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Patient-physician compatibility increases odds of following doctor's orders
Date:4/21/2010

for this. If they're not getting the control they expect or prefer, they become less satisfied with the healthcare they receive and react to that loss of control by being less likely to follow the doctor's recommendations, including filling refills."

Christensen said the study and other research he and his colleagues have conducted highlights a need to pair up doctors and patients with similar views or, when that's not possible, for doctors to tailor their approach to suit the patient's expectations.

"There's currently a movement toward patient-centered care, which gives patients the opportunity to be more involved. This is often a good thing, but it's also important to remember that one patient's empowerment is another's burden," he said. "Some patients like to receive a lot of information about their condition and prefer to be a leader or equal partner in making decisions about their health. Others would rather just have the doctor sift through the information and tell them what to do."

Because pairing doctors and patients could be difficult in some cases -- for example, when only one specialist is available in a rural area -- Christensen believes helping health care providers tailor their approach is a better way to boost patient satisfaction and adherence. The next step in his research is to develop a short questionnaire to assess patient preferences -- perhaps one that could be filled out in the waiting room along with routine health history forms -- and translate that information in a way that's easy for providers to apply right there on the spot.

"Physicians, with few exceptions, say that they already attempt to tailor their approach. I don't doubt that they do try, within the time constraints they have and their ability to discern what the patient wants. But the evidence we have suggests that they're often not doing so effectively," Christensen said. "Our goal is to develop some tools to help."

In the meantime, h
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Contact: Becky Soglin
319-356-2731
University of Iowa - Health Science
Source:Eurekalert

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