To assess the relationship between patients’ trust in their physician and self-reported adoption of lifestyle modification behaviors and medication adherence for control of hypertension.
Longitudinal analysis of data from a randomized controlled trial of interventions to enhance hypertensive patients’ adherence to medications and recommended lifestyle modifications. Two hundred patients were seen by 41 physicians at 14 urban primary care practices in Baltimore, Maryland, and followed for 12 months.
Seventy percent of patients reported complete trust in their physician. In adjusted analyses, patients with complete trust had higher odds of reporting that they were trying to lose weight (OR=2.27, 95% CI=1.38–3.74) than did patients with less than complete trust in their physician. Though not statistically significant, the odds of reporting trying to cut back on salt and engaging in regular exercise were greater in patients with complete trust. We observed no association for reports of medication adherence.
Trust in one’s physician predicts attempts to lose weight among patients with hypertension, and may contribute to attempts to reduce salt and increase exercise.
Strengthening patient-physician relationships through efforts to enhance trust may be a promising strategy to enhance patients’ engagement in healthy lifestyle behaviors for hypertension.
adherence; African-Americans; blood pressure control; hypertension; lifestyle modification; trust
The objective of this study was to assess the impact of patient-provider race concordance on weight-related counseling among visits by obese patients. We hypothesized that race concordance would be positively associated with weight-related counseling. We used clinical encounter data obtained from the 2005–2007 National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys (NAMCS). The sample size included 2,231 visits of black and white obese individuals (ages 20 and older) to their black and white physicians from the specialties of general/family practice and general internal medicine. Three outcome measures of weight-related counseling were explored: weight reduction, diet/nutrition, and exercise. Logistic regression was used to model the outcome variables of interest. Wald tests were used to statistically compare whether physicians of each race provided counseling at different rates for obese patients of different races. We did not observe a positive association between patient–physician race concordance and weight-related counseling. We found that visits by black obese patients to white doctors had a lower odds of exercise counseling as compared to visits by white obese patients to white doctors (odds ratio (OR) = 0.54; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.31, 0.95), and visits by black obese patients to black physicians had lower odds of receiving weight-reduction counseling than visits among white obese patients seeing black physicians (OR = 0.34; 95% CI: 0.13, 0.90). Black obese patients receive less exercise counseling than white obese patients in visits to white physicians and may be less likely than white obese patients to receive weight-reduction counseling in visits to black physicians.
To describe the relationship between primary care physicians’ (PCPs’) beliefs about the causes of obesity with the frequency of nutritional counseling.
We analyzed a national cross-sectional internet-based survey of 500 US PCPs collected between February and March 2011.
PCPs that identified overconsumption of food as a very important cause of obesity had significantly greater odds of counseling patients to reduce portion sizes (OR 3.40; 95%CI: 1.73–6.68) and to avoid high calorie ingredients when cooking (OR 2.16; 95%CI: 1.07–4.33). Physicians who believed that restaurant/fast food eating was a very important cause of obesity had significantly greater odds of counseling patients to avoid high calorie menu items outside the home (OR 1.93; 95%CI: 1.20–3.11). Physicians who reported that sugar-sweetened beverages were a very important cause of obesity had significantly greater odds of counseling their obese patients to reduce consumption (OR 5.99; 95%CI: 3.53–10.17).
PCP beliefs about the diet-related causes of obesity may translate into actionable nutritional counseling topics for physicians to use with their patients.
Obesity; Physician beliefs; Nutrition counseling
The objective is to evaluate whether physician body mass index (BMI) impacts their patients’ trust or perceptions of weight-related stigma.
We used a national cross-sectional survey of 600 non-pregnant overweight and obese patients conducted between April 5 and April 13, 2012. The outcome variables were patient trust (overall and by type of advice) and patient perceptions of weight-related stigma. The independent variable of interest was primary care physician (PCP) BMI. We conducted multivariate regression analyses to determine whether trust or perceived stigma differed by physician BMI, adjusting for covariates.
Patients reported high levels of trust in their PCPs, regardless of the PCPs body weight (normal BMI = 8.6; overweight = 8.3; obese = 8.2; where 10 is the highest). Trust in diet advice was significantly higher among patients seeing overweight PCPs as compared to normal BMI PCPs (87% vs. 77%, p = 0.04). Reports of feeling judged by their PCP were significantly higher among patients seeing obese PCPs (32%; 95% confidence interval (CI): 23–41) as compared to patients seeing normal BMI PCPs (14%; 95% CI: 7–20).
