PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-25 (52)
 

Clipboard (0)
None
Journals
Year of Publication
Document Types
1.  Influence of patient symptoms and physical findings on general practitioners' treatment of respiratory tract infections: a direct observation study 
Background
The high rate of antibiotic prescriptions general practitioners (GPs) make for respiratory tract infections (RTI) are often explained by non-medical reasons e.g. an effort to meet patient expectations. Additionally, it is known that GPs to some extent believe in the necessity of antibiotic treatment in patients with assumed bacterial infections and therefore attempt to distinguish between viral and bacterial infections by history taking and physical examination. The influence of patient complaints and physical examination findings on GPs' prescribing behaviour was mostly investigated by indirect methods such as questionnaires.
Methods
Direct, structured observation during a winter "cough an cold period" in 30 (single handed) general practices. All 273 patients with symptoms of RTI (age above 14, median 37 years, 51% female) were included.
Results
The most frequent diagnoses were 'uncomplicated upper RTI/common cold' (43%) followed by 'bronchitis' (26%). On average, 1.8 (95%-confidence interval (CI): 1.7–2.0) medicines per patient were prescribed (cough-and-cold preparations in 88% of the patients, antibiotics in 49%). Medical predictors of antibiotic prescribing were pathological findings in physical examination such as coated tonsils (odds ratio (OR) 15.4, 95%-CI: 3.6–66.2) and unspecific symptoms like fatigue (OR 3.1, 95%-CI 1.4–6.7), fever (OR 2.2, 95%-CI: 1.1–4.5) and yellow sputum (OR 2.1, 95%-CI: 1.1–4.1). Analysed predictors explained 70% of the variance of antibiotic prescribing (R2 = 0,696). Efforts to reduce antibiotic prescribing, e.g. recommendations for self-medication, counselling on home remedies or delayed antibiotic prescribing were rare.
Conclusions
Patient complaints and pathological results in physical examination were strong predictors of antibiotic prescribing. Efforts to reduce antibiotic prescribing should account for GPs' beliefs in those (non evidence based) predictors. The method of direct observation was shown to be accepted both by patients and GPs and offered detailed insights into the GP-patient-interaction.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-6
PMCID: PMC550651  PMID: 15698471
2.  Reasons for and consequences of missed appointments in general practice in the UK: questionnaire survey and prospective review of medical records 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:47.
Background
Missed appointments are a common occurrence in primary care in the UK, yet little is known about the reasons for them, or the consequences of missing an appointment. This paper aims to determine the reasons for missed appointments and whether patients who miss an appointment subsequently consult their general practitioner (GP). Secondary aims are to compare psychological morbidity, and the previous appointments with GPs between subjects and a comparison group.
Methods
Postal questionnaire survey and prospective medical notes review of adult patients missing an appointment and the comparison group who attended appointments over a three week period in seven general practices in West Yorkshire.
Results
Of the 386 who missed appointments 122 (32%) responded. Of the 386 in the comparison group 223 (58%) responded, resulting in 23 case-control matched pairs with complete data collection. Over 40% of individuals who missed an appointment and participated said that they forgot the appointment and a quarter said that they tried very hard to cancel the appointment or that it was at an inconvenient time. A fifth reported family commitments or being too ill to attend. Over 90% of the patients who missed an appointment subsequently consulted within three months and of these nearly 60% consulted for the stated problem that was going to be presented in the missed consultation. The odds of missing an appointment decreased with increasing age and were greater among those who had missed at least one appointment in the previous 12 months. However, estimates for comparisons between those who missed appointments and the comparison group were imprecise due to the low response rate.
Conclusion
Patients who miss appointments tend to cite practice factors and their own forgetfulness as the main reasons for doing so, and most attend within three months of a missed appointment. This study highlights a number of implications for future research. More work needs to be done to engage people who miss appointments into research in a meaningful way.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-47
PMCID: PMC1291364  PMID: 16274481
3.  Physicians perceived usefulness of high-cost diagnostic imaging studies: results of a referral study in a German medical quality network 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:22.
Background
Medical and technological progress has led to increased numbers of diagnostic tests, some of them inducing high financial costs. In Germany, high-cost diagnostic imaging is performed by a medical specialist after referral by a general practitioner (GP) or specialist in primary care. The aim of this study was to evaluate the physicians' perceived usefulness of high-cost diagnostic imaging in patients with different clinical conditions.
Methods
Thirty-four GPs, one neurologist and one orthopaedic specialist in ambulatory care from a Medical Quality Network documented 234 referrals concerning 97 MRIs, 96 CTs-scan and 41 intracardiac catheters in a three month period. After having received the test results, they indicated if these were useful for diagnosis and treatment of the patient.
Results
The physicians' perceived usefulness of tests was lowest in suspected cerebral disease (40% of test results were seen as useful), cervical spine problems (64%) and unexplained abdominal complaints (67%). The perceived usefulness was highest in musculoskeletal symptoms (94%) and second best in cardiological diseases (82%).
