An unequal burden: Poor patient-provider communication and sickle cell disease

Carlton Haywood, Shawn Bediako, Sophie Lanzkron, Marie Diener-West, John Strouse, Jennifer Haythornthwaite, Gladys Onojobi, Mary Catherine Beach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess disparities in the quality of healthcare provider communication experienced by African-American adults with and without sickle cell disease (SCD) in the U.S. Methods: Poor provider communication was assessed by the Provider Communication subscale of the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Plans and Systems survey. The SCD sample was obtained from participants in a multicenter observational study of healthcare experiences. The national African-American sample data was obtained from published national estimates. Results: The SCD sample was more likely than the national sample to report poor communication in 3 out of 4 communication domains: listening (22.3% vs. 11.5%, p<. 0.0001); showing respect (26.1% vs. 9.5%, p<. 0.0001); and spending enough time (38.3% vs. 16.2%, p<. 0.0001). Differences were consistent in young, but not old, patients and showed some variation by self-reported health status and education. Conclusions: The communication difficulties experienced by persons with SCD do not appear reducible to their predominantly African-American race, but may result from more disease-specific factors. Practice implications: Healthcare providers should take particular care in recognizing and demonstrating recommended communication skills with SCD patients as these patients may be particularly vulnerable to, and cognizant of, poor quality interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-164
Number of pages6
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Healthcare disparities
  • Patient-provider communication
  • Sickle cell disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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