Medicopolitical

Access to specialist correspondence has no effect on knowlege, anxiety

Thursday, 15 Sep 2016


Giving patients access to written communication between gastroenterologists and GPs does not lead to an improved understanding of their medical condition or reduce anxiety, research shows.

The study led by gastroenterologists from the Royal Melbourne Hospital involved 70 patients who required an urgent endoscopic procedure.

Patients were randomised to a group that were sent copies of their clinic correspondence and endoscopy report or to a group that received no correspondence.

The researchers found no statistically significant reduction in anxiety between the groups. Patients who received correspondence also did not demonstrate a better understanding of their condition or a higher level of satisfaction.

Nevertheless, 97 percent of patients indicated that they wished to receive correspondence and 94 % said they felt it helped them to understand their medical condition.

“As patient involvement and interest in their healthcare decisions continues to grow, patients should be given the choice whether or not to receive copies of their specialist consultation letters” the authors concluded in their paper published in the Internal Medicine Journal.

“This is likely to enhance doctor-patient communication and relationships, empower patients in making healthcare decisions and consolidate patients understanding of their medical care,” they added.

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