Objectives: The goal of this study was to develop a psychometric instrument that classified physiciansamprsquo response styles to new information as seekers, receptives, traditionalists, or pragmatists. This classification was based on specific combinations of 3 scales: (a) belief in evidence vs experience as the basis of knowledge, (b) willingness to diverge from common or previous practice, and (c) sensitivity to pragmatic concerns of practice. The instrument will help focus efforts to change practice more accurately.
Study design: This was a cross-sectional study of physician responses to a psychometric instrument. Paper-and-pencil survey forms were distributed to 3 waves of physicians, with revision for improved internal consistency at each iteration.
Population: Participants were 1393 primary care physicians at continuing education events in the Midwest or at primary care clinic sites in the Veteransamprsquo Health Administration system.
Outcomes measured: Internal consistency was measured by factor analysis with orthogonal rotation and Cronbachamprsquos alpha.
Results: A total of 1287 usable instruments were returned (106, 1120, and 61 in the 3 iterations, respectively), representing approximately three fourths of distributed forms. Final scale internal consistencies were a = 0.79, b = 0.74, and c = 0.68. The patterns of scores on the 3 scales were consistent with the predictions of the theoretical scheme of physician types. The "seeker" type was the rarest, at fewer than 3%.
Conclusions: It is possible to reliably classify physicians into categories that a theoretical framework predicts will respond differently to different interventions for implementing guidelines and translating research findings into practice. The next step is to demonstrate that the classification predicts physician practice behavior.