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P148: Emergency physicians’ perception on engaging patients in their emergency department care

  • L. Krebs (a1), C. Villa-Roel (a1), S. Couperthwaite (a1), B. Holroyd (a1), M. Ospina (a1) and B. Rowe (a1)...

Abstract

Introduction: Patient engagement in health decision-making is an important research area within emergency medicine. Studies suggest that patients are often not highly engaged in care decisions, and may not be aware that there are decisions in which they can be involved. This study explored emergency physicians (EPs) perceptions of their patient engagement practices. Methods: As part of a stepped-wedge randomized controlled trial, an introductory seminar was held at 15 emergency department (ED) sites in Alberta. Seminars highlighted physician-patient communication and expectation gaps documented in local studies. As part of the seminar evaluation, EPs were asked to reflect on their engagement of patients in their practice. Descriptive results are reported. Results: A total of 114 EP surveys were returned. The majority of respondents were male (68%) and nearly 40% of respondents have practiced emergency medicine for 5 years or less. Less than half of the EPs (43%) reported always or usually asking their patients about their ED visit care expectations. Approximately one-third (32%) reported always or usually checking their patients’ understanding of management options (e.g., tests, treatments and/or procedures). Patients management preferences were always or usually elicited 24% of the time. Despite limited consistency in ascertaining patients’ preferences, 39% of EPs indicated that they always or usually considered their patients’ preferences when choosing a management plan. Half of the EPs (51%) reported that they always or usually involved their patients in decision-making. Yet, when asked whether other EPs involved their patients in decision-making, only 15% reported that they believed their fellow clinicians did this always or usually. On average, 68% of respondents believed their patients wanted to be completely or mostly involved in their ED and decision-making; however, 16% believed patients were actually completely or mostly involved in the ED care and decision-making. Conclusion: EPs agreed that patients want to be actively involved in their ED care decisions. Yet, their reflection on their own practice, and especially their perception of their colleagues’, highlight large gaps between physicians’ perception of what patients would like and what patients actually receive. Further research should explore these interactions in depth, understand what constrains EPs from involving patients and explore patient perceptions of these interactions.

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