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06-06-2018 | Nephropathy | Article

General practitioners’ perspectives on management of early-stage chronic kidney disease: a focus group study

BMC Family Practice

Authors: Carola van Dipten, Saskia van Berkel, Wim J. C. de Grauw, Nynke D. Scherpbier-de Haan, Bouke Brongers, Karel van Spaendonck, Jack F. M. Wetzels, Willem J. J. Assendelft, Marianne K. Dees

Publisher: BioMed Central



Guideline adherence in chronic kidney disease management is low, despite guideline implementation initiatives. Knowing general practitioners’ (GPs’) perspectives of management of early-stage chronic kidney disease (CKD) and the applicability of the national interdisciplinary guideline could support strategies to improve quality of care.


Qualitative focus group study with 27 GPs in the Netherlands. Three analysts open-coded and comparatively analysed the data. Mind-mapping sessions were performed after data-saturation.


Five themes emerged: defining CKD, knowledge and awareness, patient-physician interaction, organisation of CKD care and value of the guideline. A key finding was the abstractness of the CKD concept. The GPs expressed various perspectives about defining CKD and interpreting estimated glomerular filtration rates. Views about clinical relevance influenced the decision-making, although factual knowledge seems lacking. Striving to inform well enough without creating anxiety and to explain suitably for the intellectual ability of the patient caused tension in the patient-physician interaction. Integration with cardiovascular disease-management programmes was mentioned as a way of implementing CKD care in the future. The guideline was perceived as a rough guide rather than a leading document.


CKD is perceived as an abstract rather than a clinical concept. Abstractness plays a role in all formulated themes. Management of CKD patients in primary care is complex and is influenced by physician-bound considerations related to individual knowledge and perception of the importance of CKD. Strategies are needed to improve GPs’ understanding of the concept of CKD by education, a holistic approach to guidelines, and integration of CKD care into cardiovascular programmes.

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