Communication of pulmonary function test results: A survey of patient's preferences
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Introduction: Physician-patient communication in patients suffering from common chronic respiratory disease should encompass discussion about pulmonary function test (PFT) results, diagnosis, disease education, smoking cessation and optimising inhaler technique. Previous studies have identified that patients with chronic respiratory disease/s often express dissatisfaction about physician communication. Currently there is a paucity of data regarding patient awareness of their PFT results (among those who have undergone PFTs previously) or patient preferences about PFT result communication. Methods: We undertook a three-month prospective study on outpatients referred to two Pulmonary Function Laboratories. If subjects had undergone PFTs previously, the awareness of their previous test results was evaluated. All subjects were asked about their preferences for PFT result communication. Subjects were determined to have chronic respiratory disease based on their past medical history. Results: 300 subjects (50% male) with a median age (±SD) of 65 (±14) years participated in the study. 99% of the study participants stated that they were at least moderately interested in knowing their PFT results. 72% (217/300) of the subjects had undergone at least one PFT in the past, 48% of whom stated they had not been made aware of their results. Fewer subjects with chronic respiratory disease preferred that only a doctor discuss their PFT results with them (28% vs. 41%, p = 0.021). Conclusion: Our study demonstrates that while almost all subjects want to be informed of their PFT results, this does not occur in a large number of patients. Many subjects are agreeable for their PFT results to be communicated to them by clinicians other than doctors. Further research is required to develop an efficient method of conveying PFT results that will improve patient satisfaction and health outcomes.
Copyright 2015 Zagami et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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