Hospitals need to customise care according to patients' differing information-seeking behaviour.
Dan Med J. 2014 Feb;61(2):A4787
Authors: Riiskjær E, Ammentorp J, Nielsen JF, Kofoed PE
INTRODUCTION: The aim of the study was to describe how often patients seek information about their disease in connection with contact to a hospital and to elucidate how information-seeking behaviour is related to the patients' perception of this contact.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The study was based on patient surveys from the Danish county of Aarhus from 1999 to 2006 including eight public hospitals. The patients' information-seeking behaviour was related to patient characteristics, organisational context and patient perceptions.
RESULTS: Among the 75,769 patients who responded, 33.4% had actively sought information. The frequency of patients seeking information increased from 24.4% in 1999 to 38.3% in 2006 with a variation between organisational units ranging from 7.7% to 81.8%. The share of critical patients among those who actively sought information was 23.7% in 1999 and 18.1% in 2006 compared with 12.9% and 11.3% critical patients, respectively, among those who did not.
CONCLUSION: Having sought information correlated with negative patient perceptions. Despite convergence, differences between the perceptions of active and passive information seekers still remain. The health-care system should be prepared to serve patients who have different levels of knowledge.
PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: The health-care system should continuously improve the service provided to patients with different levels of knowledge and different attitudes towards involvement. It is recommended to routinely ask patients about their information seeking and to include questions about patients' information-seeking behaviour in patient satisfaction surveys.
FUNDING: Financial support for the research and preparation of this article was provided by TrygFonden, Momsfonden and the Region of Central Jutland. None of the funding sources had any involvement in the study design, the analysis and interpretation of data, the writing of the report, or the decision to submit the paper for publication.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: not relevant.
PMID: 24495891 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]