Most Mexican patients prefer their rheumatologist to make treatment decisions for them

Research Activities, January 2010, No. 353

When patients in the United States are surveyed about the role they want to play in their health care, most claim they want to actively participate. A new study finds that patients south of the U.S. border prefer to take a more passive approach in their care. Researchers surveyed 200 patients who were being treated in Guadalajara, Mexico, for rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or other rheumatic diseases—all chronic conditions that require regular medical visits. The patients indicated a moderate level of trust in their doctors, giving them an average score of 7 on a 10-point scale.

When surveyed before their appointments, 61 percent of patients said they wanted their doctor to take the lead in making decisions about their care. Only 39 percent of patients said they wanted to take an active role with their provider in making treatment decisions. Nevertheless, only 45 percent of this group perceived that they had played that role after the visit.

The authors suggest that the Mexican patients with rheumatic conditions took traditional, passive roles because of cultural differences in approaching authority figures like physicians. The results contradict earlier studies that suggest that patients with chronic conditions often prefer to take active roles in their care. The study was funded in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS16093).

See "Doctor-patient interactions in Mexican patients with rheumatic disease," by Araceli Garcia-Gonzalez, M.D., D.Sc., Laura Gonzalez-Lopez, M.D., D.Sc., Jorge Ivan Gamez-Nava, M.D., D.Sc., and others in the April 2009 Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, 15(3), pp. 120-123.

Current as of January 2010
Internet Citation: Most Mexican patients prefer their rheumatologist to make treatment decisions for them: Research Activities, January 2010, No. 353. January 2010. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/jan10/0110RA12.html