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Trust, Communication Key to Optimal Heart Disease Care

TUESDAY, April 4, 2017 -- Patients with heart disease may fare better when they feel they can trust and talk to their doctor, according to two studies presented at the American Heart Association's Quality of Care and Outcomes Research 2017 Scientific Sessions, held from April 2 to 3 in Arlington, Va.

In one study, Victor Okunrintemi, M.D., M.P.H., of Baptist Health South Florida in Miami, and colleagues found that heart patients who thought their doctors were good communicators were 52 percent more likely to be taking a statin, and 26 percent more likely to be taking aspirin. They were also 41 percent less likely to go to the emergency department, and spent less on health care -- $1,243 less per year, on average. The results were based on interviews with 6,810 patients with atherosclerosis.

The second study included 201 patients with hypertension. Half of the study participants were Hispanic. This study was led by Lilia Meltzer, Ph.D., a nurse practitioner from the University of California, Los Angeles. The researchers found that those patients who generally trusted the medical profession took their medications 93 percent of the time -- versus 82 percent among patients who were less trusting.

"Studies like this imply that we can improve our patients' outcomes if we can be better communicators," Okunrintemi told HealthDay.

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Posted: April 2017