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Open Access Open Badges Research article

To make a difference – how GPs conceive consultation outcomes. A phenomenographic study

Annika Andén12*, Sven-Olof Andersson3 and Carl-Edvard Rudebeck45

Author Affiliations

1 Bergnäsets Vårdcentral, Luleå, Sweden

2 Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Inst for Community medicine/General practice, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

3 Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

4 Kalmar County Council, Vårdcentralen Esplananden, Västervik, Sweden

5 Department of Community Medicine, Tromsö University, Tromsö, Norway

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BMC Family Practice 2009, 10:4  doi:10.1186/1471-2296-10-4

Published: 16 January 2009



Outcomes from GPs' consultations have been measured mainly with disease specific measures and with patient questionnaires about health, satisfaction, enablement and quality. The aim of this study was to explore GPs' conceptions of consultation outcomes.


Interviews with 17 GPs in groups and individually about consultation outcomes from recently performed consultations were analysed with a phenomenographic research approach.


The GPs conceived outcomes in four ways: patient outcomes, GPs' self-evaluation, relationship building and change of surgery routines.


Patient outcomes, as conceived by the GPs, were generally congruent with those that had been taken up in outcome studies. Relationship building and change of surgery routines were outcomes in preparation for consultations to come. GPs made self-assessments related to internalized norms, grounded on a perceived collegial professional consensus. Considerations of such different aspects of outcomes can inspire professional development.