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Rogers HL , Dumenci L , Epstein RM , Siminoff LA
Impact of Patient Gender and Race and Physician Communication on Colorectal Cancer Diagnostic Visits in Primary Care
J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2019 May;28(5) :612-620
PMID: 30489201 PMCID: PMC6537478 URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30489201
AbstractBACKGROUND: Patient gender and race, and physician-patient communication are associated with clinical outcomes. AIM: To understand the role of these factors in the diagnosis of colorectal cancer (CRC) during primary care visits as measured by appropriate outcome. METHODS: Caucasian and African American unannounced standardized patients (USPs) of both genders presented to 207 primary care physicians (PCPs) from community and academic practices in Ohio and Virginia as new patients with CRC symptoms. PCPs were blinded to the diagnosis. Physician subjects consented to audiotaping the encounter. Medical records were obtained. Communication elements were coded by trained observers and appropriate visit outcomes were coded from the medical record and audiofiles, defined as (1) recommendation for colonoscopy/sigmoidoscopy/fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or (2) referral to gastroenterologist. RESULTS: A total of 141 of 367 USP visits (38%) resulted in appropriate clinical outcomes. Patient race was not associated with outcome, but being a male USP was (chi(2) = 4.12, p = 0.04). Relational communication was represented as a latent variable with seven indicators (alpha = 0.84) and was independently associated with outcome (beta = 0.15; p = 0.025). After controlling for clustered sampling, relational communication, and race, structural equational modeling indicated that female USPs were less likely to have an appropriate clinical visit outcome (beta = -0.13; p = 0.033). CONCLUSIONS: Using a novel and innovative methodology capturing PCP behaviors during real-time clinician-patient interaction, appropriate clinical outcome was independently associated with being male and PCP relational communication factors such as encouraging patient communication, being engaged and expressive in the physician-patient conversation, and appearing friendly and sincere. There are persistent biases in the delivery of health care to female patients and further research into targeted communication skills programs may be warranted.
Notes1931-843x Rogers, Heather L Dumenci, Levent Epstein, Ronald M Siminoff, Laura A Journal Article United States J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2019 May;28(5):612-620. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2018.6961. Epub 2018 Nov 29.