Effective communication between ENT and primary care - a survey of outpatient correspondence

Addison, AB, Watts, S and Fleming, J ORCID: 0000-0001-7963-1224
(2015) Effective communication between ENT and primary care - a survey of outpatient correspondence. CLINICAL OTOLARYNGOLOGY, 40 (3). pp. 191-196.

[img] Text
ENT_Primary_care_communication.docx - Author Accepted Manuscript

Download (42kB)


<h4>Objective</h4>To improve the quality of outpatient clinic communication between Otolaryngology and primary care doctors.<h4>Design</h4>Three example outpatient letters with identical content were created using different structure styles - full prose, headline subheadings with full prose and full subheadings throughout. Electronic questionnaires were sent out to 30 randomly selected General Practitioners in the area served by Western Sussex NHS Trust. The electronic mail study invite contained the initial GP referral, the three different letter formats and a link to the Sheffield Assessment for Letters (SAIL) questionnaire, which contained a 18-point checklist, 6 rating subheadings with a 10-point rating scale and a free text comment section. Study participants were asked to read the letters in the time usually afforded to outpatient letters in their routine practice, answer questions and then rate the letters.<h4>Results</h4>With a response rate of 66.7%, overall comparison of GP preferences demonstrated a significant variation between the three letter formats (Freidman P value = 0.0001). Post hoc multiple comparisons showed statistically significant preference for the headline subheading and prose letter compared to the full subheaded letter (P < 0.05). In assessing the letters for readability, comprehension, usefulness, informativeness and helpfulness, analysis showed significant preference for both fully subheaded and headline subheaded with full prose structures compared to the full prose letter.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Although the headline subheadings and prose letter had the highest word count, it scored the highest in almost all the rating categories analysed. This study is the first published work to study primary care physician's preference for the structure of letters from secondary care. Prominent headline subheadings of diagnosis and management improve interpretation of content and comprehension and are helpful to GPs for co-ordinating patient management. Lack of subheadings or conversely an excess of subheadings may be a hindrance to effective communication between healthcare professionals.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans, Communication, Otolaryngology, Outpatients, Primary Health Care, Quality of Health Care, Surveys and Questionnaires, United Kingdom
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 09:45
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2024 12:38
DOI: 10.1111/coa.12343
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3103885