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Healthcare provider relational quality is associated with better self-management and less treatment burden in people with multiple chronic conditions

Authors Eton DT, Ridgeway JL, Linzer M, Boehm DH, Rogers EA, Yost KJ, Finney Rutten LJ, St Sauver JL, Poplau S, Anderson RT

Received 10 July 2017

Accepted for publication 22 August 2017

Published 26 September 2017 Volume 2017:11 Pages 1635—1646


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

David T Eton,1,2 Jennifer L Ridgeway,1,2 Mark Linzer,3 Deborah H Boehm,4 Elizabeth A Rogers,5 Kathleen J Yost,1,2 Lila J Finney Rutten,1,2 Jennifer L St Sauver,1,2 Sara Poplau,4 Roger T Anderson6

1Department of Health Sciences Research, 2Robert D and Patricia E Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, 3Division of General Internal Medicine, Hennepin County Medical Center, 4Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation, 5Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, 6Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA, USA

Purpose: Having multiple chronic conditions (MCCs) can lead to appreciable treatment and self-management burden. Healthcare provider relational quality (HPRQ) – the communicative and interpersonal skill of the provider – may mitigate treatment burden and promote self-management. The objectives of this study were to 1) identify the associations between HPRQ, treatment burden, and psychosocial outcomes in adults with MCCs, and 2) determine if certain indicators of HPRQ are more strongly associated than others with these outcomes.
Patients and methods: This is a cross-sectional survey study of 332 people with MCCs. Patients completed a 7-item measure of HPRQ and measures of treatment and self-management burden, chronic condition distress, self-efficacy, provider satisfaction, medication adherence, and physical and mental health. Associations between HPRQ, treatment burden, and psychosocial outcomes were determined using correlational analyses and independent samples t-tests, which were repeated in item-level analyses to explore which indicators of HPRQ were most strongly associated with the outcomes.
Results: Most respondents (69%) were diagnosed with ≥3 chronic conditions. Better HPRQ was found to be associated with less treatment and self-management burden and better psychosocial outcomes (P<0.001), even after controlling for physical and mental health. Those reporting 100% adherence to prescribed medications had higher HPRQ scores than those reporting less than perfect adherence (P<0.001). HPRQ items showing the strongest associations with outcomes were “my healthcare provider spends enough time with me”, “my healthcare provider listens carefully to me”, and “I have trust in my healthcare provider”.
Conclusion: Good communication and interpersonal skills of healthcare providers may lessen feelings of treatment burden and empower patients to feel confident in their self-management. Patient trust in the provider is an important element of HPRQ. Educating healthcare providers about the importance of interpersonal and relational skills could lead to more patient-centered care.

Keywords: patient–provider relationship, multi-morbidity, adherence, patient-centered care, trust

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