Van der Meulen, N., Jansen, J., Van Dulmen, A. M., Bensing, J. M, & Van Weert, J. C. M. (2008). Interventions to improve recall of medical information in cancer patients: Asystematic review of the literature. Psycho-Oncology, 17, 857-868.

Abstract: This systematic review investigates which interventions are effective to improve recall of medical information in cancer patients. A literature research was done in PubMed, PsychINFO, CINAHL and Cochrane Library, following the guidelines of the Cochrane Collaboration. The methodological quality of selected studies was assessed independently by two reviewers. The results were synthesized with a Best Evidence Synthesis. Of initially 5173 found publications, 10 met all selection criteria. The results indicate that an audiotape of the patients’ own consultation has added value upon oral information only. However, providing patients with a general audiotape does not improve recall of information and might even inhibit patients’ recall. Furthermore, there is scientific evidence, although limited, that the use of a question prompt sheet (QPS) has a positive effect on recall of information, provided that the physician actively endorses this sheet. No evidence was found for an effect of providing patients with a summary letter of the consultation on recall, although research on this subject is scarce. In conclusion, the review suggests that interventions that are tailored to the individual cancer patient, such as an audiotape of the consultation or a QPS, are most effective. Further research needs to be done to establish robust results.