Overweight and obese patients generally trust their PCP, but they more strongly trust diet advice from overweight PCPs as compared to normal BMI PCPs.
Physician BMI; Patient trust; Weight stigma; Weight-related advice
We aimed to inform the design of behavioral interventions by identifying patients’ and their family members’ perceived facilitators and barriers to hypertension self-management.
Materials and methods
We conducted focus groups of African American patients with hypertension and their family members to elicit their views about factors influencing patients’ hypertension self-management. We recruited African American patients with hypertension (n = 18) and their family members (n = 12) from an urban, community-based clinical practice in Baltimore, Maryland. We conducted four separate 90-minute focus groups among patients with controlled (one group) and uncontrolled (one group) hypertension, as well as their family members (two groups). Trained moderators used open-ended questions to assess participants’ perceptions regarding patient, family, clinic, and community-level factors influencing patients’ effective hypertension self-management.
Patient participants identified several facilitators (including family members’ support and positive relationships with doctors) and barriers (including competing health priorities, lack of knowledge about hypertension, and poor access to community resources) that influence their hypertension self-management. Family members also identified several facilitators (including their participation in patients’ doctor’s visits and discussions with patients’ doctors outside of visits) and barriers (including their own limited health knowledge and patients’ lack of motivation to sustain hypertension self-management behaviors) that affect their efforts to support patients’ hypertension self-management.
African American patients with hypertension and their family members reported numerous patient, family, clinic, and community-level facilitators and barriers to patients’ hypertension self-management. Patients’ and their family members’ views may help guide efforts to tailor behavioral interventions designed to improve hypertension self-management behaviors and hypertension control in minority populations.
hypertension; patient perspective; qualitative research; health disparities
To evaluate whether obese patients overestimate or underestimate the level of respect that their physicians hold towards them.
We performed a cross-sectional analysis of data from questionnaires and audio-recordings of visits between primary care physicians and their patients. Using multilevel logistic regression, we evaluated the association between patient BMI and accurate estimation of physician respect. Physician respectfulness was also rated independently by assessing the visit audiotapes.
Thirty-nine primary care physicians and 199 of their patients were included in the analysis. The mean patient BMI was 32.8 kg/m2 (SD 8.2). For each 5 kg/m2 increase in BMI, the odds of overestimating physician respect significantly increased [OR 1.32, 95%CI 1.04–1.68, p=0.02]. Few patients underestimated physician respect. There were no differences in ratings of physician respectfulness by independent evaluators of the audiotapes.
We consider our results preliminary. Patients were significantly more likely to overestimate physician respect as BMI increased, which was not accounted for by increased respectful treatment by the physician.
Among patients who overestimate physician respect, the authenticity of the patient-physician relationship should be questioned.
Obesity; patient-provider; respect
Studies involving physicians suggest that unconscious bias may be related to clinical decision making and may predict poor patient-physician interaction. The presence of unconscious race and social class bias and its association with clinical assessments or decision making among medical students is unknown.
To estimate unconscious race and social class bias among first-year medical students and investigate its relationship with assessments made during clinical vignettes.
Design, Setting, and Participants
A secure Web-based survey was administered to 211 medical students entering classes at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, in August 2009 and August 2010. The survey included the Implicit Association Test (IAT) to assess unconscious preferences, direct questions regarding students’ explicit race and social class preferences, and 8 clinical assessment vignettes focused on pain assessment, informed consent, patient reliability, and patient trust. Adjusting for student demographics, multiple logistic regression was used to determine whether responses to the vignettes were associated with unconscious race or social class preferences.
Main Outcome Measures
Association of scores on an established IAT for race and a novel IAT for social class with vignette responses.
Among the 202 students who completed the survey, IAT responses were consistent with an implicit preference toward white persons among 140 students (69%, 95% CI, 61%–75%). Responses were consistent with a preference toward those in the upper class among 174 students (86%, 95% CI, 80%–90%). Assessments generally did not vary by patient race or occupation, and multivariable analyses for all vignettes found no significant relationship between implicit biases and clinical assessments. Regression coefficient for the association between pain assessment and race IAT scores was −0.49 (95% CI, −1.00 to 0.03) and for social class, the coefficient was −0.04 (95% CI, −0.50 to 0.41). Adjusted odds ratios for other vignettes ranged from 0.69 to 3.03 per unit change in IAT score, but none were statistically significant. Analysis stratified by vignette patient race or class status yielded similarly negative results. Tests for interactions between patient race or class status and student IAT D scores in predicting clinical assessments were not statistically significant.
