PhD project: Power, trust and risk – an investigation on the clinical encounter between general practitioners (GPs) and individuals without formal education

This PhD thesis contributes in different ways with knowledge about the clinical encounter between patients without formal education and general practitioners (GP). The clinical encounter has been defined as the social meeting between patient and professional, where the lay perspective on health and risk of the patient is intertwined with the professional perspective of the GP. Research show that this intertwining of different perspectives on health and risk is affects the patient’s experience, the improvement of symptoms and the treatment outcome.

This study is conducted in relation to the intervention study Check-In, which was carried out in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2014. Using a randomized controlled design, the intervention study evaluated a proactive invitation of people aged 45-64 years without formal education to a prescheduled preventive health check in general practice. Check-In investigated whether the health check resulted in change in adverse health behavior and detection of chronic diseases.


The thesis includes an investigation of 1) the lay perspective of people without formal education on participating in a preventive health check, 2) the professional perspective on retaining patients in the clinical encounter and 3) the conditions that frame the clinical encounter between the general practitioner (GP) and the patients in Denmark.


A qualitative design is applied to cover the different perspectives and dimensions of the clinical encounter. The study consists of semi structured qualitative interviews conducted with GP participating in Check-In before and after the intervention. Semi structured qualitative interviews were additionally conducted with individuals without formal education before and after they attended the preventive health check in relation to Check-In. Furthermore, the study includes participant observations at the participating GPs clinics before the onset of the intervention project and participant observation of encounters between GP and participants in Check-In.

Project period

This PhD thesis is submitted February 2018.


The Danish Cancer Society.

Project Check-In

Find here