Managing epilepsy: are patients satisfied?


Few studies have examined whether patients with epilepsy are satisfied with how they are managed. A University of Calgary study has investigated this issue in a systematic review of the literature (Wiebe et al. Epilepsia 2014; epublished February 6, 2014).

The concept they explored was satisfaction with epilepsy care (SEC), which comprises patients’ attitudes and expectations, and perceptions about healthcare delivery.

A total of 25 studies (n=6,336 patients) were included in the analysis. Only nine studies used validated assessment instruments; 16 studies used non-validated instruments. Most studies were performed in the US or UK.

Overall, neurologists and other healthcare providers earned high marks. The median proportion of patients satisfied with their epilepsy care was 86%, and 85% were satisfied with their clinician’s interpersonal skills. Lesser marks were earned for access to care (78%), communication (67%) and knowledge/technical skills (65%).

The authors noted that SEC tools that are specific to epilepsy have not been validated and further studies are needed. They added that there is room for improvement in the areas of patient education and clinicians’ communication skills.

Dr. Daniel Selchen: Patient satisfaction is now a major metric in hospital “report cards” and is now being incorporated into performance evaluations – although the data generated are frequently difficult to interpret (and weighted to areas of relative strength). Assessment of patient satisfaction in the ambulatory/office setting is coming and will be of interest to clinicians if/when resources and remuneration are in any way linked to levels of satisfaction. We might then see a dramatic improvement in communication skills.

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