A technique for measuring family physician priorities for patient care.

M. F. Fleming*, E. J. Bentz, W. C. McGaghie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Family physicians frequently choose which elements of patient care to emphasize in order to balance the idealized principles of medical care with the real constraints of medical practice. Colleagues at several residency programs agreed to help us to find out if these choices can be quantified and whether personal characteristics of respondents or the acuteness or chronicity of the patient's illness influence these priorities. Two sets of 15 forced-choice item pairs, one set in reference to chronic illness and one set in reference to acute illness, were used in the study. Responses from 346 family physicians and non-physician colleagues ranked six hypothetical elements of patient care for acute and chronic illness: continuity, comprehensiveness, family orientation, community orientation, coordination and prevention. The data were analyzed using the psychometric scaling technique of paired comparisons. The analysis yielded a set of rankings which showed that these choices were quantifiable and made with a high degree of individual consistency and greater intragroup agreement than would result from chance. Patterns of choice differed for acute and chronic illness in a manner consistent with observed clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-204
Number of pages4
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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