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PARE0001 Patient information leaflets which include patient focused questions may improve outpatient satisfaction.
  1. A. Hetherington1,
  2. L. Williamson1,
  3. D. Collins1,
  4. E. Price1
  1. 1Rheumatology Department, Great Western Hospital, Swindon, United Kingdom

Abstract

Background Good communication during consultations is important for patient satisfaction, understanding and compliance with treatment. Rheumatology patients often have multisystem diseases with multiple co-morbidities. This is particularly true of elderly patients. Common problems in the outpatient consultations are that patients are not well prepared for their appointments in terms of being examined or bringing a list of their medications. Patients can leave feeling that questions that are important to them have not been answered. Providing patients with information leaflets prior to their clinic appointments has been shown to improve their levels of satisfaction(1,2).

Objectives This study aimed to explore this area by addressing the following questions: Do rheumatology patients find written information helpful prior to their appointments? Does it help them to prepare for their appointment in terms of what to bring, what they may be asked? In particular, does it help to ask patients to write down their medications and questions that they want to ask?

Methods An information leaflet was designed for new patients attending the rheumatology outpatient department in conjunction with the rheumatology multi disciplinary team. It provided information on the clinic experience and how to prepare for it. It included spaces for patients to write questions that they would like to ask at their appointment and a space to record their medications. Leaflets were sent to 23 new patients several weeks before their appointment. Patients filled out a questionnaire following their appointment.

Results 13 out of 23 questionnaires were completed.

1. Please rate how helpful you found the information provided before attending clinic Not at all helpful      1             2              3              4              5              very helpful

The mean rating on this question was 4.8 out of 5.

2. Did you feel that you knew what to expect from your clinic appointment and what you should bring with you?

92% of patients answered yes.

3. Did you use the space on the back of the leaflet to write down any questions that you had before attending clinic?

31 % of patients answered yes

4. Please rate your overall level of satisfaction with your experience in clinic Not at all satisfied    1             2              3              4              5              very satisfied

The mean rating on this question was 4.8 out of 5.

Patient comments: Information leaflet helped to focus on what I wanted to ask and my medication; helpful advice; very good.

Conclusions This small study showed that the vast majority of patients found the information leaflets helpful and had a high level of satisfaction with their clinic appointments. They knew what to expect from their appointment and what to bring with them. A third of patients used the provided space to write down questions. Patients felt that it helped them to focus on what they wanted from their appointments. The results will inform further study of the effect of patient preparation before outpatients on patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes.

  1. Ann R Coll Surg Engl 2006; 88:557-561

  2. Rheumatology (2010) 49(suppl 1): i143-i147 doi:10.1093/rheumatology/keq732

Disclosure of Interest None Declared

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