Race / Cross-Culture

Beach MC, Saha S, Korthuis PT, Sharp V, Cohn J, Wilson IB, Eggly S, Cooper LA, Roter D, Sankar A, Moore R. Patient-Provider Communication Differs for Black Compared to White HIV-Infected Patients. AIDS Behav. 2010 Jan 12. [Epub ahead of print]
(Race/Cross-Culture, HIV/AIDS, United States)
Poor patient-provider interactions may play a role in explaining racial disparities in the quality and outcomes of HIV care in the United States. We analyzed 354 patient-provider encounters coded with the Roter Interaction Analysis System across four HIV care sites in the United States to explore possible racial differences in patient-provider communication. Providers were more verbally dominant in conversations with black as compared to white patients. This was largely due to black patients' talking less than white patients. There was no association between race and other measures of communication. Black and white patients rated their providers' communication similarly. Efforts to more effectively engage patients in the medical dialogue may lead to improved patient-provider relationships, self-management, and outcomes among black people living with HIV/AIDS.

Beach MC, Saha S, Korthuis PT, Sharp V, Cohn J, Wilson I, Eggly S, Cooper LA, Roter D, Sankar A, Moore R. Differences in patient-provider communication for Hispanic compared to non-Hispanic white patients in HIV care. J Gen Intern Med. 2010 Jul;25(7):682-7. Epub 2010 Mar 18.
(Race/Cross-Culture, HIV/AIDS. United States)
BACKGROUND: Hispanic Americans with HIV/AIDS experience lower quality care and worse outcomes than non-Hispanic whites. While deficits in patient-provider communication may contribute to these disparities, no studies to date have used audio recordings to examine the communication patterns of Hispanic vs. non-Hispanic white patients with their health care providers. OBJECTIVE: To explore differences in patient-provider communication for English-speaking, HIV-infected Hispanic and non-Hispanic white patients. DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis. SETTING: Two HIV care sites in the United States (New York and Portland) participating in the Enhancing Communication and HIV Outcomes (ECHO) study. SUBJECTS: Nineteen HIV providers and 113 of their patients. MEASUREMENTS: Patient interviews, provider questionnaires, and audio-recorded, routine, patient-provider encounters coded with the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS). RESULTS: Providers were mostly non-Hispanic white (68%) and female (63%). Patients were Hispanic (51%), and non-Hispanic white (49%); 20% were female. Visits with Hispanic patients were less patient-centered (0.75 vs. 0.90, p = 0.009), with less psychosocial talk (80 vs. 118 statements, p < 0.001). This pattern was consistent among Hispanics who spoke English very well and those with less English proficiency. There was no association between patient race/ethnicity and visit length, patients' or providers' emotional tone, or the total number of patient or provider statements categorized as socioemotional, question-asking, information-giving, or patient activating. Hispanic patients gave higher ratings than whites (AOR 3.05 Hispanic vs. white highest rating of providers' interpersonal style, 95% CI 1.20-7.74). CONCLUSION: In this exploratory study, we found less psychosocial talk in patient-provider encounters with Hispanic compared to white patients. The fact that Hispanic patients rated their visits more positively than whites raises the possibility that these differences in patient-provider interactions may reflect differences in patient preferences and communication style rather than "deficits" in communication. If these findings are replicated in future studies, efforts should be undertaken to understand the reasons underlying them and their impact on the quality and equity of care.

Cené CW, Roter D, Carson KA, Miller ER 3rd, Cooper LA. The effect of patient race and blood pressure control on patient-physician communication. J Gen Intern Med. 2009 Sep;24(9):1057-64. Epub 2009 Jul 3.
(Primary Care, Racial Disparities, United States)
BACKGROUND: Racial disparities in hypertension control contribute to higher rates of cardiovascular mortality among blacks. Patient-physician communication quality is associated with better health outcomes, including blood pressure (BP) control. Both race/ethnicity and BP control may adversely affect communication. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether being black and having poor BP control interact to adversely affect patient-physician communication more than either condition alone, a situation referred to as "double jeopardy." DESIGN, SETTINGS, AND PATIENTS: Cross-sectional study of enrollment data from a randomized controlled trial of interventions to enhance patient adherence to therapy for hypertension. Participants included 226 hypertensive patients and 39 physicians from 15 primary care practices in Baltimore, MD. MEASUREMENTS: Communication behaviors and visit length from coding of audiotapes. RESULTS: After controlling for patient and physician characteristics, blacks with uncontrolled BP have shorter visits (B = -3.9 min, p < 0.01) with less biomedical (B = -24.0, p = 0.05), psychosocial (B = -19.4, p < 0.01), and rapport-building (B = -19.5, p = 0.01) statements than whites with controlled BP. Of all communication outcomes, blacks with uncontrolled BP are only in "double jeopardy" for a patient positive affect-coders give them lower ratings than all other patients. Blacks with controlled BP also experience shorter visits and less communication with physicians than whites with controlled BP. There are no significant communication differences between the visits of whites with uncontrolled versus controlled BP. CONCLUSIONS: This study reveals that patient race is associated with the quality of patient-physician communication to a greater extent than BP control. Interventions that improve patient-physician communication should be tested as a strategy to reduce racial disparities in hypertension care and outcomes.

