ReferenceCanadian Family Physician 2007; 43: 901–906
Authors and institutionJudith Belle Brown, assistant professor, Centre for Studies in Family Medicine and the Thames Valley Family Practice Research Unit at the University of Western Ontario, London; Irene Dickie, Lynn Brown, John Biehn, St Joseph's Family Medical and Dental Centre, a family practice affiliated to the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Western Ontario, and the St Joseph's Health Centre, London
SettingThree community-based family practices in a medical centre in London, Ontario, Canada. The centre is ‘mandated to educate family medicine residents’ and comprises five teams, each consisting of: a physician, nurse, receptionist, and two residents present for two 6-month blocks during their 2-year training. All patients are affiliated with a specific team
Aims‘What factors contribute to patients' long-term attendance at a family practice teaching unit?’: to explore the ideas, opinions, feelings, and experiences of patients attending the centre and to examine their reasons for continued attendance
Research designFocus groups
SamplingPatients who had been affiliated with one of the three practices for ≥15 years. 75 patients were invited by letter, 42 attended. They were ‘purposefully selected to reflect a range of health problems and had received care primarily from a staff physician, a: resident, or a combination of both’. Non-attenders were said to share similar characterstics to attenders. Participant characteristics: average age 51 years (range 31–84 years); 61.9% were married; average length of time that they had been residents at the centre 31 years (range 15–29 years). About half had seen a combination of staff physician and residents, the remainder had seen primarily a staff physician (30.9%) or residents (26.2%)
Data collectionFocus groups were balanced for men and women and were moderated by someone (not specified) ‘affiliated with the centre, but [who] had not had any of the participants as patients’. They lasted approximately 2 hours each and were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim
ReflexivityNot discussed
Ethical issuesEthical approval granted by the University of Western Ontario's Review Board for Health Sciences Involving Human Subjects
Data analysis‘Using basic content analysis, the transcripts were examined independently by three of the investigators to identify key words, phrases and concepts. Similarities and potential connections among key words, phrases, and concepts within and among each of the focus groups were determined by team analysis. The analysis revealed a strong consensus of opinion among all focus groups. The final step in the analysis included reduction of data, development of major themes, and identification of relevant quotes illustrating each theme. To enhance the credibility of the findings, they were reviewed by three family physicians and presented to centre staff during grand rounds.’