Gery W. Ryan, MA, PhD, Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine (KPSOM) Professor of Health Systems Science, has coauthored a study highlighting the willingness of primary care patients to engage in open conversations with their primary care physicians (PCPs) about social and behavioral risk factors, emphasizing the importance of trust-building and routine discussions in providing holistic healthcare.
The study concerned patients in California. The findings revealed that patients recognized the significance of addressing social and behavioral risk factors as a way to treat the whole person. They strongly preferred having a conversation about these factors with their primary care providers (PCPs). Interestingly, patients suggested that if surveys are used, they should be followed by in-person discussions to build trust and avoid judgment.
Moreover, study participants emphasized the importance of framing these discussions as routine practice, helping patients feel more at ease. They were comfortable sharing these risk factors when they trusted their PCPs. Additionally, patients acknowledged the presence of valuable community resources and recommended that PCPs distribute information about these resources to better address their needs.