Cooper LA, Ford DE, Ghods BK, Roter DL, Primm AB, Larson SM, Gill JM, Noronha GJ, Shaya EK, Wang NY. A cluster randomized trial of standard quality improvement versus patient-centered interventions to enhance depression care for African Americans in the primary care setting: study protocol NCT00243425. Implement Sci. 2010 Feb 23;5:
(Racial Disparities, Primary Care, Depression, United States)
BACKGROUND: Several studies document disparities in access to care and quality of care for depression for African Americans. Research suggests that patient attitudes and clinician communication behaviors may contribute to these disparities. Evidence links patient-centered care to improvements in mental health outcomes; therefore, quality improvement interventions that enhance this dimension of care are promising strategies to improve treatment and outcomes of depression among African Americans. This paper describes the design of the BRIDGE (Blacks Receiving Interventions for Depression and Gaining Empowerment) Study. The goal of the study is to compare the effectiveness of two interventions for African-American patients with depression--a standard quality improvement program and a patient-centered quality improvement program. The main hypothesis is that patients in the patient-centered group will have a greater reduction in their depression symptoms, higher rates of depression remission, and greater improvements in mental health functioning at six, twelve, and eighteen months than patients in the standard group. The study also examines patient ratings of care and receipt of guideline-concordant treatment for depression. METHODS/DESIGN: A total of 36 primary care clinicians and 132 of their African-American patients with major depressive disorder were recruited into a cluster randomized trial. The study uses intent-to-treat analyses to compare the effectiveness of standard quality improvement interventions (academic detailing about depression guidelines for clinicians and disease-oriented care management for their patients) and patient-centered quality improvement interventions (communication skills training to enhance participatory decision-making for clinicians and care management focused on explanatory models, socio-cultural barriers, and treatment preferences for their patients) for improving outcomes over 12 months of follow-up. DISCUSSION: The BRIDGE Study includes clinicians and African-American patients in under-resourced community-based practices who have not been well-represented in clinical trials to improve depression care. The patient-centered and culturally targeted approach to depression care is a relatively new one that has not been tested in most previous studies. The study will provide evidence about whether patient-centered accommodations improve quality of care and outcomes to a greater extent than standard quality improvement strategies for African Americans with depression.

Cooper LA, Ghods Dinoso BK, Ford DE, Roter DL, Primm AB, Larson SM, Gill JM, Noronha GJ, Shaya EK, Wang NY. Comparative Effectiveness of Standard versus Patient-Centered Collaborative Care Interventions for Depression among African Americans in Primary Care Settings: The Bridge Study. Health Serv Res. 2012 Jun 20. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2012.01435.x. [Epub ahead of print]
(Mental Health, Race/Cross-Culture, United States)
OBJECTIVE: To compare the effectiveness of standard and patient-centered, culturally tailored collaborative care (CC) interventions for African American patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) over 12 months of follow-up. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: Twenty-seven primary care clinicians and 132 African American patients with MDD in urban community-based practices in Maryland and Delaware. STUDY DESIGN: Cluster randomized trial with patient-level, intent-to-treat analyses. DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS: Patients completed screener and baseline, 6-, 12-, and 18-month interviews to assess depression severity, mental health functioning, health service utilization, and patient ratings of care. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Patients in both interventions showed statistically significant improvements over 12 months. Compared with standard, patient-centered CC patients had similar reductions in depression symptom levels (-2.41 points; 95 percent confidence interval (CI), -7.7, 2.9), improvement in mental health functioning scores (+3.0 points; 95 percent CI, -2.2, 8.3), and odds of rating their clinician as participatory (OR, 1.48, 95 percent CI, 0.53, 4.17). Treatment rates increased among standard (OR = 1.8, 95 percent CI 1.0, 3.2), but not patient-centered (OR = 1.0, 95 percent CI 0.6, 1.8) CC patients. However, patient-centered CC patients rated their care manager as more helpful at identifying their concerns (OR, 3.00; 95 percent CI, 1.23, 7.30) and helping them adhere to treatment (OR, 2.60; 95 percent CI, 1.11, 6.08). CONCLUSIONS: Patient-centered and standard CC approaches to depression care showed similar improvements in clinical outcomes for African Americans with depression; standard CC resulted in higher rates of treatment, and patient-centered CC resulted in better ratings of care.

