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BMJ Open. 2018 Oct 18;8(10):e022623. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-022623.

Study protocol for investigating physician communication behaviours that link physician implicit racial bias and patient outcomes in Black patients with type 2 diabetes using an exploratory sequential mixed methods design.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA.
2
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
3
Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
4
Department of Family Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Patient-physician racial discordance is associated with Black patient reports of dissatisfaction and mistrust, which in turn are associated with poor adherence to treatment recommendations and underutilisation of healthcare. Research further has shown that patient dissatisfaction and mistrust are magnified particularly when physicians hold high levels of implicit racial bias. This suggests that physician implicit racial bias manifests in their communication behaviours during medical interactions. The overall goal of this research is to identify physician communication behaviours that link physician implicit racial bias and Black patient immediate (patient-reported satisfaction and trust) and long-term outcomes (eg, medication adherence, self-management and healthcare utilisation) as well as clinical indicators of diabetes control (eg, blood pressure, HbA1c and history of diabetes complication).

METHODS AND ANALYSIS:

Using an exploratory sequential mixed methods research design, we will collect data from approximately 30 family medicine physicians and 300 Black patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The data sources will include one physician survey, three patient surveys, medical interaction videos, video elicitation interviews and medical chart reviews. Physician implicit racial bias will be assessed with the physician survey, and patient outcomes will be assessed with the patient surveys and medical chart reviews. In video elicitation interviews, a subset of patients (approximately 20-40) will watch their own interactions while being monitored physiologically to identify evocative physician behaviours. Information from the interview will determine which physician communication behaviours will be coded from medical interactions videos. Coding will be done independently by two trained coders. A series of statistical analyses (zero-order correlations, partial correlations, regressions) will be conducted to identify physician behaviours that are associated significantly with both physician implicit racial bias and patient outcomes.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:

Ethics approval was obtained from the Virginia Commonwealth University IRB. Study results will be disseminated through publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at conferences. A novel Medical Interaction involving Black Patients Coding System from this project will be made publicly available.

KEYWORDS:

black/African American patients; patient-physician communication; physician implicit racial bias; primary care; public health; quality in health care

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