Introduction: This study, the first of its kind in Iran, was to assess Iranian patients’ preferences for receiving information and participating in decision-making and to evaluate their satisfaction with how medical information is given to them and with their participation in decision-making at present.
Method and materials: 299 of 312 eligible patients admitted to general internal medicine or surgery wards from May to December 2006 were interviewed according to a structured questionnaire. The questionnaire contained questions about patients’ preferences regarding four domains of information and their participation in decision-making. Patients’ responses were measured on a visual analogue scale graded from 1 to 10.
Results: The mean (SD) score for desire to receive information was 8.88 out of 10 (1.5) and for participation in medical decision-making was 7.75 out of 10 (3). The desire to receive information was greater in women than men (9.0 (1.5) vs 7.8 (1.4), p = 0.025). It was also correlated with their education (r = 0.2, p = 0.001) and their estimation of the severity of their own disease (r = 0.13, p = 0.027). The score for preference to participate in decision-making was higher in women than in men (7.95 (2.8) and 7.0 (3.2), respectively; β = 0.8, p = 0.022) and was negatively correlated with education (r = −0.14, p = 0.015).
Discussion: This study shows that Iranian patients are highly interested in receiving information about their condition and participating in clinical decision-making. No predictive variable for such attitudes was found; therefore, the only way for the physician to recognise patients’ desire is to ask them explicitly.
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Competing interests: None declared.
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