This article was reported by Medical Xpress.
Medical Xpress reported on a study of communication and compliance between patients of different races and ethnicity and healthcare providers. M. Barton Laws, assistant professor of health services policy and practice in the Brown University School of Public Health, and colleagues analyzed recorded office visits between 45 healthcare providers and 404 patients, including 245 black and 59 Hispanic individuals. Researchers used the Generalized Medical Interaction Analysis, which separates the dialogue into speech-based units called "utterances" and classifies each utterance's topic or subject matter.
Results showed that black patients spoke less to providers and their interaction had more provider dominance. Providers asked Hispanics fewer open-ended questions. Also, providers' dialogue was more about adherence with minorities than with white patients, regardless of patient adherence history. Doctors issued more directives to minorities than to whites and did not discuss more problem-solving options than for whites.
Laws noted that the study did not determine why doctors emphasized adherence with minority patients even though the issue did not correlate with patient adherence history. Also, doctors did not spend much time on finding patients' barriers to adherence and trying to provide solutions. The researchers suggested that the emphasis on directive rather than problem solving may reflect how providers relate to all patients rather than race. The researchers concluded that other differences in the visits may be due to the ways in which cultural differences and background can affect communication. Laws suggested future studies could examine whether racial differences in the dialogue could lead to different clinical outcomes.
The full report, "Provider-Patient Communication About Adherence to Anti-retroviral Regimens Differs by Patient Race and Ethnicity," was published online in the journal AIDS and Behavior (2014; doi: 10.1007/s10461-014-0697-z).
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
Comment by: realhonor
Thu., Feb. 13, 2014 at 11:08 am UTC
In truth, doctors like judges/elected officials should be aware of biases and prejudices in their beliefs that are demonstrated in the delivery of their professional services. Of course, efforts and care through education or legal enforcement are needed to reduce/remove the bad or malicious intents like stereotypes and overgeneralization, which might cause a patient to be underserved or receive better or privileged care/treatment. Once the bad elements are reduced, actually, treating each patient in accordance to her or his individual needs, including race as one of the factors, could be a good method of treatment. NYC consists of different ethnic groups; each group may have different needs and problems, or each group may put different emphasis on those needs/problems. Like doctors, elected officials, the legal system, and city bar associations also need to be educated on such important facts. Preferential treatment of one group over another will always exist in any society. When it is not race, it is going to be class, body-shape or look, or disability. It is how we respond to the challenge that will make the difference.
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