Do patients want choice? An observational study of neurology consultations

Hannah Wiseman, Paul Chappell, Merran Toerien, Rebecca Shaw, Rod Duncan, Markus Reuber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To determine how often patients are given choice in neurology outpatient consultations and whether choice is associated with greater patient satisfaction. Methods: Prospective study in outpatient clinics in two United Kingdom centres. Interactions between 14 neurologists and 223 patients were studied. Participating doctors and patients completed post-appointment questionnaires asking whether choice had been offered/perceived. Patients completed the Medical Interview Satisfaction Scale 21 (MISS-21). Results: Choice was reported after most encounters (patients 71.8%, neurologists 67.9%). Patients and Neurologists failed to agree about whether choice was offered after 32% of consultations. Choice was not associated with increased patient satisfaction. In fact, satisfaction was greater when no choice had been offered (p = 0.05). Satisfaction scores were also greater when doctors were more certain about the diagnosis and when symptoms were considered explained by a medical condition (p. ≤. 0.001). Conclusions: Choice featured in the majority of clinical interactions but clinicians and patients often disagreed whether this was the case. Choice was not associated with greater patient satisfaction. Practice implications: Clinicians need to be very explicit if they want patients to know that they are being given choices. Choice is not necessarily valued by patients in all clinical interactions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 Sep 2015


  • Neurology consultations
  • Patient choice
  • Patient satisfaction

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