Health Services Research & Development

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VA HSR&D Study Finds Patients and Providers Don't Always Agree on Health Priorities

February 10, 2010

A recently published study about patient and provider care priorities conducted by investigators at the Ann Arbor VA HSR&D Center of Excellence showed that patients and their providers do not always agree when it comes to prioritizing health concerns.

HSR&D investigator Donna Zulman, MD, along with several of her colleagues at the Center for Clinical Management Research, recently published findings in the Journal of General Internal Medicine showing that among patients with diabetes and hypertension, there was frequently agreement between patient and provider on at least one or two of the three most important health problems affecting the patient; however, in almost one-third of the cases, the provider's top three concerns did not include the top priority of the patient—especially if the patient's priority was pain or depression. The study received attention in the February 9 issue of The New York Times.

In addition to her work at the Ann Arbor Center of Excellence, Dr. Zulman is an internist and a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar. Her research foci include chronic disease management, health and health care disparities, and approaches to improving care for older adults in the primary care setting.