Does dictating the letter to the GP in front of a follow-up patient improve satisfaction with the consult? A randomised controlled trial

Ahmed, Jahangir; Roy, Amit; Abed, Tarik; Kotecha, Bhik
April 2010
European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology;Apr2010, Vol. 267 Issue 4, p619
Academic Journal
Various studies have shown that receiving a copy of the letter to the General Practitioner (GP) improves patient satisfaction with the consult. We aimed to establish whether dictating the letter to the GP in front of a listening patient does likewise. Follow-up patients have shorter allotted consultation times. This may contribute to dissatisfaction, hence the choice of our target group. One hundred consecutive follow-up patients who met the eligibility criteria were randomised to listen to the GP letter or not. Immediately after the consult, they were asked to fill in a questionnaire which, in addition to enquiring about various aspects of the consult asked them to quantify their overall satisfaction by means of a ten-point graded visual analogue score. Forty-nine patients received dictation. The mean age and sex distribution of the two groups were matched. The median overall satisfaction in the dictation and non-dictation groups were ten and eight, respectively, this was statistically significant. There was no significant difference between patients’ rating of whether the consult had addressed their ailment adequately, explanation(s) given or the length of consult. Sixty-one percent of patients in the non-dictation group would like to have listened to the dictation, whilst all patients in the dictation group found it useful. This study is the first of its kind in the ENT population. Dictating a letter to the GP in front of a listening patient led to a statistically significant improvement in satisfaction independent of possible confounding aspects of the consult.


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