Patients report high levels of trust in medical specialists

CHICAGO Most patients report having high levels of trust and confidence in their specialist physicians after an initial visit, according to an article in the May 10 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

According to information in the article, "Patients with greater trust in their physicians are more satisfied with their care, more likely to adhere to their physicians' recommendations, and less likely to change physicians." Little is known about how patients' characteristics and experiences are related to trust in their specialist physicians.

Nancy L. Keating, M.D., M.P.H., of Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues surveyed 417 patients who were seeing a medical specialist (cardiologist, neurologist, nephrologist, gastroenterologist or rheumatologist) for the first time in a hospital-based practice. The average age of the patients surveyed was 50 years, and 74 percent were white, 76 percent were women, and 56 percent were college graduates.

The researchers found that most patients reported having good experiences with their specialists, and 79 percent reported complete confidence and trust in their specialist when they were interviewed one to two weeks after their initial visit. However, the authors also found that black patients had lower levels of trust than white patients.

The researchers also found that "In analyses that adjusted for patients' characteristics and their reports of their experiences with the consultant, trust was higher for patients who reported that the specialist provided enough medical information; explained what to do if problems or symptoms continued, got worse, or came back; listened to what they had to say; and involved them in decisions as much as they wanted. Trust was also higher among patients who reported that they spent as much time as they wanted with the specialist."

(Arch Intern Med. 2004;164:1015-1020. Available post-embargo at '"/>

Contact: Melanie Franco
JAMA and Archives Journals

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