Primary Care Patients’ Expectations Towards Medical Appointments and Their Experiences During the Visit: Does Age Matter?
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPatient Preference and Adherence. 2017, 11 1221-1233. 10.2147/PPA.S133390
Introduction: There is evidence that meeting patients’ expectations toward health care correlates with involvement in the treatment they receive. The most important patient expectations concern certain types of information: explanation of disease and treatment, health promotion, and improvement in quality of life. Other demands include proper rapport and emotional support. The aim of this paper was to examine different patient groups over the age of 50 years and their expectations toward medical visits, evaluated before a visit and after the visit. Patients and methods: The study group consisted of 4,921 primary health-care patients. The patients received self-administered questionnaires that they filled in before and after the appointment with the doctor. Interviews with patients were conducted individually by specially trained interviewers. The PRACTA Patient Expectations Scale was used to measure the appointment-related expectations of the patients. Results: We observed differences related to age in patients’ expectations before medical visits regarding the following factors: disease explanation, treatment explanation, quality of life, rapport, and emotional support. The same differences were not observed on health promotion. Evaluation of patients’ appointment-related experiences after the visit showed that there were significant differences between the age-groups regarding all types of expectations included in the study. Differences between previsit and postvisit measurements were statistically significant in all age-groups. Patients who received less than they expected from doctors outnumbered those who received what they expected or more in all the groups. Conclusion: Patients’ expectations toward medical visits are conditioned by age. Therefore, doctors should pay more attention to requirements related to age in their effort to identify and satisfy expectations. This is particularly important in light of the discrepancy between previsit expectations and the actual experiences of patients evaluated after the visit.