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An exploration of information exchange and decision-making within veterinarian-client-patient interactions during companion animal visits

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Title: An exploration of information exchange and decision-making within veterinarian-client-patient interactions during companion animal visits
Author: Janke, Natasha
Department: Department of Population Medicine
Program: Population Medicine
Advisor: Coe, JasonStone, Elizabeth
Abstract: Information exchange and decision-making support positive healthcare outcomes. Focus group, questionnaire-based and observational research methodologies were used to investigate these important aspects of communication for companion animal veterinary practice. Pet owner expectations and veterinarians’ perceptions of pet owner expectations regarding information exchange and decision-making, along with communication challenges veterinarians face, were explored using 5 focus groups of pet owners (n=27) and 3 of veterinarians (n=24). Inductive thematic analysis of focus groups identified two themes: information exchange and decision-making. Subthemes of information exchange included understanding the client and providing information suitable for the client. Decision-making was seen by pet owners as an opportunity to be involved in their pets’ veterinary care decisions. Veterinarian-specific barriers were time constraints, involvement of multiple clients and language barriers. Audio-video recorded veterinary appointments (n=714) involving 60 veterinarians were assessed using the OPTION5 instrument to quantify client involvement in veterinary care decisions. Veterinarians’ mean score was 22.6 out of 100, indicating low use of client-involving behaviours. Veterinarians with fewer years in practice and increased appointment length were associated with higher levels of shared decision-making when controlling for a significant interaction between client household income and appointment type. Questionnaires were used to assess veterinarians’ (n=416) and veterinary clients’ (n=529) perceptions of information exchanged about pets’ blood tests. Significant differences were found between the perceptions of participating veterinarians and clients regarding the frequency with which veterinarians educated clients about characteristics of their pets’ blood tests. A mixed methods study was conducted to explore and identify characteristics associated with companion animal veterinarians’ communication of health parameter trends. Focus groups explored pet owners and veterinarians’ perceptions of veterinarians’ communication of health parameter trends and codes were identified. Audio-video recorded veterinary appointments (n=911) were analyzed using the focus group codes to assess the prevalence and nature of these conversations in practice. Fewer than 10% (76/911) of appointments included any mention of a health parameter trend; of those that did, the majority discussed body weight. This thesis contributed to the understanding of veterinarian-client-patient interactions regarding decision-making and identifies opportunities to improve client engagement in veterinary care by enhancing understanding of information exchange.
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10214/23730
Date: 2021-01
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International