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Does a simple web-based intervention facilitate the articulation of patients unvoiced agenda for a consultation with their diabetologists? A qualitative study

15 Jun 2019


To explore whether a preconsultation web-based intervention enables patients with diabetes to articulate their agenda in a consultation in the hospital outpatient clinic with their diabetologist.

Methods and design

A qualitative study embedded in a pragmatic pilot randomised controlled trial.


Two city outpatient departments in England.


25 patients attending a follow-up consultation and 6 diabetologists.


The PACE-D, a web-based tool adapted for patients with diabetes to use before their consultation to generate an agenda of topics to discuss with their diabetologist.

Data collection

25 participants had their consultation with their diabetologist audio-recorded: 12 in the control arm and 13 in the intervention arm; 12 of the latter also had their PACE-D intervention session and a consultation recorded. Semi-structured interviews with 6 diabetologists, and 12 patients (6 in the intervention group and 6 in the control group).


Thematic discourse analysis undertaken with patient representatives trained in qualitative data analysis techniques.


We identified four consultation types: diabetologist facilitated; patient identified; consultant facilitated and patient initiated and patient ignored. We also identified three critical aspects that explained the production and utilisation of the agenda form: existing consultative style; orientation to the use of the intervention and impact on the consultation. Where patients and diabetologists have a shared preference for a consultant-led or patient-led consultation, the intervention augments effective communication and shared decision making. However, where preferences diverge (eg, there is a mismatch in patients' and diabetologists' preferences and orientations), the intervention does not improve the potential for shared decision making.


A simple web-based intervention facilitates the articulation of patients’ unvoiced agenda for a consultation with their diabetologist, but only when pre-existing consultation styles and orientations already favour shared decision making. More needs to be done to translate patient empowerment in the consultation setting into genuine self-efficacy.

Trial registration number


Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open