Lost in explanation: Lessons learned from audio-recordings and surveys of the antenatal consultation


OBJECTIVE: Determine content of antenatal prematurity consultations and identify factors associated with satisfaction.
DESIGN: This is an observational study of consultations for possible preterm delivery. Consultations were audio-recorded and analyzed. Parents and physicians were surveyed post-consultation.
RESULTS: We analyzed 17 audio-recordings. Mean gestation was 28 weeks. Frequency of topics discussed were: antenatal steroids 82%, intubation 82%, breast milk 76%, time in NICU 65%, development 59%, and survival 53%. Parents frequently asked about length of hospitalization stay, feeding, and separation concerns. Parents’ greatest fears were developmental problems, survival, separation from baby, infant health, and length of hospitalization. The parent satisfaction score was 8.9, and physician satisfaction score was 4.8 on a ten-point scale. No factors were found to be associated with satisfaction. Physicians felt 82% of consultations could be improved.
CONCLUSIONS: In consultations for possible preterm delivery, physicians discussed resuscitation details and initial neonatal care. Parental greatest fears involved more global issues. Despite content variability, parents were highly satisfied. No specific factors (such as topics discussed or length of consultation) were found to be statistically associated with parent satisfaction. Physicians were less satisfied. Providing too much/too little information was a repeated physician concern.

*Corresponding Author: 

Krishelle Marc-Aurele, MD,UC San Diego/Rady Children’s Hospitals, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, 402 Dickinson Street MPF 1-140, San Diego, CA 92103, USA. Tel.: +1 619 543 3759; Fax: +1 619 543 3812; E-mail: kmaurele@ucsd.edu.