Development of a research tool to document self-reported chronic conditions in primary care

Martin Fortin, José Almirall, Kathryn Nicholson


Background: Researchers interested in multimorbidity often find themselves in the dilemma of identifying or creating an operational definition in order to generate data. Our team was invited to propose a tool for documenting the presence of chronic conditions in participants recruited for different research studies. Objective: To describe the development of such a tool. Design: A scoping review in which we identified relevant studies, selected studies, charted the data, and collated and summarized the results. The criteria considered for selecting chronic conditions were: 1) their relevance to primary care services; 2) the impact on affected patients; 3) their prevalence among the primary care users; and 4) how often the conditions were present among the lists retrieved from the scoping review. Results: Taking into account the predefined criteria, we developed a list of 20 chronic conditions/categories of conditions that could be self-reported. A questionnaire was built using simple instructions and a table including the list of chronic conditions/categories of conditions. Conclusions: We developed a questionnaire to document 20 self-reported chronic conditions/categories of conditions intended to be used for research purposes in primary care. Guided by previous literature, the purpose of this questionnaire is to evaluate the self-reported burden of multimorbidity by participants and to encourage comparability among research studies using the same measurement.

Journal of Comorbidity 2017;7(1):117–123


self-report, chronic conditions, primary care, multimorbidity

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    ISSN 2235-042X