Communicating cardiovascular disease risk: An interview study of General Practitioners' use of absolute risk within tailored communication strategies

Carissa Bonner, Jesse Jansen, Shannon McKinn, Les Irwig, Jenny Doust, Paul Glasziou, Kirsten McCaffery

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18 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention guidelines encourage assessment of absolute CVD risk - the probability of a CVD event within a fixed time period, based on the most predictive risk factors. However, few General Practitioners (GPs) use absolute CVD risk consistently, and communication difficulties have been identified as a barrier to changing practice. This study aimed to explore GPs' descriptions of their CVD risk communication strategies, including the role of absolute risk. Methods. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 25 GPs in New South Wales, Australia. Transcribed audio-recordings were thematically coded, using the Framework Analysis method to ensure rigour. Results: GPs used absolute CVD risk within three different communication strategies: 'positive', 'scare tactic', and 'indirect'. A 'positive' strategy, which aimed to reassure and motivate, was used for patients with low risk, determination to change lifestyle, and some concern about CVD risk. Absolute risk was used to show how they could reduce risk. A 'scare tactic' strategy was used for patients with high risk, lack of motivation, and a dismissive attitude. Absolute risk was used to 'scare' them into taking action. An 'indirect' strategy, where CVD risk was not the main focus, was used for patients with low risk but some lifestyle risk factors, high anxiety, high resistance to change, or difficulty understanding probabilities. Non-quantitative absolute risk formats were found to be helpful in these situations. Conclusions: This study demonstrated how GPs use three different communication strategies to address the issue of CVD risk, depending on their perception of patient risk, motivation and anxiety. Absolute risk played a different role within each strategy. Providing GPs with alternative ways of explaining absolute risk, in order to achieve different communication aims, may improve their use of absolute CVD risk assessment in practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106
JournalBMC Family Practice
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2014

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General Practitioners
Cardiovascular Diseases
Communication
Interviews
Life Style
Motivation
Anxiety
South Australia
New South Wales

Cite this

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title = "Communicating cardiovascular disease risk: An interview study of General Practitioners' use of absolute risk within tailored communication strategies",
abstract = "Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention guidelines encourage assessment of absolute CVD risk - the probability of a CVD event within a fixed time period, based on the most predictive risk factors. However, few General Practitioners (GPs) use absolute CVD risk consistently, and communication difficulties have been identified as a barrier to changing practice. This study aimed to explore GPs' descriptions of their CVD risk communication strategies, including the role of absolute risk. Methods. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 25 GPs in New South Wales, Australia. Transcribed audio-recordings were thematically coded, using the Framework Analysis method to ensure rigour. Results: GPs used absolute CVD risk within three different communication strategies: 'positive', 'scare tactic', and 'indirect'. A 'positive' strategy, which aimed to reassure and motivate, was used for patients with low risk, determination to change lifestyle, and some concern about CVD risk. Absolute risk was used to show how they could reduce risk. A 'scare tactic' strategy was used for patients with high risk, lack of motivation, and a dismissive attitude. Absolute risk was used to 'scare' them into taking action. An 'indirect' strategy, where CVD risk was not the main focus, was used for patients with low risk but some lifestyle risk factors, high anxiety, high resistance to change, or difficulty understanding probabilities. Non-quantitative absolute risk formats were found to be helpful in these situations. Conclusions: This study demonstrated how GPs use three different communication strategies to address the issue of CVD risk, depending on their perception of patient risk, motivation and anxiety. Absolute risk played a different role within each strategy. Providing GPs with alternative ways of explaining absolute risk, in order to achieve different communication aims, may improve their use of absolute CVD risk assessment in practice.",
author = "Carissa Bonner and Jesse Jansen and Shannon McKinn and Les Irwig and Jenny Doust and Paul Glasziou and Kirsten McCaffery",
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Communicating cardiovascular disease risk : An interview study of General Practitioners' use of absolute risk within tailored communication strategies. / Bonner, Carissa; Jansen, Jesse; McKinn, Shannon; Irwig, Les; Doust, Jenny; Glasziou, Paul; McCaffery, Kirsten.

