• 8Jan

    Patients make better use of decision and communication aids when prompted

    The researcher’s breast cancer clinic promotes patient use of decision and communication aids (DAs/CAs) through two mechanisms: coaching and prompting. From January through September 2010, they provided services to 462 of 1106 new visitors (42%). Of those 462 visitors, 267 (58%) received coaching. The remainder (195 or 42%), were prompted to self-administer the DA and CAs.

    Researchers surveyed prompted patients after their visits. They asked how much of each DA they reviewed, whether they listed questions, made notes and audio-recorded their consultations. They tallied frequencies and explored associations using logistic regression.

    Of the 195 prompted patients, 82 responded to surveys (42%). Nearly all (90%) reported reviewing some or all of the booklets and 71% reported viewing some or all of the DVDs. While 81% responded that they wrote a question list, only 23% said they showed it to their doctor. Two-thirds said someone took notes, but only 20% reported making audio recordings.

    More patients reported following prompts to use DAs than CAs. Few reported showing question lists to physicians or recording their visits. The exploratory analyses surfaced associations between using CAs and race/ethnicity or education that merit further investigation. Prompting patients assures better use of decision than communication aids. Clinicians may need to take a more active role to ensure patients receive adequate notes and recordings.

    Volz, S., Moore, D. H. and Belkora, J. K. (2013), Do patients use decision and communication aids as prompted when meeting with breast cancer specialists?. Health Expectations. doi: 10.1111/hex.12042 onlinelibrary.wiley.com