Introduction The first presentation of Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) may be distressing, with severe symptoms and associated stigma pertaining to the diagnosis. Initial audit confirmed clinic staff were inconsistent with how the initial clinical diagnosis was relayed to patients, the amount of information given and how follow up and PCR test results would be provided. Best practice dictates that detailed information and uncertainties around diagnosis should be communicated.
Methods Staff training was delivered using workshop style sessions and local protocol changed to highlight ‘10 key points’ to be communicated. An SMS used to deliver positive HSV PCR results was changed to include a bitlink to clinic website ‘Genital Herpes’ page and link to BASHH patient information leaflet. The automated results line was changed for PCR negative results, providing information for follow up if symptoms remained. A GP letter was created for PCR positives.
Results Audit cycles were comparable in gender, age distribution, HSV type and PCR negativity rate. There was a significant improvement in the number of patients who received written information (p=0.0043), discussion on PCR sensitivity (p<0.0001), discussion on disclosure (p<0.0001) and significant reduction positive PCR results with no record of result being given (p=0.0091). There number of patients requiring follow up appointment for same episode of HSV did not change.
Discussion Using modern technology can improve communication of important information to the patient and ensure the patient receives the result appropriately. Altering electronic resources can give more information and provide a back up when the diagnosis is unclear.
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