Patients’ perception on descriptive terminology during medical consultation

  • Thomas Haigh
  • Winson Wong, Mr

Abstract

Objective
Risks communication is integral to effective medical consultation enabling patients to make fully informed decisions. Descriptive terminology is often used. However they could have different meanings to different patients. The aim of this study is to identify this variation.
Methods
A patient questionnaire was distributed randomly to patients attending ENT clinic. Patients were asked for their preferences as to how they would receive information regarding likelihood or risk, whether that be percentage form or frequency.
Results
46 completed surveys were returned. 58.6% expressed preference for usage of percentage whilst 30.4% preferred numeric risk.
Discussion
Our study has shown that patients prefer the use of percentages on discussing probabilities during medical consultation. It also highlighted the variations of patient's perception on commonly used terminology.
Conclusion
The study places emphasis on how risk can be communicated to different patient groups. It is our responsibility as clinicians to tailor risk communication to the patient in front of us.

Published
2020-01-09
Section
Articles