In: BMC Family Practice, Vol. 15, No. 1, 106, 29.05.2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Communicating cardiovascular disease risk

T2 - An interview study of General Practitioners' use of absolute risk within tailored communication strategies

AU - Bonner, Carissa

AU - Jansen, Jesse

AU - McKinn, Shannon

AU - Irwig, Les

AU - Doust, Jenny

AU - Glasziou, Paul

AU - McCaffery, Kirsten

PY - 2014/5/29

Y1 - 2014/5/29

N2 - Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention guidelines encourage assessment of absolute CVD risk - the probability of a CVD event within a fixed time period, based on the most predictive risk factors. However, few General Practitioners (GPs) use absolute CVD risk consistently, and communication difficulties have been identified as a barrier to changing practice. This study aimed to explore GPs' descriptions of their CVD risk communication strategies, including the role of absolute risk. Methods. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 25 GPs in New South Wales, Australia. Transcribed audio-recordings were thematically coded, using the Framework Analysis method to ensure rigour. Results: GPs used absolute CVD risk within three different communication strategies: 'positive', 'scare tactic', and 'indirect'. A 'positive' strategy, which aimed to reassure and motivate, was used for patients with low risk, determination to change lifestyle, and some concern about CVD risk. Absolute risk was used to show how they could reduce risk. A 'scare tactic' strategy was used for patients with high risk, lack of motivation, and a dismissive attitude. Absolute risk was used to 'scare' them into taking action. An 'indirect' strategy, where CVD risk was not the main focus, was used for patients with low risk but some lifestyle risk factors, high anxiety, high resistance to change, or difficulty understanding probabilities. Non-quantitative absolute risk formats were found to be helpful in these situations. Conclusions: This study demonstrated how GPs use three different communication strategies to address the issue of CVD risk, depending on their perception of patient risk, motivation and anxiety. Absolute risk played a different role within each strategy. Providing GPs with alternative ways of explaining absolute risk, in order to achieve different communication aims, may improve their use of absolute CVD risk assessment in practice.

AB - Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention guidelines encourage assessment of absolute CVD risk - the probability of a CVD event within a fixed time period, based on the most predictive risk factors. However, few General Practitioners (GPs) use absolute CVD risk consistently, and communication difficulties have been identified as a barrier to changing practice. This study aimed to explore GPs' descriptions of their CVD risk communication strategies, including the role of absolute risk. Methods. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 25 GPs in New South Wales, Australia. Transcribed audio-recordings were thematically coded, using the Framework Analysis method to ensure rigour. Results: GPs used absolute CVD risk within three different communication strategies: 'positive', 'scare tactic', and 'indirect'. A 'positive' strategy, which aimed to reassure and motivate, was used for patients with low risk, determination to change lifestyle, and some concern about CVD risk. Absolute risk was used to show how they could reduce risk. A 'scare tactic' strategy was used for patients with high risk, lack of motivation, and a dismissive attitude. Absolute risk was used to 'scare' them into taking action. An 'indirect' strategy, where CVD risk was not the main focus, was used for patients with low risk but some lifestyle risk factors, high anxiety, high resistance to change, or difficulty understanding probabilities. Non-quantitative absolute risk formats were found to be helpful in these situations. Conclusions: This study demonstrated how GPs use three different communication strategies to address the issue of CVD risk, depending on their perception of patient risk, motivation and anxiety. Absolute risk played a different role within each strategy. Providing GPs with alternative ways of explaining absolute risk, in order to achieve different communication aims, may improve their use of absolute CVD risk assessment in practice.

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U2 - 10.1186/1471-2296-15-106

DO - 10.1186/1471-2296-15-106

M3 - Article

VL - 15

JO - BMC Family Practice

JF - BMC Family Practice

SN - 1471-2296

IS - 1

M1 - 106

ER -