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Fam Pract. 2007 Feb;24(1):77-83. Epub 2006 Nov 30.

The effect of patient self-completion agenda forms on prescribing and adherence in general practice: a randomized controlled trial.

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CAPER research practices, Halford Wing Dean Clarke House, Southernhay, Exeter EX1 1PQ, UK.



What the patient wants from a general practice consultation and what the doctor believes they want are not always the same thing. This mismatch may lead to unwanted and unnecessary prescribing.


To study the effect of a one-page form completed by patients before their consultation and given to the doctor at the start of the consultation, in terms of a reduction in prescribing, satisfaction with the consultation and adherence with prescribed medication.


Randomized controlled trial.


Ten general practices in Devon and Dorset, UK.


Unselected patients attending general practice appointments were randomised to receive (or not) a self-completed agenda form (SCAF) asking five questions, including whether the patient considered they should receive a prescription.


Approximately 4125 patients were offered entry; 3124 (76%) agreed to randomisation. In 1783 (57%) of these prescribing or satisfaction outcomes were identified. 457 of 811 (56.4%) of SCAF patients received a prescription, at a median (IQR) cost of pound 5.60 (inter-quartile range pound 2.12- pound 16.10), compared with 418 of 799 (52.3%) of controls, at a median cost of pound 5.94 ( pound 2.46- pound 18.90); both results non-significant (P=0.10 for prescribing and 0.30 for cost). Satisfaction was also similar in both groups: mean satisfaction score in SCAFs 5.37 and in controls 5.40 (P=0.64), as was adherence: at 12 weeks, adherence of 75% or greater was reported by 92 of 136 SCAF patients (68%) and 105 of 145 controls (72%) (P=0.31).


The negative result could have two explanations. Either the intervention did not achieve the intention of communicating the patients' agendas, or if it did, patients may have been persuaded by doctors' explanations in the consultation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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