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Br J Gen Pract. 2004 Sep;54(506):667-72.

Giving patients an audiotape of their GP consultation: a randomised controlled trial.

Author information

  • 1University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland. c.liddell@ulster.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Providing patients with an audiotape of their medical consultation has been a relatively common practice in oncology clinics for some years. However, broader generalisability of the technique has yet to be examined.

AIMS:

To investigate the efficacy of providing patients with an audiotape of their consultation in a general practice setting.

DESIGN OF STUDY:

Randomised controlled trial: 95 experimental participants, 85 controls.

SETTING:

Routine surgeries run by two general practitioners (GPs) in two different health centres.

METHOD:

All patients attending GP appointments were eligible for inclusion. Patients were followed up by telephone 7-10 days later.

RESULTS:

More than half (61%) of the patients who received a tape listened to it. Among listeners, 64% rated the tape useful or very useful; 24% noticed information not heard in the consultation. Half of listeners (46%) said that their understanding of the consultation improved after listening to the tape. Half of the listeners (48%) shared the tape with others, of whom 71% found sharing helpful or very helpful. However, 21% of those who shared the information with others found this unhelpful or very unhelpful, suggesting that patients may need to be briefed on the potential risks of sharing. At follow-up a week later, it emerged that being given a tape had no effect on adherence with GPs' advice, nor on anxiety about conditions.

CONCLUSION:

Providing patients with an audiotape of their GP consultation was positively rated by many patients. Although there were no detectable clinical effects at follow-up, the technique merits further evaluation in general practice.

Comment in

PMID:
15353052
PMCID:
PMC1326067
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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