A survey of the risk-management behaviours of Australian general practitioners

Radcliffe Publishing Ltd.
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Quality in Primary Care, 2008, 16 (1), pp. 7 - 15
Issue Date:
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Background Toassistgeneralpractitioners(GPs)in minimising their risk of medical error, the edu- cation unit of a medical insurer developed a survey that assessed the risk-management behaviours of GPs. Objective This study describes the risk-manage- ment behaviours of Australian GPs and how they vary by age, sex and workload intensity. Method A cross-sectional survey of 572 practising GPs, from a random selection of 1657 insured GPs, formed the data for analysis. GPs self-reported their behaviour using the valid and reliable Know your Risk GP-Non-procedural Scale. Results GPs reported performing risk-management behaviours frequently in six key areas: practitioner communication, facilitating patient responses, man- aging adverse outcomes, practice setting, diagnosis, and prescribing/treatment. Risk-management be- haviours varied little by age, sex or workload, with `facilitating patient responses being a key domain in age, sex and workload differences (older GPs and women self-reported higher performance) later found to be not significant when the interaction of age, sex and workload was examined. Conclusion Most GPs were actively engaged in general risk-management behaviours. This self- assessment tool and education strategy identified areas for improvement for individual GPs. The initiative prompted GPs to seek additional educa- tion including practice reviews. This risk-manage- ment strategy would be applicable to sole practices, group practices and divisions of general practice. Workload intensity may be a major consideration in the focus and extent of participation in risk- management behaviours, and research using varying levels of workload intensity is recommended.
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