The majority of first-year medical students at a single school had IAT scores consistent with implicit preference for white persons and possibly for those in the upper class. However, overall vignette-based clinical assessments were not associated with patient race or occupation, and no association existed between implicit preferences and the assessments.
To determine whether there is an increased odds of mortality among trauma patients treated at hospitals with higher proportions of minority patients (ie, black and Hispanic patients combined).
Hospitals were categorized on the basis of the percentage of minority patients admitted with trauma. The adjusted odds of in-hospital mortality were compared between hospitals with less than 25% of patients who were minorities (the reference group) and hospitals with 25% to 50% of patients who were minorities and hospitals with more than 50% of patients who were minorities. Multivariate logistic regression (with generalized linear modeling and a cluster-correlated robust estimate of variance) was used to control for multiple patient and injury severity characteristics.
A total of 434 hospitals in the National Trauma Data Bank.
Patients aged 18 to 64 years whose medical records were included in the National Trauma Data Bank for the years 2007 and 2008 with an Injury Severity Score of 9 or greater and who were white, black, or Hispanic.
Main Outcome Measures
Crude mortality and adjusted odds of in-hospital mortality.
A total of 311 568 patients were examined. Hospitals in which the percentage of minority patients was more than 50% also had younger patients, fewer female patients, more patients with penetrating trauma, and the highest crude mortality. After adjustment for potential confounders, patients treated at hospitals in which the percentage of minority patients was 25% to 50% and at hospitals in which the percentage of minority patients was more than 50% demonstrated increased odds of death (adjusted odds ratio, 1.16 [95% confidence interval, 1.01–1.34] and adjusted odds ratio, 1.37 [95% confidence interval, 1.16–1.61], respectively), compared with the reference group. This disparity increased further on subset analysis of patients with a blunt injury. Uninsured patients had significantly increased odds of mortality within all 3 hospital groups.
Patients treated at hospitals with higher proportions of minority trauma patients have increased odds of dying, even after adjusting for potential confounders. Differences in outcomes between trauma hospitals may partly explain racial disparities.
Obesity affects approximately one third of Americans. Patient and provider characteristics such as gender may influence obesity care. Gender concordance has been associated with clinical practice patterns in chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, but its role in obesity care is unknown.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the association of patient–physician gender concordance with weight-related counseling among obese adults.
A cross-sectional study using the 2005–2007 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey was conducted in 2010. Postvisit data from the clinical encounters of 5667 obese individuals and their physicians were analyzed to determine the association between patient– physician gender concordance (categorized using patient gender as the reference point as female gender-concordant, male gender-concordant, male gender-discordant and female gender-discordant) and three types of weight-related counseling (diet/nutrition, exercise, and weight reduction).
Diet/nutrition, exercise, and weight reduction counseling was provided to 30%, 23%, and 20% of obese patients, respectively. Patients in male gender-concordant patient–physician pairs had significantly higher adjusted odds of receiving diet/nutrition (OR 1.58; 95% CI: 1.05, 2.40) and exercise counseling (1.76; 95% CI: 1.13, 2.74) than female gender-concordant pairs. There were no significant differences in any form of weight-related counseling between female gender-concordant and gender-discordant pairs.
The findings of this study suggest that male patient–physician gender concordance is positively associated with diet/nutrition and exercise counseling.
Racial disparities in blood pressure control have been well documented in the United States. Research suggests that many factors contribute to this disparity, including barriers to care at patient, clinician, healthcare system, and community levels. To date, few interventions aimed at reducing hypertension disparities have addressed factors at all of these levels. This paper describes the design of Project ReD CHiP (Reducing Disparities and Controlling Hypertension in Primary Care), a multi-level system quality improvement project. By intervening on multiple levels, this project aims to reduce disparities in blood pressure control and improve guideline concordant hypertension care.
Using a pragmatic trial design, we are implementing three complementary multi-level interventions designed to improve blood pressure measurement, provide patient care management services and offer expanded provider education resources in six primary care clinics in Baltimore, Maryland. We are staggering the introduction of the interventions and will use Statistical Process Control (SPC) charting to determine if there are changes in outcomes at each clinic after implementation of each intervention. The main hypothesis is that each intervention will have an additive effect on improvements in guideline concordant care and reductions in hypertension disparities, but the combination of all three interventions will result in the greatest impact, followed by blood pressure measurement with care management support, blood pressure measurement with provider education, and blood pressure measurement only. This study also examines how organizational functioning and cultural competence affect the success of the interventions.
