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BMJ. 2000 Feb 19;320(7233):484-8.

Misunderstandings in prescribing decisions in general practice: qualitative study.

Author information

1
Guy's, King's, and St Thomas's Department of General Practice and Primary Care, King's College, London SE11 6SP. nicky.britten@kcl.ac.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To identify and describe misunderstandings between patients and doctors associated with prescribing decisions in general practice.

DESIGN:

Qualitative study.

SETTING:

20 general practices in the West Midlands and south east England.

PARTICIPANTS:

20 general practitioners and 35 consulting patients.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Misunderstandings between patients and doctors that have potential or actual adverse consequences for taking medicine.

RESULTS:

14 categories of misunderstanding were identified relating to patient information unknown to the doctor, doctor information unknown to the patient, conflicting information, disagreement about attribution of side effects, failure of communication about doctor's decision, and relationship factors. All the misunderstandings were associated with lack of patients' participation in the consultation in terms of the voicing of expectations and preferences or the voicing of responses to doctors' decisions and actions. They were all associated with potential or actual adverse outcomes such as non-adherence to treatment. Many were based on inaccurate guesses and assumptions. In particular doctors seemed unaware of the relevance of patients' ideas about medicines for successful prescribing.

CONCLUSIONS:

Patients' participation in the consultation and the adverse consequences of lack of participation are important. The authors are developing an educational intervention that builds on these findings.

PMID:
10678863
PMCID:
PMC27293
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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