Aims: To find out if communication in general practice differs between native patients and patients from other ethnic origin and to assess whether these differences affect the prescription of medication and the length of consultation. Design: Exploratory and descriptive investigation in seven general practices in Rotterdam-Charlois. There were 66 consultations with children (34 of non-native and 32 of Dutch origin) recorded on videotape. The communication (between doctor and the children's parents) and the duration of consultation were scored according to the Roter Interactional Analysis System. Whether drugs were prescribed was asked after the consultation. Results: The analysis showed that the general practitioner did more empathic utterances and had more often a conversation about lifestyle with non-native patients. He (or she) asked more questions about 'something else' in Dutch patients. Communication aspects had no influence on the duration of consultation. The consultations with non-Dutch patients lasted longer (thirteen versus ten minutes). The doctor prescribed more often medication to non-Dutch patients (50% versus 71%). This difference in prescription was partly caused by differences in presented morbidity, it increased after correction for the number of empathic utterances of the general practitioner. The relations we found were statistically not significant (p=0,06). Conclusion: There is a small difference in communication between consultations with non-Dutch parents and their general practitioner compared to Dutch parents. There might be a relation between these differences and the difference in prescription rate between both groups.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Huisarts en Wetenschap|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 1999|