The Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) conducted a review of studies examining the effectiveness of providing patients with self-care manuals as a way to reduce unnecessary use of health care services.
Investigators reported the following findings based on 14 studies:
- Roughly half the people who receive self-care manuals actually use them.
- The combination of a manual and an educational program may increase knowledge and understanding of health care.
- Some reports indicate that people respond differently to illness symptoms after receiving a self-care manual, while others do not.
- People reported increased satisfaction and confidence after receiving a self-care manual.
- Manual users may hesitate to seek health care when it is the right thing to do.
- In roughly half the studies, there was a decline in unnecessary use of health care services after self-care manuals were distributed.
The research team distributed a printed report, Assessment of Self-Care Manuals, to health insurance programs, health care programs, researchers and others.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided $146,677 in funding from October 1998 to March 2000 to support the study.