Conclusion
The perceived usefulness of high-cost diagnostic imaging was lower in unexplained complaints than in specific diseases. Interventions to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of test ordering should focus on clinical decision making in conditions where GPs perceived low usefulness.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-22
PMCID: PMC1174867  PMID: 15941483
4.  General practitioners' conceptions about treatment of depression and factors that may influence their practice in this area. A postal survey 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:21.
Background
The way GPs work does not appear to be adapted to the needs of depressive patients. Therefore we wanted to examine Swedish GPs' conceptions of depressive disorders and their treatment and GPs' ideas of factors that may influence their manner of work with depressive patients.
Methods
A postal questionnaire to a stratified sample of 617 Swedish GPs.
Results
Most respondents assumed antidepressive drugs effective and did not assume that psychotherapy can replace drugs in depression treatment though many of them looked at psychotherapy as an essential complement. Nearly all respondents thought that clinical experiences had great importance in decision situations, but patients' own preferences and official clinical guidelines were also regarded as essential. As influences on their work, almost all surveyed GPs regarded experiences from general practice very important, and a majority also emphasised experiences from private life. Courses arranged by pharmaceutical companies were seen as essential sources of knowledge. A majority thought that psychiatrists did not provide sufficient help, while most respondents perceived they were well backed up by colleagues.
Conclusion
GPs tend to emphasize experiences, both from clinical work and private life, and overlook influences of collegial dealings and ongoing CME as well as the effects of the pharmaceutical companies' marketing activities. Many GPs appear to need more evidence based knowledge about depressive disorders. Interventions to improve depression management have to be supporting and interactive, and should be combined with organisational reforms to improve co-operation with psychiatrists.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-21
PMCID: PMC1180707  PMID: 15904500
5.  Patient preferences for notification of normal laboratory test results: A report from the ASIPS Collaborative 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:11.
Background
Many medical errors occur during the laboratory testing process, including lost test results. Patient inquiry concerning results often represents the final safety net for locating lost results. This qualitative study sought to identify, from a patient perspective, specific preferences and factors that influence the process of communicating normal (negative) laboratory test results to patients.
Methods
We conducted 30-minute guided interviews with 20 adult patients. Patients were recruited from two practice-based research networks in Colorado that were participating in a medical errors study. A semi-structured interview elicited the participant's experience with and preference for laboratory test result notification. Quantitative descriptive statistics were generated for demographic and preference data. Qualitative results were analyzed by a team of experienced qualitative researchers using multiple styles of qualitative analyses, including a template approach and an editing approach.
Results
Ninety percent of participants wanted to be notified of all tests results. Important issues related to notification included privacy, responsive and interactive feedback, convenience, timeliness, and provision of details. Telephone notification was preferred, followed by regular mail. Electronic notification was perceived as uncomfortable because it was not secure. While 65% preferred being notified by a provider, participants acknowledge that this may be impractical; thus, they wanted to be notified by someone knowledgeable enough to answer questions. Participants do not normally discuss their preferences for test result notification with their providers.
Conclusion
Privacy, responsive and interactive feedback, convenience, and timeliness with detailed information may be critical for patient satisfaction and for improving patient safety, and are features that may be incorporated into emerging communication channels.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-11
PMCID: PMC555570  PMID: 15755328
6.  General practitioner attitudes to the care of people with epilepsy: an examination of clustering within practices and prediction of patient-rated quality of care 
Background
There is wide variation in the quality of care provided by primary care practices to individuals with chronic illnesses. Individual doctor attitudes and interest have been demonstrated to influence patient outcomes in some instances. Given the trend towards larger practices and part-time working, continuity of care is likely to fall and thus practice-based rather than individual general practitioner attributes and attitudes are likely to become increasingly important. The aim in this paper was to examine the extent to which individual general practitioner (G.P.) attitudes to the care of people with epilepsy cluster within practices and predict patient-rated quality of care.
Methods
The sample consisted of 1255 people with active epilepsy (a recent seizure or on anti-convulsant medication for epilepsy) and 199 GPs from 82 general practices. Measures of GP attitudes (a 17-item GP attitudes questionnaire) and patient-rated quality of epilepsy care were obtained. 1210 individuals completed initial questionnaires and 975 patients filled in final questionnaires one year later. Responses were achieved from 64 practices (83% of total) and 115 GPs (60% of total).
Results
2 main factors were found to underlie GP attitudes to the care of people with epilepsy and these demonstrated clustering within practices "epilepsy viewed as a primary care responsibility" (Eigenvalue 3.98, intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) 0.40), and "medication skills"(Eigenvalue 2.74, ICC 0.35). GP-rated scores on "epilepsy care being a primary care responsibility" were a significant predictor of patient-rated quality of GP care (p = 0.031). Other contributory factors were seizure frequency (p = 0.044), and patient-rated "shared decision making" (p = 0.022).
Conclusion
Specific general practitioner attitudes to the care of people with epilepsy cluster within practices and are significantly associated with patient-rated quality of epilepsy care. It is important to take these findings into consideration when planning primary care interventions to ensure people with epilepsy receive the benefits of available medical and surgical expertise.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-9
PMCID: PMC554779  PMID: 15740630
7.  The epidemiology of suicide and attempted suicide in Dutch general practice 1983–2003 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:45.
