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Table 3 Key and probing questions asked during interviews with patients and carers and focus group discussions with health care professionals

From: A patient-centred approach to health service delivery: improving health outcomes for people with chronic illness

Key questions Probing questions
What have been the greatest challenges that you have faced as a patient OR as a carer? 1) Can you tell me exactly what happened? (tell me more about that), 2) Why do you think that happened? 3) How did that affect you? 4) How do you think it affected people around you? 5) How did you cope? 6) What do you think would prevent a similar thing happening again? 7) I understand that may have been difficult for you, what other challenges have you faced?
What has been your experience with health professionals in terms of managing your diabetes/COPD/CHF OR as a carer. In all your experiences with health professionals can you think of any experiences that could be improved?
What has been unhelpful about the health professionals who have provided care for you? 1) Have you ever had an interaction with a health professional that has been a problem for you? 2) What could they do that would most improve your care? 3) Who do you think should be involved in making decisions about your treatment and care?
Apart from medical treatment and other professional health care, what else or who else helps you cope with your COPD/CHF/diabetes? 1) Is there any help that you don’t get now that you believe would assist in living with your COPD/CHF/diabetes? 2) Do you think that is something that others with your condition may also appreciate or is that something that might be more specific to your own circumstances? 3) Why is that?
I’m interested in experiences you have had with health services in terms of managing your COPD/CHF/diabetes. - Can you describe some of the helpful and unhelpful aspects of health services that you have received? 1) Can you tell me exactly what happened? 2) Why do you think that happened? 3) How did that affect you/others? 4) How did you cope? 5) What do you think would prevent a similar thing happening again? 6) Can you think of anything you would change in the health service to improve this experience or even to prevent it from happening again? 7) In an ideal world, what would you want the health service to provide for people living with diabetes/COPD/CHF?
Focus group discussions
Key questions Probing questions
What sort of problems do you face as a health professional in providing care for people with diabetes, COPD and CHF (OR: these three conditions)? What do you think are the main cause(s) of those problems?
What sort of problems do you think patients and their carers face in managing their condition? Generally speaking, people we have interviewed indicated that they struggle with managing their chronic conditions; that they find it difficult to do the ‘right things’ on an on-going basis.
What are your thoughts on that? (Possible prompts: acting on risk factors, warning signs; identifying triggers)
Many people are managing more than one condition at the same time and they are finding it really hard. Can you talk about that for a moment?  
Patients have also told us that managing a chronic illness can cause a financial burden. What sort of problems do you think this poses for your patients?
We’ve discussed some of the challenges you and your patients face. What changes can you think of that would assist you and your patients in addressing these challenges  
Given the competing demands for resources, what sorts of things should we be investing in to address the chronic disease crisis in Australia?