Reflexivity--a strategy for a patient-centred approach in general practice. (1/169)

Reflexivity as a strategy in general practice can be used to implement a patient-centred approach in the consultation. General practice has long represented a tradition attempting to integrate both illness and disease. For the GP, it is natural to focus on the patient's whole situation, and the GP's experience with patients is often based on a long-term relationship. Reflexivity implies having a self-conscious account of the production of knowledge as it is being produced. We believe that GPs can gain access to additional knowledge by consciously using reflexivity as a strategy in the consultation. In the present article, we discuss reflexivity in relation to the notions of empathy, personal experience and self-knowledge. By using reflexivity in order to rely on personal experience, the GP can gain access to patients' understanding of their health. Reflexivity can be a valuable concept for the GP in patient-centred medicine and can contribute to bridging the gap between the patient's perspective and the doctor's understanding of the patient's health.  (+info)

Organisational sources of safety and danger: sociological contributions to the study of adverse events. (2/169)

Organisational sociology has long accepted that mistakes of all kinds are a common, even normal, part of work. Medical work may be particularly prone to error because of its complexity and technological sophistication. The results can be tragic for individuals and families. This paper describes four intrinsic characteristics of organisations that are relevant to the level of risk and danger in healthcare settings--namely, the division of labour and "structural secrecy" in complex organisations; the homophile principle and social structural barriers to communication; diffusion of responsibility and the "problem of many hands"; and environmental or other pressures leading to goal displacement when organisations take their "eyes off the ball". The paper argues that each of these four intrinsic characteristics invokes specific mechanisms that increase danger in healthcare organisations but also offer the possibility of devising strategies and behaviours to increase patient safety. Stated as hypotheses, these ideas could be tested empirically, thus adding to the evidence on which the avoidance of adverse events in healthcare settings is based and contributing to the development of theory in this important area.  (+info)

Power and influence in clinical effectiveness and evidence-based medicine. (3/169)

BACKGROUND: The need to base clinical interventions on valid findings of research has been a dominant theme in clinical practice during the last quarter of a century. However, there is much evidence showing that research evidence reaches everyday practice slowly. Solutions to this problem include evidence-based practice and implementation by guidelines and audit. Studies of these methods have included surveys of clinicians' views, implementation projects and evaluations of educational interventions, but they have not examined their implications for the power structure of clinical organizations. This is surprising, given the emphasis placed on medical power in sociological studies of health care. METHODS: A framework derived from management theory defines and summarizes theories of power and influence under the headings: sources of power, overt methods of influence, unseen or covert methods of influence and individual response to influence. This framework is then used to analyse the power and influence possessed and exerted by general practitioners (GPs) and hospital consultants and how these are affected by evidence-based practice and guidelines and audit programmes. OUTCOMES: GPs are seen as having less expert power than consultants and to be more compliant with externally managed guidelines and audit programmes. It is pointed out that compliance with guidelines and audit programmes helps GPs to meet their contractual requirement to be involved in clinical audit activities. Evidence-based practice, which directly challenges the authority of expert opinion is seen as a threat to the power of consultants, but a potential opportunity for GPs and other clinicians whose status is traditionally lower.  (+info)

The ultimate curse: the doctor as patient. (4/169)

Doctors may be thrust into the difficult situation of treating friends and colleagues. A doctor's response to this situation is strongly influenced by his or her emotions and by medical tradition. Such patients may be treated as 'special cases' but the 'special' treatment can backfire and lead to an adverse outcome. Why does this happen and can doctors avoid it happening? These issues are discussed in this commentary on Dr. Crisci's paper, 'The ultimate curse.'  (+info)

Accumulated labour market disadvantage and limiting long-term illness: data from the 1971-1991 Office for National Statistics' Longitudinal Study. (5/169)

BACKGROUND: Both social class and unemployment have been shown in many studies to be related to ill health. Recent work in social epidemiology has demonstrated the importance of examining the accumulation of disadvantage over the life course. This paper therefore uses a large longitudinal data set to examine the accumulation of both disadvantaged class and unemployment over a 20-year period in a representative sample of the male working population of England and Wales. METHODS: Logistic regression. RESULTS: Both membership of semi- or unskilled social class and unemployment in 1971 were related to limiting long-term illness (LLTI) in 1991 independently of each other, and of subsequent social class and unemployment. Any occurrence of disadvantaged social class or of unemployment added significantly to the risk of LLTI. A labour market disadvantage score comprising the number of occasions on which a study member had been either in a disadvantaged social class or unemployed showed a clear and graded relationship to illness, with odds of 4 to 1 in the worst-scoring group. CONCLUSION: The experiences of disadvantaged social class or unemployment at any time during this period contributed independently to an increased risk of chronic limiting illness up to 20 years later in the life course. Whereas improvements in social conditions at any one time will lessen the long-term combined impact of accumulated labour market disadvantage on health, it may not prove easy to obtain short term improvements in health inequality.  (+info)

