Objective: Gaining insight into the experiences of physicians and patients who were provided with an audiotape of an oncological consultation.
Design: Questionnaire study.
Setting: Academic Medical Hospital, Amsterdam.
Method: Consultations with 30 consecutive patients referred to the gynaecology or urology outpatient clinic for an initial consultation regarding the diagnosis and (or) treatment policy were taped. Afterwards, patients took the tapes home. The following week they were phoned and asked what they had done with the tape and how they appreciated the intervention. By means of a questionnaire the physicians (n = 6) were asked about their experiences.
Results: Two patient could not be reached. Twenty-three out of 28 patients had listened to the tape, mostly together with others (spouse, relatives). Twenty-six out of 28 patients were positive about implementation of this intervention. According to most patients the tape contained information they had forgotten. Most patients found the tape contained reassuring information. Physicians regarded the optimal transmission of information achieved by this intervention as an advantage. Three out of six saw possible misinterpretation of the imparted information as a disadvantage. For some physicians, the taping of consultations led to more careful phrasing. Most physicians saw no logistical difficulties. In general, participation in the study did not take any extra time.
Conclusion: This first study shows that both cancer patients and physicians find it useful to provide patients with an audiotape of the initial consultation.