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Although most patients report wanting their physicians to address the religious aspects of their lives, most physicians do not initiate questions concerning religion with their patients. Although religion plays a major role in every aspect of the life of a Muslim, most of the data on the role of religion in health have been conducted in populations that are predominantly non-Muslim. The objectives of this study were to assess Muslim physicians' beliefs and behaviours regarding religious discussions in clinical practice and to understand the factors that facilitate or impede discussion of religion in clinical settings. The study is based on a cross-sectional survey. Muslim physicians working in a tertiary care hospital in Saudi Arabia were invited to complete a questionnaire that included demographic data; intrinsic level of religiosity; beliefs about the impact of religion on health; and observations, attitudes, behaviours, and barriers to attending to patients' religious needs. Out of 225 physicians, 91% agreed that religion had a positive influence on health, but 62.2% thought that religion could lead to the refusal of medically indicated therapy. Over half of the physicians queried never asked about religious issues. Family physicians were more likely to initiate religious discussions, and physicians with high intrinsic religiosity were more likely to share their own religious views. Residents and staff physicians tended to avoid such discussions. The study results highlight the fact that many physicians do not address patients' religious issues and that there is a need to clarify ethically sound means by which to address such needs in Islamic countries. Medical institutions should work to improve the capacity of medical personnel to appropriately address religious issues. The training of clinical religious advisors is a promising solution to this dilemma.
Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, King Saud University (KSU), P.O. Box 2925, Riyadh, 11461, Saudi Arabia, email@example.com.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of religion and health
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Physicians employed in a company or corporate setting that is generally not in the health care industry.
The concurrent or retrospective review by practicing physicians or other health professionals of the quality and efficiency of patient care practices or services ordered or performed by other physicians or other health professionals (From The Facts On File Dictionary of Health Care Management, 1988).
A health care system which combines physicians, hospitals, and other medical services with a health plan to provide the complete spectrum of medical care for its customers. In a fully integrated system, the three key elements - physicians, hospital, and health plan membership - are in balance in terms of matching medical resources with the needs of purchasers and patients. (Coddington et al., Integrated Health Care: Reorganizing the Physician, Hospital and Health Plan Relationship, 1994, p7)
A databank established by the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 authorizing the Department of Health and Human Services to collect and release information on the professional competence and conduct of physicians, dentists, nurses, and other health care practitioners. The data include adverse actions on physicians' malpractice, licensure, hospital privileges, concealing of pertinent information, and the like.
The transfer of information from experts in the medical and public health fields to patients and the public. The study and use of communication strategies to inform and influence individual and community decisions that enhance health.
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