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Patient attitudes to the gastroenterology outpatient experience

A study in January's issue of the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology evaluates patient attitudes to the gastroenterology outpatient experience.

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Dr Amy Larkins and colleagues determined patient attitudes in gastroenterology outpatient care, including the preferences and expectations associated with satisfaction, waiting times and quality in the consultation.

The team carried out a service evaluation of patient care in outpatient gastroenterology clinics using a composite, dedicated self-completed questionnaire.

The questionnaire included demographics, preconsultation and postconsultation Likert scale attitudes to process, interactive and environmental factors, and a 16-point ranking questionnaire of domains of the patient pathway considered important to obtaining satisfaction.

The research team reported that 227 patients agreed to participate.

Factors most important to obtaining satisfaction related to the quality of the consultation
European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

The doctors noted that the factors considered most important to obtaining satisfaction related to the quality of the consultation, including ‘seeing the doctor’, ‘having confidence in the treatment plan’, ‘clear and appropriately set explanations’, ‘being listened to’, ‘opportunity to express important issues’ and ‘recognition of needs’.

Low importance was attributed to process and environmental aspects including waiting times, explanations for delays and the quietness and privacy of the consultation room, and involvement of the patient’s next of kin.

Patients reported dissatisfaction with long waiting times and short consultation times, but this did not appear to influence postconsultation satisfaction, the likelihood of reattendance or following the treatment plan.

Dr Larkins' team concludes, "Patients consider that factors most important to a satisfactory experience in gastroenterology outpatient care relate specifically to the quality of their interaction with their healthcare professional in consultation."

"The roles of environmental and process issues are considered less important."

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2013: 25(1): 44-55
20 December 2012

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