The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not represent those of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Government.
Orthopedic communication about osteoarthritis treatment: Does patient race matter?†
Article first published online: 6 MAY 2011
Copyright © 2011 by the American College of Rheumatology
Arthritis Care & Research
Volume 63, Issue 5, pages 635–642, May 2011
How to Cite
Hausmann, L. R. M., Hanusa, B. H., Kresevic, D. M., Zickmund, S., Ling, B. S., Gordon, H. S., Kwoh, C. K., Mor, M. K., Hannon, M. J., Cohen, P. Z., Grant, R. and Ibrahim, S. A. (2011), Orthopedic communication about osteoarthritis treatment: Does patient race matter?. Arthritis Care Res, 63: 635–642. doi: 10.1002/acr.20429
- Issue published online: 6 MAY 2011
- Article first published online: 6 MAY 2011
- Accepted manuscript online: 10 JAN 2011 11:27AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 21 DEC 2010
- Manuscript Received: 5 AUG 2010
- Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Office of Research and Development, Health Services Research and Development Service. Grant Number: study IIR 04-137
- VA Health Services Research and Development Career Development Program. Grant Numbers: Awards RCD 06-287, ER 0280-1
- K24 Award from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Grant Number: 1K24AR055259-01
- VA Health Services Research Career Development Award
- Harold Amos Robert Wood Johnson Scholar Award
To understand racial disparities in the use of total joint replacement, we examined whether there were racial differences in patient-provider communication about treatment of chronic knee and hip osteoarthritis in a sample of African American and white patients referred to Veterans Affairs orthopedic clinics.
Audio recorded visits between patients and orthopedic surgeons were coded using the Roter Interaction Analysis System and the Informed Decision-Making model. Racial differences in communication outcomes were assessed using linear regression models adjusted for study design, patient characteristics, and clustering by provider.
The sample (n = 402) included 296 white and 106 African American patients. Most patients were men (95%) and ages 50–64 years (68%). Almost half (41%) reported an income <$20,000. African American patients were younger and reported lower incomes than white patients. Visits with African American patients contained less discussion of biomedical topics (β = −9.14; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] −16.73, −1.54) and more rapport-building statements (β = 7.84; 95% CI 1.85, 13.82) than visits with white patients. However, no racial differences were observed with regard to length of visit, overall amount of dialogue, discussion of psychosocial issues, patient activation/engagement statements, physician verbal dominance, display of positive affect by patients or providers, or discussion related to informed decision making.
In this sample, communication between orthopedic surgeons and patients regarding the management of chronic knee and hip osteoarthritis did not, for the most part, vary by patient race. These findings diminish the potential role of communication in Veterans Affairs orthopedic settings as an explanation for well-documented racial disparities in the use of total joint replacement.