Background
Many patients attempting or committing suicide consult their general practitioner (GP) in the preceding period, indicating that GPs might play an important role in prevention. The aim of the present study was to analyse the epidemiology of suicidal behaviour in Dutch General Practice in order to find possible clues for prevention.
Method
Description of trends in suicide and suicide attempts occurring from 1983–2003 in the Dutch General Practice Sentinel Network, representing 1% of the Dutch population. The data were analysed with regard to: 1) suicidal behaviour trends and their association with household situation; 2) presence of depression, treatment of depression and referral rate by GPs; 3) contact with GP before suicide or suicide attempt and discussion of suicidal ideation.
Results
Between 1983 and 2003 the annual number of suicide and suicide attempts decreased by 50%. Sixty percent of the patients who committed or attempted suicide were diagnosed as depressed, of whom 91% were treated by their GP with an antidepressant. Living alone was a risk factor for suicide (odds ratio 1.99; 95% CI 1.50 to 2.64), whereas living in a household of 3 or more persons was a relative risk for a suicide attempt (odds ratio 1.81; 95% CI 1.34 to 2.46). Referral to a psychiatrist or other mental health professionals occurred in 65% of the cases. GPs recalled having discussed suicidal ideation in only 7% of the cases, and in retrospect estimated that they had foreseen suicide or suicide attempts in 31% and 22% of the cases, respectively, if there had been contact in the preceding month.
Conclusion
With regard to the prescription of antidepressants and referral of suicidal patients to a psychiatrist, Dutch GPs fulfil their role as gatekeeper satisfactorily. However, since few patients discuss their suicidal ideation with their GP, there is room for improvement. GPs should take the lead to make this subject debatable. It may improve early recognition of depressed patients at risk and accelerate their referral to mental health professionals.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-45
PMCID: PMC1291363  PMID: 16271136
8.  Frequent attenders in general practice: problem solving treatment provided by nurses [ISRCTN51021015] 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:42.
Background
There is a need for assistance from primary care mental health workers in general practice in the Netherlands. General practitioners (GPs) experience an overload of frequent attenders suffering from psychological problems. Problem Solving Treatment (PST) is a brief psychological treatment tailored for use in a primary care setting. PST is provided by nurses, and earlier research has shown that it is a treatment at least as effective as usual care. However, research outcomes are not totally satisfying. This protocol describes a randomized clinical trial on the effectiveness of PST provided by nurses for patients in general practice. The results of this study, which currently being carried out, will be presented as soon as they are available.
Methods/design
This study protocol describes the design of a randomized controlled trial to investigate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of PST and usual care compared to usual care only.
Patients, 18 years and older, who present psychological problems and are frequent attenders in general practice are recruited by the research assistant. The participants receive questionnaires at baseline, after the intervention, and again after 3 months and 9 months. Primary outcome is the reduction of symptoms, and other outcomes measured are improvement in problem solving skills, psychological and physical well being, daily functioning, social support, coping styles, problem evaluation and health care utilization.
Discussion
Our results may either confirm that PST in primary care is an effective way of dealing with emotional disorders and a promising addition to the primary care in the UK and USA, or may question this assumption. This trial will allow an evaluation of the effects of PST in practical circumstances and in a rather heterogeneous group of primary care patients. This study delivers scientific support for this use and therefore indications for optimal treatment and referral.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-42
PMCID: PMC1260018  PMID: 16221299
9.  A qualitative study of the impact of the implementation of advanced access in primary healthcare on the working lives of general practice staff 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:39.
Background
The North American model of 'advanced access' has been emulated by the National Primary Care Collaborative in the UK as a way of improving patients' access in primary care. The aim of this study was to explore the impact of the implementation of advanced access on the working lives of general practice staff.
Methods
A qualitative study design, using semi-structured interviews, was conducted with 18 general practice staff: 6 GPs, 6 practice managers and 6 receptionists. Two neighbouring boroughs in southeast England were used as the study sites. NUD*IST computer software assisted in data management to identify concepts, categories and themes of the data. A framework approach was used to analyse the data.
Results
Whilst practice managers and receptionists saw advanced access as having a positive effect on their working lives, the responses of general practitioners (GPs) were more ambivalent. Receptionists reported improvements in their working lives with a change in their role from gatekeepers for appointments to providing access to appointments, fewer confrontations with patients, and greater job satisfaction. Practice managers perceived reductions in work stress from fewer patient complaints, better use of time, and greater flexibility for contingency planning. GPs recognised benefits in terms of improved consultations, but had concerns about the impact on workload and continuity of care.
Conclusion
AA has improved working conditions for receptionists, converting their perceived role from gatekeeper to access facilitator, and for practice managers as patients were more satisfied. GP responses were more ambivalent, as they experienced both positive and negative effects.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-39
PMCID: PMC1249563  PMID: 16188036
10.  A randomized trial of mail vs. telephone invitation to a community-based cardiovascular health awareness program for older family practice patients [ISRCTN61739603] 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:35.
