Common general practice presentations and publication frequency

Aust Fam Physician. 2013 Jan-Feb;42(1-2):65-8.


Background: General practitioners see the widest range of conditions of any specialty. It is unclear if the most commonly managed problems in general practice are reflected in the volume of published general practice research, or in guidelines produced for general practice.

Methods: The 200 most commonly managed problems in general practice were sought from the BEACH database. For the 10 most often managed, we searched Australian Family Physician in MEDLINE (2005-10) for articles and the National Health and Medical Research Council Clinical Practice Guidelines Portal for guidelines, to determine publication frequency.

Results: The 10 most commonly managed problems were hypertension, immunisation, upper respiratory tract infection, depression, diabetes, lipid disorder, general check-up, osteoarthritis, back complaint, and prescription request. The top 30 problems accounted for approximately 48% of GP problems managed. To cover 75% of problems managed, GPs need to have knowledge of more than 100 problems.

Discussion: While GPs are required to have a working knowledge of numerous conditions, almost half of problems managed fall within the top 30 problem areas. Research published in Australian Family Physician and published clinical guidelines do not align with the problems most frequently encountered by GPs.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Clinical Competence
  • Family Practice / standards
  • Family Practice / statistics & numerical data
  • General Practice / standards
  • General Practice / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Publishing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Research / statistics & numerical data