Table 1

Characteristics of included studies

First authorObjectiveData collectionParticipants (n)Qualitative methodology/analysisCountryYear of publication
Smith et al23To explore the views and attitudes of GPs and pharmacists managing patients with multimorbidity in primary careFocus group with topic guide; participants were given a published editorial on multimorbidity before handGPs13 and pharmacists.
GPs were tutors to undergraduate medical students, worked in a mix of rural/urban, deprived/affluent practice and varied by gender and years of experience
O'Brien et al24To understand GPs and practice nurses’ experiences of managing multimorbidity in deprived areas and elicit views on what might helpIndividual semistructured interview facilitated by researched topic guideGPs15 and nurses, working in areas of high deprivation in ScotlandConstant comparisonScotland2011
Steinman et al25To investigate clinician attitudes about the usefulness of heart failure guidelines in patients of various ages/morbidityTelephone-based interview using Likert scales followed by open-ended questionsPrimary Care Practitioners (48/58) and Internists (10/58) responsible for suboptimally managed patients with heart failureContent analysisUSA2012
Fried et al26To explore clinicians’ perspectives of and experiences with therapeutic decision-making for older persons with multiple medical conditionsFocus groups with broad discussion initially then focused questions on polypharmacy, side effects and evidence-based medicine in multimorbidityGPs36 purposively sampled to vary on academic, community and Veteran Affair settingsContent analysisUSA2011
Solomon et al27To explore the relationship between prescribing guidelines and patient partnership by exploring the attitudes of patients, GPs and PCT prescribing advisorsSemistructured interviewsGPs8 sampled using maximum variation by location, gender, single versus group practiceFrameworkEngland2012
Anthierens et al28To describe GPs’ views and beliefs on polypharmacySemistructured interviews65 GPs working in mixed rich/poor urban environmentContent analysisBelgium2010
Bower et al29To explore GP and nurse perceptions of multimorbidity and the influence on service organisation and clinical decision-makingIndividual semistructured interview using topic guide with questions and case vignettesGPs15 and nurses, working in a pay for performance system (NHS). Purposively sampled from research network, to vary on list size and deprivationFrameworkEngland2011
Schuling et al30To explore how experienced GPs feel about deprescribing medication in older patients with multimorbidity and to what extent they involve patients in these decisionsFocus groupsGPs29 split into three groups. All were GP trainers of at least 5 years experience ‘used to reflecting on their practice’ThematicThe Netherlands2012
Marx et al31To explore the ‘dilemma of polypharmacy’ in primary careFocus groupsGPs21
3 Focus groups with a mix of fulltime GPs, junior and senior academic GPs.
Conducted at an academic GP conference
Mind maps and grounded theoryGermany2009
Luijks et al32To explore GPs’ considerations and main aims in the management of multimorbidity, and factors influencing this management in daily practiceFocus groups using an interview guidePurposively sampled GPs,25 with/without involvement in training/academia, in five focus groupsConstant comparisonThe Netherlands2012
  • GP, general practitioner; NHS, National Health Service; PCT, primary care trust.