As a quality improvement project, Project ReD CHiP employs a novel study design that specifically targets multi-level factors known to contribute to hypertension disparities. To facilitate its implementation and improve its sustainability, we have incorporated stakeholder input and tailored components of the interventions to meet the specific needs of the involved clinics and communities. Results from this study will provide knowledge about how integrated multi-level interventions can improve hypertension care and reduce disparities.
Quality improvement; Hypertension; Health disparities; Pragmatic trial; Organizational culture; Community-based participatory research; Study design
To describe physician perspectives on the causes of and solutions to obesity care and identify differences in these perspectives by number of years since completion of medical school.
National cross-sectional online survey from 9 February to 1 March 2011.
500 primary care physicians.
We evaluated physician perspectives on: (1) causes of obesity, (2) competence in treating obese patients, (3) perspectives on the health professional most qualified to help obese patients lose or maintain weight and (4) solutions for improving obesity care.
Primary care physicians overwhelmingly supported additional training (such as nutrition counselling) and practice-based changes (such as having scales report body mass index) to help them improve their obesity care. They also identified nutritionists/dietitians as the most qualified providers to care for obese patients. Physicians with fewer than 20 years since completion of medical school were more likely to identify lack of information about good eating habits and lack of access to healthy food as important causes of obesity. They also reported feeling relatively more successful helping obese patients lose weight. The response rate for the survey was 25.6%.
Our results indicate a perceived need for improved medical education related to obesity care.
Medical Education & Training; Internal Medicine
Social characteristics (e.g. race, gender, age, education) are associated with health care disparities. We introduce social concordance, a composite measure of shared social characteristics between patients and physicians.
To determine whether social concordance predicts differences in medical visit communication and patients’ perceptions of care.
Regression analyses were used to determine the association of patient-provider social concordance with medical visit communication and patients’ perceptions of care using data from two observational studies involving 64 primary care physicians and 489 of their patients from the Baltimore, MD /Washington, DC/Northern Virginia area.
Lower patient-physician social concordance was associated with less positive patient perceptions of care and lower positive patient affect. Patient-physician dyads with low vs. high social concordance reported lower ratings of global satisfaction with office visits (OR=0.64 vs. OR=1.37, p=0.036) and were less likely to recommend their physician to a friend (OR=0.61vs. OR=1.37, p=0.035). A graded-response was observed for social concordance with patient positive affect and patient perceptions of care.
Patient-physician concordance across multiple social characteristics may have cumulative effects on patient-physician communication and perceptions of care.
Research should move beyond one-dimensional measures of patient-physician concordance to understand how multiple social characteristics influence health care quality.
patient-provider communication; health care disparities; patient-provider concordance
Health professionals’ weight bias may impair obese patients’ interactions with providers. However, few studies have examined how negative provider attitudes affect the patient-provider relationship for obese patients. We hypothesized that higher patient body mass index (BMI) would be negatively associated with patient-provider relationship quality.
We analyzed data from the 2007 Health Tracking Household Survey. BMI was the independent variable, and patient-perceived quality of the patient-provider relationship was the outcome. We performed log-binominal regression analyses accounting for complex survey design to examine the association of BMI with the patient-provider relationship.
Of the 15,197 adult survey respondents, the 6,427 who answered the quality of care questions were eligible for analysis. Overall, 29% had a normal range BMI, 34% were overweight, and 37% were obese. We found few differences in ratings of the patient-provider relationship for overweight and obese respondents when compared to respondents with a normal range BMI.
These unexpected findings may have occurred due to patients’ inability to perceive providers’ weight bias, measurement error in questionnaire items, or decreasing weight bias among health professionals.
Patient’s positive perceptions of providers may indicate promise for health professionals acting as motivators of behavior change in obese patients.
Patient Satisfaction; Patient Provider; Obesity; Adults
African Americans and persons with low socioeconomic status (SES) are disproportionately affected by hypertension and receive less patient-centered care than less vulnerable patient populations. Moreover, continuing medical education (CME) and patient-activation interventions have infrequently been directed to improve the processes of care for these populations.
To compare the effectiveness of patient-centered interventions targeting patients and physicians with the effectiveness of minimal interventions for underserved groups.
Randomized controlled trial conducted from January 2002 through August 2005, with patient follow-up at 3 and 12 months, in 14 urban, community-based practices in Baltimore, Maryland.
Forty-one primary care physicians and 279 hypertension patients.
Physician communication skills training and patient coaching by community health workers.
Physician communication behaviors; patient ratings of physicians’ participatory decision-making (PDM), patient involvement in care (PIC), reported adherence to medications; systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP) and BP control.
