Background The introduction of patient screens for outpatient procedures is becoming increasingly common. To date, the impact on the patient of viewing the screen remains unknown.
Objectives To explore how viewing the screen during a hysteroscopy procedure affects the patient’s experience.
Setting The outpatient clinics at the Royal Surrey Hospital in Guildford and the Royal Infirmary in Bradford.
Design A randomised control trial.
Sample Women undergoing a hysteroscopy procedure were randomly allocated to see the screen (n = 81) or not to see the screen (n = 76).
Methods A quantitative study with measures taken before and after the intervention.
Main outcome measures Pain perception, mood, illness cognitions, communication.
Results Seeing the screen or not had no impact on several measures of pain perception, mood, illness cognitions or communication. However, women who did not see the screen were more optimistic about the effectiveness of their treatment and felt that the health professional was more receptive to them during the consultation compared with those who saw the screen. After controlling for the use of a local anaesthetic, those who did not see the screen also reported a greater decrease in anxiety after the procedure. However, those who saw the screen described pain more positively (i.e. in terms of comfort, reassurance or encouragement) compared with those who did not see the screen.
Conclusion Viewing the screen does not benefit the patient and may interfere with the patient–physician interaction.