Research – University of Copenhagen

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An interdisciplinary environment

We are proud of our interdisciplinarity which means that general practitioners and other doctors collaborate with sociologists, cultural sociologists, anthropologists, physiotherapists, nurses, statisticians and so on. This enables us to do both quantitative studies (such as questionnaires, clinical studies, register studies) and qualitative studies (such as interviews and observational studies) on a high level. 

Our research – the great lines

The Research Unit addresses the research areas mentioned below, separately and as a whole

1. The dialogue and the negotiation with the patient in the consultation. Research in the meeting between the patient and the GP, where the understanding of the doctor and the patient is clarified and used as a resource. The relation between the patient and the GP is seen as the focal point in general practice.

2. The patient’s perspective on symptoms, diseases and risks. Description of the meaning of the patients’ experiences, interpretations and understanding of the healthcare system on the premises of modern society.

3. Clinical treatment of diseases. Research in diagnostics and treatment of selected diseases, symptoms and conditions with a view to strengthening the clinical competences. At the moment, there is particular focus on the areas of diabetes, dementia, back disorders, cancer, infectious diseases, and children with special needs.

4. Organisation- and implementation research. The structure and function of general practice, the working conditions of GPs and staff, processes of change, and circumstances affecting the development of new procedures and routines in the clinical practice.

5. The background of GPs. The medical education, including medical pedagogical research, and the socialisation and attitudes of GPs.


The research groups

With our research, we aim to improve and develop the treatment of diseases, the dialogue with the patient, and the cooperation within the health care system. We work in small research groups, collaborating across several research areas. The larger of the groups focus on the following topics:

Children and young people
In the Children Group, we work with the health of children in a general medical perspective. For example, we work with children whose parents are affected by cancer, and with vulnerable children in the consultation. DanChild is a big project which has been initiated to ensure that data is being collected from the pregnancy- and child examinations in general practice. The information is to be used to improve the quality of these examinations, and it is going to entail the making of a general medical mother-child cohort.

The healthy ”patients”
In this group, we work with the use of medical technology, risk perception, and screening of healthy individuals seen from a general medical perspective. We are interested in the consequences of screening for how people perceive their own health, including the consequences of a false positive screening result.

Infections, antibiotics, and resistence
This research group works with methods for improving the diagnostics of infectious diseases in general practice. The aim is to attain a reduction of the undesirable overconsumption of antibiotics and thus restrain the increasing resistence. The group of researchers is a part of the interdisciplinary research centre at the University of Copenhagen, UC-CARE (University of Copenhagen Research Centre for Antibiotic Resistance).

Diabetes, weight, and diet
The so-called lifestyle diseases are a strong presence in general practice. By means of population studies and intervention studies with both healthy people and patients with diabetes, we investigate topics such as the impact of diet on body weight, the influence of body weight on health, and the improvement of psychiatric patients' somatic diseases.

Patients with two or more chronical illnesses (multimorbidity) need a collaborating health care system which has the patient in its centre. This research group works with the diagnosing and treatment of these patients in general practice. Through a combination of epidemiological and qualitative-humanistic research, we aim to shed light on the characteristics of patients with multimorbidity and their courses of disease and treatment.

Medicinal products
This group takes an interest in preventive medicine such as statins and antidepressants for elderly people. Both the patient- and the doctor perspectives are being investigated, for example when we explore the different view points on the discontinuation of preventive medicine for elderly people.

Women- and gender research in medicine
The Unit of Women and Gender Research in Medicine at the Section of General Practice primarily do research in biological, social, and psychological gender differences, the reasons for these differences, and their impact on illness and health. At the moment, for example, we are working with eating disorders, sexual and reproductive health, and domestic and international adoptions.

Organisation and implementation
General pratice is regularly subjected to demands or wishes for the implementation of new quality standards, tools for documentation, collaboration models, and organisational forms. In this group, we investigate how such ideas and technologies are being incorporated in general practice, and what the consequences are. For example, how do the new initiatives reconcile with the working conditions in general practice, and how do they affect the work?

The consultation
This group focuses on the meeting between the doctor and the patient. The projects of this group are, for instance, about conversational therapy with depressive patients, preventive child examinations, and discussions about lifestyle and teaching in the consultation process.