Patients with multiple conditions receive higher level of care in affluent areas

March 13, 2018, American Academy of Family Physicians
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Patients with multimorbidity—two or more long-term medical conditions—have complex health care needs, often requiring higher levels of care than other patients.

According to a new study, however, with multimorbidity in affluent areas receive longer doctor visits, greater perceived empathy, and more patient-centered care than comparable patients in socioeconomically deprived areas.

Researchers in Scotland analyzed 659 routine visits to general practitioners in deprived and affluent areas, as well as patient ratings of general practitioner empathy.

In affluent areas, multimorbid patients received longer consultations than other patients (13 minutes versus 9 minutes) while in deprived areas, consultation length was about the same for both groups (10 minutes).

Similarly, patients with multimorbidity in affluent areas found GPs to be more empathetic and, according to video analysis, more attentive to their disease and illness experience.

There were no such differences between similar groups in deprived areas. If primary care is to succeed in narrowing health inequalities, the authors state, action is needed to ensure that patients with multimorbidity in lower socioeconomic areas receive the same level of care and attention as patients in affluent .

Explore further: Patients' perceptions of physicians' empathy may affect health outcomes

More information: Stewart W. Mercer et al. Multimorbidity and Socioeconomic Deprivation in Primary Care Consultations, The Annals of Family Medicine (2018). DOI: 10.1370/afm.2202

Related Stories

Patients' perceptions of physicians' empathy may affect health outcomes

March 9, 2016
Patients in areas of high deprivation in Scotland report poorer outcomes from GP consultations, partly because they perceive their doctors as less empathetic than those who live in affluent areas.

Wealth linked to diabetes death risk in new study

May 27, 2011
University researchers have found that people with Type 2 diabetes from an affluent background had the same risk of dying as someone without the condition from a deprived area.

UK health system not designed to cope with rising numbers of people with multiple health problems

May 10, 2012
New research published Online First in The Lancet shows that having several medical conditions is not just a feature of old age. Most patients with two or more conditions are actually under 65. Health systems in the UK and ...

GP funding disadvantages patients in deprived regions

December 1, 2015
General Practice funding systems in Scotland are "part of the problem" of health inequality, and do not match clinical need in deprived areas where multi-morbidity is highest.

Chronic ill-health and the chances of surviving a heart attack

March 6, 2018
New research has identified the devastating impact of pre-existing health problems on recovery from a heart attack.

Poorest bowel cancer patients more likely to die within month of surgery

June 14, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Bowel cancer patients living in the most deprived areas are 24 per cent more likely to die within five years of treatment than their more affluent neighbours and this difference appears to be a result ...

Recommended for you

Whether sustained or sporadic, exercise offers same reductions in death risk

March 22, 2018
For decades, Americans have been inundated with a confusing barrage of messages about how best to counteract the health risks of sedentary lifestyles: walk 10,000 steps a day; do a seven-minute workout from a phone app; flip ...

Tai chi as good as or better than aerobic exercise for managing chronic pain

March 21, 2018
The ancient martial art of tai chi has similar or greater benefits than aerobic exercise for people with the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia, finds a trial published by The BMJ today.

Study: Poor health is a less common cause of bankruptcy than commonly thought, but it brings other economic woes

March 21, 2018
A team of researchers led by an MIT economist has found that medical expenses account for roughly 4 percent of bankruptcy filings among nonelderly adults in the U.S.

Medical expansion has improved health—with one exception

March 21, 2018
While Americans debate the rising cost of health care, a new study of 30 countries over 27 years found that medical expansion has improved overall health - with one major exception.

Study finds bad sleep habits start early in school-age children

March 21, 2018
Bad sleep habits in children begin earlier than many experts assume. That's the takeaway from a new study led by McGill University researchers. The findings suggest that official sleep guidelines for young school children ...

Forgetting details, getting the gist may prompt false memories in older adults

March 21, 2018
Older adults often complain about forgetting, but Penn State psychologists suggest that another problem may be misremembering.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.