Background: Effective doctor-patient communication is of great importance in order to optimize medical consultation outcomes. However, it can be difficult to address all patients' concerns and expectations in clinic.
Objective: To identify how much patients know about their medical condition, their fears and concerns, and their expectations, as well as evaluate the benefits of using a preconsultation questionnaire routinely.
Methods: This study included consecutive patients attending dermatology outpatients from Dundee (Scotland) and Granada (Spain) who completed a simple preconsultation 3-part questionnaire. Answers to this questionnaire were discussed during clinic visits.
Results: Two hundred patients participated in the study. Of all, 111 (55.5%) patients already knew their diagnosis or were able to describe their symptoms and/or feelings quite accurately at their visit to Dermatology. Most patients (85%) had fears regarding their dermatological problem. A majority of patients (97%) came to clinic with specific expectations, and many (41.5%) had multiple expectations. A high proportion of patients (74%) found the questionnaire useful.
Conclusion: Patients attend clinic with different levels of knowledge, fears, and expectations. We recommend using a brief and easy to use preconsultation questionnaire as a cost-effective way of enhancing doctor-patient communication.
- personalized medicine
- physician-patient communication
- patient fears
- patient expectations