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Patient Educ Couns. 2014 Dec;97(3):347-51. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2014.08.011. Epub 2014 Aug 26.

'Any questions?'--Clinicians' usage of invitations to ask questions (IAQs) in outpatient plastic surgery consultations.

Author information

1
King's College London, Cicely Saunders Institute, Department of Palliative Care, Policy & Rehabilitation, London, UK. Electronic address: katherine.bristowe@kcl.ac.uk.
2
Department of Language and Linguistics, University of Essex, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To explore use of 'Invitations to Ask Questions' (IAQs) by plastic surgeons in outpatient consultations, and consider how type of IAQ impacts on patients' responses to, and recollection of, IAQs.

METHODS:

Descriptive study: 63 patients were audio recorded in consultation with 5 plastic surgeons, and completed a brief questionnaire immediately after the consultation. Consultation transcripts were analyzed using inductive qualitative methods of Discourse Analysis and compared with questionnaire findings.

RESULTS:

A taxonomy of IAQs was developed, including three types of IAQ (Overt, Covert, and Borderline). Overt IAQs were rarely identified, and almost all IAQs occurred in the closing stages of the consultation. However, when an overt IAQ was used, patients always recollected being asked if they had any questions after the consultation.

CONCLUSIONS:

Patients are rarely explicitly offered the opportunity to ask questions. When this does occur, it is often in the closing stages of the consultation. Clinicians should openly encourage patients to ask questions frequently throughout the consultation, and be mindful that subtle differences in construction of these utterances may impact upon interpretation.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:

Clear communication, of message and intention, is essential in clinical encounters to minimize misunderstanding, misinterpretation, or missed opportunities for patients to raise concerns.

KEYWORDS:

Clinician–patient interaction; Outpatient interactions; Patient integration; Question use

PMID:
25190641
DOI:
10.1016/j.pec.2014.08.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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