Patients considering surgery often have difficulty remembering all of the information presented to them in the consultation and follow-up appointments with their doctors. Critical information may be forgotten or misremembered in the days or weeks after a visit which can adversely affect both the patient’s decision-making capabilities and their post-surgical care. Barrow Neurological Associates conducted a study using a proprietary video recording system to improve patient-doctor communication and help patients remember all of their doctor’s instructions after leaving the office.
The Medical Memory video recording system was offered to patients of a single neurosurgeon at Barrow Neurosurgical Associates between November, 2009 and July, 2013. Patients were given the opportunity to have their consultation or follow-up visit with the physician recorded on a video camera and then uploaded to a secure website (some early patients were given DVD copies of their visit instead of having it uploaded to the website). The patient was then provided with a login name and password for the website and was able to access the video to watch and listen to the consultation. Recordings included the physician’s verbal instructions, explanations of surgical options, radiographic images, and visual use of models and graphic images. Surveys were collected of patient experiences with their videos and their ability to remember the information discussed in the visit after having watched the video.
Between November 21, 2009 and July 21, 2013, 1,078 videos were recorded and made available to patients. An electronic survey was sent to 346 patients asking about both their impression of the service and how they felt after watching their video. 143 responses were collected (a 41.3% response rate), with results showing: over 90% of patients watched the video at least once; 69% of patients shared their video with a friend, family member, or different physician; 48% felt more at ease after viewing the video; 35% reported reduced anxiety; and 65% of patients reported that they remembered more of what their doctor told them. Overall, 90% of respondents felt that the video was helpful.
Patients who cannot or do not remember their doctor’s instructions fully after leaving their visit are at risk for not following all instructions, which can greatly impact their quality of care and ultimately, their physical health. Video recording doctor-patient conversations provides a new tool for improving patient recall of physician instructions in consultation and follow-up appointments with their doctors.
Dr. Randall W. Porter, Neurosurgeon; email@example.com; 602-406-4856