Episode 037: Talking to patients with long-term conditions about benefits and harms of treatment

In this episode we talk to Dr Julian Treadwell who is a GP and doctoral research fellow at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford.

Paper: GPs’ use and understanding of the benefits and harms of treatments for long-term conditions: a qualitative interview study

Research has shown that doctors, including GPs, often have poor knowledge of quantitative benefits and harms of treatments, such as absolute risk reduction and numbers needed to treat. Yet this kind of information is considered key to shared decision making and optimal management of polypharmacy. This qualitative study explored the attitudes and understanding of GPs in the UK with regard to this issue, and reveals a complex set of behaviours and feelings. These findings will be of interest to doctors wishing to reflect on their own practice, and to authors of guidelines and information resources.


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