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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 20-24

Doctor-shopping behavior among diabetic patients in urban Puducherry

Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, JIPMER, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Subitha Lakshminarayanan
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, JIPMER, Puducherry - 605 006
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2350-0298.184676

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Background: Seeking assistance from multiple physicians for an illness is a major obstacle in providing efficient care by the health care systems. It not only alters the disease condition but also adds to excess health care costs. This study aimed at exploring healthcare-seeking behavior in adult patients with diabetes and also to identify the factors associated with doctor-shopping behavior. Methods: This questionnaire-based cross-sectional study was conducted in an urban ward of Puducherry. A total of 100 patients aged more than 18 years with diabetes were included in the study. Results: Around 80% of the study subjects were availing treatment from government facilities. Prevalence of doctor-shopping behavior was found to be 14%. Reasons for change in their treatment facility were mainly due to patient-related factors like unaffordability of medicines and consultant fees, or illness-related factors like no improvement in symptoms. Physician/facility-related factors were due to prolonged waiting hours and poor interpersonal communication by the doctor. Various factors associated with doctor-shopping behavior in diabetics such as chronicity of illness (P< 0.005), past treatment facility being private (P< 0.001), and upper socioeconomic status (P = 0.045) were statistically found to be significant. Conclusion: The present study shows the prevalence of doctor shopping among diabetic patients to be 14% in urban Puducherry and this change in consultation was mainly due to the patient, illness, physician, or facility-related factors. Patient education, good interpersonal communication skills, and health system strengthening measures can increase responsiveness of the community toward the health systems and thereby reduce doctor shopping behavior among diabetic patients.

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