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Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Apr;77(4 Suppl):1039S-1042S.

Dietitian-general practitioner interface: a pilot study on what influences the provision of effective nutrition management.

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Discipline of General Practice, School of Medical Practice and Population Health, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia.



Effective patient nutrition management can both improve people's health and reduce the cost of health care. In Australia, general practitioners (GPs) and dietitians are in a position to provide this service. However, there is a lack of information available on what influences the provision of the service.


The objective was to determine qualitative factors that influence nutrition management by GPs and dietitians.


A convenience sample of GPs and dietitians was surveyed using a qualitative questionnaire. The questionnaire related to issues including influences on the GP's decision to initiate nutrition management, barriers to providing nutrition counseling, influences on the GP's decision to refer to a dietitian, and barriers to referral.


Fourteen of 20 GPs and 15 of 30 dietitians responded with usable data. The primary influence on a GP's decision to initiate nutrition management (GPs' and dietitians' responses) was the presentation of a patient who required nutrition advice. Barriers to providing nutrition counseling were time and knowledge (GP response), whereas dietitians saw time and lack of patient interest as issues. The primary influence on the GP's decision to refer to a dietitian was a patient presenting with complicated nutrition requirements (GP response), whereas dietitians considered a patient seeking nutrition knowledge as the key influencer. GPs identified cost to the patient as the main barrier to referring to a dietitian, whereas dietitians saw lack of knowledge of where to refer as the key issue.


The differing responses suggest that more research is required to understand what influences patient nutrition management by GPs and dietitians in Australia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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