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Balancing information needs : dilemmas in producing patient information leaflets.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/2002
<mark>Journal</mark>Health Informatics Journal
Issue number4
Volume8
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)174-179
StatePublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to depict and debate current issues in the production and use of patient information leaflets. To achieve this, the paper explores a number of assumptions that underpin the production of written information in healthcare; namely that information is a commodity conveyed through the printed word or electronically, and that health professionals ‘have’ information which can be ‘given’ to patients. Drawing on research conducted in palliative care, these issues are considered from the perspectives of patients. Data collected using focus groups highlight the problematic nature of the presentation and content of written patient information. In particular, tensions are revealed in the wishes of patients for general advice versus specific information, tensions between the wish to have full accounts and the wish to limit accounts that display unpalatable and potentially threatening prognostic information. It is proposed that information is inherently value laden and written with the intention to persuade and influence others. The paper concludes with suggestions for using new methods of research which seek to deconstruct text and examine the discourses which underpin their production.