Letters “Patientgate” and digital recordings

Establishing an audio recording service for patients with prostate cancer

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g2436 (Published 03 April 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2436
  1. Daniel W Good, clinical research fellow1,
  2. Grant D Stewart, senior clinical lecturer and honorary consultant in urological surgery1,
  3. S Alan McNeill, professor and consultant urological surgeon1
  1. 1Department of Urology, Western General Hospital, NHS Lothian, Edinburgh, UK
  1. daniel.good{at}ed.ac.uk

In response to Elwyn’s thought provoking article,1 we would like to share our experience at NHS Lothian.

In 2012, with the help and support of the Edinburgh and Lothian Prostate Cancer Support Group, we instituted audio recordings of consultations for all patients with prostate cancer.2 Patients are given a CD recording to keep, so that they can listen to the consultation again, together with other patient support tools (Prostate Scotland patient leaflets and website; www.prostatescotland.org.uk). Because treatments for prostate cancer can have life changing side effects, they can be associated with decision regret and reduced quality of life.3 4 The decision about which treatment to choose should therefore be shared by the doctor and a well informed patient.

In a recent audit of this audio recording service, 80% of patients reported that the recordings were useful or very useful. Thematic analysis of comments showed that the most common reason for satisfaction was that the recordings increased information recall for patients and their families; the second most common was that they increased patients’ confidence and reassurance in their decision (unpublished data).

The audit has reinforced our belief that the recordings play an important role in enabling shared decision making for patients with prostate cancer. They provide individualised information for patients to use along with other decision making tools. We believe that doctors should be at the forefront of changes in healthcare provision, and by establishing close links with patient groups this will help improve the service that we provide for patients.


Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2436


  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • We thank the HEBA fund for donating the recording equipment and the Edinburgh and Lothian Prostate Cancer Support Group, which enabled the establishment of this service.

  • Full response at: www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g2078/rr/690603.


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