Background
Family physicians can play an important role in encouraging patients to participate in community-based health promotion initiatives designed to supplement and enhance their in-office care. Our objectives were to determine effective approaches to invite older family practice patients to attend cardiovascular health awareness sessions in community pharmacies, and to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a program incorporating invitation by physicians and feedback to physicians.
Methods
We conducted a prospective randomized trial with 1 family physician practice and 5 community pharmacies in Dundas, Ontario. Regular patients 65 years or older (n = 235) were randomly allocated to invitation by mail or telephone to attend pharmacy cardiovascular health awareness sessions led by volunteer peer health educators. A health record review captured blood pressure status, monitoring and control. At the sessions, volunteers helped patients to measure blood pressure using in-store machines and a validated portable device (BPM-100), and recorded blood pressure readings and self-reported cardiovascular risk factors. We compared attendance rates in the mail and telephone invitation groups and explored factors potentially associated with attendance.
Results
The 119 patients invited by mail and 116 patients contacted by telephone had a mean age of 75.7 (SD, 6.4) years and 46.8% were male. Overall, 58.3% (137/235) of invitees attended a pharmacy cardiovascular health awareness session. Patients invited by telephone were more likely to attend than those invited by mail (72.3% vs. 44.0%, OR 3.3; 95%CI 1.9–5.7; p < 0.001).
Conclusion
While the attendance in response to a telephone invitation was higher, response to a single letter was substantial. Attendance rates indicated considerable interest in community-based cardiovascular health promotion activities. A large-scale trial of a pharmacy cardiovascular health awareness program for older primary care patients is feasible.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-35
PMCID: PMC1208877  PMID: 16111487
11.  Procalcitonin-guided antibiotic use versus a standard approach for acute respiratory tract infections in primary care: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial and baseline characteristics of participating general practitioners [ISRCTN73182671] 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:34.
Background
Acute respiratory tract infections (ARTI) are among the most frequent reasons for consultations in primary care. Although predominantly viral in origin, ARTI often lead to the prescription of antibiotics for ambulatory patients, mainly because it is difficult to distinguish between viral and bacterial infections. Unnecessary antibiotic use, however, is associated with increased drug expenditure, side effects and antibiotic resistance. A novel approach is to guide antibiotic therapy by procalcitonin (ProCT), since serum levels of ProCT are elevated in bacterial infections but remain lower in viral infections and inflammatory diseases.
The aim of this trial is to compare a ProCT-guided antibiotic therapy with a standard approach based on evidence-based guidelines for patients with ARTI in primary care.
Methods/Design
This is a randomised controlled trial in primary care with an open intervention. Adult patients judged by their general practitioner (GP) to need antibiotics for ARTI are randomised in equal numbers either to standard antibiotic therapy or to ProCT-guided antibiotic therapy. Patients are followed-up after 1 week by their GP and after 2 and 4 weeks by phone interviews carried out by medical students blinded to the goal of the trial.
Exclusion criteria for patients are antibiotic use in the previous 28 days, psychiatric disorders or inability to give written informed consent, not being fluent in German, severe immunosuppression, intravenous drug use, cystic fibrosis, active tuberculosis, or need for immediate hospitalisation.
The primary endpoint is days with restrictions from ARTI within 14 days after randomisation. Secondary outcomes are antibiotic use in terms of antibiotic prescription rate and duration of antibiotic treatment in days, days off work and days with side-effects from medication within 14 days, and relapse rate from the infection within 28 days after randomisation.
Discussion
We aim to include 600 patients from 50 general practices in the Northwest of Switzerland. Data from the registry of the Swiss Medical Association suggests that our recruited GPs are representative of all eligible GPs with respect to age, proportion of female physicians, specialisation, years of postgraduate training and years in private practice.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-34
PMCID: PMC1190167  PMID: 16107222
12.  Perceived barriers for treatment of chronic heart failure in general practice; are they affecting performance? 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:19.
Background
The aim of this study is to determine to what extent barriers perceived by general practitioners (GPs) for prescribing angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-I) in chronic heart failure (CHF) patients are related to underuse and underdosing of these drugs in actual practice.
Methods
Barriers were assessed with a semi-structured questionnaire. Prescribing data were extracted from GPs' computerised medical records for a random sample of their CHF patients. Relations between barriers and prescribing behaviour were assessed by means of Spearman rank correlation and multivariate regression modelling.
Results
GPs prescribed ACE-I to 45% of their patients and had previously initiated such treatment in an additional 3.5%, in an average standardised dose of 13.5 mg. They perceived a median of four barriers in prescribing ACE-I or optimising ACE-I dose. Many GPs found it difficult to change treatment initiated by a cardiologist. Furthermore, initiating ACE-I in patients already using a diuretic or stable on their current medication was perceived as barrier. Titrating the ACE-I dose was seen as difficult by more than half of the GPs. No significant relationships could be found between the barriers perceived and actual ACE-I prescribing. Regarding ACE-I dosing, the few GPs who did not agree that the ACE-I should be as high as possible prescribed higher ACE-I doses.
