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Open Access Research article

Identification of core competencies for primary care of allergy patients using a modified Delphi technique

Joanna Wallengren

Author Affiliations

Department of Clinical Sciences, Section of Dermatology, Lund University, Skane University Hospital, Lund, Sweden

BMC Medical Education 2011, 11:12  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-11-12

Published: 4 April 2011



The majority of allergy patients who seek medical advice are seen in primary care. In-service training of professionals in general practice is needed in order to increase knowledge among primary care clinicians about allergy. Therefore it is important to establish a consensus about what primary care professionals should be able to do, and what the public can expect. We sought to identify core competencies for good practice amongst primary care providers with respect to diagnosis and therapy of allergic diseases and to outline learning objectives for a postgraduate training programme in this field.


The study involved three rounds, involving a total of 43 expert panellists. In the first round, a panel was asked to indicate competencies (knowledge, diagnostics, therapy and communication) necessary for primary care providers. The second and third rounds were answered by primary care physicians (26) and nurses (10). A Likert scale 1-4 was applied in the second round and two choices ("agree"/"disagree") in the third round, with a criterion of 75% being adopted.


The second round included 80 competencies and the third 50. The third round selected a consensus of 46 competencies defining nine learning outcomes for in-service medical training.


The competencies in the field of allergy recommended in this study may serve as a reference of what can be expected from primary care providers.