Modelling and categorisation of Portuguese GPs' prescibing behavior : the case of patients with hypertension
Building on Reynolds' and Gutman's (1988) assumption that is possible to categorise consumers with respect to their values orientation, we argued that it is possible to categorise Portuguese GPs according to their clinical values. The exploratory phase of this research was therefore developed in accordance with Means-End Chain Theory (Gutman, 1982) and the related Laddering technique (Reynolds and Gutman, 1988). These tools were useful in assessing Portuguese GPs' therapeutic cognitive structures. Resulting hierarchical maps (which summarise the most frequently evoked therapeutic means-end paths) were obtained with newly available software (Ladder Map) (Gengler and Reynolds, 1995). The results suggested that Portuguese GPs' prescribing behaviour was based on different patient typologies. These cognitive schemas were used to develop the patient typology model (PTM). Subsequently, a self-administered questionnaire was sent to 1,500 Portuguese GPs. Factor analysis and multiple logistic regression were the statistical techniques chosen for the analysis of the 309 responses. This empirical phase of the research confirmed that the PTM is a useful theoretical framework to categorise Portuguese GPs according to the stepped-care approach and the liberal approach. The former uses diuretics and -blockers, while the latter prefers angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors for the management of hypertension.