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Focus on Quality: Communication in the Health Care Encounter. Trends in Health Care Quality Issue Brief #5

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Publication Date: February 2009

Publisher(s): Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Author(s): Ann Bagchi; Raquel af Ursin; Alicia Leonard

Topic: Health (Quality of health care)

Keywords: whites; physicians; Latinos; Asian Indians

Type: Brief

Coverage: United States


To explore the question of what constitutes quality in a health care encounter from a patient's perspective, Mathematica conducted focus groups with African Americans, Latinos, Asian Indians, and whites. Participants were asked to define quality in the context of a visit to a primary care physician, and to describe their ideal visit and the characteristics of an excellent physician. Although participants frequently mentioned factors related to the health care setting (for example, waiting times, appearance of the doctor's office, and efficiency of staff), their most common issues related to patient-provider communication.