Improving comprehension of informed consent

Kušec, Sanja and Orešković, Stipe and Škegro, Mate and Korolija, Dragan and Bušić, Željko and Horžić, Matija (2006) Improving comprehension of informed consent. Patient Education and Counseling, 60 (3). pp. 294-300. ISSN 0738-3991

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OBJECTIVE: To explore the way the doctor-patient communication process may be improved by adopting the patients' conversational style in the development of written materials for surgical patients. ----- METHODS: Written information prepared by doctors, specialists in abdominal surgery, was tested for comprehension on patients undergoing cholecystectomy, using the standard Cloze test procedure. At the same time, the patients were asked to describe in their own words all they knew about their illness and the treatment. The collected 150 patient narratives were analyzed, and a typical narrative for each educational level was selected based on average SMOG score, word count and sentence length. The patient-worded information was then tested for comprehension on new patients, selected from primary health care, using the same Cloze procedure as with doctor-developed information. Patient profile of best lay communicators was defined using also sociodemographic characteristics, and reported information seeking and decision making preferences. ----- RESULTS: Only 50% of patients completed Cloze test, of which over 40% showed poor comprehension. Analysis of transcribed narratives collected from 150 patients showed increasing complexity of style by educational level (average SMOG score 7, 8, and 9; sentence length 11, 13, and 15 words; for low, medium, and high educational level, respectively). Cloze tests based on typical narratives, and tested on primary care patients, indicated to the style best understood by all. Dominant characteristics of patients producing a narrative of similar style to the best-understood narrative were observed: medium educational level, women over 60, urban workers, interviewed after surgery, informed by specialist at ultrasound, knowledge about illness from 1 to 10 years, learned most about illness from lay people, those who wanted more information in both oral and written form, and preferred active role in decision making. ----- CONCLUSION: Analysis of patient profiles with typical narratives that were best understood by other patients shows where to look for lay experts in doctor-patient communication. ----- PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Obtained findings indicate to the importance of patient participation in developing informed consent information, and to the possible method for improving comprehension of educational patient materials in general.

Item Type: Article
MeSH: Attitude to Health ; Communication ; Comprehension ; Informed Consent - psychology ; Patient Education - standards ; Physician-Patient Relations ; Adolescent ; Adult ; Aged ; Cholecystectomy, Laparoscopic - education - psychology ; Croatia ; Decision Making ; Educational Status ; Female ; Health Services Needs and Demand ; Humans ; Male ; Middle Aged ; Narration ; Primary Health Care ; Questionnaires ; Socioeconomic Factors ; Teaching Materials - standards ; Vocabulary
Departments: Katedra za kirurgiju
Katedra za medicinsku sociologiju i ekonomiku zdravstva
Depositing User: Lea Škorić
Status: Published
Orešković, StipeUNSPECIFIED
Korolija, DraganUNSPECIFIED
Date: March 2006
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2007
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2019 08:34
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