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Int J Family Med. 2016;2016:8747891. Epub 2016 Oct 5.

Type of Multimorbidity and Patient-Doctor Communication and Trust among Elderly Medicare Beneficiaries.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Systems and Policy, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA.
Department of Biostatistics and Health Services Research, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
School of Continuing Education, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA.


Background. Effective communication and high trust with doctor are important to reduce the burden of multimorbidity in the rapidly aging population of the US. However, the association of multimorbidity with patient-doctor communication and trust is unknown. Objective. We examined the relationship between multimorbidity and patient-doctor communication and trust among the elderly. Method. We used the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (2012) to analyze the association between multimorbidity and patient-doctor communication and trust with multivariable logistic regressions that controlled for patient's sociodemographic characteristics, health status, and satisfaction with care. Results. Most elderly beneficiaries reported effective communication (87.5-97.5%) and high trust (95.4-99.1%) with their doctors. The elderly with chronic physical and mental conditions were less likely than those with only physical conditions to report effective communication with their doctor (Adjusted Odds Ratio [95% Confidence Interval] = 0.80 [0.68, 0.96]). Multimorbidity did not have a significant association with patient-doctor trust. Conclusions. Elderly beneficiaries had high trust in their doctors, which was not affected by the presence of multimorbidity. Elderly individuals who had a mental condition in addition to physical conditions were more likely to report ineffective communication. Programs to improve patient-doctor communication with patients having cooccurring chronic physical and mental health conditions may be needed.

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