Minority Primary Care Physicians' Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices on Eye Health and Preferred Sources of Information

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Minority Primary Care Physicians’ Knowledge,
Attitudes, and Practices on Eye Health and
Preferred Sources of Information
Neyal Ammary-Risch, MPH, CHES; Harry T. Kwon, PhD, MPH, CHES; William Scarbrough, PhD;
Eve Higginbotham, MD; Shelly Heath-Watson, MA



                                                                           Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia (Dr Higginbotham, dean).
  Funding/Support: This paper was written with the support of the          Corresponding Author: William Scarbrough, PhD, ICF Macro, 11420 Rockville
  National Eye Institute under contract 263-01-D-0174 NICS 39.             Pike, Rockville, MD 20852 (william.h.scarbrough.iii@macrointernational.com).

  Background: Racial and ethnic disparities exist in the preva-
  lence of certain eye diseases. Minority primary care physi-              INTRODUCTION

                                                                           I
  cians are in a unique position to help prevent vision loss and                n the United States, minorities are at higher risk of
  blindness, especially among minority populations.                             developing eye diseases such as diabetic retinopa-
  Methods: To measure physicians’ knowledge and attitudes                       thy, glaucoma, and cataract. The growing prevalence
  regarding eye health and to better understand the facts                  of many eye diseases in minority populations is a major
  regarding patient information and counseling concerning                  public health problem that can lead to loss of productiv-
  eye health and disease, the National Eye Institute included              ity and reduced quality of life. Racial/ethnic disparities
  key eye health knowledge, attitude, and practice questions               exist in the prevalence of certain eye diseases.1-3 Data
  in the 2007 DocStyles Survey, a Web-based survey of primary              from the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study suggest that the
  care physicians about physician perceptions and attitudes                prevalence of diabetic retinopathy is high among Lati-
  concerning communication with patients.                                  nos, primarily those of Mexican ancestry. Research-
                                                                           ers found that Latinos appear to have a higher rate of
  Results: A total of 428 minority primary care physicians                 severe vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy than non-
  responded to the survey. Results indicate that minority pri-             Hispanic whites.4 Glaucoma disproportionately affects
  mary care physicians have favorable attitudes regard-                    specific racial and ethnic groups. African Americans
  ing eye health and the role they should play in talking with             have almost 3 times the prevalence of primary open-
  patients about eye health. Approximately 60% indicated                   angle glaucoma (POAG) than whites.5 The prevalence of
  that they could identify patients at higher risk for eye dis-            POAG is also high among Latinos of Mexican ancestry.6
  ease; however, only 52% of physicians indicated that they                Cataract causes about 50% of the cases of vision loss
  have adequate knowledge to advise their patients on vision               among whites, African Americans, and Latinos in the
  health. Regarding information sources, most minority phy-                United States. African-American men are more likely
  sicians prefer to obtain information about vision and eye                to be visually impaired from cataract than white men.7
  health from professional journals, medical Web sites, and                Cataract occurs in 20% of the Latino population.8
  continuing medical education.                                                Given the significant prevalence of eye disease, it is
  Conclusions: Findings from this research reveal both a need              important to identify strategies to reduce this burden of
  and an opportunity with regard to increasing physician con-              disease in the community. Primary care physicians are a
  fidence in identifying patients at higher risk for eye disease           critical source for health information and can play a sig-
  and advising their patients on eye health.                               nificant role in preventing vision loss and blindness. Fur-
                                                                           ther, minority physicians, who are more likely than other
  Keywords: ophthalmic n primary care n minority health n                  physicians to see minority patients, can be integral in
  health disparities                                                       improved health communication with racial/ethnic con-
  J Natl Med Assoc. 2009;101:1247-1253                                     cordant patients. Racial and ethnic concordance (between
                                                                           patient and physician) is an important factor in patient-
Author Affiliations: National Eye Health Education Program, National Eye   physician communication—the fundamental value being
Institute, National Inst
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: BACKGROUND: Racial and ethnic disparities exist in the prevalence of certain eye diseases. Minority primary care physicians are in a unique position to help prevent vision loss and blindness, especially among minority populations. METHODS: To measure physicians' knowledge and attitudes regarding eye health and to better understand the facts regarding patient information and counseling concerning eye health and disease, the National Eye Institute included key eye health knowledge, attitude, and practice questions in the 2007 DocStyles Survey, a Web-based survey of primary care physicians about physician perceptions and attitudes concerning communication with patients. RESULTS: A total of 428 minority primary care physicians responded to the survey. Results indicate that minority primary care physicians have favorable attitudes regarding eye health and the role they should play in talking with patients about eye health. Approximately 60% indicated that they could identify patients at higher risk for eye disease; however, only 52% of physicians indicated that they have adequate knowledge to advise their patients on vision health. Regarding information sources, most minority physicians prefer to obtain information about vision and eye health from professional journals, medical Web sites, and continuing medical education. CONCLUSIONS: Findings from this research reveal both a need and an opportunity with regard to increasing physician confidence in identifying patients at higher risk for eye disease and advising their patients on eye health.
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