Family physician ethnicity influences quality of diabetes care for Chinese but not South Asian patients
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AIMS: To determine whether sharing the same ethnicity as their family physician influenced the quality of diabetes care for Chinese and South Asian patients in Ontario, Canada. METHODS: We conducted two related studies: a population-based cohort study of Chinese and South Asian patients with incident diabetes using health care administrative data (n=49,484), and a cross-sectional study of Chinese and South Asian patients with established diabetes using data collected directly from their family physicians' clinical records (n=416). In both studies, quality of care measures were compared between patients whose family physicians were or were not from the same ethnic group. RESULTS: In the cohort study, Chinese patients whose family physicians were also Chinese were more likely to have a diabetes-related family physician visit and appropriate HbA1c and cholesterol testing. In the cross-sectional study, they were more likely to have foot examinations, to have microalbuminuria testing, and to achieve recommended treatment targets for HbA1c and for LDL-cholesterol. In contrast, for South Asian patients, most quality measures in either study did not differ by physician ethnicity. CONCLUSIONS: Having a family physician from the same ethnic group was associated with better quality of diabetes care for Chinese but not for South Asian patients.