Recognizing barriers to managing sexual issues makes it more likely that effective ways to overcome them will be found. In Malaysia, where discussion of sexual issues is taboo, sociocultural factors may influence how physicians manage patients with these types of problems. This article focuses on the challenges encountered by 21 Malay family physicians when women experiencing sexual problems and female sexual dysfunction (FSD) attended their clinics, an uncommon occurrence in Malaysia, despite their high prevalence. This qualitative study employed a phenomenological framework and conducted face-to-face in-depth interviews. Three main barriers to managing women with sexual problems were identified that can hinder assessment and treatment: insufficient knowledge and training; unfavorable clinic environments; and personal embarrassment. Some barriers were associated with physician characteristics but many were systemic. These were further evaluated using social cognitive theory. Professional attitudes appear important as those physicians with an interest in managing women's health seemed to make greater effort to explore issues further and work to gain trust. Physicians who appeared indifferent to the impact of FSD showed greater reluctance to find solutions. Systemic issues included unfavorable clinical settings, lack of training, and lack of local evidence. Any strategy to address FSD needs to be underpinned by appropriate policies and resources.
Comment on: Cannon B, Usherwood TP. General practice consultations - how well do doctors
predict patient satisfaction? Aust Fam Physician. 2007 Mar;36(3):185-6, 192. PubMed PMID: 17339988. https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/200703/15394
This paper investigates the use and provision of biomedicine among Korean-Australian men on the basis of interview data from all of the eight Korean-speaking doctors practising in the Korean community in Sydney in 1995. From the viewpoint of these general practitioners, an analysis is made of the processes Korean men go through in adjusting to a new country, being involved in constant hard manual work and long working hours, and explores how they make use of all available resources to stay healthy. The Korean men have fully utilized the 'freely' available medical services under government-subsidized Medicare, bearing in mind that health is a capacity to work under the current environment, although illegal migrants restrained themselves from using it until they obtained legal status. Korean-speaking medical practitioners have been able to provide their fellow Koreans with 'culturally appropriate' health care, with the key factor being the absence of a language barrier. The level of patient satisfaction is high, possibly due to the excellent understanding the doctors have of the social aspects of illnesses, although the doctors do not go beyond curative medicine in their practice. However, the increasing number of Korean-speaking doctors in the small Korean community means that there is competition for patients. Consequently, the medical care is highly entrepreneurial. Referral by Korean doctors to practitioners of Korean herbal medicine is also a notable feature of the health care sector of the Korean community, especially as this offers Korean patients 'satisfactory' health relief for problems that are not easily relieved by doctors in the biomedical system.
The objective of this study was to explore the roles and perceptions of general practitioners (GPs) in the management of erectile dysfunction (ED). This qualitative study used focus group discussions and in-depth interviews. This study was conducted based on 28 GPs from an urban area in Malaysia who had managed patients with ED and prescribed anti-ED drugs. Main outcome measures included the roles of GPs in managing patients with ED (active or passive), perceptions regarding ED and the treatment, and factors influencing their decision to prescribe. Majority of the GPs assumed a passive role when managing patients with ED. This was partly due to their perception of the disease being nonserious. Some also perceived ED as mainly psychological in nature. The anti-ED drugs were often viewed as a lifestyle drug with potentially serious side effects. The fear of being perceived by patients as 'pushing' for the drug and being blamed if the patients were to develop serious side effects also hampered the management of this disease. GPs who participated in this study remained passive in identifying and treating patients with ED and this was attributed to their perception of the disease, drug treatment and patient's background.