Family practitioners' top medical priorities when managing patients with multimorbidity: a cross-sectional study

Herzig, Lilli; Mueller, Yolanda; Haller, Dagmar M; Zeller, Andreas; Neuner-Jehle, Stefan; Déruaz-Luyet, Anouk; Cohidon, Christine; Streit, Sven; Burnand, Bernard; Zuchuat, Jean-Christophe (2019). Family practitioners' top medical priorities when managing patients with multimorbidity: a cross-sectional study. BJGP Open, 3(1), bjgpopen18X101622. Royal College of General Practitioners: BJGP Open 10.3399/bjgpopen18X101622

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Background Managing multiple chronic and acute conditions in patients with multimorbidity requires setting medical priorities. How family practitioners (FPs) rank medical priorities between highly, moderately, or rarely prevalent chronic conditions (CCs) has never been described. The authors hypothesised that there was no relationship between the prevalence of CCs and their medical priority ranking in individual patients with multimorbidity. Aim To describe FPs’ medical priority ranking of conditions relative to their prevalence in patients with multimorbidity. Design & setting This cross-sectional study of 100 FPs in Switzerland included patients with ≥3 CCs on a predefined list of 75 items from the International Classification of Primary Care 2 (ICPC-2); other conditions could be added. FPs ranked all conditions by their medical priority. Method Priority ranking and distribution were calculated for each condition separately and for the top three priorities together. Results The sample contained 888 patients aged 28–98 years (mean 73), of which 48.2% were male. Included patients had 3–19 conditions (median 7; interquantile range [IQR] 6–9). FPs used 74/75 CCs from the predefined list, of which 27 were highly prevalent (>5%). In total, 336 different conditions were recorded. Highly prevalent CCs were only the top medical priority in 66%, and the first three priorities in 33%, of cases. No correlation was found between prevalence and the ranking of medical priorities. Conclusion FPs faced a great diversity of different conditions in their patients with multimorbidity, with nearly every condition being found at nearly every rank of medical priority, depending on the patient. Medical priority ranking was independent of the prevalence of CCs.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute of General Practice and Primary Care (BIHAM)

UniBE Contributor:

Streit, Sven


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services




Royal College of General Practitioners: BJGP Open




Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

07 Feb 2019 12:22

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 21:51

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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