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Patients Prefer Doctors With Whom They Share Values

Armen Hareyan's picture

In a study involving 214 patients, researchers found that the patient-physician relationship is strengthened when patients see themselves as similar to their physicians in personal beliefs, values and communication style.

Further analysis revealed that patients' perception of similarity to their physician is a multidimensional construct that includes both personal and ethnic components, some of which are more strongly related to outcomes than others.

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Researchers found that of the two dimensions, personal similarity appears more strongly related to patient trust, satisfaction and intent to follow the doctor's recommendations.

Regardless of issues of race and gender, a doctor who is skilled in providing information, showing respect, and supporting patient involvement can establish a connection with the patient that contributes to greater patient satisfaction, trust, and commitment to treatment.

The authors assert that these findings support the need for communication skills training as a foundational part of medical education at all levels.

Understanding Concordance in Patient-Physician Relationships: Personal and Ethnic Dimensions of Shared Identity
By Richard L. Street, Jr., Ph.D., et al