Physicians anecdotally report inquiring about incarcerated patients’ crimes and their length of sentence, which has potential implications for the quality of care these patients receive. However, there is minimal research on how a physician’s awareness of their patient’s crimes/length of sentence impacts physician behaviours and attitudes. We performed regression modelling on a 27-question survey to analyse physician attitudes and behaviours towards incarcerated patients. We found that, although most physicians did not usually try to learn of their patients’ crimes, they often became aware of them. We observed associations between awareness of a patient’s crime and poor physician disposition towards their patients and between physicians’ poor dispositions and lower reported quality of care. These associations suggest that awareness of a patient’s crime may reduce quality of care by negatively impacting physicians’ dispositions towards their patients. Future quantitative and qualitative studies, for example, involving physician interviews and direct patient outcome assessments, are needed to confirm these findings and further uncover and address hurdles incarcerated patients face in seeking medical care.
- quality of health care
Data availability statement
Data are available upon request.
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Contributors All authors have significantly contributed to this project. KP and LBS performed the initial literature review and drafted the research proposal. LBS, KP and KPR identified the subject population, drafted the IRB-02 proposal and identified and recruited subjects. KPR and BJR performed statistical the statistical analyses. All authors were involved in interpreting statistical analyses and drafting the manuscript.
Funding This study was funded by the Department of Community Health & Family Medicine in the University of Florida College of Medicine. The authors also acknowledge the partial support for this project provided by a medical student scholarship from the Goodman Trust.
Disclaimer The manuscript has not been published in another journal, is not under consideration by any other journal, and the final manuscript has been seen and approved by all authors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.