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General practitioners' perceptions of effective health care

Tomlin, Z.; Humphrey, C.; Rogers, S.; (1999) General practitioners' perceptions of effective health care. BMJ , 318 (7197) pp.1532 - 1535. Green open access


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Objectives: To explore general practitioners' perceptions of effective health care and its application in their own practice; to examine how these perceptions relate to assumptions about clinicians' values and behaviour implicit in the evidence based medicine approach. Design: A qualitative study using semistructured interviews. Setting: Eight general practices in North Thames region that were part of the Medical Research Council General Practice Research Framework. Participants: 24 general practitioners, three from each practice. Main outcome measures: Respondents' definitions of effective health care, reasons for not practising effectively according to their own criteria, sources of information used to answer clinical questions about patients, reasons for making changes in clinical practice. Results: Three categories of definitions emerged: clinical, patient related, and resource related. Patient factors were the main reason given for not practising effectively; others were lack of time, doctors' lack of knowledge and skills, lack of resources, and "human failings." Main sources of information used in situations of clinical uncertainty were general practitioner partners and hospital doctors. Contact with hospital doctors and observation of hospital practice were just as likely as information from medical and scientific literature to bring about changes in clinical practice. Conclusions: The findings suggest that the central assumptions of the evidence based medicine paradigm may not be shared by many general practitioners, making its application in general practice problematic. The promotion of effective care in general practice requires a broader vision and a more pragmatic approach which takes account of practitioners' concerns and is compatible with the complex nature of their work.

Type: Article
Title: General practitioners' perceptions of effective health care
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/reprint/318/7197/15...
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Primary Care and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/2014
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