Ethnicity and physician-older patient communication about alternative therapies.


Journal Article

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to describe ethnic differences in physician-patient communication about alternative therapies, using a data set comprised of audiotapes and transcripts of primary care medical visits. METHODS: The data set was collected during 1995 at the family practice and general medicine clinics at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, NM. Twenty-seven (27) resident physicians and 205 of their Hispanic and non-Hispanic white patients age 50 and over participated. RESULTS: Almost 18 percent of patients reported using one or more alternative therapies during the preceding month. Herbal medicine was the most widely used therapy. Eighty-three percent (83%) of patients who reported using an alternative therapy in the previous month did not tell their physicians. Physicians asked one or more questions about alternative therapies during only 3.4% of encounters. Only 2% of patients asked their physicians one or more questions about alternative therapies. There were no ethnic differences in physician-older patient communication about alternative therapies. DISCUSSION: Physician-patient communication could be improved to enhance physician understanding of the spectrum of interventions patients pursue to improve their health.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Sleath, B; Rubin, RH; Campbell, W; Gwyther, L; Clark, T

Published Date

  • August 2001

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 7 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 329 - 335

PubMed ID

  • 11558775

Pubmed Central ID

  • 11558775

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1075-5535

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1089/107555301750463206


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States