Online Program

Socio-economic status and patient-physician communication among the older Japanese: Japan gerontological evaluation study

Monday, November 4, 2013

Chiyoe Murata, PhD, MPH, Department of Social Science, National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, Obu, Japan
Kayo Suzuki, PhD, Center for Well-being and Society, Nihon Fukushi University, Nagoya, Japan
Tami Saito, PhD, Department of Social Science, NCGG, Obu, Japan
Hideyo Tsutsui, PhD, Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Teikyo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
Seungwon Jeong, PhD, Dept. of Social Science, National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, Obu, Japan
Takao Suzuki, MD, PhD, Graduate School of Gerontology, JF Oberlin University, Machida, Japan
Katsunori Kondo, MD, PhD, Department of Health Welfare, Nihon Fukushi University, Chita-gun, Aichi, Japan
Background: Poor patient-physician communication is recognized as contributing factor to health disparities through mechanisms such as poor understanding or adherence. Studies in western nations indicate that being old or in low socio-economic status are associated with poor patient-physician communication. This study aims at exploring such association among the old (65+) in Japan. Data: We used the A version of the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study (JAGES) data (N=22,743). This is the self-administered survey conducted in 2010 in 25 municipalities. Patient-physician communication was assessed with two questions; ″How would you rate how well your doctor listened to you?″and ″How would you rate how well the doctor explained things in a way you could understand?″ Since health literacy and physician trust are reportedly associated with patient-physician communication, we asked about these as well. Results: Being in lower socio-economic status was not associated with poor communication with doctors. Although those with higher socio-economic status had more interest in health information, they tended to report poor communication and lower trust in doctors. Older subjects and women were significantly more likely to report better communication and more trust in doctors. On the contrary, men were less likely to have trust in doctors and perceived that they did not explain things in a way they could understood. Discussion and conclusion:Among Japanese elderly, low socio-economic status was not associated with poor patient-physician communication. These findings suggest the importance of considering other aspects such as culture or medical system when investigating patient-physician communication.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss about the relationship between health literacy and patient-physician communication among the old. Discuss about the possible mechanisms leading to poor patient-physician communication.

Keyword(s): Health Literacy, Health Communications

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been working as a researcher in gerontology for more than 5 years. My research interest is social determinants of health including social support, communicy environment, and health care use.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.