Visits of trained versus control group physicians demonstrated more positive communication change scores from baseline (−0.52 vs. −0.82, p = 0.04). At 12 months, the patient+physician intensive group compared to the minimal intervention group showed significantly greater improvements in patient report of physicians’ PDM (β = +6.20 vs. −5.24, p = 0.03) and PIC dimensions related to doctor facilitation (β = +0.22 vs. −0.17, p = 0.03) and information exchange (β = +0.32 vs. −0.22, p = 0.005). Improvements in patient adherence and BP control did not differ across groups for the overall patient sample. However, among patients with uncontrolled hypertension at baseline, non-significant reductions in systolic BP were observed among patients in all intervention groups—the patient+physician intensive (−13.2 mmHg), physician intensive/patient minimal (−10.6 mmHg), and the patient intensive/physician minimal (−16.8 mmHg), compared to the patient+physician minimal group (−2.0 mmHg).
Interventions that enhance physicians’ communication skills and activate patients to participate in their care positively affect patient-centered communication, patient perceptions of engagement in care, and may improve systolic BP among urban African-American and low SES patients with uncontrolled hypertension.
patient-centered care; patient–physician communication; hypertension
Strategies that may increase compliance to reduced energy intakes are needed to reduce the health burden of obesity. Conflicting evidence exists regarding the effects of snacking on satiety and energy intake.
This study compared short-term satiety from two common snack foods, low fat popcorn or potato chips. Using a counterbalanced within-subject design, 35 normal weight non-smoking participants (17 men, 18 women) ages 20–50 years (mean age 33 ± 11, BMI 23 ± 2 kg/m2) consumed four conditions each: 200 mL of water (control), one cup (4 g, 15 kcal) popcorn, 6 cups (27 g, 100 kcal) popcorn, and one cup (28 g, 150 kcal) potato chips, each with 200 mL water. Participants rated their hunger, satisfaction, prospective consumption, and thirst on 100 mm visual analogue scales 30 minutes after commencement of snack consumption. In addition, post-snack energy intake from an ad libitum meal (amount served less amount remaining) was measured, and the test food and meal combined energy intake and energy compensation were calculated.
Participants expressed less hunger, more satisfaction, and lower estimates of prospective food consumption after six cups of popcorn compared to all other treatments (P < 0.05). Energy compensation was 220% ± 967%, 76% ± 143% and 42% ± 75% after one cup popcorn, six cups popcorn and one cup potato chips, respectively. Combined energy intake was significantly greater (P < 0.01) during the potato chips condition (803 ± 277 kcal) compared to control (716 ± 279 kcal) or popcorn conditions (698 ± 286 kcal for one cup and 739 ± 294 kcal for six cups). Combined energy intakes from both popcorn conditions were not significantly different than control (p > 0.05).
Popcorn exerted a stronger effect on short-term satiety than did potato chips as measured by subjective ratings and energy intake at a subsequent meal. This, combined with its relatively low calorie load, suggests that whole grain popcorn is a prudent choice for those wanting to reduce feelings of hunger while managing energy intake and ultimately, body weight.
Popcorn; Satiety; Hunger; Fullness; Snack; Energy intake; Energy compensation; Weight management
Poor patient–provider interactions may play a role in explaining racial disparities in the quality and outcomes of HIV care in the United States. We analyzed 354 patient–provider encounters coded with the Roter Interaction Analysis System across four HIV care sites in the United States to explore possible racial differences in patient–provider communication. Providers were more verbally dominant in conversations with black as compared to white patients. This was largely due to black patients’ talking less than white patients. There was no association between race and other measures of communication. Black and white patients rated their providers’ communication similarly. Efforts to more effectively engage patients in the medical dialogue may lead to improved patient–provider relationships, self-management, and outcomes among black people living with HIV/AIDS.
HIV/AIDS; Patient–physician relations; Patient–physician communication; Health disparities
To examine national physician practice patterns of obesity care and the predictors of these practices.
We analyzed cross-sectional clinical encounter data. Obese adults were obtained from the 2005 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (N=2458).
A third of obese adults received an obesity diagnosis (28.9%) and approximately a fifth received counseling for weight reduction (17.6%), diet (25.2%), or exercise (20.5%). Women (OR = 1.54; 95%CI: 1.14, 2.09), young adults ages 18 to 29 (OR = 2.61; 95%CI: 1.37, 4.97), and severely/morbidly obese individuals (class II: OR 2.08; 95%CI: 1.53, 2.83; class III: OR 4.36; 95% CI: 3.09, 6.16) were significantly more likely to receive an obesity diagnosis. One of the biggest predictors of weight-related counseling was an obesity diagnosis (weight reduction: OR = 5.72; 95%CI: 4.01, 8.17; diet: OR = 2.89; 95%CI: 2.05, 4.06; exercise: OR = 2.54; 95%CI: 1.67, 3.85). Other predictors of weight-related counseling included seeing a cardiologist/other internal medicine specialist, a preventive visit, or spending more time with the doctor (p < 0.05).
