A new study has found that the socioeconomic status of an area could have an impact on patient expectations and outcomes along with physician behavior.
Researchers found that in areas of higher deprivation, physician behavior was less “patient-centered.” Patients in these areas also had more health issues to discuss, although they were less likely to participate in their medical decision-making. These patients also believed that their physician was less empathetic when compared to other patients in more affluent communities.
Additionally, in areas of both high and low deprivation, patient perceptions regarding physician empathy predicted health care outcomes.
Researchers believe that these findings fit with the “inverse care law,” which states that the availability of good health care varies inversely with the need for it within the population served.
These findings were published in The Annals of Family Medicine in the March/April 2016 issue.