Cooper LA, Roter DL, Bone LR, Larson SM, Miller ER 3rd, Barr MS, Carson KA, Levine DM. A randomized controlled trial of interventions to enhance patient-physician partnership, patient adherence and high blood pressure control among ethnic minorities and poor persons: study protocol NCT00123045. Implement Sci. 2009 Feb 19;4:7.
(Primary Care, Racial Disparities, United States)
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Disparities in health and healthcare are extensively documented across clinical conditions, settings, and dimensions of healthcare quality. In particular, studies show that ethnic minorities and persons with low socioeconomic status receive poorer quality of interpersonal or patient-centered care than whites and persons with higher socioeconomic status. Strong evidence links patient-centered care to improvements in patient adherence and health outcomes; therefore, interventions that enhance this dimension of care are promising strategies to improve adherence and overcome disparities in outcomes for ethnic minorities and poor persons. OBJECTIVE: This paper describes the design of the Patient-Physician Partnership (Triple P) Study. The goal of the study is to compare the relative effectiveness of the patient and physician intensive interventions, separately, and in combination with one another, with the effectiveness of minimal interventions. The main hypothesis is that patients in the intensive intervention groups will have better adherence to appointments, medication, and lifestyle recommendations at three and twelve months than patients in minimal intervention groups. The study also examines other process and outcome measures, including patient-physician communication behaviors, patient ratings of care, health service utilization, and blood pressure control. METHODS: A total of 50 primary care physicians and 279 of their ethnic minority or poor patients with hypertension were recruited into a randomized controlled trial with a two by two factorial design. The study used a patient-centered, culturally tailored, education and activation intervention for patients with active follow-up delivered by a community health worker in the clinic. It also included a computerized, self-study communication skills training program for physicians, delivered via an interactive CD-ROM, with tailored feedback to address their individual communication skills needs. CONCLUSION: The Triple P study will provide new knowledge about how to improve patient adherence, quality of care, and cardiovascular outcomes, as well as how to reduce disparities in care and outcomes of ethnic minority and poor persons with hypertension.

Cooper LA, Roter DL, Carson KA, Beach MC, Sabin JA, Greenwald AG, Inui TS. The associations of clinicians' implicit attitudes about race with medical visit communication and patient ratings of interpersonal care. Am J Public Health. 2012 May;102(5):979-87. Epub 2012 Mar 15.
(Race/Cross-Culture, United States)
OBJECTIVES: We examined the associations of clinicians' implicit attitudes about race with visit communication and patient ratings of care. METHODS: In a cross-sectional study of 40 primary care clinicians and 269 patients in urban community-based practices, we measured clinicians' implicit general race bias and race and compliance stereotyping with 2 implicit association tests and related them to audiotape measures of visit communication and patient ratings. RESULTS: Among Black patients, general race bias was associated with more clinician verbal dominance, lower patient positive affect, and poorer ratings of interpersonal care; race and compliance stereotyping was associated with longer visits, slower speech, less patient centeredness, and poorer ratings of interpersonal care. Among White patients, bias was associated with more verbal dominance and better ratings of interpersonal care; race and compliance stereotyping was associated with less verbal dominance, shorter visits, faster speech, more patient centeredness, higher clinician positive affect, and lower ratings of some aspects of interpersonal care. CONCLUSIONS: Clinician implicit race bias and race and compliance stereotyping are associated with markers of poor visit communication and poor ratings of care, particularly among Black patients.