Conclusion
Variation between GPs in prescribing ACE-I for CHF cannot be explained by differences in the barriers they perceive. Tailor-made interventions targeting only those doctors that perceive a specific barrier will therefore not be an efficient approach to improve quality of care.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-19
PMCID: PMC1131898  PMID: 15869704
13.  General Practitioners' opinions on their practice in mental health and their collaboration with mental health professionals 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:18.
Background
Common mental health problems are mainly treated in primary care settings and collaboration with mental health services is needed. Prior to re-organisation of the mental health care offer in a geographical area, a study was organized: 1) to evaluate GPs' opinions on their day-to-day practice with Patients with Mental Health Problems (PMHP) and on relationships with Mental Health Professionals (MHPro); 2) to identify factors associated with perceived need for collaboration with MHPro and with actual collaboration.
Methods
All GPs in the South Yvelines area in France (n = 492) were informed of the implementation of a local mental health program. GPs interested in taking part (n = 180) were invited to complete a satisfaction questionnaire on their practice in the field of Mental Health and to include prospectively all PMHP consultants over an 8-day period (n = 1519). For each PMHP, data was collected on demographic and clinical profile, and on needs (met v. unmet) for collaboration with MHPro.
Results
A majority of GPs rated PMHP as requiring more care (83.4%), more time (92.3%), more frequent consultations (64.0%) and as being more difficult to refer (87.7%) than other patients. A minority of GPs had a satisfactory relationship with private psychiatrists (49.5%), public psychiatrists (35%) and social workers (27.8%). 53.9% had a less satisfactory relationship with MHPro than with other physicians.
Needs for collaboration with a MHPro were more often felt in caring for PMHP who were young, not in employment, with mental health problems lasting for more than one year, with a history of psychiatric hospitalization, and showing reluctance to talk of psychological problems and to consult a MHPro.
Needs for collaboration were more often met among PMHP with past psychiatric consultation or hospitalization and when the patient was not reluctant to consult a MHPro. Where needs were not met, GP would opt for the classic procedure of mental health referral for only 31.3% of their PMHP.
Conclusion
GPs need targeted collaboration with MHPro to support their management of PMHP, whom they are willing to care for without systematic referral to specialists as the major therapeutic option.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-18
PMCID: PMC1131897  PMID: 15865624
14.  Influence of intense multidisciplinary follow-up and orlistat on weight reduction in a primary care setting 
Background
Obesity is the most common health problem in developed countries. Recently, several physicians' organizations have issued recommendations for treating obesity to family physicians, including instructions in nutrition, physical activity and medications. The aim of this study was to examine if effective weight-reducing treatment can be given by a family physician. It compares regular treatment with intensive treatment that include close follow-up and orlistat treatment.
Methods
The study was conducted in three primary care clinics. 225 patients were divided into three groups according to their choice. Group A received a personal diet with fortnightly meetings with the family physician and dietitian and orlistat treatment. Group B received a general diet, monthly meetings with the family physician only and orlistat treatment. Group C received a personal diet, monthly meetings with the dietitian only and no drug treatment. The primary endpoint was reduction of at least 5% of the initial weight during the study period.
Results
A greater percentage of patients in group A achieved their weight reduction goals than in other groups (51%, 13% and 9% in groups A, B and C, respectively, p < 0.001). There was a significant reduction in triglycerides in all groups, a significant reduction of low density lipids (LDL) in groups A and B and no significant difference in high density lipids (HDL) in any group.
Conclusions
Significant weight reduction was obtained in a family physician setting. Further research is needed to evaluate if, by providing the family physician with the proper tools, similar success can be achieved in more clinics.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-5
PMCID: PMC548505  PMID: 15679893
15.  Assessment of dizziness among older patients at a family practice clinic: a chart audit study 
Background
Dizziness is a common complaint among the elderly with a prevalence of over 30% in people over the age of 65. Although it is a common problem the assessment and management of dizziness in the elderly is challenging for family physicians. There is little published research which assesses the quality of dizziness assessment and management by family physicians.
Methods
We conducted a retrospective, chart audit study of patients with dizziness attending the Sunnybrook Family Practice Center of Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Center (SWCHSC) in Toronto. We audited a random sample of 50 charts of patients from 310 eligible charts. Quality indicators across all dizziness subtypes were assessed. These quality indicators included: onset and course of symptoms; symptoms in patients' own words; number of medications used; postural blood pressure changes; symptoms of depression or anxiety; falls; syncope; diagnosis; outcome; specialty referrals. Quality indicators specific to each dizziness subtype were also audited.
Results
310 charts satisfied inclusion criteria with 20 charts excluded and 50 charts were randomly generated. Documentation of key quality indicators in the management of dizziness was sub-optimal. Charts documenting patients' dizziness symptoms in their own words were more likely to have a clinical diagnosis compared to charts without (P = 0.002).
