This study tests a questionnaire method for eliciting process criteria for medical care appraisal. The questionnaire was sent to national samples of family physicians, pediatricians, and pediatricians specializing in infectious diseases asking their opinions about various clinical actions in 125 clinical situations concerning respiratory infection in infants. Five hundred twenty-four (54 per cent) physicians returned completed questionnaires. Questionnaire responses favored the performance of a majority of actions and opposed very few. Opinions concerning individual actions, particularly diagnostic tests and treatments, varied widely depending upon the clinical situation presented. A second questionnaire sent one year later indicated that the opinions expressed in the first questionnaire remained stable over time, especially if the initial opinion favored performance of the action. Comparison of the questionnaire responses and medical records of a group of practitioners demonstrated that only 55 per cent of actions favored in a practitioner's questionnaire appeared in his records. Although the questionnaire method appears to be a feasible, specific, and reliable means of identifying clinical opinion, there remains considerable discordance between opinion as expressed in the questionnaire and recorded clinical practice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health