Exploring general practitioners' experience of informing women about prenatal screening tests for foetal abnormalities: a qualitative focus group study

Nagle, Cate, Lewis, Sharon, Meiser, Bettina, Gunn, Jane, Halliday, Jane, and Bell, Robin (2008) Exploring general practitioners' experience of informing women about prenatal screening tests for foetal abnormalities: a qualitative focus group study. BMC Health Services Research, 8. 114.

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Abstract

Background: Recent developments have made screening tests for foetal abnormalities available earlier in pregnancy and women have a range of testing options accessible to them. It is now recommended that all women, regardless of their age, are provided with information on prenatal screening tests. General Practitioners (GPs) are often the first health professionals a woman consults in pregnancy. As such, GPs are well positioned to inform women of the increasing range of prenatal screening tests available. The aim of this study was to explore GPs experience of informing women of prenatal genetic screening tests for foetal abnormality.

Methods: A qualitative study consisting of four focus groups was conducted in metropolitan and rural Victoria, Australia. A discussion guide was used and the audio-taped transcripts were independently coded by two researchers using thematic analysis. Multiple coders and analysts and informant feedback were employed to reduce the potential for researcher bias and increase the validity of the findings.

Results: Six themes were identified and classified as 'intrinsic' if they occurred within the context of the consultation or 'extrinsic' if they consisted of elements that impacted on the GP beyond the scope of the consultation. The three intrinsic themes were the way GPs explained the limitations of screening, the extent to which GPs provided information selectively and the time pressures at play. The three extrinsic factors were GPs' attitudes and values towards screening, the conflict they experienced in offering screening information and the sense of powerlessness within the screening test process and the health care system generally. Extrinsic themes reveal GPs' attitudes and values to screening and to disability, as well as raising questions about the fundamental premise of testing.

Conclusion: The increasing availability and utilisation of screening tests, in particular first trimester tests, has expanded GPs' role in facilitating women's informed decision-making. Recognition of the importance of providing this complex information warrants longer consultations to respond to the time pressures that GPs experience. Understanding the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that impact on GPs may serve to shape educational resources to be more appropriate, relevant and supportive.

Item ID: 51167
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1472-6963
Additional Information:

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: NHMRC Project Grant ID 237124, NHMRC Career Development Award ID 350989, NHMRC Career Development Award ID 2167741
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2017 07:45
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111717 Primary Health Care @ 80%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1114 Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine > 111401 Foetal Development and Medicine @ 20%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920507 Womens Health @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920114 Reproductive System and Disorders @ 50%
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