Cooper LA, Roter DL, Johnson RL, Ford DE, Steinwachs DM, Powe NR. Patient-centered communication, ratings of care, and concordance of patient and physician race. Ann Intern Med. 2003 Dec 2;139(11):907-15.
(Primary Care, Race-Concordance, Patient Satisfaction, United States)
BACKGROUND: African-American patients who visit physicians of the same race rate their medical visits as more satisfying and participatory than do those who see physicians of other races. Little research has investigated the communication process in race-concordant and race-discordant medical visits. Objectives: To compare patient-physician communication in race-concordant and race-discordant visits and examine whether communication behaviors explain differences in patient ratings of satisfaction and participatory decision making. DESIGN: Cohort study with follow-up using previsit and postvisit surveys and audiotape analysis. SETTING: 16 urban primary care practices. PATIENTS: 252 adults (142 African-American patients and 110 white patients) receiving care from 31 physicians (of whom 18 were African-American and 13 were white). MEASUREMENTS: Audiotape measures of patient-centeredness, patient ratings of physicians' participatory decision-making styles, and overall satisfaction. RESULTS: Race-concordant visits were longer (2.15 minutes [95% CI, 0.60 to 3.71]) and had higher ratings of patient positive affect (0.55 point, [95% CI, 0.04 to 1.05]) compared with race-discordant visits. Patients in race-concordant visits were more satisfied and rated their physicians as more participatory (8.42 points [95% CI, 3.23 to 13.60]). Audiotape measures of patient-centered communication behaviors did not explain differences in participatory decision making or satisfaction between race-concordant and race-discordant visits. CONCLUSIONS: Race-concordant visits are longer and characterized by more patient positive affect. Previous studies link similar communication findings to continuity of care. The association between race concordance and higher patient ratings of care is independent of patient-centered communication, suggesting that other factors, such as patient and physician attitudes, may mediate the relationship. Until more evidence is available regarding the mechanisms of this relationship and the effectiveness of intercultural communication skills programs, increasing ethnic diversity among physicians may be the most direct strategy to improve health care experiences for members of ethnic minority groups.

Garroutte EM, Kunovich RM, Buchwald D, Goldberg J. Medical communication in older American Indians: variations by ethnic identity. J Applied Gerontology, 2006 Feb; 25(1):27S-43S.
(American Indian, Ethnicity, United States)
The authors analyzed audiotapes from 102 patients of American Indian race (>50 years) to explore how ethnic identity influences medical communication. A standardized interaction analysis system was used to classify patient utterances into categories: information-giving, questions, social talk, positive talk, negative talk. The authors identified patient subgroups distinguished by level of identification with American Indian and White identity and explored whether some subgroups devoted more communication to certain categories of talk. Patients highly affiliated with American Indian identity devoted a significantly greater percentage of communication to “positive talk” – including statements of optimism, reassurance, and agreement—than patients identifying at lower levels (p>.05). They devoted less communication to “negative talk,” including corrections, disagreements, and anxiety statements (p>.05). Effects persisted after adjustment for confounders, including health status. Patterns may encourage providers to underestimate distress and overestimate satisfaction and comprehension in patients highly affiliated with American Indian identity.

Ghods BK, Roter DL, Ford DE, Larson S, Arbelaez JJ, Cooper LA. Patient-physician communication in the primary care visits of African Americans and whites with depression. J Gen Intern Med. 2008 May;23(5):600-6. Epub 2008 Feb 9.
(Primary Care, Racial Disparities, Depression, United States)
BACKGROUND: Little research investigates the role of patient-physician communication in understanding racial disparities in depression treatment. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to compare patient-physician communication patterns for African-American and white patients who have high levels of depressive symptoms. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This is a cross-sectional study of primary care visits of 108 adult patients (46 white, 62 African American) who had depressive symptoms measured by the Medical Outcomes Study-Short Form (SF-12) Mental Component Summary Score and were receiving care from one of 54 physicians in urban community-based practices. MAIN OUTCOMES: Communication behaviors, obtained from coding of audiotapes, and physician perceptions of patients' physical and emotional health status and stress levels were measured by post-visit surveys. RESULTS: African-American patients had fewer years of education and reported poorer physical health than whites. There were no racial differences in the level of depressive symptoms. Depression communication occurred in only 34% of visits. The average number of depression-related statements was much lower in the visits of African-American than white patients (10.8 vs. 38.4 statements, p = .02). African-American patients also experienced visits with less rapport building (20.7 vs. 29.7 statements, p = .009). Physicians rated a higher percentage of African-American than white patients as being in poor or fair physical health (69% vs. 40%, p = .006), and even in visits where depression communication occurred, a lower percentage of African-American than white patients were considered by their physicians to have significant emotional distress (67% vs. 93%, p = .07). CONCLUSIONS: This study reveals racial disparities in communication among primary care patients with high levels of depressive symptoms. Physician communication skills training programs that emphasize recognition and rapport building may help reduce racial disparities in depression care.

