Patient-physician race concordance and its relationship to perceived health outcomes

Disha Kumar, David G Schlundt, Kenneth A Wallston
Ethnicity & Disease 2009, 19 (3): 345-51

OBJECTIVES: Race concordance occurs when the race of a patient matches the race of his/ her physician and discordance occurs when races do not match. Previous research has suggested an association between race concordance and measures of patient satisfaction and health outcome. In this study, we examined the relationship between race concordance and perceived quality of care, self-reported general health, and the SF-12 measures of physical and mental health in a community-based sample of 2001 adults.

DESIGN: Telephone interviews were conducted with randomly selected households sampled from commercial lists of phone numbers.

ANALYSIS: The association of concordance with the outcomes was analyzed separately for African American (n = 1,125) and White (n = 876) respondents using bivariate analysis and multiple linear regression.

RESULTS: After controlling for age, sex, income, education, insurance status, and type of insurance, we found that race concordance was only associated with general health for White respondents (P < .006). Whites with insurance were more likely to be concordant than Whites without insurance and African Americans without insurance were more likely to be concordant than African Americans with insurance.

CONCLUSIONS: Settings that employ a larger number of African American physicians in Nashville, Tennessee are places that people without insurance are more likely to seek health care. For health satisfaction and perceived health status, socioeconomic status and access to quality health care are likely more important than whether one's physician is of a similar or dissimilar race.

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