Is the quality of the patient-provider relationship associated with better adherence and health outcomes for patients with HIV?

J Gen Intern Med. 2006 Jun;21(6):661-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2006.00399.x.

Abstract

Purpose: Patient-centeredness, originally defined as understanding each patient as a unique person, is widely considered the standard for high-quality interpersonal care. The purpose of our study was to examine the association between patient perception of being "known as a person" and receipt of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), adherence to HAART, and health outcomes among patients with HIV.

Study design: Cross-sectional analysis.

Subjects: One thousand seven hundred and forty-three patients with HIV.

Measurements: Patient reports that their HIV provider "knows me as a person" and 3 outcomes: receipt of HAART, adherence to HAART, and undetectable serum HIV RNA.

Results: Patients who reported that their provider knows them "as a person" were more likely to receive HAART (60% vs 47%, P<.001), be adherent to HAART (76% vs 67%, P=.007), and have undetectable serum HIV RNA (49% vs 39%, P<.001). Patients who reported their provider knows them "as a person" were also older (mean 38.0 vs 36.6 years, P<.001), reported higher quality-of-life (mean LASA score 71.1 vs 64.8, P<.001), had been followed in clinic longer (mean 64.4 vs 61.7 months, P=.008), missed fewer appointments (mean proportion missed appointments 0.124 vs 0.144, P<.001), reported more positive beliefs about HAART therapy (39% vs 28% strongly believed HIV medications could help them live longer, P<.008), reported less social stress (50% vs 62% did not eat regular meals, P<.001) and were less likely to use illicit drugs or alcohol (22% vs 33% used drugs, P<.001; 42% vs 53% used alcohol, P<.001). Controlling for patient age, sex, race/ethnicity, quality-of-life, length of time in clinic, missed appointments, health beliefs, social stress, and illicit drug and alcohol use, patients who reported their provider knows them "as a person" had higher odds of receiving HAART (odds ratio [OR] 1.41, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.19 to 1.65), adhering to HAART (OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.72), and having undetectable serum HIV RNA (1.20, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.41).

Conclusions: We found that a single item measuring the essence of patient-centeredness-the patients' perception of being "known as a person"-is significantly and independently associated with receiving HAART, adhering to HAART, and having undetectable serum HIV RNA. These results support the hypothesis that the quality of patient-physician relationship is directly related to the health of patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active
  • Continental Population Groups
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • HIV Infections / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Treatment Outcome