Internet-based risk assessment and decision support for the management of familial cancer in primary care: a survey of GPs' attitudes and intentions

Dejana Braithwaite, Stephen Sutton, W Henry Smithson, Jon Emery
Family Practice 2002, 19 (6): 587-90

BACKGROUND: Computer decision support systems have been proposed as a suitable method to enable primary care practitioners to manage familial cancer and advise about other developments in clinical genetics.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate GPs' preferences, attitudes and intentions regarding the use of Genetic Risk Assessment on the Internet and Decision Support (GRAIDS) in clinical practice.

METHODS: GPs were recruited through a physician Internet portal for UK GPs ( Electronic questionnaires assessed the respondents' current practice regarding family history taking and risk assessment, preferences about particular attributes of GRAIDS, intentions to use GRAIDS for familial cancer management and factors associated with these intentions.

RESULTS: Two hundred and sixty-eight GPs completed the electronic survey (adjusted response rate = 51.2%). Seventy-two GPs participated in a telephone survey of non-respondents (adjusted response rate = 63%). Ninety-two per cent of respondents in the electronic survey and 68% in the telephone survey stated that they would be either extremely or fairly likely to use GRAIDS. Intentions were associated with positive attitudes toward GRAIDS, beliefs that colleagues and patients would find the tool acceptable, perceived control and perceived confidence about conducting risk assessment and making appropriate decisions about patient management. Key attributes for the implementation of GRAIDS in practice were the authoritativeness of the guideline, easy user interface, the validity and reliability of risk estimation and specific advice about patient management.

CONCLUSION: GP users of the physician portal value GRAIDS as an aid for the management of familial cancer in primary care. These Internet-literate GPs are likely to be early adopters of GRAIDS in clinical practice and could be important in promoting the use of such technology to support high quality advice about genetic issues in primary care.

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