Conclusions
Documentation of selected key quality indicators could be improved, especially that of patients' symptoms in their own words.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-2
PMCID: PMC546211  PMID: 15636636
16.  Chaperone use during intimate examinations in primary care: postal survey of family physicians 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:52.
Background
Physicians have long been advised to have a third party present during certain parts of a physical examination; however, little is known about the frequency of chaperone use for those specific intimate examinations regularly performed in primary care. We aimed to determine the frequency of chaperone use among family physicians across a variety of intimate physical examinations for both male and female patients, and also to identify the factors associated with chaperone use.
Methods
Questionnaires were mailed to a randomly selected sample of 500 Ontario members of the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Participants were asked about their use of chaperones when performing a variety of intimate examinations, namely female pelvic, breast, and rectal exams and male genital and rectal exams.
Results
276 of 500 were returned (56%), of which 257 were useable. Chaperones were more commonly used with female patients than with males (t = 9.09 [df = 249], p < 0.001), with the female pelvic exam being the most likely of the five exams to be attended by a chaperone (53%). As well, male physicians were more likely to use chaperones for examination of female patients than were female physicians for the examination of male patients. Logistic regression analyses identified two independent factors – sex of physician and availability of a nurse – that were significantly associated with chaperone use. For female pelvic exam, male physicians were significantly more likely to report using a chaperone (adjusted Odds Ratio [OR] 40.62, 95% confidence interval [CI] 16.91–97.52). Likewise, having a nurse available also significantly increased the likelihood of a chaperone being used (adjusted OR 6.92, 95% CI 2.74–17.46). This pattern of results was consistent across the other four exams. Approximately two-thirds of respondents reported using nurses as chaperones, 15% cited the use of other office staff, and 10% relied on the presence of a family member.
Conclusion
Clinical practice concerning the use of chaperones during intimate exams continues to be discordant with the recommendations of medical associations and medico-legal societies. Chaperones are used by only a minority of Ontario family physicians. Chaperone use is higher for examinations of female patients than of male patients and is highest for female pelvic exams. The availability of a nurse in the clinic to act as a chaperone is associated with more frequent use of chaperones.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-52
PMCID: PMC1360073  PMID: 16371153
17.  Difficulties associated with outpatient management of drug abusers by general practitioners. A cross-sectional survey of general practitioners with and without methadone patients in Switzerland 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:51.
Background
In Switzerland, general practitioners (GPs) manage most of the patients receiving methadone maintenance treatment (MMT).
Methods
Using a cross-sectional postal survey of GPs who treat MMT patients and GPs who do not, we studied the difficulties encountered in the out-patient management of drug-addicted patients. We sent a questionnaire to every GP with MMT patients (556) in the French-speaking part of Switzerland (1,757,000 inhabitants). We sent another shorter questionnaire to primary care physicians without MMT patients living in the Swiss Canton of Vaud.
Results
The response rate was 63.3%. The highest methadone dose given by GPs to MMT patients averaged 120.4 mg/day. When asked about help they would like to be given, GPs with MMT patients primarily mentioned the importance of receiving adequate fees for the care they provide. Secondly, they mentioned the importance of better training, better knowledge of psychiatric pathologies, and discussion groups on practical cases. GPs without MMT patients refuse to treat these patients mostly for emotional and relational reasons.
Conclusion
GPs encounter financial, relational and emotional difficulties with MMT patients. They desire better fees for services and better training.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-51
PMCID: PMC1351183  PMID: 16364176
18.  A rare case of disseminated cutaneous zoster in an immunocompetent patient 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:50.
Background
Disseminated cutaneous herpes zoster in healthy persons is uncommon, though it has been described in immunocompromised patients.
Case presentation
We describe a case of disseminated cutaneous herpes zoster in an elderly man with no apparent immunosuppressive condition. The patient was treated successfully with intravenous Acyclovir.
Conclusion
We suggest that disseminated zoster can occur in an immunocompetent host and should be promptly recognized and treated to prevent serious complications.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-50
PMCID: PMC1327670  PMID: 16351732
19.  Primary healthcare provision and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: a survey of patients' and General Practitioners' beliefs 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:49.
Background
The current study was conducted as part of a research project into the evaluation and assessment of healthcare provision and education in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). One aim of the study was the development of informative and educational literature for both General Practitioners (GP) and sufferers. Issues such as diagnosis, management and treatment of the syndrome should be included in information booklets written by healthcare professionals. It was important to begin the process by assessing the level of specialist knowledge that existed in typical GP surgeries. This data would then be compared to data from CFS patients.
Method
197 survey booklets were sent to CFS sufferers from an existing research panel. The patients approached for the purpose of the study had been recruited onto the panel following diagnosis of their illness at a specialised CFS outpatient clinic in South Wales. A further 120 booklets were sent to GP surgeries in the Gwent Health Authority region in Wales.
Results
Results from the study indicate that the level of specialist knowledge of CFS in primary care remains low. Only half the GP respondents believed that the condition actually exists.
Conclusion
Steps are recommended to increase the knowledge base by compiling helpful and informative material for GPs and patient groups.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-49
PMCID: PMC1325235  PMID: 16351714
20.  How and why community hospital clinicians document a positive screen for intimate partner violence: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:48.
