Peat, GM ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9008-0184, Coxon, D, Frisher, M, Jinks, C, Jordan, KP ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4748-5335 and Paskins, Z ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7783-2986 (2015) The relative importance of perceived doctor's attitude on the decision to consult for symptomatic osteoarthritis: a choice-based conjoint analysis study. BMJ Open, 5 (10).

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Abstract

Objectives Some patients spend years with painful osteoarthritis without consulting for it, including times when they are experiencing persistent severe pain and disability. Beliefs about osteoarthritis and what primary care has to offer may influence the decision to consult but their relative importance has seldom been quantified. We sought to investigate the relative importance of perceived service-related and clinical need attributes in the decision to consult a primary care physician for painful osteoarthritis.

Design Partial-profile choice-based conjoint analysis study, using a self-complete questionnaire containing 10 choice tasks, each presenting two scenarios based on a combination of three out of six selected attributes.

Setting General population.

Participants Adults aged 50 years and over with hip, knee or hand pain registered with four UK general practices.

Outcome measures Relative importance of pain characteristics, level of disruption to everyday life, extent of comorbidity, assessment, management, perceived general practitioner (GP) attitude.

Results 863 (74%) people responded (55% female; mean age 70 years, range: 58–93). The most important determinants of the patient's decision to consult the GP for joint pain were the extent to which pain disrupted everyday life (‘most’ vs ‘none’: relative importance 31%) and perceived GP attitude (‘legitimate problem, requires treatment’ vs ‘part of the normal ageing process that one just has to accept’: 24%). Thoroughness of assessment (14%), management options offered (13%), comorbidity (13%) and pain characteristics (5%) were less strongly associated with the decision to consult.

Conclusions Anticipating that the GP will regard joint pain as ‘part of the normal ageing process that one just has to accept’ is a strong disincentive to seeking help, potentially outweighing other aspects of quality of care. Alongside the recognition and management of disrupted function, an important goal of each primary care consultation for osteoarthritis should be to avoid imparting or reinforcing this perception.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Primary Care Health Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2015 12:38
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2019 10:50
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/1204

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