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electronic health records, patient reported outcomes, personal narrative, quality communication, serious illness



  1. Coats, Heather
  2. Shive, Nadia
  3. Doorenbos, Ardith Z.
  4. Schmiege, Sarah J.


Background: Incorporating a patient's personal narrative into the electronic health record is an opportunity to more fully integrate the patient's values and beliefs into care, thus creating opportunities to deliver high-quality/high-value, person-centered care.


Objectives: The aim of the study was to present a study protocol of a narrative intervention to (a) compare the effects of the narrative intervention to usual care on primary outcome of person's (patient) perceptions of quality of communication, (b) compare the effects of the narrative intervention on secondary outcomes of biopsychosocial well-being, and (c) examine the feasibility and acceptability of the narrative intervention from the perspective of both persons: the patient and the acute care bedside nurse.


Methods: A randomized control trial is being conducted with a targeted enrollment of 80 patient participants and 80 nurse participants. The patient participants include individuals who are admitted to the acute care hospital for either heart failure or end-stage renal disease. An acute care beside nurse who has cared for the patient participant is also enrolled. Through a 1:1 random allocation scheme, stratified by illness, we will enroll 40 in the narrative intervention group and 40 in the usual care group. Patient participants will be assessed for patient-reported outcomes of patient's perception of quality of communication and biopsychosocial well-being.


Results: The study began in October 2019; 53 potential patient participants have been approached, 21 have enrolled, and 20 have completed the data collection process.


Discussion: The testing and integration of a person-centered narrative into the electronic health record is a novel approach to provide opportunities for improvement in communication between patients and nurses. The results from this study will provide important preliminary knowledge to inform future randomized clinical trials of narrative interventions leading to advances in how to best provide high-value, high-quality, person-centered care for persons living with serious illness.