A Cordial Physician-Patient Relationship

Here’s an insight into the role a physician’s personal feelings and beliefs play in the physician-patient relationship!

By Jhai Madaan

Philosophical concerns cannot be excluded from even a cursory examination of the physician-patient relationship. Two possible alternatives for determining what this relationship entails are the teleological (outcome) approach vs deontological (process) one. Traditionally, this relationship has been structured around the ‘clinical model’ which views the physician-patient relationship in teleological terms. Data on the actual content of general medical practice indicate the advisability of reassessing this relationship and suggest that the ‘clinical model’ may be too limiting and that a more appropriate basis for the physician-patient relationship is one described in this paper as the ‘relational model’.

A patient must have confidence in the competence of their doctor and must feel that they can confide in him or her. For most physicians, the establishment of good understanding with the patient is important. Some medical specialties, such as psychotherapy and family medicine, emphasize the physician-patient relationship more than others, such as pathology or radiology, which have very little contact with patients. The quality of the patient-physician relationship is important to both parties. The doctor and patient’s values and perspectives about the disease, life, and time available play a role in building up this relationship. A strong relationship between the physician and the patient will lead to regular, quality information about the patient’s disease and better health care for the patient and their family.

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