Physician Advance Care Planning Experiences and Beliefs by General Specialty Status and Sex

Document Type


Publication Date



Objectives Advance care planning (ACP) involvement could be substantially different by physician specialty or sex group, with implications for training and methods to increase ACP activities. The objective of this article is to compare primary care physicians (PCPs) and other specialty physicians and female compared with male physicians' views and interactions surrounding ACP. Methods This was a secondary analysis of an online anonymous survey distributed through a survey link to healthcare providers in hospital, ambulatory, and hospice settings in the greater Dayton, Ohio area in preparation for a community-wide advance care planning multitiered intervention. The measures included demographic data and questions regarding personal ACP decisions/experiences, opinions surrounding ACP in healthcare settings, and willingness to facilitate ACP with patients. Results There were 129 physician respondents, of which 39 (30.2%) were PCPs, and 33 (25.6%) were women. Most expressed interest in ACP, responding positively to a desire for more training, and approximately 25% were willing to be trained to teach others. The respondents by specialty group were similar in age and race, the presence or absence of religious affiliation, and stated frequency of ACP conversations. More than half (52.5%) reported having ACP conversations at least twice per month. The female physicians were younger and more likely to be in primary care. Female physicians also were more likely to discuss ACP with patients (P = 0.017), report formal training for ACP (P = 0.025), and be more willing to permit other healthcare provider types to be involved with ACP. PCPs reported time as a barrier more frequently than specialty physicians (P = 0.012). Other barriers to ACP were reported, including space, personal discomfort, and concerns about patient or family distress or disagreement. Conclusions Many physicians, regardless of specialty type or sex, are interested in undertaking more ACP conversations and being trained to do so. Overall, more female physicians than male physicians were involved and interested in various aspects of ACP, and they were more accepting of the involvement of nonphysician healthcare professionals in ACP. Multiple barriers for clinicians, patients, and families were identified that will need to be addressed by work settings or through education to increase ACP.



Find in your library

Off-Campus WSU Users