Referral/Consult Appointment Guide for Patients

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A handy tool developed with patients and physicians to help patients participate in the decisions that can affect their health.

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HOW TO USE THIS TOOL – Bring this guide with you to your physician appointment. It provides you with some important questions to ask your doctor or care team. Its goal is to help you know more about your health and treatment plan. We hope you will find this resource useful at your visit.

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Research shows that patients / caregivers often feel they are missing information after an appointment, especially at a specialist's appointment. Research also shows that the effectiveness of medical treatment depends on the quality of the patient-clinician relationship, that if patients do not feel understood they frequently do not adhere to the care plan.  All of this leads to poorer outcomes.

Saskatchewan Patients expressed their frustration about the "the black hole" they feel when going through the Referral/Consultation process.

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What The Research Tells Us

Poor communication = Less treatment adherence & Poor outcomes

Effective communication is an integral part of the referral–consultation process; however, the majority of patients reported inadequate communication between the patient and the doctor, and among healthcare providers

The effectiveness of medical treatment depends on the quality of the patient–clinician relationship. It has been proposed that this depends on the extent to which the patient and clinician build a shared understanding of illness and treatment. When patients do not feel understood, they are frequently non-adherent with treatment, and many have poor outcomes. Miscommunication in Doctor–Patient Communication.  https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/tops.12337 

 

Physician communication is significantly positively correlated with patient adherence; there is a 19% higher risk of non-adherence among patients whose physician communicates poorly than among patients whose physician communicates well. Physician communication and patient adherence to treatment: a meta-analysis.     https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19584762/

 

Some patients may prefer to delegate the decision-making to their health care providers (25% of studies), but a systematic review of patient preference for decision-making showed that, in 75% of studies, most patients preferred to take an active part in making decisions. Patient preferences for shared decisions: A systematic review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4530615/