Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A happy patient is well connected to a doctor

Date:
November 18, 2013
Source:
University of Iowa
Summary:
The happiest patients are those who have regular contact with their doctors. A study finds that patients who have established "continuity of care" with primary-care physician are most satisfied with their treatment. The study comes as the American health care system moves to a more team-based approach to care, known as patient-centered medical home.

A new trend in American health care is the patient-centered medical home. The approach revolves around a team of medical and health professionals who, working together, treat an individual, led by a primary-care physician who orchestrates the whole effort. The goal is the team knows everything about the patient, no matter how disparate the symptoms -- from the earache last night to the long history of high cholesterol -- and works together to treat the individual in a holistic way.

Patient-centered medical homes (PCMH) have gained popularity since the National Committee on Quality Assurance recognized them five years ago. There are more than 1,500 such practices recognized by the nonprofit health quality association.

Yet despite their growing popularity, questions remain about their effectiveness. In a new study, researchers at the University of Iowa evaluated a similar model being tested with military veterans, and conclude that maintaining a direct, regular channel of communication between the patient and the primary doctor is critical to success.

"This is a time of intense change in health care, and all of these aspects (with PCMHs) potentially contribute to more fragmentation," says David Katz, associate professor in internal medicine at the UI and the corresponding author on the study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. "That's why we can't lose sight of the doctor-patient relationship, and how we're communicating with our physicians."

Katz and his colleagues surveyed 4,393 veterans receiving care in medical facilities in the upper Midwest run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to evaluate their thoughts on the VA's Patient Aligned Care Team initiative, an approach to care much like the PCMH. The veterans needed to have at least three primary-care visits during the survey period, which lasted from 2009 to 2010.

In particular, the researchers sought to better understand whether continuity of care -- measured by the concentration of visits with a primary-care physician and the duration of care with that physician -- led to a patient feeling more satisfied with his or her relationship with the primary doctor.

The research team found that it did, mainly because continuity of care seems to yield better communication between the individual and the primary-care doctor and thus a happier patient overall.

"I think that's a very simple implication of this study," Katz says, "in the sense that it can improve the connectedness of the patient and improve the quality of the doctor-patient communication and the patient's satisfaction with their care."

The researchers found that the surveyed VA patients reported seeing their assigned care provider 80 percent of the time, higher than anticipated and comparable with rates in the private sector. Yet only half rated as "excellent" their involvement with a primary physician in making a treatment decision in the past year.

Katz noted that several factors could influence the rating, such as if a patient had an acute problem that needed immediate treatment, reducing the time available for an involved discussion. Nevertheless, "part of it could improve with better training of physicians how to engage patients in shared decision making and giving patients more instruction on how to approach a primary-care visit," says Katz, also an associate professor in the College of Public Health.

The study looked at the patient-doctor relationship with treatment decisions. Katz noted further studies should examine screening and diagnostic visits.

"What it all boils down to," Katz says, "is we have to make sure that during this time of primary-care redesign, that we pay attention to what is happening to the doctor-patient relationship and communication in particular."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Iowa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David A. Katz, Kim McCoy, Mary Vaughan Sarrazin. Does Improved Continuity of Primary Care Affect Clinician–Patient Communication in VA? Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s11606-013-2633-8

Cite This Page:

University of Iowa. "A happy patient is well connected to a doctor." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131118120035.htm>.
University of Iowa. (2013, November 18). A happy patient is well connected to a doctor. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131118120035.htm
University of Iowa. "A happy patient is well connected to a doctor." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131118120035.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins