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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


DELGADO, Ana et al. Patient expectations of decision making for distinct health problems. Gac Sanit [online]. 2010, vol.24, n.1, pp.66-71. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objectives: To identify patient expectations of clinical decision-making at consultations with their general practitioners for distinct health problems and to determine the patient and general practitioner characteristics related to these expectations, with special focus on gender. Methods: We performed a multicenter cross-sectional study in 360 patients who were interviewed at home. Data on patients' sociodemographic, clinical characteristics and satisfaction were gathered. General practitioners supplied information on their gender and postgraduate training in family medicine. A questionnaire was used to collect data on patients' expectations that their general practitioner «listen, explain, and take account of their opinion and on expectations of clinical decision making» at consultations with their general practitioner for five problems or hypothetical clinical scenarios (strong chest pain/cold with fever/abnormal discharge/depression or sadness/severe family problem). Patients were asked to indicate their preference that decisions on diagnosis and treatment be taken by: a) the general practitioner alone; b) the general practitioner, taking account of the patient's opinion; c) the patient, taking account of the general practitioner's opinion and d) the patient alone. A logistic regression was performed for clinical decision-making. Results: The response rate was 90%. The mean age was 47.3±16.5 years and 51% were female. Patients' expectations that their general practitioner listen, explain and take account of their opinions were higher than their expectations of participating in decision-making, depending on the problem in question: 32% wished to participate in chest pain and 49% in family problems. Women had lower expectations of participating in depression and family problems. Patients with female general practitioners had higher expectations of participating in family problems and colds. Conclusions: Most patients wished to be listened to, informed and taken into account by their general practitioners and, to a lesser extent, wished to take decisions autonomously, especially for biomedical problems.

Keywords : Decision-making; Patient expectations; Primary care.

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