Journal of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine 2016. 9(1):.

A conceptual model of physician-patient relationships: a qualitative study
Mohammadreza Razzaghi, Leila Afshar

Abstract


In any clinical encounter, an effective physician-patient relationship is necessary for achieving the desired outcome. This outcome is successful treatment, and therefore, the relationship should be a healing one. In addition, in the Islamic view, the physician is a manifestation of God’s healing attribute, which is usually undermined in everyday therapeutic communications. Yet there are few empirical data about this experience and how it occurs in the clinical context. This study was conducted to develop a model of physician-patient relationship, with the healing process at its core. Our goal was to explain the nature and characteristics of this encounter. In Islamic teachings, healing is defined as “cure” when possible and if not, reducing pain and suffering and ultimately finding a meaning in the illness experience.

This study was a qualitative inquiry. Data were collected through 17 open-ended, semi-structured interviews with physicians who had an effective relationship with their patients. The participants’ experiences and their perception regarding the relationship were subjected to grounded theory content analysis. For establishing the trustworthiness of the data collection and analysis we used triangulation, peer review, and member checking. 

The findings showed that the components of the patient-physician healing relationship could be categorized in the four key processes of valuing the patient as a person, effective management of power imbalance, commitment, and the physician’s competence and character. This leads to forming the three necessary relational elements of trust, peace and hope, and being acknowledged. Their importance has been better demonstrated in a relationship which incorporates the spiritual aspects of patient care and also physician’s satisfaction.

The physician-patient relationship has a central role in patient outcome. This relationship has an understandable structure and its components may have an effective impact on promoting the patient’s experience of the health system.

Keywords


physician-patient relationship, healing relationship, qualitative research, Islam

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