"We'll get to you when we get to you": Exploring potential contributions of health care staff behaviors to patient perceptions of discrimination and satisfaction

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Objectives. We qualitatively assessed patients' perceptions of discrimination and patient satisfaction in the health care setting specific to interactions with nonphysician health care staff. Methods. We conducted 12 focus-group interviews with African American and European American participants, stratified by race and gender, from June to November 2008. We used a topic guide to facilitate discussion and identify factors contributing to perceived discrimination and analyzed transcripts for relevant themes using a codebook. Results. We enrolled 92 participants: 55 African Americans and 37 European Americans, all of whom reported perceived discrimination and lower patient satisfaction as a result of interactions with nonphysician health care staff. Perceived discrimination was associated with 2 main characteristics: insurance or socioeconomic status and race. Both verbal and nonverbal communication style on the part of nonphysician health care staff were related to individuals' perceptions of how they were treated. Conclusions. The behaviors of nonphysician health care staff in the clinical setting can potentially contribute to patients' perceptions of discrimination and lowered patient satisfaction. Future interventions to reduce health care discrimination should include a focus on staff cultural competence and customer service skills.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Tajeu GS; Cherrington AL; Andreae L; Prince C; Holt CL; Halanych JH
  • Start Page

  • 2076
  • End Page

  • 2082
  • Volume

  • 105
  • Issue

  • 10