Background
This two-part study examines primary care clinicians' chart documentation and attitudes when confronted by a positive waiting room screen for intimate partner violence (IPV).
Methods
Patients at community hospital-affiliated health centers completed a screening questionnaire in waiting rooms that primary care providers (PCPs) were subsequently given at the time of the visit. We first reviewed the medical records of patients who screened positive for IPV, evaluating the presence and quality of documentation. Next we administered a survey to PCPs that measured their knowledge, attitudes and practice regarding IPV.
Results
Seventy-two percent of charts contained some documentation of IPV, however only 10% contained both a referral and safety plan. PCPs were more likely to refer patients (p < .05) who screened positively for mood or anxiety disorders, disclosed that they feared for their safety or were economically disadvantaged. Those that feared for their safety or endorsed mood or anxiety disorders were more likely to have notation of a safety plan in their records. When surveyed, 81.6% of clinicians strongly agreed that it is their role to inquire about IPV, but only 68% expressed confidence in their ability to manage it. In contrast, 93% expressed confidence in managing depression. Sixty-seven percent identified time constraints as a barrier to care. Predictors of PCP confidence in treating patients who have experienced IPV (p < .05) included hours of recent training and clinical experience with IPV.
Conclusion
Mandatory waiting room screening for IPV does not result in high levels of referral or safety planning by PCPs. Despite the implementation of a screening process, clinicians lack confidence and time to address IPV in their patient populations suggesting that alternative methods of training and supporting PCPs need to be developed.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-48
PMCID: PMC1318461  PMID: 16297245
21.  Effects of screening and brief intervention training on resident and faculty alcohol intervention behaviours: a pre- post-intervention assessment 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:46.
Background
Many hazardous and harmful drinkers do not receive clinician advice to reduce their drinking. Previous studies suggest under-detection and clinician reluctance to intervene despite awareness of problem drinking (PD). The Healthy Habits Project previously reported chart review data documenting increased screening and intervention with hazardous and harmful drinkers after training clinicians and implementing routine screening. This report describes the impact of the Healthy Habits training program on clinicians' rates of identification of PD, level of certainty in identifying PD and the proportion of patients given advice to reduce alcohol use, based on self-report data using clinician exit questionnaires.
Methods
28 residents and 10 faculty in a family medicine residency clinic completed four cycles of clinician exit interview questionnaires before and after screening and intervention training. Rates of identifying PD, level of diagnostic certainty, and frequency of advice to reduce drinking were compared across intervention status (pre vs. post). Findings were compared with rates of PD and advice to reduce drinking documented on chart review.
Results
1,052 clinician exit questionnaires were collected. There were no significant differences in rates of PD identified before and after intervention (9.8% vs. 7.4%, p = .308). Faculty demonstrated greater certainty in PD diagnoses than residents (p = .028) and gave more advice to reduce drinking (p = .042) throughout the program. Faculty and residents reported higher levels of diagnostic certainty after training (p = .039 and .030, respectively). After training, residents showed greater increases than faculty in the percentage of patients given advice to reduce drinking (p = .038), and patients felt to be problem drinkers were significantly more likely to receive advice to reduce drinking by all clinicians (50% vs. 75%, p = .047). The number of patients receiving advice to reduce drinking after program implementation exceeded the number of patients felt to be problem drinkers. Recognition rates of PD were four to eight times higher than rates documented on chart review (p = .028).
Conclusion
This program resulted in greater clinician certainty in diagnosing PD and increases in the number of patients with PD who received advice to reduce drinking. Future programs should include booster training sessions and emphasize documentation of PD and brief intervention.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-46
PMCID: PMC1310533  PMID: 16271146
22.  A framework to evaluate research capacity building in health care 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:44.
Background
Building research capacity in health services has been recognised internationally as important in order to produce a sound evidence base for decision-making in policy and practice. Activities to increase research capacity for, within, and by practice include initiatives to support individuals and teams, organisations and networks. Little has been discussed or concluded about how to measure the effectiveness of research capacity building (RCB)
Discussion
This article attempts to develop the debate on measuring RCB. It highlights that traditional outcomes of publications in peer reviewed journals and successful grant applications may be important outcomes to measure, but they may not address all the relevant issues to highlight progress, especially amongst novice researchers. They do not capture factors that contribute to developing an environment to support capacity development, or on measuring the usefulness or the 'social impact' of research, or on professional outcomes.
The paper suggests a framework for planning change and measuring progress, based on six principles of RCB, which have been generated through the analysis of the literature, policy documents, empirical studies, and the experience of one Research and Development Support Unit in the UK. These principles are that RCB should: develop skills and confidence, support linkages and partnerships, ensure the research is 'close to practice', develop appropriate dissemination, invest in infrastructure, and build elements of sustainability and continuity. It is suggested that each principle operates at individual, team, organisation and supra-organisational levels. Some criteria for measuring progress are also given.
