Strengthening the doctor-patient relationship
Other Titlesa framework for action
AbstractThe doctor-patient relationship is an important determinant of quality health care. Until not very long ago, it was common for people to regard doctors as members of their families and the trust reposed in them extended to matters even beyond the medical needs of the family. Anecdotal information, however, suggests that the relationship between doctors and patients is becoming strained. There could be several reasons for this. Certainly, one of the most important factors is the commercialization and specialization of the practice of medicine that places a heavy reliance on technology at the cost of a meaningful interaction between health-care seekers and providers at a human level. The pressing demands on the doctor's time and the heavy dependence on technology for diagnostic and therapeutic practices has perhaps diluted the personal touch that is so necessary for a conducive doctor-patient relationship. In addition, the doctor-patient relationship is affected by a multitude of sociocultural, economic, political and health systems-related determinants. To discuss issues related to doctor-patient relationships, the WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia convened a meeting of representatives of medical councils and medical associations, medical teachers, policy-makers and legal and consumer rights experts in 2011. This meeting led to the emergence of a framework of action to strengthen doctor-patient relationships. This publication explores the various facets of the doctor-patient relationship and includes the framework of action that provides guidance about multisectoral actions that can contribute towards mutually beneficial relationships between doctors and patients.
World Health Organization, Regional Office for South-East Asia. (2013). Strengthening the doctor-patient relationship. WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/205942