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Patient health information materials in waiting rooms of family physicians: do patients care?

Authors Moerenhout T, Borgermans L, Schol S, Vansintejan J, Van De Vijver E, Devroey D

Received 26 March 2013

Accepted for publication 30 April 2013

Published 4 June 2013 Volume 2013:7 Pages 489—497


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Tania Moerenhout, Liesbeth Borgermans, Sandrina Schol, Johan Vansintejan, Erwin Van De Vijver, Dirk Devroey

Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Department of Family Practice, Brussels, Belgium

Background: Patient health information materials (PHIMs), such as leaflets and posters are widely used by family physicians to reinforce or illustrate information, and to remind people of information received previously. This facilitates improved health-related knowledge and self-management by patients.
Objective: This study assesses the use of PHIMs by patient. It also addresses their perception of the quality and the impact of PHIMs on the interaction with their physician, along with changes in health-related knowledge and self-management.
Methods: Questionnaire survey among patients of family practices of one town in Belgium, assessing: (1) the extent to which patients read PHIMs in waiting rooms (leaflets and posters) and take them home, (2) the patients’ perception of the impact of PHIMs on interaction with their physician, their change in health-related knowledge and self-management, and (3) the patients judgment of the quality of PHIMs.
Results: We included 903 questionnaires taken from ten practices. Ninety-four percent of respondents stated they read PHIMs (leaflets), 45% took the leaflets home, and 78% indicated they understood the content of the leaflets. Nineteen percent of respondents reportedly discussed the content of the leaflets with their physician and 26% indicated that leaflets allowed them to ask fewer questions of their physician. Thirty-four percent indicated that leaflets had previously helped them to improve their health-related knowledge and self-management. Forty-two percent reportedly discussed the content of the leaflets with others. Patient characteristics are of significant influence on the perceived impact of PHIMS in physician interaction, health-related knowledge, and self-management.
Conclusion: This study suggests that patients value health information materials in the waiting rooms of family physicians and that they perceive such materials as being helpful in improving patient–physician interaction, health-related knowledge, and self-management.

Keywords: Patient health information materials, interaction, patients, physician, Belgium

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