Background: We evaluated how well physicians' global estimates of disease severity correspond to more specific physician-rated disease variables as well as patients' self-rated health and other patient variables. Methods: We analyzed baseline data from 1662 primary care patients with chronic cardiac or pulmonary disease who were enrolled in a longitudinal study of health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Each patient's primary physician rated overall disease severity, estimated the two-year risk of hospitalization and mortality, and reported the use of disease-specific medications, test, and subspecialty referrals. Patient variables included sociodemographic characteristics, psychosocial factors, self-rated health, and both generic and disease-specific HRQoL. Results: Physicians rated 40% of their patients "about average", 309% "worse", and 30% "better" than the typical patient seen with the specific target disorder. The physician's global estimate of disease severity was strongly associated (P < 0.001) with each of the five more specific elements of physician-rated disease severity, but only marginally associated with patient self-rated health. Multivariable regression identified a set of patient variables that explained 16.4% of the variance in physician-rated disease severity. Conclusion: Physicians' global ratings may provide disease severity and prognostic information unique from and complementary to patient self-rated health and HRQoL measures. The elements influencing physician-rated disease severity and its predictive validity for clinical outcomes warrant prospective investigation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health