Use of rules of thumb in the consultation in general practice—an act of balance between the individual and the general perspective
Source: Family Practice, Volume 20, Number 5, October 2003 , pp. 514-519(6)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Background. Rules of thumb used by GPs could be considered as empirical evidence of intuition and a link between science and practice in general practice.
Objective. The purpose of the present study was to analyse the description of the application of rules of thumb with regard to different situations in general practice.
Methods. An explorative and descriptive study was started with focus group interviews. Four groups with 23 GPs were interviewed. The interviews were transcribed and analysed, and the rules and their application were classified by an editing analysis.
Results. A specific set of rules of thumb was used for rapid assessment, when emergency and psychosocial problems were identified. When the main focus of the problems was identified as somatic or psychosocial, the GPs did not disregard the other aspects but described the use of rules in a simultaneous individualizing and generalizing process. The rules contained probability reasoning and risk assessment.
Conclusion. Rules of thumb seemed to serve as a link between theoretical knowledge and practical experience and were used by the GPs in an act of balance between the individual and the general perspective.
Document Type: Original Article
Publication date: October 2003
- Family Practice is an international journal aimed at practitioners, teachers and researchers in the fields of family medicine, general practice and primary care in both developed and developing countries.