Managing Uncertainty During the Communication of Diagnostic Test Information Between Patients and Clinicians in Australian Emergency Care.

SAGE Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Qualitative health research, 2020, 30, (8), pp. 1287-1300
Issue Date:
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We sought (a) an inductive understanding of patient and clinician perspectives and experiences of the communication of diagnostic test information and (b) a normative understanding of the management of uncertainty that occurs during the clinical encounter in emergency care. Between 2016 and 2018, 58 interviews were conducted with patients and nursing, medical, and managerial staff. Interview data were sequentially analyzed through an inductive thematic analysis, then a normative theory of uncertainty management. Themes of "Ideals," "Service Efficiency," and "Managing Uncertainty" were inductively identified as influencing the communication of diagnostic test information. A normative theory of uncertainty management highlighted (a) how these themes reflected the interaction's sociocultural context, encapsulated various criteria by which clinicians and patients evaluated the appropriateness and effectiveness of their communication, and represented competing goals during the clinical encounter, and (b) how systemic tensions between themes accounted for when diagnostic test information communication occurred, was deferred or avoided.
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