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Br J Gen Pract. Sep 1996; 46(410): 525–528.
PMCID: PMC1239747

What do patients think about during their consultations? A qualitative study.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The consultation has been widely examined, but chiefly from the doctor's standpoint. Comparatively little is known about how patients view the event even though shared understanding is an accepted goal of each consultation. AIM: The aim of the study was to describe the range and types of thoughts which patients have during their consultations. METHOD: In semistructured interviews, prompted by video playback and transcript, 18 patients gave detailed accounts of their thoughts and feelings during a recent consultation. RESULTS: The study confirmed patients' central desire for understanding but also revealed a complex mix of other thoughts. Multiple problems and aims were usual. Patients routinely considered their relationship with the doctor, the doctor's willingness, ability and available time, and altered their behaviour accordingly. CONCLUSION: Patients and doctors have different models of the consultation-better understanding of how patients consult should lead to better training for doctors and improve shared understanding.

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Selected References

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