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Discussing weight loss opportunistically and effectively in family practice: a qualitative study of clinical interactions using conversation analysis in UK family practice

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journal contribution
posted on 11.01.2021, 14:52 by Charlotte VA Albury, Sue Ziebland, Helena Webb, Elizabeth Stokoe, Paul Aveyard
Background: General practitioners are encouraged to make brief interventions to support weight loss, but they report concern about these conversations, stating they need more details on what to say. Knowing how engage in these conversations could encourage GPs to deliver brief interventions for weight loss more frequently.
Objective: To examine which specific words and phrases were successful in achieving conversational alignment and minimising misunderstanding, contributing to effective interventions.
Methods: A conversation analysis of English Family practice patients participating in a trial of opportunistic weight-management interventions which incorporated the offer of referral to community weight-management services (CWMS). Qualitative conversation analysis was applied to 246 consultation recordings to identify communication patterns which contributed to clear, efficient interventions.
Results: Analysis showed variation in how GPs delivered interventions. Some ways of talking created misunderstandings, or misalignment, whilst others avoided these. There were five components of clear and efficient opportunistic weight-management referrals. These were (1) exemplifying CWMS with a recognisable brand name (2) saying weight-management “programme” or “service”, rather than “group” or “club” (3) stating that the referral is “free” early on (4) saying the number CWMS visits available on referral (5) stating that the CWMS programme available was “local”.
Conclusions: When making a brief opportunistic intervention to support weight loss, clinicians can follow these five steps to create a smooth and efficient intervention. Knowing this may allay clinicians’ fears about these consultations being awkward and improve adherence to guidelines.

Funding

Charlotte Albury was funded by the National Institute for Health Research School for Primary Care Research. The consultation data was from the BWeL trial which was funded by National Prevention Research Initiative. The funding partners are Alzheimer’s Research UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Chief Scientist Office, Scottish Government Health Directorate, Department of Health, Diabetes UK, Economic and Social Research Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Health and Social Care Research Division, Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland, MRC, Stroke Association, Wellcome Trust, Welsh Government, and World Cancer Research Fund (Grant ref number: MR/J000515/1). Helena Webb is a Senior Researcher at the University of Oxford, funded by EPSRC. Sue Ziebland is an NIHR senior investigator. Paul Aveyard is an NIHR senior investigator, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) Obesity, Diet and Lifestyle Theme and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) Oxford and Thames Valley.

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Communication and Media

Published in

Family Practice

Volume

38

Issue

3

Pages

321-328

Publisher

Oxford University Press (OUP)

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The authors

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by OUP under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Licence (CC BY-NC). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Acceptance date

07/10/2020

Publication date

2020-12-19

Copyright date

2021

ISSN

0263-2136

eISSN

1460-2229

Language

en

Depositor

Prof Elizabeth Stokoe. Deposit date: 7 October 2020