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Assessing the utility of a differential diagnostic generator in UK general practice: a feasibility study

Authors
  • Cheraghi-Sohi, Sudeh1
  • Alam, Rahul1
  • Hann, Mark1
  • Esmail, Aneez1
  • Campbell, Stephen1
  • Riches, Nicholas2
  • 1 University of Manchester, UK , (United Kingdom)
  • 2 General Practitioner and Public Health Registrar, Health Education North West, UK , (United Kingdom)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Diagnosis
Publisher
De Gruyter
Publication Date
Feb 14, 2020
Volume
8
Issue
1
Pages
91–99
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/dx-2019-0033
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

BackgroundDespite growing positive evidence supporting the potential utility of differential diagnostic generator (DDX) tools, uptake has been limited in terms of geography and settings and calls have been made to test such tools in wider routine clinical settings. This study aims to evaluate the feasibility and utility of clinical use of Isabel, an electronic DDX tool, in a United Kingdom (UK) general practice setting.MethodsMixed methods. Feasibility and utility were assessed prospectively over a 6-month period via: usage statistics, survey as well as interview data generated from clinicians before and after Isabel was available for clinical use. Normalisation process theory (NPT) was utilised as a sensitising concept in the data collection and analysis of the qualitative data.ResultsUsage was extremely limited (n = 18 searches). Most potential users did not utilise the program and of those that did (n = 6), usage was restricted and did not alter subsequent patient management. Baseline interview findings indicated some prior awareness of DDX tools and ambivalent views with regards to potential utility. Post-use interviews supported analytic data and indicated low usage due to a range of endogenous (professional) and exogenous (organisational) factors.ConclusionsIn its current form, this small exploratory study suggests that Isabel is a tool that is unlikely to be utilised on a routine basis in primary care, but may have potential utility for diagnostic support in (1) education/training and (2) rare and diagnostically complex cases.

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