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Factors affecting the decision making process during small animal consultations

N. J. Robinson, M. L. Brennan, M. Cobb, R. S. Dean

IN order for veterinary surgeons to undertake an evidence-based approach when making decisions about their patients, it is important that new evidence is generated to support the clinical decision-making process. Many of the decisions are likely to be around the actions taken to treat or manage health problems discussed during the consultation, and little is currently known about the factors which affect the type of action taken.

This study aimed to determine the decisions made and actions taken for health problems discussed during first opinion, small animal consultations, as well as identifying factors which may affect the decision-making process.

Data were gathered during direct observation of small animal consultations conducted by 62 veterinary surgeons in eight first opinion practices in the UK. For each patient presented, data were gathered on all health problems discussed during the consultation. The decision made (whether an action was taken or not) and the action taken where applicable (eg, therapeutic treatment with antibiotics) was also recorded. A model was developed to investigate the factors associated with any decision made for a particular problem.

In total, 3192 problems …

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