An anatomy of conflicts in primary care encounters: A multi-method study

Michael A. Weingarten, Nurit Guttman, Henry Abramovitch, Ruth Stashevsky Margalit, Debra Roter, Amitai Ziv, John Yaphe, Jeffrey M. Borkan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Medical consultations are replete with conflicts, particularly in the current era of explicit and implicit rationing practices in health care organizations. Although such conflicts may challenge the doctor-patient relationship, little is known about them or their consequences. Aims: To systematically describe the nature of doctor-patient conflicts in medical encounters and the strategies physicians use when faced with conflicts. Methods: Analysis of 291 videotaped routine encounters with 28 general practitioners, using a novel adaptation of the Roter interaction analysis system software, provided quantitative empirical data on the conflicts and on the communication process. Seven focus groups (56 GPs) provided qualitative insights and guided the analysis. Results: Conflicts were identified in 40% of consultations; 21% of these were related to the rationing of health care resources. In conflictual encounters, both the opening and closing phases of the encounter were shorter than in non-conflictual encounters. In coping with resource rationing, the commonest strategy was to accept the dictates of the system without telling the patients about other options.When conflict of this type occurred, doctors showed more opposition to the patients rather than empathy. Conclusions: Doctors often face conflicts in their routine work, but resource-related conflicts are especially difficult and expose the dual loyalties of the doctor to the patient and to the system. Insights derived from this research can be used to design training interventions that improve doctors' efficacy in coping with conflicts and ultimately allow them to provide better patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
JournalFamily Practice
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 30 2009

Fingerprint

Primary Health Care
Anatomy
Referral and Consultation
Conflict (Psychology)
Health Resources
Focus Groups
General Practitioners
Patient Care
Software
Communication
Organizations
Delivery of Health Care
Physicians
Research

Keywords

  • Conflict
  • Doctor-patient communication
  • Managed care programmes
  • Medical education
  • Physician-patient communication/relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

Cite this

Weingarten, M. A., Guttman, N., Abramovitch, H., Margalit, R. S., Roter, D., Ziv, A., ... Borkan, J. M. (2009). An anatomy of conflicts in primary care encounters: A multi-method study. Family Practice, 27(1), 93-100. https://doi.org/10.1093/fampra/cmp082

An anatomy of conflicts in primary care encounters : A multi-method study. / Weingarten, Michael A.; Guttman, Nurit; Abramovitch, Henry; Margalit, Ruth Stashevsky; Roter, Debra; Ziv, Amitai; Yaphe, John; Borkan, Jeffrey M.

In: Family Practice, Vol. 27, No. 1, 30.11.2009, p. 93-100.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Weingarten, MA, Guttman, N, Abramovitch, H, Margalit, RS, Roter, D, Ziv, A, Yaphe, J & Borkan, JM 2009, 'An anatomy of conflicts in primary care encounters: A multi-method study', Family Practice, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 93-100. https://doi.org/10.1093/fampra/cmp082
Weingarten MA, Guttman N, Abramovitch H, Margalit RS, Roter D, Ziv A et al. An anatomy of conflicts in primary care encounters: A multi-method study. Family Practice. 2009 Nov 30;27(1):93-100. https://doi.org/10.1093/fampra/cmp082
Weingarten, Michael A. ; Guttman, Nurit ; Abramovitch, Henry ; Margalit, Ruth Stashevsky ; Roter, Debra ; Ziv, Amitai ; Yaphe, John ; Borkan, Jeffrey M. / An anatomy of conflicts in primary care encounters : A multi-method study. In: Family Practice. 2009 ; Vol. 27, No. 1. pp. 93-100.
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