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Patient preferences for treatment expectations

Centre for Psychiatry

Funding Body: East London NHS Foundation Trust
Project Investigator: Stefan Priebe

Overview

The importance of the therapeutic relationship between psychiatrists and patients has been well established and linked to better adherence and treatment outcomes.
The initial communication is an important aspect of this relationship and there is some evidence to suggest that the communication of the psychiatrist in the first encounter has an influence on how much patients trust the doctor [1].
In a previous study we found that patients preferred psychiatrists who introduced themselves with information about what will happen in the consultation compared to more brief introductions or personal disclosures from the psychiatrist. This raises the question about treatment expectations and how this should be presented to patients.

There is some literature which suggests that more optimistic doctors achieve better outcomes. It can be hypothesised from this that patients who are relatively new to psychiatric treatment may prefer psychiatrists who are more optimistic about treatment expectations.
However, patients who have a longer history of psychiatric treatment may prefer more sceptical presentations about treatment outcomes.

The aim of the current study will be to explore whether patients prefer more optimistic or sceptical presentations of treatment expectations.

Activities & output

An experimental study has been designed to test this hypothesis and identify what type of treatment expectation patients prefer. Patients will be shown video clips of psychiatrists introducing different treatment options with varying degrees of optimism and asked to rate their preference for each.
The findings from this research will help us to better understand what type of communication style patients prefer which can help us to improve the communication of psychiatrists in these settings and therefore the experience of patients.

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