GPs asking patients to self-rate their health: a qualitative study
2015 (English)In: British Journal of General Practice, ISSN 0960-1643, E-ISSN 1478-5242, Vol. 65, no 638, e624-e629 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
BACKGROUND: In epidemiological research, self-rated health is an independent predictor of mortality, cardiovascular diseases, and other critical outcomes. It is recommended for clinical use, but research is lacking.
AIM: To investigate what happens in consultations when the question 'How would you assess your general health compared with others your own age?' is posed.
DESIGN AND SETTING: Authentic consultations with GPs at health centres in Sweden.
METHOD: Thirty-three planned visits concerning diabetes, pain, or undiagnosed symptoms were voice-recorded. Dialogue regarding self-rated health was transcribed verbatim and analysed using a systematic text condensation method. Speaking time of patients and doctors was measured and the doctors' assessment of the value of the question was documented in a short questionnaire.
RESULTS: Two overarching themes are used to describe patients' responses to the question. First, there was an immediate reaction, often expressing strong emotions, setting the tone of the dialogue and influencing the continued conversation. This was followed by reflection regarding their functional ability, management of illnesses and risks, and/or situation in life. The GPs maintained an attitude of active listening. They sometimes reported a slight increase in consultation time or feeling disturbed by the question, but mostly judged it as valuable, shedding additional light on the patients' situation and making it easier to discuss difficulties and resources. The patients' speaking time increased noticeably during this part of the consultation.
CONCLUSION: Asking patients to comparatively self-rate their health is an effective tool in general practice.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
British Journal of General Practice , 2015. Vol. 65, no 638, e624-e629 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-108085DOI: 10.3399/bjgp15X686557ISI: 000361840400009PubMedID: 26324500OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-108085DiVA: diva2:851073
Funding: County Council of Norrbotten (references NLL-302621; NLL-363851; NLL-300901).2015-09-032015-09-032015-11-06Bibliographically approved