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Values Key to Shared Identity Between Doctors, Patients

Patient-centered communication by doctors also helps foster concordance

TUESDAY, May 13 (HealthDay News) -- Patients get better care and have better outcomes when they have a sense of shared identity with their physicians, particularly in the realm of personal values and beliefs, according to a report published in the May/June issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Richard L. Street, Jr., Ph.D., of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, and colleagues conducted a study of 214 patients and 29 primary care physicians recruited from 10 outpatient clinics, both public and private.

There were two types of similarity, based on personal values and ethnicity, the researchers report. Patients who were the same race as their physicians reported more personal and ethnic similarity than those who were not in racially concordant interactions. Personal similarity was associated with the patient's age, education and the extent to which physicians used patient-centered communication, not by race or gender concordance with their physicians. Intention to adhere to treatment was higher when patients perceived similarity with their physicians and when they were addressed in patient-centered terms, the report indicates.

"Future research should strive to better understand how similarities and differences in values, beliefs and behaviors affect the quality of physician-patient relationships. Such work will inform the development of interventions that foster a sense of connection between patients and physicians, which in turn may improve quality of care for all patients and reduce ethnic disparities in health care," the authors write.

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