By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

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ARLINGTON, Virginia Patients who communicate effectively with their healthcare providers are more likely to comply with their treatment for hardened arteries, according to a new study.

Those with good communication with their providers were 52 percent more likely to report using prescribed cholesterol-lowering statin drugs and 26 percent more likely to report taking aspirin, researchers said Monday at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions 2017. They were also 41 percent less likely to go to the emergency room.

In comparison, those who reported poor communication with their healthcare providers were twice as likely to report poorer outcomes and spent $1,243 more in healthcare costs.

In interviews with 6,810 adults with atherosclerosis, researchers asked questions such as: “How often did your healthcare providers show respect for what you had to say?” and “How often did healthcare providers spend enough time with you?”

“A patient’s beliefs about their illness, their perception of the healthcare system, the extent to which a physician fulfills the patient’s requests and other obstacles can make it a challenge for patients and providers to connect,” said Victor M. Okunrintemi, M.D., M.P.H., a researcher at Baptist Health South Florida in Miami.

“One cannot say for sure how communication exactly influences health outcomes. However, optimal communication between patients and their healthcare providers may yield better understanding of the medical condition, build trust and confidence, motivate patients and promote adherence to medication which could improve patients’ health status while reducing the need for unnecessary health resource utilization, which can lower healthcare expenditures.”