Symptoms are common in primary care. Besides providing thorough assessment of possible severe disease, the general practitioner (GP) must ensure good health care to all patients, irrespective of diagnoses. We aimed to explore patient satisfaction with the provided care and how well expectations in patients were met when no diagnosis was made during the consultation.
Cross-sectional study based on a questionnaire survey conducted in 2008-2009 among 377 GPs and their patients in the Central Denmark Region. A total of 2286 patients completed a questionnaire after the consultation (response rate: 54 %). The questionnaire included four satisfaction items from the EUROPEP instrument and a question about unmet expectations. For each patient, the GP answered a one-page registration form including information about the main problem in the consultation, chronic disorders and assessment of prognosis. Statistical analyses were adjusted for patient characteristics and GP clustering.
A higher proportion of patients reported illness worry (20 vs. 17 %, p-value: 0.005), unmet expectations (17 vs. 13 %, p-value: 0.019) and dissatisfaction with their GP after the consultation when no diagnosis was made. Dissatisfaction was primarily related to the medical examination (adjusted OR 1.30; 95 % CI: 1.06-1.60) and GP explanations (adjusted OR 1.40; 95 % CI: 1.14-1.71). Exploratory analyses revealed an association between dissatisfaction with examination and the GP assessment that symptoms were unrelated to biomedical disease. This association was found both in patients with 'symptoms only' and patients given a specific diagnosis.
GPs are challenged by patients presenting symptoms that do not fit the patterns of biomedical diagnoses. The current study demonstrates more illness worry, unmet expectations and dissatisfaction with the consultation in these patients compared to patients receiving a diagnosis. This trend is true for all patients assessed as having 'symptoms only' at the end of a consultation and not only for the minority group with 'medically unexplained symptoms'. As primary care is the frontline of the health-care system, symptoms are managed as the main problem in almost one in three consultations. It is about time that we take the same professional approach to symptoms as we have done for years to biomedical disease.
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The aim was to study symptoms managed as the main problem by the general practitioner (GP) and to describe the frequencies and characteristics of presented symptoms when no specific diagnosis could be made.
Cross- sectional study.
General practices in the Central Denmark Region.
In total, 397 GPs included patients with face-to-face contacts during one randomly assigned day in 2008-2009; 7008 patients were included and 5232 presented with a health problem.
GPs answered a questionnaire after each patient contact. Symptoms and specific diagnoses were subsequently classified using the International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC). Symptom frequency, comorbidity, consultation length, and GP-assessed final outcome and burden of consultations were analysed.
The GPs could not establish a specific diagnosis in 36% of patients with health problems. GPs expected that presented symptoms would not result in a future specific diagnosis for half of these patients. Musculoskeletal (lower limb and back) and respiratory (cough) symptoms were most frequent. More GPs had demanding consultations when no specific diagnosis could be made. Higher burden was associated with age, comorbidity, and GP expectancy of persistent symptoms when no diagnosis could be made.
Interpretation and management of symptoms is a key task in primary care. As symptoms are highly frequent in general practice, symptoms without a specific diagnosis constitute a challenge to GPs. Nevertheless, symptoms have been given little priority in research. More attention should be directed to evidence-based management of symptoms as a generic phenomenon to ensure improved outcomes in the future.
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To study all-cause mortality and pharmacological treatment intensity in relation to baseline glucose metabolism and HbA1c following high risk screening for diabetes in primary care.
Persons aged 40-69 years (N=163,185) received mailed diabetes risk questionnaires. 20,916 persons without diabetes but with high risk of diabetes were stratified by glucose metabolism (normal glucose tolerance (NGT), dysglycemia (IFG or IGT) or diabetes) and by HbA1c at screening (
Comment In: Prim Care Diabetes. 2012 Dec;6(4):341-222917774
Bodily distress syndrome (BDS) is a newly proposed diagnosis for functional disorders. The diagnosis is based on empirical research, but little is known about the course of the disease. We aimed to study the prognosis in terms of diagnosis stability over time.
A longitudinal study of 1356 primary care patients with 2-year follow-up was conducted in the Central Denmark Region. Data were obtained from family physician registration forms, patient questionnaires (including a BDS checklist) and nationwide registries. Complete data were available for 1001 patients (73.8%).
Overall, 146 persons [14.6%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 12.5-16.9] fulfilled the criteria for BDS at baseline and 142 persons (14.2%, CI: 12.1-16.5) at follow-up. Among study participants with BDS at baseline, 56.8% (CI: 48.4-65.0) also had BDS at follow-up. Multiorgan BDS tended to be more persistent (81.8%, CI: 48.2-97.7) than single-organ BDS (54.8%, CI: 46.0-63.4). Patients with BDS had fewer socioeconomic resources, experienced more emotional distress, and used more opioids and medical services.
