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Barriers to patient-clinician collaboration in asthma management: the patient experience.

J Asthma. 2010 Mar;47(2):192-7. Newcomb PA, McGrath KW, Covington JK, Lazarus SC, Janson SL. 1University of Texas at Arlington, School of Nursing, Arlington, Texas, USA.

Objective. To describe what adult patients with asthma report about their experiences with their own self-management behavior and working with their clinicians to control asthma.

Methods. The study sample consisted of 104 patients with persistent asthma participating in a clinical trial on asthma monitoring. All subjects were seen by primary care clinicians of a large, academic medical center. This qualitative post hoc analysis examined the views of adults with asthma about their asthma-related health care. Patients attended monthly visits as part of their study participation, during which data were derived from semistructured interviews. All patients included in this analysis participated in the study for 1 year. At the end of study participation, patients were asked to complete an evaluation of their clinician's communication behavior. All study clinicians were also asked to complete a self-evaluation of their own communication behavior.

Results. Five major themes of barriers to successful self-management were identified, including personal constraints, social constraints, communication failures, medication issues, and health care system barriers to collaboration with their clinicians. Patients most frequently reported lack of communication surrounding issues relating to day-to-day management of asthma (31%) and home management of asthma (24%). Clinicians generally rated themselves well for consistency in showing nonverbal attentiveness (89%) and maintaining interactive conversations (93%). However, only 30% of clinicians reported consistency in helping patients make decisions about asthma management and only 33% of clinicians reported consistency in tailoring medication schedules to the patient's routines.

Conclusion. These findings emphasize the difficulties of establishing and maintaining a therapeutic partnership between patients and clinicians. The results underscore the need for system-wide interventions that promote the success of a therapeutic patient-clinician relationship in order to achieve long-term success in chronic disease management.

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