By Tara Templin
Public-private partnerships have become a common approach to health care problems worldwide. Many public-private partnerships were created during the late 1990s, but most were focused on specific diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
As Vietnam opens its economy to privatization, its system of healthcare will face a series of crucial tests. Vietnam's system of private healthcare -- once comprised only of individual physicians holding clinic hours in their homes -- has come to also include larger customer-oriented clinics based on an American business model. As the two models compete in the expanding private market, it becomes increasingly important to understand patients' perceptions of the alternative models of care.
Recent research has identified genetic traits that can be used in a laboratory setting to distinguish among global population groups. In some genetic analyses, the population groups identified resemble groups that are historically categorized as "races." On the basis of these associations, some researchers have argued that a patient's race can be used to predict underlying genetic traits and from these traits, the expected outcomes of treatment.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:
Full access to medical care includes cultural and linguistic access as well as financial access. We sought to identify cultural and linguistic characteristics of low-income, ethnic minority patients' recent encounters with health care organizations that impede, and those that increase, health care access.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether an established patient satisfaction scale commonly used in the primary care setting is sufficiently sensitive to identify racial/ethnic differences in satisfaction that may exist; to compare a composite indicator of overall patient satisfaction with a 4-item satisfaction scale that measures only the quality of the direct physician-patient interaction.
DESIGN: Real-time survey of patients during a primary care office visit.
SETTING: Private medical offices in a generally affluent area of northern California.
When teaching my students about what goes into a good doctor-patient interaction, I tell them about the studies that show how quickly doctors interrupt their patients. Male physicians especially, I tell them, are notorious for stopping the patient mid-sentence to redirect the discussion. In one study that I came across, female primary care physicians waited an average of 3 minutes before interrupting the patient to redirect the discussion toward issues more relevant to diagnosis. Male physicians waited an average of 47 seconds.