Objective: To examine the population distribution of different types of relationships between people with chronic conditions and their doctors that influence decisions being made from a shared-decision making perspective.
Methods: A survey questionnaire based on recurring themes about the doctor/patient relationship identified from qualitative in-depth interviews with people with chronic conditions and doctors was administered to a national population sample (n= 999) of people with chronic conditions.
Results: Three factors explained the doctor/patient relationship. Factor 1 identified a positive partnership characteristic of involvement and shared decision-making; Factor 2 doctor-controlled relationship; Factor 3 relationship with negative dimensions. Cluster analysis identified four population groups. Cluster 1 doctor is in control (9.7% of the population); Cluster 2 ambivalent (27.6%); Cluster 3 positive long-term relationship (58.6%); Cluster 4 unhappy relationship (4.4%). The proportion of 18-34 year olds is significantly higher than expected in Cluster 4. The proportion of 65+ year olds is significantly higher than expected in Cluster 1, and significantly lower than expected in Cluster 4.
Conclusion: This study adds to shared decision-making literature in that it shows in a representative sample of people with chronic illnesses how their perceptions of their experiences of the doctor-patient relationship are distributed across the population.
Practice implications: Consideration needs to be given as to whether it is better to help doctors to alter their styles of interactions to suit the preferences of different patients or if it is feasible to match patients with doctors by style of decision-making and patient preference.
- Social space
- Patient-centred care
- Qualitative research
- Population surveys
- Doctor-patient relationship