Complexity in simple tasks: a qualitative analysis of GPs’ completion of long-term incapacity forms
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To explore the factors influencing the completion of the IB113 form for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), as an exemplar of how general practitioners (GPs) manage and report patient information to external bodies. In UK, GPs complete IB113 forms for their patients approaching longer-term sickness absence, who may be exempt from the incapacity benefit linked medical examination. The DWP has expressed concerns about the quality of such reports, and GP organizations have raised objections to completing such forms. The content of returned forms is variable, and may be subject to a number of influences. Qualitative interviews with purposive sampling of GPs and practice managers (PMs). Primary Care practices in the North East of England. GPs and PMs were interviewed using a semi-structured topic guide about completing IB113 forms for the DWP about their patients entering long-term incapacity. The transcribed data were analysed thematically using the framework analysis method. Whilst the IB113 appears superficially straightforward to complete, our results demonstrate levels of overlapping complexity that add ranges of subjectivity and selectivity onto factual reporting, including practice protocols, the gathering and managing of information, the doctor–patient relationship, and doctor’s personal views on systems. The recording and reporting of patient related data by GPs is subject to complex influences, which need to be understood and managed to improve the relevance and quality of reports to third parties. © 2009, Cambridge University Press. All rights reserved.
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