Racial and ethnic disparities in patient-provider communication, quality-of-care ratings, and patient activation among long-term cancer survivors

J Clin Oncol. 2014 Dec 20;32(36):4087-94. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2014.55.5060. Epub 2014 Nov 17.


Purpose: We examined racial and ethnic disparities in patient-provider communication (PPC), perceived care quality, and patient activation among long-term cancer survivors.

Methods: In 2005 to 2006, survivors of breast, prostate, colorectal, ovarian, and endometrial cancers completed a mailed survey on cancer follow-up care. African American, Asian/Pacific Islander (Asian), Hispanic, and non-Hispanic white (white) survivors who had seen a physician for follow-up care in the past 2 years (n = 1,196) composed the analytic sample. We conducted linear and logistic regression analyses to identify racial and ethnic differences in PPC (overall communication and medical test communication), perceived care quality, and patient activation in clinical care (self-efficacy in medical decisions and perceived control). We further examined the potential contribution of PPC to racial and ethnic differences in perceived care quality and patient activation.

Results: Compared with white survivors (mean score, 85.16), Hispanic (mean score, 79.95) and Asian (mean score, 76.55) survivors reported poorer overall communication (P = .04 and P < .001, respectively), and Asian survivors (mean score, 79.97) reported poorer medical test communication (P = .001). Asian survivors were less likely to report high care quality (odds ratio, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.30 to 0.72) and reported lower self-efficacy in medical decisions (mean score, 74.71; P < .001) compared with white survivors (mean score, 84.22). No disparity was found in perceived control. PPC was positively associated with care quality (P < .001) and self-efficacy (P < .001). After adjusting for PPC and other covariates, when compared with whites, Asian disparities remained significant.

Conclusion: Asian survivors report poorer follow-up care communication and care quality. More research is needed to identify contributing factors beyond PPC, such as cultural influences and medical system factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asian People
  • Black or African American
  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Patient Participation*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Survivors
  • White People