AIM: To explore GPs' perceptions of their role in primary prevention, barriers experienced and willingness to accommodate an automated, computer-tailored intervention.
BACKGROUND: General practice is an attractive setting for primary prevention of chronic disease. Due to constraints in time and knowledge it is underutilised.
METHODS: Telephone interviews of 13 GPs in Brisbane, Australia, whose patients were previously involved in a lifestyle change research project. Qualitative responses were grouped into themes.
FINDINGS: GPs perceived their role in lifestyle change as 'educators', 'supporters' and 'prompters'. Smoking and physical activity were addressed more often than alcohol and salt intake. Longer lifestyle-focussed consultations and computer-generated reminders were suggested to overcome barriers. A computer-tailored approach was appreciated due to its minimal impact on practice routine. GPs understand their role in primary prevention but need help to overcome barriers. GP initiated consultations focusing on lifestyle and prevention along with computer support systems could improve capability for prevention in general practice.