According to a research letter published online in JAMA Dermatology, dermatologists spend less face-to-face time with Asian patients with psoriasis than patients of other races and ethnicities.
Researchers from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Kevin K. Wu, M.D., and April W. Armstrong, M.D., M.P.H conducted a cross-sectional study of data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from 2010 through 2016 and examined the association between patient race/ethnicity and time spent with the dermatologist for psoriasis treatment.
The researchers identified a weighted estimate of more than four million patient visits for psoriasis in the seven years of national data collected. The mean age of patients at dermatologist visits varied by race and ethnicity: 37.2 among Asian patients, 44.7 among Hispanic patients, 33.3 years among Black patients, and 54.8 years among White patients.
According to the researchers, more Asian patients (11.8%) reported complex topical regimens compared to Black patients (1.5%) and White patients (1.1%), indicating Asian patients generally suffer from a more severe form of the disease. However, despite the severity of their psoriasis, the researchers found that Asians receive less face time with their Dermatologists than patients of other races and ethnicities.
The researchers found that Asian patients with psoriasis received thirty-nine percent shorter visits than White patients. According to the findings, Asian patients spent 9.2 minutes at the dermatologists compared to 15.7 minutes in Hispanic patients, 20.7 minutes in Black patients, and 15.4 minutes in White patients.
“Ineffective physician-patient communication can mean poor treatment adherence, comprehension, satisfaction, and outcomes for the patient,” the researchers wrote. “It is unclear whether differences exist in the amount of time a dermatologist spends with a patient with psoriasis based on race or ethnicity.”
Wu and Armstrong noted that the reasons why Asian patients spend less time at the dermatologist remain unclear. However, some contributors mentioned include unconscious bias, cultural differences in communication, and residual confounding may be contributors.
“Further research is needed to understand the underlying factors responsible for the differences observed in this study,” the researchers wrote.“Dermatologists need to allow sufficient time to develop strong physician-patient communication regardless of patient background.”
One of the authors, Armstrong disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry; she also is a member of the editorial board for JAMA Dermatology.
Journal source: JAMA dermatology