Improving consultations in oncology: The development of a novel consultation aid

  • Furber L
  • Murtagh G
  • Bonas S
 et al. 
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Background: The way in which patients receive bad news in a consultation can have a profound effect in terms of anxiety, depression and subsequent adjustment. Despite investment in well-researched communication skills training and availability of decision-making aids, communication problems in oncology continue to be encountered. Methods: We conducted a mixed-methods study in a large UK Cancer Centre to develop a novel consultation aid that could be used jointly by patients and doctors. Consultations were audio-recorded and both the doctors and the patients were interviewed. We used conversation analysis to analyse the consultation encounter and interpretative phenomenological analysis to analyse the interviews. Key themes were generated to inform the design of the aid. Results: A total of 16 doctors were recruited into the study along with 77 patients. Detailed analysis from 36 consultations identified key themes (including preparation, information exchange, question-asking and decision making), which were subsequently addressed in the design of the paper-based aid. Conclusions: Using detailed analysis and observation of oncology consultations, we have designed a novel consultation aid that can be used jointly by doctors and patients. It is not tumour-site specific and can potentially be utilised by new and follow-up consultations. Keywords: oncology; communication; consultation aid; information exchange

Author-supplied keywords

  • communication
  • consultation aid
  • information exchange
  • oncology

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  • L. Furber

  • G. M. Murtagh

  • S. A. Bonas

  • J. G. Bankart

  • A. L. Thomas

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