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More educated patients have less faith in their doctors

world Updated: Sep 04, 2009 15:02 IST

Well-educated heart patients tend to have less faith in their cardiologists, says a Canadian study.

The study by York University here shows that patients who reported greater trust in their cardiologist tended to be less educated, with higher blood pressure, and also perceived greater control over their heart condition.

The study is sync with other studies that show well-educated patients also show less trust in their family doctor, a university statement said Thursday.

The study 'Degree and correlates of patient trust in their cardiologist' involved more than 1,000 heart patients.

"The relationship between hypertension and greater trust suggests that such perceptions may not be based on doctor competence,'' researcher Sheena Kayaniyil was quoted as saying.

"In addition, patients of higher socio-economic status generally have greater access to care and more opportunity to select their doctor, yet we did not see higher levels of trust in those patients,'' Kayaniyil said.

Senior study author Grace said: "It is surprising that women are as trusting of their cardiologists as men.

"Reports suggest that even doctors perceive cardiovascular disease as a man's disease, and there are delayed diagnoses and lower rates of interventional treatments when compared to men.''

The study said trust in one's doctor is directly related to patient satisfaction and improved health.

"Trust in one's health care provider is tremendously important,'' said Grace.

"We know that it can foster compassion and better quality of care, and can result in a higher level of treatment adherence.

"This is particularly crucial for cardiac patients, who often have multiple recommendations from their specialist on how to manage their condition and prevent further complications,'' the senior author added.

The study has been published in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.