Hausmann LR, Hanusa BH, Kresevic DM, Zickmund S, Ling BS, Gordon HS, Kwoh CK, Mor MK, Hannon MJ, Cohen PZ, Grant R, Ibrahim SA. Orthopedic communication about osteoarthritis treatment: Does patient race matter? Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2011 May;63(5):635-42
(Race/Cross-Culture, United States)
OBJECTIVE: To understand racial disparities in the use of total joint replacement, we examined whether there were racial differences in patient-provider communication about treatment of chronic knee and hip osteoarthritis in a sample of African American and white patients referred to Veterans Affairs orthopedic clinics. METHODS: Audio recorded visits between patients and orthopedic surgeons were coded using the Roter Interaction Analysis System and the Informed Decision-Making model. Racial differences in communication outcomes were assessed using linear regression models adjusted for study design, patient characteristics, and clustering by provider. RESULTS: The sample (n = 402) included 296 white and 106 African American patients. Most patients were men (95%) and ages 50-64 years (68%). Almost half (41%) reported an income < $20,000. African American patients were younger and reported lower incomes than white patients. Visits with African American patients contained less discussion of biomedical topics (ß = -9.14; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] -16.73, -1.54) and more rapport-building statements (ß = 7.84; 95% CI 1.85, 13.82) than visits with white patients. However, no racial differences were observed with regard to length of visit, overall amount of dialogue, discussion of psychosocial issues, patient activation/engagement statements, physician verbal dominance, display of positive affect by patients or providers, or discussion related to informed decision making. CONCLUSION: In this sample, communication between orthopedic surgeons and patients regarding the management of chronic knee and hip osteoarthritis did not, for the most part, vary by patient race. These findings diminish the potential role of communication in Veterans Affairs orthopedic settings as an explanation for well-documented racial disparities in the use of total joint replacement.

Johnson RL, Roter D, Powe NR, Cooper LA. Patient race/ethnicity and quality of patient-physician communication during medical visits. Am J Public Health. 2004 Dec;94(12):2084-90.
(Race/Cross-Culture, United States)
OBJECTIVES: We examined the association between patient race/ethnicity and patient-physician communication during medical visits. METHODS: We used audiotape and questionnaire data collected in 1998 and 2002 to determine whether the quality of medical-visit communication differs among African American versus White patients. We analyzed data from 458 African American and White patients who visited 61 physicians in the Baltimore, Md-Washington, DC-Northern Virginia metropolitan area. Outcome measures that assessed the communication process, patient-centeredness, and emotional tone (affect) of the medical visit were derived from audiotapes coded by independent raters. RESULTS: Physicians were 23% more verbally dominant and engaged in 33% less patient-centered communication with African American patients than with White patients. Furthermore, both African American patients and their physicians exhibited lower levels of positive affect than White patients and their physicians did. CONCLUSIONS: Patient-physician communication during medical visits differs among African American versus White patients. Interventions that increase physicians' patient-centeredness and awareness of affective cues with African Americans patients and that activate African American patients to participate in their health care are important strategies for addressing racial/ethnic disparities in health care.

Koerber A, Gajendra S, Fulford RL, BeGole E, Evans CA. An exploratory study of orthodontic resident communication by patient race and ethnicity. J Dent Educ. 2004 May;68(5):553-62.
(Race, Dentistry, United States)
Race has been shown to affect the quality of physician-patient relations. In view of this, dentistry must consider whether race also affects dentist-patient relations. The purpose of this study was to explore whether orthodontic residents showed more social connection and concern for European ancestry patients, were more negative to minority patients, and appropriately used interventions designed to overcome cultural differences. Communications in sixty-eight dentist-patient encounters were analyzed using the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS). The frequencies of each type of utterance were examined according to the patient's race/ethnicity. The race/ethnic groups were European (nineteen), African American (eleven), Latino (thirty-four), and Asian (four). In 90 percent of the sessions, the resident and the patient were of different ethnicity. Residents used social connection utterances more with European ancestry patients, but used personal utterances more with Latino patients. Residents did not use open-ended questions or probes for patient understanding more with minority patients. The communication patterns observed in this study were similar to those reported in the literature. This study has limitations, but additional research may confirm that residents communicate differently with patients by race and could use more appropriate methods of dealing with cross-cultural situations. More research on cross-cultural communication is needed.

