Background and study aims: In the process of revising our written patient information, we wanted to incorporate some patient feedback into the text, and to compare the new brochures with the old one in terms of procedure-related anxiety and general patient satisfaction.
Patients and methods: A total of 136 patients were asked about their present sources of information and issues they would like more information on. New brochures were developed for upper endoscopy, colonoscopy, and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), and 235 consecutive patients were then randomized to receive either the new brochures or the old one. Before the endoscopy procedure, the patients' sources of information, level of anxiety (on a five-point Likert scale) and general satisfaction with the written information was assessed. In addition, 89 patients completed a similar questionnaire after completing the endoscopic procedure, recording their degree of anxiety and discomfort during the procedure, and the appropriateness of the written information they had received.
Results: The written brochure was regarded as providing important information by 79% of the patients, while only 31% felt they had received important information from their referring doctor. The general level of anxiety was 2.0 (slightly anxious) with both brochures, with a mean score of 2.1 and 1.9 for the old brochure and the new one, respectively (P = 0.04). Previous endoscopy, male sex and high age were associated with a lower anxiety score. The post-endoscopy response indicated that the patients had received a realistic description of the procedure. The new brochures were rated as "excellent" or "very good" by 87% of the respondents.
Conclusions: We have developed a new set of information brochures which appear to serve the purpose of providing adequate information, without causing patients undue anxiety.