Awareness of diagnosis, treatment plan and prognosis among patients attending public hospitals and health centers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Providing patient-centered care is one of the key focus areas of the Ethiopian Health Service Transformation Plan. To this end, improving health literacy of the community is critical. However, there is limited evidence about the health literacy of Ethiopians, especially among those who visit health facilities.
The aim of this study was to examine awareness of diagnosis, treatment plan and prognosis among patients at the time of their exit from public hospitals and health centers.
A cross-sectional study was conducted among 627 patients in two public hospitals and selected health centers in Addis Ababa, using a systematic random sampling technique from inpatient and outpatient departments (OPD). A total of 579 study participants had complete data and were included in this analysis. A structured, pre-tested and interview-administered questionnaire was used to collect data. We used proportions to describe the findings and logistic regression analyses to assess factors associated with awareness of diagnosis, treatment plan and prognosis.
About three-fifths (61.9%) and 52.8% of the study participants knew correctly their diagnosis and treatment plan respectively. More than two-thirds, 68.4%, said that they knew about the prognosis of their illness. However, only 21 (3.6%) patient medical records had information on prognosis. Gynecologic patients had significantly lower awareness about their diagnosis and treatment plan as compared to those from a general outpatient department. Emergency patients had significantly lower awareness of their treatment plan (OR = 0.27; 95% CI: 0.11,0.68) and prognosis (OR = 0.21; 95% CI: 0.09,0.50) than new OPD patients. Patients who indicated they had a good experience at their clinical assessment had significantly lower awareness of their prognosis (OR = 0.25; 95% CI: 0.08, 0.81).
A significant proportion of patients didn’t know their correct diagnosis, treatment plan and prognosis. This was more pronounced among gynecologic and emergency patients. More efforts are needed to strengthen patient-provider interaction.