Socioeconomic status in childhood and the lifetime risk of major depression. (6/169)

BACKGROUND: Major depression occurs more frequently among people of lower socioeconomic status (SES) and among females. Although the focus of considerable investigation, the development of SES and sex differences in depression remains to be fully explained. In this study, we test the hypotheses that low childhood SES predicts an increased risk of adult depression and contributes to a higher risk of depression among females. METHODS: Participants were 1132 adult offspring of mothers enrolled in the Providence, Rhode Island site of the US National Collaborative Perinatal Project between 1959 and 1966. Childhood SES, indexed by parental occupation, was assessed at the time of participants' birth and seventh year. A lifetime history and age at onset of major depressive episode were ascertained via structured interviews according to diagnostic criteria. Survival analyses were used to model the likelihood of first depression onset as a function of childhood SES. RESULTS: Participants from lower SES backgrounds had nearly a twofold increase in risk for major depression compared to those from the highest SES background independent of childhood sociodemographic factors, family history of mental illness, and adult SES. Analyses of sex differences in the effect of childhood SES on adult depression provided modest support for the hypothesis that childhood SES contributes to adult sex differences in depression. CONCLUSIONS: Low SES in childhood is related to a higher risk of major depression in adults. Social inequalities in depression likely originate early in life. Further research is needed to identify the pathways linking childhood conditions to SES differences in the incidence of major depression.  (+info)

A population-based case-control study for examining early life influences on geographical variation in adult mortality in England and Wales using stomach cancer and stroke as examples. (7/169)

BACKGROUND: Geographical variation in mortality is influenced by factors operating in early life and in adulthood. The relative contributions of these factors may be examined by comparing the extent to which adult mortality is related to places of residence in early life and at death. We describe a population-based case-control design, in which all deaths are used as cases and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Longitudinal Study (LS) survivors are used as controls. METHODS: Cases were all deaths from stomach cancer and stroke in England and Wales 1993-1995 amongst people born between January 1930 and September 1939 and for whom place of enumeration in 1939 could be imputed from the first three characters of their National Health Service number. Controls were all LS members born in the same period, enumerated in the 1991 census, resident in England and Wales in mid-1994 and for whom place of enumeration in 1939 could be similarly imputed. Logistic regression was used, adjusting for birth year, sex and social class. A previous mapping exercise by ONS generated comparable geographical units (counties) for 1939 enumeration and area of residence in 1991 or at death. 'Non-migrant' (i.e. 1939 'county' the same as county in 1991 or at death) case:control ratios were calculated to indicate background mortality risk in counties, with adjustment for imprecision using Bayesian smoothing methods. These ratios were then used in modelling risk for inter-county migrants. RESULTS: There were 2590 stomach cancer and 7778 stroke deaths and 28,400 men and 28,180 women as controls. For men, 64%, 61% and 67% of stomach cancer deaths, stroke deaths and controls respectively could be assigned a county of enumeration in 1939. The corresponding percentages for women were 76%, 72% and 75%. For stomach cancer, after adjustment for county of enumeration in 1939, a significant association with the non-migrant case:control ratio for county of residence in 1991 or at death was observed (P= 0.010), indicating an association between current area of residence and stomach cancer mortality. There was no evidence of an independent effect of county of enumeration in 1939. For stroke, there was a highly significant trend in relation to 1939 county (P = 0.0004)and a less significant association with county of residence in 1991 or at death(P = 0.016). CONCLUSIONS: The method described is able to detect the effect of place of residence in early life on geographical variation in adult mortality and will be useful for investigating specific characteristics of areas of enumeration in 1939 in relation to subsequent risk of mortality from a range of diseases.  (+info)

Leg and trunk length at 43 years in relation to childhood health, diet and family circumstances; evidence from the 1946 national birth cohort. (8/169)

BACKGROUND: This is a study of the associations of adult leg and trunk length with early life height and weight, diet, socioeconomic circumstances, and health, and parental height, divorce and death. METHOD: The data used were collected in a longitudinal study of the health, development and ageing of a British national birth cohort (N = 2879 in this analysis) studied since birth in 1946. Multiple regression models were used to investigate the relationships. RESULTS: Adult leg and trunk length were each positively associated with parental height, birthweight, and weight at 4 years. Leg length was associated positively with breastfeeding and energy intake at 4 years. Trunk length was associated negatively with serious illness in childhood and possibly also parental divorce, but not with the dietary data. CONCLUSION: Adult leg length is particularly sensitive to environmental factors and diet in early childhood because that is the period of most rapid leg growth. Trunk growth is faster than leg growth after infancy and before puberty, and may be associated with the effects of serious illness and parental separation because of the child's growing sensitivity to stressful circumstances, as well as the result of the biological effects of illness.  (+info)