What do you think?
- How do explanations from your family doctor contribute to your overall care experience?
- How does your experience with your family doctor’s explanations compare to those reported by other Albertans?
Understanding “patients’ rating of family doctor’s explanations”
In surveys conducted between October 2018 to March 2020, the HQCA asked patients who recently visited their doctor:
- How would you rate the way your doctor explained things in a way you could understand in your most recent visit?
Patients could choose “excellent / very good / good / fair / poor”.
Patient experience is likely better if the doctor explains things in a way that the patient can understand. Patient understanding leads to improvement in self-care, medication adherence and confidence in the support that is being provided.
Considerations when viewing the results
As primary care providers work to develop a better understanding of how they could improve this rating, other questions can be asked, such as:
- Did the family doctor seek to understand the language literacy of their patient? Patients may have different levels of understanding based on their language and backgrounds.
- What is our process for checking for understanding throughout and toward the end of the patient visit?
- What processes are in place to clarify medical terminology or acronyms that are unfamiliar?
- If family members are part of the visit, do they understand what has been discussed?
- If educational materials are provided, are they developed with patient understanding in mind? Have they been tested by patients for clarity?
For information about the HQCA’s patient experience surveys offered to individual clinics in Alberta, please visit the HQCA website.
The Health Quality Council of Alberta uses the Alberta Quality Matrix for Health as a way of organizing information and thinking around the complexity of the healthcare system. The information in this chart can be used as input to think and have conversations about primary healthcare in Alberta using the lens of the dimensions of quality shown on the right:
Dimensions of Quality