Medicine is an art whose magic and creative ability have long been recognized as residing in the interpersonal aspect of the patient-physician relationship. Hall et al, 1981.
Primary health care is the front line of the health care system and usually the first level of contact of individuals, the family and community with a national health system. In primary health care, various health care services are rendered to patients by clinicians and physicians. For a better delivery of health services and a corresponding better response by the patients, there must be a good relationship between the physician and the patient.
First, effective physician-patient communication serves as a keystone in the physician-patient relationship. Studies have shown that the approach used in communicating is equally important as the information being communicated. This includes both verbal and non- verbal interactions between the physician and the patient, effective communication can have an influence on the emotional and psychological health of the patient. When miscommunication occurs, it can have severe negative implication on clinical such as impeding patients understanding, decreasing patient satisfaction to medical care and reducing patients level of hopefulness. Effective communication will also contribute to proper decision making as far as the patient's condition is concern. Patients tend to understand the basics about the in condition and become well informed about how it is being managed as well as its expected prognosis.
Also good physician-patient- relationship brings about trust. It is known that in this era, trust has become a key in the practice of medicine. Patients must have the trust that the physician can work in their best interest to achieve optimal health care. The patient's trust in the physician helps in a way to relieve the patient psychologically and also to improve their prognosis. Trust extends to many different aspects of the physician-patient relationship including but not limited to patients believing that physician has respect for patient's autonomy and patients feeling comfortable to express and engage in dialogue related to their health condition.
Finally, for the proper diagnosis of a patient's condition, there must be a proper and a detailed examination of the patient as well as the patient's family history. All this can properly be done if only there is a good doctor-patient relationship. This aspect of the doctor-patient relationship will enable the physician to obtain informed consent from the patient without any hesitation on the part of the patient and by so doing physicians can take an accurate history and examine patients well.
In the quest of primary health care eliciting accessible health care worldwide, a good physician-patient relationship should be encouraged to help improve health care services.
Dr Kingsley Preko
Dr A.T Derrick
Miss Mercy Gyamfuaa
Physician Assistant student
University of Cape Coast
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