The nature of medical evidence and its inherent uncertainty for the clinical consultation: qualitative study
UNSPECIFIED. (2005) The nature of medical evidence and its inherent uncertainty for the clinical consultation: qualitative study. BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL, 330 (7490). pp. 511-515. ISSN 0959-535XFull text not available from this repository.
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.38336.482720.8F
Objective To describe how clinicians deal with the uncertainty inherent in medical evidence in clinical consultations.
Design Qualitative study.
Setting Clinical consultations related to hormone replacement therapy, bone densitometry, and breast screening in seven general practices and three secondary care clinics in the UK NHS.
Participants Women aged 45-64.
Results 45 of the 109 relevant consultations included sufficient discussion for analysis. The consultations could be categorised into three groups: focus on certainty for now and this test, with slippage into general reassurance; a coherent account of the medical evidence for risks and benefits, but blurring of the uncertainty inherent in the evidence and giving an impression of certainty; and acknowledging the inherent uncertainty of the medical evidence and negotiating a provisional decision.
Conclusion Strategies health professionals use to cope with the uncertainty inherent in medical evidence in clinical consultations include the use of provisional decisions that allow for changing priorities and circumstances over time, to avoid slippage into general reassurance from a particular test result, and to avoid the creation of a myth of certainty.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Journal or Publication Title:||BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL|
|Publisher:||B M J PUBLISHING GROUP|
|Official Date:||5 March 2005|
|Number of Pages:||7|
|Page Range:||pp. 511-515|
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