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Parents of children with asthma value written information from their specialist

Would the parents of children with asthma want to receive information about the consultation with an asthma specialist?

This was the question recently posed by researchers from the Department of Paediatrics, Alberta, Canada. In this pilot study, researchers recruited 51 parents who received a hard copy of the electronic medical record (EMR) from a paediatric outpatient pulmonologist clinic at the end of first visit to evaluate their child’s asthma.

The EMR is the letter routinely sent to the patient’s GP and includes a summary of the condition of the child, their medical history, examination results and treatment recommendations. After receiving the letter, the parents were asked to complete an evaluation questionnaire, which asked about their perceptions of the letter, its accuracy and questions which asked about how helpful they found the EMR.

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In total, over 90% of parents agreed that the EMR was an accurate summary of their consultation and more than 80% felt that the content helped them to understand more about their child’s condition and the different tests and examinations. There was also a strong perception that parents felt more in control of their child’s health and that the letter increased their perceived ability to take care of their child.

An interesting final statistic was how 98% wanted to receive similar letters from other specialist highlighting the value of such communication.

Amirav I et al. An asthma specialist’s consult letter: what do parents think about receiving a copy? J Asthma Allergy 2020;13:179-86.