Clinical Gaze in Risk-Factor Haze: Swedish GPs' Perceptions of Prescribing Cardiovascular Preventive Drugs

Int J Family Med. 2012:2012:612572. doi: 10.1155/2012/612572. Epub 2012 Nov 18.


Aims. To explore general practitioners' (GPs') descriptions of their thoughts and action when prescribing cardiovascular preventive drugs. Methods. Qualitative content analysis of transcribed group interviews with 14 participants from two primary health care centres in the southeast of Sweden. Results. GPs' prescribing of cardiovascular preventive drugs, from their own descriptions, involved "the patient as calculated" and "the inclination to prescribe," which were negotiated in the interaction with "the patient in front of me." In situations with high cardiovascular risk, the GPs reported a tendency to adopt a directive consultation style. In situations with low cardiovascular risk and great uncertainty about the net benefit of preventive drugs, the GPs described a preference for an informed patient choice. Conclusions. Our findings suggest that GPs mainly involve patients at low and uncertain risk of cardiovascular disease in treatment decisions, whereas patient involvement tends to decrease when GPs judge the cardiovascular risk as high. Our findings may serve as a memento for clinicians, and we suggest them to be considered in training in communication skills.