: PMC1526440  PMID: 16784540
5.  PSA testing for prostate cancer: an online survey of the views and reported practice of General Practitioners in the UK 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:24.
Background
The role of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) testing in the early detection of prostate cancer is controversial. Current UK policy stipulates that any man who wishes to have a PSA test should have access to the test, provided he has been given full information about the benefits and limitations of testing. This study aimed to determine UK GPs' current reported practice regarding PSA testing, and their views towards informed decision-making and PSA testing.
Method
Online questionnaire survey, with a sample of 421 GPs randomly selected from a database of GPs across the UK.
Results
95% (400/421) of GPs responded. 76% of GPs reported having performed a PSA test for an asymptomatic man at least once in the previous three months, with 13% reported having tested more than five men in this period. A majority of GPs reported they would do a PSA test for men presenting with a family history and requesting a test, for asymptomatic men requesting a test and also for men presenting with lower urinary tract symptoms. Reported testing rates were highest for men with a family history. Amongst men with lower urinary tract symptoms and men with no symptoms, reported testing rates were significantly higher for older than younger men.
The majority of GPs expressed support for the current policy (67%), and favoured both the general practitioner and the man being involved in the decision making process (83%). 90% of GPs indicated that they would discuss the benefits and limitation of testing with the man, with most (61%) preferring to ask the man to make a further appointment if he decides to be tested.
Conclusion
This study indicates that PSA testing in asymptomatic men is a regular occurrence in the UK, and that there is general support from GPs for the current policy of making PSA tests available to 'informed' men who are concerned about prostate cancer. While most GPs indicated they would discuss the benefits and limitations prior to PSA testing, and most GPs favoured a shared approach to decision making, it is not known to what extent men are actually being informed. Research is needed to evaluate the most effective approach to assisting men in making an informed decision about whether or not to have a PSA test.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-24
PMCID: PMC1180431  PMID: 15946386
6.  Identifying future models for delivering genetic services: a nominal group study in primary care 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:14.
Background
To enable primary care medical practitioners to generate a range of possible service delivery models for genetic counselling services and critically assess their suitability.
Methods
Modified nominal group technique using in primary care professional development workshops.
Results
37 general practitioners in Wales, United Kingdom too part in the nominal group process. The practitioners who attended did not believe current systems were sufficient to meet anticipated demand for genetic services. A wide range of different service models was proposed, although no single option emerged as a clear preference. No argument was put forward for genetic assessment and counselling being central to family practice, neither was there a voice for the view that the family doctor should become skilled at advising patients about predictive genetic testing and be able to counsel patients about the wider implications of genetic testing for patients and their family members, even for areas such as common cancers. Nevertheless, all the preferred models put a high priority on providing the service in the community, and often co-located in primary care, by clinicians who had developed expertise.
Conclusion
There is a need for a wider debate about how healthcare systems address individual concerns about genetic concerns and risk, especially given the increasing commercial marketing of genetic tests.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-14
PMCID: PMC1087483  PMID: 15831099
7.  Measuring access to primary care appointments: a review of methods 
Background
Patient access to primary care appointments is not routinely measured despite the increasing interest in this aspect of practice activity. The generation of standardised data (or benchmarks) for access could inform developments within primary care organisations and act as a quality marker for clinical governance. Logically the setting of targets should be based on a sound system of measurement. The practicalities of developing appropriate measures need debate. Therefore we aimed to search for and compare methods that have been published or are being developed to measure patient access to primary care appointments, with particular focus on finding methods using appointment system data.
Method
A search and review was made of the primary care literature from 1990 to 2001, which included an assessment of online resources (websites) and communication with recognised experts. The identified methods were assessed.
Results
The published literature in this specific area was not extensive but revealed emerging interest in the late 1990s. Two broad approaches to the measurement of waiting times to GP appointments were identified. Firstly, appointment systems in primary care organisations were analysed in differing ways to provide numerical data and, secondly, patient perceptions (reports) of access were evaluated using survey techniques. Six different methods were found which were based on appointment systems data.
Conclusion
The two approaches of either using patient questionnaires or appointment system data are methods that represent entirely different aims. The latter method when used to represent patient waiting times for 'routine' elective appointments seems to hold promise as a useful tool and this avoids the definitional problems that surround 'urgent' appointments. The purpose for which the data is being collected needs to be borne in mind and will determine the chosen methods of data retrieval and representation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-4-8
PMCID: PMC169167  PMID: 12846934
access; primary care; measurement; appointments; waiting times.
8.  A 'real puzzle': the views of patients with epilepsy about the organisation of care 
Background
Little is known about how individuals who have a diagnosis of epilepsy have experienced healthcare services or their views about how they should best be organised to meet their ongoing needs.
Methods
Focus group interviews. Individuals with epilepsy were identified in 5 practices in Wales: 90 were invited, 40 confirmed attendance and 19 individuals attended interviews in 5 groups of size 6, 5, 4, 3 and 1 (Table 2). Inclusion criteria: individuals with a confirmed diagnosis of epilepsy, aged between 18–65. The exclusion criteria were learning disability or an inability to travel to interview locations.
Results
The individuals in these group interviews were not 'epilepsy activists' yet they remained critical in extended discussions about the services encountered during their patient careers, wanting more information and advice about how to adapt to problems, particularly after initial diagnosis, more involvement in decision making, rapid access to expertise, preferably local, and improved communication between clinicians. A central concern was the tendency for concerns to be silenced, either overtly, or covertly by perceived haste, so that they felt marginalised, despite their own claims to own expert personal knowledge.
Conclusions
Users of existing services for epilepsy are critical of current systems, especially the lack of attention given to providing information, psychosocial support and the wishes of patients to participate in decision making. Any reorganisation of services for individuals with epilepsy should take into account these perceived problems as well as try to reconcile the tension between the distant and difficult to access expertise of specialists and the local but unconfident support of generalists. The potential benefit of harnessing information technology to allow better liaison should be investigated.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-4-4
PMCID: PMC161791  PMID: 12709265
9.  Practice and professional development plans (PPDPs): results of a feasibility study 
Background
Dissatisfaction with uniprofessional education structures as a means of improving the quality of healthcare has led to proposals to develop ways of integrating professional learning and organisational development.
Aims
Test the feasibility of introducing practice and professional development plans using a centrally sponsored project in Wales.
Design
Qualitative observational study.
Study sample
All 541 practices in Wales were alerted to the project and invited to apply. A selection process was suggested to Health Authorities but not always efficiently conducted: 23 practices were selected and 18 participated in the process.
Method
Central funding was made available to health authorities. The project framework was designed by an educational department and conceptualised as the development of personal portfolios linked to one key organisation change in each practice, facilitated by external consultants who would typically hold workshops or other events. An independent researcher using non-participant observation techniques at workshops and practices undertook documentary analysis and fieldwork in four health authorities.
Results
Difficulties were encountered with the process of implementing the project: marketing and practice selection inconsistencies delayed the work and it was difficult to recruit practices into the project. The lack of experienced individuals to do the work and practitioner suspicion about perceived 'management' agendas were significant problems. After initial hesitancies most practices appreciated the value of developing wider ownership and commitment to proposed practice changes. Organisations found it difficult to support individual completion of the personal portfolio component of the plans. The ability to develop systems for clinical services was dependent on having already established a culture of effective teamwork in the organisation.
Conclusions
This work supports the view that organisational development has considerable potential for bringing about effective change, and individual contributions could form a valuable component of personal portfolios. We believe that the existing structures in education and management in the health service are not yet able to support these processes. Evidence from the fields of risk management and quality improvement all point to the need to develop effective organisational systems and the results of this feasibility study indicate that alternative models of sustaining organisational development need careful evaluation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-2-1
PMCID: PMC31343  PMID: 11299046
10.  Organisational development in general practice: lessons from practice and professional development plans (PPDPs) 
Background
Improving the quality and effectiveness of clinical practice is becoming a key task within all health services. Primary medical care, as organised in the UK is composed of clinicians who work in independent partnerships (general practices) that collaborate with other health care professionals. Although many practices have successfully introduced innovations, there are no organisational development structures in place that support the evolution of primary medical care towards integrated care processes. Providing incentives for attendance at passive educational events and promoting 'teamwork' without first identifying organisational priorities are interventions that have proved to be ineffective at changing clinical processes. A practice and professional development plan feasibility study was evaluated in Wales and provided the experiential basis for a summary of the lessons learnt on how best to guide organisational development systems for primary medical care.
Results
Practice and professional development plans are hybrids produced by the combination of ideas from management (the applied behavioural science of organisational development) and education (self-directed adult learning theories) and, in conceptual terms, address the lack of effectiveness of passive educational strategies by making interventions relevant to identified system wide needs. In the intervention, each practice participated in a series of multidisciplinary workshops (minimum 4) where the process outcome was the production of a practice development plan and a set of personal portfolios, and the final outcome was a realised organisational change.
It was apparent during the project that organisational admission to a process of developmental planning needed to be a stepwise process, where initial interest can lead to a fuller understanding, which subsequently develops into motivation and ownership, sufficient to complete the exercise. The advantages of introducing expert external facilitation were clear: evaluations of internal group processes were possible, strategic issues could be raised and explored and financial probity ensured. These areas are much more difficult to examine when only internal stakeholders are engaged in a planning process.
Conclusions
It is not possible to introduce practice and professional development plans (organisational development and organisational learning projects) in a publicly funded health care system without first addressing existing educational and management structures. Existing systems are based on educational credits for attendance and emerging accountability frameworks (criteria checklists) for clinical governance. Moving to systems that are less summative and more formative, and based on the philosophies of continual quality improvement, require changes to be made in the relevant support systems in order achieve policy proposals.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-1-2
PMCID: PMC29075  PMID: 11178111

Results 1-10 (10)