Assignment Writing Help on Patient-Physician Relationship

Patient-Physician Relationship

            Since the time of Hippocrates, physicians have acknowledged that a healthy patient-physician relationship is fundamental for the well-being and health of their patients (American Medical Association 20). The patient-physician relationship acts as a medium for gathering data, making diagnoses and plans, accomplishing compliance, and providing patient activation, support, and healing (Goold and Lipkin 27). The medium that enables physicians to share in the responsibility of making the health of patients better. Bringing their medical problems to the attention of the physician, creates room for the development of a mutually respectful patient-physician relationship (Goold and Lipkin 29). However, the success of medical encounters between the patient and his/her physician is highly dependent on effective communication

(American Association of Orthopaedic Association n.p.). Only then can the patient be a lively participant in this relationship. Therefore, the premise of the current essay is to argue on the importance of effective communication in a patient-physician relationship, and its role in fostering patient engagement.  

            While the concept of patient-centered care has its root in ancient Greek medical practice, it has not always been implemented in the medical field. For instance, between the 1950s and the 1970s, most physicians regarded it as detrimental and inhumane to disclose bad news to patients on account of the desolate treatment   potential for cancers (Baile 302). However, in the recent past, the medical model has embraced an individualism context in place of paternalism. In this regard, information exchange acts as the overriding communication model. At the same time, the health consumer movement has been on the forefront agitating for patient-centered communication.

             Patient-centered care entails viewing patients as partners in the provision of health care. As such, physicians should make sure that they involve their patients in decision-making. In addition, physicians should ensure that they fully respect the concerns and values of their patients while delivering health care services. Over the past two decades, the health care profession has benefited immensely from the development of effective tools that can be used to assess the communication skills of physicians. More importantly, residency programs and medical schools are now teaching communication skills to medical students, an indication of the growing recognition of the importance of effective communication skills in fostering a healthy patient-physician relationship (Tongue et al., 652). Practicing physicians should also be encouraged to continue building on their communication skills as a first step towards handling the challenging task of shifting patient expectations. Hopefully, this will play a key role in improving overall patient satisfaction with the patient-physician relationship as well as enhanced satisfaction with their overall health care outcomes.

            Good communication skills not only enhance medical care, but also help to minimize lawsuits. Through the use of skillful interviewing techniques, physicians can improve diagnostic accuracy by collecting high quality and quantity of data (Lee et al. 469). Physicians who possess excellent communication skills manage to create a good rapport with their patients. As a result, this plays a crucial role in enhancing the rate at which patients’ treatment. Moreover, effective interviews have been proven to play a role in minimizing medical errors, enhancing patient outcomes, and making practicing medicine more enjoyable (Tongue et al. 652). Malpractices suits are usually due to variations in expectations between the physician and the patient. In this regard, good communication can enable physicians to comprehend patient expectations.As a result, this helps to minimize exposure to liability.

A physician’s interpersonal skills include the capability to collect data as a first step towards enabling accurate diagnosis, suitable counseling, provision of therapeutic instructions, as well as establishing appropriate caring relationships with his/her patients (American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons n.p.). These are the fundamental clinical skills required in the field of medicine, and their aim is to ensure increased patient satisfaction with the healthcare services provided to them by their physicians. In addition, these fundamental clinical skills are intended to ensure the best outcomes through the delivery of effective health care (Fong & Longnecker 40). Fundamental communication skills alone are not sufficient to establish and uphold a successful patient-physician relationship and as such, there is a need to incorporate interpersonal skills (American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons n.p.). The final goal of any patient-physician communication is to enhance the patient’s medical care and health outcomes (Lee et al. 470). Studies on patient-physician communication reveal that patients can still be discontent although the physicians themselves might have regarded communication as being sufficient (Tongue et al. 653).

            There is a tendency among physicians to overestimate their communication capabilities. In their study, Tongue et al  (655) indicated that three quarters (75%) of the orthopedic surgeons who took part in the survey were under the impression that their communication was satisfactory, even as less than a quarter (21%) of the patients indicated that communication with their physicians had been satisfactory. At the same time, patient surveys have frequently indicated that patients desire better communication with their physicians (Tongue 655). The responsibility is therefore on physicians and health care practitioners to ensure improved communication with patients for enhanced health care delivery. 

            Effective communication in a patient-physician relationship leads to improved health outcomes for the patients (DeBenedette n.p.). Patients who feel as though they are being treated with fairness and respect by their physicians have been shown to comply with health care advice, resulting in increased health and well-being. Alexander et al. (1203) carried out a cross-sectional study to determine the perceptions of chronically ill patients of the relationship they shared with their physicians. The study revealed a strong association between higher perception of quality patient-physician relationship and enhanced levels of patient activation. Therefore, patient-physician relationships act as a key aspect in enabling patients to assume an active role with regard to their health care and health (Alexander et al. 1218).

             Good patient-physician communication is essential in facilitating the patient’s comprehension of medical information, regulating his/her emotions. On the other hand, it enables the physician to identify the perception, expectations, and needs of a patient more effectively (Fong and Longnecker 34). On the other hand, patients who relate well with their physicians have a higher probability of finding satisfaction more so with respect to sharing of appropriate information, as this will enable the physician to make an accurate diagnosis of the problems facing the patient. In addition, such patients are also more likely to follow the advice given to them by the physician, in addition to adhering to the treatment prescribed by the physician. A strong correlation has also been reported between the patient’s adherence to the physician’s treatment plan and recovery. During their encounters with patients, doctors should ensure that the information offered to patients is done so in a comprehensible and clear manner.

Physicians usually offer information to patients by way of instructions or explanations. They begin by communicating the diagnosis, followed by a description of the various treatment options available for that diagnosis. Moreover, the merits and demerits of the treatment options are also explained (Williams, Haskard and DiMatteo 457). Physicians could also volunteer information out of their own volition, or at the request of a patient. Given that the information given to patients by physicians could impact on not just their level of satisfaction with the care provided, but their subsequent adherence to treatment and ultimately the patient’s overall health care outcome, physicians should use their discretion in deciding on how much information they need to disclose to the patient.

            In sum, effective communication plays a key role in fostering a good patient-physician relationship. Good communication enhances a clear understanding between the individuals involved. In turn, such a sound patient-physician relationship enables the patient to give more details regarding their medical problems. Moreover, good communication between the patient and his/her physician improves the patient’s compliance with treatment.  On the other hand, this relationship enables the physician to gather data on the patient’s diagnosis, make an effective diagnosis, and discuss the various treatment options available for the diagnosis. Consequently, this enhances the patient’s adherence to treatment and overall health and well-being. The physicians also benefits in that he/she enjoys the working environment. Physicians are thus encouraged to improve on their communication and personal skills as a means of improving health care delivery.

Works Cited

Alexander, Jeffrey, Larry R. Herald, Jessica N. Mittler and Jillian, Harvey. “Patient–Physician

            Role Relationships and Patient Activation among Individuals with Chronic Illness.”

            Health Services Research, 47.3(2012):1201-1223.print

American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Patient-Physician Communication. Dec. 2011.

            Web. 02 March 2015. <>.

American Medical Association. “Opinion 10.01 – Fundamental Elements of the Patient-Physician

            Relationship.” JAMA, 262.3(1993): 1-8.print 

DeBenedette, Valerie. Doctor-Patient Relationship Influences Patient Engagement. 29

            November, 2011. Web. 02 March, 2015



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Williams, Summer, Kelly, Haskard and Robin, DiMatteo. “The theraupetic effects of the

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