Most obese patients do not receive an obesity diagnosis or weight-related counseling.
Preventive visits may provide a key opportunity for obese patients to receive weight-related counseling from their physician.
obesity; physician practice patterns; weight-related counseling; diagnosis
This study was designed to examine the impact of elevated depressive affect on health outcomes among participants with hypertensive chronic kidney disease in the African-American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK) Cohort Study. Elevated depressive affect was defined by Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) thresholds of 11 or more, above 14, and by 5-Unit increments in the score. Cox regression analyses were used to relate cardiovascular death/hospitalization, doubling of serum creatinine/end-stage renal disease, overall hospitalization, and all-cause death to depressive affect evaluated at baseline, the most recent annual visit (time-varying), or average from baseline to the most recent visit (cumulative). Among 628 participants at baseline, 42% had BDI-II scores of 11 or more and 26% had a score above 14. During a 5-year follow-up, the cumulative incidence of cardiovascular death/hospitalization was significantly greater for participants with baseline BDI-II scores of 11 or more compared with those with scores <11. The baseline, time-varying, and cumulative elevated depressive affect were each associated with a significant higher risk of cardiovascular death/hospitalization, especially with a time-varying BDI-II score over 14 (adjusted HR 1.63) but not with the other outcomes. Thus, elevated depressive affect is associated with unfavorable cardiovascular outcomes in African Americans with hypertensive chronic kidney disease.
AASK (African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension); cardiovascular events; chronic kidney disease; depression
Despite compelling reasons to draw on the contributions of under-represented minority (URM) faculty members, US medical schools lack these faculty, particularly in leadership and senior roles.
The study’s purpose was to document URM faculty perceptions and experience of the culture of academic medicine in the US and to raise awareness of obstacles to achieving the goal of having people of color in positions of leadership in academic medicine.
The authors conducted a qualitative interview study in 2006–2007 of faculty in five US medical schools chosen for their diverse regional and organizational attributes.
Using purposeful sampling of medical faculty, 96 faculty were interviewed from four different career stages (early, plateaued, leaders and left academic medicine) and diverse specialties with an oversampling of URM faculty.
We identified patterns and themes emergent in the coded data. Analysis was inductive and data driven.
Predominant themes underscored during analyses regarding the experience of URM faculty were: difficulty of cross-cultural relationships; isolation and feeling invisible; lack of mentoring, role models and social capital; disrespect, overt and covert bias/discrimination; different performance expectations related to race/ethnicity; devaluing of research on community health care and health disparities; the unfair burden of being identified with affirmative action and responsibility for diversity efforts; leadership’s role in diversity goals; and financial hardship.
Achieving an inclusive culture for diverse medical school faculty would help meet the mission of academic medicine to train a physician and research workforce that meets the disparate needs of our multicultural society. Medical school leaders need to value the inclusion of URM faculty. Failure to fully engage the skills and insights of URM faculty impairs our ability to provide the best science, education or medical care.
medical faculty; underrepresented minorities; race
The role of patient race in medical decision-making is heavily debated. While some evidence suggests that patient race can be used by physicians to predict disease risk and determine drug therapy, other studies document bias and stereotyping by physicians based on patient race. It is critical, then, to explore physicians' attitudes regarding the medical relevance of patient race.
We conducted a qualitative study in the United States using ten focus groups of physicians stratified by self-identified race (black or white) and led by race-concordant moderators. Physicians were presented with a medical vignette about a patient (whose race was unknown) with Type 2 diabetes and untreated hypertension, who was also a current smoker. Participants were first asked to discuss what medical information they would need to treat the patient. Then physicians were asked to explicitly discuss the importance of race to the hypothetical patient's treatment. To identify common themes, codes, key words and physician demographics were compiled into a comprehensive table that allowed for examination of similarities and differences by physician race. Common themes were identified using the software package NVivo (QSR International, v7).
