General practitioner residency consultations: video feedback analysis

Afonso M. Cavaco1, João Pelicano-Romano1, Mariana R. Neves1 and Francisco Carvalho2

1Research Institute for Medicines and Pharmaceutical Sciences (iMed.UL), Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lisbon, Av. Prof. Gama Pinto, Portugal

2General and Family Medicine Residency South Zone, Lisbon, Portugal

Submitted: 27/09/2011; Accepted: 28/11/2011; Published: 05/12/2011

Int J Med Educ. 2011; 2:152-158; doi: 10.5116/ijme.4ed3.40d1

© 2011 Afonso M. Cavaco et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use of work provided the original work is properly cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to analyse longitudinally two decades of Portuguese general practi-tioner (GP) residents' consultation features, such as consultation length- estimating its major determinants- as well as to compare with GP residents from other Western practices.

Methods: This pilot study followed a retrospective and descriptive design, comprising of the analysis of videotaped consultations with real patients from GP residents (southern Portugal), between 1990 and 2008. Main studied variables were consultation length and purpose, participant demographics and residency site characteristics.

Results: From 516 residents, 68.0% were females, mainly between 26-35 years old (50.6%). Female patients' proportion equalled doctors', with the most frequent age group being the 46-65 years old (41.3%). The consultation took on average 22 minutes and 22 seconds, with no significant differences by year and residency location. Main consultation purposes were previous scheduling (31.6%) and acute symptoms (30.0%). Duration was consistently longer than practising GPs from other countries, keeping in mind the supervised practice. Significant and positive predictors of consultation length were number of attendants and patients' frequency at the residency site.

Conclusions: South Portugal GP residency program consultations were lengthier in comparison to similar practice in Europe and other Western countries. Length correlated preferably with patient related variables than with professionals', while confirming the longitudinal homogeneity in the residency consultation format for the last two decades.