Question Prompt Lists

A Systematic Literature Review on Question Prompt Lists and Shared Decision Making in Health Care

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
April – September 2014


This project involved a systematic literature review concerning the use of Question Prompt Lists (QPLs) to facilitate communication, patient question asking, information gathering and information provision to patients by health care professionals during health care consultations. QPLs may be prepared lists of questions relevant to the health condition prepared by research teams but they also include patient generated question prompt lists.

What we did

A systematic search was undertaken to identify relevant literature concerning QPLs including academic databases, Google-based and snowball searching. Forty-two relevant studies reporting 50 interventions were identified. There was evidence that a QPL endorsed by the physician increased total question asking. Using a QPL also increased question asking concerning specific content areas (e.g. prognosis). There was some evidence that physicians provided more information during these consultations. There were no consistent findings concerning effects on patient knowledge recall, anxiety and satisfaction or consultation time. Some interventions that increased question asking had longer consultation times.

There is evidence that an appropriate QPL, endorsed by the physician and provided immediately before the consultation, may increase patient question asking and lead to more information being provided by the physician.

These findings lend support to QPL use in routine practice. Further trials might address the research issues identified including an assessment of the optimal length of a QPL and QPL adaptation for cultural and special needs groups.

Related publications

Sansoni J, Grootemaat P and Duncan C (2015) Question Prompt Lists in Health Consultation: A Review. Patient Education and Counseling, 98 (12): 1454–64.

Sansoni J, Grootemaat P, Duncan C, Samsa P and Eagar K (2014) A Systematic Literature Review on Question Prompt Lists in Health Care (Final Report). Centre for Health Service Development, University of Wollongong.

Last reviewed: 16 January, 2017

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