Forty self-identified black and 50 self-identified white physicians participated in the study. All physicians - regardless of their own race - believed that medical history, family history, and weight were important for making treatment decisions for the patient. However, black and white physicians reported differences in their views about the relevance of race. Several black physicians indicated that patient race is a central factor for choosing treatment options such as aggressive therapies, patient medication and understanding disease risk. Moreover, many black physicians considered patient race important to understand the patient's views, such as alternative medicine preferences and cultural beliefs about illness. However, few white physicians explicitly indicated that the patient's race was important over-and-above medical history. Instead, white physicians reported that the patient should be treated aggressively regardless of race.
This investigation adds to our understanding about how physicians in the United States consider race when treating patients, and sheds light on issues physicians face when deciding the importance of race in medical decision-making.
Physician perception of medication adherence may alter prescribing patterns. Perception of patients has been linked to readily observable factors, such as race and age. Obesity shares a similar stigma to these factors in society. We hypothesized that physicians would perceive patients with a higher BMI as nonadherent to medication. Data were collected from the baseline visit of a randomized clinical trial of patient–physician communication (240 patients and 40 physicians). Physician perception of patient medication adherence was measured on a Likert scale and dichotomized as fully adherent or not fully adherent. BMI was the predictor of interest. We performed Poisson regression analyses with robust variance estimates, adjusting for clustering of patients within physicians, to examine the association between BMI and physician perception of medication adherence. The mean (s.d.) BMI was 32.6 (7.7) kg/m2. Forty-five percent of patients were perceived as nonadherent to medications by their physicians. Higher BMI was significantly and negatively associated with being perceived as adherent to medication (prevalence ratio (PrR) 0.76, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.64–0.90; P = 0.002; per 10 kg/m2 increase in BMI). BMI remained significantly and negatively associated with physician perception of medication adherence after adjustment for patient and physician characteristics (PrR 0.80, 95% CI: 0.66–0.96; P = 0.020). In this study, patients with higher BMI were less likely to be perceived as adherent to medications by their providers. Physician perception of medication adherence has been shown to affect prescribing patterns in other studies. More work is needed to understand how this perception may affect the care of patients with obesity.
We sought to synthesize the findings of studies evaluating interventions to improve the cultural competence of health professionals.
This was a systematic literature review and analysis.
We performed electronic and hand searches from 1980 through June 2003 to identify studies that evaluated interventions designed to improve the cultural competence of health professionals. We abstracted and synthesized data from studies that had both a before- and an after-intervention evaluation or had a control group for comparison and graded the strength of the evidence as excellent, good, fair, or poor using predetermined criteria.
Main Outcome Measures
We sought evidence of the effectiveness and costs of cultural competence training of health professionals.
Thirty-four studies were included in our review. There is excellent evidence that cultural competence training improves the knowledge of health professionals (17 of 19 studies demonstrated a beneficial effect), and good evidence that cultural competence training improves the attitudes and skills of health professionals (21 of 25 studies evaluating attitudes demonstrated a beneficial effect and 14 of 14 studies evaluating skills demonstrated a beneficial effect). There is good evidence that cultural competence training impacts patient satisfaction (3 of 3 studies demonstrated a beneficial effect), poor evidence that cultural competence training impacts patient adherence (although the one study designed to do this demonstrated a beneficial effect), and no studies that have evaluated patient health status outcomes. There is poor evidence to determine the costs of cultural competence training (5 studies included incomplete estimates of costs).
Cultural competence training shows promise as a strategy for improving the knowledge, attitudes, and skills of health professionals. However, evidence that it improves patient adherence to therapy, health outcomes, and equity of services across racial and ethnic groups is lacking. Future research should focus on these outcomes and should determine which teaching methods and content are most effective.
race/ethnicity; health disparities; cultural competence
Patient-centeredness has been advocated to reduce racial/ethnic disparities in health care quality, but no empirical data support such a connection. The authors' purpose was to determine whether students with patient-centered attitudes have better performance and are less likely to demonstrate disparities with African American compared with white standardized patients (SPs).
Third-year medical students were assessed by SPs at the Clinical Educational Center of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2002. One African American and one white actor were trained as SPs for each of four case scenarios; students were randomly assigned to interact with either SP for each case. Before the exam, students were surveyed about their attitudes towards patient-centered medicine. Students with and without patient-centered attitudes were compared with regard to their performance with African American and white SPs. Outcome measures were student exam scores in interpersonal skill, history taking, physical exam, and counseling.
All 177 of eligible students participated in all four case scenarios. With white SPs, students with patient-centered attitudes performed similarly to students without patient-centered attitudes in all four areas. However, with African American SPs, students with patient-centered attitudes performed significantly better than students without patient-centered attitudes in interpersonal skills (71.4 versus 69.4, P = .010), history taking (63.8 versus 61.1, P = .003), and counseling (92.1 versus 88.7, P = .002) and not significantly different in physical exam performance (73.6 versus 68.6, P = .311).
