Patients known as the Baby Boomers and Generation X generally held the view that “doctors know best,” while physicians expected patients to follow their medical advice. But today’s model of the doctor-patient relationship looks much different – patients have access to a lot of different health information and physicians can provide more treatment options, requiring a good doctor-patient relationship.
Research suggests that patients who ask questions, voice concerns and are actively engaged during physician visits have better medical outcomes. Interestingly, many patients report that having the full attention and focus of their physician is more important than time spent. In this shared decision-making care model, the physician can better help the patient receive the information needed to make informed decisions regarding treatment options.
The importance of a good doctor-patient relationship cannot be overstated. Studies show that patients who respect and trust their physician are more likely to provide the physician with important health information which will help the physician with the medical evaluation. These patients are also more likely to show up for appointments, take prescribed medications, and make necessary lifestyle changes to improve their health. Conversely, a patient who does not respect his or her physician is more likely to withhold important health information, which hinders the doctor’s ability to make a full and accurate assessment.
Being able to talk openly and honestly with your doctor is always important, but especially if you are facing a life-threatening illness such as heart disease, high-blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and others. Here are some signs that you are in a healthy doctor-patient relationship:
- You provide your doctor with thorough information regarding your health status
- Your doctor is respectful to you and your family members
- Your doctor takes time to listen to your questions, concerns and ideas
- Your doctor includes you as a full partner in your care
- When you and your doctor cannot reach a consensus, your doctor is receptive to a second opinion
- You follow through with the agreed-upon treatment plan
Robert Chappell, Jr., MD
Family Practice Physician
Chief Medical Officer / Chief Quality Officer