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Researchers at the University of Bristol’s Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC) have created a unique archive of 300 video-taped GP-patient consultations that are now available for research and education purposes.

The ‘One in a Million’ archive – so called because there are around one million GP consultations in England every day – is the first of its kind in the UK. It was created with funding from the National Institute for Health Research School for Primary Care Research (NIHR SPCR). 

The creation of the archive is described in detail in an article published in the British Journal of General Practice today.

The top five problems discussed in the consultations were musculoskeletal (18%), psychological (12%), digestive (10%), respiratory (9%) and skin (9%). A total of 518 problems were discussed (an average of 1.58 per consultation) and consultation duration ranged from 1 minute 19 seconds to 37 minutes 54 seconds.

As well as the video-recorded consultations, the archive holds linked patient records and survey data collected from the participating GPs, GP practices and patients – all of whom gave their permission for their data to be used subject to strict controls. For example, researchers must get ethics committee approval before they can access the data.

So far there have been over 70 expressions of interest in using the archive. Current research projects include one looking at how GPs and patients discuss mental distress and another looking at lifestyle advice given to patients by GPs.

Dr Rebecca Barnes, Senior Research Fellow at CAPC, said: “Opportunities for academic researchers and teachers to work with high-quality GP consultation datasets are few and far between. The recordings held in the archive will support a wide range of health communications-related research. Ultimately, it is our hope that greater understanding of the content and conduct of these consultations, through use of the archive, will help improve both process and outcomes in primary care.”

The archive is also aimed at educationalists interested in the development of medical or research training materials, for example for GP consultation skills teaching or for training in methodological techniques for analysing communication in primary care.

Anyone interested in using the archive for can apply for access via the University of Bristol’s Research Data Repository.


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