Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

In the Absence of Trust: What has happened to the doctor-patient relationship?


In our current health care system the collaborative doctor-patient relationship based on trust and open communication seems more like the exception rather than the norm. There was a time when doctors were considered to be a patient’s best advocate. Today, the doctor-patient relationship has become as complex as the system itself with many of these relationships defined by a mutual distrust, failed communications and frustration for the system limits imposed on each.

With the idea of a patient-focused approach to health care gaining momentum and the role of advocate falling heavily on the patient’s own shoulders, we are left searching for the answer to this question – What is a patient to do? To help us answer this question we must ask ourselves many more.

What are some of the qualities you value in a health care system, facility, doctor, nurse and other health care providers?

What responsibilities would you assign to the doctor and the patient in the doctor-patient relationship?

In what ways have the following groups impacted this relationship?
- government
- medical associations
- College of physicians and surgeons
- Canadian Medical Protective Association
- Patient interest groups

What steps would you recommend a patient and a doctor take for improving the doctor-patient relationship?

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