Participatory patient–physician communication and morbidity in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus

Authors


Abstract

Objective

To examine associations between active patient–physician communication and measures of morbidity in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Methods

Audiotapes of routine visits between 79 women with SLE and their rheumatologists were coded for active patient participation and the degree of patient-centered communication of the physician, using a validated coding scheme. Measures of SLE activity, functional disability, and permanent organ damage were recorded at the same visit. Permanent organ damage was reassessed in 68 patients after a median of 4.7 years.

Results

Patients who participated more actively in their visits had less permanent organ damage, as measured by the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology Damage Index, and tended to accrue less organ damage over time. There were no associations between either active patient participation or physicians' patient-centered communication scores and measures of SLE activity or functional disability.

Conclusions

Patients with SLE who participated more actively in their visits had less permanent organ damage, suggesting that involving patients more in their care may decrease morbidity.

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