Lack of provision of information was the single most common cause of poor performance in the 2008/2009 NHS Patient Survey Programme of trusts in the UK. Information leaflets have been shown to improve patient satisfaction with consultations.
We introduced a new patient information leaflet about the scheduled consultation in a district hospital´s dermatology outpatient clinic. We then assessed in a small study its effect on the patients regarding helpfulness, preparation for and satisfaction with the out-patient consultation.
Via the hospital´s booking office, leaflets were sent to all patients (n=32) due to attend two outpatient clinics, accompanied by a letter about the survey. After the consultation, patients were given a short anonymous questionnaire to complete.
Of the 32 patients, 12 patients did not receive the leaflet, three did not attend their consultation, and two left before they were handed the questionnaire. We gave out 15 questionnaires, and received 15 responses (100%).
46.9% of patients (n=15) answered the questionnaire. Of these 33.3% were new patients (n=5). 86.7% (n=13) found the leaflet helpful and 33% excellent (n=5). 86.7% felt well prepared for the consultation, 40% excellently (n=6). 86.7% were satisfied with the consultation, 73% rated their satisfaction as excellent (n=11). 60% of patients brought a list with their medication (n=9), 80% of the new patients (n=4). 13.3% of patients (n=2) wrote down questions prior to the consultation. Comments suggested the leaflet would be more useful for new patients.
Patients scored highly for satisfaction with the consultation, whether or not they had received and information leaflet (we asked n=20 patients without leaflet). This short survey supports the idea that patients find it helpful to receive an information leaflet, and actively prepare by bringing a list of their medication, and thinking of questions.
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