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Abstract: What did the doctor say?

Authors:

Rao M, Fogarty P.

Institution:

Ulster Hospital, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK.

Source:

J Obstet Gynaecol. 2007 Jul;27(5):479-80.

Abstract:

It is well known that 40 - 80% of information provided by clinicians is forgotten immediately by patients. Furthermore, 50% of the information remembered is incorrect. Research has shown that receiving written communication meets with high satisfaction from patients. According to the NHS plan to improve healthcare delivery, it has been recommended that patients should receive copies of letters written by doctors and that the policy would be implemented in full by April 2004. A total of 100 consecutive patients undergoing day-case gynaecological surgery under a single consultant were sent a postal questionnaire. Questions included were whether the letter was helpful, informative, reassuring, confusing or alarming. Patients were further asked whether they would prefer a similar communication in the future. A total of 78 patients replied. Of these, 67 patients found the letter helpful and preferred to have similar communication in future. Only two patients found the letter confusing and one of these was alarmed as well. Overall, 62 patients found the letter reassuring. The majority of the patients found the copy of GP discharge letter helpful, informative, non-alarming and reassuring and wanted a similar communication in the future. The extra workload involved was minimal and the extra expense involved only an extra page, envelope and postage.

Keywords:

Gynaecology Surgery Communication Complaints Discharge Letter