Meeuwesen L, Harmsen JA, Bernsen RM, Bruijnzeels MA. Do Dutch doctors communicate differently with immigrant patients than with Dutch patients? Soc Sci Med. 2006 Nov;63(9):2407-17.
(Cross-Cultural, Netherlands)
The aim of this study was to gain deeper insight into relational aspects of the medical communication pattern in intercultural consultations at GP practices in the Netherlands. We ask whether there are differences in the verbal interaction of Dutch GPs with immigrant and Dutch patients. Data were drawn from 144 adult patient interviews and video observations of consultations between the patients and 31 Dutch GPs. The patient group consisted of 61 non-Western immigrants (Turkish, Moroccan, Surinamese, Antillean, Cape Verdian) and 83 Dutch participants. Affective and instrumental aspects of verbal communication were assessed using Roter's Interaction Analysis System (RIAS). Patients' cultural background was assessed by ethnicity, language proficiency, level of education, religiosity and cultural views (in terms of being more traditional or more modern). Consultations with the non-Western immigrant patients (especially those from Turkey and Morocco) were well over 2 min shorter, and the power distance between GPs and these patients was greater when compared to the Dutch patients. Major differences in verbal interaction were observed on the affective behavior dimensions, but not on the instrumental dimensions. Doctors invested more in trying to understand the immigrant patients, while in the case of Dutch patients they showed more involvement and empathy. Dutch patients seemed to be more assertive in the medical conversation. The differences are discussed in terms of patients' ethnic background, cultural views (e.g. practicing a religion) and linguistic barriers. It is concluded that attention to cultural diversity does matter, as this leads to different medical communication patterns. A two-way strategy is recommended for improving medical communication, with implications for both doctor and patient behavior.

Meeuwesen L, van den Brink-Muinen A, Hofstede G. Can dimensions of national culture predict cross-national differences in medical communication? Patient Educ Couns 2009 Apr;75(1):58-66.
(Cross-Cultural, Netherlands)
OBJECTIVE: This study investigated at a country level how cross-national differences in medical communication can be understood from the first four of Hofstede's cultural dimensions, i.e. power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism/collectivism and masculinity/femininity, together with national wealth. METHODS: A total of 307 general practitioners (GPs) and 5820 patients from Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland participated in the study. Medical communication was videotaped and assessed using Roter's interaction analysis system (RIAS). Additional context information of physicians (gender, job satisfaction, risk-taking and belief of psychological influence on diseases) and patients (gender, health condition, diagnosis and medical encounter expectations) was gathered by using questionnaires. RESULTS: Countries differ considerably form each other in terms of culture dimensions. The larger a nation's power distance, the less room there is for unexpected information exchange and the shorter the consultations are. Roles are clearly described and fixed. The higher the level of uncertainty avoidance, the less attention is given to rapport building, e.g. less eye contact. In 'masculine' countries there is less instrumental communication in the medical interaction, which was contrary to expectations. In wealthy countries, more attention is given to psychosocial communication. CONCLUSION: The four culture dimensions, together with countries' wealth, contribute importantly to the understanding of differences in European countries' styles of medical communication. Their predictive power reaches much further than explanations along the north/south or east/west division of Europe. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: The understanding of these cross-national differences is a precondition for the prevention of intercultural miscommunication. Improved understanding may occur at microlevel in the medical encounter, as well as on macrolevel in pursuing more effective cooperation and integration of European health care policies.

Neal RD, Ali N, Atkin K, Allgar VL, Ali S, Coleman T. Communication between South Asian patients and GP’s: comparative study using the Roter Interactional Analysis System. Br. J Gen Pract. 2006 Nov; 56 (532): 869-75.
(Cross-Cultural, United Kingdom)
BACKGROUND: The UK South Asian population has poorer health outcomes. Little is known about their process of care in general practice, or in particular the process of communication with GPs. AIM: To compare the ways in which white and South Asian patients communicate with white GPs. DESIGN OF STUDY: Observational study of video-recorded consultations using the Roter Interactional Analysis System (RIAS). SETTING: West Yorkshire, UK. METHOD: One hundred and eighty-three consultations with 11 GPs in West Yorkshire, UK were video-recorded and analysed. RESULTS: Main outcome measures were consultation length, verbal domination, 16 individual abridged RIAS categories, and three composite RIAS categories; with comparisons between white patients, South Asian patients fluent in English and South Asian patients nonfluent in English. South Asians fluent in English had the shortest consultations and South Asians non-fluent in English the longest consultations (one-way ANOVA F = 7.173, P = 0.001). There were no significant differences in verbal domination scores between the three groups. White patients had more affective (emotional) consultations than South Asian patients, and played a more active role in their consultations, as did their GPs. GPs spent less time giving information to South Asian patients who were not fluent in English and more time asking questions. GPs spent less time giving information to South Asian patients fluent in English compared with white patients. CONCLUSIONS: These findings were expected between patients fluent and non-fluent in English but do demonstrate their nature. The differences between white patients and South Asian patients fluent in English warrant further explanation. How much of this was due to systematic differences in behaviour by the GPs, or was in response to patients' differing needs and expectations is unknown. These differences may contribute to differences in health outcomes.

