Background: Establishing trust between a patient and his or her surgeon is of paramount importance. The aim of this study was to assess the relative importance of the 'attributes of trust' between surgeon and patient with colorectal cancer.
Methods: A discrete-choice questionnaire was conducted with 60 men and 43 women who had completed primary treatment for colorectal cancer in two teaching hospitals in Sydney, Australia.
Results: Forty-seven of the 103 patients based their choice of surgical management on a single attribute and the remainder were willing to trade between different attributes. In order of importance, patients based their choice of surgical management on specialty training (beta coefficient = 0.83), surgeon's communication (beta = 0.82), type of hospital (beta = 0.72) and who decides treatment (beta = 0.01). Patients who were vigilant in their decision-making style and those who did not have tertiary education were more likely to change their preferences in the repeat interview.
Conclusion: Clinicians may have a better chance of meeting a patient's expectations about the process of care if they assess the patient's desire for knowledge and give those who do not have tertiary education more time to assimilate information about their treatment.
Copyright (c) 2005 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.