Attention doctors: Want patients to follow your advice? Treat them with dignity, a Johns Hopkins study has found.
In a national survey of more than 5,000 Americans, those who said theywere treated with dignity during their last medical encounter were morelikely to report higher levels of satisfaction with their care, adhereto therapy and get preventive services.
Hopkins researchers, using data from the Commonwealth Fund 2001 HealthCare Quality Survey, interviewed 5,514 Americans who reported having amedical encounter within the previous two years and who were white,African American, Hispanic or Asian. Most respondents were female (65percent), had at least some college education (62 percent), had incomesof more than 200 percent of the poverty level (66 percent), and spokeEnglish as their primary language (93 percent).
Overall, 76 percent of respondents reported being treated with a greatdeal of respect and dignity, and 77 percent reported being involved indecisions to the extent that they wished.
Being treated with dignity was significantly associated with adherenceto treatment plans for racial and ethnic minorities, whereas beinginvolved in decisions was significantly associated with adherence forwhites.
These results are published in the July/August issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.
"Although involving patients in decisions is an important part ofrespecting their autonomy, it is equally important to respect patientsmore broadly by treating them with dignity," says Mary C. Beach, M.D.,M.P.H., lead author and an assistant professor of medicine.
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