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How are family physicians managing osteoporosis? Qualitative study of their experiences and educational needs


Objective — To explore family physicians' experiences and perceptions of osteoporosis and to identify their educational needs in this area.

Design — Qualitative study using focus groups.

Setting — Four Ontario sites: one each in Thunder Bay and Timmins, and two in Toronto, chosen to represent a range of practice sizes, populations, locations, and use of bone densitometry.

Participants — Thirty-two FPs participated in four focus groups. Physicians were identified by investigators or local contacts to provide maximum variation sampling.

Method — Focus groups using a semistructured interview guide were audiotaped and transcribed. The constant comparative method of data analysis was used to identify key words and concepts until saturation of themes was reached.

Main Findings — Family physicians order bone densitometry and try to manage osteoporosis appropriately, but lack a rationale for testing and are confused about management. Participants' main concern was clinical management, followed by disease prevention and their educational needs.

Conclusion — Family physicians are confused about how to manage osteoporosis. To reduce the burden of illness due to osteoporosis, educational interventions should be tailored to family physicians' needs.



Jaglal SB, Carroll J, Hawker G, McIsaac WJ, Jaakkimainen L, Cadarette SM, Cameron C, Davis D. Can Fam Physician. 2003; 49(4):462-8.

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