Patient-centered attitudes may be more important in improving physician behaviors with African American patients than with white patients and may, therefore, play a role in reducing disparities.
Hispanic Americans with HIV/AIDS experience lower quality care and worse outcomes than non-Hispanic whites. While deficits in patient–provider communication may contribute to these disparities, no studies to date have used audio recordings to examine the communication patterns of Hispanic vs. non-Hispanic white patients with their health care providers.
To explore differences in patient–provider communication for English-speaking, HIV-infected Hispanic and non-Hispanic white patients.
Two HIV care sites in the United States (New York and Portland) participating in the Enhancing Communication and HIV Outcomes (ECHO) study.
Nineteen HIV providers and 113 of their patients.
Patient interviews, provider questionnaires, and audio-recorded, routine, patient–provider encounters coded with the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS).
Providers were mostly non-Hispanic white (68%) and female (63%). Patients were Hispanic (51%), and non-Hispanic white (49%); 20% were female. Visits with Hispanic patients were less patient-centered (0.75 vs. 0.90, p = 0.009), with less psychosocial talk (80 vs. 118 statements, p < 0.001). This pattern was consistent among Hispanics who spoke English very well and those with less English proficiency. There was no association between patient race/ethnicity and visit length, patients’ or providers’ emotional tone, or the total number of patient or provider statements categorized as socioemotional, question-asking, information-giving, or patient activating. Hispanic patients gave higher ratings than whites (AOR 3.05 Hispanic vs. white highest rating of providers’ interpersonal style, 95% CI 1.20-7.74).
In this exploratory study, we found less psychosocial talk in patient–provider encounters with Hispanic compared to white patients. The fact that Hispanic patients rated their visits more positively than whites raises the possibility that these differences in patient–provider interactions may reflect differences in patient preferences and communication style rather than “deficits” in communication. If these findings are replicated in future studies, efforts should be undertaken to understand the reasons underlying them and their impact on the quality and equity of care.
HIV/AIDS; patient–physician relations; patient–physician communication; health disparities
To explore the domain of physician-reported respect for individual patients by investigating the following questions: How variable is physician-reported respect for patients? What patient characteristics are associated with greater physician-reported respect? Do patients accurately perceive levels of physician respect? Are there specific communication behaviors associated with physician-reported respect for patients?
We audiotaped 215 patient–physician encounters with 30 different physicians in primary care. After each encounter, the physician rated the level of respect that s/he had for that patient using the following item: “Compared to other patients, I have a great deal of respect for this patient” on a five-point scale between strongly agree and strongly disagree. Patients completed a post-visit questionnaire that included a parallel respect item: “This doctor has a great deal of respect for me.”
Audiotapes of the patient visits were analyzed using the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS) to characterize communication behaviors. Outcome variables included four physician communication behaviors: information-giving, rapport-building, global affect, and verbal dominance. A linear mixed effects modeling approach that accounts for clustering of patients within physicians was used to compare varying levels of physician-reported respect for patients with physician communication behaviors and patient perceptions of being respected.
Physician-reported respect varied across patients. Physicians strongly agreed that they had a great deal of respect for 73 patients (34%), agreed for 96 patients (45%) and were either neutral or disagreed for 46 patients (21%). Physicians reported higher levels of respect for older patients and for patients they knew well. The level of respect that physicians reported for individual patients was not significantly associated with that patient’s gender, race, education, or health status; was not associated with the physician’s gender, race, or number of years in practice; and was not associated with race concordance between patient and physician.
While 45% of patients overestimated physician respect, 38% reported respect precisely as rated by the physician, and 16% underestimated physician respect (r = 0.18, p = 0.007). Those who were the least respected by their physician were the least likely to perceive themselves as being highly respected; only 36% of the least respected patients compared to 59% and 61% of the highly and moderately respected patients perceived themselves to be highly respected (p = 0.012). Compared with the least-respected patients, physicians were more affectively positive with highly respected patients (p = 0.034) and provided more information to highly and moderately respected patients (p = 0.018).
Physicians’ ratings of respect vary across patients and are primarily associated with familiarity rather than sociodemographic characteristics. Patients are able to perceive when they are respected by their physicians, although when they are not accurate, they tend to overestimate physician respect. Physicians who are more respectful towards particular patients provide more information and express more positive affect in visits with those patients.
Physician respectful attitudes may be important to target in improving communication with patients.
Respect; Patient–physician communication; Attitudes; Professionalism