[Barriers to evidence-based medicine encountered among GPs - an issue based on misunderstanding? A qualitative study in the general practice setting]

Z Evid Fortbild Qual Gesundhwes. 2010;104(8-9):661-6. doi: 10.1016/j.zefq.2010.02.015. Epub 2010 Apr 22.
[Article in German]


The Chronic Care Model (CCM) is a framework for the structured care of patients with chronic conditions. It requires access of both physicians and patients to scientific evidence in order to facilitate shared treatment decision-making on the basis of the patient's individual needs and the best available external evidence. The aim of this study was to find out whether general practitioners (GP) actually make use of evidence-based information and guidelines and whether and how they communicate this information to their patients. We interviewed 14 general practitioners and conducted a content analysis. The majority of these GPs take a sceptical view towards evidence-based guidelines. Their main point of criticism is that guidelines disregard the individual patient's reality and life style. Instead, GPs emphasize the relevance of their own knowledge of the personal and medical history of and the continual care for their patients. Since GPs themselves often do not accept guidelines, they seldom impart their content to their patients. According to the GPs' experience there are contradictions between guideline-conformant therapy and individual treatment. The integrative character of evidence-based medicine is not recognized. The reason is that evidence-based medicine is equated with guidelines and trial results by the majority of the GPs interviewed. To facilitate guideline implementation in everyday practice GPs need to be provided with adequate access to scientific evidence and an understanding of the intentions of guidelines. If the doctors themselves do not accept guidelines, they will not share them with their patients. It must be made clear that guidelines are not intended as normative demands for a specific therapy for every patient, but are rather meant to assist the physician with his struggle for the best therapy for individual patients.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Continuity of Patient Care / standards
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Family Practice / standards*
  • General Practice / standards*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care / standards
  • Physicians, Family*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards