Toward a model of shared meaningful diagnosis

Christy J W Ledford, Dean A Seehusen, Paul F Crawford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: The purpose was to explain the process of diabetes-related diagnosis that prompts patient action (behavior change or treatment adherence). A secondary purpose was to identify barriers/gaps that prevent those outcomes.

METHODS: Using a grounded theory approach, we explored diagnosis from the patient's perspective and through the lens of the electronic health record (EHR). A thematic analysis was conducted on interview and EHR data from 28 patients, using the constant comparative method.

RESULTS: The emerging model of shared meaningful diagnosis included four stages: stimulus to screen, medical decision making, medical information transfer, and patient sensemaking. Barriers to a meaningful diagnosis emerged in clinical documentation, clinician communication, and patient sensemaking.

CONCLUSIONS: This study expands current understanding of "diagnosis," suggesting additional stages between diagnostic labeling and disease management. The additional stages of medical information transfer and patient sensemaking are critical steps to a shared meaningful diagnosis that could enable teamwork among the patient and healthcare team.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: To sustain meaningful diagnosis for the patient, clinicians should document what language they used to explain the diagnosis to the patient so that subsequent clinicians can use similar language. Clinicians who work as a team should unify their approach to discussing prediabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-148
Number of pages6
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Communication
  • Diabetes Mellitus/diagnosis
  • Documentation
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Team


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