Adults with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease who reported strong patient-provider communication had significantly better outcomes and medication adherence compared with those who had worse communication, according to a survey analysis.

They also had less healthcare resource utilization and lower out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures.

Lead researcher Victor M. Okunrintemi, MD, MPH, of Baptist Health South Florida, presented the results on April 3 in an abstract oral session at the Quality of Care and Outcomes Research scientific sessions in Arlington, Virginia.

“A patient’s beliefs about their illness, their perception of the health care system, the extent to which a physician fulfills the patient’s requests and other obstacles can make it a challenge for patients and providers to connect,” Okunrintemi said in a news release.

The researchers examined a sample of adults with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease who were at least 18 years old and were part of the 2010 to 2013 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. They were asked the following questions and told to respond with “never,” “sometimes,” “usually” or “always.”

* How often did providers show respect for what you had to say?

* How often did healthcare providers listen carefully to you?

* How often did healthcare providers explain things so you understood?

* How often did health providers spend enough time with you?

Adults who responded “never” or “sometimes” were more than two times more likely to report poor patient-reported outcomes compared with those who responded “always.” They also had $1,294 higher annual out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures.

Meanwhile, patients who communicated effectively with their providers were 52 percent more likely to report statin use and 26 percent more likely to report aspirin use. In addition, they were 41 percent less likely to visit the emergency room.

“One cannot say for sure how communication exactly influences health outcomes,” Okunrintemi said in a news release. “However, optimal communication between patients and their healthcare providers may yield better understanding of the medical condition, build trust and confidence, motivate patients and promote adherence to medication which could improve patients’ health status while reducing the need for unnecessary health resource utilization which can lower health care expenditures.”