The doctor-patient relationship is the fundamental component of medicine, the practice, and the basic principles of patient care. It connects the patient and their healer, accomplished by several interpersonal foundations, including communication, empathy, trust, informed consent, and established professional boundaries. Regardless of our background, education, profession, or socioeconomic status, one thing is common: we are also all patients. We intend for the most experienced and knowledgeable doctor to assist us in healing or maintaining our health. However, there is still a lot about being determined by our healer! No one is exempt from the expectation of compassion, active listening, and empathy; we expect these qualities from someone we trust. That is regardless of their abilities, knowledge, and experience. Research suggests that cultivating a relationship between doctor and patient based on emotional attachment and psychological trust increases the accuracy of diagnosis, healing, and as a result, the quality of care. Patients want trustworthy doctors, which is problematic because of today's corporate-based medical practice model. An Everyday Health and Castle Connolly study found that 29% of White and 22% of Black patients valued their professional accomplishments more than their physician's professional accomplishment was essential to them. During the same study, 32% of white and 20% of black respondents said doctors' ability to listen to them is crucial. Empathy is essential to the healthcare system today. That is, among other things, that constitutes a healthy doctor-patient relationship. As patients, we should believe that the doctor is concerned with our concerns and communicates with us by actively listening. We need constant verbal or body language reassurance that our doctor is present during our interaction. Also, they understand the concerns we've explained, then evaluate our relationships with a complete understanding. As patients, we deserve to be fully informed about everything that occurs during our diagnosis, illness, and treatment process. Everyone recognizes that doctors are like any other human; they have flaws. That is why we must always understand everything, even if mistakes occur. Image credited to the author: Wonder Digital Arts should always encourage honesty, not just the number of successes their doctor has had, but also what parts of their professional lives need improvement. We appreciate our doctor's ability to communicate with us in layperson's terms, ask questions, and have a productive conversation. This will allow us to investigate our issues more thoroughly and develop the most effective treatment based on our collaboration. We, the patient, want a reasonable, timely response, but we also want more options than possible; however, we want respect for our privacy and dignity. Educated patients expect their doctors to provide detailed instructions and believe they should have a direct relationship with them. Also, part of that partnership is that we both recognize that, as patients, we are ultimately in charge of our health.
Doctor-patient Relationship is Under Strain
Finding the right doctor is always challenging because of the longstanding corruption in our healthcare system; this has plagued our system for quite some time. Everyone has a unique and distinct definition of an ideal doctor-patient relationship. From making eye contact to working alongside doctors, streaming communication to doctors' availability and appointments, these are all part of almost every patient's desire. Despite what it may seem, only a few doctor-patient relationships have the ideal status. For example, computer screens that are difficult to use have detracted from most eye contact in our medical encounters. The increasing administrative burden has already negatively affected our interactions with our doctors. This concerns scheduling appointments and the amount of time spent during visits. Corporate medicine's prevailing business strategy negates our expectations of clinical encounters. However, we often blame our doctor for this when in reality, the doctor is merely a victim of corporate bureaucracy as we are.
Jagosh, Justin & Boudreau, Joseph & Steinert, Yvonne & Macdonald, Mary Ellen & Ingram, Lois. (2011). The importance of physician listening from the patients' perspective: Enhancing diagnosis, healing, and the doctor-patient relationship. Patient education and counseling. 85. 369–74. 10.1016/j.pec.2011.01.028.
Derksen, Frans, et al. "Effectiveness of empathy in general practice: a systematic review." The British Journal of general practice: The Royal College of General Practitioners vol. 63,606 (2013): e76–84. doi:10.3399/bjgp13X660814
Josh, Justin, et al. "The importance of physician listening from the patients' perspective: enhancing diagnosis, healing, and the doctor-patient relationship." Patient education and counseling vol. 85,3 (2011): 369–74. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2011.01.028
Stone, Mike. "What patients want from their doctors." BMJ (Clinical research ed.) vol. 326,7402 (2003): 1294. doi:10.1136/bmj.326.7402.1294
Rapaport, L., 2023. Castle Connolly Survey Asks What Patients Want Most From Their Doctors [WWW Document]. EverydayHealth.com. URL https://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-living/new-survey-asks-what-do-patients-want-most-in-a-doctor/ (accessed 1.30.23).