Infrequent Older Adult–Primary Care Provider Discussion and Documentation of Dietary Supplements

David J. Jang, MD; Derjung M. Tarn, MD, PhD


J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014;62(7):1386-1388. 

In This Article


This study analyzes data collected from academically affiliated physician offices in southern California between February 2009 and February 2010 for a study on physician–patient communication about prescription medications.[5] Study subjects included six family physicians, seven general internists, 14 internal medicine residents, and 256 of their patients. Eligible patients were aged 50 and older; spoke English; had a new, worsening, or uncontrolled problem; and were available for a follow-up assessment. The response rate among eligible patients was 57.9%, consistent with other studies using similar data collection methods.[6]

Physician–patient encounters were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed to determine the dietary supplements discussed during the visit. Patients were surveyed about the supplements that they were currently taking, and their medical records were abstracted for any documentation about supplement use in the 12 months before the audio-recorded office visit. For every patient who reported dietary supplement use and for every dietary supplement that patients reported taking, mention of supplement discussions during office visits was compared with medical record documentation.