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Diabetes Patients, Doctors May Have Different Health Priorities

Study suggests concordance of priorities is lower in least healthy patients

FRIDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- While diabetes patients with comorbidities and their primary care providers are usually in concordance over what their health priorities are, concordance tends to be lower among the least healthy patients and those with non-health competing demands, according to a study published online Feb. 2 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Donna M. Zulman, M.D., of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Ann Arbor, Mich., and colleagues conducted a study of 92 primary care providers at nine VA facilities in the Midwest, and 1,169 of their patients with diabetes and hypertension. While the patients were asked to rank which of their health conditions they considered to be of greatest concern, providers were asked to rank their patients' comorbidities in terms of likely impact on health outcomes.

In all, 714 (72 percent) of the pairs had the patient's most pressing concern ranked within the top three by that patient's physician, with diabetes and hypertension the conditions most frequently cited by both doctors and patients, the researchers found. Pain, depression and breathing problems were more frequently cited by patients than by providers, the investigators note. Concordance was lower when the patients' health status was poor or they had non-health competing demands.

"Our findings reinforce the need for heightened provider recognition of patients' symptomatic conditions as well as their non-health competing demands," the authors write. "There is growing evidence that interventions can increase provider awareness about patient concerns and priorities."

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