The New Patnership
One of the best ways of avoiding the corruption of power is to share it.
-- Howard Brody, The Healer's Power, 1992
The doctor/patient relationship is undergoing a continuing process of transfor mation; it is moving from patriarchy toward partnership. All doctors and all patients need to assess their attitudes and behavior. Doctors need to rethink the way they practice, to accommodate patients who are becoming more like consumers. This isn't easy. But the results of adjusting to the new model of practice are well worth the effort it takes.
Many doctors are made uneasy by the prospect of sharing more information with their patients. They dread second-guessing and long debates.
But so far, those fears have failed to materialize. Patients do want more information from their doctors, but that is mostly so they can register a veto. "[In] one detailed study, only about 10% of patients said that they wanted information because they wished to participate substantially in their medical-care decisions." 1 And patients who are more involved, who have a greater under standing of what is being recommended and why, are markedly more likely to take prescribed medication and otherwise abide by treatment decisions.
Doctors who make the effort will be rewarded with better data for diagnosis and treatment, as their communication with patients improves. They will be relieved of some of their traditional burden of responsibility, as their patients take on more responsibility for their own care. They will be rewarded with a warmer, more collegial doctor/patient relationship
A true partnership between doctors and patients is just around the corner.