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Arch Fam Med. 1993 Mar;2(3):301-5.

The impact of physician attitudes on patient satisfaction with care for low back pain.

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Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Center for Health Studies, Seattle, Wash.


We wished to determine whether patient satisfaction was related to physicians' confidence in their abilities to effectively manage low back pain, and to examine their attitudes about patients with back pain. The confidence and attitudes of primary care providers were determined using self-administered questionnaires. Patient satisfaction with care was assessed during telephone interviews conducted 3 weeks after a clinic visit for low back pain. The study was conducted in a primary care clinic of a large health maintenance organization. Completed surveys were obtained from 21 primary care providers (18 physicians and three physician assistants) and 270 of their patients with low back pain. Three satisfaction scales specific to low back pain were used to measure patient satisfaction with regard to information received from provider, caring, and effectiveness of treatment. The results showed that the providers' attitudes about patients with low back pain were not associated with any of the patient satisfaction measures. However, patients of more confident providers were significantly more satisfied with the information they received than were patients of less confident providers. These differences could not be explained by years in practice, length of visit, patient demographics, or the severity and duration of low back pain. These findings suggest that providers who have more confidence in their abilities to effectively manage low back pain may in fact be more effective patient educators.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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