Self-Awareness of Performing Patient-Centered Medicine in General Practice / Family Medicine: Development of a Measurement Scale

Luiz Miguel Santiago, José Augusto Simões, Martinha Vale, Elleni de Faria, Pedro Lopes Ferreira, Inês Rosendo

Abstract


Introduction: Patient Centred Medicine is a method and a model of practicing allowing gains for both the doctor and the patient. Its practice must be evaluated for purposes of continuous professional development and continuous medical education. The aim of this study was to create an instrument focused in measuring the practice based on person centered medicine in general and family medicine, as well as in determining its reliability and validity.
Material and Methods: A first version of a questionnaire according to the four dimensions of the patient- centred clinical method was revised in a focus group providing the content validity. The final questionnaire includes 22 items, using a Likert scale with four response options. Factorial analysis made it possible to confirm the dimensions defined by Moira Stewart, and internal consistency, test-retest reproducibility and item-total correlations were determined. The online implementation of the questionnaire to a sample of 905 family doctors guaranteed the construct and criterion validities.
Results: The measurement instrument includes four dimensions: (i) exploring health, disease and the illness experience; (ii) investing in the doctor-patient relationship; (iii) seeking understanding; and (iv) understanding the whole person. The internal consistency was demonstrated with a global Cronbach’s alpha of 0.892, varying between 0.783 and 0.844 for all dimensions. The test-retest reproducibility obtained an intraclass correlation value between 0.678 and 1.000. The item-total correlations varied between 0.457 and 0.870. Women doctors are more aware than their colleagues about seeking understanding with the person, and young doctors are more susceptible to approach the disease through history and to seek understanding with the patient. Specialist physicians have shown to be more careful with the history and with viewing the patient as a whole and the professionals who work in a Family Health Unit are those who seek a better understanding with the person. Finally, specific training about person centered medicine and about consultation in person centered medicine demonstrated a positive impact in all dimensions of the person-centred medicine and this is acknowledged by professionals.
Discussion: The assessment of self-perception of person-centred medicine is now possible.
Conclusion: The questionnaire presents good reliability and validity, thus allowing doctors to assess their main weaknesses, as well as enabling the development of specific training.


Keywords


Clinical Method Focused on the Person; Doctor-Patient Relationship; General and Family Medicine; Person-Centered Medicine; Primary health care; Questionnaire; Reliability

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