The patient-doctor relationship (PDR) is a complicated phenomenon with significant cultural variables that influences health-related outcomes and, as such, has ethical issues. For a study, researchers sought to characterize the PDR from medical interactions between 600 Mexican outpatients with rheumatic disorders and their attending rheumatologists and identify parameters related to a good PDR.

A cross-sectional investigation was carried out. The PDRQ-9 (Patient-Doctor Relationship Questionnaire, 9 questions), the HAQ-DI (Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index), the Short-Form 36 items (SF-36), a pain-visual analog scale, and the Ideal Patient Autonomy Scale were all completed by patients. They acquired pertinent sociodemographic, disease-related, and treatment-related information. Each patient-doctor contact was awarded a PDRQ-9 score by patients. Regression analysis was employed to find characteristics related to excellent PDR, which was defined using the borderline performance technique.

Patients were mostly middle-aged females (86%) with significant illness duration (median, 11.1 years), little disability (HAQ-DI within reference range, 55.3%), and decreased quality of life (SF-36 out of reference range, 73.7% -78.6%). 36.5% of them had systemic lupus erythematosus, and 31.8% had rheumatoid arthritis. There were 422 patients (70.3%) with a good PDR and 523 medical interactions (87.2%) with qualified rheumatologists. PDR was linked with patient paternalistic concept of autonomy (OR, 3.029; 95% CI, 1.793-5.113), SF-36 score (OR, 1.014; 95% CI, 1.003-1.025), female sex (OR, 0.460; 95% CI, 0.233-0.010), and being certified rheumatologist (OR, 1.526; 95% CI, 1.059-2.200).

In Mexican outpatients with rheumatic illnesses, patient-related characteristics and the level of experience of the attending physician influence the quality of the PDR.