Analysis of definitions of general practice, family medicine, and primary health care: a terminological analysis

  • Jamoulle M
  • Resnick M
  • Vander Stichele R
 et al. 
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Background: There are numerous definitions of general practice/family medicine (GP/FM) and primary health care (PHC), but the distinction between the two concepts is unclear. Aim: To conduct a terminological analysis of a set of definitions of GP/FM and of PHC, to clarify the commonalities and differences between these two concepts. Design: Sets of 20 definitions were collected in two ’bags of words’ (one for GP/FM and one for PHC terms). A terminological analysis of these two collections was performed to prioritise the terms and analyse their universe of discourse. Method: The two collections were extracted with VocabGrabber, configured in two ’term clouds’ using Wordle, and further explored for similarities using Tropes. The main terms were analysed using the Aristotelian approach to the categorisation of things. Results: Although continuity of care (characterised by a person-centred approach and shared decision making) is common to both sets, the two sets of definitions differ greatly in content. The main terms specific to GP/FM (community, medicine, responsibility, individual, problem, and needs) are different from those specific to PHC (home, team, promotion, collaborator, engagement, neighbourhood, and medical centre). Conclusion: Terminological analysis of the definitions for GP/FM and PHC shows two overlapping but distinct entities, necessitating a different taxonomic approach and different bibliographic search strategies. How

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  • Marc Jamoulle

  • Melissa Resnick

  • Robert Vander Stichele

  • Ashwin Ittoo

  • Elena Cardillo

  • Marc Vanmeerbeek

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