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Involving patients in decision making and communicating risk: a longitudinal evaluation of doctors' attitudes and confidence during a randomized trial

Edwards, Adrian G. ORCID: and Elwyn, Glyn ORCID: 2004. Involving patients in decision making and communicating risk: a longitudinal evaluation of doctors' attitudes and confidence during a randomized trial. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 10 (3) , pp. 431-437. 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2004.00502.x

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Background.  Important barriers to the wider implementation of shared decision making (SDM) and risk communication in practice remain. The attitudes of professionals undergoing training in these approaches may inform how to overcome these barriers, but there are few such data yet available. Aim.  To identify the attitudes of professionals during participation in a large practice-based intervention study with substantial individual exposure to SDM and risk communication, and to assess their confidence with these approaches and reported frequency of implementing them. Setting and participants.  Twenty general practitioners (GPs) who had been in practice between 1 and 10 years, and participated in an explanatory trial lasting 6 months. The trial interventions comprised training in SDM skills and the use of risk communication materials. The doctors consulted with up to 48 patients each (mean = 40, half of them audio-taped) for the study. Methods.  Questionnaire assessments before and after each training stage. Results.  The GPs indicated positive attitudes towards involving patients and towards the training interventions. They indicated that the risk information packs were applicable but had used them only occasionally with patients outside the trial. No statistically significant changes were associated with the specific interventions in terms of doctors’ confidence in discussing risk information after the risk communication intervention, or attitudes to patient involvement after the SDM intervention. Most attitudes and confidence ratings showed positive changes during the course of the trial as a cohort effect. Such positive changes were associated with female doctors more than male doctors, but not with MRCGP (postgraduate vocational) qualification. Time constraints remained important throughout the study in not implementing the approach more frequently. Conclusions.  Professionals appear receptive to patient involvement, and willing to acquire the relevant skills. SDM and risk communication training did not appear to contribute differentially to this. Practical barriers such as time constraints should probably be addressed with greater priority than the precise content of training or continuing professional development initiatives if ‘involvement’ is to become a commoner experience for patients in primary care.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: evaluation; professional attitudes; risk communication; shared decision making
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 1356-1294
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2022 09:11

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