Which aspects of general practitioners' behaviour determine patients' evaluations of care?

Soc Sci Med. 1998 Oct;47(8):1077-87. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(98)00138-5.


This qualitative study explored those behaviours of a general practitioner which were used by patients in their evaluations of 14 aspects of general practice care. Thirty patients were interviewed immediately after visiting their general practitioner. Interview transcripts were analyzed by two authors, who independently marked general practitioners' behaviours used by patients. Then, these text fragments were categorised into task or affective behaviours according to an existing taxonomy of doctor behaviour in consultations. The results showed that patients reported using task oriented behaviours when they evaluated task oriented aspects of general practice care. However, when they evaluated affective aspects they reported using both affective behaviours and task behaviours, although the latter to a lesser extent. The evaluations of "tell you all you wanted to know about your illness", "explain the purpose and the course of the treatment", "pay attention to your feelings" and "kind and attentive" are clearly linked to specific general practitioners' behaviour. Therefore, evaluations of these aspects can be interpreted straightforwardly. Evaluation of the aspects "GP understands you", "having faith in your GP" and "were you involved in decisions about your medical treatment?" were based on a large variety of physician behaviours which may lead to interpretation problems. Thus, this study gives some important considerations for a better understanding of patients' evaluations of general practice care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Physicians, Family*