Patient‑doctor relationship: The practice orientation of doctors in Kano
Background and Objectives: Attitude and orientation of doctors to the doctor‑patient relationship has a direct influence on delivery of high quality health‑ care. No study to the knowledge of these researchers has so far examined the practice orientation of doctors in Nigeria to this phenomenon. The aims of this study were to determine the orientation of Kano doctors to the practice of doctor‑patient relationship and physicians’ related‑factors.
Materials and Methods: Participants were doctors working in four major hospitals (i.e., two federal‑owned and two state‑owned) servicing Kano State and its environs. The Patient‑Practitioner Orientation Scale (PPOS) and a socio‑demographic questionnaire were completed by the 214 participants. The PPOS has 18 items and measures three parameters of a total score and two dimension of “sharing” and “caring”.
Results: The mean age of participants was 31.72 years (standard deviation = 0.87), with 22% being females, 40.7% have been practicing for ≥6 years and about two‑third working in federal‑owned health institution. The Cronbach’s alpha of total PPOS scores was 0.733 and that of two sub‑scale scores of “sharing” and “caring” were 0.659 and 0.546 respectively. Most of the doctors’ orientation (92.5%) was towards doctor‑centered (i.e., paternalistic) care, majority (75.2%) upheld the view of not sharing much information and control with patients, and showing little interest in psychosocial concerns of patients (i.e., ‘caring’=93.0%). Respondents’ characteristics that were significantly associated with high doctor ‘caring’ relationship orientation were being ≥30‑year‑old and practicing for ≥6 years. Working in State‑owned hospitals was also significantly associated with high doctor “sharing” orientation.
Conclusion: This paper demonstrated why patient‑centered medical interviewing should be given top priority in medical training in Nigeria, and particularly for federal health institutions saddled with production of new doctors and further training for practicing doctors.
Key words: Doctor‑patient relationship, Kano doctors, practice orientation, patient‑centered care