The person-based development and realist evaluation of a pre-consultation form for GP consultations
Murphy M., Salisbury C., Scott A., Sollazzi-Davies L., Wong G.
Background: Use of telephone, video and e-consultations is increasing. These can make consultations more transactional, potentially missing patients’ concerns. This study aimed to develop a complex intervention to address patients’ concerns more comprehensively in general practice and test the feasibility of this in a cluster-randomised framework. The complex intervention used two technologies: a patient-completed pre-consultation form used at consultation opening and a doctor-provided summary report provided at consultation closure. This paper reports on the development and realist evaluation of the pre-consultation questionnaire. Methods: A person-based approach was used to develop the pre-consultation form. An online questionnaire system was designed to allow patient self-completion of a form which could be shared with GPs. This was tested with 45 patients in three rounds, with iterative adjustments made based on feedback after each round. Subsequently, an intervention incorporating the pre-consultation form with the summary report was then tested in a cluster-randomised framework with 30 patients per practice in six practices: four randomised to intervention, and two to control. An embedded realist evaluation was carried out. The main feasibility study results are reported elsewhere. Results: Intervention Development: 15 patients were recruited per practice. Twelve patients, six GPs and three administrators were interviewed and 32 changes were made iteratively in three rounds. Recruitment rates (proportion of patients responding to the text) increased from 15% in round one to 50% in round three. Realist evaluation: The pre-consultation form was most useful for people comfortable with technology and with hidden concerns or anxiety about the consultation. It resulted in more issues being discussed and support provided, more effective use of time and greater patient satisfaction. Conclusions: The person-based approach was successful. The pre-consultation form uncovers more depth and improves satisfaction in certain consultations and patients. Technological improvements are required before this could be rolled out more widely.