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Title: Patient-initiated questions: How can doctors encourage them and improve the consultation process? A qualitative study
Authors: Murtagh, G. M.
Furber, L.
Thomas, Anne L.
First Published: 16-Oct-2013
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group: Open Access
Citation: BMJ Open, 2013, 3 (10), e003112
Abstract: Objective: To investigate the circumstances under which patients initiate direct questions in oncology consultations. Design: Conversation analysis of 47 consultations between oncologists and patients with cancer. Setting: An oncology clinic at a teaching hospital in the East Midlands. Participants: 16 Oncologists and 67 cancer patients. Outcome measure: Patient initiated direct questions. Results: On the whole patients’ direct questions are designed to seek specific information regarding, the cancer itself, treatment options or their experience of symptoms. When patients do ask direct questions they typically follow the announcement of test results where some reference to the details of those results, is provided. More specifically, there seems to be a relation between showing the patient their scan/X-ray results, patient involvement and patient-initiated direct questions. Higher levels of patient-initiated direct questions were clustered around occasions where doctors provided information and explanations of test results (12 consultations) sometimes with direct reference to scan or X-ray results (7 consultations). Conclusions: This study highlights the importance of careful explanation of diagnostic evidence as a factor contributing to increased patient involvement. More specifically, the findings suggest that, when appropriate, invoking diagnostic evidence (eg, scan or X-ray results) is an effective way of increasing levels of patient question asking. Doctors need to be able to encourage patient question asking to ensure that patients have at their disposal an important means through which they can determine their information needs. Although these results come from a study of oncology consultations, the findings may be transferable to other clinical contexts.
DOI Link: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003112
ISSN: 2044-6055
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2013. This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine

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