Evaluation of A Newly Designed Patient-Friendly Discharge Letter – A Randomized, Controlled Participant-Blind Trial [post]

Christian Smolle, Christine Schwarz, Magdalena Hoffmann, Lars-Peter Kamolz, Gerald Sendlhofer, Gernot Brunner
2020 unpublished
Introduction Low health literacy has been associated with poor health outcome and impaired use of healthcare services. The hospital discharge letter represents a key source of medical information for patients and can be used to address the problem of low health literacy. The aim of this project was to develop and evaluate a new, patient-directed, version of the discharge letter.Methods Based upon two conventional discharge letters (CDL; one surgical and one medical letter), two new,
more » ... ndly discharge letters (PFDL) were designed following 5 key principles: short sentences, few abbreviations, large font size, avoidance of technical terms and no more than 4 pages length. Medical undergraduates were randomized into two blinded groups (CDL, PFDL) and asked to assess the assigned letter for the 3 domains structure, content and patient-friendliness. Subsections were rated on a 6-point Likert scale (1=completely agree, 6=completely disagree), the results of the survey were compared using the Mann-Whitney-U-Test with a p < 0.05 being the level of significance.Results In total, 74 undergraduates participated in the study. PFDL (35 participants) were rated significantly better than CDL (39 participants) regarding structure (median 1 vs. 2, p=0.005), content (1 vs. 3, p<0.001) and patient-friendliness (2 vs. 6, p<0.001). Of all 17 subsections, PFDL were rated significantly better in 12 cases, and never worse than CDL.Conclusion PFDL were rated significantly better than their CDL counterparts. Medical undergraduates were considered the ideal cohort, not being medical lays and yet unbiased regarding everyday clinical practice procedures. Further tests evaluating the impact of the PFDL on patient comprehension and health literacy are necessary.
doi:10.21203/rs.3.rs-114183/v1 fatcat:wrw2zylpsrdhpfdgovsjfbb22i