Physicians’ views and experiences of discussing weight management within routine clinical consultations: A thematic synthesis

Anne Dewhurst, Sarah Peters, Angela Devereux-Fitzgerald, Joanne Hart

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Abstract

Objective: To systematically search and synthesise qualitative studies of physicians’ views and experiences of discussing weight management within a routine consultation.
Methods: A systematic search of four electronic databases identified 11,169 articles of which 16 studies met inclusion criteria. Quality was appraised using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool and a thematic synthesis conducted of extracted data.
Results: Four analytical themes were found: (1) physicians’ pessimism about patients’ weight loss success (2) physicians’ feel hopeless and frustrated (3) the dual nature of the physician-patient relationship (4) who should take responsibility for weight management.
Conclusion: Despite clinical recommendations barriers remain during consultations between physicians and patients about weight management. Many of these barriers are potentially modifiable.
Practice implications: Improving training, providing clearer guidelines and placing a greater emphasis on collaboration within and between clinicians will help reduce barriers for both physicians and patients. In particular, there is an urgent need for more specialised training for physicians about weight management to promote knowledge and skills in behaviour change techniques and ways to broach sensitive topics without damaging patient relationships.
Key words: weight management, patient-physician relationship, meta synthesis
Original languageEnglish
JournalPatient education and counseling
Early online date21 Dec 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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