Objective: To investigate the effects of two differently styled self-care health books in general practice on the frequency and duration of patients' consultations and their views of the books.
Design: Random allocation of patients to either a descriptive or a decision-tree based self-care health book, or a no-book control condition. Three- and 12-months follow-up by postal questionnaire and monitoring of consultations.
Setting: A large general practice in the South East of England.
Subjects: A total of 1967 volunteer, adult patients who attended the practice in 2001 participated.
Main outcome measures: Demographics; health problems; use of health services; use and perceptions of the trial book; frequency and duration of consultations.
Results: Response rates to postal questionnaires at 3 and 12 months were 80% and 74%. In all, 48% consulted their allocated book, compared with 25% who consulted any healthcare book in the Control group. Those reporting health problems were more likely to have consulted their allocated book; 60% reported that the allocated book made them more likely to deal with a problem themselves and 40% reported themselves less likely to consult the practice. However, there were no differences in consultation rates or durations of consultations between the three groups.
Conclusions: Handing out of self-care health books may provide qualitative benefits for patients but is unlikely to reduce attendance at the GP practice.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2005|
- consultation rates
- health information
- primary care