Online Program

Does the quality of patient-physician communication affect health care seeking behavior among the old?: Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Tami Saito, PhD, Department of Social Science, NCGG, Obu, Japan
Chiyoe Murata, PhD, MPH, Department of Social Science, National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, Obu, Japan
Seungwon Jeong, PhD, Dept. of Social Science, National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, Obu, Japan
Katsunori Kondo, PhD, MD, Center for Preventive Medical Sciences, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan
Background: Poor patient-physician communication is recognized as one contributing factor to health disparities through mechanisms such as poor understanding or adherence to treatment recommendation. Studies indicate that low health literacy often seen in people with low socio-economic status is related to poor communication with doctors. However, in our previous study, lower socio-economic status was not necessarily associated with poor communication with doctors. On the contrary, those with higher socio-economic status tended to report poor communication and less trust in doctors. This study aims at exploring the association between patient-physician communication and health care seeking behavior among the old (65+). Data: We used the A version of the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study (JAGES) data (N=27,414) conducted in 2013 in 30 municipalities. Patient-physician communication was assessed with three questions; ″How would you rate how well your doctor listened to you?″, ″How would you rate how well the doctor explained things in a way you could understand?″ and “Could you ask doctors questions to clarify your understanding?” We asked about preferred communication style (e.g. paternalistic, partnership, patient-centered) as well. Results: Poor patient-physician communication was strongly associated with delayed care. Especially, those who could not ask doctors questions were more likely to stop seeking care they needed during the past one year irrespective of their socio-economic status. Discussion and conclusion: Among older Japanese, the strongest predictor of “not seeking care when needed” was the lack of adequate communication with doctors. This implies that building a trusting patient-physician relationship contributes to a better treatment outcome.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the relationship between patient-physician communication and delayed care among the old. Discuss the possible mechanisms leading to delayed care or poor adherence.

Keyword(s): Communication, Health Literacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked as a researcher in gerontology for more than 10 years. In addition, I am involved with analysing and interpreting the data and wrote this abstract jointly with other authors.
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.