Background: Copying letters involves generating an extra copy of all correspondence between healthcare professionals about the patient, to the patient.Aims: To determine if the letter content was meaningful to the patient and to establish patient perceptions of copying letters from outpatient clinic visits.Methods: To assess letter content, a copy of all outpatient clinic letters were collected during a one month period and each copy was assessed for the use of plain English using the Drivel Defence software. To establish patient perceptions, patients completed a questionnaire relating to the potential advantages and disadvantages of copying letters.Results: Eighty letters were assessed for content. 77/80 (96.3%) of the letters had ≥50% of sentences with b20 words. The mean (SD) sentence length was 15 (3) words. Abbreviations were minimal in most letters (71/80, 89%). Most letters explained the patient's clinical status in a meaningful way (76/80, 95%). Fifty patients completed a questionnaire. The large majority (46/50, 92%) “strongly agreed" or “agreed" that theyfelt more involved by receiving a copy. Most patients (48/50, 96%) would rather receive a copy with 40/50 (80%) reporting advantages.Conclusion: Copying letters is well received amongst patients with CF, with numerous advantages and few disadvantages reported.
Bibliographical notePublished by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of European Cystic Fibrosis Society
- Copying letters
- Letter content
- Perception of benefit