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Table 2 Summary of themes in relation to preference for blood tests

From: Why do patients want to have their blood tested? A qualitative study of patient expectations in general practice


Interpretation of results


+ indications: periodical, recurrent or persisting complaints, self-management failed, different pattern of complaints, always, nervous patients, diseases in family, unexplained complaints

+ goals: proving certainty about good health, establishing diagnosis, excluding somatic disorders

+ previous experiences: similar complaints, previous explorative blood tests

+ GP should use active policy

+ patient requests blood tests, capable to indicate need for testing

- patient not taking initiative

+ patient sent by someone else

+ identifying with seriously ill people in environment

+ influence of the media: reports about young people with serious diseases, information about risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and cancer

+ tests yield much information: excluding, early detection, concrete data convince people

+ blood tests reliable

+ hardly any false positives and false negatives

+ if abnormal test results do not match patient's presentation: further examinations required, sign of illness without complaints

+ certainty about health status

+ sense of being healthy

+ reassurance

+ no wait-and-see: if risk factors are present, patient worried

- easily convinced by GP: confidence in GP, satisfied even when expectations are not met

- GP should devote more time and attention

- preferring explanation to tests

+ hard or impossible to convince: knowing more about own complaint than doctor, testing necessary for diagnosis, dissatisfied when expectations are not met

  1. + positive relation with preference for blood tests
  2. - negative relation with preference for blood tests