Differences in physician attitudes towards patient-centredness: across four medical specialties

Int J Clin Pract. 2012 Jan;66(1):16-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2011.02831.x.


Aims: There is limited study on patient-centred attitudes with regards to the patient-physician relationship in physicians. The objective of this study was to examine and compare physician attitudes toward patient-centredness in four different medical settings.

Methods: The present study utilised a cross-sectional survey design and purposive sampling to recruit physicians from a single academic medical centre via face-to-face interviews. Patient-centred attitudes of physicians specialising in surgery, oncology, obstetrics and gynaecology and primary care (N = 78) were compared on the Patient-Practitioner Orientation Scale (PPOS) using an independent one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). The four medical specialties comprised the four levels, with role orientation (patient-centred orientation vs. doctor-centred orientation) as the dependent measure.

Results: A significant level of difference (p < 0.001) was found between the four specialisations: oncologists were found to have the highest level of patient-centeredness, followed by obstetricians & gynaecologists and primary care physicians, with surgeons being the least patient-centred among specialisations sampled.

Conclusion: These data are the first from the South-East Asian region to demonstrate differences in physician attitudes between medical specialties. Our findings prompt further investigation and confirmation as to whether physicians with particular attitudinal traits are attracted to any particular specialties of medicine, or if physician attitudes are acquired through professional experience and training. In addition, this study offers better insight into the attitudinal differences of physician between medical specialities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • General Practice*
  • Gynecology
  • Humans
  • Malaysia
  • Medical Oncology*
  • Obstetrics
  • Patient-Centered Care*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Specialties, Surgical*