Clinical guidelines have been established to increase the effectiveness of the health care system by standardizing care for chronic conditions. However, their focus on individual conditions and failure to account for patient preferences does not fully reflect the complexities of care for patients with multimorbidity and thus, may inadvertently promote less patient-centered care. The goal of this study was to assess the relationship between guideline-recommended care and patient-centered measures of care in a cohort of Veterans with multimorbidity.
1) To measure patient perceptions of their chronic illness care using validated survey items in a cohort of multimorbid Veterans; 2) To determine whether those who receive guideline-recommended care perceive their care as patient-centered.
We developed a survey to assess patient perceptions of their chronic illness care using previously validated items for satisfaction, trust, activation, decision-making preferences, health status, and health literacy. Using VA administrative data, we identified patients receiving care at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center from November-December 2010 with the following coexisting conditions: hypertension, ischemic heart disease, and diabetes. We mailed self-administered surveys to participants meeting study eligibility criteria. We performed a structured chart review to obtain diagnoses, laboratory values, and vital signs among participants completing the survey. We used regression models to examine the association between the domains of care assessed by the survey and the level of quality received by participants for blood pressure (<130/80 mm Hg), hemoglobin (Hb) A1c (<9% and <7%), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C <100 mg/dL) control.
A total of 195 individuals (50.4%) returned surveys. The study cohort was 71% White, 25% Black, and 4% Other, 99% male, and had a mean age of 68.1years. 87% of patients had HbA1c levels <9%, while only 42% had HbA1c levels <7%. 87% had controlled blood pressure and 89% had controlled LDL-C levels. Controlling for age and race, patient activation (p=0.048) and physical health status (p=0.042) were positively associated with glycemic control. Further, patients with higher levels of activation were more likely to view their care as patient-centered (p<0.001). There was no association between patient-centered care and blood pressure, LDL-C, or glycemic (HbA1c <9%) control. However, using the more stringent threshold of HbA1c <7%, patients achieving glycemic control were less likely than those who were uncontrolled to view their care as patient-centered, controlling for patient activation (p=0.036).
These findings suggest that increasing patient activation may be an important way to improve outcomes and promote more patient-centered care among diabetic patients with multimorbidity. While strict glycemic control has proven benefits for most diabetic patients, among patients with multimorbidity, achieving HbA1c levels of <7% was associated with less patient-centered care, likely reflecting the additional treatment burden necessary to meet this threshold. Accounting for patient-level factors, such as activation, and individualizing care to meet the needs of patients with multimorbidity, may promote more patient-centered chronic illness care.
External Links for this Project
Grant Number: I01HX000315-01
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Satisfaction (patient), Patient preferences, Patient-centered Care