Dear Doctor: A Tool to Facilitate Patient‐Centered Care and Enhance Communication

1University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, ML
2University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, ML
3University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, ML
4University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, ML
5University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, ML

Meeting: Hospital Medicine 2010, April 8-11, Washington, D.C.

Abstract number: 162

Background:

The results of publicly reported patient care surveys, such as the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Hospitals and Health Systems (HCAHPS), suggest that physician communication with patients could be improved. Patient‐centered care: which attempts to empower patients 1c become active participants in their own care may enhance communication with physicians and lead To improvements in care. The notepad is a common tool for reminders and personal interactions and has been noticeably absent in the inpatient setting. We introduced Dear Doctor (DD) notes — bedside notepads designed to prompt patient questions — in an attempt to facilitate communication between patients and physicians.

Purpose:

To provide DD notes as a bedside tool to facilitate patient communication and improve patient encounters with physicians in the hospital.

Description:

DD is a notepad intended as a catalyst to evoke questions and thoughts about one's own health care. The notepad includes sample questions and informational prompts derived from a community focus group. These questions prompt patient inquiries regarding diagnoses, medications, daily care plans, and planned diagnostic tests. A 3‐month pilot study at the University of Michigan compared patients receiving the intervention on 2 designated units To patients on 2 matched control units. On the intervention units, pens and DD notepads, along with instructions on their purpose, were provided to patients by hospital staff. Patient satisfaction with communication and, for the intervention group, use and perception of the DD notepad were measured with a questionnaire. There were 440 patients on the intervention units and 224 patients on the control units. Of the 440 patients or the intervention units, 76% (n = 343) received The notepads in Their rooms, and 47% (n = 207) used Them. In the intervention group 54% of the patients reported that they took notes related to their hospital care compared to only 22% of patients in the control units (P < 0.001). Of the patients who took notes in the intervention group, 93% used the DD notes. In an intention‐to‐treat analysis, the overall rate of satisfaction with physician communication did not differ as measured on a 5‐point Likert scale (4.55 vs. 4.55, P‐0.89). However, patients using the DD notes were more fikely To report that Iheir questions were answered by their physicians (4.63 vs. 4.45, P < 0.001). Patients in the intervention group who used the notepads also felt that communication with their physicians were enhanced because of the use of DD notes, with an average rating of 3 76 (from 1 ‐ no improvement to 5 = significant improvement).

Conclusions:

In our institution, despile overall high rates of patient satisfaction with communication, a simple, low‐cost, patient‐centered tool provided an effective reminder for patients to ask their health care providers questions related to their hospital care. Future studies should evaluate the impact of bedside notes on nursing communication.

Author Disclosure:

A. Farberg, none; A. Linr none; L. Kuhn, none; S. Flanders, none; C. Kim, none.

To cite this abstract:

Farberg A, Lin A, Kuhn L, Flanders S, Kim C. Dear Doctor: A Tool to Facilitate Patient‐Centered Care and Enhance Communication. Abstract published at Hospital Medicine 2010, April 8-11, Washington, D.C. Abstract 162. Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2010; 5 (suppl 1). https://www.shmabstracts.com/abstract/dear-doctor-a-tool-to-facilitate-patientcentered-care-and-enhance-communication/. Accessed May 26, 2019.

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