BDS is a common clinical condition being prone to chronicity; one in seven primary care patients met the criteria for BDS, and more than half of these patients still suffered from BDS 2 years later.
Bodily distress syndrome (BDS) is a newly proposed diagnosis of medically unexplained symptoms, which is based on empirical research in primary care.
To estimate the frequency of BDS in primary care and describe the characteristics of patients with BDS.
A cross-sectional study of primary care patients in urban and rural areas of Central Denmark Region.
Data were obtained from GP one-page registration forms, patient questionnaires (including a checklist for BDS), and national registers.
A total of 1356 primary care patients were included, of whom 230 patients (17.0%, 95% confidence intervals [CI] = 15.0 to 19.1) fulfilled the BDS criteria. BDS was more common among primary care patients aged 41-65 years (odds ratio [OR] = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.3 to 3.0) and was equally frequent among males and females (female sex, OR 0.9, 95% CI = 0.6 to 1.3). Patients with BDS were characterised by poor health-related quality of life (HRQOL) on the 12-item Short-Form Health Survey, that is, physical component summary scores
Research Centre for Cancer Diagnosis in Primary Care (CaP), Research Unit for General Practice, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Bartholins Allé 2, 8000, Aarhus C, Denmark. LINE.HVIDBERG@PH.AU.DK.
The International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership aims to study international differences in cancer survival and the possible causes. Participating countries are Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the UK and a particular focus area is differences in awareness and beliefs about cancer. In this connection, the Awareness and Beliefs about Cancer (ABC) measure has been translated into multiple languages. The aim of this study is to appraise the translation process and measurement properties of the Danish version of the ABC measure.
The translation process included forward and backward translations and a pilot-test. Data quality was assessed using survey data from 3000 Danish respondents and content validity indexes were calculated based on judgments from ten academic researchers. Construct validity was determined by a confirmative factor analysis (CFA) and exploratory factor analyses (EFA) using survey data and a known group comparison analysis including 56 persons. Test-retest reliability was assessed based on responses from 123 person whom completed the interview twice with an interval of 2-3 weeks.
The translation process resulted in a Danish ABC measure conceptually equivalent to the English ABC measure. Data quality was acceptable in relation to non-response to individual items which was maximum 0.3%, but the percentage of respondents answering 'don't know' was above 3% for 16 out of 48 items. Content validity indexes showed that items adequately reflected and represented the constructs to be measured (item content validity indexes: 0.9-1.0; construct content validity indexes: 0.8-1.0). The hypothesised factor structure could not be replicated by a CFA, but EFA on each individual subscale showed that six out of seven subscales were unidimensional. The ABC measure discriminated well between non-medical academics and medical academics, but had some difficulties in discriminating between educational groups. Test-retest reliability was moderate to substantial for most items.
The Danish ABC measure is a useful measurement that is accepted and understood by the target group and with accepted measurement criteria for content validity and test-retest reliability. Future studies may further explore the factorial structure of the ABC measure and should focus on improving the response categories.
Cites: BMC Cancer. 2011 Aug 23;11:366 PMID 21859500
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The Relationship Scale Questionnaire (RSQ) is a widely-used measure of adult attachment, but whether the results obtained by the RSQ fit the attachment construct has only been examined to a limited extent.
The objectives of this study were to investigate the psychometric properties of the Danish translation of the RSQ and to test whether the results are consistent with the hypothesized model of attachment.
The study included two samples: 602 general practitioners and 611 cancer patients. The two samples were analyzed separately. Data quality was assessed by mean, median and missing values for each item, floor and ceiling effects, average inter-item correlations and Cronbach's a for each subscale. Test-retest was assessed by intra-class correlations among 76 general practitioners. A confirmatory factor analysis was conducted to establish evidence of the four proposed subscales. Due to an inadequate fit of the model, data was randomly split into two equally sized subsamples and an exploratory factor analysis was conducted for all 30 items in the first subsample comprised of 286 cancer patients and 285 general practitioners. The EFA yielded a three-factor structure which was validated through a confirmatory factor analyses in a second subsample comprised of 278 cancer patients and 289 general practitioners.
The data quality of the RSQ was generally good, except low internal consistency and low to moderate test-retest reliability. The four subscales of the RSQ were not confirmed by the confirmatory factor analysis. An exploratory factor analysis suggested a three-factor solution for both general practitioners and patients, which accounted for 61.1% of the variance among general practitioners and 62.5% among patients. The new three-factor solution was verified in a confirmatory factor analyses.
The proposed four-factor model of the RSQ could not be confirmed in this study. Similar challenges have been found by other studies validating the RSQ. An alternative three-factor structure was found for the RSQ.