Health and treatment priorities in patients with multimorbidity: report on a workshop from the European General Practice Network meeting 'Research on multimorbidity in general practice'

Eur J Gen Pract. 2010 Mar;16(1):51-4. doi: 10.3109/13814780903580307.


Setting health and treatment priorities is necessary when caring for multiple and complex patient issues. This is already done in the doctor-patient consultation-yet implicitly rather than explicitly. The aim of this European General Practice Network workshop was to advance a consultation approach that deals with shared priority setting. The workshop was divided into three parts: (1) how to gain a comprehensive health overview for patients with multiple problems as a basis for priority setting; (2) how to establish priorities considering patient and doctor perspectives; and (3) how to practice a communication style that achieves shared priority setting. The workshop participants preferred to gain information on patients' health status using documentations from patient records rather than conducting systematic assessments. The group emphasized that medical as well as everyday life problems need to be considered when determining priorities, a procedure that requires time and resources not readily available in daily practice. Existing skills for person-centred communication with patients should be applied in order to agree on priorities. Overall it became apparent how challenging it is to arrange and prioritize an array of health problems in a consultation with patients. Existing concepts augmented by innovative systematic methods may be the way forward.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / organization & administration*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Communication
  • Comorbidity
  • Europe
  • Family Practice / organization & administration*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Patient-Centered Care / organization & administration*
  • Physicians, Family / organization & administration