255248 Communicating health information with older adults in medical practices

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 1:06 PM - 1:18 PM

Robert Wolosin, PhD , Research, Press Ganey Associates, South Bend, IN
Established doctor-patient relationships are encouraged under health reform because they make for better care and save money by reducing hospital admissions and emergency room visits. In medical practice settings, high quality health communication between care providers and older adults is associated with positive outcomes such as increased adherence to treatment recommendations. Because older adults visit their physicians relatively frequently, it is important to assess how older adults rate the communications they receive from their physician, and address any deficiencies.This session will present evidence on older adults' (age 65 and older) satisfaction with health communications in medical practices. Surveys resulting from over 400,000 encounters representing almost 700 medical practices, collected by a healthcare consulting firm on behalf of clients in 2011, were analyzed. A standard survey was mailed to patients shortly after their visit, completed, and returned. Return rate approximated 25%. The survey contained background items (e.g., patient age) and 24 items pertaining to the quality of visit events. Patients rated each item (e.g., “Amount of time the physician spent with you”) on a 5-point scale ranging from “Very Poor” to “Very Good.” Responses were converted to a 100-point scale. Seven items pertaining to communication with the doctor or other care provider were assembled into two subscales assessing instrumental and affective aspects of communication. Results indicate that older patients were more satisfied with both aspects of their communications than younger patients. Implications of these results will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Chronic disease management and prevention
Provision of health care to the public
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
At the end of this session, participants will be able to explain: (1) How satisfaction scores for medical practice patients are calculated; (2) How older and younger patients rated doctor visits on two communication satisfaction subscales; (3) That although older patients in general are relatively satisfied with communication with their doctors, there is room for improvement.

Keywords: Ambulatory Care, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a PhD Social Psychologist and have worked in the Research and Analytics Department of Press Ganey Associates, Inc. for over nine years. I manage survey research on a daily basis. I have published peer-reviewed papers and have presented at national and international conferences including the Medical Group Management Association, the National Association for Healthcare Quality, and the International Society for Quality in Health Care.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Press Ganey Associates, Inc. Survey research Employment (includes retainer)

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.