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Effect of race on patient expectations regarding their primary care physicians

Guerra CE, McDonald VJ, Ravenell KL, Asch DA, Shea JA. Effect of race on patient expectations regarding their primary care physicians. Family Practice. 2008 Feb 1; 25(1):49-55.

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BACKGROUND: Fulfilment of patients'' expectations has been associated with greater patient satisfaction with care and greater adherence to medical advice. However, little is know about how race influences patient expectations. OBJECTIVE: To determine the association between patient race and patient expectations of their primary care physician. METHODS: The design was a cross-sectional study. Setting and participants were sample of 709 primary care patients from four clinic sites at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of Pennsylvania Health System. The measures were an expectations instrument asking patients to rate the necessity of the physician performing 13 activities during the index visit, self-reported race, demographics, the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine, the Charlson Comorbidity Index and SF-12. RESULTS: After adjusting for age, sex, education, clinic site, comorbidity, health literacy and health status, African Americans were more likely to report it was absolutely necessary for the physician to refer them to a specialist [AOR 1.55 (95% confidence interval, CI, 1.09-2.21), P = 0.01], order tests [AOR 1.59 (95% CI 1.11-2.27), P = 0.01] and conduct each of the six physical exam components. CONCLUSIONS: African American race is associated with greater expectations of the primary care physicians. More research is needed to confirm the differential expectations by race and determine the reasons for the differential expectations.

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