Summary
This paper highlights the need to identify ways of measuring RCB. It points out the limitations of current measurements that exist in the literature, and proposes a framework for measuring progress, which may form the basis of comparison of RCB activities. In this way it could contribute to establishing the effectiveness of these interventions, and establishing a knowledge base to inform the science of RCB.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-44
PMCID: PMC1289281  PMID: 16253133
23.  Satisfaction is not all – patients' perceptions of outcome of general practice consultations, a qualitative study 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:43.
Background
Evaluation of outcome in general practice can be seen from different viewpoints. In this study we focus on the concepts patients use to describe the outcome of a consultation with a GP.
Method
Patients were interviewed within a week after a consultation with a GP. The interviews were made with 20 patients in 5 focus groups and 8 individually. They were analysed with a phenomenographic research approach.
Results
From the patient's perspective, the outcome of a consultation is about cure or symptom relief, understanding, confirmation, reassurance, change in self-perception and satisfaction.
Conclusion
General practice consultations are often more important for patients than generally supposed. Understanding is the most basic concept.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-43
PMCID: PMC1276792  PMID: 16242048
24.  The future prospects of Lithuanian family physicians: a 10-year forecasting study 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:41.
Background
When health care reform was started in 1991, the physician workforce in Lithuania was dominated by specialists, and the specialty of family physician (FP) did not exist at all. During fifteen years of Lithuania's independence this specialty evolved rapidly and over 1,900 FPs were trained or retrained. Since 2003, the Lithuanian health care sector has undergone restructuring to optimize the network of health care institutions as well as the delivery of services; specific attention has been paid to the development of services provided by FPs, with more health care services shifted from the hospital level to the primary health care level. In this paper we analyze if an adequate workforce of FPs will be available in the future to take over new emerging tasks.
Methods
A computer spreadsheet simulation model was used to project the supply of FPs in 2006–2015. The supply was projected according to three scenarios, which took into account different rates of retirement, migration and drop out from training. In addition different population projections and enrolment numbers in residency programs were also considered. Three requirement scenarios were made using different approaches. In the first scenario we used the requirement estimated by a panel of experts using the Delphi technique. The second scenario was based on the number of visits to FPs in 2003 and took into account the goal to increase the number of visits. The third scenario was based on the determination that one FP should serve no more than 2,000 inhabitants. The three scenarios for the projection of supply were compared with the three requirement scenarios.
Results
The supply of family physicians will be higher in 2015 compared to 2005 according to all projection scenarios. The largest differences in the supply scenarios were caused by different migration rates, enrolment numbers to training programs and the retirement age. The second supply scenario, which took into account 1.1% annual migration rate, stable enrolment to residency programs and later retirement, appears to be the most probable. The first requirement scenario, which was based on the opinion of well-informed key experts in the field, appears to be the best reflection of FP requirements; however none of the supply scenarios considered would satisfy these requirements.
Conclusion
Despite the rapid expansion of the FP workforce during the last fifteen years, ten-year forecasts of supply and requirement indicate that the number of FPs in 2015 will not be sufficient. The annual enrolment in residency training programs should be increased by at least 20% for the next three years. Accurate year-by-year monitoring of the workforce is crucial in order to prevent future shortages and to maintain the desired family physician workforce.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-41
PMCID: PMC1262706  PMID: 16202148
25.  Length of patient-physician relationship and patients' satisfaction and preventive service use in the rural south: a cross-sectional telephone study 
BMC Family Practice  2005;6:40.
Background
Physicians and patients highly value continuity in health care. Continuity can be measured in several ways but few studies have examined the specific association between the duration of the patient-doctor relationship and patient outcomes. This study (1) examines characteristics of rural adults who have had longer relationships with their physicians and (2) assesses if the length of relationship is associated with patients' satisfaction and likelihood of receiving recommended preventive services.
Methods
Cross-sectional telephone survey of health care access indicators of adults in selected non-metropolitan counties of eight U.S. predominantly southern states. Analyses were restricted to adults who see a particular physician for their care and weighted for demographics and county sampling probabilities.
Results
Of 3176 eligible respondents, 10.8% saw the same physician for the past 12 months, 11.8% for the previous 13–24 months, 20.7% for the past 25–60 months and 56.7% for more than 60 months. Compared to persons with one year or less continuity with the same physician, respondents with over five years continuity more often were Caucasian, insured, a high school graduate, and more often reported good to excellent health and an income above $25,000. Compared to those with more than five years of continuity, participants with either less than one year or one to two years of continuity with the same physician were more often not satisfied with their overall health care (OR 2.34; OR 1.78), participants with less than one year continuity were more often not satisfied with the concern shown them by their physician (O.R. 1.90) and having their health questions answered, and those with one to two years continuity were more often not satisfied with the quality of their care (OR 2.37). No significant associations were found between physician continuity and use rates of any of the queried preventive services.
Conclusion
Over half of this rural population has seen the same physician for more than five years. Longer continuity of care was associated with greater patient satisfaction and confidence in one's physician, but not with a greater likelihood of receiving recommended preventive services.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-6-40
PMCID: PMC1262705  PMID: 16202146

Results 1-25 (52)