How are patient characteristics relevant for physicians' clinical decision making in diabetes? An analysis of qualitative results from a cross-national factorial experiment

New England Research Institutes, Institute for Community Health Studies, 9 Galen Street, Watertown, MA 02472, United States.
Social Science [?] Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.56). 09/2008; 67(9):1391-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.07.005
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Variations in medical practice have been widely documented and are a linchpin in explanations of health disparities. Evidence shows that clinical decision making varies according to patient, provider and health system characteristics. However, less is known about the processes underlying these aggregate associations and how physicians interpret various patient attributes. Verbal protocol analysis (otherwise known as 'think-aloud') techniques were used to analyze open-ended data from 244 physicians to examine which patient characteristics physicians identify as relevant for their decision making. Data are from a vignette-based factorial experiment measuring the effects of: (a) patient attributes (age, gender, race and socioeconomic status); (b) physician characteristics (gender and years of clinical experience); and (c) features of the healthcare system in two countries (USA, United Kingdom) on clinical decision making for diabetes. We find that physicians used patients' demographic characteristics only as a starting point in their assessments, and proceeded to make detailed assessments about cognitive ability, motivation, social support and other factors they consider predictive of adherence with medical recommendations and therefore relevant to treatment decisions. These non-medical characteristics of patients were mentioned with much greater consistency than traditional biophysiologic markers of risk such as race, gender, and age. Types of explanations identified varied somewhat according to patient characteristics and to the country in which the interview took place. Results show that basic demographic characteristics are inadequate to the task of capturing information physicians draw from doctor-patient encounters, and that in order to fully understand differential clinical decision making there is a need to move beyond documentation of aggregate associations and further explore the mental and social processes at work.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is frequently managed by physiotherapists. Little is known about current physiotherapy practice and beliefs in the management of PGP disorders. The primary aim of this study was to investigate current practice and beliefs in management of PGP among physiotherapists working in Norway and Australia. A secondary aim was to compare current practice with clinical guidelines. A questionnaire was developed and electronically distributed to physiotherapists in Norway (n=65) and Australia (n=77). Treatment and management were determined via responses to 2 case vignettes (during pregnancy, not related to pregnancy), with participants selecting their four primary preferences for treatment and management from a list of 33 possibilities. During pregnancy, ‘education around instability’ and ‘soft tissue treatment’ were selected amongst the most common interventions by physiotherapists in both countries. Norwegian physiotherapists selected ‘pelvic floor exercises’ more frequently, while Australian physiotherapists more commonly selected ‘correcting functional impairments’. In the other case, common responses from both countries were ‘hip strengthening in weight bearing’ and ‘correction of functional impairments’. Norwegian physiotherapists selected ‘general physical exercise’ and ‘general education’ more frequently, while Australian physiotherapists more commonly selected ‘hip strengthening in non-weight bearing’ and ‘muscular relaxation of the abdominal wall/pelvic floor’. Beliefs about PGP were generally positive in both groups while knowledge of and adherence to clinical guidelines were limited. The findings provide direction for future research related to the management and treatment of PGP, and targets for education of physiotherapists working in this area.
    Manual Therapy 01/2014; 20(1). DOI:10.1016/j.math.2014.07.005 · 1.76 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Changing values and requirements are common occurrences in today's health care settings. Institutionally designed documentation templates are often developed to demonstrate that these changes have been incorporated into clinical work. Little research has been completed to examine whether the use of these institutional templates leads to the intended change or whether the changes clash with other influences on clinical work. This paper illustrates how two qualitative methods: think aloud interviews and frame analysis can be combined to examine the use of the templates, the changing values themselves, and the influences on changes in clinical practice. An analysis of local change from expert planning to person centered planning is used to illustrate the value of the approach. The analysis reveals influences that affect the adoption of this particular change, the usability of the template, and points of change that need to be negotiated with the users of those documents.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Clinical reasoning is generally defined as the numerous modes of thinking that guide clinical practice but little is known about the factors affecting how occupational therapists manage the decision-making process. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the factors influencing the clinical reasoning of occupational therapists. Methods: Twelve occupational therapy practitioners working in mental and physical dysfunction fields participated in this study. The sampling method was purposeful and interviews were continued until data saturation. All the interviews were recorded and transcribed. The data were analyzed through a qualitative content analysis method. Results: There were three main themes. The first theme: socio-cultural conditions included three subthemes: 1- client beliefs; 2- therapist values and beliefs; 3- social attitude to disability. The second theme: individual attributions included two subthemes 1- client attributions; 2- therapist attributions. The final theme was the workplace environment with the three subthemes: 1- knowledge of the managers of rehabilitation services, 2- working in an inter-professional team; 3- limited clinical facilities and resources. Conclusion: In this study, the influence of the attitudes and beliefs of client, therapist and society about illness, abilities and disabilities upon reasoning was different to previous studies. Understanding these factors, especially the socio-cultural beliefs basis can play a significant role in the quality of occupational therapy services. Accurate understanding of these influential factors requires more extensive qualitative and quantitative studies.
    Medical journal of the Islamic Republic of Iran 02/2014; 28.


Available from