Disclosing specialty bias may facilitate more patient trust: 3 findings

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a study which found patients were more likely to view their providers as trustworthy if the physician disclosed their specialty bias. A specialty bias refers to a physician's preference of recommending surgery in their field of expertise, according to News-Medical.

In the study, researchers analyzed 219 conversation transcripts between surgeons and male patients in four VA U.S. hospitals.
Here are three findings:
1. The study found patients were more prone to follow their surgical treatment recommendation if their provider acknowledged their bias toward their specialty.
2. Patients whose providers disclosed their specialty bias were three times more likely to undergo surgery than those patients whose surgeons did not disclose a bias.
3. The researchers found those surgeons who discussed their specialty bias or spoke about a possible meeting with a radiologist oncologist for radiation treatment often gave stronger surgery recommendations.
"Bias disclosure can have a profound influence on adviser recommendations and the choices their advisees make," the researchers noted. "Professional advisers and policymakers should implement such disclosures with care."
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