Advancing consultation recall and understanding

Communication between doctors and their patients can often be poor, especially when it comes to life-threatening conditions. Many patients find it difficult to remember information and discuss certain topics during (for example, prognosis) a medical consultation. Several communication interventions have been developed to try to improve doctor-patient communication. Two examples of such interventions are audio–recordings (AR) and question prompt lists (QPL). Despite evidence supporting routine use in clinical service delivery, to our knowledge neither QPLs (Question Prompt Lists) nor audio-recordings of consultations are part of usual care in Australia. The aim of 'ACCRUE: Advancing consultation recall and understanding' was to explore barriers and facilitators to implementing QPLs and AR as a component of usual care to inform a future implementation study. 

ACCRUE outcomes 

This study provides many useful contextual insights into the critical issues around implementing QPLs and AR strategies into routine healthcare. While there was consensus that these strategies can be of benefit to patients, it was clear that when thinking about applying AR and QPLs into standard practice there were many prominent issues to be agreed or resolved ahead of implementation. 

Regarding reducing medico-legal risk through AR of clinical consultations, few benefits were identified for the health system. Ambiguity about medico-legal issues will continue to be a persistent barrier to implementation of AR. Medico-legal risk concerns will need to be fully explored before AR can be routinely implemented. 


  • Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre 


  • Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre 

Principal investigator 

ACCRUE contact details 

Professor Mei Krishnasamy 

Chair in Cancer Nursing I Department of Nursing 
University of Melbourne Centre for Cancer Research 
VCCC Research and Education Lead - Cancer Nursing 

  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


  • We extend our thanks to Ms Lahiru Russell for research assistance work on ACCRUE (Advancing consultation recall and understanding). 


  • The ACCRUE study has now been published. The full publication is accessible via open access.  

ACCRUE project status 

  • Completed