Academic Literature

Youth Preferences for Healthcare Providers and Healthcare Interactions: A Qualitative Study


Youth Preferences for Healthcare Providers and Healthcare Interactions: A Qualitative Study

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Patient-physician relationships in healthcare can influence healthcare provision, patient engagement, and health outcomes. Little is known about youth preferences on types and characteristics of their healthcare providers. The aim of this study was to assess youth perspectives on preferences for and interactions with their healthcare providers.

We posed 5 open-ended questions to 1,163 MyVoice participants, a nationwide text message cohort of United States youth aged 14–24, on April 10, 2020, related to youth preferences for healthcare providers. Content analysis was used to develop a codebook. Responses were independently coded by two reviewers with discrepancies discussed to reach consensus. Descriptive statistics were calculated for demographics and frequency of codes.

944 (81%) participants responded to at least one question. Respondents had a mean age of 18.9 years (SD: 2.8) and were a majority female (53.6%) and White (56.3%). Youth reported “kindness” or other personality traits (31%) and education (30%) as important in choosing their doctor. Patient-physician concordance was not important to many youths (44%) and among those who reported concordance as important (55%), having the same gender was the most noted (68%). Youth suggested respect, open conversation, and addressing issues directly to help alleviate uncomfortable situations, though some would simply switch providers.

Personality and empathy are important provider characteristics valued by youth. Female respondents preferred gender concordant providers, particularly for sexual health-related issues, and non-white respondents were more likely to prefer racial concordance. Strengthening professional and interpersonal skills among youth-serving providers may improve healthcare engagement and satisfaction among youth.

Waselewski, M., Amaro, X., Huerto, R., Berger, J., Spinelli da Silva, M., Siroky, K., Torres, A., & Chang, T. (2024). Youth preferences for healthcare providers and health care interactions: A qualitative study. BMC Primary Care, 25(63), 1-9.

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