I am ready to see you now, Doctor! A mixed-method study of the Let's Discuss Health website implementation in Primary Care

Health Expect. 2021 Apr;24(2):243-256. doi: 10.1111/hex.13158. Epub 2020 Dec 7.

Abstract

Background: Let's Discuss Health (LDH) is a website that encourages patients to prepare their health-care encounters by providing communication training, review of topics and questions that are important to them.

Objective: To describe LDH implementation during primary care (PC) visits for chronic illnesses.

Methods: Design: Descriptive mixed-method study.

Setting: 6 PC clinics.

Participants: 156 patients and 51 health-care providers (HCP).

Intervention: LDH website implementation.

Outcome measures: Perceived quality and usefulness of LDH; perceived quality of HCP-patient communication; patient activation; LDH integration in routine PC practices and barriers to its use.

Results: Patients reported a positive perception of the website in that it helped them to adopt an active role in the encounters; recall their visit agenda and reduce encounter-related stress; feel more confident to ask questions, feel more motivated to prepare their future medical visits and improve their chronic illness management. However, a certain disconnect emerged between HCP and patient perceptions as to the value of LDH in promoting a sense of partnership and collaboration. The main barriers to the use of LDH are HCP lack of interest, limited access to technology, lack of time and language barriers.

Conclusion: Our findings indicate that it is advantageous for patients to prepare their medical encounters. However, the study needs to be replicated in other medical environments using larger and more diverse samples.

Patient and public contribution: Patient partners were involved in the conduct of this study.

Keywords: doctor-patient relationship; medical encounter; patient activation; patient engagement; patient participation; personal health records; web strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Physicians*
  • Primary Health Care

Grant support