Schouten BC, Meeuwesen L, Tromp F, Harmsen HA. Cultural diversity in patient participation: the influence of patients' characteristics and doctors’ communicative behaviour. Patient Educ Couns. 2007 Jul;67(1-2):214-23. Epub 2007 May 4.
(Intercultural Communication, Netherlands)
OBJECTIVE: The primary goal of this study was to examine the extent to which patient participation during medical visits is influenced by patients' ethnic background, patients' culture-related characteristics (e.g. acculturation, locus of control, cultural views) and features of doctors' communicative behaviour. Furthermore, the mutual influence between patients' participatory behaviour and doctors' communicative behaviour was investigated. An additional goal was to identify the independent contribution of these variables to the degree of patient satisfaction and mutual understanding between GP and patient. METHODS: Communicative behaviour of patients (n=103) and GPs (n=29) was analysed with Roter's Interaction Analysis System, frequency of patient questions and patients' assertive utterances (e.g. making requests, suggesting alternative treatment options). Additional data were gathered using GP and patient questionnaires after the consultations. RESULTS: Results show that non-Western ethnic minority patients display less participatory behaviour during medical consultations than Dutch patients. GPs' affective verbal behaviour had most effect on degree of patient participation and patient satisfaction. Regression analyses indicate a significant mutual influence between patients' verbal behaviour and GPs' verbal behaviour. CONCLUSION: Overall, results of this study show some important differences between Dutch and non-Western ethnic minority patients in degree of patient participation. Furthermore, our results indicate that patient participation encompasses several aspects that are not necessarily interrelated. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: The necessity for continued education of GPs' communicative skills, particularly when dealing with non-Western ethnic minority patients, is reflected in the strong influence of GP's affective verbal behaviour on both patient participation and their satisfaction with the medical encounter.

Schouten BC, Meeuwesen L. Cultural differences in medical communication: a review of the literature. Patient Educ Couns. 2006 Dec;64(1-3):21-34. Epub 2006 Jan 20.
(Intercultural Communication, Netherlands)
OBJECTIVE: Culture and ethnicity have often been cited as barriers in establishing an effective and satisfying doctor-patient relationship. The aim of this paper is to gain more insight in intercultural medical communication difficulties by reviewing observational studies on intercultural doctor-patient communication. In addition, a research model for studying this topic in future research is proposed. METHODS: A literature review using online databases (Pubmed, Psychlit) was performed. RESULTS: Findings reveal major differences in doctor-patient communication as a consequence of patients' ethnic backgrounds. Doctors behave less affectively when interacting with ethnic minority patients compared to White patients. Ethnic minority patients themselves are also less verbally expressive; they seem to be less assertive and affective during the medical encounter than White patients. CONCLUSION: Most reviewed studies did not relate communication behaviour to possible antecedent culture-related variables, nor did they assess the effect of cultural variations in doctor-patient communication on outcomes, leaving us in the dark about reasons for and consequences of differences in intercultural medical communication. Five key predictors of culture-related communication problems are identified in the literature: (1) cultural differences in explanatory models of health and illness; (2) differences in cultural values; (3) cultural differences in patients' preferences for doctor-patient relationships; (4) racism/perceptual biases; (5) linguistic barriers. It is concluded that by incorporating these variables into a research model future research on this topic can be enhanced, both from a theoretical and a methodological perspective. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Using a cultural sensitive approach in medical communication is recommended.

