Many patients with diabetes have multiple other chronic conditions. This study, which included surveys of 92 primary care providers and 1,169 of their diabetic patients, aims to improve understanding of whether patients and their primary care providers agree on the relative importance of these co-morbidities.
- For 72 percent of patient-provider pairs, providers ranked the patient’s most important concern in their list of three conditions.
- Both patients and providers ranked diabetes and hypertension most frequently; however, providers were more likely to rank hypertension as most important (38% versus 18%).
- Patients were more likely than providers to prioritize symptomatic conditions such as pain, depression and breathing problems.
This study is limited in that all participants were aware it was a study of diabetic patients, and patients and providers were filling out their surveys after the patients had an elevated blood pressure in triage. Thus, it is not surprising that both would rank diabetes and hypertension as most important. Concordance between providers and patients was much lower for patients with poor health status or competing, nonhealth related demands. Interventions that increase providers’ awareness about symptomatic concerns and competing demands may improve chronic disease management for these vulnerable patients.