Doctor-patient relationship: a resource to improve respiratory diseases management

Eur J Intern Med. 2012 Jul;23(5):442-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2012.04.004. Epub 2012 May 1.


Background: Many respiratory diseases are chronic conditions that are strongly linked with the patient-physician relationship, disease perception and therapy adherence. The aim of the present study was to evaluate patient's viewpoint about the different aspects involved in their respiratory diseases.

Methods: This is a prospective observational survey. 46 Italian medical centres were involved and equally distributed. The interviews were carried out and were performed by means of a questionnaire which consisted of 32 questions regarding lung disease, modality of access to medical facilities, therapy and level of medical assistance.

Results: 1116 patients were enrolled and the most important respiratory symptoms referred were: dyspnoea (69%), chronic phlegm (28%), cough (13%). During programmed visits 98.3% and 98.8% of interviewed patients knew were aware of asthma and COPD respectively, percentage that dropped, during emergency accesses, to 1.7% and 1.1% knew to have asthma and COPD respectively. Primarily were prescribed 1.67 spirometry/patient/year while only the 2% of patients referred to have performed a blood gas analysis. The 18% of patients spontaneously discontinued the therapy, considering it too complex. The average time that patients identified as being used by the doctor to perform the visit was of 22 minutes, with an high mean medical assistance satisfaction score.

Discussion: There has been little research examining what factors may influence patient acceptance and participation of chronic respiratory diseases. Our national survey demonstrated that a good patient-physician relationship represents one of the first points in the successful management of respiratory diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance / psychology
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / psychology*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / therapy
  • Young Adult