Schouten BC, Meeuwesen L, Harmsen HA. The impact of an intervention in intercultural communication on doctor-patient interaction in The Netherlands. Patient Educ Couns. 2005 Sep;58(3):288-95.
(Intercultural Communication, Netherlands)
OBJECTIVE: Findings of scarcely available studies indicate that there are substantial gaps in intercultural doctor-patient communication. In order to improve intercultural communication in medical practice in The Netherlands, an educational intervention was developed. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of this intervention on doctor-patient communication. METHODS: Participants (general practitioners: n=38; patients: n=124) were assigned at random to an intervention or a control group. GPs in the intervention group received 2.5 days training on intercultural communication. Patients in the intervention group were exposed to a videotaped instruction in the waiting room, right before the consultation. Data were collected through videotapes of visits of ethnic minority patients to their GP and home interviews with the patients after their medical visit. Communication behaviour was assessed using the Roter interaction analysis system (RIAS). Interview length was assessed as well. RESULTS: The length of the medical encounter increased significantly after having received the intervention. Total number of GP utterances increased significantly too. When comparing relative frequencies on affective and instrumental verbal behavior of both patients and doctors, no significant changes could be detected. CONCLUSION: It is concluded that there seems to be some change in doctor-patient interaction, but RIAS may not be suitable to detect subtle changes in the medical communication process. It is recommended to use other analysis methods to assess cultural differences in medical communication. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Knowledge about possible antecedents of gaps in intercultural medical communication should be increased in order to be able to design effective interventions for intercultural doctor-patient communication.

Thornton RL, Powe NR, Roter D, Cooper LA. Patient-physician social concordance, medical visit communication and patients' perceptions of health care quality. Patient Educ Couns. 2011 Dec;85(3):e201-8. Epub 2011 Aug 12.
(Race/Cross-Culture, Patient Satisfaction, United States)
Social characteristics (e.g. race, gender, age, education) are associated with health care disparities. We introduce social concordance, a composite measure of shared social characteristics between patients and physicians. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether social concordance predicts differences in medical visit communication and patients' perceptions of care. METHODS: Regression analyses were used to determine the association of patient-provider social concordance with medical visit communication and patients' perceptions of care using data from two observational studies involving 64 primary care physicians and 489 of their patients from the Baltimore, MD/Washington, DC/Northern Virginia area. RESULTS: Lower patient-physician social concordance was associated with less positive patient perceptions of care and lower positive patient affect. Patient-physician dyads with low vs. high social concordance reported lower ratings of global satisfaction with office visits (OR=0.64 vs. OR=1.37, p=0.036) and were less likely to recommend their physician to a friend (OR=0.61 vs. OR=1.37, p=0.035). A graded-response was observed for social concordance with patient positive affect and patient perceptions of care. CONCLUSION: Patient-physician concordance across multiple social characteristics may have cumulative effects on patient-physician communication and perceptions of care. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Research should move beyond one-dimensional measures of patient-physician concordance to understand how multiple social characteristics influence health care quality.

van Wieringen JC, Harmsen JA, Bruijnzeels MA. Intercultural communication in general practice. Eur J Public Health 2002 Mar;12(1):63-8.
(Primary Care, Intercultural Communication, Netherlands)
BACKGROUND: Little is known about the causes of problems in communication between health care professionals and ethnic-minority patients. Not only language difficulties, but also cultural differences may result in these problems. This study explores the influence of communication and patient beliefs about health (care) and disease on understanding and compliance of native-born and ethnic-minority patients. METHODS: In this descriptive study seven general practices located in a multi-ethnic neighbourhood in Rotterdam participated. Eighty-seven parents who visited their GP with a child for a new health problem took part: more than 50% of them belonged to ethnic-minorities. The consultation between GP and patient was recorded on video and a few days after the consultation patients were interviewed at home. GPs filled out a short questionnaire immediately after the consultation. Patient beliefs and previous experiences with health care were measured by different questionnaires in the home interview. Communication was analysed using the Roter Interaction Analysis System based on the videos. Mutual understanding between GP and patient and therapy compliance was assessed by comparing GP's questionnaires with the home interview with the parents. RESULTS: In 33% of the consultations with ethnic-minority patients (versus 13% with native-born patients) mutual understanding was poor. Different aspects of communication had no influence on mutual understanding. Problems in the relationship with the GP, as experienced by patients, showed a significant relation with mutual understanding. Consultations without mutual understanding more often ended in non-compliance with the prescribed therapy. CONCLUSION: Ethnic-minority parents more often report problems in their relationship with the GP and they have different beliefs about health and health care from native-born parents. Good relationships between GP and patients are necessary for mutual understanding. Mutual understanding has a strong correlation with compliance. Mutual understanding and consequently compliance is more often poor in consultations with ethnic-minority parents than with native-born parents.

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Following are abstracts of RIAS studies through 2012, listed by subject area. Click on the subject name below to go directly to that section.

Adherence
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