A survey of patient views on receiving vascular outpatient letters

Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2010 Jan;39(1):5-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2009.09.019.


Aim: To assess the attitude of patients to receiving a copy of vascular outpatient clinic letters.

Method: 100 patients attending an outpatient vascular clinic at Christchurch Hospital were sent a copy of their outpatient letter along with a questionnaire. This gathered information on the content of the letter, their understanding of it, how useful they found it and whether they would want this practice to continue.

Results: The response rate was 68%. Ninety four percent of the responders believed receiving a copy of the letter was a good reinforcement of the information they received at the consultation. Ninety three percent of responders also found being copied into correspondence helpful and 96% understood the contents of the letters. Ninety seven percent wished to receive more letters in the future.

Conclusion: These results suggest that vascular surgery patients both value and understand clinic letters, and that health professionals should consider adopting this practice into their vascular outpatient clinics.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulatory Care* / psychology
  • Ambulatory Care* / statistics & numerical data
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Communication
  • Comprehension
  • Correspondence as Topic*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand
  • Outpatients* / psychology
  • Outpatients* / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Education as Topic* / statistics & numerical data
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures* / psychology
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures* / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult