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Ann Fam Med. 2005 May-Jun;3(3):229-34.

Are patients' ratings of their physicians related to health outcomes?

Author information

  • 1Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of California, Davis, Sacramento 95817, USA. pfranks@ucdavis.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Observational studies using patient reports suggest associations between physician interpersonal styles and patient outcomes. Possible confounding of these associations has not been carefully examined.

METHODS:

Approximately 4,700 patients of 96 physicians completed a survey instrument that included reported health status changes during the previous year, perceptions of their physician (satisfaction, trust, knowledge of patient, and autonomy support), and sociodemographic and clinical covariates. We examined the adjusted relationship between patient perceptions of their physicians and reported health status changes. Using multilevel analyses, we then explored differences among physicians in patient perceptions of their physicians and whether these differences were explained by the relationship between patient perceptions and reported health status changes.

RESULTS:

There were significant adjusted relationships between patient perceptions of their physician and reported health status changes: better perceptions were associated with a smaller risk of health status decline (adjusted odds ratio = 1.14; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05-1.24; P <.01). Multilevel analysis showed significant differences between physicians in patient perceptions of their physicians (rho = 0.10; 95% CI, 0.07-0.13; P <.01), but these physician differences were unrelated to reported health status decline (rho = 0; P >.99).

CONCLUSIONS:

Using methods similar to those of previous studies, we found a relationship between patient perceptions of their physicians and reported health status declines. Multilevel analysis, however, suggested that this relationship is not a physician effect; it may reflect unmeasured patient confounding. Multilevel analyses may help to examine the relationships between physician styles and outcomes.

PMID:
15928226
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1466873
Free PMC Article
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