Hypertensive patients' perceptions of their physicians' knowledge about them: a cross-sectional study in Japan
1 Kita-adachi Seikyo Clinic, Tokyo Hokuto Health Cooperative, 3-1-5, Iriya, Adachi, Tokyo, 121-0836 Japan
2 Department of Community Medicine, Chiba Medical Center, Teikyo University School of Medicine, 3426-3, Anesaki, Ichihara, Chiba, 299-0111 Japan
3 Matsumura Clinic, 3-4-16, Kaminoge, Setagaya, Tokyo, 158-0093 Japan
BMC Family Practice 2010, 11:56 doi:10.1186/1471-2296-11-56Published: 2 August 2010
In order to evaluate the difference in quality of primary care provided by physicians between the types of medical institutions in Japan, we examined whether the physicians' comprehensive knowledge of their patients is perceived differently by the patients seen at clinics and hospitals.
Patients with prescriptions for hypertensive drugs were approached sequentially at 13 pharmacies, and were administered a questionnaire on their perception of their physician's knowledge about them. Data were obtained for 687 patients (362 from clinics and 325 from hospitals). A physician's knowledge of his or her patients was assessed according to six aspects: their medical history, their current medications, history of allergy, what worries patients most about their health, patients' values and beliefs on their health, and patients' roles and responsibilities at work, home, or school. Responses were scored from 1 through 6 (1: knows very well; 6: doesn't know at all).
Patients treated in clinics were seen more frequently, for a longer period, and had fewer complications than the patients who were treated in hospitals. Among the six aspects of physicians' knowledge assessed, 79.3% of the patients reported that their physicians knew their complete list of medications "very well or well," while 28.3% reported the same about their roles and responsibilities at work, home, or school. Physicians in clinics were considered to know their patients' worries about their health (p = 0.004) and the roles and responsibilities of the patients at work, home, or school (p = 0.028) well. Multiple regression analysis showed that the type of medical institutions remained as a significant variable only for the aspect of patients' worries about their health. The factor that consistently affected the patients' perception of physicians' knowledge about them was the patients' age.
Hypertensive patients' perceptions of their physicians' knowledge about them did not differ significantly between clinics and hospitals in Japan for most of the aspects. In order to differentiate the roles of physicians in hospitals and clinics better and ensure the quality of primary care, the establishment of a standardized educational system to train primary care physicians better is recommended.