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Open Access Research article

Patient acceptance and perceived utility of pre-consultation prevention summaries and reminders in general practice: pilot study

Oliver R Frank*, Nigel P Stocks and Paul Aylward

Author Affiliations

Discipline of General Practice, School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia

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BMC Family Practice 2011, 12:40  doi:10.1186/1471-2296-12-40

Published: 26 May 2011

Abstract

Background

Patients attending general practices receive only about sixty per cent of the preventive services that are indicated for them. This pilot study explores patient acceptability and perceived utility of automatically generated prevention summary and reminder sheets provided to patients immediately before consultations with their general practitioners.

Methods

Adult patients attending a general practitioner in a practice in Adelaide and a general practitioner in a practice in Melbourne, Australia for consultations in January and February 2009 received automatically-generated prevention summary and reminder sheets that highlighted indicated preventive activities that were due to be performed, and that encouraged the patient to discuss these with the general practitioner in the consultation. Patients completed a post-consultation questionnaire and were interviewed about their experience of receiving the sheets.

Results

Sixty patients, median age 53 years (interquartile range 40-74) years, and 58% female, were recruited. Seventy eight per cent of patients found the sheets clear and easy to understand, 75% found them very or quite useful, 72% reported they had addressed with their general practitioner all of the preventive activities that were listed on the sheets as being due to be performed. A further 13% indicated that they had addressed most or some of the activities. 78% of patients said that they would like to keep receiving the sheets. Themes emerging from interviews with patients included: patient knowledge was enhanced; patient conceptions of health and the GP consultation were broadened; the consultation was enhanced; patient pro-activity was encouraged; patients were encouraged to plan their health care; the intervention was suitable for a variety of patients.

Conclusions

Most patients reported that they found the prevention summary and reminder sheets acceptable and useful. The actual increase in performance of preventive activities that may result from this new intervention needs to be tested in randomised controlled trials.