When the family doctor is a woman, patients expect her to let them get involved in the management of their health problem, especially when it is a family health problem or a cold. However, patients have even greater expectations of their family doctor “listening to them, keeping them informed and considering their opinions than in participating in decision making”.
The goal of this study at the University of Granada was to analyse if patients expect their family doctors to consider their opinion in decision making within the context of different health problems. Similarly, researchers assessed the influence of the gender factor of both patient and doctor on such expectations.
For the purpose of this study, researchers took a sample of 360 patients aged 16-47 years, assisted at the Health Center Gran Capitán in Granada. 51 percent were women and 49 percent were men.
Patient expectations towards their participation in decision making were found to vary depending on the disorder to be treated: thus, when patients suffer chest pain, 32 percent want to participate in the selection of the treatment and, when there is a serious family health problem the percentage raises to 49 percent.
Women have not got so many expectations when they suffer from depression or when it is a family health problem, and patients that are assisted by a woman physician have greater expectations of participating in problem management when the case is a family health problems or flu.
The participants were given a questionnaire that asked if they expected their family doctor “to listen to them, keep them informed and consider their opinions”. Then, they were presented with five situations: sharp chest pain, a cold with fever, abnormal discharge, depression and sadness, and a serious family health problem. They were asked to express their expectations of their involvement in decision making when consulting for the disorders detailed above.
The conclusions drawn of this study were that most patients “want to be listened, informed and considered by their family doctor” and, in a lesser degree “they want to make their own decisions, especially when consulting for biomedical problems”.
MEDICA.de; Source: University of Granada