Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Summer 2018 - 10

m E d i C a l r E C o r d F E at u r E

DISSERTATION
SYNOPSIS:

Attitudes and Knowledge of Healthcare
Providers Regarding Patients with
Intellectual Disability and the Impact on
Analogue Decision-Making Clinical

P
by Alexandra Santoro, M.S., Robert
A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP, Stephen
Poteau, Ph.D., Michael Becker, D.O.,
and Robert Murray, OSA, Ph.D.

10

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hysicians, particularly those in primary care settings, can expect to treat
patients with intellectual disability (ID) across the lifespan throughout
their careers. However, limited attention is given to preparing medical
students to effectively treat patients with ID through education and clinical
training opportunities. Information regarding the influence of attitudes toward
patients with ID on physicians' clinical decision-making in primary care settings
remains limited. By understanding the influence of provider attitudes on the
healthcare delivered to patients with ID, the quality of care may be enhanced.
The purpose of this dissertation research was to examine how knowledge
and attitudes toward patients with ID may impact analogue clinical decisionmaking at different stages of physician education and career. Medical students,
residents, interns, and attending physicians with an interest or specialty in
primary care were recruited through online platforms. Participants were
randomly assigned and asked to read one of the three vignette conditions (i.e.,
neurotypical, mild ID, or moderate ID) describing a patient presenting for a
wellness visit, after which they were asked to complete a scale which asked them
to rate the importance of addressing various biopsychosocial factors with the
assigned patient during the visit. Following the vignette, participants were asked
to complete a direct measure of attitudes (Scale of Attitudes Toward Disabled
Persons; SADP; Antonak, 1982). They were then directed to a 16-item quiz to
test their knowledge of the ID population, followed by a demographics survey,
which included questions about the quantity and quality of both their personal
and clinical experiences with the ID population.
The outcome of this research found that there was no significant interaction
between physicians' level of training and patients' level of ID severity when
specifically examining those with mild ID, moderate ID, or typical cognitive
functioning based on the variables of physician knowledge, attitudes, and
analogue clinical decision-making. More generally speaking, medical students,
interns, residents, and attending physicians treated their mock patients with ID


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Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Summer 2018

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